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Enhancing Your Business Writing

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Title: Enhancing Your Business Writing


1
  • Enhancing Your Business Writing
  • Skills
  • September October 2009
  • Presented by
  • Mosedimosi Business Training

2
The importance of written communication
  • When should you be
  • writing in stead of talking?
  • Writing has the benefit of forcing us to think
    the matter through.
  • Writing encourages us to gather the facts before
    we communicate an idea, instruction or message.

3
Writing requires (p6)
  • a disciplined mind
  • taking responsibility
  • an attitude of do it now
  • being resourceful
  • understanding needs of the reader
  • proper planning
  • a good command of language

4
Think of the reader!
  • What
  • When
  • Why
  • Who
  • Where
  • How
  • If your writing answers all these
  • questions, you have been successful

5
Set the objective
  • what does the reader need to know?
  • what does the reader need to do?
  • what answers do I need from the reader?

6
Purpose and scope
  • Purpose tip of the iceberg
  • Compliance with legislation
  • Scope width/depth of investigation
  • Templates structure, topics, headings, standard
    wording
  • Cohesion purpose, content, form, frequency,
    recipients

7
Planning the document
  • You will need to
  • Define the purpose
  • Establish due date
  • Consider information sources
  • Evaluate info processing results
  • Consider alternatives
  • Prepare draft report
  • Refine and present final report


8
Consider your audience
  • Need (to make decisions)
  • Education level
  • Position in the organisation
  • Knowledge of your topic or area
  • Responsibility to act
  • Biases
  • Preferences
  • Attitudes

9
Gather required information
  • Identify information resources
  • Determine organisational procedures
  • Conduct research
  • primary
  • secondary
  • Manage information

10
Analyse information
  • Make sense out of data
  • Prevent personal bias
  • Compare and contrast information
  • Understand significance of facts and figures
  • Develop fresh ideas

11
Determine the solutions
  • Conclusions must agree with findings
  • Uphold integrity of the facts
  • Generate several potential solutions
  • Determine what is feasible
  • Find the optimum solution

12
Mind Maps
  • Improve the way you take notes
  • Show structure of subject
  • Highlight linkages between points
  • Display the raw facts logically
  • Make concepts easier to remember
  • Two-dimensional structure
  • Help us make associations
  • Easily integrate additional facts

13
Be organised in your approach
14
Mind map example
15
Drawing a mind map
  • Use single words or simple phrases for
    information
  • Print words
  • Use colour to separate different ideas
  • Use symbols and images
  • Use cross-linkages
  • Key points

16
Writers Block
17
Tactics to get rid of writers block
  • 1. Start brainstorming
  • 2. Ease into your writing
  • 3. Take some time out
  • 4. Revisit the last few pages
  • 5. Use the tried and true 'carrot' trick.
  • 6. Pressure Cooker Tactics
  • 7. Change the time and venue
  • 8. Meditate or go walking

18
Writing skills system
  • A clear objective
  •       Correct language
  • Proper structure
  • Attractive layout
  • Its foundations are
  • 1.     Accuracy
  • 2.     Brevity
  • 3.     Clarity
  • the ABC of good writing

19
How many people speak English?
  • isiZulu
  • 10 194 787
  • isiXhosa
  • 7 907 153
  • Afrikaans
  • 5 983 426
  • Sepedi
  • 4 208 980
  • Setswana
  • 3 677 016
  • Sesotho
  • 3 555 186
  • English
  • 3 673 203
  • Xitsonga
  • 1 992 207
  • Siswati
  • 1 194 430
  • Tshivenda
  • 1 021 757
  • isiNdebele
  • 711 821

20
Correct language and words
  • WIST - Would I Say That?
  • If not, do not write it!
  • Do not use a long word if there is a short word
  • Do not write to impress, write to express

21
Tenses, dear old tenses
  • Present
  • Indefinite he eats
  • Perfect he has eaten
  • Continuous he is eating
  • Past
  • Indefinite he ate
  • Perfect he had eaten
  • Continuous he was eating
  • Future
  • Indefinite he will eat
  • Perfect he will have eaten
  • Continuous he will be eating

22
After
  • I eat breakfast
  • I go to work
  • Make this one sentence

23
After
  • I eat breakfast
  • I go to work
  • After I have eaten breakfast, I go to work

24
After
  • I ate breakfast
  • I went to work
  • Make this one sentence

25
After
  • I ate breakfast
  • I went to work
  • After I had eaten breakfast, I went to work

26
After - had
  • I had breakfast
  • I went to work
  • Make this one sentence

27
After
  • I had breakfast
  • I went to work
  • After I had had breakfast, I went to work

28
While
  • I ate breakfast
  • I received a telephone call
  • Make this one sentence

29
While
  • I ate breakfast
  • I received a telephone call
  • I received a telephone call while I was eating
    breakfast

30
Present tense
  • To describe something that happens in the present
  • E-mail, letter, notices
  • Use the indefinite form e.g. Please submit your
    reports before 11 October.
  • Advantage of present tense document looks
    recent and up to date.

31
Future tense
  • Still needs to happen
  • Use the indefinite tense
  • I shall go to town
  • We use this when we set deadlines and future
    expectations
  • For proposals, recommendations, resolutions, etc

32
Past tense
  • Always use indefinite form
  • Do not use I was thinking, use I thought
  • Do not use it has been decided, use The
    committee decided
  • For minutes, reports, letters and
  • e-mail

33
Do and does
  • Single does
  • She does her hair every day
  • Everybody does
  • Everyone does
  • Plural and I do
  • They do their hair every day
  • I do my hair every day

34
Plural or single?
  • Staff?
  • Staff members have
  • Manchester United have won a game
  • The Manchester United team has
  • Management has or have?
  • Management has made a unanimous decision
  • Management have not decided on this yet
  • Management team has
  • Management members have

35
Apostrophy s
  • Not for plural tractors, bulldozer's for hire
    (wrong) tractors and bulldozers
  • To indicate possession
  • Marys lamb
  • Supervisors meetings
  • Visitors parking
  • To replace a missing letter
  • dont
  • cant
  • wont

36
Apostrophy s
  • The dog wags its tail
  • Possession (his, hers, its)
  • Its a beautiful day
  • It is a beautiful day

37
Would/could
  • Would will (willing)
  • Would you be so kind as to help me change the
    tyre?
  • Could can (competence)?
  • Could you help me with Excel?

38
Wish
  • I wish I were a
  • rich man
  • I wish she were rich

39
The and a
  • Wrong
  • May I take the message?
  • I take the taxi home.
  • A unspecified
  • The specified
  • Correct
  • May I take a message?
  • I take a taxi home.

40
Other problem areas
  • She is still busy in the phone
  • He is on his desk
  • They held a conference in the hotel
  • She is still busy on the phone
  • He is at his desk
  • They held a conference at the hotel

41
C or s?
  • Licence
  • License
  • Practice
  • Practise
  • Advice
  • Advise

42
C or s?
  • Licence I am allowed to, drivers licence, tv
    licence (noun)
  • License I allow you to (verb)
  • Practice perform doctors practice (noun)
  • Practise - train/exercise, apply in action (verb)

43
Borrow or lend?
  • If you need it, you borrow something from someone
  • May I borrow your dictionary?
  • May I borrow R10?
  • If it belongs to you, you lend
  • Think of a bank loan
  • Certainly, you may lend my dictionary

44
Tautology
  • Round circle
  • Have got
  • Attached herewith please find
  • Dated 10 October
  • I personally believe
  • Reverse backwards
  • Free for nothing
  • Always for me as well

45
Of, off, have got
  • The manager of the dept
  • Off course
  • The lights are switched off
  • End off
  • I have got flu (wrong)
  • I have flu
  • Have you got the key (wrong)
  • Do you have the key?

46
Much
  • I am very much hungry
  • I am very much tired
  • I am very much happy
  • I love you very much
  • Thank you very much
  • I am much happier than I was before

47
Abbreviations
  • Is it Mr. or Mr? Mister
  • Prof. or Prof? Professor
  • etc. or etc? etcetera
  • When the abbreviation and the word ends with the
    same letter, it doesnt get a full stop mr

48
Too or to?
  • Its too expensive
  • Also
  • Afrikaans te veel
  • I am walking to the station
  • She is two years old

49
Too tired
  • I am too tired.
  • I am too hungry
  • I am too excited
  • I love you too much
  • I am too tired to drive home this afternoon
  • I am too hungry to wait another minute
  • He drinks too much beer
  • I love you too
  • The two of us are going to the factory too

50
American spelling XXXX
  • Organization - organisation
  • Labor labour
  • Program programme
  • Liason liaison
  • Traveling - travelling

51
Dates
  • Never write numerical dates 06/10/2008
  • 6 October 2008
  • The 6th of October 2008 (wrong)
  • Monday 6 October 2008
  • Do not add the word dated

52
Me and myself
  • Me and Johnny went to town (wrong)
  • Johnny and I went to town
  • I personally strongly believe . (wrong)
  • I believe
  • Myself is going to town (wrong)
  • I taught myself to speak English

53
We should communicate clearly!
  • Son Daddy, a Ferrari is that a red car with a
    horse, right?
  • Dad Yes, son
  • Son Then I guess I saw a Ferrari this morning

54
Useless words
  • Actually Definitely
  • Hopefully Fortunately
  • Carefully Pretty sure
  • Quite sure Rather
  • Real Really
  • Somewhat Very
  • Slightly Extremely
  • In fact Due to the fact that
  • Basically

55
Do not use the following
  • Very
  • Nice
  • Find 5 words to describe the following on p 33
  • Nice food
  • Nice house
  • Nice woman
  • Nice man
  • Nice flowers
  • Nice holiday

56
Nice words
  • Food - tasty, spicy, delicious, healthy,
    marvelous, fantastic, scrumptious, divine
  • House spacious, enormous, luxurious, fancy,
    magnificent, big, habitable, grand, cosy,
    comfortable
  • Woman pretty, loving, beautiful, gracious,
    kind, slender, lovely
  • Man handsome, strong, hot, sexy, gorgeous,
    cute, prominent, romantic, gentleman
  • Flowers colourful, aromatic, exotic, exquisite,
    precious, lovely, fresh, fragrant
  • Holiday relaxing, romantic, joyous,
  • exotic, blissful,
  • fun, interesting,

57
Positive and negative words
  • A positive tone encourages a favourable,
    desirable association with a product or service.
    A negative tone is a red flag word. It plants
    seeds of doubt, or conveys an image that is
    unfavourable, undesirable, unattractive, or even
    frightening. However, too positive a tone will
    lead to accusations of pushy.

58
Do not use BIG words!
  • Except when it is
  • Simpler
  • Unique
  • Rich
  • Economical

59
Pompous writing
  • This is old fashioned writing and tries to
    impress
  • Pompous phrases
  • You are cordially invited
  • We would like to/wish to inform you
  • The above refers your letter refers
  • Hope you find the above in order
  • I trust this will meet with your approval
  • Your attendance will be highly appreciated
  • Ensuring you of our best attention at all times
  • It would be highly appreciated if you

60
Pompous writing (1)
  • I confirm
  • Apparently, clearly
  • We have received
  • With regards to your enquiry/regarding your
    concern
  • We will try
  • Nothing!!!!
  • For
  • Nothing!!!!
  • I refer to your letter of (date)

61
Pompous writing (2)
  • Please let us know
  • Please arrange
  • We made a decision
  • I hope this information will help you solve the
    problem
  • The Committee considered the proposals
  • We are investigating the causes
  • Please note

62
Eliminate redundant words
  1. Back
  2. Together
  3. Which add nothing
  4. Of opinion
  5. In shape
  1. On
  2. Together
  3. Now currently
  4. Along
  5. together

63
Active and passive writing
  • Thabo writes a lease
  • A lease is written by Thabo

64
Appropriate passive writing
  • To avoid the impression of being critical of
    people.
  • e.g. The accounts have not been completed.
  • To emphasise the object of the sentence rather
    than the subject.
  • e.g. Standards of safety have been allowed to
    deteriorate.
  • To soften a passage which is predominantly
    active, particularly in scientific reports where
    by whom will be self-evident.
  • e.g. The computer was installed to mechanise
    the accounts.

65
Active writing
  • Rewrite phrases on p 43 in active form
  • Note that a sentence is shorter when writing in
    the active form

66
Active writing p41
  1. We received your letter
  2. Take the following action when processing a
    report
  3. I sent the customers a cheque for R1987,00
  4. We completed the job within two days
  5. The research team interviewed 47 people
  6. Legal experts are advising the firm
  7. We will have to consider several factors

67
Sentences
  • The ideal sentence is not longer than 24 words
  • 1 idea 1 sentence!

68
Paragraphs
  • With each new topic start a paragraph
  • The topic sentence should always be first!
  • Re-write paragraph on p 45

69
Re-write paragraph
  • I have decided to accept the transfer to Cape
    Town. This is partly because of the educational
    opportunities for my children and also because of
    the promotional prospects the transfer will offer
    me. The Personnel Officer was helpful and
    instrumental in my choice.

70
Punctuation
  • A woman, without her man, is nothing

71
Punctuation
  • A woman, without her, man is nothing

72
Punctuation
  • Please punctuate the paragraph on p 52.
  • Please note that there are no mistakes on that
    page!

73
Ambiguity
  • Be careful what you say
  • What does bi-monthly or bi-annually mean?

74
Business writing blunders (1)
  • Spotted in a toilet of a London officeTOILET
    OUT OF ORDER. PLEASE USE FLOOR BELOWIn
    a LaundromatAUTOMATIC WASHING MACHINES PLEASE
    REMOVE ALL YOUR CLOTHES WHEN  THE LIGHT GOES
    OUTIn a London department  storeBARGAIN
    BASEMENT UPSTAIRSIn an officeWOULD THE PERSON
    WHO TOOK THE STEP LADDER YESTERDAY PLEASE BRING
    IT BACK OR FURTHER STEPS WILL BE TAKEN

75
Business writing blunders (2)
  • In an officeAFTER TEA BREAK STAFF SHOULD EMPTY
    THE TEAPOT AND  STAND UPSIDE DOWN ON THE
    DRAINING BOARDOutside a second-hand shopWE
    EXCHANGE ANYTHING - BICYCLES, WASHING MACHINES,
    ETC. WHY  NOT BRING YOUR HUSBAND ALONG AND GET A
    WONDERFUL BARGAIN?Notice in health food shop
    windowCLOSED DUE TO ILLNESS

76
Business writing blunders (3)
  • Spotted in a game reserveELEPHANTS PLEASE STAY
    IN YOUR CARSeen during a conferenceFOR ANYONE
    WHO HAS CHILDREN AND DOESN'T KNOW IT, THERE IS
    A DAY CARE ON THE 1ST FLOORNotice in a farmer's
    fieldTHE FARMER ALLOWS WALKERS TO CROSS THE
    FIELD FOR FREE, BUT THE  BULL CHARGES.Message
    on a leafletIF YOU CANNOT READ, THIS  LEAFLET
    WILL TELL YOU HOW TO GET LESSONSOn a repair
    shop doorWE CAN  REPAIR ANYTHING. (PLEASE KNOCK
    HARD ON THE DOOR - THE BELL DOESN'T WORK)

77
Notice to all residents
  • Please note that the water supply will be
    interrupted on
  • Monday 29 June 2009
  • from 800 to 1600.
  • Close all taps to avoid
  • air surges.
  • Direct any queries to
  • Mr Mokoena at (011) 716 2323.

78
Notice to all residents
  • Kindly note that the water supply will be
    interrupted on Monday 29 June 2009 from 800 to
    1600. We need to repair water pipes in your area
    to improve our service delivery to you.
  • Please close all taps to avoid air surges and
    remember to fill buckets in advance
  • Should you have any queries, you may contact Mr
    Mokoena on 011 716 2323

79
  • Dear Colleagues
  • Unfortunately we have had instances where company
    and personal possessions were removed from
    several offices. To avoid this, you are
    requested to lock your office each time you go
    out. Please do not leave valuables unattended.
  • Please let me know of any similar occurrences as
    we would like to get to the root of the problem.
  • Regards
  • Bethuel

80
Style in business writing
  • Style is your personal stamp
  • Word choice
  • Sentence construction
  • Asking questions
  • Using imperative
  • Active/passive
  • Paragraphing
  • Imagery
  • tone

81
Principles for effective writing (1)
  • Use variety in your writing.
  • Sentences should be short 18 - 24
  • Paragraphs should contain 5 7 sentences.
  • Avoid weak language (rather, very, little,
    pretty, bad, sorry)
  • Avoid clichés, buzzwords, and jargon.
  • Avoid unnecessary words (padding) such as the,
    that, I think, I feel, I believe, in fact, wish
    to.
  • Use active not passive sentences

82
Principles for effective writing (2)
  • Write as you would talk
  • Dont nominalise by adding tion or ment to
    verbs
  • Dont dangle. For example The document was
    filed by the employee who had been working on it
    in the wrong drawer
  • Use active verbs. Stay away from forms of the
    verb to be, to make, to do, to have
  • Write to express not to impress

83
Writing for a specific readership
  • Checklist Inter-office memos
  • Define your topic and state it accurately
  • Consider your reader use a friendly informal
    style
  • Put the main point of your memo in the first
    sentence
  • Use the body of the memo to provide necessary
    details and background information
  • Memos should be specific, to the point, and
    contain simple, direct language

84
Checklist Inter-office memos
  • They must evoke response and action
  • Keep copies they are often useful for future
    reference
  • Do not use a salutation nor a complimentary close
  • Keep your paragraphs short and crisp. If
    necessary number them
  • Only write a memo when a telephone call is not
    sufficient, a written record is needed, or when
    you have to reach many people
  • Be sure your terminology, sentence length,
    structure, and paragraph length make for quick,
    clear, easy reading. Itemise and tabulate

85
Memorandums
  • Write a memo inviting staff to attend a
    lunch-hour presentation by a speaker on employee
    wellness. You want as many people as possible to
    attend as you will sit with egg on your face if
    only two staff members arrive!
  • Make your memo short and use exciting language!

86
Letters
  • Structure and templates

87
Address and salutation
  • 340 Walker Street
  • SUNNYSIDE
  • 0002
  • 15 September 2009
  • The Commissioner
  • South African Revenue Service
  • Private Bag X923
  • Pretoria
  • 0001
  • Dear Sir/Madam
  • Interest on VAT

88
Address and salutation
  • ABC Training
  • P O Box 234
  • SUNNYSIDE
  • 0002
  • 27 July 2009
  • Mr P Smith
  • The Customer Service Manager
  • Hollywood Hotel
  • P O Box 4312
  • MARSHALLTOWN
  • 2107
  • Dear Mr Smith
  • COMPLAINT ABOUT SERVICE DURING CONFERENCE

89
Heading
  • Indicates what the letter is about
  • Use bold type
  • Do not use Re
  • There is no full stop
  • A line is left open after the salutation and the
    content reference

90
The first paragraph
  • Write business letters in the 1st person I and
    we, not the 3rd person i.e. the organisation.
  • Thank you for your letter of
  • State the objective

91
The body of the letter
  • It must be clear, concise and easy to read
  • Be sure of your facts and do not contradict
    yourself
  • Plan carefully
  • State your business concisely, clearly and simply
  • Write only what is absolutely relevant
  • Each new paragraph is a new theme

92
Ending your letter
  • The way you finish your letter is important
  • indicate future expectations from the reader
  • leave your reader in no doubt as to the purpose
    of the letter
  • Never finish with such outmoded phrases as
    Assuring you of our best attention at all times
  • Supply your contact details

93
Good way of ending a letter
  • Should you have any further enquiries, you are
    welcome to contact me on 011 664 7574 or
    mbt_at_work.co.za

94
Letter of decline

Decline letter Design a letter that can be used
by HR to inform a candidate that he (s)has been
unsuccessful in her/his application for a position
95
Letters of complaint p72
  • If you are in the wrong
  • If you are in the right but will give way
  • If you are in the right and cannot give way

96
Deal with angry e-mails carefully!
97
Write an e-mail message
  • Invite your team to a lunch next Friday to
    celebrate your last success

98
Invitation e-mail
  • Dear Team
  • Congratulations and celebrations!
  • We exceeded our target by 50 in August. We would
    like to celebrate with a lunch. Please join us!
  • Date Friday 1 September 2009
  • Time 1300 1500
  • Venue Lapa
  • Dress Casual
  • RSVP Corry on 011 664 7574 by Tuesday
  • Regards

99
When using e-mail
  1. Be careful using e-mail at work 
  2. Short e-mails communicate better
  3. Use a clear and descriptive subject line 
  4. Spelling and grammar still applies
  5. Limit the number of recipients 
  6. Use a signature 
  7. Respect the privacy of e-mail addresses 

100
Report
  • All the principles about writing content apply to
    your report!
  • A report is a structured way of reporting on a
    project, findings or proposal and getting
    decision makers to approve

101
Objectives and characteristics
  • Investigative or persuasive?
  • Formal or informal?
  • A report usually aims to dig under the surface to
    find the real problem the Ice Berg principle
  • A report needs to present solutions and
    recommendations its not just a moaning
    process!

102
The reporting process (Recap)
  • Understand why the report is required
  • Know and respect the due date
  • Plan how you will proceed to gather information
  • Plan how you will meet the deadline
  • Proceed with your information gathering
  • Record the results of your information gathering
  • Consider the information. You need to plan some
    time to evaluate your conclusions

103
The reporting process 2 (Recap)
  • Consider what can be done about the problem
  • Draft the report
  • Redraft the report (Good reports are not written
    - they are re-written)
  • Type it or have it typed. Proof-read it and check
    the presentation

104
What makes a good report?
  • Must lead to action
  • Gets to the point
  • Is user friendly
  • a descriptive title
  • a table of contents
  • identifiable chapters
  • headlines
  • spacious presentation
  • logical sequence of arguments
  • clear findings
  • simple language
  • correct grammar

105
Informal reports
  • It is often necessary, within a company, to put
    information on paper. It can be to update other
    members of staff , report back to a departmental
    head or other manager, explain situations, record
    information, etc.
  • The matters are usually fairly simple and do not
    justify carefully impersonal language,
    conventional headings, etc.
  • Such reports are usually done in a flexible
    format similar to that of a memorandum.

106
Structure of draft report
  • Terms of reference
  • Introduction
  • Procedures for investigation
  • Findings
  • Conclusions
  • Financial implications
  • Recommendations

107
Structure of an informal report
  • To From
  • Date
  • Subject
  • First paragraph terms of reference,
    introduction, background
  • Middle paragraph(s) information and findings
  • Final paragraph(s) conclusion and recommendation

108
Maintain high standard in informal reports
  • Logical
  • Neutral tone
  • Attractive layout
  • Clear language and sentences

109
Structure of final report
  • Title
  • Contents page
  • The main point
  • Executive summary
  • Terms of reference
  • Data gathering
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • Recommendation
  • List appendices
  • List references

110
Executive summary
  • a time-saving short paper
  • a way of focusing attention on the main
    information
  • an aid to remembering the paper
  • Make sure your summaries are as informative as
    possible. Often this is the only part that
    people read

111
Business Plan
  • Makes an idea measurable
  • Helps convey the concepts to stakeholders
  • Gives insight into all the aspects of the
    proposed project
  • Is an exercise to assess the viability of the
    idea
  • Helps the originators and stakeholders to
    familiarise themselves with potential problems
  • Provides a step by step approach towards reaching
    a decision
  • Becomes a working manual in the execution of the
    project
  • Provides the means to measure progress during
    implementation.

112
Structure of business plan
  • Executive summary
  • Introduction and background
  • Business outline
  • Data gathering
  • Operations
  • Financial
  • Risk/reward assessment

113
Interpret the numbers for your reader
  • Comparison the key to understanding
  • Present in table format
  • Consistency
  • Diagrams
  • Colours

114
Précis writing
  • Summarising a document to extract the maximum
    amount of information in the minimum number of
    words.
  • Reduces the report to approx one third of the
    original
  • Paraphrasing means expressing ideas from original
    document in your own words
  • Be careful not to lose or distort the original
    meaning.

115
Précis writing
  • Identify the reader and purpose of the précis
  • Read the original document
  • Underline the key ideas and concepts
  • Prepare a draft summary
  • Write the précis
  • Review and edit

116
Persuasive reports (1)
  • What will it take to persuade your audience to
    agree with you
  • What is the purpose of your persuasion?
  • What is the issue that needs an answer?
  • Distinguish between facts and opinion
  • Dont claim more than you can prove
  • Explore subject in sufficient depth

117
Persuasive reports (2)
  • Supply sufficient evidence from credible sources
  • Appeal to the feelings of your audience
  • Provide a logical organisation of your arguments
  • Apply logic to convince
  • Prevent fallacies in logic
  • Study arguments of accomplished writers

118
Meetings and Minutes
  • The two biggest problems in life are making ends
    meet and making meetings end
  • Business meetings are one way of demonstrating
    how many people the organisation can operate
    without
  • Business meetings are cul de sacs down which
    ideas are lured and then quietly strangled

119
Definition of a meeting
  • An assembly of persons, a coming together for a
    common lawful purpose of two or more persons.
  • Requirements for a gathering to be regarded as a
    lawful meeting are
  • at least two persons must be coming together
  • there is common purpose

120
Cycle of a meeting (1)
  • First draft of minutes one day after the
    meeting
  • Chairpersons approval two to three days after
    meeting
  • minutes dispatched five days after meeting
  • Routine administration
  • Deadline for agenda items around eight days
    before next meeting

121
Cycle of a meeting (2)
  • Draft agenda seven days before next meeting
  • Agenda dispatched one week before next meeting
  • Briefing one or two days before next meeting
  • The meeting

122
Notice of a meeting
  • If there is not adequate notice, the meeting is
    invalid
  • Every member is entitled to a personal notice of
    the meeting.
  • The notice of a meeting should include
  • day, date, time and venue
  • type of meeting and details
  • date of the notice and the name of the convenor
    of the meeting
  • Invite items for the agenda

123
Agenda (1)
  • Type of meeting, day, date time, venue
  • Welcome
  • Apologies
  • Declaration meeting duly constituted
  • Set the agenda
  • Adopt minutes of previous meeting
  • Matters arising
  • Matters outstanding from previous meeting

124
Agenda (2)
  • Reports
  • Specific agenda items
  • Any other business
  • Date of
  • next meeting
  • Closure

125
Note taking skills
  • Get the complete picture
  • Develop your ways in which you record your
    information.
  • Its not a "shopping list" of points with no
    apparent relationships between the ideas noted.
  • Summarise
  • Prepare beforehand
  • Ask questions

126
The steps in note taking
  • First Step PREPARATION
  • Use a large, loose-leaf notebook
  • Second Step - DURING THE MEETING
  • Dont record notes in paragraph form
  • Capture general ideas
  • Skip lines to show end of ideas or thoughts
  • Using abbreviations will save time
  • Write legibly

127
Top minute taking tips
  • Listen actively
  • Don't get behind start when new sentence/idea
    starts
  • Be open minded about points you disagree on
  • Ask questions if appropriate
  • Develop and use a standard method of note-taking
    including punctuation, abbreviations, margins,
    etc
  • Leave a few spaces blank so that you can fill in
    additional points later if necessary

128
Top minute taking tips
  • Your objective is to take helpful notes, not to
    save paper
  • Do not try to take down everything
  • Listen for cues as to important points
  • Speakers present a few major points and several
    minor points in a discussion.
  • Be alert to cues about what the speaker thinks is
    important

129
Top minute taking tips
  • Make your original notes legible
  • If a motion is complex it should be reduced to
    writing
  • Have two pens, the minutes of the previous
    meeting for amending/signing etc.
  • If you are tape recording, set it up
  • Sit in the correct chair sit at the right hand
    side of the chairperson.
  • REFUSE to sit in a corner

130
Top minute taking tips
  • Concentrate on the discussion ask yourself what
    is the main point that Person X is making?
  • Take GOOD, full notes
  • Take down all motions and resolutions verbatim
  • Assertiveness is a key skill when taking minutes.
  • Type up minutes ASAP after a meeting.
  • NEVER put them away for another day
  • Get help wherever possible

131
Top minute taking tips
  • Dont fuss over minutes. You are not writing a
    nations constitution.
  • Get them done and get them distributed quickly.
  • People like short, clear minutes which are easy
    to read and easy to work from.
  • Full but short sentences are best, and clear
    layout will make your minutes user friendly.
  • Like any business writing, minutes can only be
    judged against their objective.

132
Streamline your notes
  • Eliminate small connecting words such as is,
    are, was, were, a, an, the, would, this, of.
  •    
  • Eliminate pronouns such as they, these, his,
    that, them. However, be careful NOT to eliminate
    these three words and, in, on.

133
Streamline your notes
  • , for and, plus for equals - for
    minus for number x for times gt for
    greater than, more, larger lt for less than,
    smaller, fewer than w/ for with w/o for
    without w/in for within ----gt for leads to,
    produces, results in lt---- for comes from /
    for per

134
What are minutes?
  • Minutes may be defined as the official record of
    the proceedings and business transacted at a
    meeting.
  • They may be divided into two categories, namely
  •      minutes of narration
  •      minutes of resolutions

135
Minutes of narration examples
  • Nature of the meeting
  • Date, time and place at which it was held
  • How the meeting was constituted
  • Apologies for absence that have been received by
    the chairperson or the secretary
  • Names of persons attending ex officio
  • A statement that the chairperson declared the
    meeting duly constituted
  • A record of the approval of the minutes of the
    previous meeting, if indeed they were approved at
    the meeting

136
Minutes of resolution
  • Decisions it was resolved that
  • Record full details of contracts, matters of
    financial nature, appointments
  • Main terms of agreement must be stated
  • Attach copy of agreements to minutes
  • Record the exact intention of the meeting

137
Resolutions
  • Minutes are a record of resolutions
  • Resolutions are drafted by the secretary in
    consultation with the chairperson.
  • A well-formulated resolution is
  • concise and clear
  • single sentence
  • worded in the positive
  • If lengthy, broken down in components
  • Start with that

138
Proof-reading
  • Use your spell checker
  • Check grammar, tenses,
  • concord, punctuation, spelling
  • Check layout
  • Check for completion of revisions
  • and editing

139
Editing check for
  • The purpose
  • Information
  • Accuracy
  • Images
  • Format
  • Language
  • Presentation
  • Relevancy

140
Smarten the layout
  • Plenty of white space
  • The right fonts
  • Page numbering
  • Headers and footers
  • Right hand margin justification
  • Tables
  • Numbering

141
Report polishing check list
  • Objective
  • Structure
  • Language
  • Layout

142
Gunnings readability index p 48
  • Select 100 words
  • Count the number of sentences
  • Divide
  • Add number of words with
  • 3 and more syllables
  • Multiply by 0,4

143
Where to now? (1)
  • Implement immediately
  • Practise every day
  • Dont postpone
  • Write and edit all the time
  • Learn from others
  • Allow creativity and be flexible
  • Pass on what you know

144
Where to now? (2)
  • Review own writing
  • ask an expert
  • Attend more courses
  • Be a confident writer
  • Read, read, read!
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