Effective Business Writing - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Effective Business Writing


5. Yep, you're right. USING ALL CAPTIALS ISN'T TOO BRIGHT. or 600 of these!Wandering all over the place with ... Don't ramble on, I got work to do, respect it. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Effective Business Writing

Effective Business Writing December 5,
2007 Calgary City Hall Tom McLaughlin b-admin,
mct, mcse, mcsa, mcp, a, n, s tom_at_tomax7.com
  • Overview
  • Writing an email
  • Internal Announcements
  • Responding Positively and Negatively
  • Business letters
  • Persuasion and Summary
  • Breaks/Lunch

Email things that annoy me
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Yep, youre right
  • or 600 of these!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Wandering all over the place with run-on
    sentences really doesnt keep my attention or get
    any action but after trying to figure what you
    were saying in three hours what most would have
    done in five words, so I gave up, but then again
    I am being paid by the hour so talk on because I
    can listen you drone on and

Basic Rules
  • Rule 1 You dont know or have control where
    your email will end up, so be careful.
  • Rule 2 What goes around, comes around, so
    treat others as you would like to be treated.
  • Rule 3 I like fat on my steak not in my IM or
    email, so cut to the chase please.

Some pointers
  • Dont ramble on, I got work to do, respect it.
  • Tone in email, is it authoritative, passive, or
  • Use we when trying to encourage participation
    from others in the team.
  • Avoid technical jargon for non-tecky users.

Organize Your Thoughts
  • Time-Sequenced chronological.
  • Compare and Contrast nothing new under the
  • Cause and Effect back to the future.
  • Problem Solution divide and conquer.
  • Blueprint follow the leader.

More Thoughts
  • Know your target audience demographic,
    department, pecking order and terms.
  • Offer a solution - if needed.
  • Criticism, while good, should be left for the
  • Always, always, end politely! Read no mush.

Where does it go?
  • Who receives it directly, CC or BCC.
  • Corporate Culture.
  • Class, Ethnicity and Gender.
  • Their level of comprehension.
  • Dont Patronize.
  • And remember your message doesnt END with SEND!
  • (with apologies to the rap song Dont copy that

  • Problem-solution data/conclusion/proposal
  • Journalistic approach who/what/whereW5
  • Question-Answer Devils advocate
  • Storytelling put ideas into a coherent stream
  • Page 69.

ACTIVITY 1 Group 10 mins
  • Organize Your Thoughts
  • You need to procure a new Windows or Linux Server
    for the XYZ department.
  • Management is on a tight budget and needs to be
    made aware Server1 is going to crash soon.
  • Using a certain OS would save money or be hard to

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Voices in my head
  • Active Voice Less formal and easier to determine
    whos doing what.
  • You did not fill out the correct forms, so we
    denied your request.
  • Passive Voice Indicates action is taken while
    avoiding any mention who performed it
  • After careful consideration, your request for a
    new server has been denied.

Open Ended Questions
  • Ask a question and let the reader give you their
  • How may/can I help you?
  • Where have you looked already?
  • What aspect are you looking for?
  • What kind of information are you looking for?

Closed Ended Questions
  • Closed ended questions are questions, which can
    be answered by either a yes or a no.
  • Can I help you?
  • Can you describe the kind of information?
  • Is there any other information you need?
  • Does this answer your question?

Instant Messaging
  • Blackberry, Palm Pilot, Yahoo and MSN Chat.
  • Verify IM/BB is the appropriate medium.
  • Follow the rules for IM etiquette.
  • Be brief and use one screen at a time.
  • Set device to busy after a certain time.
  • End a conversation courteously.

Internal Announcements
  • Much business writing and announcements is
    designed for an internal audience.
  • Open with the main idea,
  • Provide any details necessary to convince,
  • Limit yourself to one idea at a time,
  • Cut to the chase of course
  • What kind of tone?
  • End Nicely.

ACTIVITY 2 Group 10 mins
  • Writing an Internal announcement
  • You team is developing a system for client
    support. You need to find out if users would
    become more efficient or rebel against the
    thought of change.
  • How would you test the system
  • How would you announce the change?
  • How would you reassure your co-workers?

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ACTIVITY 3 alone 10 mins
  • Writing an Internal Announcement
  • You have to write a memo describing a new
    procedure in how users register their support
  • How would you justify the need for a new policy?
  • What concessions or incentives could be made?

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Responding to Emails
  • Responsive information must be clear, precise,
    and usable.
  • Employ a direct and positive approach.
  • Clarify the situation/request made.
  • Maintain Goodwill.
  • Double check your accuracy.
  • End Courteously and Professionally.

Request for Information
  • There are times you need more information from a
    team member, management, or outside source.
  • Start with your purpose for the request,
  • List items that need attention, least to most
  • Finish with a closed ended sentence.

  • Goodwill is an asset that is based on trust and
  • In business, good customer service is a hallmark
    of goodwill.
  • Remember in business it is always easier to keep
    a client than to find a new one.

Positive Responses to Complaints
  • It only takes a spark to get a fire going
  • Diffuse the situation quickly wildfires
  • Look over the facts of the case and not emotions.
  • Assume the writer has a legitimate beef.
  • Look for a common solution or ground.

Who dunnit?
  • If it is you, then honour the claim.
  • If it is them, then decide best restoration.
  • If a third party, honour the claim but ensure you
    can recover from the third party.
  • There is a reason they are complaining to you.

Bad News Bears
  • Bad News is always the hardest to break.
  • Passive Voice avoid the naming game
  • Common-Ground general principles adhere to
  • Praise Buffer deflecting anger away
  • Cooperative Buffer steps taken to resolve
  • Good-News Buffer emphasis positive

What NOT to do
  • When writing in response, avoid doing anything
    that can damage you or your departments
  • Honesty goes a long way.
  • Diplomacy goes a long way too.
  • Avoid overstating, promising to never to happen
    again, or financial restoration.

Steps in Answering
  1. Determine the nature of the complaint.
  2. Determine which buffer would work.
  3. Move from the buffer to the bad news.
  4. Explain why it was decided without blame.
  5. Do not apologize but acknowledge the situation.
  6. Be courteous but do not patronize.

Activity 4
  • You have a new camera installed in the Staff
    Lunch Room and caught someone in an embarrassing
    situation one evening. The person demanded the
    tape, financial payment, and a public apology for
    the incident.
  • Of course it wasnt your fault.
  • Review Page 44/45 and do 2 pg 46

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Business Letters
  • Writing Business Letters require are more higher
    degree of formality and punctuality.
  • There are three forms
  • Block date and signature
  • Modified Block indentation, less rigid
  • Simplified Format no salutation

How to Write
  • Is there a guideline/policy for FONT?
  • Company Letter Head?
  • Avoid personal references.
  • WIFM not done here.
  • Avoid flowery language.
  • Diplomacy.

Thank You letter
  • A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.
  • People like to be appreciated.
  • Casual tones are used, but still professional
  • Confident but not arrogant
  • Do within 2 days of event.

Business Proposals
  • Business proposals is a presentation of arguments
    and facts in order to persuade others.
  • Avoid active voice if possible.
  • People listen to reason faster than debate.
  • If controversial, start indirectly with common
    ground method.

Persuasive Proposals
  • First put all the ideas down, no matter.
  • Brainstorm and eliminate wild ones.
  • Use time-sequenced or other lines (slide7)
  • Know the amount of resistance.
  • Depending on proposal, start small or big.
  • Use valid points
  • Use inclusive language we.

  • Brainstorm how you will convince and convey that
    your client system will do better than the one in
  • Dump all the ideas down.
  • Pick the best three.
  • Put them in order.

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Executive Summary
  • Because Business Reports can be long and complex,
    they require a way to sum up, or present in a
    snap-shot your proposal.
  • Start with the reason for the report.
  • Describe your vision/plan.
  • End with positive note what the report will
  • Pg75

  • Usually limited to one paragraph.
  • Informative Outlines the main points
  • Descriptive General description, no detail
  • Pg 76

Guidelines for Exec Summary
  • Outline Format.
  • Gauge the length by length of report.
  • Describe in short sentences.
  • Do not use examples here.
  • Avoid bullets unless backing up with topic.
  • End on a strong note.

  • Pictures are literally worth a 1000 words.
  • Nothing beats a picture.
  • Avoid clutter
  • Graphs speak more than words sometimes.
  • Bar charts are better than Pies for growth.
  • Pies are better for budgets.

Network Usage
You guide my eyes
  • Thank you!
  • Tom McLaughlin
  • tom_at_tomax7.com

Some Acronyms
  • BDU - Brain Dead User.
  • ID10T and EEBCAK
  • PICNIK - Problem in Chair, not in Keyboard
  • IBM - I Blame Microsoft...Idiots Become Managers.
  • ESO - Equipment Superior to Operator
  • SMS Error Sunspots, Martians, or Snow
  • NOTOS Never overlook the obvivous
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