Chapter 5 Creating Effective Business Messages

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Writing effective business messages involves:
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examining, developing, and refining business ideas in a way that provides business value to your audience.
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Process of developing business messages is fairly straightforward and involves 3 things:
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plan, draft, and review These stages are not necessarily linear and often overlap one another.
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Planning
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“Get the content right” Understand the needs of the audience. Generate the best of ideas to address a business issue. Identify the primary message and key points.
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Drafting
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“Get the delivery right” Set a positive and other-oriented tone. Make the message easy to read. Make the message easy to navigate.
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Reviewing
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“Double-check everything” Ensure the communication is fair. Consider whether your message is effective. Remove any distractions.
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Poor writers spend too much time ____
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Drafting (and don’t review)
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Average writers spend too much time
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Drafting (and review a little)
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Excellent writers spend their time
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mostly on planning, and equal parts drafting and reviewing
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When crafting business messages maintain a ____-____ approach.
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listener-centered
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In listener-centered approach seek as much input as reasonably possible from:
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colleagues, clients, and customers. Ask them their opinions, preferences, and areas of expertise. (to find out what they really want and expect)
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The most important stage of creating effective business messages is
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planning
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AIM planning process
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Audience analysis Idea development Message structuring
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Audience analysis
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finding the audience’s needs, priorities, and values.
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Effective business communicators regularly take the following actions to tailor their messages to others:
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identify reader benefits and constraints, consider reader values and priorities, estimate personal credibility, anticipate reactions, and consider secondary audiences.
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Identifying reader benefits and constraints is the most important
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planning step
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Values
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refer to enduring beliefs and ideals that individuals hold.
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Priorities
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involve ranking or assigning importance to things, such as projects, goals, and tasks. (tend to shift more often than values).
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Changing your reputation will likely take
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6 months. To break out of a reputation as an inexperienced newcomer.
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Anticipating reactions
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envision how others will respond to your message. How will the readers think, feel, and act as they read it.
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Keeping secondary audiences in mind
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You should anticipate that individuals other than your primary recipient will view your messages.
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Idea development
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developing sound ideas that meet those needs
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Developing great business ideas involves
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sorting out the business issues and objectives, collecting as many relevant facts as possible, and making sound judgements about what the facts mean and imply.
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Excellent business thinkers possess a number of characteristics (5 characteristics).
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1) They clearly and precisely identify and articulate key questions and problems. 2) They gather information from a variety of sources. 3) They make well-reasoned conclusions and solutions. 4) They remain open to alternatives to approaching and reasoning about the business problem – that is they are mentally flexible. They can hold opposing views, avoid either/or thinking, avoid one-way linear thinking, and are open to nonconventional solutions. 5) They are skilled at communicating with others to figure out and solve complex problems.
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Methods of idea development
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write notes, draw diagrams, brainstorm with colleagues, write ideas in outline form, and examine the ideas in their minds.
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Identifying the business problem(s)
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to remain competitive and profitable, businesses need to constantly identify and overcome problems. First step in problem solving is identifying business problems, which involves understanding an organization’s business objectives and related challenges. (Involves asking many questions from a lot of angles)
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Analyzing the business problem(s) involves:
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uncovering relevant facts, making conclusions, and taking positions.
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Facts
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are statements that can be relied on with a fair amount of certainty (most things are not absolutely certain in the business world) and can be observed objectively.
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Conclusions
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are statements that are reasoned or deduced based on facts.
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Positions
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are stances that you take based on a set of conclusions.
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Clarifying Objectives
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As you develop the ideas for your message, also clearly identify your goals. “Now that I understand the problem, what exactly do I want to accomplish?”
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Message structuring
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structuring your message
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Message structuring includes:
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identifying and framing the primary message and setting up the logic with supporting points and a call to action.
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Framing the primary message. What are the 2 questions you should ask?
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1) What is the primary message? 2) What simple, vivid statement (15 words or fewer) captures the essence of your message?
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Setting up the logic of your message. What are the 3 questions you should ask?
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1) What are your supporting points? 2) What do you want to explicitly ask your readers to do (call to action)? 3) How will you order the logic of your message?
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Framing the primary message involves:
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showcasing a message from an overarching theme. It focuses a reader or listener on a certain key idea or argument and highlights the premises and support for this key idea or argument.
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Your job in framing the primary message is
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to help your reader see the issue from a strategic perspective.
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Regarding your frame, ask questions such as the following:
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Will readers remember my primary message two hours from now? What about in two days or two weeks? Will this frame make readers more likely to support my call to action?
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Setting up the message framework: Direct or deductive approach
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They begin by stating the primary message, which is typically a position or recommendation. Then they lay out the supporting reasons
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Most business messages conclude with
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a call to action, in many cases it is a more detailed and elaborate version of the initial position or recommendation.
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A reader could get the gist of your message – the primary message, rationale, and call to action – simply by
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reading the opening paragraph, the first sentence of each supporting paragraph, and the final paragraph.
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For messages delivering bad news you may adopt a more ____ or ____ approach
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indirect or inductive
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The indirect or inductive approach will provide
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supporting reasons first followed by the primary message.
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Choose your language and reasoning carefully, avoid
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faulty cause/effect claims
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Setting the tone of the message. Tone:
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is the overall evaluation the reader perceives the writer to have toward the reader and the message content. Readers will judge your message based on how positive and concerned they think you are.
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A positive attitude in the work place improves
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work performance, allows more creativity, provides more motivation to excel, facilitates more helpfulness between co-workers, and gains more influence on clients and customers.
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Display a Can-Do, confident attitude
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focus on actions you can accomplish, and demonstrate a realistic optimism. Be careful not to exaggerate or set unrealistic expectations
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Focus on positive rather than negative traits of products and services
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emphasize what products and services are rather than what they are not.
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Use an inviting tone that implies your interest in your readers’ opinions, feeling, needs, and wants. Avoid
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any sense of self-centeredness.
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Give credit where ….
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Credit is due
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Meta messages
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are the overall but often underlying messages people take away form a communication or group of communications. They are encoded and decoded as a combination of content, tone, and other signals.
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Mixed signals occur when
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the content of messages conflicts with the tone, nonverbal communication, or other signals. Not only is it confusing, but can frequently result in negative meta messages.
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The following steps are used in creating solid business ideas:
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Making sense out of often complex and confusing pieces of information. Determining the business issues and objectives. Gathering relevant information and facts.
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Which of the following are characteristics held by outstanding business thinkers?
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They have the ability to state important questions. They can solve complex problems.
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Setting up the logic of the message consists of
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identifying the call to action, and identifying supporting points in the message
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The primary business message should be which of the following?
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memorable and short
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When writing a business message with an indirect approach, which of the following are presented first?
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Supporting reasons
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Templates are used to create a business message for which of the following reasons?
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to organize its appearance, and to define its structure
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Which of the following are helpful ways of organizing the logic of a business message?
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sketching out the logic and diagramming the logic
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In business messages, a can-do attitude has which of the following qualities?
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enthusiasm, optimism, and confidence
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In a business message, ____ words emphasize positive, harmonious relationships and positions.
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Constructive
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Which of the following accurately describe a meta message of a business communication?
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It is the overall message conveyed by the communication, and it is conveyed as a combination of content and tone.
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Which of the following are a part of developing the structure of a business message?
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arranging the logic of the primary message, and finding and framing the primary message.
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Using a method of organization to form the logic of a business message typically leads to which two of the following?
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Thinking about the issues becomes tighter, and issues can be written about more effectively.
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Understanding the constraints of the audience of a business message means that the message should be crafted to
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Fit the resources available to the audience. Provide value to the audience.
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When wanting to change your reputation as a newcomer you should consider the following options:
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1) Set up a time to talk with your boss. Explain your growth in various areas and ask for his/her ideas about improving your professional reputation. 2) Ask your boss if you can take on any higher-responsibility projects. 3) Make sure you fit in with the corporate culture in terms of professional dress and communication style. 4) Attend a lot of meetings to get to know as many colleagues as possible. Participate appropriately. 5) Create a professional blog about a niche area.

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