Chapter 5: Organizing and Writing Business Messages

Types of Formal Research
-Accessing information electronically on the internet and in databases
-Searching manually in books, articles, and other secondary sources
-investigating primary sources, such as interviews and surveys
-experimenting scientifically with control groups

Types of Informal Research Methods and Idea Generation
-Looking in the company files
-Talking with your boss
-Interviewing the target audience
-Conducting an informal survey
-brainstorming for ideas
-developing a cluster diagram

Tipes for organizing in a cluster diagram
-analyze ideas generated in the original cluster diagram
-cross out ideas that are obviously irrelevant; simplify and clarify
– add new ideas that seem appropriate
-study the ideas for similarities
-Group similar ideas into classifications
-Prepare an outline if the organization seems clear
-make sub cluster circles around each classification for further visualization

Methods for Organizing Ideas

Tips for Making Outlines
-Define the main topic (purpose of message) in the title
-Divide the main topic into major components or classifications (preferably three to five; if necessary, combine small components into one larger category
-Break each major component into sub points
-Avoid putting a single item under a major component; if you have only one sub point, integrate it with the main item above it or reorganize
-Try to make each component exclusive
-Use details, illustrations, and evidence to support subpoints

Methods for Groups Ideas into Patterns
-The direct pattern for receptive audiences
-The indirect pattern for unreceptive audiences

Creating Effective Sentences
-Recognize phrases and clauses
**Clauses have subjects and verbs; phrases do not.
**Independent clauses are complete; dependent clauses are not
**Phrases and dependent clauses cannot function as sentences
-Avoid run-ons (a sentence with two independent clauses- without coordinating conjunction or a semicolon)
-Avoid comma splice (joining two independent clauses without using a coordinating conjunction)
-Use short sentences (comprehension rates listed below)
**8 word (100% comprehension rate)
**15 words (90% comprehension rate)
**19 words (80% comprehension rate)
** 28 words (50% comprehension rate)
-Emphasize the most important ideas by using vivid words
-Emphasize the main idea by labeling it
-Emphasize the most important idea by placing it first or last in a sentence
-Emphasize the most important idea by placing it in a simple sentence or in an independent clause
-Emphasize the most important idea by making sure it is the subject of the sentence
-Use active-voice verbs for most sentences
-Use passive-voice verbs to deemphasize the performer or to be tactful

Use Active Voice for Directness, Vigor, and Clarity
Direct and Clear in Active Voice
**The manager completed reviews for all employees
-Indirect and less clear in passive voice
**Performance reviews were completed for all employees by the manager

Use passive voice to be tactful
-Less tactful or effective in active voice
**We cannot grant you credit
-More tactful or effective in passive voice
**Credit cannot be granted

Creating effective sentences
-Avoid misplaced modifier by keeping phrases close to the words they describe
**Not: An autopsy revealed the cause of death to be strangulation by the coroner
**Do: An autopsy by the coroner revealed the cause of death to be strangulation
-Avoid dangling modifiers (a word of phrase that modifies a word not clearly stated in the sentence)
**Not: Walking down the street, our sign is easy to see
**Do: Walking down the sweet, people can easily see our sign

Drafting effective paragraphs
-To create effective paragraphs, discuss only one topic in a paragraph
-Arrange paragraphs in one of these plans
**Direct plan: main sentence followed by supporting sentences (best for defining, classifying, illustrating, and describing ideas)
**Pivoting Plan: Limiting sentences, main sentence, supporting sentences (for comparing and contrasting)
**Indirect Plan: Supporting Sentences, main sentence (good for describing causes followed by effects)
-To build coherence, link ideas with one of these devices
**Sustain the key: repeat a key expression or use a similar one throughout a paragraph
**Dovetail sentences: Connect the beginning of each new sentence with a word from the end of the previous sentence
**Use a pronoun: Use a pronoun in one sentence to refer to a noun in the previous sentence
-Compose short paragraphs (eight or fewer lines)

Techniques for building coherence
-Sustain the key idea by repeat or rephrasing it
-Dovetail sentences by connecting the beginning of each new sentence with a word from the end of the previous sentence
-Use a pronoun in one sentence to link to its antecedent
-Use transitional expressions

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