EBC-NY

MESSAGE DESIGN
Whether you are preparing a written or an oral business message, to be effective you need to plan, organize, draft, revise, edit, and proofread. Essential also is thoughtful adherence to communication principles-the seven C qualities discussed in Chapter 2nd awareness of legal and ethical aspects. Even with the most advanced office technology, the need for careful preparation of either written or oral messages demands effort. Add to this rule the idea that companies are becoming more global and international, and the argument for thoughtful preparation receives even more emphasis. This chapter presents planning steps, basic organizational patterns, suggestions for openings and closings, and composing procedures. Letters, domestic and international, are the focus of the discussion and exercises. Later chapters include details about specific kinds of letters and memos and suggestions for preparing proposals and reports. FIVE PLANNING STEPS To communicate effectively, consider the following steps before you write your message:      Identify your purpose. Analyze your audience. Choose your ideas. Collect data to support your idea, Organize your message.

Identify Your Purpose Your first step when planning your communication is to determine your specific purpose. Is your message mainly informational, such as announcing your firm’s new location? Is it mainly persuasive, such as asking customers to buy your product? Are you trying to negotiate a contract with a parts supplier in South America? Or must you explain why you are not granting a customers request for credit?

If you are writing an unsolicited or a complex message. Take care even with the salutation of the letter.  . the following ideas should be included: Thank the reader for the letter asking about rates. But if you limited your response to this list. with interest or disinterest. Creating goodwill is especially important when communicating with foreign companies. needs. Choose Your Ideas With your purpose and receiver in mind. an underlying "relational” purpose-to create goodwill. however. If you are sending a message to one person. in a credit refusal letter.and out-of-season prices. consider your message and decide whether your readers or listeners are informed or uninformed on the subject and whether they will react positively or negatively.If you are answering a letter. you would miss an opportunity to sell the other services you have to offer. underline the main points to discuss and jot your ideas in the margin. Finally. young. new or longtime customer. you realize how important it is to adapt your messages to your receivers" views. mental filters. and culture. the next step is to choose the ideas for your message . you might send a brief list of in. begin by listing ideas as they come to you—brainstorming— and then choosing the best ideas for your receiver. colleague. when communicating for the first time with a foreign company or government. you can actually visualize individuals. Take time to become knowledgeable about the basic communication principles of the country to which you are writing.  Mention the services the hotel provides. will be directed to people you have never met. in a response from a large resort hotel to a person who has asked about rates. Analyze Your Audience After reading about the communication process and principles in both national and international contexts in Chapter 3. Additionally. or subordinate. and probable values (often culture-specific). middle-aged. try to see that person as a member of a group. In this kind of response. or elderly. woman or man-. superior. you cannot be too cautious. The ideas you include depend on the type of message you are sending and the background and location of your receiver (national or international)) For example. attitudes. For example. including the governments of those companies. If you are acquainted with your readers or listeners. paying attention to the proper placement of first and last names and correct titles. such as business or professional person or laborer. Much of your writing.All messages have. Courtesy and patience in waiting for a response are especially necessary-. Consider also the person's educational level. your purpose is twofold: to refuse the request while encouraging the customer's continued business.

All these plans are flexible guides only. the last two plans use the indirect approach. figures. good-news. Disorganized. which begins with the main idea. different approaches are necessary for different cultures. outline your message (mentally or on paper).  List the rates. and unimportant. The first two plans use the direct approach. taking into consideration your audiences views. For letters and memos. or persuasive-request plan. conventions (social Behavior). . dates. addresses. Be sure you know your company policies. you may need to enclose a brochure. and Asian countries. not rigid rules. bad-news. Organize Your Message Before you write your first draft. picture.  You might also include a brochure of your hotel along with small brochures of popular sights in your area. you can choose one of four basic organizational plans: the direct-request. middle eastern. Always check your data on names of individuals. Choose your organizational plan after you have worked through your initial planning steps. and what his or her cultural conventions are. procedures. you must determine whether you need specific facts. rambling messages often seem careless. Collect Your Data After you have decided what ideas to include. However.Include information regarding the place where the hotel is located. businesspeople. or other forms of evidence to support your points. how much this person knows about the topic or situation. The order in which you present your ideas is as important as the ideas themselves.  Describe the facilities. knowledge. quotations. and statistics. or product sample. confusing. and culture. table. the indirect plan is often more effective in South American. While the direct style is often preferred by U. and product details if your message requires them. Sometimes. Your own judgment must help you decide the best organization and content of your message. which states the main idea later. BASIC ORGANIZATIONAL PLANS Your choice of organizational plan depends on a number of factors: how you expect your reader or listener to react to your message.S. Europeans most often prefer the direct approach.

then give an explanation before you introduce your idea. and exchange routine information within or between companies. The bad-news message is one of the most difficult to prepare because your reader may react negatively. Many bad-news and persuasive-request plans use the indirect approach. After the opening. Likewise. generally you should not present the main idea in the first paragraph." or the initial remarks to an audience. such as in a bad-news message or a persuasive request. or discards It. use the good-news plan to grant requests. This pleasant and neutral opening is called the "Porch. friendly closing. This advice also applies to paragraphs. some cultural communication conventions require an indirect approach. puts the message aside. Goodwill and reader benefits are essential to these messages.Direct (Deductive) Approach Use the direct approach -When you think your reader or listener will have a favorable or neutral reaction or when the audience is receptive to your message. or receiverbenefit statement. Indirect (Inductive) Approach When you expect resistance to your message. choose the indirect approach. BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS Two of the most important positions in any business message are the opening and closing paragraphs. Opening Paragraphs The opening of a message determines whether the reader continues reading." Whenever possible. place the main favorable ideas at the beginning and ending of a message. Instead consider beginning with a buffer—a relevant pleasant. The direct-request and good-news plans have three basic parts. You have probably heard the old sayings "First impressions are lasting" and "We remember best what we read last. neutral. or discards it. Even in good-news and neutral messages. puts the message aside for later. If you think your readers or listeners might react negatively to your message. in the persuasive request you may face resistance. announce favorable or neutral information. Often the opening of a written message determines whether the reader continues reading. You begin with the main idea or best news to your message. you include all necessary explanatory details in one or several paragraphs and end with an appropriate. Checklist . Use the direct-request plan when the main purpose of your message is to make a request that requires less persuasion.

on May 1. The purpose of this seminar is to explain the new national environmental laws affecting international business. Begin with the main idea or good-news subject when you are sure the reader will consider the information favorable or neutral. It is also easier for the reader to understand the main idea if it is in the first paragraph. Choose Openings Appropriate for Message Purpose and Reader Main Idea or Good-News Subject First. please return to us the following: Good news: Enclosed is a cash refund for the defective wristwatch that you sent to us recently. can be transferred to your account as you have requested. why) As a representative of [Global Business Association]. Examples Request: So that your funds. When you have bad news for the reader. These openings are desirable in direct-request.6. rue de Sevres. what. you are invited to attend a free seminar on Negotiating Environmental Issues in the International Marketplace to be held in the Richelieu ballroom.3 and the following examples offer suggestions for good openings that help make favorable impressions: 1. neutral. when. Announcement: (who. • NOTE: Advertising writing seeks to get reader attention immediately. which have matured. and good-news messages. begin with a buffer—a statement that you can agree on which sets a neutral tone. Opera Hotel. Paris. such writing often breaks the rules of proper grammar. A message with out Buffer Poor: rejected Your application to the Executive due to the following Skills Program has been . where. Buffer First.

Three bolts of Thai silk. We remedy that. As in all the paragraphs. use conversational in clear and concise sentences.five type written lines or less.) 2. as in the following opening: Did you know that up to half of all the lower back pain is caused by sleeping on a too-soft mattress? In addition. Concise. Here you have the opportunity to bring final focus on the desired action and . begin with relevant statements that will induce the recipient to read further. and focus on the positive aspects of your message. Emphasize the reader. clear. catch attention of the reader first and then worry about the precision of the language. Use courteous language. Keep the first paragraph relatively short. Check for Completeness Avoid opening with an incomplete sentence like: Poor: Good: As per your recent letter. which you ordered on July 7. and avoid anything that might anger the reader. (When it comes to marketing statement. Our company has developed a new mattress and foundation that provides the kind of support your back needs. Courteous. were shipped to you today by DHL. Clear Immediately get your reader into the opening thought whether your message is good or bad news. we have shipped your order today by Federal Express.A new program is already being planned and we will send you information as soon as it's availableAttention-Getting statement First. back pain due to other causes can be made worse by sleeping on a poor mattress. and polite. Closing Paragraphs Your closing is more likely to motivate the reader to act as requested if it is appropriately strong. When you write a persuasive request (sales letter). Make the Opening Considerate.A message with Buffer Good: Because of the large number pf applications we received for our [name] Executive Skills Program-. we have had to turn away many personsLie obviously underestimated the interest in our current subject. 3. a direct or a persuasive request.

What you say in the closing should reinforce the central purpose of your message. Courteous Thought Include Any Apologies and Negatives Before Last Paragraph. anytime between 9 A. why. special inducement to act by a specified time. where. Do you have a free parking lot? Where? When and Why? Dated action. What and Who? Clear statement of the action you desire your reader (or someone else) to take. . November 16.  State your office hours and location if you want the reader to come to you in person. who. notice how the vague action request is improved by interesting some or all of the W’s and H: Vague: I look forward to hearing from you regarding this matter Better: So that we can make appropriate arrangements for your visit. When appropriate. Make Action Request Clear and Complete with Five W’s and H Whenever you are requesting action by your reader or by someone else. End on a Positive. before Friday. how.  Enclose a form (card. In the following.M and 5 P. 2. mention some benefits the reader will gain by prompt action. please call me at 555-4567. order. Should the reader phone your office for an appointment? Sign a card or a document? Return it? If so. or questionnaire) and an addressed reply envelope (perhaps with postage paid) if you want the reader to furnish something. blank. your closing paragraph will usually he more effective if you make clear what. Tactfully state the reason you need it then.M.  Include your phone number am] extension if you want (he reader to phone you. and if appropriate. when. to whom? Come to your office in person? Send you certain information or payment? How and Where? Easy action. if pertinent) whenever you need the reply by a certain time . 1.leave a sense of goodwill with the reader.perhaps to meet a report on printer’s deadline or to use in a speech you are giving at a certain meeting.  Give complete instructions regarding how and where if you do not include a form and envelope. Name the date (and the exact hour. example.

Occasionally Add a Personal Note. When unrelated to the subject discussed in the message. please call (222) 555-4567 Monday to Friday between 9 A.M. Poor: Show Appreciation. often handwritten.Negative: I’ m sorry we can’t be more encouraging at this time. Positive: we wish you success in your search for a position. Poor: Again. . Be Friendly. Avoid common expressions and unnecessary repetition.Then you can soon begin to enjoy the comfort at. Keep Last Paragraph Concise and Correct Trim your last paragraph to five or fewer lines of complete sentences. I enjoyed meeting them during the October conference-(But should be based on real ground. Give my regards to your lovely family. I remain … Better: Please fill out this form and return it in the enclosed envelope by [date] .Everyone likes sincere praise when earned. Enclosed you will find a selfaddressed stamped envelope-Hoping to hear from you soon about your preference. like if you have really met them) 3. Offer to help the reader further..M and 5. Send us your check today.P.. But do not thank people for doing something before they have agreed to do it. . Avoid: Thank you in advance for distributing these questionnaires to your employeesSay: I will appreciate your distributing these questionnaires to your employees. a personal note is appropriate. Good: If there is any further way we can assist you -. sometimes added as a last paragraph. if that is appropriate. Words like please and will you help soften commands. we hank you for your inquiry.

Roosevelt's speeches often went to 18 drafts. spelling. examining sentences for sound structure. Tolstoy revised War and Peace 5 times. and organization. considerate. you are ready for your first draft.COMPOSING THE MESSAGE Drafting Your Message Your first draft is often the most difficult to write. following their mental or written outline and moving from one point to the next. The next step is to polish the document. Some people write first drafts in a linear style. Revising Your Message Revision means adding necessary and deleting unnecessary information. Editing and Proofreading Your Message Editing your message involves checking all paragraphs for good topic sentences. Sometimes you will proofread your document several times to be sure that you . James Mitchener feels that his strength is in rewriting. concrete. the important thing is to get on paper (or cassette recorder or word processor) the information you want included in your message. When you have completed the five planning steps and considered your openings and closings. and punctuation. Others use a more circular style. Regardless of your style. putting their ideas down with a less fixed progression of points. courteous and correct?  Have you used variety in sentence structure? 'The best writers confirm again and again that revision is the key to good writing. James Thurber rewrote his stories as many as 15 times. you must evaluate its content. organization. clear. When you have edited your message and found it to be effective. The important thing is to get the most important information in your message on paper early. The next two steps in writing. Franklin D. concise. After you finish the first draft of a message. and watching language for correct grammar. The following are suggestions for revising:  Does your message accomplish its purpose?  Have yon chosen the most effective organizational plan?  Are your points supported by adequate material?  Is your language complete. Some of the world’s best writers believe that their strength lies in revising and editing. you are ready for final proofreading. No two people prepare their first drafts the same way. data. and style.

Even minor mistakes.have not missed any errors. such as typographical errors. Effort by. IM| Naveed Yousafzai Freelance Faculty Member . can reduce the effectiveness of your message and undermine your credibility.

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