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Master of Business Administration Semester I MB0039 Business Communication - 4 Credits (Book ID: B1128) Assignment Set- 1 (60 Marks)

) Note: Each Question carries 10 marks. Answer all the questions. Q1.List the importance of effective communication in the workplace Q2. Explain the different aspects of non-verbal communication Q3. Write short notes on (a) Upward communication (b) Downward communication (c) Horizontal communication Q4.Explain the different barriers to listening .List the differences between discriminative listening and comprehension listening Q5.Discuss the principles of business writing Q6. Explain the advantages of oral communication with the help of suitable example.

Ans.1 Communication is the nerve center of business today. As you go up the


corporate ladder, you will find that communication skills are required, more than technical skills. Communication research has revealed that among the factors most important for managerial success, communication skills rank above technical skills. Several surveys conducted among people who have been successful in their professions have indicated that communication skills are more vital to job success than subjects taken in college. Communication has assumed eve greater importance today, since the new model of business is based on teamwork, rather than on individual action. Teamwork requires greater coordination & communication. Communication is also required all the more in this age of information & technology. Without communication & human skills, technology will overwhelm an organization. Communication helps to make sense of technology & to manage all this information.

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SERVES THE FOLLOWING SPECIFIC PURPOSES IN AN ORGANIZATION 1. GREATER AWARENESS OF ORGANIZATIONAL GOALS & TEAMWORK: When there is open communication between superiors, co-workers & subordinates, there is smooth flow of information regarding the goals of the organization. Coordination between the different departments in particular, leads to greater motivation to work together towards achieving a common organizational goal, rather than working in isolation. 2. BETTER EMPLOYER-EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIPS: By listening to employees, showing empathy & giving them the freedom to express their opinions without fear of being repressed, manager can create a climate of openness that leads to better relationships. Employees will then feel more comfortable in approaching their superiors & discussing any matter with them. 3. PROBLEM SOLVING: Effective communication can help resolve conflicts between co-workers, work related & performance related problems. Face-to-face communication is especially suited for achieving this task, since it is one to one & highly personalized in nature. 4. IMPROVED PERFORMANCE : Effective communication by managers at the time of appraising the performance of their employees can point out areas for improvement. A constructive review of performance, through which a manager

gives positive feedback & counsels the employee, instead of criticizing him for poor performance, can motivate the employee to perform better. 5. STRONGER LINK BETWEEN MANAGERS & THE EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT : Apart from internal communication within the organization, effective communication by managers with external audiences such as customers, government, bankers, media & suppliers leads to a better rapport with them. A manager will be able to understand the needs of his customers, be aware of the presence of quality suppliers of material, of government regulations & of the expectations of the community at large, only through proper communication.

Ans.2

ASPECTS OF NON VERBAL COMMUNICATION

1. KINESICS : This is the most often studied & important area of non verbal communication & refers to body movements of any kind. Different body movements can express inner states of emotions. FACIAL EXPRESSIONS can convey feelings of surprise, happiness, anger & sadness. EYE MOVEMENTS such as wide open pupils express feelings of surprise, excitement or even fear. Direct eye contact is an indication of intensity & interest, while lack of it can convey feelings of nervousness & guilt. GESTURES such as movements of the hands while giving a lecture or presentation indicates a high level of involvement in what you are saying. On the other hand, shuffling of the feet is a sign of nervousness & speaking with ones hands in ones pockets is considered to be casual or even rude. HEAD MOVEMENTS like nodding the head can convey interest, appreciation, agreement or understanding. BODY SHAPE is not within ones control but can be stereotyped to convey certain meanings. POSTURE is within our control. In formal settings such as job interviews or classroom settings, it is essential that you maintain an erect posture to convey that you are attentive, since slouching or a relaxed posture conveys a casual attitude. PHYSICAL APPEARANCE including the way we dress & jewelry & make-up that we wear can convey an impression of formality or informality.

2. PROXEMICS : Proxemics is derived from the word proximity or closeness & is the communication term for personal space & distance. The space & distance which we choose to keep from people is also part of non verbal communication. Each of us has our own inner & outer circles, which differ for different people. Our inner most circle is an intimate space, into which we generally admit only select people such as family & close friends. Next comes a personal space which might include other friends & colleagues or coworkers. These two spaces involve communication of an informal nature. Most of us also have a social & public space, which includes official or workplace relationships, where the communication is of a more formal nature. 3. TIME LANGUAGE : This refers to the meaning or importance attached to time & varies between people. One person may value time more than another. Similarly, time language also varies across cultures. We convey messages to others through the time we spend on a work related activity or by the importance that we give to time. Arriving early at work or for a job interview shows interest, involvement & seriousness. Spending time with an employee & giving him suggestions on how to improve his performance shows interest & involvement in his career growth. 4. PARALANGUAGE : Para means like or similar to, therefore paralanguage means like language. Of all the forms of non verbal communication, paralanguage is closest to verbal communication. It refers to the tone of voice with which something is said. In other words, it is how something is said, & not what is said. The tone of voice includes the pitch, the pace, the emphasis on words & the volume & can convey different moods & emotions. 5. PHYSICAL CONTEXT : This refers to the physical environment or surroundings within which we communicate & includes two aspects. COLORS are known for their symbolic meaning & have associations with different feelings. LAYOUT in a work environment refers to the size of an office, or the arrangement of furniture. DESIGN refers to the type of chairs, desks or carpenting.

Ans.3

Formal Communication Network

A formal communication network is one which is created by management and described with the help of an organisational chart. An organisational chart specifies the hierarchy and the reporting system in the organisation. Therefore, in a formal network, information is passed on only through official channels such as memos, bulletins and intranet (email within the organisation). The organisational chart implies that information can flow in any of three directions: UPWARD COMMUNICATION DOWNWARD COMMUNICATION HORIZONTALLY COMMUNICATION 1. UPWARD COMMUNICATION: This may be defined as information that flows from subordinated to superiors. Some of the reasons for upward communication include discussing work related problems, giving suggestions for improvements & sharing feelings about the job & co-workers. This type of communication has both benefits & disadvantages. One of the biggest benefits is problem solving. Another benefit that could arise upward communication is that valuable ideas &suggestions may sometimes come from lower level employees. A third benefit is that employees learn to accept the decisions of management & thereby work as team. Biggest problem associated with this type of communication is that it may lead to handing down of decisions by superiors. When subordinates frequently seek the superiors guidance, the latter may adopt an authoritarian approach & merely give instructions, disregarding the subordinates opinion completely. 2. DOWNWARD COMMUNICATION: This may be defined as information that flows from superiors to subordinates. The most common reasons for downward communication are for giving job instructions, explaining company rules, policies & procedures & giving feedback regarding job performance. A number of studies have indicated that regular downward comminication in the form of feedback given to employees is the most important factor affecting job satisfaction. Therefore organizations today are trying to encourage more of this type of communication. This type of communication has both benefits & disadvantages. Downward communication that provides regular feedback will be beneficial if the feedback or review of performance is constructive. A constructive review is

one where manager counsels an employee or advises him on how to improve his performance. On the other hand, a destructive review can destroy employee morale & confidence. Regular downward communication also ceates a climate of transparency or openness, where information is passed on through official channels, rather than through rumors. The problems with this type of communication are the danger of doing destructive reviews & that of messages overload. This means that superiors many sometimes burden their subordinates with too many instructuins leading confusion. 3. HORIZONTAL COMMUNICATION: This type of communication is also known as lateral communication. It may be defined as communication that place between co-workers in the same department or in different departments, with different areas of responsibility. The reasons for this type of communication are for coordination of tasks, sharing of information regarding goals of the organizations, resolving interpersonal or work related problems & building rapport. The biggest potential benefit of horizontal communication is the sense of teamwork that is created. Redular communication of this type ensures that all co-workers work together towards achieving a common goal in the overall interest of the organization. The biggest potential problem is that conflicts such as ego clashes are bound to arise, when co-workers at the same level communicate on a regular basis.

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A. BARRIERS TO LISTENING

Listening is not easy & there are a number of obstacles that stand in the way of effective listening, both within & outside the workplace. These barriers are categorized as followes 1. PHYSIOLOGICAL BARRIERS : Some people may have genuine hearing problems or deficiencies that prevent them from listening properly. Once detected, they can generally be treated. Other people may have difficulty in

processing information or memory related problems which make them poor listeners. Another physiological barrier is rapid thought. Listeners have the ability to process information at the rate of approximately 500 words per minute, whereas speakers talk at around 125 words per minute. Since listeners are left with a lot of spare time, their attention may not be focused on what the speaker is saying, but may wander elsewhere. 2. PHYSICAL BARRIERS : These refer to distractions in the environment such as the sound of an air conditioner, cigarette smoke or an overheated room, which interface with listeing process. They could also be in the form of information overload. 3. ATTITUDINAL BARRIERS : Pre-occupation with personal or work related problems can make it difficult to focus ones attention completely on what a speaker is saying, even if what is being said is of prime importance. Another common attitudinal barrier is egocentrism or the belief that you are more knowledgeable than the speaker & that you have nothing new to learn from his ideas. People with this kind of closed minded attitude make very poor listeners. 4. WRONG ASSUMPTIONS : The success of communication depends on both the sender & the receiver, as we have seen in an earlier unit. It is wrong to assume that communication is the sole responsibility of the sender or the speaker & that listeners have no role to play. Such an assumption can be a bog barrier to listening. Another wrong assumption is to think that listening is a passive activity, in which a listener merely absorbs the thoughts of the speaker. Yet another barrier of this type is to assume that speakers are more powerful than listeners. Speakers are seen as being in command of things, whereas listeners are seen to be weak & lacking authority. 5. CULTURAL BARRIERS : Accents can be barriers to listening, since they interfere with the ability to understand the meaning of words that are pronounced differently. The problem of different accents arises not only between cultures but also within a culture. Another type of cultural barrier is differing cultural values. The importance attached to listening & speaking differs in western & oriental cultures. Generally, orientals regard listening & silence as another a virtue whereas westeners attach greater importance to speaking. Therefore this would interfere with the listening process when two people from these two different cultures communicate.

6. GENDER BARRIERS : Communication research has shown that gender can be a barrier to listening. Studies have revealed that men & women listen very differently & for different purposes. Women are more likely to listen for the emotions behind a speakers words, while men listen more for the facts & the content. 7. LACK OF TRAINING : Listening is not an inborn skill. People are not born good listeners. They have to develop the art of listening through practice & traning. Lack of training in listening skills is an important barrier to listening, especially in the Indian context. 8. BAD LISTENING HABITS : Most people are very average listeners who have developed poor listening habits that are hard to shed & that act as barriers to listening. Another habit is to avoid difficult listening & to tune off deliberately, if the subject is too technical or difficult to understand. Sometimes, the subject itself may be dismissed as uninteresting because the listner does not want to listen.

B. DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN DISCRIMINATIVE LISTENING & COMPREHENSION LISTENING.

1. DISCRIMINATIVE LISTENING : This is the most basic type of listening, whereby the difference between the sounds is identified. Unless the differences between the sounds are identified, the meaning expressed by such differences cannot be grasped. Once we learn to distinguish between sounds in our own language, we are able to do the same in other languages. One reason why people belonging to one country find it difficult to speak the language of another country is that they find the sounds sililar & cannot understand the subtle differences. 2. COMPREHENSION LISTENING : Once we have learnt to discriminate between the different sounds, the next step is to try to comprehend the meaning of these sounds. In order to do this, we require a dictionary of words, along with the rules of grammer & syntex. Apart from the verbal communication, we also need to understand the meaning conveyed by the speakers nonverbal behavior. This can be achieved by closely observing varous aspects of the speakers body language & tone of voice.

Ans.5

PRINCIPLES OF BUSINESS WRITING

Having dealt with writing in general, we will now go briefly into the specifics of business writing. The language, style and tone of business writing is very different from general writing. Therefore, we will examine these aspects in some detail. 1. TONE We discussed tone of voice or paralanguage in an earlier section on non-verbal communication. It was pointed out that the spoken words, however perfect, can convey a negative message, if the tone of voice is not consistent with what is said. Tone is equally important in conveying written messages, particularly business related messages. In written communication, tone refers to the way a statement sounds, which in turn, depends on the choice of words. A sentence or statement may be grammatically perfect, but may convey a negative message, if the choice of words is wrong. There are certain aspects of tone in written communication. ASPECT 1. You failed to meet the sales target. The above statement has a negative tone, since it emphasizes what couldnot be achieved. The same idea could be expressed in a more positive tone, by emphasizing what could have been done instead. ASPECT 2. With a little extra effort, you could have achieved the target. The example shows that even a negative idea can be expressed in positive language through the use of appropriate words. The tone of business communication should also be confident. You should avoid language that makes you sound unsure of yourself. ASPECT 3. I hope you will agree that my qualifications match your job profile.

Beginning the sentence with I hope creates the impression that you lack confidence in yourself. It might be better to say On reviewing my bio data, you will find that my qualifications match your job needs in the following respects While it is important to be self assured, avoid sounding over confident & pompous. ASPECT 4. Another aspect of tone is to sound courteous & sincere. This builds goodwill & good relations & increases the likelihood of a message achieving its objective. Avoid statements such as following You sent your complaint to the wrong department. You should have sent it to the shipping department. This sounds very discourteous & rude when responding to a customer complain. Instead, it might be better to say We have sent your complaint to the concerned department, which will be contacting you shortly.

2. EMPHASIS & SUBORDINATION A business writer can be compared to an artist or a musician. Just like an artist or a musician tries to make certain elements stand out, so too does the business writer. An important principle of business writing is to emphasise important ideas and to downplay unimportant ideas, so as to make the reader understand what you consider to be significant. Generally, pleasant and important thoughts are emphasised, while unpleasant and insignificant thoughts are subordinated or de-emphasised. Several techniques for emphasis may be used by the business writer: Place the idea in the first paragraph or in the last paragraph, in order to get attention. Put the word that you wish to emphasise first or last in the sentence. Example : Success comes through sincere efforts. Failure will result without them. OR, The event was a success. Without your efforts, it would have been a failure. Use the active voice to emphasise the doer of the action and the passive voice to emphasise the receiver of the action. Example : John made the presentation is in active voice.

The presentation was made by John is in passive voice. Use words such as primary,major & significant to lay emphasis. Example : Cost is a significant factor to be taken into consideration. Use repetition Example : The Tata Nano is an inexpensive car. Inexpensive to purchase & inexpensive to maintain. Number the ideas, so as to rank them in the order of importance. Example : The main reasons for his poor performance are 1. Lack of training 2. Lack of team skills & 3. Lack of motivation. Use visual elements such as bold type, capital letters, bigger font size & underlined words to emphasize key ideas. Example : The Reva electric car is 25% LESS POLUUTING than other cars. To stress what is known as the you attitude rather than the me attitude . Example : Instead of saying,Our bank will be open 24 hours, say You will be able to round-the-clock banking service. 3. WRITE AT AN APPROPRIATE LEVEL OF READABILITY A third very important rule of business writing is to tailor your writing to your audience and to make it simple enough for even a layperson to read and understand. As pointed out in an earlier section, readability is determined by the length of words and sentences. Robert Gunning developed what is known as the Fog Index or readability formula to measure the readability of a piece of writing. According to this formula, the appropriate reading level in business writing should be between 8 and 11. Calculation of the Fog Index involves the steps 1. Select a written passage of approximately 100 words. 2. Calculate the average length of a sentence by dividing the total number os words in the passage by the number of sentances. 3. Find the number of difficult words. A word may be defines as difficult if it contains three or more syllables. Determine the number of difficult words per hundred, by

dividing the total number of words in the passage into the number of difficult words, then by multiplying this figure by100. 4. Add the number of difficult words per hundred & the average sentence length. 5. Multiply the figure obtained in 4 by 0.4, to calculate the reading grade level for which the passage was written, or the Fog Index. Ideally, the Fog Index should be between 8 and 11 for most business writing, indicating that a reader between the eighth grade and the eleventh grade should be able to understand it without difficulty.

Ans.6 ADVANTAGES OF ORAL COMMUNICATION


Oral communication has some advantages compared to written communication. These includes: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Personal quality High interactivity Possibility of making immediate contact Instantaneous feedback & Control over the receivers attention.

Oral communication was also classified into oral face-to-face communication (meetings and presentations) and oral non face-to-face communication (tele conferencing, telephone and voice mail). While face-to-face meetings are more effective than non face-to-face communication in most ways, they are expensive and impractical sometimes, due to the distance factor.

oral face-to-face communication


1. Meetings 2. Presentations

oral non face-to-face communication


1. Teleconferencing 2. Telephone 3. Voice mail

EXAMPLE : Several retailers like Walmart, the worlds largest retailer, make use of teleconferencing to keep their US headquarters in touch with their store managers worldwide. Some headquarters also make use of the facility to conduct preliminary interviews & shortlist candidates based in other countries before inviting them for a faceto-face interview.

Master of Business Administration Semester I MB0039 Business Communication - 4 Credits (Book ID: B1128) Assignment Set- 2 (60 Marks) Note: Each Question carries 10 marks. Answer all the questions. Q1. List the differences between extensive reading and intensive reading Q2. Explain the different advantages and disadvantages of intranet. Q3. List the different principles of business letter writing. Q4. Write short notes on (a) corporate identity advertising (b) institutional advertising Q5. Discuss the different types of business reports Q6. List the different steps involved in report preparation

Ans.1 DISTINGUISH BETWEEN EXTENSIVE READING & INTENSIVE READING EXTENSIVE READING
Our way of reading is influenced by the purpose of our reading. Most of us have the habit of reading especially when we are free, or have a lot of leisure time. We might get hold of a novel, a comic strip, or a magazine. However, it should not be given less priority, because it is extensive reading. It is enjoyable, as well as informative. Here, we practice rapid reading to get a global/overall understanding of the matter.

INTENSIVE READING
When we read shorter texts like a research paper for getting specific details or information, we read slowly with a lot of concentration. When you read a book as a resource material for research, you read it intensively because the overall understanding is not the objective or purpose of our reading. When you read an article in order to write a review on it, you read it intensively. We use all the skills of reading when we do intensive reading.

Ans.2 INTRANET
An intranet is similar to a website, except that it is an internal network that is exclusive to a particular organisation. This means that only employees of the organisation will have access to it. This is different from the extranet, which is also an internal or private website, but where access privileges are also extended to external stakeholders of the company, such as customers, suppliers, partners and others. Although the intranet is better suited for large organisations where distributing information is an enormous task, a number of smaller companies today are also using this form of internal communication.

Advantages of Intranet
Like any other tool, the intranet has its advantages and limitations. Some of the primary advantages are as illustrated below.

1. Discourages grapevine : Although grapevine can be useful, it also leads to


rumors, in the absence of information passed on through the formal communication network. When employees aremisinformed, they become dissatisfied & de-motivated. Using the intranet as an official channel to post

information for all employees to see discourages gossip & avoids creating a transarency gap. 2. Facilitates pre-meeting discussion : The intranet may be used to discuss & debate ideas prior ideas to a meeting, so that valuable meeting time is spent focsing only on relevant ideas. 3. Saves time : The intranet is paperless communication & is therefore a big saver. A lot of unnecessary time wasted on filling out forms,leave requests, supply orders etc can be saved by doing this through the intranet. Employees can get information on official holidays & other HR related information without having to interact with the HR manager. 4. Is superior to email : Sending some type of information through email can sometimes create confusion & information overload.

Disadvantages of Intranet
While the intranet saves valuable time and money, it is not without its downside. Before an intranet can be set up, a lot of groundwork needs to be done. You need to determine what you want it to do and how employees will use it. Some of the disadvantages are listed below.

1. Getting started : Building an intranet to your specifications can be expensive.


A consultant may have to be hired to give it the desired look & feel & to make sure that it is user friendly & simple enough for all employees to use. 2. Developing & maintaining content : Once it has been set up, someone has to be responsible for maintaining & updating the information on a continuous basis. In small organizations, it may be sufficient to appoint one person to do this. In larger organizations with multiple departments, it may be necessary to appoint several persons to maintain & update information for the different departments. 3. Training employees : Once it was set up, employees have to be familized & trained on how to use the intranet. This involves investment in time & money. 4. Convincing old economy employees : Some employees may not be technology or computer savvy &may be relucant to use the intranet to access information. Therefore, they may have to be convinced about the benefits of using the new technology.

Ans.3 Principles of Business Letter Writing


Business letters are used primarily to communicate with external stakeholders such as consumers, intermediaries, government and bankers. The principles of business letter writing are somewhat different from the principles of writing general letters. Business letters are much more formal than general letters. Before we go into the specifics of business letter writing, let us look briefly at some of these principles.

1. Consideration & courtesy : It is very important to retain the goodwill of


customers & othe external publics. A discourteous, rude letter can make you lose business. Therefore, the business letter should be extremely polite at all times & mindful of the Ps &Qs i.e., the words please,thank you & sorry. Even if you happen to get a rude letter from a customer, you must respond politely, in order to retain the customer. If a company has been at fault, it is important to apologize to the customer for the mistake & for the inconvenience caused. The overall tone should not be negative. Consideration means that you should appeal to the readers inerest. The importance of stressing the you attitude rather than the me attitude. This is similar to the language of advertisements, which talk about the benefits of the product to the end users. 2. Directness & conciseness : Business letters should be brief & to the point, avoiding unnecessary details & round about expressions. A typical Indian tendency is to be too wordy or verbose, using redundancies & unnecessary words. Business letters should give maximum information to the reader, using minimum words. 3. Clarity & precision : Business letters should be clearly worded, avoiding the use of jargon or technical terms & slang words. Concrete words should be used, so that there is no ambiguity. The letter should include a single main idea & paragraphs should be used to elaborate on sub ideas. 4. Appearance : Apart from the content, the formate, layout & overall look of the letter should be equally appearing to the reader. Attention should be paid to quality of paper used. The margins should be appropriate, including one inch on each side & one & a half inches on top & at the bottom.

Ans.4 Corporate Advertising


Corporate advertising not only has different objectives, it has also become wider in scope, going beyond its traditional role of image building. Today, it encompasses many different types of advertising. Some of the most important ones are explained below.

1. Corporate Identity Advertising


This type of corporate advertising is done purely to communicate the organizations corporate identity, such as its name, logo, trademark or brand name & slogan. When the organisations identity changes, this is communicated through corporate advertising. Example: The American fast food outlet, Kentucky Fried Chicken changes its name to KFC to remove the association with fried, greasy chicken. This name change was communicated through corporate identity advertising.

2. Institutional Advertising
This type of corporate advertising is aimed at special publics such as the media, suppliers & dealers to correct communication problems with them.

Ans.5

Types of Business Reports

Reports may be classified based on several criteria, including the following whether they are internal to the business, or are used outside the business. 1. Periodic reports: These are reports that are prepared on a regular basis for both internal & external audiences. Their purpose is solely to inform. Examples of this type of report are --a. Routine management reports: These are reports such as equipment reports & sales updates & are prepared for internal audiences. b. Compliance repots: These are submitted to external stakeholders, such as the government, stating compliance with regulations such as environmental norms. c. Progress reports: These reports may be prepared for both internal audiences such as top management & shareholders as well as for external audiances such as customers. A project report stating progress on a long term project is an example of this type of report.

2. Proposals: Unlike periodic reports the purpose of a proposal is to persuade. Proposals may be prepared for both internal & external audiences. Examples of proposals include research proposals & marketing strategy proposals to top management, proposals to the government to grant funds for building a research facility & proposals to consumers to buy a companys products.

3. Policies & procedures: The pupose of these repots is solely to inform. They are also prepared only for internal audiences. Examples include repots on company policies & procedures, written by top management & to all employees. This is part of downward communication.

4. Situational reports: These are one-time, exceptional reports that are prepared when a unique event occurs. For example, if sales of the company has shown a significant decline, a study may be carried out to determine the reasons for declining sales & a report prepared on the findings. Similarly, a market feasibility study may be carried out before launc of a new product & a report prepared, based on the study. The purpose of such repots is usually to inform, analyze & persuade.

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Steps Involved in Preparing Reports

Since reports are a key to the success of any business, they should be carefully planned, organized, written and presented. A lot of groundwork should precede the actual writing of the report. We shall briefly discuss the five main steps in report preparation. 1. Planning the Report: The first question to be asked before gathering information and writing the report, is regarding the type of report that is required. Secondly, it must be remembered that most reports are required by management to solve a problem, or to make a decision. Therefore, the basis, or starting point for a report is a problem. Reports are written after a problem is analyzed and a solution to the problem is found. The problem may be of a dayto-day nature, such as determining which brand of overhead projector to recommend for purchase. Or, the problem may be a negative one, such as sales of the company showing a decline. In any case, the problem is the single fundamental issue to be addressed in the report and should be clearly determined, right at the outset.Once the problem has been defined, it must be

broken up into sub issues or sub problems, by asking the following questions: What, why, when, where and who? The next step in planning the report is to do an audience analysis. We have seen that reports may be addressed to internal or external audiences of an organization. Some of the questions to be asked about the audience, or the reader of the report are: a. Is the audience internal or external to the organization? b. Who is the specific audience or reader? Reports are written for the government & for top management should be more formal than for other audiences. c. Is the audience known to you? d. What is the level of knowledge of the audience? Is the topic familiar to the reader? If the report is of a technical nature & the reader is a layperson, the technical terms may need detailed explanation. e. What is the level of interest of the reader? If the report has been solicited or authorized, the readers level of interest will be high. On the other hand, if the report is voluntary or unsolicited, it may have to sustain reader interest. The tone, length,complexity & degree of formality of the report will depend largly on the readers characteristics. A more conversational tone, while reports on company policies & procedures addressed to subordinates would adopt an emphatic tone. 2. Selecting a method to solve the problem: after defining the problem & doing an audience analysis, a method has to be selected to collect the necessary information to solve the problem. Broadly, information may be gathered using secondary research methods such as books, magazines, newspapers, internet & other available sources or through primar research methods such as surveys that provide first hand information. 3. Gathering & organizing data: Once the method of gathering information has been selected, the actual process of gathering the information begins. Since this is time consuming & expensive, only information that is relevant to the report & the study must be gathered. The raw data should be evaluated for its usefulness & organized in a form that is meaningful to understand. Tables,charts,graphs & summeries should be used to do this. 4. Arriving at conclusion: Once the information has been checked for its validity & reliability, it must be interpreted & conclusions drawn. Correct interpretetion of the data is needed for the success of the report. Sound conclusions cannot be made if the interpretetion of the data is faulty. A common mistake made in the interpretetion of the data is the tendency of the researcher to use subjective judgments, instead of objective reasoning based on facts. 5. Writing the report: The actual process of writing the report should begin only after a satisfactory solution to the problem has been found. A well written report that contains a bad answer is worse than a badly written report that contains a good answer.