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Iwin Jose 1205005579 IIT Kottayam 01517 Master of Business Administration MB0039-Business Communication Semester 1 Set 2 30/09/2012

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Directorate of Distance Education Sikkim Manipal University II Floor, Syndicate House Manipal 576 104

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Master of Business Administration MBA Semester I MB0039 Business Communication- 4 Credits (Book ID: B1128) Assignment Set- 2(60 Marks)
Q1. Explain the purpose of keeping minutes of a meeting. What goes into the contents of minutes of a meeting? The minutes of a business meeting document the pertinent information about a specific meeting, including attendees, location and date of meeting. Attendees usually include board members, stockholders or executives of a company. The purpose of meeting minutes is to note who said what and document any action or voting items. The person leading a meeting often will note that something being said is "off the record," which means it should not be written down or recorded. The date, time and location of the next meeting should be one of the last items included in the minutes. Meeting Minutes Categories Depending on the size of the business or corporation, meeting minutes typically include: name of company; date of meeting; location of meeting; starting and ending times; names and titles of those leading the meeting; and the name of person taking minutes (usually the secretary of the corporation or business). Some minutes include an opening statement of financial position read by one of the meeting leaders. Minutes also should include any action items and whether those items were voted upon. In that case, the person posing the vote should be noted, as should the person seconding the vote. The number of persons voting for or against should be included. Minutes also should include the name and title of any person giving a report, such as the treasurer or committee chair. Keeping Track of Who Said What The person taking the minutes usually does so using a tape recorder or video podcast. In smaller companies, the person taking the minutes might do so by hand. It's crucial to accurately assign the name of each person speaking during the meeting. Nameplates, placed on the table during the meeting, are one of the best ways for the person taking minutes to accurately assign the name of the person to what he says during the meeting. Keeping Track of Attendees One of the headers at the top of the minutes, usually placed after name of company, date, time and location of meeting, is a list of who was in attendance and a separate list of who was absent. These categories are sometimes labelled "Attending" and "Absent." The name of the person taking minutes, usually referred to as the secretary, can be placed under the list of attendees/absentees.

Accuracy in Taking and Editing Minutes

Videotaping a meeting for the purpose of writing minutes is the most accurate way to keep track of what was said and who said it. Using a tape recorder means someone has to rely on handwritten notes to determine who said what. Minutes do not have to reflect every word spoken by every attendee, but should accurately reflect what each person said. The person taking minutes should go back immediately after the meeting when her memory is fresh and be certain each speaker is identified. Usually, a second person reviews and approves the minutes before they are distributed to executives or board members. Sometimes that person is the vice president or other assigned staff person. Minutes from a previous meeting are usually distributed along with the agenda for the next meeting, if available. At some point your boss may ask you to take minutes at a meeting. This task isn't reserved for secretaries only. Any person who attends a meeting may be asked to do this. Since the minutes will serve as an official record of what took place during the meeting, you must be very accurate. Here are some pointers to help you master this skill.

Before the Meeting

Choose your tool: Decide how you will take notes, i.e. pen and paper, laptop computer, or tape recorder. Make sure your tool of choice is in working order and have a backup just in case. Use the meeting agenda to formulate an outline.

During the Meeting

Pass around an attendance sheet. Get a list of committee members and make sure you know who is who. Note the time the meeting begins. Don't try to write down every single comment -- just the main ideas. Write down motions, who made them, and the results of votes, if any; no need to write down who seconded a motion. Make note of any motions to be voted on at future meetings. Note the ending time of the meeting.

After the Meeting

Type up the minutes as soon as possible after the meeting, while everything is still fresh in your mind. Include the name of organization, name of committee, type of meeting (daily, weekly, monthly, annual, or special), and purpose of meeting. Include the time the meeting began and ended. Proofread the minutes before submitting them.

Q2. Prepare a brief notice to be put up on official notice boards, informing employees of your organization about a newly introduced, official bus service. Notices: Notices are announcements that are distributed to a larger group of people. Notices generally contain information or announcements that are meant for all the employees of an organization. Example A list of declared holidays for a calendar year is a notice, since the information is relevant to all employees. A notice is therefore a legal document that has to be put up on an official notice or bulletin board.

Gates Engineering & Services Rakia Industrial Area UAE.

SEPTEMBER 26 TH 2012 REF: ADM/N/44-9

NOTICE SUB: BUS SERVICE FOR TRANSPORTATION OF EMPLOYEES Dear All, This is to inform all employees of Gates Engineering and Services that company will be starting bus services for all the employees. All employees will be picked from your places in the morning and dropped in the evening. The employees those who want to take the advantage of this service are pleased to register their name in the HR department. The bus facility will be started from the first of the October. Please make use of this facility. SENIOR MANAGER, HR

The above notice is meant for all employees of the organization. It has a reference number, date and a subject, similar to a memo. Employees are informed that a bus facility has been started from the first of October for transportation.

Q3. Write short notes on (a) Upward communication (b) Downward communication (c) Horizontal communication. Answer: A formal communication network is one which is created by management and described with the help of an organizational chart. An organizational chart specifies the hierarchy and the reporting system in the organization. Therefore, in a formal network, information is passed on only through official channels such as memos, bulletins and intranet (email within the organization). The organizational chart implies that information can flow in any of three directions vertically, i.e., upward or downward, and horizontally. 1. Upward Communication: This may be defined as information that flows from subordinates to superiors. Some of the reasons for upward communication include discussing work related problems, giving suggestions for improvement and sharing feelings about the job and co-workers. This type of communication has both benefits and disadvantages. One of the biggest benefits is problem-solving. Once a subordinate has brought a problem to his superiors notice, chances are that the problem will not recur, since the subordinate learns from his superior how to tackle it the next time. Thus, his ability to solve new problems and therefore his managerial ability, improves. Another benefit that could arise from upward communication is that valuable ideas and suggestions may sometimes come from lower level employees. Therefore organizations should encourage this kind of communication. A third benefit is that employees learn to accept the decisions of management and thereby work as a team. The 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 and 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 and procedures and giving feedback regarding job performance. A number of studies have indicated that regular downward communication 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. There are both benefits and disadvantages associated with this type of communication. Downward communication that provides regular feedback will be beneficial if the feedback or review of performance is constructive. A constructive review is one where a manager counsels an employee, or advises him on how to improve his performance. On the other hand, a destructive review can destroy employee morale and confidence. Regular downward communication also creates a climate of transparency or openness, where information is passed on through official channels, rather than through rumours. Thirdly, downward communication boosts employee morale, since it indicates that management is involved in their progress. The problems with this type of communication are the danger of doing destructive reviews, as mentioned, and that of message overload. This means that superiors many sometimes burden their subordinates with too many instructions, leading to confusion.

3. Horizontal Communication: This type of communication is also known as lateral communication. It may be defined as communication that takes place between co-workers in the same department, or in different departments, with different areas of responsibility. For example, Sales Managers and Advertising Managers in the Marketing department, or Marketing Managers and Finance Managers. The reasons for this type of communication are for coordination of tasks, sharing of information regarding goals of the organization, resolving interpersonal or work related problems and building rapport. The biggest potential benefit of horizontal communication is the sense of teamwork that is created. Regular 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. In spite of these problems, horizontal or lateral communication has become more important in todays business scenario than upward or downward communication. This is because the organizational pyramid indicating the different hierarchies or levels in an organization has flattened. This is illustrated by the diagrams given below. Multi-layer Organizational Pyramid

Compressed Organizational Pyramid

The first diagram illustrates the previous organizational pyramid which was a multi-layer pyramid. In this type of pyramid, vertical, i.e., upward and downward communication still plays an important role. This is still the case in many traditionally run organizations today. However, this has been replaced by a compressed or flattened pyramid where the hierarchy has diminished, as shown in the second diagram. Thanks to technology and computers which help in faster decision making, a manager

today has a larger span of control. He or she can supervise and control more number of people than before. This in turn has led to greater empowerment, which means that even lower level employees are now being given decision making authority. Therefore, in the absence of several layers, there is greater lateral communication than before.

Q4. Go through business magazines and daily newspapers and select a situation when a company was facing a crisis (e.g., Coke and Pepsi pesticide controversy). How did the company communicate with its shareholders and other stakeholders to overcome the crisis? Was the communication effective? Controversy The discovery of worms in some samples of Cadburys Chocolate in early October 2003 created one of the biggest controversies in India against a Multi National reputed for being a benchmark of QUALITY. The state Food and Drug Administration has ordered seizure of Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolates from all over Maharashtra after worms were found in two of them in Mumbai. Cadbury India, whose chocolates had ridden into controversy late last year during the festival season because worms were discovered in some stocks of its Dairy Milk chocolates is probably hoping the association with Bachchan will help consumers forget the bad press the company got on account of the discovery. The Food and Drug Administration had then seized the company's stocks and the Cadbury India management had explained it was bad storage practices by retailers and distributors that had led to the worms. Cadbury India's sales fell following the discovery. And even the government got into the act with the central health ministry asking for a report on the controversy. The "worms controversy" came at the worst time. The next few months were the peak season of Diwali, Eid & Christmas. Cadbury sells almost 1,000 tonnes of chocolates during Diwali. In that year, the sales during festival season dropped by 30 per cent. The company saw its value share melt from 73 per cent in October 2003 to 69.4 per cent in January 2004. In May, however, it inched up to 71 per cent. CDM sales volumes declined from 68 per cent in October03 to 64 per cent in January 2004 clearly, the worm controversy took a toll on Cadbury's bottom-line. For the year ended December 2003, its net profit fell 37 per cent to Rs 45.6 crore (Rs 456 million) as compared with a 21 per cent increase in the previous year. The controversy created an deep adverse impact on the company with their sales not only drastically dipping down, but at the same time allowing the competitors to establish their foothold and taking maximum advantage of Cadburys misfortune. The controversy, and the adverse publicity received in several countries, set back its plan of outsourcing model which would have resulted in significant revenue generation, several months back. PR RESCUES CADBURY PR concerns the total communications of your total organization/group of organizations. PUBLIC RELATIONS FORM AN INDISPENSABLE PART OF ANY ORGANISTION. Public relations include ongoing activities to ensure the company has a strong public image.

Public relations activities include helping the public to understand the company and its products. Often, public relations are conducted through the media that is, newspapers, television, magazines, etc. STEPS TAKEN TO SOLVE THE CONTROVERSY 1. NOT DENYING THE FACT It helped that the Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration had given a clean chit to the company's two plants in the state. Cadbury went into overdrive to tell consumers that improper storage of what is essentially a perishable commodity might lead to worm infestation. Cadbury did not go into denial mode. It accepted that there was a problem, which may not have been of its own making, and made a commitment to the consumer that it would plug all possible safety loopholes,. As a result Cadbury improved the packaging and paid more attention to the way its chocolates were stored by nearly 6, 50,000 retailers across the country. 2. TAKING PRECAUTIONS 'Project Vishwas' - Steps to ensure quality & regain the confidence Following the controversy over infestation in its chocolates, Cadbury India Ltd unveiled 'Project Vishwas', a plan involving distribution and retail channels to ensure the quality of its products. The Vishwas programme was intended to build awareness among retailers on storage requirements for chocolates, provide assistance in improving storage conditions and strengthen packaging of the company's range of products. Cadbury reduced the number of chocolates in its bulk packets to 22 bars from the present 60 bars. These helped stockists display and sell the products "safely and hygienically". 1,90,000 retailers in key states were covered under this awareness programme. The company's team of quality control managers, along with around 300 sales staff, checked over 50,000 retail outlets in Maharashtra and replaced all questionable stocks with immediate effect. The company also carried out quality checks at its facilities as well as its carrying and forwarding warehouses and distributor warehouses and found products free of infestation. 3. GAINING BACK TRUST The Big B promoted the Big C in the chocolate business - Cadbury in India. Indian cine superstar Amitabh Bachchan has signed on to become the brand ambassador of the chocolate major for two years. The Big B FACTOR The big factor that has pushed up CDM sales is the Amitabh Bachchan campaign. It helped restore consumers' faith in the quality of the product. In early January that year, Cadbury appointed Amitabh Bachchan as its brand ambassador for a period of two years. The company believed that the reputation he has built up over the last three decades complements their own, which was built over a period of 50 years. Thus company uses different Medias to communicate with the shareholders and other stakeholders to overcome the crisis. Communication was effective and company retains their quality and trust.

Q5. Discuss the different types of business reports? Reports may be classified based on several criteria, including their use (progress reports and financial reports), purpose (informational, analytical and persuasive reports), frequency of preparation (annual, monthly, weekly and hourly reports), length (short and long reports) and whether they are internal to the business, or are used outside the business. The most common types of business reports may be divided into the following categories 1. Periodic reports These are reports that are prepared on a regular basis, for both internal and 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 and sales updates and are prepared for internal audiences. b) Compliance reports 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 and shareholders, as well as for external audiences 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 and external audiences. Examples of proposals include research proposals and marketing strategy proposals to top management, proposals to the government to grant funds for building a research facility and proposals to consumers to buy a companys products. 3. Policies and Procedures The purpose of these reports is solely to inform. They are also prepared only for internal audiences. Examples include reports on company policies and procedures, written by top management and sent 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 and a report prepared on the findings. Similarly, a market feasibility study may be carried out before launch of a new product and a report prepared, based on the study. The purpose of such reports is usually to inform, analyze and persuade.

Q6. List the different steps involved in Report preparation? A business report may be defined as an orderly and objective presentation of information that helps in decision making and problem solving. It may be in oral or written form. 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. We classified reports into four main types, based on the purpose, the audience to whom they are addressed and the frequency of the report. 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 day-to-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 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

Is the audience internal or external to the organization? Who is the specific audience or reader? - for example, top management, customers or the government? Reports written for the government and for top management should be more formal than for other audiences.

Is the audience known to you? What is the level of knowledge of the audience? Is the topic familiar to the reader? If the report is of a technical nature and the reader is a layperson, the technical terms may need detailed explanation. 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 and degree of formality of the report will depend largely on the readers characteristics. For example, reports addressed to peers would adopt a more conversational tone, while reports on company policies and procedures addressed to subordinates would adopt an emphatic tone. Selecting a Method to Solve the Problem After defining the problem and 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 and other available sources, or through primary research methods, such as surveys that provide first hand information. 3. Gathering and Organizing Data Once the method of gathering information has been selected, the actual process of gathering the information begins. Since this is time consuming and expensive, only information that is relevant to the report and the study must be gathered. The raw data should be evaluated for its usefulness and organized in a form that is meaningful to understand. Tables, charts, graphs and summaries should be used to do this. 4. Arriving at a Conclusion Once the information has been checked for its validity and reliability, it must be interpreted and conclusions drawn. Correct interpretation of the data is needed for the success of the report. Sound conclusions cannot be made if the interpretation of the data is faulty. A common mistake made in the interpretation of 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. As pointed out earlier, a well written report that contains a bad answer is worse than a badly written report that contains a good answer. Once you are ready to begin writing, certain procedures for writing should be followed 2. Set a date for completion of the report and get started early Begin by first preparing an outline and writing an initial draft, which can be refined later. Starting late is bound to affect the quality of the report.

Start with an easy section It is best to start writing those sections of the report which you feel are easier than others. This will help you to get into the rhythm of writing, which will be carried over to the more difficult sections. Write quickly, with the intention of rewriting It is better to put down your thoughts on paper in the form of a rough draft and to get this done quickly. Once this difficult part is over, it becomes easier to improve. Set aside uninterrupted writing time A long block of uninterrupted writing time, such as three to four hours a day, should be set aside for writing the report. Interruptions can make you lose your train of thought. Review and rewrite where necessary Ideally, the report should be reviewed a couple of times, to see if any improvement is needed. The first review should be to see if any improvement in content is needed, while the second review should check for any errors in writing style, grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Reports should also be written in a convincing manner, so that the reader accepts them as valid and reliable. Some suggested techniques of conviction include the following State facts in an objective manner Avoid using superlatives and emotional terms that introduce bias in the research, or that suggest that you are passing judgment. For example, avoid saying There was an incredible increase in sales, compared to the last year. Instead, simply state the amount or percentage of increase. This will be more acceptable to the reader. Provide expert opinions Although facts are more convincing than the opinions of others, they may not always be available. In this case, the opinions of a specialist in the field may be presented, highlighting the background and experience of the expert. This can enhance the credibility of the report. Use documentation Footnotes are citations that are placed numerically at the bottom of the page in the body of the report, along with the direct references. Use concrete nouns Business reports should use concrete nouns, rather than abstract nouns as the subject of sentences, since they are easier to visualize. Avoid pronouns referring to the writer or reader The first person pronoun I and the second person pronoun you should be avoided in business reports, as far as possible. The use of I risks placing more emphasis on the writer of the report, rather than on the ideas.

Use tenses correctly Use transition sentences