You are on page 1of 106

Bu s i n e s s Wr i t i n g

Instructors Edition
Australia Canada Mexico Singapore
Spain United Kingdom United States
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE


Business Writing
VP and GM of Courseware: Michael Springer
Series Product Managers: Caryl Bahner-Guhin and Adam A. Wilcox
Developmental Editor: Laurie Perry
Series Designer: Adam A. Wilcox
Cover Designer: Steve Deschene

COPYRIGHT 2002 Course Technology, a division of Thomson Learning. Thomson Learning is a trademark used
herein under license.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this work may be reproduced, transcribed, or used in any form or by any
meansgraphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, Web distribution, or
information storage and retrieval systemswithout the prior written permission of the publisher.
For more information contact:
Course Technology
25 Thomson Place
Boston, MA 02210
Or find us on the Web at: www.course.com
For permission to use material from this text or product, contact us by
Web: www.thomsonrights.com
Phone: 1-800-730-2214
Fax: 1-800-730-2215
Trademarks
Course ILT is a trademark of Course Technology.
Some of the product names and company names used in this book have been used for identification purposes only and
may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective manufacturers and sellers.
Disclaimer
Course Technology reserves the right to revise this publication and make changes from time to time in its content
without notice.
ISBN 0-619-14822-5
Printed in the United States of America
1 2 3 4 5 PM 05 04 03 02
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE


Co n t e n t s

Introduction iii
Topic A: About the manual............................................................................... iv
Topic B: Setting student expectations ............................................................. viii
Topic C: Classroom setup..................................................................................x
Topic D: Support............................................................................................... xi
Writing skills 1-1
Topic A: Basic writing skills ........................................................................... 1-2
Topic B: Effective sentences and paragraphs .................................................. 1-9
Unit summary: Writing skills.......................................................................... 1-15
Writing specific messages 2-1
Topic A: Business letters and reports .............................................................. 2-2
Topic B: Writing opinionated messages......................................................... 2-11
Unit summary: Writing specific messages...................................................... 2-16
Understanding proposals 3-1
Topic A: Proposals........................................................................................... 3-2
Topic B: Client-focused proposals .................................................................. 3-5
Unit summary: Understanding proposals ........................................................ 3-10
Letter proposals 4-1
Topic A: Writing a letter proposal ................................................................... 4-2
Topic B: Visually appealing proposals........................................................... 4-12
Unit summary: Letter proposals ...................................................................... 4-16
Formal proposals 5-1
Topic A: Structuring formal proposals ............................................................ 5-2
Topic B: Visual elements and editing............................................................. 5-17
Unit summary: Formal proposals .................................................................... 5-19
Course summary S-1
Topic A: Course summary............................................................................... S-2
Topic B: Continued learning after class .......................................................... S-3
Glossary G-1
Index I-1

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
ii Business Writing


NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
iii

Bu s i n e s s Wr i t i n g

Introduction
After reading this introduction, you will know
how to:
A Use Course Technology ILT manuals in
general.
B Use prerequisites, a target student
description, course objectives, and a skills
inventory to properly set students
expectations for the course.
C Get support for setting up and teaching this
course.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
iv Business Writing

Topic A: About the manual
Course Technology ILT philosophy
Our goal at Course Technology is to make you, the instructor, as successful as possible.
To that end, our manuals facilitate students learning by providing structured interaction
with the subject itself. While we provide text to help you explain concepts, the activities
are the focus of our courses. Leading the students through these activities will teach the
concepts effectively.
We believe strongly in the instructor-led classroom. For many students, having a
thinking, feeling instructor in front of them will always be the most comfortable way to
learn. Because the students focus should be on you, our manuals are designed and
written to facilitate your interaction with the students, and not to call attention to
manuals themselves.
We believe in the basic approach of setting expectations, then teaching, and providing
summary and review afterwards. For this reason, lessons begin with objectives and end
with summaries. We also provide overall course objectives and a course summary to
provide both an introduction to and closure on the entire course.
Our goal is your success. We encourage your feedback in helping us to continually
improve our manuals to meet your needs.
Manual components
The manuals contain these major components:
Table of contents
Introduction
Units
Course summary
Glossary
Index
Each element is described below.
Table of contents
The table of contents acts as a learning roadmap for you and the students.
Introduction
The introduction contains information about our training philosophy and our manual
components, features, and conventions. It contains descriptions of the target student,
objectives, and setup for the course. The introduction also contains support information.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Introduction v

Units
Units are the largest structural component of the actual course content. A unit begins
with a title page that lists objectives for each major subdivision, or topic, within the unit.
Within each topic, conceptual and explanatory information alternates with activities.
Units conclude with a summary comprising one paragraph for each topic, and an
independent practice activity that gives students an opportunity to practice the skills
theyve learned.
The conceptual information takes the form of text paragraphs, exhibits, lists, and tables.
The activities are structured in two columns, one telling students what to do, the other
providing explanations, descriptions, and graphics. Throughout a unit, instructor notes
are found in the left margin.
Course summary
This section provides a text summary of the entire course. It is useful for providing
closure at the end of the course. The course summary also indicates the next course in
this series, if there is one, and lists additional resources students might find useful as
they continue to learn about the subject.
Glossary
The glossary provides definitions for the key terms used in this course.
Index
The index enables you and the students to quickly find information about a particular
topic or concept in the course.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
vi Business Writing

Manual conventions
Weve tried to keep the number of elements and the types of formatting to a minimum
in the manuals. We think this aids in clarity and makes the manuals more elegant
looking. But there are some conventions and icons you should know about.

Convention/icon Description

Italic text
In conceptual text, indicates a new term or feature.

Bold text
In unit summaries, indicates a key term or concept.
Instructor notes.
In the left margin, provide tips, hints, and warnings for the
instructor.
Warnings prepare
instructors for potential
classroom management
problems.
Next to an instructor note, indicates a warning for the
instructor.
Tips give extra
information the instructor
can share with students.
Next to an instructor note, indicates a tip the instructor can
share with students.
Setup instructor
notes give a context for
instructors to share with
students.
Next to an instructor note, indicates a setup the instructor
can use before delivering a step or activity.

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Introduction vii

Activities
The activities are the most important parts of our manuals. They are usually divided into
two columns, with a questions or concepts on the left and answers and explanations on
the right. To the far left, instructor notes provide tips, warnings, setups, and other
information for the instructor only. Heres a sample:
Do it! A-1: Steps for brainstorming
Exercises

1 Sequence the steps for brainstorming.

Begin generating ideas.
Select the purpose.
Organize for the session.
Ask questions and clarify ideas.
Review the rules.
Select the purpose.
Organize for the session.
Review the rules.
Begin generating ideas.
Ask questions and clarify ideas.
PowerPoint presentations
To assist in your presentation and provide students with a visual focus, there is a
PowerPoint presentation file to accompany each unit. Each presentation begins with a
list of unit objectives and finishes with a unit summary slide. Display the slide show
from the instructor's station as you present the course materials. A copy of PowerPoint
Viewer is included, so you do not need to have PowerPoint software installed.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
viii Business Writing

Topic B: Setting student expectations
Properly setting students expectations is essential to your success. This topic will help
you do that by providing:
A description of the target student at whom the course is aimed
A list of the objectives for the course
A skills assessment for the course
Course prerequisites
There are no specific prerequisites for this course.
Target student
The typical students of this course will be managers, supervisors, or team leaders who
need to learn effective business writing.
Course objectives
You should share these overall course objectives with your students at the beginning of
the day. This will give the students an idea about what to expect, and will also help you
identify students who might be misplaced. Students are considered misplaced when they
lack the prerequisite knowledge or when they already know most of the subject matter
to be covered.
After completing this course, students will know how to:
Improve writing skills by using writing guidelines and following the writing
process to write effective sentences and paragraphs.
Write effective business reports and letters, e-mail messages, and opinionated
messages such as apology letters, negative messages, and persuasive messages.
Write various types of proposals and keep them focused on the client.
Create a letter proposal and add formatting to make it visually appealing.
Create a formal proposal and add visual elements to it.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Introduction ix

Skills inventory
Use the following form to gauge students skill level entering the class (students have
copies in the introductions of their student manuals). For each skill listed, have students
rate their familiarity from 1 to 5, with five being the most familiar. Emphasize that this
is not a test. Rather, it is intended to provide students with an idea of where theyre
starting from at the beginning of class. If a student is wholly unfamiliar with all the
skills, he or she might not be ready for the class. A student who seems to understand all
of the skills, on the other hand, might need to move on to the next course in the series.

Skill 1 2 3 4 5
Identifying basic writing guidelines
Defining the four steps of the writing process
Identifying words to avoid
Defining simple, compound, and complex sentences
Differentiating between topic and supporting sentences
Identifying the parts of a business letter
Writing brief business messages
Writing an apology letter
Writing a negative message
Writing a persuasive message
Describing the six types of proposal
Using questions to get to know your client
Identifying the guidelines for proposals
Defining the components of a letter proposal
Creating a letter proposal
Describing the six components of a formal proposal
Creating a formal proposal
Defining a proprietary statement
Using formatting and visual elements in proposals
Describing basic editing techniques

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
x Business Writing

Topic C: Classroom setup
In addition to a manual, each student should be provided with a pad and pens or pencils
for jotting down notes and questions. Students should have a comfortable place to sit
and ample table space to spread out their materials. The instructor should have a
whiteboard and markers.
Computer requirements
If you wish to use the PowerPoint presentation, youll need the following:
A Pentium-class or better computer
A keyboard and a mouse
A sound card and speakers
Windows 98, NT, 2000, or XP
A minimum of 64 MB of memory or more, depending on your operating system
CD-ROM drive
A Super-VGA monitor
An overhead monitor projector
PowerPoint Viewer or PowerPoint 2000 or later
Downloading the PowerPoint presentations
You can download the presentation files directly to the instructor machine, to a central
location on your own network, or to a disk.
1 Connect to www.courseilt.com/instructor_tools.html.
2 Click the link for Communications to display a page of course listings, and then
click the link for Business Writing.
3 Click the link for downloading the PowerPoint presentations, and follow the
instructions that appear on your screen.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Introduction xi

Topic D: Support
Your success is our primary concern. If you need help setting up this class or teaching a
particular unit, topic, or activity, please dont hesitate to get in touch with us. Please
have the name of the course available when you call, and be as specific as possible
about the kind of help you need.
Phone support
You can call for support 24 hours a day at (888) 672-7500. If you do not connect to a
live operator, you can leave a message, and we pledge to return your call within 24
hours (except on Saturday and Sunday).
Web-based support
The Course ILT Web site provides several instructors tools for each course, including
course outlines and answers to frequently asked questions. To download these files, go
to www.courseilt.com/instructor_tools.html.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
xii Business Writing

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
11

Un i t 1
Writing skills
Unit time: 40 minutes
Complete this unit, and youll know how to:
A Improve your writing skills by avoiding
common pitfalls, adhering to specified
guidelines, and following a standard
writing process.
B Write effective sentences and paragraphs.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
12 Business Writing

Topic A: Basic writing skills
Explanation Businesses spend millions of dollars every year correcting problems caused by poor
writing. Because people inside and outside your company rely on your written work, the
ability to write a clear contract, memo, report, or letter can greatly affect your personal
productivity and the organizations success.
Common pitfalls
There are several common pitfalls you should avoid when writing:
Large or uncommon words that draw the readers attention away from the
documents information
Sexist or derogatory language that offends the reader
Ambiguous expressions that do not convey messages effectively
Negative expressions that deter readers from accepting your ideas
Wordiness or redundancy
Jargon that can make readers feel you are trying to talk over their heads
Clichs that might seem unprofessional
Inattention to details
Contradicting statements that give confusing messages
Communication through writing
Communicating through writing is helpful when providing information to several
individuals. Writing is also beneficial when you have a large amount of information that
needs to be communicated. And when the information you are sharing is difficult to
understand, putting it in writing allows the reader to review it as often as needed.
However, when information is personal or can elicit an emotional response, you should
avoid sending a written message. You should communicate this type of information
face-to-face because feedback from the recipient can be immediately addressed.
Writing guidelines
When writing, you should keep the following guidelines in mind:
Be specific Direct language avoids potential misunderstanding.
Remain focused Concentrate on one point at a time and give only the
information the reader needs.
Relate obscure ideas to known facts Help the reader understand your
message by relating unfamiliar ideas to familiar ones.
Emphasize your main points Use words, styles, and formatting to focus the
readers attention on the main points of your message.
Allow enough time Give yourself plenty of time to fully develop the ideas
you want to relay.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Writing skills 13

Do it! A-1: Discussing basic writing skills
Exercises
Encourage students to
share any other pitfalls
that they observe.
1 Read the following paragraph and identify the writing pitfalls that the author
should have avoided.
Life today is highly affected by the World Wide Web, which enables us to
access information from different spheres of life, which in turn has made this
enormous world a very small place. In the current times the dialogues even in a
marital tiff are resolved over the net as couples have such tight schedules. A
person who is very busy at work can chat with his friend using the net.
Wordiness or redundant phrases
Inattention to details
Sexist language

2 In which of the following situations should you use writing to communicate your
message?
A Small amount of information to convey
B Large amount of information to convey
C Information related to personal matters
D Easy to understand information
Take this opportunity to
review all five writing
guidelines.
3 Read the following paragraph. Does it follow the prescribed writing guidelines?
Today, the Internet has become a very big boon to everybody from a common
man to a multinational company. Everybody today is talking about the
Internet. People now enjoy communicating via e-mail and instant messengers.
The old means of communication have almost been forgotten. The companies
today advertise about their products by using Web sites and are finding new
ways and means to hold their customers attention focused to their Web sites.
To hold the customers attention, the Web pages need to be attractive,
dynamic, and flashy.

The writing process
Explanation The writing process involves constructing a well-defined idea for a specific audience. It
also involves writing a rough draft that youll refine later. However, the greatest
advantage of the writing process is that it enables you to write any type of document
clearly and professionally.
The writing process has four steps:
1 Planning to write
2 Organizing your thoughts
3 Writing the first draft
4 Editing the document
Following these four steps ensures that the document you create is well written and
conveys professionalism.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
14 Business Writing

Step 1: Planning to write
The first step of the writing process is planning what youll communicate. Planning
your messages enables you to outline exactly what you need to say. It also enables you
to reduce the risk of sending unnecessary information. You need to do the following to
plan your message properly:
1 Determine your purpose.
2 Analyze the reader.
3 Choose a style.
Determine your purpose
Having a clear purpose helps you identify what information you want to share with the
reader, and what you want the reader to learn from your message. When developing the
purpose of a message, consider its content, organization, style, tone, and format.
To develop a clear purpose, consider what the reader already knows about the subject.
The purpose of your message should cover only new or additional information.
To have a legitimate purpose, a document must meet three requirements:
The purpose must be worthwhile. Readers quickly disregard any information
that does not seem important.
The purpose must be delivered at the correct time. Make sure you deliver
your message when the reader is able to view and understand the information
with an open mind.
The purpose must be relevant to your organization. Your document should
reflect and reinforce your organizations goals or mission.
Analyze the reader
Knowing your readers, their attitudes, and the type of information they need helps you
write messages they can understand. Analyzing your readers also enables you to address
any skepticism, reluctance to change, or concerns they might have about the
information.
You should always provide readers with information that is important to them. When
writing to a large group, you should focus on a common interest. Finding some common
ground before approaching a subject enables you to avoid alienating any of your
readers.
By anticipating your readers probable reaction, you can address any doubts, fears, or
uncertainties they might have about your purpose. This increases the probability that
they will accept your message.
Evaluating your readers knowledge of a subject will help you determine the type and
amount of information you need to include in a message.
Readers want to know why and how the information you are sending is valuable to
them. If you do not state how your readers can use the information, they might disregard
your message.
Choose a writing style
Your writing style should be appropriate to your purpose and audience. Over the last
several years, business writing has become less rigid and more informal.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Writing skills 15

A formal style is appropriate for documents addressed to a large audience, long reports,
or official documents. When using a formal style, you should refrain from using
personal pronouns, such as I and you. By avoiding contractions, such as dont
and its, you can maintain a sense of formality. You should also avoid colloquialisms
and slang.
An informal style is typically used in documents such as memos, letter reports, or brief
e-mail messages addressed to an individual or a small group. This style is dependent on
the tone you want to present and the type of information being shared. You should use
an informal style only with individuals you know personally.
Step 2: Organizing your thoughts
The second step of the writing process is to organize your thoughts. Properly organizing
your thoughts before writing enables you to communicate information in a systematic
and logical format that will help the reader understand your message.
Importance of being well organized
Organizing your thoughts before writing enables you to satisfy a readers informational,
motivational, and practical needs. When you organize information in a document
effectively, your message is easy to understand.
Logically organizing your thoughts before writing provides three other benefits:
Your main points will be emphasized and properly supported with evidence.
You can identify areas where you lack information.
You save the readers time by presenting information in a clear and easy-to-
follow format.
Creating an outline
Using a standard outline form is the most effective method of organizing thoughts. After
determining the information you need to include in a document, indicate your main
points by using Roman numerals (I, II, III).
Under each main point, list the associated subpoints labeled capital letters (A, B, C).
Indicate supporting material with Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3) directly under each
subpoint.
Organizing a written document
To organize thoughts in a clear and logical manner, you need to:
1 State the main topic. Immediately identifying your intentions keeps the reader
focused on the main points of the document.
2 Explain how youll present the information. Briefly explaining at the outset
how your message is presented helps the reader follow your train of thought
through the document. Listing the items you need to discuss in a systematic,
logical, and sequential manner allows the reader to easily identify your reason
for sending the message.
3 Include all your evidence. Supporting your ideas with solid evidence will help
the reader understand why youre sending the message.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
16 Business Writing

Step 3: Writing the first draft
The third step in the writing process is to write the first draft. In this step, you should
begin to refine your thoughts so that they correspond with the overall purpose of the
document.
A first draft should be written quickly and without much concern for grammatical
errors. Concentrate mainly on noting all your ideasyou can revise the document later.
You might want to concentrate on simple information first, leaving the more difficult
concepts for later.
You should not feel constrained by your outline. If you decide it can be improved, dont
hesitate to add, delete, or rearrange information. But stay focused on your main purpose;
this will help you avoid including irrelevant information.
First draft goals
When writing a first draft, try to stay focused on these goals:
Establish your credibility. Tell the reader why you are qualified to write about
the subject. This will boost their confidence in the importance and validity of
your message.
Be sensitive. A reader who receives an insensitive message will ignore the
information it contains and instead focus on how it made him or her feel, thus
defeating the purpose of your message. Always avoid comments that some
people might find rude.
Emphasize your main points. Stating your main points at the beginning of your
document grabs the readers attention and reinforces the purpose of the message.
Project the right image. Whether you are writing to an employee, supervisor,
or someone outside your organization, you need to be aware of how the reader
will interpret your message. Project a positive image by writing messages that
are professional and accurate.
Step 4: Editing your document
The fourth and final step in the writing process is to edit your document. Editing enables
you to correct any grammatical or spelling errors. It also helps you to make sure your
document is presented in a logical and easy-to-read format.
While editing your document, you should make sure it contains only relevant
information. If possible, set aside the first draft for a couple of days so you can return to
it later and edit with a fresh point of view.
To edit a document properly, follow these four steps:
1 Check the content and organization. Verify that you have presented all the
relevant information in a logical manner. You should also check to see if you
have provided enough supporting information for each idea.
2 Check its readability. Verifying that the document is based on direct and
concise statements. You should also look for factual errors and confusing
statements.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Writing skills 17

3 Check the format. The layout, or appearance, of your document has a lot to do
with its readability. We suggest the following formatting guidelines:
Place margins consistently at the top, bottom, and sides of your document.
Use page numbers and consistently, and include them on every page.
Use headings to emphasize each segment of your document and support the
overall flow of information.
Indent lists to focus the readers attention.
Use boldface type to emphasizing headings.
Use generous spacing throughout your document, and keep your sentences
and paragraphs relatively short.
4 Check the mechanics. Grammatical, spelling, punctuation, and typographical
errors can damage your professional clout and credibility. Therefore, its very
important to double-check your document for these errors. Do not depend
completely on a word processors spelling and grammar check functions.
How many times should you edit a document?
Ideally, you should edit your document at least three times. Its also a good idea to have
an impartial person read the document before it is distributed. Another pair of eyes will
often catch mistakes that you missed due to your familiarity with the document.
Do it! A-2: Discussing the writing process
Exercises

1 Which of the following is one of the four steps of the writing process?
A Organizing your thoughts
B Organizing your writing materials
C Developing an index
D Sending your first draft to an editor

2 Place the following writing steps in the correct order.

Analyze the reader
Choose a style
Determine your purpose
Determine your purpose
Analyze the reader
Choose a style

3 When writing to a large number of people, which writing style is usually more
appropriate: informal or formal?
Its important to know your audience. The informal writing style is more appropriate for
individuals you personally know.
Initiate a short discussion.
4 Explain why using a standard outline form is the most effective method of
organizing your thoughts.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
18 Business Writing



5 What can damage your credibility as a writer?
Grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.
Ask a volunteer to share
the answer.
6 Jenny has just returned from an exciting holiday in Spain. She writes an article
about her trip with the intention of getting it published. Put the following tasks in
the correct order. For each task, identify the corresponding step of the writing
process.
She sends the article for edit.
She chooses an informal writing style.
She decides to include pictures taken during the trip.
She reads the article and then adds, deletes, and rearranges the information.
She decides that the article should be for children.
She makes a final read-through to check for grammatical and spelling errors.
She creates an outline for the article.
She writes about her experiences and later includes details about each location
by consulting reference sources.

Step 1: Planning to write
She decides that the article should be for children.
She chooses an informal writing style.
Step 2: Organizing thoughts
She creates an outline for the article.
She decides to include pictures taken during the trip.
Step 3: Writing the first draft
She writes about her experiences and later includes details about each location by
consulting reference sources.
She reads the article and then adds, deletes, and rearranges the information.
Step 4: Editing the document
She makes a final read-through to check for grammatical and spelling errors.
She sends the article for edit.

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Writing skills 19

Topic B: Effective sentences and paragraphs
Explanation Effective sentences and paragraphs will allow the reader to interpret your message
successfully, minimizing miscommunication. Choosing the right words helps you
deliver a clear and concise message.
The right words
The words you use will depend on the type of document you are writing.
Here are three the types of words that you can use in every document you write:
Concrete words have specific meanings and are less likely to be misinterpreted.
Familiar words are common to you and the reader.
Concise words have few syllables and are easy to read.
These four types of words are to be avoided:
Gender-specific words. When possible, you should avoid any word that
specifies genderfor example, waitress (use server instead). In addition, you
should refer to women as Ms. or by their title, unless they ask to be addressed
differently.
Racial words. These words refer to any stereotype of a race or an ethnic group.
Unless an individuals race or ethnicity is important to your message, dont refer
to it.
Age-specific words. These words refer to an individuals age or to a stereotype
associated with a specific age group. You should only refer to an individuals
age when it is truly relevant to your message.
Disability-specific words. Whenever possible, avoid referring to an individuals
disabilities. However, if you must mention individuals with physical or mental
handicaps, refer to them as disabled.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
110 Business Writing

Do it! B-1: Choosing the right words
Exercises

1 When referring to women in a document, which title should be used?
Ms.

2 Classify the following words as gender-specific, racial, age-specific, or
disability-specific.

Congressman Gender-specific

Blind Disability-specific

Jew Racial

Kid Age-specific

Black Racial

Elderly Age-specific

Adolescent Age-specific

Deaf Disability-specific

Chairman Gender-specific

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Writing skills 111

Types of sentences
Explanation You can use three types of sentences when writing a document:
Simple sentences have a single subject and a single verb. For example: Mr.
Roberts moved last year. In this sentence, Mr. Roberts is the single subject,
and moved is the single verb.
Compound sentences have two or more independent, but related, clauses of
equal importance that are linked together with and, but, or or. For
example: I would have finished the report, but my computer crashed.
Complex sentences have one independent clause with one or more dependent
clauses related to it, separated by a comma. For example: Even though the
proposal had several flaws, many managers accepted it. In this sentence, the
dependent clause comes before the comma, and is followed by the independent
clause.
Effective sentences
Use the following guidelines to create effective sentences:
Be concise. Regardless of the type of document you are writing, you should
always keep your sentences concise. To avoid confusing the reader, most
sentences should have no more than 20 words. However, you might occasionally
need to group several ideas together. In these situations, it is acceptable to
exceed this limit.
Avoid unnecessary and repetitious words. This will help you prevent
redundancy in your sentences. Some commonly overused words include to,
that, who, which, and the.
Use active voice. Try to use active voice instead of passive voice. Passive
sentences are typically longer and more difficult to read than active sentences.
Here are two examples:
Active The regional manager will handle all complaints.
Passive All complaints will be handled by the regional manager.
Active sentences tend to make stronger statements and are more to the point.
However, you might use passive sentences to soften bad news because they can
seem less accusatory to the reader.
Eliminate run-on sentences. Run-on sentences typically contain too many ideas
and confuse the reader. Many compound sentences are actually run-on sentences
that should be broken into separate statements.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
112 Business Writing

Do it! B-2: Discussing sentences
Exercises

1 Most sentences should contain no more than ___ words.
20

2 ______ sentences should be broken into two or more sentences.
Run-on

3 Classify the following sentences as simple, compound, or complex.

The strategic partnership provides the best distribution
network to businesses.
Simple

As many of you already know, Icon is beginning work on a
new company-wide newsletter.
Complex

This performance, month after month, is due to a diverse
group of leading global products.
Simple

Mike works on several corporate accounts, and Holly deals
with large consumer accounts.
Compound

Since he began working at Icon, Ward has been recognized as
an impressive executive.
Complex

My friend offered me a piece of candy, but I was already
chewing gum.
Compound

Before I left for lunch, I finished reading the report. Complex

4 Convert the following sentences to active voice.

Icons success is defined by our
employees.
Our employees define Icons success.

The report will be completed by our
department.
Our department will complete the report.

Icon Internationals future is being
planned by the board of directors.
The board of directors is planning Icon
Internationals future.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Writing skills 113



5 Determine whether the following are run-on sentences. If so, rewrite the sentence
to correct the error.

The report should be done by next
Monday, however, George has been late
in reviewing it, and I have been unable to
revise it.
The report should be done by next
Monday. However, George has been late
in reviewing it, and I have been unable to
revise it.

Jerry will write the report on Monday and
edit it on Tuesday.
Not a run-on sentence.

Effective paragraphs
Explanation Paragraphs can vary in length and form depending on the amount of information they
cover. However, all good paragraphs have the following three components:
Topic sentences located at the beginning of the paragraph. These sentences
state what you are going to cover and indicate how youll discuss the subject of
the paragraph.
Supporting sentences that explain the topic sentences. Supporting sentences
provide specific details that clarify the rest of the information in the paragraph.
Well-formed paragraphs should have enough information to clarify the topic
sentence and make it interesting.
Transitional words that make the paragraph coherent. Transitional words
connect one thought to another and help the reader follow your train of thought.
Some transitional words include and, but, or, however, in addition,
and therefore.
Creating effective paragraphs
To create effective paragraphs, follow these three guidelines:
Concentrate on one idea. This will help you maintain focus and purpose.
Combining several different topics in a paragraph will confuse the reader.
Keep paragraphs short. Long paragraphs quickly lose their focus and bore the
reader. Paragraphs should not be longer than 10 to 12 lines.
Vary the length and structure. This guideline applies to sentences and
paragraphs, and will help you avoid repetition of style. Mixing long and short
paragraphs in a document also helps keep the readers attention.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
114 Business Writing

Do it! B-3: Identifying the components of effective paragraphs
Exercises
Tell students that the
sentences in this
paragraph are jumbled.
1 We have taken a well-written paragraph and rearranged its sentences. In this
jumbled version, identify the topic sentence and the supporting sentences.
Therefore, in our company, client relationships dont end when the purchase
decision is made. For 15 years, this business has built its reputation on one
enduring commitment: superior customer service. We build customer
relationships by paying attention to detail, keeping our promises, and
providing open access to our professional staff.

Topic sentence: For 15 years, this business has built its reputation on one enduring
commitment: superior customer service.
Supporting sentences: We build customer relationships by paying attention to detail,
keeping our promises, and providing open access to our professional staff. Therefore, in our
company, client relationships dont end when the purchase decision is made.

Which of the following was used as a transitional word in the paragraph?
A This
B Therefore
C When

2 Whats a topic sentence?
A topic sentence is located at the beginning of a paragraph. It tells the reader what the
paragraph is about, and it sets the tone.

3 Identify the supporting sentences in the following paragraph.
Icons Web site contains important information for customers. On the home
page youll find links to case studies, support resources, and online product
information. Additionally, the Web site serves as a forum where you can share
concerns and experiences with other technical support professionals.
On the home page youll find links to case studies, support resources, and online product
information. Additionally, the Web site serves as a forum where you can share concerns and
experiences with other technical support professionals.

Which of these words is not used as a transitional word in the preceding
paragraph?
A On
B And
C Additionally
D Online

4 Every paragraph in a document should be about the same length. True or false?
False
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Writing skills 115

Unit summary: Writing skills
Topic A In this unit, you learned about basic writing skills and how they can help you write
clearer documents, such as contracts, memos, reports, and letters. You also learned
about some common pitfalls to avoid in your writing. Then, you learned about the four
steps in the standard writing process.
Topic B Next, you learned how to choose words carefully and create effective sentences. You
learned that there are three types of sentences: simple, complex, and compound.
Finally, you learned some guidelines for writing effective paragraphs. These include
concentrating on one idea, keeping paragraphs relatively short, and varying the length
and structure of sentences.
Review questions
Imagine that youre meeting with Marcus Robinson, one of the Icon Internationals
Information Service Editors, to guide him in the proper approach to drafting a
document. To test his understanding of the writing process, you ask him the following
questions. How should Marcus answer each question?
1 Do you establish a clear purpose for each document?
A I always establish a clear purpose before I start writing.
B I usually establish a purpose, but it depends on the subject matter and how much
time I have to complete the document.
C A writer rarely needs to establish a clear purpose.
D No, I just dive right into the first draft.
2 Do you analyze your audience before starting to write?
A I always analyze my audience before writing a first draft.
B Its not always important to analyze the audience before writing a first draft. It
depends on the subject matter.
C I never analyze my audience before starting to write. Its easier to just start
writing.
3 When analyzing your audience, do you consider how many people will be reading
the document?
A I usually dont think about how many people will be reading the document, as it
could be a distraction.
B I never think about how many people will be reading the document.
C Depending on the type of the document Im writing, I usually consider how
many people will be reading it.
D Every time I write a document, I consider how many people will be reading it.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
116 Business Writing

4 Do you consider the readers level of understanding before writing?
A I never really think about the readers level of understanding.
B My readers level of understanding is a major concern whenever Im planning to
write.
C Sometimes I think about my readers level of understanding.
5 When writing documents for a large audience, or when writing long reports and
official documents, which writing style do you use?
A Formal
B Informal
C Doesnt really matter
6 When writing memos, letter reports, or brief e-mail messages, which writing style
do you use?
A Formal
B Informal
C Doesnt really matter
7 What method to do you use to organize your information?
A I dont bother to organizing my thoughts first. I just start writing a first draft.
B I organize information by creating an outline.
C I usually write a few notes and try to organize them while writing the first draft.
8 Do you place the main topic at the beginning of the document?
A Yes
B No
C Depends on the type of document
9 When organizing your information, do you include all your evidence?
A Yes, always
B No, never
C Depends on the type of document, the subject matter, and the audience
10 Which of the following guidelines does not apply to writing a first draft?
A Establish your credibility
B Be sensitive
C Pay close attention to grammar and spelling
D Emphasize your main points
E Project the right image
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Writing skills 117

11 Which of the following are examples of active voice?
A We will deliver the goods by next Friday.
B The goods will be delivered by next Friday.
C The goods are being delivered by UPS.
D None of the above
12 In general, which of the following types of words should you avoid?
A Concrete
B Gender-specific
C Familiar
D Concise
13 In general, how many times should you edit a document?
A Once
B Twice
C Three times or more
14 Classify the following sentences as simple, compound, or complex.

Sentence Classification

They decided to take separate vacations this year. Simple

Although they are miles apart, they are in constant touch
through the Internet.
Complex

Bruno dislikes sitting on the beach, and hell do just about
anything to avoid it.
Compound

Until George read the last minutes, we couldnt start the
meeting.
Complex

Josephine turned on her computer. Simple

I slept late, and I was late to work. Compound

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
118 Business Writing

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
21

Un i t 2
Writing specific messages
Unit time: 40 minutes
Complete this unit, and youll know how
to:
A Write effective business messages,
including reports, letters, and e-mail.
B Write opinionated messages, including
apologies, negative messages, and
persuasive messages.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
22 Business Writing

Topic A: Business letters and reports
Explanation Business people write messages to communicate vital information clearly and
precisely. Business messages include reports, business letters, and e-mail messages.
Business reports
The length of a report is determined by who requests it. Short reports are fewer than
10 pages in length and do not require a large amount of preparation. They are
usually in the form of a letter or a memo and cover one topic. Long reports exceed
10 pages and typically require a large amount of research. Examples of long reports
include market analyses, feasibility studies, and market evaluations.
To write a successful business report, you need to:
Use specific and clear language. Precise and clear language enables the
reader to quickly understand the information you are presenting. You should
also provide the reader with as much specific information as possible.
Report all relevant facts. To make an accurate assessment of your message,
the reader needs to have sufficient information about the subject. Dont
withhold any information even if you think it might displease the reader or
conflict with their personal viewpoint.
Indicate why the information is important. Tell the reader why the
document is directly relevant to him or her. To avoid misleading or
confusing the reader, explain the significance of all included information.
Support ideas with proper evidence. Providing supporting evidence will
give your message validity and a purpose. Without evidence, the reader
might doubt the credibility of your ideas, so provide information that clearly
supports your claims.
Limit personal bias. Focusing on personal biases and using strong
emotional language can offend the reader. Unless requested by the reader,
avoid giving personal opinions because the overall purpose of a report is to
convey information. Limiting your personal biases and strong emotions in
documents allows the reader to focus on the message.
Business letters
This section describes the required features of a business letter. These features are
shown from top to bottom in Exhibit 2-1.
Heading. Also called the letterhead, this part of a letter is placed along the
left margin and starts about two inches (or 13 lines) from the top of the page.
It includes your organizations name, full address, and telephone number.
Most businesses have pre-printed letterhead stationary.
Date. Place the date two lines below the heading. When writing dates, start
with the full name of the month, then the day in numerals followed by a
comma, and then the yearfor example, November 16, 2002.
Inside address. This identifies the letters recipient. You should place the
inside address two lines below the date. Always address the reader as Mr.
or Ms., and specify the readers position or title after their name. If you
dont know the name of the person to whom you are writing, address it to the
relevant department or a specific position within that department.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Writing specific messages 23

Salutation. The salutation should be placed two lines below the inside
address. It should include the recipients name followed by a colonFor
example, Dear Ms. Lee:. A good rule of thumb is to address the reader as
if you were speaking to him or her in person. If you dont know the readers
name, the proper salutation is To whom it may concern.
Letter body. This part of the letter contains your message and begins two
lines below the salutation. Most letters are single spaced with a double space
between each paragraph for clarity.
Closing. The closing should be two lines below the body of the letter.
Traditional letter closings include Sincerely and Cordially. Ideally, the
closing should reflect your relationship with the reader.
Signature block. This part of the letter contains your signature and your
typed name. To make room for your signature, leave three blank lines
between the closing and your typed name. If you include your companys
name in the signature block, it should be in capital letters.


Exhibit 2-1: A sample business letter
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
24 Business Writing

Optional components of a business letter
Here are some additional features that can be included in a business letter:
Attention line. This feature can be used when you only know the last name
of the letters recipient or you want to direct a letter to a position title or a
department, as shown in Exhibit 2-2. When using an attention line, place it
two lines below the inside address or immediately following the companys
name in the inside address. Attention lines begin with the word Attention,
followed by a colon and the recipients name.


Exhibit 2-2: An attention line in a sample letter
Subject line. This line briefly informs the reader of the subject of the
message and usually follows the salutation, as shown in Exhibit 2-3.
However, you can also place the subject line at the very top of the first page
or immediately before the salutation. Subject lines are usually aligned with
the left margin, but they can also be centered on the page.


Exhibit 2-3: Subject line in a sample business letter
Second-page headings. Second-page headings are used only when a letter is
two or more pages long, as shown in Exhibit 2-4. Placed at the top of the
page, they should include the full name of the person receiving the letter, the
date, and the page number. You might also include the name of the
recipients organization. When using second-page headings, leave two blank
lines between the heading and the body of the letter.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Writing specific messages 25




Exhibit 2-4: A second-page heading in a sample business letter
Reference initials. These are included when the writer dictates a letter to
another person who types the letter. Reference initials should be placed two
lines below the signature block and aligned with the left margin, as shown in
Exhibit 2-5. The writers initials should be listed first, followed by those of
the typistfor example JAL/jdw or JAL:jdw.



Exhibit 2-5: Reference initials in a sample business letter
Postscripts. These are afterthoughts, personal messages, or items that need
further emphasis at the end of a letter. Postscripts are indicated by the initials
P.S. or PS (as shown in Exhibit 2-6). However, try to avoid postscripts
because they can indicate that a letter was poorly planned.


Exhibit 2-6: A postscript in a sample business letter
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
26 Business Writing

Special notations in a business letter
Addressee notations. Some common addressee notations are
PERSONAL, CONFIDENTIAL, or PLEASE FORWARD. If
included, these notiations should appear two spaces above the inside address
and in capital letters (as shown in Exhibit 2-7).


Exhibit 2-7: An addressee notation in a sample business letter
Enclosure notations. These notations inform the reader that other
documents are included with the letter. Some examples are Enclosure,
Enclosures (3), Encl: Annual Report, and Attachment. Enclosure
notations appear one or two lines below the reference initials, as shown in
Exhibit 2-8.


Exhibit 2-8: An enclosure notation in a sample business letter
Copy notations. This type of notation tells the reader who else is receiving a
copy of the letterfor example, cc: Joanne Davis. Copy notations should
follow reference initials or enclosure notations, and multiple recipients
should be listed in alphabetical order by last name.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Writing specific messages 27

Mailing notations. These notations indicate the delivery methodfor
example, SPECIAL DELIVERY or REGISTERED MAIL (as shown in
Exhibit 2-9). Mailing notations can be placed under the copy notation or
above the inside address. To highlight the mailing notation, use all capital
letters.


Exhibit 2-9: A mailing notation in a sample business letter
Writing a transmittal letter
A transmittal letter, or cover letter, tells the recipient why you are sending the
attached document or other item. When writing a transmittal letter, be sure to:
Tell the reader why you are sending the information.
Write a brief summary of the material and explain why the information is
important.
Tell the reader what to do with the information.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
28 Business Writing

Do it! A-1: Discussing business letters and reports
Exercises
Invite responses from
students and write them
on the whiteboard.
Discuss each briefly.
1 Prepare a checklist of dos and donts for writing a good business report.
Use precise and clear language
Include detailed figures
Provide all information about the subject
Provide evidence that supports your ideas
Avoid using strong emotional language
Avoid giving personal opinion

2 Place the following features in the correct order, as they would appear in a
business letter.

Salutation
Date
Signature block
Letter body
Heading
Closing
Inside address
Heading
Date
Inside address
Salutation
Letter body
Closing
Signature block

3 A letters inside address identifies the recipient. True or false?
True

4 Lets say youre drafting a letter to a customer to explain why their automated
phone system has been upgraded. Consider the following sentence:
We decided to change systems to ensure accessibility to your financial
information.
From the following choices, select the most appropriate replacement for this
sentence.
A The decision to change systems was made to ensure accessibility to your
financial information.
B We decided to change systems to ensure accessibility.
C Changing systems was necessary for your continued accessibility to financial
information.
Help students correctly
format the letter. Have
students concentrate on
the letters formatting
rather than its content.
5 Write an overdue payment reminder and share it with the class. The reminder
should be in the form of a business letter.

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Writing specific messages 29

Brief communication messages
Explanation Memorandums are short documents sent within an organization to a specific
individual or group. A memorandum, or memo, usually contains a brief message
and is no longer than one page. How you organize a memo depends on its purpose.
Here are some guidelines:
Describe your objective briefly and up-front. Avoid wasting the readers
time with a lengthy introduction.
State what should happen. Immediately informing the reader about what
needs to happen will eliminate any confusion regarding your intentions.
Detail the readers responsibilities. If you want them action, tell them
exactly what to do. Your readers will be able to complete the assigned task
only if they clearly understand your instructions.
Writing an effective e-mail message
E-mail messages should be formatted similarly to memos. However, there are some
special considerations to keep in mind when writing e-mail messages:
Address only one topic. Keeping e-mail messages focused on a single topic
enables the reader to respond to your message quickly and easily.
Include a subject line. The subject line should tell the reader what your
message is about and what he or she needs to do. A precise subject line
immediately informs the reader of your expectations.
Limit the messages length. In general, an e-mail message should be no
longer than an average computer screen. If your e-mail is longer than a page,
organize it so that the most important information is near the beginning.
Avoid sending confidential messages. A message deleted from your
computers memory might be stored in several other computers within your
organization. For this reason, there is no guarantee that your message will
remain confidential.
Do it! A-2: Writing brief messages
Exercises

1 Here is the opening sentence of a draft memo to top management about an
automated phone system:
The ability to meet our customers needs is important to Icons success.
From the following choices, select the most appropriate replacement for this
sentence.
A The only thing more important than fulfilling the current needs of our
customers is being able to meet their future needs.
B The most important thing to Icons customers is whether their needs are met.
C It is very important to meet our customers' needs.

2 While memos need to be brief, they can cover several topics. True or false?
False
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
210 Business Writing



3 Here is the closing sentence of the draft memo from question 1:
We dont know how you feel about this situation, but approving this proposal
is extremely important to Icons future.
From the following choices, select the most appropriate replacement for this
sentence.
A Without your approval, our research is useless.
B We need your written approval to upgrade the automated telephone system.
C Unless you approve this proposal, we feel the future of this service is in
trouble.
Ask a volunteer to share
the answer.
4 Read the follow e-mail message and identify the ways in which it does not follow
the e-mail guidelines specified in this unit.
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2004 10:03:13 0500
To: Susan Jackson <susan@icon.com>
From: Nancy Armstrong <nancy@icon.com>
Subject:
Hi Susan, the Icon International Employee Policies and Procedures Handbook
is an essential document for company employees, as it contains information
that they must reference for human resource and legal reasons. The
handbooks current structure is ineffective. Please review and reformat the
handbook to assist the user in finding relevant information.
I know that before joining Icon International as a human resources assistant,
you developed several employee policy and procedure documents for smaller
companies. By the way, which companies have you worked with? Is the
working environment here different from the other companies for whom you
have worked? I remember you saying that the your previous company would
give holiday packages to its employees. So, which places did you visit?
Anyway, this experience, combined with your firsthand knowledge of Icon
employees concerns, makes you the perfect person to ensure that this project
is completed in an effective and efficient manner.
Nancy
The writer did not include a subject line.
The message addresses more than one topic.

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Writing specific messages 211

Topic B: Writing opinionated messages
Explanation Positive messages include letters of confirmation, thank you letters, and any other
message that conveys welcome information. While positive messages inform the
reader of good news, they need to remain professional in tone and style.
Positive message guidelines
To write an effective positive message, follow these guidelines:
State the good news clearly. Stating information clearly helps the reader
understand the reason for sending the message.
Provide the reader with detailed facts. Without understanding exactly why
he or she is receiving a positive message, the reader might disregard your
intentions.
Summarize your main point. Restating your main point in the letters
closing emphasizes the positive tone of the message.
Writing an apology letter
When problems occur, you might have to write an apology letter. Written apologies
help regain the respect and goodwill of clients and individuals within your
organization. When writing an apology:
Apologize immediately and inform the reader that you care about their
business or feelings. To avoid seeming insincere, however, you should avoid
long or drawn-out apologies.
Focus on the action you are taking to correct the mistake. Your reader will
be more receptive to your ideas and suggestions if you focus on the positive
aspects of the situation.
To keep the tone of the message positive, limit recalling negative details. If
you have new information about the problem, include it and then explain
how you are addressing it.
Tell the reader how you plan to prevent the problem in the future. This will
help to restore their confidence in your abilities.
Request feedback from the reader to gain any additional information on how
to solve the problem or prevent it from happening again. By asking for the
readers input, you are also allowing them to voice their concerns.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
212 Business Writing

Do it! B-1: Discussing apology letters
Multiple-choice questions
This is the opening
paragraph of an apology
letter to customers who
complained about an
automated telephone
system.
Tell students that the
second and last
paragraphs of this letter
are given in the next two
questions.
1 Here is the first paragraph of a draft apology letter:
I apologize for the accessibility problems you experienced with our automated
account information system. Id like to rectify this situation for you.
From the following choices, select the most appropriate replacement for the
underlined sentence.
A I want to rectify this situation for you immediately.
B We will do everything we can to rectify this situation immediately.
C We appreciate your business and want to rectify this situation immediately.

2 Here is the second paragraph of the apology letter:
A recent increase in clients using this service has caused our current system to
become inefficient. We hope to complete the system repairs as soon as
possible.
This paragraph contains an error in terms of how to provide your reader with new
information about a problem. From the following choices, select the most
appropriate replacement for the underlined sentence.
A The system will be repaired very soon.
B Our system repairs will be completed by the first of next month.
C We hope to have the system repaired by next month.

3 Here is the last part of the apology letter:
I hope this letter has answered any questions you might have. We are looking
forward to the completion of this system upgrade.
This is not the best way to close an apology letter. From the following choices,
select the most appropriate replacement for this paragraph.
A Although this letter should address your concerns, please contact us if you
have any other questions.
B This should cover your concerns. The system upgrade will correct any
additional problems.
C If you have any additional concerns, please contact me directly at 622-5000.

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Writing specific messages 213

Guidelines for writing negative messages
Explanation Occasionally, youll have to deliver bad news, such as a denied request, in the form
of a letter. When writing a negative message, try to mix bad news with positive
information. Mixing good and bad news helps lessen the impact of the negative
message.
Here are some other guidelines for writing negative messages:
Thoroughly explain the reasons for the bad news.
If appropriate, emphasize that you want to maintain your current relationship
with the reader.
If possible, tell the reader how the information you are providing will benefit
him or her.
Use positive words and expressions.
Complaints
Complaints are usually written when you are dissatisfied with an organizations
products, services, or policies. These letters inform the reader of a problem and
enable you to state your concern. However, you need to control your emotions for
the reader to receive your message positively.
To write a proper complaint, follow these four steps:
1 Begin your message with a positive tone. Set a courteous and positive tone
to avoid angering the reader. Select your words and phrases carefully.
Replace words or phrases that have negative connotations with positive
language. Avoid words like problems, wrong, and mixed up.
2 Give reasons for your complaint. Immediately explain why you are
sending a complaint to inform the reader of the problem. Effectively
detailing your reasons helps justify the message to the reader.
3 Suggest an alternative to correct the situation. Demonstrate your concern
by suggesting a way to improve the situation. When giving advice, avoid
sounding authoritative or domineering. The reader might reject your advice
if you are too heavy-handed.
4 Close the complaint confidently. Demonstrating confidence in the reader
shows your trust and increases the chance of your complaint being properly
addressed.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
214 Business Writing

Do it! B-2: Discussing complaint letters
Exercises

1 Put these steps for writing a complaint letter in the correct order.

Suggest an alternative to correct the situation.
Set a positive tone.
Show confidence in your reader.
Give reasons for your complaint.
Set a positive tone.
Give reasons for your complaint.
Suggest an alternative to correct the
situation.
Show confidence in your reader.

2 How can you cushion the impact of bad news?
By mixing bad news with positive information.

3 Here is the first sentence of a complaint letter sent to a company manager:
I understand that you have finally started working through the accessibility
problems with our automated telephone service.
From the following choices, select the most appropriate replacement for this
sentence.
A I appreciate the time the Information Services department is taking to work
through the accessibility problem with our automated telephone system.
B I dont understand why youve been hesitant to accept responsibility for the
accessibility problem, but Im glad your department is trying to rectify the
situation.
C I know youve been reluctant to work with us to correct the accessibility
problem, but Im glad you have started to see things our way.

4 Heres another sentence from a complaint letter:
Im sure you are well aware of how this problem is being handled by your
technicians.
From the following choices, select the best replacement for this sentencethat is,
the one that explains the reasons most clearly.
A Your department has been impossible to work with while trying to correct
this problem.
B Your department has refused to purchase the additional equipment needed to
correct the problem.
C I dont understand why your department has refused to make the purchases
needed to remedy this situation.

5 From the following choices, select the best closing for a complaint letter:
A I hope youll take the appropriate action to correct this problem for me.
B I expect you to do whatever is necessary to correct the problem immediately.
C I trust that we can identify the appropriate action to remedy this situation.

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Writing specific messages 215

Persuasive message
Explanation Persuasive messages try to influence a readers opinion about an issue, a policy, or a
situation. You must present information logically so that the reader clearly
understands the issues being addressed. When writing a persuasive message, you
should:
Demonstrate your credibility. Otherwise, your appeal will seem
manipulative or demanding to the reader. To gain credibility, support your
message with testimonials, statistics, research, and other factual evidence.
Be discreet. Avoid pushy or forceful language. Overtly pushing ideas on
readers might cause them to reject your proposal without full consideration.
Be able and willing to make concessions. By demonstrating your
flexibility, you encourage the reader to work with you. Its possible that only
parts of your suggestion will be accepted, so offering concessions will
encourage your reader to make concessions in return.
Writing a persuasive message
Following these four steps when writing a persuasive message:
1 Get the readers attention. Get to the heart of the matter early in your
message. A good method of getting a readers attention is to focus on the
companys goals.
2 Offer your ideas. Use your understanding of the readers biases and the
situation when offering your ideas. Knowing how the reader will react to
your ideas allows you to phrase them in an appealing way. State your
intentions early to focus the reader on your ideas.
3 Provide evidence. Show the reader why your proposal should be accepted
by providing the most convincing evidence first.
4 Detail the action required. Consider what will encourage the reader to
accept your ideas and make your suggestions easy to implement. Doing so
will convince the reader to adopt your ideas.
Do it! B-3: Discussing persuasive messages
Exercises

1 Which of the following options is more appropriate for a persuasive message?
A Icon must update its telephone system to better serve customers because they
want cutting-edge technology and superior service.
B A survey showed that 25 percent of customers were disappointed with Icons
customer service. Consequently, we must update our telephone system.

2 How can you gain credibility when writing a persuasive message?
By including testimonials, statistics, research, and other facts to support your message.

3 Select the option that best communicates a persuasive message.
A I am sure we can resolve this problem by working together. I am available to
discuss further a solution at your earliest convenience.
B I am sure you can resolve this problem by doing whatever is necessary.
Ask volunteers to share
their messages.
4 You have probably received persuasive messages in the form of advertisements.
Share two examples with the class.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
216 Business Writing

Unit summary: Writing specific messages
Topic A In this unit, you learned how to write business reports and business messages. You
learned about the components of a properly formatted business letter. You also
learned how to write a memo.
Topic B Next, you learned how to write opinionated messages, such as apology letters,
negative messages, and persuasive messages. You learned that written apologies
help regain the respect and goodwill of clients and individuals within an
organization. You also learned that mixing good and bad news together helps lessen
the impact of a negative message.
Review questions
1 Read the following paragraph:
We look forward to helping you meet your future purchasing needs. If you
have any additional questions about what this change means to you, please
call us at 1-800-555-1662.
Is this an appropriate way to end a business letter sent to customers?
Yes
2 Put the following steps for writing an apology in the correct order.

Step Step #

Limit recalling negative details to keep the tone of the
message positive.
3

Apologize and inform the reader that you care about his or
her business or feelings.
1

Focus on the action you are taking to correct the mistake. 2

Request additional feedback from the reader. 5

Inform the reader of how you plan to prevent the problem
in the future.
4

3 Which sentence communicates a persuasive message more effectively?
A If you feel unable to resolve this problem, please contact me and I will work
with you to determine an appropriate course of action.
B If you are unable to resolve this problem for me, I will contact your
supervisor to handle the situation.
4 List the four steps for writing a complaint.
1 Begin your message with a positive tone
2 Give reasons for your complaint
3 Suggest an alternative to correct the situation
4 Close the complaint confidently
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
31

Un i t 3
Understanding proposals
Unit time: 40 minutes
Complete this unit, and youll know how to:
A Write various types of proposals.
B Focus on the client when writing proposals.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
32 Business Writing

Topic A: Proposals
Explanation At its core, a proposal is a document offering a service or a product to a client. The
purpose of a proposal is to demonstrate to a client that you are the best company to
answer their needs or solve their problems.
What is a proposal?
Because the basic purpose of proposals is to sell your product or service, proposals can
greatly benefit your company by generating the business your organization needs to
compete and succeed in the market.
If an external party writes a proposal, the group is considered a vendor. However,
employees can write proposals for their own organization. In this case, the employee is
not considered a vendor but a member of the organization who has identified a way to
improve the company in some way.
Although many people dislike proposals and are intimidated by the task of constructing
one, writing a proposal should be viewed as an opportunity to convey a positive image
of your company to gain business from a client. A persuasive and well-defined proposal
can lead to increased businessand therefore more revenuefor your organization.
Types of proposals
There are various types of proposals, some of which might fall into more than one of the
following categories:
Informal proposals are relatively short documents, ranging from one to four
pages in length, and are often submitted as a memo or letter. Informal proposals
are often used for internal purposes and do not want detailed segmentation.
Keep in mind that although formal and informal proposals are used for different
purposes, they both contain the same basic information. The primary focus is on
what you can do for the client and how you can do it.
Formal proposals are usually submitted as formal reports and are much longer
than informal proposals. Therefore, formal proposals are more segmented than
informal proposals and include a variety of elements, including a cover letter, a
table of contents, and an executive summary. They also require a more formal
style of writing, although you do not want a formal proposal to come across as
stuffy or unnatural.
When responding to a request for proposal (RFP), a formal proposal is the most
appropriate format. In addition, writing to obtain grant money or detailing a
companys business plan is best done in a formal proposal format.
External proposals are sent to parties outside the organization, such as clients
or potential clients.
Internal proposals are sent to parties within your organization. For example,
your employer might ask for new product ideas or suggestions for organizational
changes. Business plan proposals are a common type of internal proposals.
Solicited proposals come from clients who have a need or problem that they
would like you to address. For example, proposals written in response to RFPs
are considered solicited proposals.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Understanding proposals 33

Unsolicited proposals are sent to potential clients to initiate contact and
generate business. A common example is a brief sales letter pitching a new
product or service. In addition, if you have developed a solution to a problem
within your organization, you might send an internal, unsolicited proposal to
upper management.
Purposes of proposals
To write effective proposals, you must understand how clients use them. Proposals are
often used to compare vendors and determine the quality of the product or service and
its suitability. After the best vendor for the project is identified, they are hired for the
job.
However, a client might also use a proposal to generate creative ways to meet needs or
solve problems. The risk involved in this situation is that you might create a proposal in
which you state a solid, well researched, and creative way to address a clients need,
only to have the client use the solution without buying it from you. This situation is
unethical and unfortunately a reality in the world of business proposals. However, there
are measures you can take, such as proprietary statements, which will help protect your
material from being used in such a way.
Whenever you are preparing to write any type of proposal, you must assume that the
client is going to receive proposals from other vendors as well. Therefore, your proposal
needs to be competitive to rise to the top of the clients list of preferred vendors.
The key to writing a competitive proposal is to align your competitive edge with your
clients organizational goals. Show the client that your service or product will meet their
needs on various levels, such as value and quality. If it is appropriate to the need or
problem, demonstrate how your solution can provide long-term benefits to the clients
organization.
By emphasizing a competitive advantage that complements your clients needs, you
become more of a business partner, instead of simply a vendor. Establishing a
partnership-style relationship with the client will encourage additional business for your
organization.
Factors of proposal evaluation
By understanding how clients evaluate proposals, you can prepare one that will meet
and surpass their expectations. The most important factor on which a proposal is
evaluated is whether or not the proposal was created with the clients needs in mind.
The client will be most concerned about determining if you have studied their situation
and truly understand their specific needs. If you are responding to an RFP, the client
will compare the proposal to the original RFP requirements.
In addition, to your responsiveness to their needs, the client will also consider whether
your organization has the ability to complete the job successfully or not. They will
examine factors, such as the competencies of your personnel, your history with similar
projects, and the capabilities of your facilities.
Finally, if your company can satisfy the clients expectations regarding these factors, the
issue of value will be considered. The client will want to ensure that they are paying a
reasonable and fair price for your services.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
34 Business Writing

Do it! A-1: Discussing proposal types
Exercises

1 What is the basic purpose of a proposal?
A Helps to market your product or service
B Helps to advertise your product or service
C Helps to analyze your product or service

2 List four types of proposals.
Informal
Formal
External
Internal
Solicited
Unsolicited
List responses on the
whiteboard and discuss
them briefly.
3 How can proposals benefit you and your organization?
Proposals are marketing tools that can help an organization meet a need or solve a problem.
They can greatly benefit your company by generating business.

4 Identify the most important criterion used for evaluating a proposal.
A Whether the proposal was completed
B Whether your facilities are capable
C Whether your personnel are competent
D Whether the proposal meets the clients needs
5 Listed below are four business scenarios. Identify the type of proposal that should
be written for each scenario.
Answers might vary, as
the complete scenarios
are not given.
A proposal for Epic Products from Icon International on
providing high quality wiring at a cost-effective price.
Formal

A proposal to Carla Jackson, Icons human resources head
suggesting changes in the departments structure.
Internal

In response to an RFP, Icon International sends a proposal
to an existing customer for improving its services.
Solicited

A proposal to Janet Porter, Icon Internationals director of
business development giving reasons and details of
implementing an automated phone system.
Internal, unsolicited
Ask a few volunteers to
discuss their proposals
with the class.
6 Have you written a proposal for your organization? If so, share the scenario with
the class and identify the proposal type.

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Understanding proposals 35

Topic B: Client-focused proposals
Explanation When writing a proposal for a client, you should make sure that it thoroughly and
effectively meets the clients needs. Unless you keep the client as your primary focus,
you wont be able to develop a successful proposal.
The clients point of view
The best way to maintain focus on the client is to see the situation from their point of
view. By looking at the need or problem from the clients perspective, youll be able to
develop a solution that addresses every aspect that is important to them. It might be
difficult to obtain this kind of perspective, but doing so will pay off in terms of winning
the clients business.
To adopt the clients point of view, you must examine their needs. Determine the need
or problem to be addressed or solved for the client to improve their current situation.
After you understand the clients needs, youll be able to empathize with them and
appreciate their situation.
Another way to approach the subject from the clients point of view is to consider what
questions they will have for you when they read your proposal. Anticipating the clients
questions forces you to consider what information they need, instead of what
information you want them to have. In addition, answering the clients questions before
they ask them will result in a well-rounded and thorough proposal.
Identifying client needs
There are two actions you can take to help you identify the clients needs:
Study guidelines offered by the client. This action can be taken only if you are
writing a solicited proposal. RFPs, in particular, are quite specific about items
that must be addressed by the company submitting the proposal. Studying these
guidelines will help you identify clients needs and give you a strong starting
point for developing possible solutions.
Study the clients situation. The best proposals are those in which the writer
studies the clients situation independently from any guidelines offered by the
client. It is likely that the client has not considered every factor that will
influence how their problem is addressed. Therefore, a superior proposal will
identify these additional factors and incorporate them into the solution.
Studying the clients situation is also necessary if you know little about the
client. For example, if you are writing a proposal for a new client, you need to
learn as much as possible about their organization. Doing so will help you
understand what information is most important to them, how much technical
knowledge they possess, and who are the main decision makers in the
organization.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
36 Business Writing

Questions to keep in mind
To maintain focus on the clients needs, ask yourself these two questions:
Why is this need worth addressing? Examine the situation closely and
determine the importance of addressing the need or solving the problem.
Determine how much the situation would be improved by your solution. Look
beyond the obvious reasons and identify the current negative impacts that exist.
For example, imagine you want to reply to an RFP from a company in need of
consultation during a company-wide restructuring. You should find out why the
company needs to restructure and what is inadequate about the current structure.
Understanding the importance of the situation will help you appreciate the
clients needs and will direct your efforts towards creating a solution that is
thorough and appropriate.
What will be the result of addressing this need? You must consider what the
outcome would be if your solution is chosen and implemented by the client.
Specifically, you should examine what goals would be met and how your
solution would help the client. In other words, identify what aspects of the
clients organization would be improved by your solution. For example, if you
are going to provide consulting services to a client during their restructuring
process, determine how your solution would improve the situation. Perhaps your
solution would improve the clients productivity by streamlining the
communication process between departments, or employee morale would be
enhanced by your solution.
Knowing what goals would be met as a result of your solution will allow you to
judge whether or not your solution addresses the clients needs or problems. You
want to make sure you are providing the client with the solution they need, not
one that addresses a less important issue than the true source of the problem.
Handling client questions
To identify all questions that the client might have:
List any questions that the client provides. Clearly, you can list these kinds of
questions only if the proposal is solicited. You need to make sure that you list
every question the client has provided, particularly on an RFP. Even if the
proposal is not a response to an RFP, if the proposal is solicited, there will be
some guidelines offered by the client.
Keep in mind that it is important to address every requirement on an RFP, even
if you feel that a particular request is unnecessary. The client will be evaluating
your proposal based on how responsive you are to their needs, and they will
want to have an answer to all the questions.
Brainstorm questions not explicitly identified. Brainstorming is an effective
way to create a list of questions the client might have that they have not yet
identified. During brainstorming, possible questions are listed, without judging
whether they are appropriate or not. It is important during brainstorming that
you be as open as possible to a variety of ideas, whether you are brainstorming
alone or in a group. A question that might seem silly or impractical at first could
prove to be a serious inquiry later by the client.
Remember, you want to provide a proposal that is customized to the client, with
the clients needs as the focus. Anticipating their questions and answering them
in your proposal will emphasize the effort you have taken to understand the
clients situation and create a solution that meets their needs completely.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Understanding proposals 37

Do it! B-1: Knowing your client
Exercises

1 The key to focusing on the client is to:
A Offer a variety of solutions from which they can choose
B Put most experienced people on the job
C Understand the fluctuations in the marketplace
D See the situation from their point of view

2 When answering to an RFP, you should only address the requirements that you
feel are necessary? True or false?
False

3 When should you brainstorm questions not explicitly identified by the client?
A Usually
B Rarely
C Always

Writing for the client
Explanation Just as you customize the proposal to the clients needs, you should also adjust the
proposal to match their expectations. There are three factors you must know about the
client:
The clients knowledge of the subject. You need to consider how much
knowledge the client already has about the subject to avoid providing a proposal
that is either too much in detail or not detailed enough. Some clients might know
a great deal about the subject matter, so they need little background information.
However, other clients might know little about the nature of your product or
service and will need to be educated to make a wise decision.
The clients role in the company. The clients specific role in the company will
influence the writing style of your proposal. For example, based on the clients
role in the company, they will be more interested in certain aspects of the
proposal than in others. It is possible that more than one person might read your
proposal, particularly if the client is from a large organization. Therefore, the
roles of individuals who read your proposal can range from the employee who
will actually use your product or service to the member of upper-management
who ultimately decides whether to accept your proposal or not.
Try to learn about who will be evaluating the proposal for the client. For
example, the end users might want to know how your product or service will
improve their jobs and if your solution will work. However, the authority with
the final decision making power is going to be highly concerned with the cost of
the project.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
38 Business Writing

The clients level of technical knowledge. You must keep in mind the amount
of technical knowledge the client possesses, or you risk confusing or insulting
them. Carefully defining a technical term or process that the client is already
familiar with might irritate them, while failing to explain technical details could
confuse other clients who are not as familiar with the technical aspects of a
situation.
The amount of technical knowledge your client might have can range from
absolutely none to an expert level. Write your proposal with these variances in
technical knowledge in mind.
Guidelines
Although you should customize the writing style of your proposal to the client, there are
some general guidelines you should follow when writing any proposal:
Use you statements. The use of you statements will help reinforce your
focus on the clients needs. The client wants to know how your product or
service will improve their situation; by using you statements will emphasize to
the client that you are approaching the situation from their perspective and have
their best interests in mind. For example, the statement, Our comprehensive
approach to change management will improve inter-departmental
communication, is more effective when written in the following way: Your
company will benefit from our comprehensive approach to change management,
as it will improve your inter-departmental communication.
Be direct. It is important to be direct and to the point in your proposals. Keep
your writing simple and let the client know your point up-front. The client does
not want to waste a lot of time trying to discover your main point. This approach
will come across as honest, because the client will not feel that they have to dig
through smokescreens to discover the point of your message.
Be concise. Every client will appreciate a concise proposal. If the client is faced
with two proposals, they will be more likely to read the shorter one first. A short,
clear proposal is more attractive than a lengthy one. Remember that your clients
time is valuable, and they do not want to spend more time than necessary
reading your proposal.
Leave out the jargon. Generally, jargon should be left out of proposals.
However, some jargon might be appropriate when discussing technical details
within the body of the proposal. If jargon is used for this purpose, you must be
certain that the client is familiar with the term, or you should define the word for
them.
Support your claims with specifics. The client will want to know specifically
why your proposal should be chosen from the pool of proposals they have
received. Give the client the facts they need to make a well-informed decision.
The more specific you are the more persuasive your proposal will be, because it
will be easier to justify your claims with quantifiable facts.
Avoid attacks on competitors. Although it is likely that your client is receiving
proposals from your competitors, you should never directly attack them. This
practice is unprofessional and gives the impression that you feel threatened by
your competition. You can, however, point out weaknesses in other solutions
that have been used to address problems similar to the clients. When doing so,
focus on the approach, not the competitor who uses the approach. In addition,
remember that the focus of your proposal should be on responding to the clients
need, not on beating the competition.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Understanding proposals 39

Do it! B-2: Identifying effective writing for proposals
Exercises

1 It is unprofessional to attack your ____________ in a proposal.
Competitors

2 You should use I or we statements throughout the proposal to emphasize what
you can do for the client. True or false?
False

3 Suppose that you are writing a proposal to get the contract of SK-200 wiring
systems for Epic Products. From the following three options, identify the ones that
should be included in the proposal.
A As a supplier, Icon will bring several distinct advantages to your business.
1 As a global organization, we have the knowledge base and the
specialized expertise to offer you a high-quality product at a cost-
effective price.
2 At the same time, we offer the flexibility and responsiveness usually
reserved for small organizations. This flexibility allows us to meet all
deadlines, primarily those imposed by clients and third parties.
3 As a technology-based firm, we understand wiring systems and have
the proficiency to design a product to your technical specifications.

B Icon International is submitting this proposal to Epic Products. As a dominant
business in a highly competitive market, you need a solid partnership with
your suppliers. Thats exactly what we offer. We can assure you that we will
be much more professional than your current supplier, Avenue Electronics.
C Dear Mr. Johnson:
Icon International is pleased to submit this proposal to handle the product
needs outlined in your recent RFP No. 90-B433. As a dominant business in a
highly competitive market, Epic Products needs a solid partnership with its
suppliers, one that features efficient delivery at a cost-effective price.



4 For each possible answer in question 3, identify the reason why it should or
should not be included.
A should be included because it supports Icons claims with specifics.
B should not be included because it is attacking competitors.
C should be included because the writing is simple and states Icons point up-front.

5 To write an effective proposal, what should you know about the client?
A The amount of interaction the client had with the organization
B The annual revenue of the client organization
C The clients level of technical knowledge
D The clients position in the market
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
310 Business Writing

Unit summary: Understanding proposals
Topic A In this unit, you learned that proposals are marketing tools. You also identified the six
types of proposals: formal, informal, external, internal, solicited, and unsolicited.
Then, you learned how clients commonly evaluate proposals.
Topic B Next, you learned how to identify the clients needs. You also learned about the
questions that focus on the clients needs. Then, you learned how to use brainstorming
techniques for identifying questions the client might have about your proposal. Finally,
you learned about some guidelines for writing a client-focused proposal.
Review questions
1 When identifying the clients needs, should you study the clients situation?
A No, you dont need to worry about studying the clients situation.
B Studying the clients situation is one of the first steps when writing a proposal.
C You should try studying the clients situation, but it should not be one of your
top priorities.
D Occasionally, you should study the clients situation.
2 When identifying a clients questions, should you list the questions that the client
provides?
A Rarely you should list the client-provided questions.
B You should never identify the clients questions before starting to write.
C Listing the clients questions is key to writing an effective proposal.
3 Should you consider the clients knowledge base when planning a proposal?
A You should usually consider the clients knowledge base, but not always.
B Yes, you should consider the clients knowledge base when planning a proposal.
C No, you shouldnt consider the clients knowledge base when planning a
proposal.
4 Should you also consider the clients role in the company?
A You should sometimes think about the clients role in the company, but not
always.
B Yes, you should always think about the clients role in the company.
C No, you shouldnt consider the clients role in the company.
5 Should you consider the clients level of technical knowledge?
A Yes, you should consider the clients level of technical knowledge.
B No, you shouldnt think about the clients level of technical knowledge.
C Occasionally, you should think about the clients level of technical knowledge,
but not always.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Understanding proposals 311

6 Should you use you statements in your proposals?
A You should try to write in formal language and avoid you statements.
B You should always try to include you statements in your proposals.
7 Should you leave the technical jargon out of your proposals, or should you
emphasize it to show your knowledge of the subject?
A Technical jargon helps demonstrate your knowledge, so you should use it
whenever you can.
B You should usually avoid technical jargon in proposals, but include it
occasionally so the client knows that you understand the plan.
C You should avoid using technical jargon in your proposals.
D It varies a great deal. You should use technical jargon when you feel it is
appropriate, but you shouldnt use it unnecessarily.
8 Should you support your claims with specific evidence?
A You should never make a claim without providing evidence to support it.
B You should provide evidence for only some of your claims.
C You shouldnt worry about providing specific evidence for your claims. The
client should trust you on the specifics.
9 In your proposals, should you attack your competition?
A You should never attack the competition in a proposal.
B Actually, it depends on the situation. Sometimes, if you dont like the
competition, you might attack them.
C You should attack your competition if you think doing it will show the strength
of your proposal.
D When you write proposals, make it a point to attack the competition.
10 Should you work to keep your proposals direct and concise?
A You should make your proposals long and complicated so the client knows that
youve done research.
B You should always be direct and concise when writing a proposal.
11 Should you adapt your writing style to each client?
A You should change your writing style for each client, but not always.
B You should only change your writing style for important proposals.
C No, you should always use the same style.
D Yes, you should change your writing style for each client.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
312 Business Writing

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
41

Un i t 4
Letter proposals
Unit time: 60 minutes
Complete this unit, and youll know how to:
A Create a letter proposal.
B Format a letter proposal to make it visually
appealing.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
42 Business Writing

Topic A: Writing a letter proposal
Explanation There is no single format for writing a letter proposal. The exact format of a letter
proposal will vary, according to the clients needs. However, there are certain elements
that should be addressed in any letter proposal you write.
Letter proposal components
At its simplest, a letter proposal should include an opening, a body, and a closing.
These three sections need to be included in your letter proposal to establish a reason for
you to get the job.
Opening a letter proposal
There are four things that should be accomplished in the opening of a letter proposal:
Introduce yourself. If the letter proposal is unsolicited, it will probably be
necessary to introduce yourself. However, if the proposal is internal and if you
know the recipient, this might not be necessary. Even if the proposal is solicited
from an external source, you might want to introduce yourself to the client if
they dont know much about your organization.
When introducing yourself, indicate your companys areas of expertise and let
the client know why you are interested in addressing their need.
Identify the clients need or problem. Let the client know that you clearly
understand their need or problem by stating it in the introduction. If you have
identified additional needs or problems that the client might have overlooked,
state them here. Recognizing the clients needs or problems up-front will assure
them that the plan you propose indeed addresses the situation.
Present your plan. Disclose the plan that you have created for addressing the
clients need or problem. In direct and clear terms, state what you propose to do
to improve the clients situation. It might be helpful to present the steps in a
numbered list or simple chart. Do not include many details. You can elaborate
on the specifics in the body of the proposal.
Briefly outline the benefits of your plan. The client will be able to appreciate
the benefits of your plan after they read the specific details in the body of the
proposal. Therefore, outline them in the opening only briefly. A brief overview
gives the client some idea of the positive results they will experience if they
implement your plan.
Target audience of the opening
The opening part of a letter proposal is likely to be read by a number of individuals,
including those with final decision-making authority. The rest of the proposal is likely
to be read by a technically adept audience.
Senior managers who want to know the summary will probably review this first section.
Therefore, you have to make sure that your writing is concise and communicates your
message without technical details.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Letter proposals 43

Do it! A-1: Writing the opening
Multiple-choice questions
Choice A most clearly
identifies the clients
needs.
1 A proposals opening must include a reference to the clients need or problem.
From the following choices, select the one that most effectively identifies the
clients need or problem.
A The handbook is an essential document for company employees because it
contains information that they must reference for human resource and legal
reasons. The handbooks current structure is ineffective.
Although the Human Resources Department and the Legal Counsel
undertook a significant process to update the Handbooks content, the
documents structural problems were not addressed.
B The handbook is an essential document for company employees because it
contains information that they must reference for human resource and legal
reasons. The handbooks current structure is ineffective and should be
updated.
I understand that the Human Resources Department and the Legal Counsel
undertook a significant process to update the handbooks content.
C The handbook is an essential document for company employees because it
contains information that they must reference for human resource and legal
reasons. The handbooks current structure is ineffective. I think we should
update it like we did the handbooks content.
Ask students to state the
reasons for their choice.
Choice B presents the
plan in the clearest format
and makes note of
significant details.
Write the reasons on the
whiteboard and briefly
discuss each point.
2 In a proposals opening, there needs to be some discussion of the writers plan.
Which one of the following samples presents the plan in the clearest and most
logical format?
A The handbook should have an index, a table of contents, headings, and
informational charts and graphs. Because the current handbook is ineffective,
I want to review and reformat it.
B I propose to review and reformat the handbook to assist the user in finding
relevant information. These revisions will include adding an index, a table of
contents, headings, and informational charts and graphs.
C I plan on reformatting the handbook by adding several features that will make
it more effective. After this project is completed, users will be able to find
relevant information.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
44 Business Writing


Choice A outlines only the
proposals major benefits,
avoiding minor benefits
that can be included in the
body.
3 To write an effective letter proposal, you must briefly outline the benefits of
adopting the plan. Which of the following paragraphs most clearly and concisely
outlines this plans major benefits?
A The outlined revisions would enhance the handbook by making it more user-
friendly and visually appealing. Additionally, Icon employees would have
easier access to company-related information, fostering a more positive view
of the company and its executives.
B The outlined revisions would enhance the handbook by making it more user-
friendly and visually appealing. Additional employee benefits include easier
access to company-related information, a more positive view of the company
and its executives, more time to be productive on other tasks, a better
understanding of company history, a clearer definition of rights and
responsibilities, and the alleviation of confusion stemming from the
handbooks structure.
C The outlined revisions would enhance the handbook and should be adopted. I
believe the revisions would make the handbook more user-friendly and
visually appealing. These changes would also encourage employees to
perceive Icon employment in a more positive light.
Explain that writers should
introduce themselves both
by name and job title if
they do not know the
proposals recipient.
4 Of the following samples, which one represents is the best way to write a project
summarys opening? Choose the one that best introduces the situation and the
writer.
A PROJECT SUMMARY
This proposal is being submitted by Sue Bogner, human resources assistant,
with regard to the Icon International Employee Policies and Procedures
Handbook.
The handbook is an essential document for company employees because it
contains information that they must reference for human resource and legal
reasons. The handbooks current structure is ineffective. I propose to review
and reformat the handbook to assist the user in finding relevant information.
B PROJECT SUMMARY
This proposal is being submitted by Sue Bogner with regard to the Icon
International Employee Policies and Procedures Handbook.
The handbook is an essential document for company employees because it
contains information that they must reference for human resource and legal
reasons. The handbooks current structure is ineffective. I propose to review
and reformat the handbook to assist the user to find relevant information.
C PROJECT SUMMARY
This proposal is being submitted by a human resources assistant with regard
to the Icon International Employee Policies and Procedures Handbook.
The handbook is an essential document for company employees because it
contains information that they must reference for human resource and legal
reasons. The handbooks current structure is ineffective. I propose to review
and reformat the handbook to assist the user to find relevant information.

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Letter proposals 45

Body of a letter proposal
Explanation There are four areas that should be addressed in the body of a letter proposal:
Identify the steps youll take to complete the project. The client wants to
know exactly what you are proposing to do to address their situation. Therefore,
you should identify step-by-step how youll complete the project. It is important
that you present the steps in an easy-to-read format, with a list, table, or flow
chart. This will allow the client to visualize the overall flow of the plan and how
it will unfold.
Identify the amount of time it will take to complete the project. Most clients
needs or problems must be addressed as quickly as possible. Therefore, the
schedule you have established for completing the project is critical. There are
several items you need to consider when creating a schedule. First, you need to
consider how much time is available for completing the project. The client
usually determines this time frame.
Next, youll need to examine the number of steps identified for completing the
project and how much time each of these steps will take to complete. If it is
impossible for you to complete all the steps within the clients time frame, you
should reconsider whether this is a project your organization is capable of
completing to the clients satisfaction or not. However, if the situation you are
addressing is not urgent, you can consider asking the client for an extension on
the deadline, providing sufficient evidence to show why it is needed.
After you have allotted time to each of the steps necessary for completing the
project, you can establish both, start and completion dates for the project.
Present the schedule for completing the project in a simple yet thorough manner
that clearly outlines the timelines you can meet.
Identify how much it will cost to complete the project. Even if the client feels
that your plan and schedule for the project meets their needs, they will not select
your proposal if you fail to state how much it will cost to complete the project.
Therefore, it is critical that you prepare a budget. There are two elements you
must price in your budget, the cost of services and the cost of goods. The cost of
services includes the time you or any member of your organization spends
working on the project, and the cost of goods includes the materials needed to
complete the project.
Be realistic and specific when constructing the budget; leave no service or good
unaccounted for. The client will expect you to adhere closely to the budget you
submit, and if your proposal is selected, the proposal itself might become the
contract, which is used to authorize the project.
Include specific technical issues. If there are any technical issues that the client
should be aware of, the body of the proposal is the appropriate place to discuss
them. For example, if your plan for upgrading a clients internal communication
system is most easily integrated by installing a particular new software program,
bring this issue to the clients attention. Explain to them why you recommend
the installation of the software.
Target audience of the body
Because specialists are more concerned with the technical aspects of the plan, they will
be particularly interested in the body of the proposal. Be sure to write it with their needs
in mind. In the body of the proposal, you can outline the specific details of your plan. If
you fail to offer the details of your proposal, it will lack the evidence it needs to justify
it as the best option for addressing the clients needs.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
46 Business Writing

Do it! A-2: Writing the body
Multiple-choice questions
Explain to students that
they should write the
projects steps in an easy-
to-read format. Choice B
uses a list, making it the
clearest version.
1 When writing the body, you need to identify the steps to complete the project.
From the following choices, select the version that most clearly identifies the
required steps.
A PLAN OF WORK
To organize the employee handbook more effectively, I plan to do several
things, including establishing a standard for designing clear documents,
analyzing the present handbook, developing a table of contents and index,
creating informational charts and graphs, and submitting the revised structure
for inclusion in the handbook.
B PLAN OF WORK
To organize the employee handbook more effectively, I plan to follow these
five steps:
1 Establish standards for designing clear documents, specifically
employee handbooks.
2 Research proposed changes and conduct an employee-based focus
group.
3 Add additional topic headings.
4 Develop an appropriate table of contents and index.
5 Create informational charts and graphs.
6 Submit the revised structure, including the new features, for inclusion
in the handbook.

C PLAN OF WORK
There are several steps I need to follow to reformat the employee handbook. I
will know the steps better after I start the project. As of now, I think I will
need to establish standards for designing clear documents, research proposed
changes, add additional topic headings, develop a table of contents and an
index, create informational charts and graphs, and submit the revised
structure for inclusion in the handbook.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Letter proposals 47


Explain that choice B
organizes the information
in a clear and thorough
way. While being the most
concise, this version is
also the most complete.
2 After identifying the steps of the entire project, the writer describes one part of the
project, the focus group. Which of the following samples best explains the focus
groups steps and its purpose?
A After completing my initial research:
I will discuss the current handbooks weaknesses (based on document
design standards) with selected employees.
I will discuss my proposal to gain feedback on the most effective way
to incorporate my suggestions into the document.
I will incorporate suggestions that are appropriate.

B After completing my initial research, I will conduct a focus group with
selected employees to discuss:
The current handbooks weaknesses (based on document design
standards).
My proposal to reformat the handbook.
Feedback relating to the proposed changes.

Upon completion of the focus group, I plan to incorporate suggestions that
are appropriate.
C After completing my initial research, I will conduct a focus group. During
this, I will discuss the current handbooks weaknesses, my proposal to
reformat the handbook, and feedback relating to the proposed changes.
Upon completion of the focus group, I plan to incorporate suggestions that
are appropriate.
Choice A measures the
projects timetable in days,
illustrating it better for the
client.
3 The body of the proposal must also include a timetable. Study the samples given
here, and decide which version best identifies the amount of time needed to
complete the project.
A I estimate that the entire project, including research and revision time, will
take 10 days. The time breakdown (in days) is as follows:
Establish standards for designing clear document 1
Research handbooks and conduct focus groups 3
Develop a table of contents and an index 2
Create informational charts and graphs 2
Revise documents 2

B The process should take 10 days. After I start the project, Ill have a better
idea of the needed time on each section. Although I cant guarantee a
timeframe, I think most of the time will be spent researching the changes,
conducting the focus group, and making revisions.
C If I start the project on a Monday, I should finish the project on Monday two
weeks later. However, Ill be better able to gauge the necessary time after I
start the project.
The most of the time allotted for the project will be spent researching the
changes, conducting the focus group, and making revisions. I also anticipate
spending a few days creating the index, the table of contents, and the charts
and graphs.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
48 Business Writing


While being honest about
the time commitment,
choice C avoids sounding
ambiguous or demanding.
4 The projects cost is an important aspect to include in the body of a proposal.
Decide which of the following versions best introduces the discussion of the
projects budget.
A BUDGET
The budget for this project will consist of two parts, costs of services and
costs of goods.
Obviously, most of the companys costs will arise from my salary and my
lost productivity. While I am working on this project, I will be unable to work
on any other project for my department.
B BUDGET
Having never completed a similar project at Icon before, it is difficult to
estimate a budget.
I know that my time and salary will comprise a major part of the budget, but I
am unable to specify the exact amount.
C BUDGET
Funding for this project will consist of two parts: costs of services and costs
of goods. In this budget, research hours are estimates, but will not exceed the
amount shown.
My salary will comprise the majority of the budget. My time, over a two-
week period, will be spent primarily completing this project.
Choice C itemizes the
budget to explain the
costs better.
5 In a letter proposal, when discussing the costs of goods, you should try to be as
specific and realistic as possible. Study the following three versions of a proposal,
and choose one that best identifies the projects costs of goods.
A In addition to the costs associated with personnel and time, Icon must pay
traditional material costs of a project this size. At this time, I am unaware of
the specific monetary amounts.
B In addition to the costs associated with personnel and time, I have developed
a material budget for this project. If the company decides that it wants to
pursue this project, I will present the budget at the first planning meeting.
C In addition to the costs associated with personnel and time, I have developed
an itemized material budget. Material costs will include:
Paper $155
Transparencies $40
Printing $350


NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Letter proposals 49

Closing a letter proposal
Explanation There are three areas that should be covered in the closing of a letter proposal:
Compare the costs and benefits. You have provided the client with the steps
involved to implement your plan, a schedule, a budget, and the technical issues.
It is now time to show them how each of these elements working together result
in a beneficial outcome for their organization. Make a direct comparison
between the costs involved in the project and the overall benefits. The client
might not immediately see these benefits if they scrutinize each element
separately. Therefore, you need to point out how the client's investment in your
plan will be beneficial and, if appropriate, identify long-term results.
Offer your credentials. The client will be interested to know about any similar
projects you have completed for other organizations. This opportunity should be
used to inform the client about the success your organization had creating plans
for other companies, particularly ones with similar needs or problems. A client
will feel more confident about your abilities to meet their needs or solve their
problems if you had previous successes with other clients.
Motivate the client to take action. Finally, use a strong closing that motivates
the client to take action on reading your proposal. Statements such as, We look
forward to hearing from you, are weak and do not suggest that the client take
action. You can use a time pressure tactic, and let the client know that the offer
you have made will only apply for a limited amount of time, such as two weeks
or a month. Another way to create a strong close is to offer the client an easy
way to contact you to begin the project. For example, you could enclose a self-
addressed stamped postcard that would allow the client to schedule an
appointment to meet with you.
Whatever method used to encourage the client to take action, make sure you do
so in a confident manner. Avoid statements such as, I hope you feel that our
product could benefit your company, and use a more confident approach, such
as, I know our product will provide the solution your company needs to address
your internal communication problems.
Resums with letter proposals
It is a good idea to enclose with your proposal the resums of the key personnel
involved in the project. This allows the client to examine more closely the credentials of
the individuals who would be working on the project. The resums provide the client
with details you might not have room to include in the closing of the proposal.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
410 Business Writing

Do it! A-3: Writing the closing
Multiple-choice questions
Choice A focuses mainly
on the writers prior
experiences, making it the
most effective way to offer
the writers credentials.
Choices B and C
downplay the writers prior
experiences.
1 A proposals closing must include some reference to the writers credentials.
From the following three samples, select one that best outlines the writers
credentials.
A PERSONAL QUALIFICATIONS
Before joining Icon International as a human resources assistant, I developed
several employee policy and procedure document for smaller companies.
This experience, combined with my firsthand knowledge of Icon employees
concerns, makes me the perfect person to ensure this project is completed in
an effective and efficient manner.
B PERSONAL QUALIFICATIONS
In my position, I deal with various employee concerns, many of which
involve information referenced in the employee handbook. Consequently, I
use the handbook frequently. This, in addition to my prior experience
constructing formal employee policy and procedure documents, makes me
the perfect candidate to further revise Icons handbook.
C PERSONAL QUALIFICATIONS
I use the employee handbook frequently, helping employees discover job-
related information. In addition to my prior experience constructing formal
employee policy and procedure documents, this makes me the perfect
candidate to further revise Icons handbook.
Choice C highlights the
proposals advantages to
persuade the reader to
adopt the plan.
2 In the closing of a proposal, the plans costs and benefits need to be included to
show the reader how the plans implementation will have a beneficial outcome for
the organization. Which sample projects the costs and the benefits in the most
effective way?
A CONCLUSION
If completed, the project can have long-term benefits for Icon. I believe the
costs associated should not negate the need to complete the project.
B CONCLUSION
I encourage you to support this proposal. In addition to the long-term benefits
offered by the revisions, there are other short-term advantages that should be
considered. Do not allow the costs associated with this project to negate the
need to complete it.
C CONCLUSION
Although the costs associated with the project are minimal, the projects
outcome will have a significant and meaningful impact on Icons employees.
The proposed changes, which can be completed in 10 days, will serve as a
positive step to improve employee-management relations.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Letter proposals 411


Choice B includes an easy
way to contact the writer,
one of the best ways to
motivate the reader.
3 Here are three samples of the last paragraph of a proposal. Which one is the
strongest closing in terms of motivating the reader?
A In conclusion, I hope you feel that my service can benefit this company and
its employees. Given the chance, I think my proposal can make the employee
handbook a more useful and accessible document.
B In conclusion, reformatting the employee handbook will make it a more
useful and accessible document. This project can benefit the entire company
with little time invested and minimal financial loss. If you have any
questions, please contact me at extension 1212.
C If you want to reformat the employee handbook, please call me. I believe this
project, which involves little time invested and minimal financial loss, can
benefit the entire company.

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
412 Business Writing

Topic B: Visually appealing proposals
Explanation Clients will appreciate and read a proposal that is presented in a visually pleasing
manner.
Guidelines
There are four guidelines you should follow to make your proposal visually pleasing:
Use headings and subheadings. It will be easier for the client to differentiate
between the various items you need to discuss in your proposal if you visually
separate them. Headings and subheadings clearly indicate what topic is about to
be discussed and keeps the client oriented throughout the proposal, as shown in
Exhibit 4-1.


Exhibit 4-1: Using headings and subheadings
Use a typeface thats easy to read. Choose a classic style that is familiar to
most people, as shown in Exhibit 4-2. Unique or creative fonts might not be as
readable more traditional fonts, such as Arial or Times New Roman.


Exhibit 4-2: Using an easily readable typeface
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Letter proposals 413

Use consistent margins. Make sure you use consistent margins throughout the
proposal, as shown in Exhibit 4-3. Having an ample amount of white space
around the text in your proposal will keep the document from looking crowded
and give it a neat appearance.


Exhibit 4-3: Using consistent margins
Use consecutive page numbers. Number the pages of your proposal
consecutively to help the client locate information more easily, as shown in
Exhibit 4-4. Some people are inclined to number pages starting at 1 at the
beginning of each new section within the proposal. This creates confusion for
the client when you refer to a page number in the proposal that appears more
than once. This guideline is particularly important to keep in mind when writing
formal proposals, because they are longer and include more sections.


Exhibit 4-4: Using consecutive page numbers
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
414 Business Writing

Do it! B-1: Making a proposal visually appealing
Multiple-choice questions
Tell students that choice B
is Times New Roman.
1 Which of the following paragraphs has the most appropriate typeface for a
business proposal?
A The Icon International Employee Policies and Procedures
Handbook is an essential document for company employees
because it contains information that they must reference for
human resource and legal reasons. The Handbooks current
structure is ineffective. I propose to review and reformat the
Handbook to assist the user in finding relevant
information. My revisions would enhance the Handbook by
making it user friendly and more visually appealing.
B The Icon International Employee Policies and Procedures Handbook is an
essential document for company employees because it contains information
that they must reference for human resource and legal reasons. The
Handbooks current structure is ineffective. I propose to review and reformat
the Handbook to assist the user in finding relevant information. My revisions
would enhance the Handbook by making it user friendly and more visually
appealing.
C The Icon International Employee Policies and Procedures Handbook is an
essential document for company employees because it contains
information that they must reference for human resource and legal reasons.
The Handbooks current structure is ineffective. I propose to review and
reformat the Handbook to assist the user in finding relevant information. My
revisions would enhance the Handbook by making it user friendly and more
visually appealing.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Letter proposals 415


Choice B uses headings
to help the reader
differentiate between
items and remain focused.
2 Here are samples of a letter proposal formatted in three different wayswith
headings and without. Which way do you think is the most effective?
A The Icon International Employee Policies and Procedures Handbook is an
essential document for company employees because it contains information
that they must reference for human resource and legal reasons. The
Handbooks current structure is ineffective. I propose to review and reformat
the Handbook to assist the user in finding relevant information.
To organize the Employee Handbook more effectively, Ill revise the
Handbooks organizational structure. By adding an index, a table of contents,
headings, and informational charts and graphs, the Handbook will become a
more useful and accessible document.
B PROJECT SUMMARY
The Icon International Employee Policies and Procedures Handbook is an
essential document for company employees because it contains information
that they must reference for human resource and legal reasons. The
Handbooks current structure is ineffective. I propose to review and reformat
the Handbook to assist the user in finding relevant information.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION
To organize the Employee Handbook more effectively, Ill revise the
Handbooks organizational structure. By adding an index, a table of contents,
headings, and informational charts and graphs, the Handbook will become a
more useful and accessible document.
C The Icon International Employee Policies and Procedures Handbook is an
essential document for company employees because it contains information
that they must reference for human resource and legal reasons. The
Handbooks current structure is ineffective. I propose to review and reformat
the Handbook to assist the user in finding relevant information. To organize
the Employee Handbook more effectively, Ill revise the Handbooks
organizational structure. By adding an index, a table of contents, headings,
and informational charts and graphs, the Handbook will become a more
useful and accessible document.

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
416 Business Writing

Unit summary: Letter proposals
Topic A In this unit, you learned about the main parts of a letter proposal: the opening, body,
and closing. You also learned about the specific things that need to be covered in each
part.
Topic B Finally, you learned how to format your proposal in a visually pleasing manner. You
used headings and subheadings to make a proposal easier to read and understand.
Then, you discussed the importance of using easily readable typefaces, consistent
margins, and consecutive page numbers in a proposal.
Independent practice activity
1 List the main parts of a letter proposal.
Opening, body, and closing.
2 Which of the following should be accomplished in the opening of a letter proposal?
A Identify the clients need or problem
B State your credentials
C Outline the schedule for the project
D Compare the costs and benefits of your plan
3 The two elements you must price in your budget are the cost of services and the cost
of_____________.
A Resources
B Time
C Goods
D Manpower
4 You should make sure that you inform the client about projects similar to theirs that
you have completed successfully for other clients. True or false?
True
5 List the guidelines you should follow to make your proposal visually pleasing.
Use headings and subheadings.
Use an easily readable typeface.
Use consistent margins.
Use consecutive page numbers.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Letter proposals 417

6 Which of the following conclusions would effectively motivate the client to take
action?
A In conclusion, I hope you feel that my service can benefit this company and its
employees. Given a chance, I think my proposal can make the employee
handbook a more useful and accessible document. If you have any questions,
please contact me at extension 1212.
B In conclusion, I have the opportunity to reformat the employee handbook, it will
probably become a more useful document. This project can benefit the entire
company with little time invested and minimal financial loss. If you have any
questions, please contact me at extension at 1212.
C In conclusion, reformatting the employee handbook will make it a more useful
and accessible document. This project can benefit the entire company with a
little time invested and minimal financial loss. If you have any questions, please
contact me at extension 1212.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
418 Business Writing

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
51

Un i t 5
Formal proposals
Unit time: 60 minutes
Complete this unit, and youll know how to:
A Create a formal proposal.
B Add visual elements to a formal proposal,
and edit a proposal.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
52 Business Writing

Topic A: Structuring formal proposals
Explanation Formal proposals are long reports consisting of several sections. These reports are
much more detailed than letter proposals.
Formal proposal components
The sections that you must include in a formal proposal are:
Cover letter
Title page
Table of contents
Executive summary
Body
Appendix
Cover letter
The cover letter serves as the formal introduction to your proposal. This letter briefly
introduces the client to your plan for addressing their need or solving their problem. In
addition, the other items that the cover letter can include are:
Benefits that the client will receive if your plan is implemented
Names of people in the client organization that you want to thank for providing
you with assistance in preparing the proposal
RFPs name or reference number if you are responding to an RFP
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Formal proposals 53

Do it! A-1: Structuring a cover letter
Multiple-choice questions

1 Which one of the following has the correct proposal structure?
A FORMAL PROPOSAL
1 Cover letter
2 Title page
3 Table of contents
4 Executive summary
5 Body
6 Appendix

B FORMAL PROPOSAL
1 Title page
2 Cover letter
3 Table of contents
4 Executive summary
5 Body
6 Appendix

C FORMAL PROPOSAL
1 Cover letter
2 Table of contents
3 Title page
4 Executive summary
5 Body
6 Appendix


2 Which of the following opening paragraphs best covers the items that should be
included in a cover letter?
A Icon International is pleased to submit this proposal for handling the product
needs that are outlined in your recent RFP No. 90-B433. As a dominant
business in a highly competitive market, Epic Products needs a solid
partnership with its suppliers that features efficient delivery at a cost-effective
price. Thats exactly what we offer.
B Icon International is pleased to submit this proposal for handling the product
needs outlined in your recent RFP. As a dominant business in a highly
competitive market, Epic Products needs a solid partnership with its suppliers
that features efficient delivery at a cost-effective price. Thats exactly what
we offer.
C Icon International is submitting this proposal to Epic Products. As a dominant
business in a highly competitive market, you need a solid partnership with
your suppliers. Thats exactly what we offer.

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
54 Business Writing

Title page
Explanation When formatting your title page, you must include four elements on the page:
Title for the proposal
Clients name
Your organizations name
Date of submission
All this information should be centered on the page with the title in bold (as shown in
Exhibit 5-1). The exact layout of the items can vary according to your preference, but
the title should be placed on the upper third of the page, the names of the client and your
organization in the middle third, and the date at the lower third.
The title should describe your recommendation, but not be longer than 15 words. Use an
active verb, such as reducing or enhancing, to make the title more engaging. Avoid
using any jargon.


Exhibit 5-1: A sample title page
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Formal proposals 55

Do it! A-2: Formatting a title page
Multiple-choice questions

1 Which of the following has all the necessary title page elements in the correct
order?
A
B
C
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
56 Business Writing



2 From the following options, choose the best title:
A

B
C

Table of contents
Explanation When creating the table of contents, you should make it as easy to read as possible. You
want the client to be able to access any area of your proposal easily. A well-developed
table of contents provides the client with the road map that they need. The table of
contents should include:
The heading Table of Contents centered at the top of the page, as shown in
Exhibit 5-2
The titles of each section
The first-level headings within each section
For visual purposes, indent the first-level headings under each section title. Indenting in
a consistent manner enables the client to understand the structure of the proposal.


Exhibit 5-2: A sample table of contents
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Formal proposals 57

Do it! A-3: Creating a table of contents
Multiple-choice question

1 Which table of contents is best suited to a formal proposal?
A

B

C

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
58 Business Writing

Executive summary
Explanation The executive summary is a crucial part of a formal proposal because the greatest
number of people in the client organization read this section. Some individuals might
read only the executive summary. In particular, individuals with decision-making
authority usually read the executive summary and do not have the time to read anything
else. As the executive summary is such a visible part of the proposal, extra attention
needs to be paid when writing it.
The executive summary is just a summary of your proposal that anyone, from an entry-
level employee to the chairman of the board, can read and understand easily. You
should provide a brief but thorough overview of your plan. In fact, the executive
summary should be no longer than one or two pages. However, if your proposal is
extremely long, you might use additional pages. Remember that decision-making
executives do not want to spend excessive amounts of time reading a proposal.
In addition, only include the technical details that are essential to understanding the plan
of a proposal. To make the executive summary accessible to a variety of individuals,
leave the major part of the technical information in the body of the proposal where the
specialists can access it.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Formal proposals 59

Do it! A-4: Writing an executive summary
Multiple-choice question
Help students identify the
best opening. Remind
them that while an
executive summary must
be brief, it should include
all relevant information. It
should also inform the
potential client that the
writer understands all of
their requirements.
1 From the following choices, select the best executive summary.
A Epic Products, a market leader, deserves to have strong and productive
relationships with its suppliers. With the development and production of the
SK-200 wiring system, Icon International hopes to initiate a client-supplier
relationship that will prove fruitful for both parties.
There are issues that must be considered when initiating supplier
relationships. Icon encourages Epic to weigh the advantages and
disadvantages of each issue and then decide who will best serve as the
companys SK-200 wiring supplier. We believe, that after you weigh the
advantages and disadvantages of each supplier, Icon International will
emerge on the top of your list.
B Epic Products, a leader in its highly competitive market, must build strong,
productive relationships with its suppliers. With the development and
production of the SK-200 wiring system, Icon International hopes to foster a
client-supplier relationship with Epic that will prove beneficial to both
organizations.
Clients must consider several issues when initiating supplier relationships,
including:
1 The suppliers resources to complete the job on time.
2 The suppliers understanding of the necessary technical details.
3 The suppliers reputation and image in the industry.
4 The suppliers costs estimates.
5 The overall value of building a relationship with the supplier.

The challenge for Epic Products is to select the supplier that offers the
biggest payoff in terms of these factors. As a global organization that is both
resourceful and flexible, Icon is the best candidate to address these issues.
C Epic Products, a leader in its highly competitive market, must develop a
relationship with Icon International to experience any additional success.
Simply put, Icon holds the key to Epics future by being the organization that
is most capable of developing and producing the SK-200 wiring system.
When considering new supplier relationships, Epic Products must examine
several key factors, including:
1 The suppliers resources to complete the job on time.
2 The suppliers understanding of the necessary technical details.
3 The suppliers reputation and image in the industry.
4 The suppliers costs estimates.
5 The overall value of building a relationship with the supplier.

Since Icon International holds the key to your organizations future success,
Epic must assume that Icon is the best candidate to address these factors.

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
510 Business Writing

Body of a formal proposal
Explanation Five elements should be discussed in the body of a formal proposal:
Technical details
Cost issues
Scheduling issues
Personnel issues
Credentials
Technical details
You should follow three guidelines when writing technical details:
Be realistic. When you are detailing how you can meet the clients needs, make
sure that you realistically discuss your abilities. Show the client how your
organization is the best choice for addressing their needs, but avoid exaggerating
your capabilities. This guideline is particularly important when you consider the
legal implications of a proposal. If the client chooses your organization, the
proposal becomes a legally binding document. Therefore, you need to make sure
that you can follow through with any claims that you make in the proposal.
Support your claims. The technical details must provide specific examples that
support your claims. If you have a mechanism that can solve the clients
problem, let the clients know by giving them specific evidence. For example,
you can use visual elements, such as graphs, to illustrate the success rate of a
new product that your company developed. Alternatively, you can use a flow
chart to show how a new process for compiling internal data works.
Organize the information logically. As technical information can be
complicated, you should organize it logically. Even specialists who are familiar
with technical information will appreciate the effort to organize technical
information logically. Numbered and bulleted lists, subheadings, and visual
elements, such as graphs and charts, can all be used to present the information
clearly for the client.
Cost issues
You should follow three guidelines when discussing cost issues:
Talk about benefits first. Always discuss the benefits that the client will
receive before disclosing the cost involved. Clients will be more open to a price
if they first understand the benefits they will receive. If you reveal the cost of a
service or product before discussing the benefits, the client might judge the price
to be too high and disregard your proposal without providing you the
opportunity to justify the cost. For example, if you suggest to a client that they
should install a complex system of software, they will probably be inclined to
reject your offer if you disclose the price of the system before highlighting the
benefits. However, if you detail the reasons why the larger system is better for
their organization before disclosing the costs involved, they will be more
receptive to your offer.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Formal proposals 511

State prices in small units. For example, instead of stating that consultation
services are $60,000 per year, offer your services at $5,000 per month. The
smaller number is easier for a client to accept than the larger number. The client
can calculate and determine the annual cost of your consultation services.
However, this pricing method is beneficial because simply hearing a smaller
number over a larger one can have a significant impact on their attitude and
prevent them from balking at the price.
Calculate the return on investment. You need to determine the return on
investment, or ROI, to establish the overall justification for why your plan will
work for the client. Simply providing the client with numbers is not enough.
You must calculate the ROI to illustrate the full context of the return. Your
organization might have spreadsheet programs to calculate the clients ROI. The
simplest way to understand the ROI is to divide the amount of revenue that the
client will generate after implementing your plan by the amount of money that
they will need to establish the plan. This percentage is known as the ROI, and
the higher the number, the better the return.
Scheduling issues
You must prepare a realistic schedule for the client. They will want to know if you can
complete the job within their timeframe. The following information should be included
in the schedule that you provide to the client:
The number of tasks that need to be completed to implement the plan
The time each task will take to be completed
The order in which these tasks will be completed and overlaps, if any, between
the tasks
When preparing a schedule, you should provide some padding time, if possible, to
account for unforeseen delays or problems.
Personnel issues
You need to familiarize the client with the names of the personnel from your
organization who will be working on the project, their respective areas of expertise, and
their specific roles in the project. Similar to a letter proposal, you can include resums
of the involved individuals in the appendix of the proposal.
Credentials
You should inform the client of similar projects that you have successfully implemented
for other organizations. The best indicator of future success is past performance.
Therefore, the client will feel more comfortable working with you if they know you
have been successful with similar projects in the past.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
512 Business Writing

Do it! A-5: Structuring the body
Multiple-choice questions

1 Which of the following proposals best introduces the technical details by building
credibility?
A RESPONSE TO PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS
This section responds specifically to the functional objectives outlined in the
RFP. It provides point-by-point confirmation of Icons ability to supply the
SK-200 wiring, with the areas requiring customization clearly identified.
Icon bases some of the information contained in this section on several past
projects that the company has completed successfully. The projects involved
designing and manufacturing wiring systems for companies similar to Epic
Products. One wiring project in particular, discussed later in the proposal,
helped a company solve a four-decade old problem with one of its products.
B RESPONSE TO PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS
This section responds specifically to the functional objectives outlined in the
RFP. It provides point-by-point confirmation of Icons ability to supply the
SK-200 wiring, with the areas requiring customization clearly identified.
Some of this information is based on Icons experience with past clients.
Similar to other companies, Icon has provided wiring systems for companies
such as Epic Products. Icon would like to think we have provided past clients
with a reliable product at a reasonable cost.
C RESPONSE TO PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS
This section responds specifically to the functional objectives outlined in the
RFP. It provides point-by-point confirmation of Icons ability to supply the
SK-200 wiring, with the areas requiring customization clearly identified.
The information contained in this section is partially based on Icons
experience with the previous clients. Like other suppliers, Icon has had both
successes and failures with its wiring contracts. Fortunately, successes
include many projects that have assisted companies in a positive way.
One wiring project in particular, discussed later in the proposal, helped a
company similar to Epic solve a four-decade-old problem using one of its
products.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Formal proposals 513



2 Which one of these samples follows the guidelines for discussing a projects cost?
A COST ANALYSIS
After considering the timeframe allotted and the quantity requested from
Epic, we propose the following project budget:
Cost Category Funds Requested
Administrative support $24,000
Research expenditures $18,000
Consumable supplies $54,000
Lease of equipment $12,000
Labor $240,000
Job-training services $12,000

We believe that $360,000 is a minimal amount to supply the requested
quantity of SK-200 wiring systems.
B COST ANALYSIS
To further research design and manufacture the SK-200, we propose the
following budgetary amounts. These budget figures will ensure the products
high quality and its timely delivery. The cost for the SK-200 wiring systems,
at the volume earlier specified, is relatively low, probably less than $30,000
per month for the designated one-year term. The expected budget (per month)
includes the following components:
Cost Category Funds Requested
Administrative support $2,000
Research expenditures $1,500
Consumable supplies $4,500
Lease of equipment $1,000
Labor $20,000
Job-training services $1,000

C COST ANALYSIS
When considering the timeframe allotted and the volume requested from
Epic, we have developed an expected budget of $360,000 for the total
project. This figure includes research time, consumable supplies,
administrative support, leasing additional equipment, training additional
workers, and salaries and benefits for workers. Considering the high quality
of Icons products and its timely delivery, the $360,000 budget figure should
seem reasonable.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
514 Business Writing



3 Which of the following most effectively introduces the projects schedule?
A Considering the one-year time period, we have estimated the following
project steps:
Additional research on specifications
Delivery of equipment
Delivery of raw materials
Hiring and training of additional workers
Initiation of production

Icon is confident that production can begin approximately one month after
the contract is awarded. The first month will consist of ordering the raw
materials and the equipment, hiring and training the additional workers, and
continuing research on product specifications.
B Although Icon is concerned about completing the project in the provided time
period, the following project steps and the timetable must remain flexible:
Additional research on specifications
Delivery of equipment
Delivery of raw materials
Hiring and training of additional workers
Initiation of production

Hopefully, production can begin approximately one month after the contract
is awarded. Before production begins, however, we will need to order the raw
materials and the equipment, hire and train the additional workers, and
continue research on product specifications.
C Scheduling issues seem to remain the one uncertain area in the potential
partnership. Without a degree of experience working with Epic Products,
there is no way for Icon to estimate the steps or a timetable for project
completion. If awarded the contract, Icon will devise a schedule for the
projects completion, but it must remain a flexible timetable.

4 Which paragraph most effectively details the benefits of the proposal?
A Icon International has the experience and the resources to meet your product
needs. If given the opportunity to become an Epic Products supplier, we will
not fail you.
B As I am sure you already know, Icon International can meet your product
needs in a timely and cost-efficient manner. Technology-based products, such
as the SK-200 wiring that you requested, fit into our specialization
exceptionally well.
C As the enclosed proposal shows, Icon International offers the range of
resources necessary to meet your product needs. We specialize in technology-
based products, specifically ones with highly technical features. The SK-200
wiring you requested fits into our specialization exceptionally well.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Formal proposals 515



5 Which one of the following best explains the organizations personnel and their
areas of expertise?
A KEY PERSONNEL
The entire Icon team will work to ensure that the SK-200 wiring system is
completed correctly within the prescribed time period.
At Icon, every project is a team project. Rest assured, Icon offers several
experienced and dedicated personnel who will work day and night for the
success of your project.
Additionally, the Icon family includes talented, creative thinkers who will
solve any problems that occur during the production process.
B KEY PERSONNEL
Icon offers several experienced and dedicated personnel who will ensure that
the SK-200 wiring systems will be completed correctly in the prescribed time
period. The following list indicates the personnel earmarked for the Epic
Products project:
Kyle Hensley, Vice President of Sales, East Region
Jack Sullivan, Associate Director of Sales
Jeff Patterson, Shipping Manager
Kathy Mason, Product Manager

Please contact the Icon headquarters to receive the resums for the above-
mentioned individuals.
C KEY PERSONNEL
Icon offers several experienced and dedicated personnel who will ensure that
the SK-200 wiring systems will be completed correctly within the prescribed
time period. The following list indicates the personnel earmarked for the Epic
Products project:
Kyle Hensley, Vice President of Sales, East Region
Jack Sullivan, Associate Director of Sales
Jeff Patterson, Shipping Manager
Kathy Mason, Product Manager

Enclosed are the resums of these key members of the Icon team who will be
assisting with the project.

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
516 Business Writing

Appendix of a formal proposal
Explanation When creating the appendix, remember that it is not a catch-all for any item that you
think might remotely be of interest to the client. Include only supplementary
information that will be of real interest to the individual in the client organization who
has the knowledge to understand it. For example, items such as technical specifications,
product brochures, blueprints, and lengthy tables or schematics can be included in the
appendix.
The proprietary statement
Proprietary statements are written to protect your proposal from being used without due
payment, as well as from being disclosed to your competitors. They are brief statements
that assert that the proposal is not to be revealed to anyone outside the client
organization and that the use of the ideas within the proposal without written permission
is prohibited.
To protect your organization from being taken advantage of, you should include a
proprietary statement in your proposal. You do not want to put the time and effort into a
proposal only to have the material used against you or without proper payment.
Consult your organizations legal counsel to determine the best placement for this
statement. Some organizations label each page that has proprietary interests with
footers, but your legal counsel will be able to recommend the best location for the
statement.
Do it! A-6: Discussing appendices
Question Answer

1 What should be included in an
appendix?
Items that will be of real interest to your client,
such as technical specifications, product
brochures, blueprints, and lengthy tables or
schematics.

2 What shouldnt be included in an
appendix?
You should avoid creating a catch all appendix
that contains unrelated information or
miscellaneous items that wouldnt fit in the body
of the proposal.

3 What is a proprietary statement? A brief statement that asserts that the proposal is
not to be revealed to anyone outside the client
organization, and that the use of the ideas within
the proposal without written permission is
prohibited.

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Formal proposals 517

Topic B: Visual elements and editing
Explanation Visual elements help illustrate various concepts for the client and explain ideas that
might be difficult to picture mentally. Lists, charts, graphs, drawings, and photographs
are all considered visual elements.
Visual element guidelines
There are several guidelines that you should follow when using visual elements:
Use visuals only when appropriate. You need to make sure that every visual
serves a purpose. Do not waste the clients time by making them look at visuals
that do not help them understand an idea or concept in the proposal.
Place the visual where it is needed. The visual is most effective when placed
near the text that it supports. You want to avoid making the client flip through
the pages of the proposal to find the visual when they want to reference it. The
one exception to this rule is when you include items in the appendix, these items
are usually too large to include within the body of the proposal without seeming
to be awkward.
Introduce all visuals. Every visual that you use in the proposal should be
introduced to establish the relationship between the visual and the supporting
information. The client might not naturally make the connection between the
visual and the text, so make sure that you state this relationship for them.
Keep the visual simple. Do not try to convey an excessive amount of
information through a single visual. Complicated visuals, especially drawings or
charts, often look cluttered, which defeats the purpose of using them in the first
place. If you need to communicate a complex or highly technical idea or a
concept, consider illustrating it by using more than one visual. For example,
consider using three photographs of a product, each with different types of
features highlighted on the images.
Make sure visuals are printed clearly. Obviously, you want all the visuals to
be printed clearly so that the client can easily read and understand them. In
particular, pay close attention to the drawings or photographs that are
photocopies. Try to use laser printers for duplicating such images. The
replication quality of laser printers is higher than the replication quality of
ordinary printers.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
518 Business Writing

Editing a proposal
Before you send your proposal to the client, you need to review it and make sure that it
is error-free and professional. The following four questions help you edit your proposal
before it is submitted:
Did I clearly demonstrate how my company can address the clients needs?
You need to make sure that you clearly proved to the client that your company
has the ability to address their needs completely and successfully. Specifically,
determine whether you established the significance of your plan to the clients
company. The client should feel that your plan is the key to solving their
problem and providing them with long-term benefits.
Did I support my claims with accurate and sufficient evidence? The
evidence in your proposal must be sufficient and accurate to win the clients
business. Review your discussion of the budget and schedule and make sure that
you used sufficient evidence to justify the costs for material and time.
Is the proposal logical and easy to understand? Make sure that the proposal is
logical and that the client will be able to understand it the first time they read it.
The client does not want to invest time reading your proposal more than once.
So if possible, have someone within your organization who is unfamiliar with
the proposal read it to identify any areas of confusion.
Are there any mechanical errors? Spelling, grammar, punctuation, and
typographical errors can ruin your professionalism and cost you the opportunity
to procure the clients business. You must review the entire proposal to make
sure that all errors have been eliminated. Pay attention to each part of the content
in the proposal, including the table of contents and the title page.
Do it! B-1: Using visual elements
Multiple-choice questions

1 Select the visual description that is the most appropriate and has the greatest
impact on the reader.
A Place a bar chart in the executive summary to illustrate Icons overall market
share in several different industries.
B Place a pie chart in the cost analysis section to illustrate the cost breakdown
for each project step in relation to the overall budget.
C Place an organizational chart in the proposal appendix highlighting Icons
different divisions and the personnel at each division.

2 From the following group of possible visual elements, which one is the most
appropriate in the Icon proposal?
A Place a flow chart in the technical details section to illustrate the process that
Icon will use to manufacture the SK-200 wiring system.
B Place a copy of the Icon Employee Procedures and Policies Handbook in the
appendix to illustrate the employees rights and responsibilities.
C Place a catalog of Icons consumer goods in the appendix to illustrate the
wide range of products that the company produces.

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Formal proposals 519

Unit summary: Formal proposals
Topic A In this unit, you learned how to create a formal proposal. You discussed the various
parts of a formal proposal, how to format a title page, and how to format a table of
contents. Then, you wrote an executive summary focusing on the appropriate
audience. You also examined the items to be included in the body of a formal
proposal.
Topic B Then, you learned how to use visual elements effectively in a formal proposal. Finally,
you discussed guidelines for editing a formal proposal.
Independent practice activity
1 List the sections that must be included in a formal proposal.
Cover letter
Title page
Table of contents
Executive summary
Body
Appendix
2 Which of the following items are included in the body of a proposal?
A Table of contents
B Technical details
C Executive summary
D Appendix
3 You should provide padding time when creating a schedule. True or false?
True
4 To communicate clearly, use as many visuals as possible when creating a proposal.
True or false?
False
5 List the guidelines that you should follow when writing technical details.
Be realistic
Support your claims
Organize the information logically
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
520 Business Writing

6 If it costs $36,000 to offer your services to a client for one year, which of the
following is the best way to state the price?
A $18,000 biannually
B $36,000 per year
C $3,000 per month
D $36,000 annually
7 Which of the following most effectively highlights the advantages of Icon
International over its competitors?
A Given the opportunity, Icon might bring several advantages to your business,
including a specialized knowledge base, product expertise, and organizational
flexibility and responsiveness. Hopefully, we can provide you with a product
designed by your technical specifications at a cost-effective price.
B As a supplier, Icon will bring several distinct advantages to your business:
1 As a global organization, we have the knowledge base and the specialized
expertise to offer you a high-quality product at a cost-effective price.
2 At the same time, we offer the flexibility and responsiveness usually
reserved for small organizations. This flexibility allows us to meet all
deadlines, primarily those imposed by clients and third parties.
3 As a technology-based firm, we understand wiring systems and have the
proficiency to design the product in accordance with your technical
specifications.
C Icon will bring distinct advantages to your business. If selected to become an
Epic Products supplier, we will reveal the advantages at our initial planning
meeting. Of course, they might include our organizations global status, our
specialized expertise, and our flexibility.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
S1

Bu s i n e s s Wr i t i n g

Course summary
This summary contains information to help
you bring the course to a successful
conclusion. Using this information, you will
be able to:
A Use the summary text to reinforce what
students have learned in class.
B Direct students to the next courses in this
series (if any), and to any other resources
that might help students continue to learn
about business writing.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
S2 Business Writing

Topic A: Course summary
At the end of the class, use the following summary text to reinforce what students have
learned. It is not intended as a script, but rather as a starting point.
Business Writing
Unit 1
In this unit, students learned about basic writing skills and how to write clear contracts,
memos, reports, or letters. They discussed the common pitfalls to avoid when writing.
Then, they examined the writing process and how its used to construct well-defined
ideas and focus on a specific audience. Students learned how to choose the right words
and create effective sentences. They also learned about the three types of sentences:
simple, complex, and compound. Finally, they discussed the guidelines for writing
effective paragraphs.
Unit 2
In this unit, students learned how to write business reports and letters. They also
discussed writing opinionated messages, including apology letters, negative
messages, and persuasive messages. Then, they examined the components of a
properly formatted business letter.
Unit 3
In this unit, students learned about the six types of proposals: formal, informal,
external, internal, solicited, and unsolicited. Then, they discussed how clients
evaluate proposals, the guidelines used in identifying the clients needs, and the
questions that can help them stay focused on the clients needs. Next, students discussed
brainstorming techniques for identifying questions the client might have about a
proposal. Finally, they examined some guidelines for proposal writing.
Unit 4
In this unit, students learned how to create a letter proposal. They learned that a letter
proposal has the three main partsthe opening, the body, and the closingand they
discussed the things that should be covered in each part. Then, students learned how to
format a proposal by using headings and subheadings, easily readable typefaces,
consistent margins, and consecutive page numbers.
Unit 5
In this unit, students learned how to create a formal proposal. They discussed how to
format the title page, table of contents, executive summary, body, and appendix.
Finally, they learned how to add visual elements to a formal proposal.
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
Course summary S3

Topic B: Continued learning after class
Point out to your students that it is impossible to learn any business skill effectively in a
single day. To get the most out of this class, it is important that students begin using the
business writing techniques theyve learned as soon as possible. Course Technology
also offers resources for continued learning.
Next courses in this series
This is the only course in this series.
Other resources
Course Technologys partner company, NETg, offers a full line of online and computer-
based courses on business writing and a variety of other subjects. For more information,
visit www.netg.com. This course maps precisely to the following two NETg courses:
Business Writing: The Fundamentals
Course number: 45007
Business Writing: Creating Effective Proposals
Course number: 45008
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
S4 Business Writing

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
G1

Glossary
Attention line
Used when you know only the last name of the
letters recipient, or when you want to direct a letter to a
position title or department.
Brainstorming
An effective way to discover questions the client
might have but has not yet identified.
Complaint
Usually written when you are dissatisfied with an
organizations products, services, or policies.
Complex sentence
Contains one independent clause and one or more
dependent clauses related to it, separated by a comma.
Compound sentence
Contains two or more independent but related
clauses of equal importance that are linked together
with and, but, or or.
Cover letter
Serves as the formal introduction to a proposal. It
briefly introduces the client to your plan for addressing
their needs or solving their problems.
Executive summary
Summary of a proposal that anyonefrom an
entry-level employee to the chairman of the boardcan
read and understand.
Formal proposal
A long report consisting of several sections.
Formal proposals are much more detailed than letter
proposals.
Informal proposal
Relatively short document (1-4 pages); often
submitted as a memo or letter.
Letter proposal
Includes an opening, a body, and a closing.
Long reports
Reports that have 10 or more pages and typically
require a large amount of research.
Memorandum
A short document sent within an organization to a
specific individual or group.
Persuasive message
Written to try to influence a readers opinion about
an issue, policy, or situation.
Postscripts
Afterthoughts, personal messages, or items that
need further emphasis at the end of a letter.
Proposal
A document offering a service or product to a
client.
Proprietary statements
Written to protect your proposal from being used
without due payment, as well as from being disclosed to
your competitors to see if they can beat your offer.
Return on investment
An overall justification for why your plan will pay
off for the client.
Run-on sentences
Contain too many ideas and confuse the reader.
Short reports
Reports that are less than 10 pages long and do not
require a large amount of preparation. They are usually
submitted in letter or memo form and cover one topic.
Simple sentence
Contains a single subject and a single verb.
Solicited proposal
A document written in response to a clients
Request For Proposal. Solicited proposals should
address the clients specific needs.
Subject line
Tells the reader what the message is about. The
subject line usually follows the salutation.
Transmittal letter
Tells the recipient why you are sending the
information.

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
G2 Business Writing

NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
I1

Index
A
Active voice, 1-11
Addressee notations, 2-6
Addresses
Inside, 2-2
Analyzing the reader, 1-4
Apology letters, 2-11
Appendices, 5-16
Attention lines, 2-4
B
Brainstorming, 3-6
Business letters, 2-2
Business reports, 2-2
C
Charts, 5-17
Clients
Handling questions from, 3-6
Identifying needs of, 3-5
Writing for, 3-7
Closings, 2-3
Complaints, 2-13
Copy notations, 2-6
Cover letters, 5-2
Credentials, 5-11
Credibility, 1-6
D
Dates, 2-2
Determining a purpose, 1-4
Drawings, 5-17
E
Editing, 1-6, 1-7, 5-18
E-mail, 2-9
Enclosure notations, 2-6
Executive summaries, 5-8
External proposals, 3-2
F
First drafts, 1-6
Fonts, 4-12
Formal proposals, 3-2, 5-2
Formal writing style, 1-5
Formatting
General guidelines, 1-7
G
Graphs, 5-17
Guidelines
Editing, 1-6
For client-focused proposals, 3-8
For visual elements, 5-17
Formatting, 1-7, 4-12
General, 1-2
Paragraph, 1-13
H
Headings, 2-2, 4-12
Second-page, 2-4
I
Informal proposals, 3-2
Informal writing style, 1-5
Inside address, 2-2
Internal proposals, 3-2
J
Jargon, 1-2, 3-8, 5-4
L
Letter proposals
Body, 4-5
Closing, 4-9
Components of, 4-2
Opening, 4-2
Letterhead, 2-2
Letters
Apology, 2-11
Components of, 2-2
Cover, 5-2
Transmittal, 2-7
Lists, 5-17
M
Mailing notations, 2-7
Margins, 4-13
Memorandums, 2-9
N
Negative messages, 2-13
NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE
I2 Business Writing

O
Opinionated messages, 2-11
Organization
Importance of, 1-5
Of a document, 1-5
Organizing your thoughts, 1-5
Outlines, 1-5
P
Page numbering, 4-13
Paragraphs, 1-13
Passive voice, 1-11
Personnel issues, 5-11
Persuasive messages, 2-15
Photographs, 5-17
Pitfalls to avoid, 1-2
Planning to write, 1-4
Positive messages, 2-11
Postscripts, 2-5
Proposals
Client-focused, 3-5
Defined, 3-2
Editing, 5-18
Evaluation of, 3-3
Formal, 5-2
Formatting, 4-12
Letter, 4-2
Purposes of, 3-3
Types of, 3-2
Proprietary statements, 5-16
R
Reference initials, 2-5
Reports
Types of, 2-2
Request for proposal (RFP), 3-2, 3-3, 3-5, 3-6, 5-2
Resums, 4-9
Return on investment (ROI), 5-11
Run-on sentences, 1-11
S
Salutations, 2-3
Scheduling, 5-11
Second-page headings, 2-4
Sensitivity, 1-6
Sentences
How to write, 1-11
Run-on, 1-11
Types of, 1-11
Signature block, 2-3
Solicited proposals, 3-2
Styles, 1-4
Subject lines, 2-4, 2-9
T
Tables of contents, 5-6
Target audience, 4-2, 4-5
Title pages, 5-4
Transmittal letters, 2-7
Typefaces, 4-12
U
Unsolicited proposals, 3-3
V
Visual elements, 5-17
Visually appealing proposals, 4-12
W
Words
Types of, 1-9
Writing process, 1-3
Writing styles, 1-4
Formal, 1-5
Informal, 1-5



NOT FOR PRINTING OR INSTRUCTIONAL USE