You are on page 1of 286

Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

11.234 1

On completion of this lesson you will understand
What is communication?
Howimportant it is in context of business organizations?
Howcommunication process works?
Communication is a process an activity that serves to
connect senders and receivers of messages through space
and time. Although human beings tend to be interested
primarily in the study of human communication, the process is
present in all living things and, it can be argued, in all things.
From this we may conclude that communication is a funda-
mental, universal process.
How often have you heard statements such as these?
If you want to be promoted, youll have to improve your
communication skills.
One of the strengths of our relationship over the years has
been that we communicate so well - in fact, usually I know
what shes thinking before she tells me!
The lightening storm knocked out our communication
systems, and since then we havent handled a single
customer call.
Hes really smart, and he knows his stuff, but as a teacher he
just doesnt communicate it very well.
They say they built the product to meet our specifications,
but its not what we asked for - I think we have a
communication problem here.
The word communicate derives from the word common -
to share, exchange, send along, transmit, talk, gesture, write, put
in use, relate. So an investigation of this subject might begin
with the question: What do all studies of communication have
in common? What are the shared concepts that make the study
of communication different from the study of subjects such
as thought or literature or life? When someone says,
this is a communication problem, what does that mean?
When a baby sees his mothers face for the first time, communi-
cation happens. When someone steps out onto a beach in Goa
and water touches his feet communication happens. When the
Indian parliament passes a new bill to curb monopolies in the
market and the President signs, communication happens.
When a computer in Delhi calls up a computer in Tokyo and
transmits a message, communication happens.
Communication is a general phenomenon. It occurs in nature,
wherever life exists. Whether we recognize it or not, we have no
choice but to communicate. If we try to avoid communicating
by not replying to messages, we are nevertheless sending a
message, but it may not be the one we want or intend. When
we dont say yes, we may be saying no by default and vice
versa. The only choice we can make about communication is
whether we are going to attempt to communicate effectively.
What do we mean by communicating effectively? The object of
communication is to convey thoughts/ intentions/ emotions/
facts/ ideas of one person or group to the others. When the
message sent is received and understood by the receiver in the
same sense , as the sender wants to convey ,effective communi-
cation takes place. When the receiver misunderstands a message
we consider it a distortion in communication. Throughout our
study, we would try to improve our communication skills so
that we can make ourselves better understood in our communi-
The fact is that we spend so much of our time communicating;
we tend to assume that we are experts. Surveys indicate that
when business professionals are asked to rate their communica-
tion skills, virtually everyone overestimates his or her abilities as
a communicator. There is a natural tendency to blame the other
person for the problems in understanding or making ourselves
understood. The better option is to improve ones own
communication. One has to be always on a look to identify his
weak points as a communicator and strive to overcome them.
This needs a thorough understanding of meaning and process
of communication.
Meaning of Communication
Communication is derived from the Latin word communis,
which means, to share that is, sharing of ideas, concepts,
feelings and emotions. The science of communication is almost
as old as man himself. Form time immemorial; the need to
share or to communicate had been felt. Different vehicles /
channels were identified and subsequently improvised for the
purpose of transmission of ideas and concepts. A study of
these channels enables us to gain an insight into the process of
Before a definition of communication is arrived at, a few
queries, which arise in the minds of the readers, have to be
answered. What is the importance of communication? Why
should it be studied? Why should the channel be analyzed and
The importance of communication can be gauged from the fact
that we are communicating in some from or the other almost
every moment of our lives. Whether we are walking,, talking
,playing, sitting, or even sleeping, a message is being formulated
and transmitted. Man, who is a social animal, is constantly
interacting with other individuals. For him it is necessary to
understand the art of communication and apply or modify it in
a suitable manner. Man possesses the ability to communicate,
which is much more than a composition of certain symbolize
or to understand concepts in terms of images or symbols. It is
this ability that helps him to communicate. Communication
then, it may be stated, is much more than an understanding of
the spoken or written language. It is a composite of symbols,
2 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

gestures, and illustrations that accompany either the spoken or
the written word.
Basic Purpose of Communication
People in organizations typically spend over 75% of their time in
an interpersonal situation; thus it is no surprise to find that at the
root of a large number of organizational problems is poor
communications. Effective communication is an essential compo-
nent of organizational success whether it is at the interpersonal,
intergroup, intragroup, organizational, or external levels.
What is the purpose of (formal) communication? A
response to a query of this nature would be more beneficial if
attempts were made to understand the business situation
where success or failure of issues is always measured in terms
of man- hours spent in the completion of a task. Let us take an
example. Suppose the boss issues instructions to his subordi-
nate to complete a certain project in a particular manner within a
stipulated timeframe. The subordinate does it to the best of his
ability. However, the end result is a miserable failure because the
manner of completion does not match with the expectations
of the boss. A lot of time has been wasted as a result of
miscommunication on the part of the two members of the
same organization. In fact, more first instance. If the amount
of time used in completion of this particular task is calculated,
it would be seen that double the time necessary has been taken.
The example cited above is one of the most common and
prevailing examples of miscommunication resulting from a lack
of feedback in organizations. This, however, is not the only
criterion that qualifies for an in-depth study of communication.
Let us take a look at the communicative competence required at
three different levels in an organization.
In the business situation of a manager, as he goes higher up in
the hierarchy is to coordinate, issue instructions, collate
information, and then present it. All these activities require
effective communication skills the sooner these skills are honed,
the easier it is for the manager to accomplish tasks. Similar is the
case of the junior manager vying for a quick promotion. As
work in the organization is always done in conjunction with
other people, effective communication skills become a necessity.
Let us compare the progression of two junior managers up the
ladder of success possessing almost the same academic
qualifications and almost similar personality traits. Only one of
them would be able to make it to the managing Directors chair.
Without doubt it would be the candidate with excellent
communication skills.
Prior to entry in any organization, certain communicative abilities
are also looked for in candidates. Ability to speak, conduct
oneself properly in an interview, get along with others, listen
carefully and accurately, make effective presentations, prepare good
yet brief report, make proposals, sell ideas, convince and persuade
others are some of the attributes looked for in a candidate. If an
individual possesses these attributes looked for in a candidate. If
an individual possesses these attributes or can train himself to
excel in them, he himself would realize how much easier it is for
him only to secure a comfortable position in an organization but
also to achieve success.
A Study-tour of Communication
This tour presents a fundamental overview of the study of
communication with emphasis on the study of human
communication. The sections may be used in any order, though
a comprehensive study would normally begin with section
number one and consider each in the order listed below.
1. The Communication Process
Communication is a process that serves to connect senders and
receivers of messages in space and time. Although human
beings tend to be interested primarily in the study of human
communication, the process is present in all living things and, it
can be argued, in all things. From this we may conclude that
communication is a fundamental, universal process.

2. Self Andsociety
Messages are formed in the mind of one individual and
interpreted in the mind of another. Yet the formation and
interpretation of messages are affected by the groups to which
the individuals belong. Thus, a complete understanding of
human communication must take into account both human
psychology and human social interaction.

3. Information
To receive messages human beings must make use of their
senses. However, the senses continually process large volumes
of data, not all of which are the result of communication. It is
the human ability to discern, recognize, and remember patterns
in this constant flow of data that makes meaningful communi-
cation possible.

4. Signs And Language
Some patterns of data bring to mind memories of previous
patterns. These signs, as they are called, can be assembled into
large, powerful patterns called languages. Much (though
certainly not all) of human communication is carried on
through the use of language.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 3


5. Interaction And Relationships
In face-to-face situations human beings cannot avoid commu-
nicating with one another. This interpersonal
communication, which involves processes such as speech and
body language, plays an important role in the formation,
development, and dissolution of human relationships.

6. Mass Communication
Approximately five hundred years ago a new form of commu-
nication arose. This mass communication process, which
makes use of permanent text that can be made available to
millions of people at the same time, has quickly become an
important factor in the lives of many human beings.

7. The Communication Environment
Human communication takes place within, and cannot be
separated from, the complex social environments within which
all communicators must live. Systems of belief, technological
media, and the presence of cultural artifacts all affect the
communication process and contribute to the development of
the human social reality.

Communication: a system for sending and receiving messages.
An investigation of this statement will lead first to the idea of a
system, and then to the idea of messages.
A system is typically described as a collection of parts which
are interconnected, or related to, one another and which also
relate to the environment which surrounds the system. In the
picture below, the circles and rectangles represent the parts, the
solid lines represent the relationships among the parts, and the
arrows show the systems interaction with its environment.

To say that the elements of a system are interconnected implies
that if something happens to change one part, then at least one
other part must change, too. Naturally, as soon as that second
part changes, some other part must then change ... and so on.
This is somewhat like the effect of touching a bowl of gelatin -
a single touch results in a long period of jiggling motion.
Because systems interact with their environments, they are
constantly being touched from the outside. This means that
most systems are constantly changing, and, because these
changes take time, a system cannot be described as having one
particular shape. It is this property that makes systems useful
for studying the kinds of situations that scholars usually refer
to as events, or processes.
The idea of a system is well illustrated by the device called a
mobile. The parts of this system, or objects, as they are often
called, are represented in the illustration below as fishes. The
relationships are established by the bars, which maintain a
horizontal spacing among the fish, and the pieces of string,
which keep the fish at certain vertical depths.

Notice that the strings and bars
Connect every fish with every other fish,
Allow the fish to move around quite a bit, yet confine them
to a certain area and keep them from falling apart.
This is a fine example of how a system works. If any one fish
moves, at least one other fish will react by moving, too. Thus,
the smallest breeze will keep the mobile in constant motion.
4 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

The following quotation by Stephen Littlejohn provides a more
formal definition of the term system .
From the simplest perspective, a system can be said to consist
of four things.
The first is objects. The objects are the parts, elements, or
variables of the system. These objects may be physical or
abstract or both, depending on the nature of the system.
Second, a system consists of attributes, or the qualities or
properties of the system and its objects.
Third, a system must possess internal relationships among
its objects. This characteristic is a crucial defining quality of
systems. A relationship among objects implies a mutual
effect (interdependence) and constraint.
Fourth, systems also possess an environment. They do not
exist in a vacuum but are affected by their surroundings.
Clearly, the fish mobile meets these requirements.

It is important to do the following exercise. Thinking about
systems in this way is the most effective way to understand
Consider each of the three systems named here and try to:
Name some of the objects that make up the system,
Name some of the relationships among the objects,
Describe the environment of the system, and
Describe ways in which the system is constantly changing.
Three Systems
Your bodys nervous system,
The legal system of the United States,
The U. S. Interstate Highway system.
The Role of Communication
Notice that these example systems have communication in
The nervous system carries messages from the nerve endings
in our extremities to our brains and back.
The legal system includes thousands of individuals talking
to one another, laws being read and interpreted, forms being
filled out, and so on.
The highway system requires constant communication
among drivers - turn signals, brake lights, and so on - and
between drivers and their vehicles - as, for example, when
you tell your car to turn left by pulling on the steering
In fact, it might be said that communication is the glue that
holds a system together. This gives insight into the nature of
communication itself, to wit:
Communication Connects
But communication is not merely passive connection. Rather,
communication is the process of connecting. It is a collection of
renewable actions that work throughout space and over time to
form relationships among objects.
Communication is not an object itself; it is not a thing, and this
leads to a second insight into the nature of communication.
Communication Happens
This is an important observation. It implies that communica-
tion can never fully be understand by looking only at things.
To understand communication, we must also look at the
relationships among the things and at the environments in
which the things reside.
For example, consider some common communication
A paperback copy of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol,
A video tape of the CNN 6:00 news broadcast on May 5th,
A written invitation to attend my sisters wedding.
In each case the thing - the actual book, the actual video tape,
the actual invitation - is not the communication.
The communication is the process that connects the readers
of the book to the story told by the author.
The communication is the process that connects the watchers
of the broadcast to the events of the day.
The communication is the process that connects my sister
and I via the announcement of her wedding.
True, the book, the tape and the invitation are a part of the
communication process, but they are only a part.
There are additional observations to be drawn from these
Communication always happens between or among - it takes
at least two to communicate.
Communication involves an exchange - of electrical signals,
of sounds, words, pages of print, or whatever.
For ease, these exchanges among communicators will be given
the general name: messages.
Notice, for example, that each of the previous set of examples
contained sender and a receiver and a message. The book was
written by its author to be read by its audience. The video tape
was produced by one group of people to be watched by
another. And the invitation is a message sent from my sister to
The idea of messages is considered at length in these
tutorials. At this point, however, it is appropriate to reiterate the
two basic rules that have just been uncovered:
1. Communication is a process that happens among and acts to
connect communicators through space and over time.
2. Communication involves the creation, transmission, and
reception of messages.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 5

6 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Thats Just What I Mean!
Most problems arise because people cannot sustain
effective communication. Cultivating the art of listening
helps to build bridges and enhance relationships, says
Santosh BabuAll happy families resemble one another, each
unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Thus begins Leo
Tolstoys epic Anna Karenina. What he meant, perhaps, is that
communication is complete when the mind is happy and
uninhibited, and distortion creeps in when the mood is sullen
and sad. Most problems in an organization, family or group are
the result of people failing to communicate. Havent you often
said You dont understand what I say or words to that effect?
Communication is the exchange or flow of information and
ideas between one person and another. Technically, it involves a
sender passing on an idea to a receiver. Effective communication
occurs when the receiver comprehends the information or idea
that the sender intends to convey. What does a communication
process involve? You have an idea that you need to communi-
cate, and a message is sent to the receiver, either verbally or
non-verbally. The receiver then translates the words or nonver-
bal gestures into a concept or information. Lets take, for
example, this message: You are very intelligent. Would this
message carry the same meaning to the receiver every time you
voice these words? The success of the transmission depends on
two factorscontent and context. Content is the actual words
or symbols that constitutes a part of the message, known as
language. It could be either spoken or written. We all interpret
words in our own ways, so much so that even simple messages
could be understood differently.
Context is the way the message is delivered-the tone, expression
in the senders eyes, body language, hand gestures, and state of
emotion (anger, fear, uncertainty, confidence and so on). As we
believe what we see more than what we hear, we trust the
accuracy of nonverbal behavior more than verbal behavior. So
when we communicate, the other person notices two things:
What we say and how we say it. Normally we think communica-
tion is complete once we have conveyed the message: I dont
know why it was not done. I had asked him to do it. Chances
are that the message was not perceived properly. A message
hasnt been communicated successfully unless the receiver
understands it completely. How do you know it has been
properly received? By two-way communication or feedback.
Communication Barriers Ourselves
Focusing on ourselves, rather than the other person can lead to
confusion and conflict. Often, we are thinking about our
response, rather than focusing on what the other person is
saying. Some other factors that cause this are defensiveness (we
feel someone is attacking us), superiority (we feel we know
more than the other), and ego (we feel we are the center of the
activity). Perception: If we feel the person is talking too fast,
not fluently or does not articulate clearly, we may dismiss the
person. Our preconceived attitudes affect our ability to listen.
We listen uncritically to persons of high status and dismiss
those of low status. Mental state: People dont see things the
same way when under stress. What we see and believe at a given
moment is influenced by our psychological frames of refer-
ences-beliefs, values, knowledge, experiences and goals. These
barriers are filters that we use to decide what is useful for us. No
one can completely avoid these filters. If you start taking every
information and message you get seriously, you would be
overloaded with information. But if you are not consciously
aware of this filtering process, you may lose a lot of valuable
information. A way to overcome these filters when you want is
through active listening and feedback.
Active Listening
All of us can hear, but all of us cannot listen. Hearing and
listening are not the same thing. Hearing is involuntary and
listening involves the reception and interpretation of what is
heard. It decodes the sound heard into meaning. Does a knock
on the door sound the same all the time? What if you are alone
and you hear a knock at late night? What happens when you
hear a knock while you are expecting someone whom you like?
People generally speak at 100 to 175 words per minute but we
can listen intelligently at 600 to 800 words per minute. This
means most of the time only a part of our mind is paying
attention, it is easy for the attention to drift. This happens to all
of us. The cure: active listening. This involves listening with a
purpose. It may be to gain information, obtain directions,
understand others, solve problems, share interests, see how the
other person feels, even show support. This type of listening
takes the same amount of or more energy than speaking. This
requires the listener to hear various messages, understand the
meaning and then verify the meaning by offering feedback. Here
are some of the traits of an active listener:
Does not finish the sentence of others.
Does not answer questions with questions.
Is aware of biases. We all have them... we need to control
Never daydreams or becomes preoccupied with ones own
thoughts when others talk.
Lets others talk.
Does not dominate the conversation.
Plans responses after the other persons have finished
speaking, not while they are speaking.
Provides feedback, but does not interrupt incessantly.
Analyses by looking at all the relevant factors and asking
open-ended questions.
Keeps the conversation on what the speaker says...not on
what interests them.
Takes brief notes. This forces one to concentrate on what is
being said.
This is done by restating the other persons message in your
own words. It helps to make sure that you understood the
message correctly. How much better daily communication
would be if listeners tried to understand before they tried to
evaluate what someone is saying! Lets do a test of your
listening ability. Get a paper and pen. You have two minutes to
do this. If you take more time, you need to improve your
listening skills. Read all the instructions below before doing
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 7

Write your name in the top right corner of the paper
Draw five small squares in the top left corner
Put a circle around each square
Put an X on the lower left-hand corner
Draw a triangle around the X you just made
Sign your name at the bottom of the page
On the back of your page multiply 70 x 30
Write the answer to the above problem adjacent to your
Check whether you have done all the above correctly Now
that you have finished reading carefully, do only the first
instruction. The author is a Delhi-based personal growth
8 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Key stages of communication cycle
Methods of Communication Verbal andnonverbal
The Communication Process
Although all of us have been communicating with others since
our infancy, the process of transmitting information from an
individual (or group) to another is a very complex process with
many sources of potential error.
Consider the Simple Example
Terry: I wont make it to work again tomorrow; this
pregnancy keeps me nausious and my doctor says I should
probably be reduced to part time.
Boss: Terry, this is the third day youve missed and your
appointments keep backing up; we have to cover for you and
this is messing all of us up.
In any communication at least some of the meaning lost in
simple transmission of a message from the sender to the
receiver. In many situations a lot of the true message is lost and
the message that is heard is often far different than the one
intended. This is most obvious in cross-cultural situations
where language is an issue. But it is also common among
people of the same cuture.
Look at the example. Terry has what appears to be a simple
message to convey-she wont make it to work today because of
nausia. But she had to translate the thoughts into words and
this is the first potential source of error. Was she just trying to
convey that she would be late; was she trying to convey anything
else. It turns out she was. She was upset because she perceived
that her co-workers werent as sympathetic to her situation as
they should be. Her co-workers, however, were really being
pressured by Terrys continued absences, and her late calls. They
wished she would just take a leave of absence, but Terry refuses
because she would have to take it without pay.
Thus what appears to be a simple communication is, in reality,
quite complex. Terry is communicating far more than that she
would miss work; she is conveying a number of complex
emotions, complicated by her own complex feelings about
pregnancy, work, and her future.
She sent a message but the message is more than the words; it
includes the tone, the timing of the call, and the way she
expressed herself.
Similarly, the boss goes through a complex communication
process in hearing the message. The message that Terry sent
had to be decoded and given meaning. There are many ways to
decode the simple message that Terry gave and the way the
message is heard will influence the response to Terry.
In this case the boss heard far more than a simple message that
Terry wont be at work today. The boss heard hostility from
Terry, indifference, lack of consideration, among other emo-
tions. Terry may not have meant this, but this is what the boss
Communications is so difficult because at each step in the
process there major potential for error. By the time a message
gets from a sender to a receiver there are four basic places where
transmission errors can take place and at each place, there are a
multitude of potential sources of error. Thus it is no surprise
that social psychologists estimate that there is usually a 40-60%
loss of meaning in the transmission of messages from sender
to receiver.
It is critical to understand this process, understand and be aware
of the potential sources of errors and constantly counteract
these tendencies by making a conscientious effort to make sure
there is a minimal loss of meaning in your conversation.
It is also very important to understand that major of our
communication is non-verbal. This means that when we
attribute meaning to what someone else is saying, the verbal
part of the message actually means less than the non-verbal
part. The non-verbal part includes such things as body language
and tone.
Key Stages in Communication Cycle
Communication is a two- way process in which there is an
exchange and progression of ideas towards a mutually accepted
direction or goal. For this process to materialize, it is essential
that the basic elements of communication be identified. These
elements are.
Sender/ Encoder/ Speaker
The person who initiates the communication process is
normally referred to as the sender. From his personal data bank
he selects ideas, encodes and finally transits them to the receiver.
The entire burden of communication then rests upon the
sender or encoder. His choice of images and words the
combination of the two is what goads the receiver to listen
carefully. In this process a number of factors come into play,
primary among them being an understanding of the recipient
and his needs. If the message can be formulated in accordance
with the expectations of the receiver, the level of acceptance is
going to be higher. For example, a consultant wishes to
communicate with the HRD manager of a company. The
objective is to secure consultancy projects on training of
personnel. If theconsultant wishes the HRD manager to
communicate with him, he has to ensure that their goals
converge. He has a tough task ahead of him. The manager had
been interacting with many consultants. Why should he pay
heed to the proposal of this consultant? In a situation such as
this, a good strategy to be adopted is to expand the purview of
the proposal and make it company specific. The result could be
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 9

highlighted and spelt out in terms of increase in sales. If
sufficient preparation has been done, the message too would
increase in sales. If sufficient preparation has been done, the
message too would be formulated in a manner conducive to the
interests of the HRD manager.
Receiver/ Decoder/ Listener
The listener receives an encoded message, which he attempts to
decode. This process is carried on in relation to the work
environment and the value perceived in terms of the work
situation. If the goal of the sender is envisioned as similar to
his own, the listener
becomes more receptive. The decoding of the message is done
in almost entirely the same terms as were intended by the
sender. In the example cited above, as soon as the HRD
manager realizes that the proposal of the consultant is going to
result in tangible benefits, he becomes more receptive and his
interest in communication is reinforced.
Message is the encoded idea transmitted by the sender. The
formulation of the message is very important, for a message,
which is incorrectly structured, can turn the receiver hostile or
make him lose interest. At this stage the sender has to be
extremely cautious. What is the order in which he would like to
present his ideas? Suppose he has four points to make would
he (a) move in the stereotyped manner of presenting them in a
sequence or (b) would he like to be innovative and proceed in a
creative way? Probability is high that in case (a) he might become
monotonous and in case (b) he might touch a wrong spot.
How then should the message be formulated and transmitted?
The ordering, as stated earlier, should be based on the require-
ments of the listener so that its significance is immediately
grasped. The minute the receiver finds his goals codified in the
message, he sits up, listens and responds. The message thus has
made an impact.
Another important element of communication is the medium
or channel. It could be oral, written or non- verbal. Prior to the
composition of the message, the medium / channel should be
decided. Each medium follows its own set of rules and
regulations. For example, in oral communication one can afford
to be a little informal, but when using the written mode, all
rules of communication need to be observed. It must be
remembered that anything in writing is a document that would
be filed for records or circulated to all concerned.
This is the most important component of communication.
Effective communication takes place only when there is
feedback. The errors and flaws that abound in business
situations are a result of lack of feedback. Le us take a look at
the typical responses of people involved in miscommunication:
this is not what I meant or This is not what I said, or
this was not my intention. If feedback is solicited on all
occasions, this error can be minimized or even completely done
away with. Fallacious statements or erroneous conclusions are
made because of lack of confirmation through feedback and
discrepancy between the message transmitted and understood.


Encoding Transmission Decoding
Noise Receiver
Feedback Loop

Encoding Transmission Decoding
Try not to narrate a story of a film you recently saw to your
friend. Ask your friend to tell the story, which you have just told
him. Try to understand the entire communication process
through the above diagram.
Barriers to Ef f ective Communication
There are a wide number of sources of noise or interference
that can enter into the communication process. This can occur
when people now each other very well and should understand
the sources of error. In a work setting, it is even more common
since interactions involve people who not only dont have years
of experience with each other, but communication is compli-
cated by the complex and often conflictual relationships that
exist at work. In a work setting, the following suggests a
number of sources of noise:
Language: The choice of words or language in which a
sender encodes a message will influence the quality of
communication. Because language is a symbolic
representation of a phenomenon, room for interpreation
and distortion of the meaning exists. In the above example,
the Boss uses language (this is the third day youve missed)
that is likely to convey far more than objective information.
To Terry it conveys indifference to her medical problems.
Note that the same words will be interpreted different by
each different person. Meaning has to be given to words and
many factors affect how an individual will attribute meaning
to particular words. It is important to note that no two
people will attribute the exact same meaning to the same
Defensiveness, distorted perceptions, guilt, project,
transference, distortions from the past
Misreading of body language, tone and other non-verbal
forms of communication (see section below)
Noisy transmission (unreliable messages, inconsistency)
Receiver distortion: selective hearing, ignoring non-verbal
Power struggles
Self-fulfilling assupmtions
Language-different levels of meaning
Managers hesitation to be candid
10 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Assumptions-eg. assuming others see situation same as you,
has same feelings as you
Distrusted source, erroneous translation, value judgment,
state of mind of two people
Perceptual Biases: People attend to stimuli in the
environment in very different ways. We each have shortcuts
that we use to organize data. Invariably, these shortcuts
introduce some biases into communication. Some of these
shortcuts include stereotyping, projection, and self-fulfilling
prophecies. Stereotyping is one of the most common. This
is when we assume that the other person has certain
characteristics based on the group to which they belong
without validating that they in fact have these characteristics.
Interpersonal Relationships: How we perceive
communication is affected by the past experience with the
individual. Percpetion is also affected by the organizational
relationship two people have. For example, communication
from a superior may be perceived differently than that from a
subordinate or peer
Cultural Differences: Effective communication requires deci-
phering the basic values, motives, aspirations, and assumptions
that operate across geographical lines. Given some dramatic
differences across cultures in approaches to such areas as time,
space, and privacy, the opportunities for mis-communication
while we are in cross-cultural situations are plentiful.
7 CS and 4 Ss
7 Cs
In any business environment, adherence to the 7 Cs and the 4
Ss helps the sender in transmitting his message with ease and
accuracy. Lets us first take a look at the 7 Cs:
1. Credibility. If the sender can establish his credibility, the
receiver has no problems in accepting his statement.
Establishing credibility is not the outcome of a one-shot
statement. It is a long-drawn out process in which the
receiver through constant interaction with the sender
understands his credible nature and is willing to accept his
statements as being truthful and honest.
Courtesy. Once the credibility of the sender has been
established, attempts should be make at being courteous in
expression. In the business world, almost everything starts
with and ends in courtesy. Much can be accomplished if tact,
diplomacy and appreciation of people are woven in the
Jane: You can never do things right. Try working on this
project. If you are lucky you may not have to redo it.
Jane: This is an interesting project. Do you think you
would be able to do it. I know last time something went
wrong with the project, but everyone makes mistakes.
Suppose we sat down and discussed it threadbare Im sure
your would be able to do wonders.
The two statements convey totally different impressions. While
the first statement is more accusative, the second is more tactful
and appreciative of the efforts put in by the receiver at an earlier
stage. The crux of the message in both the statements is the
same: You want an individual within an organization to
undertake a project. The manner in which it is stated brings
about a difference in approach. Further, expressions that might
hurt or cause mental pain to the receiver should, as far as
possible, be ignored. For this it becomes essential that the I
attitude be discarded in favor of the you-attitude. Develop-
ment of interest in the you will perforce make the other
individual also see the point of view of the other. At the time
of emphasizing the you-attitude, only the positive and
pleasant you-issues should be considered. If it is being used
as a corrective measure, then the results are not going to be very
positive or encouraging.
2. Clarity. Absolute clarity of ideas adds much to the meaning
of the message. The first stage is clarity in the mind of the
sender. The next stage is the Makes comprehension easier
transmission of the message in a manner which makes it
simple for the receiver to comprehend. As far as possible,
simple language and easy sentence constructions, which are
not difficult for the receiver to grasp, should be used.
4. Correctness. At the time of encoding, the sender should
ensure that his knowledge of the receiver is comprehensive.
The level of knowledge, educational background and status
of the decoder help the encoder in formulating his message.
In case there is any discrepancy between the usage and
comprehension of terms, miscommunication can arise. If
the sender decides to back up his communication with facts
and figures, there should be accuracy in stating the same. A
situation in which the listener is forced to check the presented
facts and figures should not arise. Finally, the usage of terms
should be nondiscriminatory, e.g. the general concept is that
women should be addressed for their physical appearance
whereas men for their mental abilities. This, however, is a
stereotype and at the time of addressing or praising
members of both the sexes, the attributes assigned should
be the same. Similarly for occupational references. In the
business world almost all professions are treated with
respect. Addressing one individual for competence in his
profession but neglecting the other on this score because of
a so-called inferior profession alienates the listener from the
5. Consistency The approach to communication should, as
far as possible, be consistent. There should not be too many
ups and downs that might lead to confusion in the mind of
the receiver. If a certain stand has been taken, it should be
observed without there being situations in which the sender
is left groping for the actual content or meaning. If the
sender desires to bring about a change in his understanding
of the situation, he should ensure that the shift is gradual
and not hard for the receiver to comprehended.
6. Concreteness. Concrete and specific expressions are to be
preferred in favour of vague and abstract expressions. In
continuation of the point on correctness, the facts and
figures presented should be specific. Abstractions or abstract
statements can cloud the mind of the sender. Instead of
stating: There has been a tremendous escalation in the sales
figure, suppose the sender made the following statement:
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 11

There has been an escalation in the sales figures by almost
50% as compared to last year. The receiver is more apt to
listen and comprehend the factual details.
7. Conciseness. The message to be communicated should be
as brief and concise as possible. Weighty language definitely
sounds impressive but people would be suitably impressed
into doing precisely nothing. As far as possible, only simple
and brief statements should be made. Excessive information
can also sway the receiver into either a wrong direction or into
inaction. Quantum of information should be just right,
neither too much nor too little , e.g.
Usually the policy date
In the first example, the statement is rather long and convo-
luted. However, the second example gives it the appearance of
being crisp, concise and to the point.
7 Cs
Cs Relevance
Credibility Builds trust
Courtesy Improves relationships
Clarity Makes comprehension easier
Correctness Builds confidence
Consistency Introduces stability
Concreteness Reinforces confidence
Conciseness Saves time

4 S,s
An understanding of the 4 Ss is equally important.
1. Shortness. Brevity is the soul of wit, it is said. The same
can be said about communication. If the message can be
made brief, and verbosity done away with, then transmission
and comprehension of messages is going to be faster and
more effective. Flooding messages with high sounding
words does not create an impact. Many people harbour a
misconception that they can actually impress the receiver, if
they carry on their expeditious travails. Little do they realize
how much they have lost as the receiver has spent a major
chunk of his time in trying to decipher the actual meaning of
the message.
2. Simplicity. Simplicity both in the usage of words and ideas
reveals a clarity in the thinking process. It is normally a
tendency that when an individual is himself confused that he
tries to use equally confusing strategies to lead the receiver in
a maze. Reveal clarity in the thinking process by using simple
terminology and equally simple concepts.
3. Strength. The strength of a message emanates from the
credibility of the sender. If the sender himself believes in a
message that he is about to transmit, there is bound to be
strength and conviction in whatever he tries to state. Half-
hearted statements or utterances that the sender himself
does not believe in adds a touch of falsehood to the entire
4. Sincerity. A sincere approach to an issue is clearly evident to
the receiver. If the sender is genuine, it will be reflected in the
manner in which he communicates. Suppose there is a small
element of deceit involved in the interaction or on the part
of the sender. If the receiver is keen an observant, he would
be able to sense the make-believe situation and, business
transactions, even if going full swing, would not materialize.
4 Ss
Ss Relevance
Shortness Economises
Simplicity Impresses
Strength Convinces
Sincerity Appeals

Keys to More Ef f ective Communication
Over 70% of our time is spent communicating with others,
and thats the one interaction every person must do. Everyone
must communicate their needs and ideas. Every organization
must communicate its products and services. Unfortunately,
many people have trouble in this area. Some just dont have the
professional impact they need to get ahead in todays corporate
world. Communication is just as important as what we say
because people judge us, our companies, our products, our
services, and our professionalism by the way we write, act, dress,
talk, and manage our responsibilities. In short, how well we
communicate with others.
Successful people know how to communicate for results. They
know how to say what they mean and get what they want
without hurting the people they deal with. You deal daily with
peers, outside groups, customers, employees, and managers,
and you must have a good communication style.
When we ask people how well they communicate, their answers
usually fall into one of three categories. First, and most prevalent,
is the person who responds, I communicate perfectly. I spell
everything out so theres nothing left to doubt.
Another will react with surprise and ask me, What do you mean
how well? I dont think about communicating, I just do it.
The third type will reflect on the question thoughtfully before
saying something like, How can one ever know how well they
get their ideas across to another person? All I can tell you is I
work more hours trying to communicate than I can count, and
it still doesnt work some of the time. Each answer, in its own
way, is correct.
Communicating today is both a discipline and a liberation. Our
language is flexible; one size fits all. Its a language in which ravel
and unravel mean the same thing; flammable and inflammable
mean the same thing; fat chance, slim chance, no chance at all
mean the same thing. Communication is both a science and a
feeling; its often a cinch, and often an impossibility.
The smell of a womans perfume, the taste of semisweet
chocolate, the sight of a blind persons cane, the feel of the
feverish brow of a sick child, the sound of the background
music of a horror movieall these move us to action or
reaction. These are all examples of effective communication, and
none of them involve words.
12 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Communication is full of risks; despite whatever precautions
and plans we make, we can never really be sure of our success.
No communication ever travels from sender to receiver in the
same shape intended by the sender. And, no matter how hard
you try, the message will never be what you saythe message is
always what they hear. But if you have a system to go by, you
can at least reduce the risk and improve your chance of being
For communication to occur, there must be a two-way inter-
change of feelings, ideas, values; clarification of signals; and a
fine-tuning of skills.
Adjust the Climate
Whenever people get together to communicate with one
another, two factors are always present. First, there is some sort
of content to be coveredinstructions, news, gossip, ideas,
reports, evaluations, etc.
All of us are familiar with the content of communication,
because its the most obvious factor, and because we deal with it
every day. The second factor that is always present when people
get together to communicate is the atmosphere or feeling that
accompanies what you say. This is known as the communica-
tion climate.
Physical climate affects us in many ways. When its cold, we wear
warm clothes. When its raining, we wear protective clothes.
And its not uncommon for weather conditions to affect our
mood. Communication climates also affect us. They can be
either positive or negative. When the communication climate is
positive, its easier for us to communicate, solve problems, reach
decisions, express thoughts and feelings. In short, it makes
working and dealing with other people more pleasant and
productive. Weve all been in restaurants, stores, offices, and
homes where we felt comfortable and at ease. We usually want
to go back to those places. Weve also been in homes, offices,
and shops where the climate has been negative. In those
instances, we were uncomfortable, uneasy, and less open. We
usually dont enjoy attempting to communicate or do business
in a negative climate. Are you making the climate negative for
those you work with?
Choose Your Channel
Like a radio, human transmitters and receivers have channels. A
communication channel is the medium through which
information passes from sender to receiver: lecture, written
messages, telephone conversations, face-to-face dialogue, and
group meetings.
The choice of a channel may affect the quality of the communi-
cation and, in turn, the degree to which the receiver will respond
to it. Therefore, you must decide which channel will be most
effective in accomplishing your purpose.
Written communication should be used when communicating
complex facts and figures or information, such as engineering,
legal or financial data, since communication breakdowns often
result when complex material is presented orally. Written
communication is also the best channel when communicating
with large numbers of people, when transmitting large amounts
of data, or when you need a record of the communication.
The telephone is appropriate when communicating simple facts
to a few people. The phone also has more impact and sense of
urgency than written communication, but not as much as a
meeting. To insure that messages are understood on the phone,
you may want to ask for feedback and check to make sure the
communication link is complete.
Face-to-face communication has more urgency than meetings. It
also has the advantage of speed, allows considerable two-way
communication to take place, and usually elicits a quick re-
sponse. Its usually best to use face-to-face dialogue when the
interaction is personalwhen giving praise, counseling, or
taking disciplinary action.
Meetings are appropriate when there is a need for verbal
interaction among members of a group. Studies have revealed
that supervisors spend more than half of their potential
productive time in meetings, discussions, and conferences. For
this reason, its important to decide in advance whether a
meeting will actually achieve the desired result.
Eliminate Static
Another helpful skill is elimination of communication static
or barriers. If theres too much static, or noise, theres a garbled
message. The problem is that each of us has different barriers,
and we dont usually know what kind of noise the other
person is hearing. Sometimes we guess, and sometimes we
guess wrong. The major barrier to communication is our
natural tendency to judge, evaluate, approve, or disapprove the
other persons statements.
Suppose the person next to you at lunch today says, I really
like what Kay duPont has to say. What will you say? Your reply
will probably be either approval or disapproval of the attitude
expressed. Youll either say, I do too! or youll say, I think
shes terrible. In other words, your first reaction will be to
evaluate it from your point of view, and approve or disapprove
what the other person said. Although the tendency to make
evaluations is common in almost all conversation, it is very
much heightened in those situations where feelings and
emotions are involved.
Tune in
One of the best ways to tune in to the other person is to find
out how they process and store the information they receive.
Studies of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) have proved
that there are three sensory process types: Visual, Auditory, and
Some people are visually oriented. They remember and imagine
things by what they look like. They store pictures. Some people
are auditorythey store sounds. Some people are kinesthetic
they store touch sensations.
How can you figure out a persons processing system? By
listening. People tend to broadcast how they process informa-
tion, how they file their data. Visually oriented people say things
like: Heres what it looks like to me. Do you see what I mean?
Do you get the picture? I need a clearer vision of that. Thats
not coming in clear to me. All visually oriented terms.
Auditory people remember and imagine things by what they
sound like. They say: Heres what it sounds like to me. That
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 13

rings a bell. Do you hear what I mean? We need to have more
harmony in this office. Were not in tune on this.
Kinesthetic people remember and imagine things by the feel of
them. They say: Heres what it feels like to me. Do you grasp
what Im saying? That was a rough problem. That was a heavy
burden. That was a weighty issue.
People dont always use the same sensory words, of course, but
we do tend to use one sensory process about 70% of the time.
If you want me to understand how you feel or see what you
mean or get in tune with your ideas, you need to talk to me in
words Ill relate toeither visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. If
you talk to me in flowers, and I hear in pastry, we cant commu-
nicate. This is a very sophisticated form of communicating, and
can be very effective.
Know Your Nonverbals
Body movement, eye contact, posture, and clothing are also very
important elements. In fact, studies prove that 93% of your
message is nonverbal and symbolic. Employees learn to cue on
the boss moods, spouses learn to react to each others move-
ments, children instinctively watch for signs from their parents.
Studies have also taught us that sometimes our tongues say
one thing, our bodies say another thing, and our symbolslike
clothing and hairstylessay still a third thing. When this occurs,
the normal person will believe what they see, not what they
hear. So you need to be constantly aware of the image you
portray. Is it one of assertive confidence. . .someone who is
willing to listen and solve problems? Or is it of someone who
is unfriendly and uncaring? Do your clothes and posture reflect
a person of high quality or one of sloppy habits?
Over 2 centuries ago, Ben Franklin said, Power is with the
person who can communicate well. Its truer today than it has
ever been. And the power exists within you. . .all it takes is
awareness and practice.
1. Pick up any two students in your class. At random give
feedback to both of them positive to one and negative to
the other. Note down their verbal responses and body
language. Is there any difference between the responses of
the two students? If yes, what is it? What strategies can be
used to even out the differences?
2. Divide the section into two groups with two observers.
Both the groups are numbered and further subdivided into
senders and receivers. It is decided beforehand that the
message transmitted in the first group is meaningful and in
the second, a mere exchange of social pleasantries. Observers
list down the criteria that help them to determine the
significance of the message whether it is meaningful or
being used to while away the time. Observe the non-verbal
cues in a piece of communication. How do these cues affect
the meaning of words? What is their impact on the receiver?
14 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Methods of Communication Verbal andnonverbal
Channels of communication formal andinformal
Dimensions of communication upward, downward, horizontal and
We have by now gathered some knowledge on what communi-
cation is, how is it important in business and key stages of
communication as well. Today we shall learn the different
methods of communication, channels and dimensions of
When Anil entered in his office on a Monday morning, he
found that somebody had tempered with his personal com-
puter and that it was plugged on. He called up his personal
secretary and enquired as to who could have done that. After a
while she reported that two marketing executive came on
Saturday evening to seek some information and since he was
not there, they used his computer for that. Sandeep was very
angry and wanted to stop this practice. He called those execu-
tives and and warned them. He issued a memo to this effect
and distributed it in the office.
Here Anil used speech (words spoken), writing (memo) , body
language (his expression when he talked to the marketing
executives and paralanguage (stern tone of voice) to make his
people aware of his sentiments.
Both formal (i.e. memo) and informal channels (discussion
among employees) contributed to spread the news.
Note the dimensions of communication even in the small
office environment. Anil Enquires from his secretary , warns the
executives and issues a memo - all are downward communica-
tion. Secretary reports, executives reply to Sandeep all are
upward communication. Secretary enquires about who came in
the bosss room horizontal communication.
Now we will see the various forms of communication and
different channels and directions through which communica-
tion may pass.
Methods of Communication
One of the ways of communicating is by words whether by
way of speech or by way of writing. Another is by using the
expressions other than words , like gestures , body language,
etc. A third mode of communication is circumstantial commu-
nication, that is the people communicating make no deliberate
effort, the message is conveyed by the way the things are . For
example : the elaborate dcor of ones office room conveys that
he is holding a high position in the organization. We will divide
our discussion into two categories.
Communication Network
An organization is a composite of many individuals working
together, towards its growth. They are constantly interacting
with each other and with people outside the company. The
communication network in an organization is of two types:
1. Internal
2. External
Internal Communication
Formal Communication
Interaction between members of the same organizations called
internal communication. It could be both formal and informal.
Large organizations with hundreds of people working find it
very difficult to have direct interaction with each and everyone.
They adopt a number of strategies, e.g., newsletters, annual
reports to communicate the essential message. In such large
setups, it is neither possible nor necessary to transmit all
information to every member.
Some of the merits of formal communication network are
discussed below:
1. Satisfy the information needs of the -organization - Formal
channels of communication are designed to cater to the
informational needs of the organization, i.e., when and
where, what kind of information is required and who is to
provide it. Thus the formal communication channels are
needed for the very reason of activating information flow in
the organiza-tion.
2. Integrates the organization - Formal communication
channels work as linking wires in a big sized organization,
and thus integrate its functioning.
3. Coordination and control- By providing required
information at right time to right places, the formal
communication networks greatly facilitates coordination and
control in the organization.
4. Sorts the information for high-level executives - Formal
communication channels facilitate the flow of selective
information to the top executives. Otherwise they will be
finding themselves in the midst of all relevant and irrelevant
5. Restricts unwanted flow of information - When a person is
supposed to formally communicate some information to
some authority, that itself has a restrictive implication that he
need not disseminate this information anywhere else.
6. Reliability and accuracy of information - When information
moves through formal channel, it has to have some basis to
substantiate it. It is any time more reliable and accurate than
the informally obtained information.
However, the formal communication network entails some
limitations also:
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 15

1. Time consuming and expensive - Since formal
communication channels involve lot many levels,
information takes time to travel across. More-over, paper
work, involvement of executives time, and other facilities
required for the communication network make it an
expensive proposi-tion.
2. It increases the workload of the line supervisor - Since most
of the reporting goes from down to up, generally line
supervisor is the person who has to devote a good deal of
time because in forwarding information, under formal
channels. This leaves him with little time to perform other
organizational functions properly.
3. Information may get distorted - There are dangers of
messages being lost, filtered or distorted as they pass
through many points.
4. Creates gaps between top executives and lower subordinates
- Formal communication channels reduce the need of contact
between the top executive and the subordinates at the lowest
level. Many a times they do not even recognize each other.
This adversely affects superior subordi-nate relationship.
Whatever these limitations are, the need for a formal network
of communica-tion cannot be done away with. An organization
has to have a formal commu-nication structure. Of course one
can strive to make it more economic and efficient by not being
too rigid and too elaborate.
Inf ormal Communication
Informal communication network is not a deliberately formed
network. It arises to meet needs that arent satisfied by formal
communication. Employees form friendships, and cliques
develop, they talk in gatherings, the persons working at same
place may talk just like that, and likewise. These in turn allow
employees to fill. in communication gaps within the formal
channels. Following are some of the sources of informal
1. Grapevine _. channel mostly associated with gossip and
2. Social gatherings - organizational gatherings give a chance to
people of various ranks to meet and talk
3. Management by walking around - where a manager
informally walks through the work area and casually talk to
4. Secretaries/ administrative assistants - It is very common that
the secre-taries or administrative assistants of the top bosses
pass and receive much information informally.
Since grapevine is the most widespread and commonly used
informal commu-nication network, we would discuss it in detail.
The grapevine exists outside the formal channels and is used by
people to transmit casual, personal, and social interchanges at
work. It is an expression of their natural motivation to com-
muni-cate. It consists of rumors, gossip, and truthful
information. Its speed is very fast as compared formal communi-
cation. For instance, a study conducted by Keith Davis revealed
that wife of a plant supervisor has a baby at 11.00 p.m. and a
plant survey the next day at 2.00 p.m. showed that 46% of the
management personnel knew of it through the grapevine.
Patterns of Grapevine Communication
The grapevine is active in almost every organization. Lets take a
look at how communication travels along the informal
network-the well-known grape-vine. There appear to be four
patterns to this form of communication.
The single strand is the way in which most people view the
grapevine. In this, person A tells something to person B, he
tells that to person C, he tells that to another person down
the line to Y and so on. This chain is least accurate in passing
the information.
In the gossip chain, one person seeks out and tells everyone
the information that he has obtained. This chain is often
used when information of an interesting but non-job
related nature is being conveyed.
In the probability chain, individuals are indifferent about
whom they offer information to; they tell people at random,
and those people in turn tell others at random. This chain is
often used when the information is mildly interesting but
In the cluster chain, person A conveys the information to a
few selected individuals; some of those individuals then
inform a few selected others. Research evidence shows that
the cluster is the most popular pattern that grapevine
communications take. That is, a few people are active
communica-tors on the grapevine. As a rule, only about 10
per cent of the people in an organization act as liaisons who
pass on information to more than one other person. Which
individuals are active on the grapevine often depends on the
message. A message that sparks the interest of an employee
may stimulate him to tell someone else. However, another
message thats perceived to be of lesser interest may never be
transmitted further.
Grapevine show admirable disregard for rank or authority and
may link organization members in any combination of
directions- horizontal, vertical, and diagonal. As Kieth Devis
puts it, the grapevine flows around water coolers, down
hallways, through lunchrooms, and wherever people get
together in groups.
Merits of inf ormal Communication
The informal communication has the following advantages:
1. Satisfies social needs of members - Man being a social
creature needs to have social interaction. Informal
communication satisfies this need very well. Also, it provides
the workers an outlet to freely express their fears, views and
2. Better human relations - Informal communication is a very
good way to promote good human relations in the
3. Speed - The informal communication (specially grapevine) is
a very speedy network to spread the information. Managers
may use the grapevine to distribute information through
planned leaks or judiciously placed just between you and
me remarks.
4. It works as a linking chain - It links even those people who
do not fall in the official chain of command.
16 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

5. It serves to fill the possible gaps in the formal
Limitations of Inf ormal Communication
The limitations of informal communication are as follows:
1. Not authentic - Informal communication is not authentic.
Different per-sons may distort the message because of
different interpretations.
2. Responsibility cannot be fixed - Informal communication is
oral in nature and it is very difficult to fix the responsibility
of the communicator for the message transmitted. It may
lead to generation of rumors in the organiza-tion.
3. Not dependable - Informal channels may not always be
active therefore is not dependable.
4. It may lead to the leakage of confidential information.
5. Incomplete information - Grapevine information is generally
Note that despite all these limitations, the informal communi-
cation system permits employees to satisfy their need for social
interaction, and works parallel to the formal network. It can be
used positively to improve an organizations performance by
creating alternative, and frequently faster and more efficient
channels of communication. The mangers can do this if they
pay due attention to informal communication networks.
External Communication
Communication is an ongoing process. It does not only take
place with people within the organization but with people
outside the organization as well. If a company has to survive in
the competitive environment, it has to adopt the latter form of
communication also. The image of the company is contingent
upon the relationship that it maintains with people outside.
External communication can take on a number of forms.
1. Advertising
2. Media interaction
3. Public relations
4. Presentations
5. Negotiations
6. Mails
7. Telegrams
8. Letters
External communication could again be oral or written. The
first three forms of communication mentioned above, viz.
advertising, media interaction, and public relations, fall mainly
within the domain of corporate communications. Establishing
good relations, negotiating or conducting a deal, interacting
with clients, issuing tenders, soliciting proposals, sending letters
are all part of external communication. this is a different task as
interaction takes place and varies between a host of people
belonging to different disciplines, with different personalities
and different expectations. As communication proceeds with
external customers, almost all skills needed for adept communi-
cation have to be brought to the fore to avoid any
embarrassment or lapse in performance.
While communicating at the internal level, an individual can, on
a few occasions, be slightly relaxed. The same would not hold
true if he is communicating at the external level. Much is at
stake at the time of external communication as individuals are
representatives of the companies, they need to protect the
image of the organization and create a positive impression that
has long-lasting impact.
Dimensions of Communication
Within an organization, communication may flow downward,
upward, horizontally, or diagonally. Following discussion
pertains to these dimensions of communication networks:
Downward Communication
Downward communication occurs when-ever messages flow
from top of the organization through various levels to the
bottom of the organization. There may be several types of
downward commu-nications, namely-:
1. Job procedures/ instructions- directions about what to do or
how to do the things. For example, when you restock the
shelves, put the new merchan-dise behind the old stock is
an instruction.
2. Job rationale- Explanation of purpose of doing a task in a
certain way. For example, we rotate the stock like that so that
the customers wont wind up with stale merchandise is a
statement explaining the purpose of the instruction given in
the above example.
3. Policies and practices - Information about rules, regulations,
policies, and practices to be followed. For example, II dont
try to argue with the unhappy customers. If you cant handle
them, call the manager is an instruction about the practice
followed in the organization.
4. Feedback/ motivation - Telling the subordinates about their
performance and. motivating them, like- life you keep up the
good work, you will be assistant manager by the end of the
Thus when we say downward communication, we mean that
communication is flowing from upper rung of the ladder of
the organization to the lower one, no matter what form it takes.
This communication helps the subordinates to know what is
expected of them and brings in greater job satisfaction and
improves morale of the employees.
The main problem with the downward communication is that
when the information passes through various hierarchical
channels, there are chances that it gets distorted by the time it
reaches to the targeted person. Since the person giving the
message has different level of understanding than that of the
receiver, it may also happen that the way receiver interprets the
message is not what the sender wants to convey. Very often, in
practice, the recipient not having the ability to understand the
communication may hinder communication. The message may
also be insufficient or unclear. An example would be a commu-
nication quoting the location of a meeting without any
instruction on how to find that location. The message could be
too big to be fully understood in the time available. An
example would be a manager attempting to explain too much
of a complex task at a time. The result may be confusion, or, at
worst, exasperation.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 17

When the message passes through many channels, it may get
delayed. At times the message may get lost in between.
However, these problems do not undermine the importance of
downward communication. If the efforts are made to make
direct and clear communica-tions, these may be overcome.
Upward Communication - Messages flowing from subordi-
nates to superiors are termed as upward communication. Some
of the examples are given below:
We will have the job done by tomorrow - is a reply to an
equity from the boss. The problem with the machine is
continuing. It stops working after every hour and has to be
restarted. -subordinate informing unsolved work problem to
the superior.
Upward communication is important because It helps the top
management in knowing about the attitudes, behaviour,
opinions, activities and feelings of the workers on the job. On
the basis of such knowledge and information, the management
may improve its behaviour, introduce motivational plans and
improve its controlling function. Subordinates get an outlet for
their grievances, suggestions, and opinions, etc. They may feel
that they are contributing towards the goals of the organiza-
tion. Despite the importance of upward communication,
employees find it difficult to participate in it. Being frank with
superiors can be risky, especially when the news is not what the
boss wants to hear. Busy superiors may also be too occupied to
pay attention to employees. Most of the responsibility for
improving upward communication rests with managers. They
can begin the process by announcing their willingness to hear
from, subordinates. The management may use an open door
policy, grievance procedures, periodic inter-views, group
meetings and the suggestions book, etc.
Horizontal and Lateral Communication - This is a commu-
nication between persons of same hierarchical level. The main
object of this type of communication is to coordinate the
efforts of different but related activities. The most obvious type
of horizontal communication goes on between members of
the same division of an organization; office workers in the
same department, co-workers on a construction project, For
example accounts department calls mainte-nance to get a
machine repaired, hospital admission call intensive care to
reserve a bed and so on.
Horizontal communication helps in coordinating the activities
of different departments at the same level. The departmental
heads may sit together and thrash out problems/ wastage of
time, money, labor and-materials.
The main problem is the difference in approach and vision of
different functionaries, who look the things from their own

Department Department

Diagonal or crosswise Communication - Diagonal commu-
nication cuts across functions and levels in an organization.
When a supervisor in the credit department communicates
directly with a regional marketing manager, whos not only in a
different department but also at a higher level in the organiza-
tion,- theyre engaged in diagonal communication.
Given the potential for problems, why would individuals resort
to diagonal communication? The answer again is efficiency and
speed. In some situations, bypassing vertical and horizontal
channels expedites action and prevents others from being used
merely as conduits between senders and receivers. Also, the
increased use of electronic mail systems in organizations has
made diagonal communication much easier. A major problem
with this form of communication is that it departs from the
normal chain of command. To minimize communication gaps,
most diagonal communications also encompass a vertical
communication to superiors or subordinates who may have
been bypassed.
Communication is required at every level from every direction
depending upon the situational need. Formal network channels
facilitate the flow of information in every direction-downward,
upward, horizontal, and diagonal. Although communication
along every dimension entails its own merits and problems, we
cannot do without any of them.
The Strengths and weaknesses of each communication method
are not just a factor of the media elements they can employ, but
also the broad categories that they fall into. There are four
independent dimensions that help considerably in categorizing
the methods:
Recorded v live
Passive v interactive
Local v remote
Push v pull

Upward Downward
Communication Communication
18 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Communication methods compared
IT IS NOW POSSIBLE to look at the applicability of each method by identifying where it sits against each of the four dimensions
and the media elements it is capable of employing.
Recorded communication is prepared in advance of its
delivery. Examples are audio tapes and CDs; videotapes; CD-
ROMs; letters, memos and reports; manuals; printed
materials; faxes; e-mails; intranet pages and some radio and
TV broadcasts.
The advantages of recorded communication are that it delivers
a consistent message each time; the message can be a
considered one and the recipient can access the communication
at a time that suits them.
Live communication is delivered as it happens, in real-time.
Examples are live radio and TV broadcasts; one-to-ones;
meetings; phone calls and video conferencing calls.
The advantage of live communication is that it is immediate.
Interactive communication is two-way. Each party in the
process is able to send and receive communication. Ex-
amples are CD-ROMs (assuming they do not contain purely
linear material); letters, memos and e-mails (to the extent
that they are exchanged); the intranet (to the extent that
interactive facilities are provided); one-to-ones; meetings;
phone calls and videoconferencing calls.The advantages of
interactive communication are the opportunities it provides
for feedback; the greater degree of confidence it provides that
the message has been understood; the recipient can to some
extent control the pace of the communication and the
message can be tailored to better meet the recipients needs.
Passive communication is one-way. The receiver is not able to
respond directly to the communication. Examples are audio
tapes and CDs; videotapes; manuals; printed materials; faxes;
radio and TV broadcasts.
The advantages of passive communication are that it requires
less effort from the recipient and that, because there are no
opportunities for interaction, it is quicker.
Local communication is stand-alone and off-line. It occurs
where you are, even though it might have been originated at a
distance. Examples are audio tape and CDs; videotapes; CD-
ROMs; letters, memos and reports; manuals; printed
materials; one-to-ones and meetings. Faxes are local even
though the process by which they are transmitted is not.The
advantages of local communication are that no sacrifice has to
be made to quality because of bandwidth limitations and that
there are fewer restrictions on where the media can be used or
the communication can take place.
Remote communication is delivered at a distance. It is
networked, on-line, transmitted. Examples are e-mails; the
intranet; radio and TV broadcasts; phone calls and
videoconferencing calls. The process by which faxes are
transmitted is also remote.
The advantages of remote communication are that there is
no delay in getting the message to the recipient, wherever
they are and that communication can take place over large
distances. An advantage of remote, recorded media, such as
intranet pages, is that they can be easily updated centrally.
Push Push communications are sent to specific recipients.
Examples are letters, memos and reports; faxes and e-mails;
one-to-ones; meetings; phone calls and videoconferencing
calls.The advantage of push communication is the greater
certainty that it provides that a message will reach its target
within an appropriate timeframe.
Pull Pull communications are made available to be accessed
at the recipients discretion. Examples are audio tapes and
CDs; videotapes; CD-ROMs; manuals; printed materials; the
intranet; radio and TV broadcasts.The advantages of pull
communication are that it is less stressful for the recipient
and that very large quantities of information can be made
available at any one time.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 19

Characteristics by dimension
Recorded, so consistent, considered,
accessible when suits user
Passive, so requires less effort from
recipient, quicker
Local, so potential for high quality,
Pull, so less stressful, good for large
quantities of info
Characteristics by dimension
Through the spoken wordcan be
specific, convey tone of voice
Through non-verbal sounds can create
emotional response, realism
Characteristics by dimension
When the message can be conveyed
using sound alone; when interaction
is not required; when recipients have
access to players; when no other
medium is suitable, e.g. when
Typical applications: education and
training on the move
tape/ CD
Recorded, so consistent, considered,
accessible when suits user
Passive, so requires less effort from
recipient, quicker
Local, so potential for high quality,
Pull, so less stressful, good for large
quantities of info
Through the spoken wordcan be
specific, convey tone of voice
Through movingimages can be direct
and memorable, attract attention,
show motion, including body
Through non-verbal sounds can create
emotional response, realism
When the message requires high
quality moving images; when you
need to create a memorable impres-
sion; when interaction is not
required; when the size of the
audience makes it cost-effective; when
recipients have access to players
Typical applications: corporate
CD-RromRecorded, so consistent, considered,
accessible when suits user
Interactive, so opportunities for
feedback, can check message has been
understood, recipient can control
pace, message can be tailored
Local, so potential for high quality,
Pull, so less stressful, good for large
quantities of info
Through the written wordcan be
specific, self-paced Through the
spoken wordcan be specific, convey
tone of voice Through still images can
be direct and memorable, self-
pacedThrough movingimages can be
direct and memorable, attract
attention, show motion, including
body languageThrough non-verbal
sounds can create emotional response,
When the message requires a wide
range of media types; when interac-
tion is required; when the message
needs to be tailored to the recipient;
when the size of the audience makes
it cost-effective; when recipients have
access to players
Typical applications: training and
point-of-sale programmes
Letters /
memos /
Recorded, so consistent, considered,
accessible when suits user
Interactive, so opportunities for
feedback, can check message has been
understood, recipient can control
pace, message can be tailored
Local, so potential for high quality,
Push, so message will reach target on
Through the written wordcan be
specific, self-paced
Through still images can be direct and
memorable, self-paced
When the message can be conveyed
using text and still images; when it is
important that you know the
recipient will see the message; when
the message needs to be tailored to
the recipient; when e-mail is not
available, when portability is needed
or when hard copy is essential
Typical applications: everyday
business communications where no
on-line alternative
Manuals Recorded, so consistent, considered,
accessible when suits user
Passive, so requires less effort from
recipient, quicker
Local, so potential for high quality,
Pull, so less stressful, good for large
quantities of info
Through the written wordcan be
specific, self-paced
Through still images can be direct and
memorable, self-paced
When the message can be conveyed
using text and still images; when an
intranet is not available, portability is
needed or hard copy is essential
Typical applications: reference, where
no on-line alternative
20 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Characteristics by dimension
Recorded, so consistent, considered,
accessible when suits user
Passive, so requires less effort from
recipient, quicker
Local, so potential for high quality,
Pull, so less stressful, good for large
quantities of info
Characteristics by dimension
Through the written wordcan be
specific, self-paced
Through still images can be direct and
memorable, self-paced
Characteristics by dimension
When the message can be conveyed
using text and still images; when
quality is important; when the size
of the audience makes it cost-
effective; when an intranet is not
available, portability is needed or
hard copy is essential
Typical applications: corporate
communications, marketing materials
Recorded, so consistent, considered,
accessible when suits user
Passive, so requires less effort from
recipient, quicker
Push, so message will reach target on
Through the written wordcan be
specific, self-paced Through still
images can be direct and memorable,
When the message can be conveyed
using text and still images; when it is
important that you know the
recipient will see the message; when
the recipient is at a distance; when e-
mail is not available; when the
recipient has a fax machine;
Typical applications: business
messages if no on-line alternative
Recorded, so consistent, considered,
accessible when suits user
Interactive, so opportunities for
feedback, can check message has been
understood, recipient can control
pace, message can be tailored
Remote, so no delays, regardless of
Push, so message will reach target on
Through the written wordcan be
specific, self-paced
When the message can be conveyed
using text alone; when it is impor-
tant that you know the recipient will
see the message; when the recipient is
at a distance; when the message
needs to be tailored to the recipient;
when both parties have e-mail access
Typical applications: everyday
business communications
Intranet Recorded, so consistent, considered,
accessible when suits user
Interactive, so opportunities for
feedback, can check message has been
understood, recipient can control
pace, message can be tailored
Remote, so no delays, regardless of
Pull, so less stressful, good for large
quantities of info
Through the written wordcan be
specific, self-paced
Through still images can be direct and
memorable, self-paced
When the message can be conveyed
using sound alone; when the
recipient is at a distance; (if live)
when communication needs to be
immediate; when the recipient has a
radio receiver
Typical applications: none
Radio Passive, so requires less effort from
recipient, quicker
Remote, so no delays, regardless of
Pull, so less stressful, good for large
quantities of info
Through the spoken wordcan be
specific, convey tone of voice
Through non-verbal sounds can create
emotional response, realism
When the message can be conveyed
using text and still images; when an
intranet is not available, portability is
needed or hard copy is essential
Typical applications: reference, where
no on-line alternative
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 21

Characteristics by dimension
Passive, so requires less effort from
recipient, quicker Remote, so no delays,
regardless of distancePull, so less
stressful, good for large quantities of
Characteristics by dimension
Through the spoken wordcan be
specific, convey tone of voice
Through movingimages can be direct
and memorable, attract attention,
show motion, including body
languageThrough non-verbal sounds
can create emotional response,
Characteristics by dimension
When the message requires high
quality moving images; when the
recipient is at a distance; (if live)
when communication needs to be
immediate; when the recipient has a
TV receiver Typical applications:
corporate communications using
Live, so immediate
Interactive, so opportunities for
feedback, can check message has been
understood, recipient can control
pace, message can be tailored
Local, so can take place anywhere
Push, so message will reach target on
Through the spoken wordcan be
specific, convey tone of voice
Through movingimages (in this case
normal sight) can be direct and
memorable, attract attention, show
motion, including body language
When the message requires the
parties to see each other; when
interaction is required; when commu-
nication needs to be immediate;
when the message needs to be
tailored to the recipient
Typical applications: interviews,
everyday business communications
One to
Live, so immediate
Interactive, so opportunities for
feedback, can check message has been
understood, recipient can control
pace, message can be tailored
Remote, so no delays, regardless of
Push, so message will reach target on
Through the spoken wordcan be
specific, convey tone of voice
When the message can be conveyed
using sound alone; when interaction
is required; when communication
needs to be immediate; when the
recipient is at a distance; when the
message needs to be tailored to the
recipient; when both parties have
access to a phone
Typical applications: everyday
business communications
Live, so immediate
Interactive, so opportunities for
feedback, can check message has been
understood, recipient can control
pace, message can be tailored
Remote, so no delays, regardless of
Push, so message will reach target on
Through the spoken wordcan be
specific, convey tone of voice
Through movingimages can be direct
and memorable, attract attention,
show motion, including body
When the message requires the
parties to see each other; when
interaction is required; when commu-
nication needs to be immediate;
when the recipient is at a distance;
when the message needs to be
tailored to the recipient; when both
parties have access to video
conferencing facilities
Typical applications: important
meetings held at a distance
Live, so immediate
Interactive, so opportunities for
feedback, can check message has been
understood, recipient can control
pace, message can be tailored
Local, so can take place anywhere
Push, so message will reach target on
Through the spoken wordcan be
specific, convey tone of voice
Through movingimages (in this case
normal sight) can be direct and
memorable, attract attention, show
motion, including body language
When the message requires the
parties to see each other; when
interaction is required; when commu-
nication needs to be immediate;
when the message needs to be
tailored to the recipient
Typical applications: presentations,
seminars, reviews, briefing sessions,
group decision-making
22 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Importance of
Communication is important
because it is about how
information is sent and received
within firms
The way information is
communicated is often governed
by how firms are structured
Forms of Business Structure
Entrepreneurial - decisions made
Pyramid - staff have a role; shared
decision making; specialisation is
Matrix - staff with specific skills join
project teams; individuals have
Independent - seen in professions
where organisation provides support
systems and little else
Illustrating Structures 1
The Pyramid
view of
Decisions pass
down formal
channels from
managers to
Information flows up
formal channels from
staff to management
Illustrating Structures 2
Most small businesses
have this structure
One or two
people make
Great reliance on
key workers
supporting decision
Quick to act but
pressure on
decision makers
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 23

Illustrating Structures 3
Marketing Production Finance
Project teams
Staff with
specialist skills
More on Business Structure
Managers keep
Decisions are made
in the interests of
the whole business
Costs can be cut by
purchasing and so
Strong leadership
Empowering and
Freeing up senior
managers time
Better knowledge of
those closer to
Good staff
Channels of Communication
Communication in organisations
follows paths or channels
Communication between managers
and subordinates is known as
vertical communication
This is because the information
flows up or down the hierarchy
Channels of Communication
Communication in organisations
follows paths or channels
Communication between managers
and subordinates is known as
vertical communication
This is because the information
flows up or down the hierarchy
24 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Channels of Communication
Channels between departments or
functions involve lateral communication
As well as formal channels of
communication, information also passes
through an organisation informally
Communication is not complete until
feedback has been received
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 25

ByTheEndof This Lesson You ShouldBeAbleTo
Understandtheprinciples of Effectivecommunication
Discuss theimpact information technology
Explain Email etiquettes
Students, in this lesson we will understand the importance of
effective communication. Everyday we communicate with each
other but lets think for a while, are we communicating effec-
tively? Communication, whether oral or written, is all about
understanding. Our aim should be to communicate a message
successfully so that it is received as we intended, without any
Effective communication can be achieved by having a through
knowledge of the communication cycle, being aware of the
barriers, which exist, and by considering carefully the following
vital factors:
What is the objective of communication? Is it intended to
give information, to persuade, to request, to inform?
Who will receive the communication? What is the
relationship between the sender and the recipient? What is
the recipients background knowledge and experience?
Under what circumstances is the communication taking
place? Why is the communication happening? Is it urgent,
serious, dangerous, emotive or informative?
How will the recipient react to the communication ? How
will the message affect the recipient? Is it important? Will the
recipient be offended or angered? Will it achieve the desired
Accomplishing any task with excellence is always a function of
mastering the basics. The six communication basics all of us
have to follow are
1. Establish a warm atmosphere : The atmosphere you create
with your words and gestures determines the effectiveness
of your sermon. Avoid beginning with a negative tone, self-
centered anecdotes, or anything, which betrays insecurity on
your part. These focus the audiences attention on your
needs, not theirs. Your nonverbal signals are also important
because they communicate your general demeanor. Smiling at
people demonstrates openness and invites them to listen.
2. Actively engage peoples interest : Many of us use
techniques to engage congregations that they believe are
effective, but actually disconnect them from listeners. Over-
dramatization, excessive emotion, and yelling focus listeners
upon your performance instead of content. A conversational
approach works better.
3. Be Believable : Evaluate everything you say from the pulpit
with this question: Is it believable? If you cant believe
yourself when you say something, your audience wont
believe it either. When your audience doesnt believe you,
your credibilityand their motivation to keep listening
evaporates. Speaking with authority is dependent upon
speaking truth. Often, speakers get into trouble when they
extrapolate a principle into a situation they dont understand.
If youre speaking about how a certain principle would work
in a business setting, but know nothing about business, it
will show.
4. Speak with your own voice : Listeners will disengage from
a speaker who uses big words to impress his audience or
who appears to choose words for the sake of sounding
good. If your listener is conscious of your voice, it is a
distraction. Choose your words the same way you choose
your clothes; appropriate for the context, but not distracting.
Your voice should contain fire, conviction, and accurately
reflect whats happening in your mind.
5. Use gestures well : The effective use of gestures reinforces
what a pastor says. As with the voice, gestures should
represent what is happening in the mind. Gesturing also
includes looking at people as you talk. Your eyes are almost
as important as your voice. Make sure your eyes sweep across
and make contact with people in every part of the audience,
not just those in front of you.
6. Remember that your knowledge is limited : You may be
tempted to appear to know more than you do. Always keep
in mind that someone in your audience may know more
than you do about your topic. Honestly communicate what
you know.
Effective communication is the key to mobilizing your
employees behind a new vision. Poor communication, on
the other hand, is the best way to demotivate your
employees and stall any progress. Not taking the time to
explain the vision, not explaining the vision in clear,
understandable language, or not walking the talk are some
common ways that organizations fail to achieve their goals.
The seven principles below will help you to avoid mistakes.
Keep it simple
Unfocused, run-on sentences filled with jargon and buzz words
create confusion. Language is often an imprecise tool. The more
often we repeat jargon the less clear the meaning becomes.
Consider this example:
Version #1: Our goal is to improve our victim assistance
service delivery options so that they are perceptually better
than any other service provider within the confines of the
country. In a similar vein, we have targeted existing service
lines and delivery models for transition to more efficient and
effective service delivery options.
Version #2: We are going to be the best victim services
program of any police force in Canada. We will do this by
26 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

having a look at what services we provide and how we
provide them, to see if we can do it better.
Which version do you think people will better understand
and respond to?
Use Metaphors and Analogy
Metaphors, analogy, examples, or just plain colorful language
helps communicate complex ideas simply and effectively. Heres
a colorful vision statement from a large corporation that was
facing fierce competition from a host of new, smaller compa-
nies: We need to be less like an elephant and more like a
customer-friendly Tyrannosaurus rex.
The language is imaginative, but also accurate. The transforma-
tion from elephant to T-rex described exactly the direction the
firm wished to take: still big, but more effective.
Use Many Dif f erent Forums to Spread
The Word
Spread the word in big meetings, informal one-on-one or
group talks and formal presentations. Encourage your employ-
ees to read national broadcasts, divisional newsletters Quarterly
Business Magazines. When the same message comes at people
from six different directions, its going to be heard.
Repeat Key Messages
For the message to be repeated as often as possible, plan
ongoing communication opportunities including developing
your key messages. Key messages are the ideas that you want
your audiences (in your case, your employees) to take home
with them. Key messages should become a natural part of
meetings, discussions, etc. When responding to a question,
answer the question honestly, but also use it as a chance to
repeat a key message if appropriate. One example of a key
message is: The employees of the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police are committed to our communities. This would
probably never be said as a single statement without example
of how we demonstrate this commitment, but it is the essence
of what we want our listeners to take away and to repeat, or
think about later on.
Lead by Example
If you do the opposite of what you say, no one will listen to
you. You have to walk the talk.
We are promoting a new, client-focused vision, so
management should guarantee to listen to employees
concerns and respond to their own employees within a
specified period.
If we are encouraging empowerment and trust on paper, we
must put it into action, and give employees the support to
run with ideas, assuming those ideas are well thought out.
If we espouse community policing, leaders must
demonstrate this to deliver service to all their communities
which could include employees, bosses, government officials,
and so on.
Explicitly Address Inconsistencies
If theres a legitimate reason for inconsistent behaviour, explain
yourself. For example, in times of belt-tightening, if spending
some money up-front can save more in the long-run, explain
that openly and honestly to your employees, and listen with an
open mind to their suggestions. If there isnt a legitimate
reason for inconsistent behaviour, change the behaviour
quickly. Some may believe that management shouldnt have to
explain itself to its employees. Those managers shouldnt be
surprised if their employees lose faith and interest.
Listen and Be Listened to
A final rule: communication should be two-way. Explain the
vision, then listen to the feedback. Dont forget, a great many
people at all levels of the organization have to actually imple-
ment the vision to make it real, but they have to believe in it
Communicating the vision effectively sets the stage for the next
phase: getting people to act.
Impact of Inf ormation Technology
In recent years there has been an information technology
revolution. While paper-based manual systems for processing
information and communicating are still very much evident,
more and more office functions and procedures are now being
undertaken by computer-based technology. The implications of
such information technology on communication methods
cannot be ignored. However the technology will always require
people, and in communication it is the input of the operator
that will ensure effective communication (or otherwise).
In the area of text creation, computer experts are trying to make
the task of creating documents much easier. Programs are
available that will produce standard layouts for most business
documents when inputs or variables are keyed in. In other
words, the originator does not decide on the layout, the
computer program does. Sadly, computer experts who may not
be so expert in the modern display of business documents
write many computer programs. Some of these standard
layouts leave much to be desired.
The fundamental skills of structure, tone and composition will
always be of vital importance in ensuring effective communica-
tion. As an originator of printed communications, you have
control over these factors. However, while technological
developments are making your role more interesting and
challenging, the basic presentational conventions should not be
allowed to suffer. No matter how technology develops in the
future, high standards must be set and maintained in order to
ensure that all your communications are not only appropriately
worded and logically structured, but are also consistently and
attractively presented.
Information Technology has revolutionized business commu-
nication with Emails. Tell me how many of you still write
letters to your friends, relatives? I guess very few of you and
that is because you would love to chat with your friends or
send an email rather than taking the pain in writing letters
getting it posted and worrying whether your friend will receive
your letter? By when? So on and so forth. Similarly in business
emails are used more as an internal communication tool which
saves time, money and effort. Therefore lets now discuss about
The rapid growth of email has been the most exciting business
communication devel-opment in recent years. In just a short
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 27

time, email has emerged as a mainstream form of business
Evaluating Emails Pros and Cons
The reasons for this rapid growth are the advantages email has
over other communication forms, especially over its principal
competitor, the telephone. Among the reasons, the following
are most significant:
Conversely, .email saves the time of these busy people. They are
spared the interruptions of telephone calls.
Email can. speed up the process of making business
decisions, because it permits rapid exchanges from an
involved in the decisions.
Email is cheap. It permits unlimited use at no more than the
cost of an Internet connection.
Email also has its disadvantages. The following stand out:
Email is not confidential. Its just about as private as a
postcard you drop in the mail box.
Email doesnt communicate the senders emotions well.
Voice intonations, facial expressions, body movements, and
such are not a part of the message. They are in telephone and
face-to-face communication.
Email may be ignored or delayed. The. volume of email
often makes it difficult for some respondents to read .and act
on all of their messages.
Including the Pref atory Elements
Much of what you. do in constructing email messages is
standardized, especially the mechanical parts pertaining to
structure. But the second part of your effort, writing the
message, is far from standardized. Although the following
review covers both, the writ-ing receives the greater emphasis. It
is here that you are likely to need the most help. Although the
various email systems differ somewhat, the elements are
standardized. They include the following parts:.
To Here is placed the email address of the recipients.
Cc If someone other than the prime recipient is to receive a
courtesy copy, his or her address goes here.
Bcc This line stands for blind courtesy copy. The recipients
message will not show this information; that is, the or she
will not know who else is receiving a copy of the message. -
Subject This line describes the message as precisely as the
situation permits. The reader should get from it a clear idea
of what the message is about.
Attachments In this area you can enter a file that you desire
to send along with the message. You should make certain
that what you attach is really needed.
The message The information you are sending goes here.
How to write it is the subject of much of the following
Beginning The Message
Typically, email messages begin the recipients name. If writer
and reader are acquainted, first name only is the rule. If not, the
specific situation may determine the first words. A friendly
generic greeting such as Greetings is appropriate for a group
of people with whom you communicate. Use of the recipients
full name also is acceptable. The salutations commonly used in
letters ( Dear Sir, Gentlemen, Dear Mr., Dear Ms. ) are rarely
used in email. When writing to someone or a group you do not
know, it is appropriate to identify yourself early in the message.
This identification may include your propose and your com-
pany. Your title and position also may be helpful.
Organizing the Contents
Even though email messages often are written under time
pressure, you would do well to organize them carefully. For
most short, informative messages, a top-down order is
appropriate. This plan, used in newspaper writing, involves
presenting the most important material first. The remaining
information follows in descending order of importance. Such
an arrangement permits a busy reader to get the essential facts
first, and the reader accessing email on a Web phone or other
small screen to get the essential facts more easily. Many writers
routinely follow this practice.
The longer, more complex, and formal email messages
frequently follow more involved and strategic organization
patterns. As you will see, these patterns vary depending on how
the reader will likely perceive the writers objective. In general,
those messages that are likely to be received positively or
neutrally are written in a direct pattern. That is, they get to the
goal right away and then present their contents systematically
and quickly. Those messages that are likely to be received
negatively are appropriately written in an indirect pattern. Their
negative content is preceded by conditioning and explanation
words that prepare the reader for it.
Some long email messages may resemble business reports.
With these messages, you well may follow the organization and
writing instructions for business reports. You should use your
knowledge of report presentation in writing them. In fact,
business reports can be communicated by email just as business
letters can. As you will see in the later lesson on internal
communication, some memorandums are communicated by
email. The variety of email messages covers the entire spectrum
of written business communication.
Writing the Message : Formality
A review of email writing is uncomplicated by the fact that
email messages are extremely diverse. , they run the range from
highly informal to formal. The informal messages often
resemble face-to-face oral communication; some even sound
like chit that occurs between acquaintances and friends. Email
massages are often written in a fast- paced environment with
little time for deliberation.
Because of this diversity, discussing the formality of email
writing is difficult. One approach is to view the language used
from three general classifications; casual, in- formal, and
Casual By casual language we mean the language we use in
talking with close friends in everyday situations. It includes
slang and colloquialisms. It uses contractions and personal
pronouns freely. Its sentences are short-sometimes incomplete.
It uses mechanical emphasis devices and initializes (to be
discussed later).. Although in actual practice it may be subject to
28 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

grammatical incorrectness, as we stress elsewhere this practice is
not helpful to the communication and should be avoided.
Casual lan-guage is best limited to your communications with
close friends. Following is an ex-ample of casual language:
Hi Cupcake.
High-five me! Just back from confab with pinheads. Theyre
high on our marketing plan. But as you crystal balled it, they
want a special for the jumbos. ASAP, they said. Lets meet, my
cell, 10 A.M., Wed.?
Most of your personal email (messages to friends) are likely to
be casually written. This is the way friends talk and their email
should be no different. Probably some of the email you will
write in business also will fall. in this category. Much of it will
be with your fellow employees and friends in business. But here
some words of caution should be expressed. You would be
wise to use casual language only when you know your readers
well-when you know they expect and prefer casual communica-
tion. Never should you use words, initializes, emphasis devices,
or such that are not cer-tain to communicate clearly and quickly.
Informal: informal language retains some of the qualities. of
casual writing. It makes some use of personal pronouns and
contractions. Its sentences are relatively short. It . occasionally
may use colloquialisms, but more selectively than in casual
writing. It has the effect of conversation, but it is proper
conversation-not chitchat. Its sentences are short, but they are
well structured and organized. They have varied patterns that
produce an interesting literary style. In general, it is the writing
that you will find in most of the illustrations in Chapters 6-9. It
is the language that appears in the text of this book. You
should use its most of your business email messages, especially
when writing to people you know only on a business basis. An
example of an email message in informal language is the
The management team has heartily approved our marketing
plan. They were most complimentary. But as you pre-dieted,
they want a special plan for the large accounts. As they want it as
soon as possible, lets get together to work on it . Can we meet
Wednesday, 10 am my office Brandon
A formal style of writing maintains a-greater distance between
writer and reader than informal style. It avoids personal
references and contractions. Its sentences are well structured and
organized. Although there is a tendency to create-longer sen-
tences in formal writing, this tendency should be resisted
Formal style is well illustrated in the examples of formal reports
in lesson 22/ 23 and it is appropriate to use email messages
resembling formal reports, in messages to people of higher
status, and to people not known to the writer.
Writing the Message : General
Instructions for writing email messages are much the same as
those given in Chapters 2, 3, and 4 for other types of messages.
For the purpose of email writing, we may group the more
important of these instructions under three heads: conciseness,
clarity, and eti-quette. A fourth, correctness is equally vital. Each
of these im-portant qualities for email writing is briefly
reviewed in the following paragraphs.
As we have mentioned, email often is written by busy people
for busy people. In the best interests of all concerned, email
messages should be as short as com-plete coverage of the
subject matter will permit. This means cutting the information
available and using only that which is essential. It means also
that the information remaining should be worded concisely. In
the words of one email authority, Short messages are better,
even especially the important ones
Frequently in email communication, a need exists to refer to
previous email messages. The easiest way, of course, is to tell
your mailer to include the entire message. Unless the entire
message is needed, however, this practice adds length. It is
better either to paraphrase the essentials from the original or to
quote the selected parts that cover the essentials. All quoted
material should be distinguished from your own words by the
sign > at the beginning and the sign < at the end of the quoted
part. Another technique is to place three of these signs (>>>)
at the beginning of all parts you write and three of these signs
(<<<) at the beginning of all parts you are quoting from
previous messages.
Especially important in email writing is clarity of wording. You
should select words that quickly create clear meanings. Typically,
these are the short, familiar ones. You should strive for
concreteness, vigor, and precision. Your sentences should be
short, and so should your paragraphs.
It goes without saying that good business etiquette should be
practiced in all business relations. We all want to receive
courteous and fair treatment. In fact, this is the way we human
beings prefer to act. Even so, the current literature has much to
say about anger among email participants. Flaming, as the
practice of sending abusive or offensive language is called, has
no place in business. Good business etiquette should prevail.
The skillful use of positive language and your viewpoint also
can be effective in email. So can the use of conversational
language. Nondiscriminatory language also helps, as can
emphasis on sincerity. In act, virtually all the instructions given
on goodwill building apply here. Also in the interest of good
business etiquette, you will want to let your reader know when
no response is required to your email message.
One would think that the need for correctness in email writing
would be universally accepted. Unfortunately, such is not the
case. Because of the fast pace of email communication, some
practitioners argue that getting the message out there is the
important goal that style need not be a matter of concern. In
the view of one in this group, You should not add stylistics
and grammatical refinements to your email messages because
theyll slow you down.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 29

We cannot accept this view. How one communicates is very
much a part of the message. As expressed by one authority,
People still judge you on how well you communicate
Commercial email represents your company and your brand.
Theres no room for excuses. Bad spelling, illogical punctua-
tion, awkward wording, and such stand out like sore thumbs.
Such errors reflect on the writer. And they can reflect on the
credibility of the message. If one knows correctness, it is easy
enough to get it right the first time. What is the logic of doing
something wrong when you know better? Clearly, an error-field
message strongly suggests the writers ignorance.
To avoid any such suggestion of ignorance, you should follow
the grammatical and punctuation instructions presented in
lesson 5 and 6. And you should follow the basic instructions
for using words, constructing sentences, and designing
paragraphs. Before pressing the Send button, proofread your
mes-sage careful1y.
Using Good Email Etiquette Helps Writers Convey
Intended Message
Using proper email
etiquette is as easy as
applying a bit of empathy
to your messages: send
only what you would want
to receive. The following
additional etiquette guides
will help you consider a
variety of issues when
using email:
Is your message really
needed by the
Is your message for
routine rather than
sensitive messages?
Are you sure your
message is not spam
(an annoying message
sent repeatedly) or a
chain letter?
Have you carefully
checked that your
message is going where
you want it to go?
Has your wording
avoided defamatory or
libelous language?
Have you complied with
copyright laws and
attributed sources
Have you avoided
humor and sarcasm your
reader may not
understand as intended?

Have you proofread your
message carefully?
Is this a message you
would not mind having
distributed widely?
Does your signature
avoid offensive Quotes
illustrations, especially
those that are religious,
political, or sexual?
Are attached files a size
that your recipient's
system can handle?
Are the files you are
attaching virus free?

Closing The Message
Most email messages end with just the writers name the first
name alone if the recipient knows the writer well. But in some
messages, especially the more formal ones, a closing statement
may be appropriate. Thanks and Regards are popular. In
casual messages, acronyms such as THX (thanks) and TTFN
( ta-ta for now) are often used. The conventional complimen-
tary closes used in traditional letters (sincerely, cordially) are not
widely used, but they are appropriate in message that involves
formal business relationships. In messages to other busi-
nesses, it is important that you include your company and
Today most email software has a signature feature that will
automatically attach a signature file to a message. Most pro-
grams even allow the writer to set up an alterna-tive signature;
giving users the flexibility to choose between a stm1dard, one
alternate, and none attached at all: Writers sometimes set up a
.formal full signature in one file and an informal-signature in
another. The important point to remember is to close with a
signature that gives the reader the information he or she needs
to know.
Using Emphasis Devices
When you write email messages, you may find that certain
elements of style are miss-ing either on your system or on your
readers systems. While most of the current ver-sions of
Windows and Macintosh email programs support mechanical
devices such as underscoring, font variations, italics, bold, color,
and even graphics, some older or mainframe-based systems do
not. Email writers have attempted to overcome the lim-itations
of these older systems by developing alternative means of
showing emphasis. To show underscoring, they use the sign -
at the beginning of the words needing underscoring. They use
asterisks (*) before and after words to show boldface. Solid
capital letters are another means of emphasis, although some
critics believe this practice is greatly overused. In the words of
one critic Dont use solid capital letters. People will think youre
shouting. A sign they use to emphasize items in a list is the
bullet. Since there is no standardized bullet character that will
display on all computers, many writers of email use substitute
characters. One is the asterisk (*) followed by a tab space.
Another is the dash () followed by a tab space. Probably these
devices are used best in the email messages written in casual
Using Initialisms Cautiously
Probably as a result of the early informal development of email,
a somewhat standardized system of initialisms has developed.
Their purpose has been to cut message length and to save the
writers time. In spite of these apparent advantages, you would
be wise to use them cautiously. They have meaning only if
readers know them. Even so, you should be acquainted with
the more widely used ones, such as those below. You are likely
to find others created by your email correspondents.
ASAP as soon as possible
BTW by the way
FAQ frequently asked question
FWIW for what its worth
As noted previously, initializm are appropriate primarily in
casual messages. It is important to keep in mind that these
practices and some of the other pointers given in this review
apply only to current usage. Computers and their use are chang-
ing almost daily. The techniques of email writing also are likely
to change over time.
30 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Why is email etiquette important?
l We all interact with the printed word as though
it has a personality and that personality makes
positive and negative impressions upon us.
l Without immediate feedback your document
can easily be misinterpreted by your reader, so
it is crucial that you follow the basic rules of
etiquette to construct an appropriate tone.
The elements of email etiquette
l General format
l Writing long messages
l Attachments
l The curse of surprises
l Flaming
l Delivering information
l Delivering bad news
l Electronic Mailing Lists
General Format: The Basics
l Write a salutation for
each new subject email.
l Try to keep the email
brief (one screen length).
l Return emails within the
same time you would a
phone call.
l Check for punctuation,
spelling, and
grammatical errors
l Use caps when
l Format your email for
plain text rather than
l Use a font that has a
professional or neutral
General Format: Character
l Try to keep your line length at 80 characters or
l If your message is likely to be forwarded, keep
it to 60 characters or less.
l Set your email preferences to automatically
wrap outgoing plain text messages.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 31

General Format: Lists and Bullets
When you are writing
directions or want to
emphasize important
points, number your
directions or bullet your
main points.
For example,
1) Place the paper in
drawer A.
2) Click the green start
Another example,
Improve customer
Empower employees.
General Format: Tone
Write in a positive tone
When you complete the
report. instead of If you
complete the report.
Avoid negative words
that begin with un, non,
ex or that end with
less (useless, non-
existent, ex-employee,
Use smiles J, winks ;),
and other graphical
symbols only when
Use contractions to add
a friendly tone.
(dont, wont, cant).
General Format: Addresses
l Avoid sending emails to
more than four
addresses at once.
l Instead, create a mailing
list so that readers do
not have to scroll too
much before getting to
the actual message.
l When you are sending
an attachment tell your
respondent what the
name of the file is, what
program it is saved in,
and the version of the
l This file is in MSWord
2000 under the name
32 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

General Tips for Electronic Mailing
l Avoid discussing private concerns and issues.
l It is okay to address someone directly on the
list. Ex, Hi Leslie, regarding your question
l Change the subject heading to match the
content of your message.
l When conflict arises on the list speak in person
with the one with whom you are in conflict.
Elevator Summary and Table of
l An elevator summary
should have all the main
components of the
Our profit margin for the
last quarter went down
5%. As a result I am
proposing budget
adjustment for the
following areas
l Table of contents
This email contains
A. Budget projections for
the last quarter
B. Actual performance for
the last quarter
C. Adjustment proposal
D. Projected profitability
When your message is long
l Create an elevator summary.
l Provide a table of contents on the first screen
of your email.
l If you require a response from the reader then
be sure to request that response in the first
paragraph of your email.
l Create headings for each major section.
Delivering Information About
Meetings, Orientations, Processes
l Include an elevator
summary and table of
contents with headings.
l Provide as much
information as possible.
l Offer the reader an
opportunity to receive
the information via mail if
the email is too
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 33

Delivering Bad News
Deliver the news up front:
We are unable to order
new computers this
quarter due to budget
Avoid blaming:
I think it will be hard to
recover from this, but
what can I do to help?
Avoid using weasel words
or hedging:
Our pricing structure is
More examples of hedging
Intents and purposes
Possibly, most likely
Perhaps, maybe
Writing a complaint
Ask for help and offer a resolution:
Please let me know what other options I may have
overlooked. I am willing to meet with the department
head and the executive board to seek out a solution
that is fair to the members and is good for the business
of the organization.
Writing a complaint
You should briefly state
the history of the
problem to provide
context for your reader.
Explain the attempts you
made previously to
resolve the problem.
Show why it is critical for
the problem to be
resolved by your reader.
Offer suggestions on
ways you think it can be
resolved or how you are
willing to help in the
Do not take your reader by surprise
or press them to the wall
Do not wait until the end
of the day to introduce a
problem or concern via
memo or email.
Avoid writing a litany of
concerns that you have
been harboring for a
long period of time.
34 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Flaming in emails
Flaming is a virtual term
for venting or sending
inflammatory messages
in email.
Avoid flaming because
it tends to create a
great deal of conflict
that spirals out of
Flame fights are the
equivalent of food fights
and tend to affect
observers in a very
negative way.
What you say cannot be
taken back; it is in black
and white.
When you need to flame
l There are times when
you may need to blow off
some steam.
l Remember your
audience and your
situation before sending
the email.
Heres a way to flame:
Flame On
Your message
Flame Off
Keep flaming under control
Before you send an
email message, ask
yourself, would I say
this to this persons
Calm down before
responding to a
message that offends
you. Once you send the
message it is gone.
l Read your message
twice before you send it
and assume that you
may be misinterpreted
when proofreading.
Responding to a flame
l Empathize with the
senders frustration and
tell them they are right if
that is true
l If you feel you are right,
thank them for bringing
the matter to your
l Explain what led to the
problem in question
l Avoid getting bogged
down by details and
minor arguments
l If you are aware that the
situation is in the
process of being
resolved let the reader
know at the top of the
l Apologize if necessary
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 35

When Email Wont Work
l There are times when you
need to take your discussion
out of the virtual world and
make a phone call.
l If things become very heated,
a lot of misunderstanding
occurs, or when you are
delivering very delicate news
then the best way is still face-
to face.
36 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Upon completion of this lesson, you will understandtheroleof
communication in business. Toachievethis goal you shouldbeableto
Study, analyzeandsolvethecasesgiven below.
Learn moreon importanceof communication in business
Explain thecommunication model.
Students in this lesson we will solve some cases for which lets
form groups and analyze the case. You may have to give a
presentation once you are through with your answers/ solutions.
Critical Thinking Exercises
1. Nikita is one of the 12 workers in Department X . She has
strong leadership qualities and all her co-workers look up to
her. She dominates conversations with them and expresses
strong viewpoints on most matters. Although she is a good
worker , her dominating personality has caused problems for
you , the new manager of department X. Today you directed
your subordinates to change a certain work procedure. The
change is one that has proven superior wherever it has been
tried. Soon after giving the directive, you noticed the workers
talking in a group, with Nikita the obvious leader. In a few
minutes she appeared in your office . Weve thought it
over she said. Your production change wont work.
Explain what is happening.
How will you handle the situation?
2. After noticing that some workers were starting work late and
finishing early , a department head wrote this message to
subordinates: It is apparent that many of you are not giving
the company a full days work. Thus the following
procedures are implemented immediately:
After you clock in , you will proceed to your work stations
and will be ready to begin work promptly at the start of the
work period.
You will not take a coffee break or consume coffee on the job
at eh beginning of the work period. You will wait until your
designated break times.
You will not participate in social gatherings at any time
during the workday except during designated break periods.
You will terminate work activities no earlier than 10 minutes
prior to the end of the work period. You will uses he 10
minutes to put up equipment, and check the work area.
You will not queue up at the exit prior to the end of the
work period.
The message was not well received by the workers. In fact it led
to considerable anger , misunderstanding and confusion.
Using the model of communication as a base , analyse the
message and explain g the probable causes of the difficulties.
3. After being introduced to a candidate for the presidency of
their company, two workers had the following discussion .
One worker is Himanshu, a college - age man who is
holding a full time job while going to school - part time.
The other is Akash, an old-timer a self made man and
master craftsman.
Himanshu: I like the candidate. He appears young, energetic and
Akash: Hes young all right. Too young! Too bright ! That fancy
Harvard degree wont help him here. Why Ill bet he hasnt
spent one day in a working mans shoes.
Himanshu: Now thats not fair. He was trained to be an
administrator , and he has had experience as an administrator
high level experience . You dont need experience as a soldier to
be a general.
Akash: Dont tell me what this company needs. Ive spent 40
years here. I know. I was here when old J.P (the company
founder) was president. He started as a machinist and worked
to the top. Best presidident any company could have. We loved
the man . He knew the business and he knew the business and
he knew the work we do.
Himanshu: But that doesnt happen today. Administrators
have to be trained for admiistration. They have to know
administration, finance, marketing the whole business field .
You dont get that in the shop.
Akash: All you kids think that knowledge only comes from
books. You cant substitute book knowledge for experience
and common sense . Ive been here 40 years, son I know.
The dialogue continued to accelerate and soon led to harsh
words. Neither Himanshu nor Akash changed positions.
Analyse the dialogue using the model of communication as the
Further Reading
Myths of Effective Communication
by Brian H. Spitzberg, Ph.D.
Dr. Spitzberg is professor in the School of Communication at
San Diego State University. He is co-author of Interpersonal
Communication Competence (Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA,
1984), Handbook of Interpersonal Competence Research
(Springer-Verlag, New York, 1989), and co-editor of The Dark
Side of Close Relationships (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates,
Mahwah, NJ, due June, 1998).
Could Harry S. Truman be elected in the todays political
context? Probably not. A candidate who really tells it like it is
would likely alienate too many factions of the voting public.
Instead, contemporary candidates employ vague symbols such
as peace, prosperity, democracy, freedom, and resounding
phrases such as a thousand points of light and bridge into
the 21
century. So, as a society, we greatly value clarity, specific-
ity, and honesty. Yet, we only elect leaders who are equivocal and
distinctly reluctant to discuss specifics. Such a mismatch between
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 37

public ideology and actual leadership practice is a good example
of the dark side of human behavior.
What is the dark side of human interaction? It is many things.
First, the dark side refers to things we cannot see, things lurking
in the shadows of ignorance, either not observed or not
understood. Second, it concerns actions we presume to be
positive and valuable, which actually can function in negative
and destructive ways. For example, honesty is highly valued, but
you may be exploited if you are completely honest in the early
stages of negotiation. Third, the dark side draws attention to
encounters that strike us intuitively as unethical, unpleasant, or
dysfunctional, but that are in fact productive, in often surprising
ways. A manager lays off well-liked employees and creates a
climate of uncertainty and dissatisfaction. But in the long run,
the efficiencies gained may produce a working climate that is
more productive and desirable. This dark side exposes a
number of common myths that a leader needs to appreciate.
The Myth of Clarity
The ideology of clarity, accuracy, and understanding runs deep in
the ethos (and mythos) of our businesses, governments, and
relationships. Yet, if we carefully consider these concepts, we
rapidly reveal them to be problematic. Several examples should
Politeness is considered a universal goal. Without basic
politeness, society begins to fall apart. Yet, much of what passes
for politeness is deceptive. Hi Jennifer, how are ya? Fine.
Jennifer may be feeling ill, concerned about not getting the
recent promotion, and apprehensive about her husbands
suspected affair. But she says fine as a pleasantry, and perhaps
to avoid appearing less than competent in a competitive
environment. If we are this duplicitous in casual conversation,
consider the possibilities when we communicate about issues
with larger strategic interests.
Getting the message across, avoiding communication break-
downs, and being clear are good terms in most peoples
minds. Even a best selling self-help book admonishes us that
we just dont understand, as if this is one of the worst sins
of human relations. Yet, as humans, we thriveon ambiguity and
strategic misunderstanding. We often use ambiguity to cope
with predicaments, difficult situations, and conflict situations. A
team member who just gave a fairly bad but somewhat
inconsequential presentation, may ask How did I do? How
do you respond? You may say something like: Probably better
than I would have done, or Ive never seen a presentation like
it. Such messages may not satisfy the other person, but they
assist you in managing a difficult situation and preserving the
peace of work relations.
Leaders often must rely on equivocal and ambiguous messages
if they are to bring diverse groups together. People find it
difficult to agree on much of anything specific, but almost
everyone can agree on the values of freedom, prosperity, and so
forth. People agree to these things in their leaders, without
having any real idea of what these ideas mean in terms of
policy. Through the use of such equivocal symbols, people
come together and make progress toward goals, even if they
dont all have the same image of those goals.
The Myth of Adaptability
Adaptability, the ability to change ones actions as the situation
requires, is essential to interpersonal skills. Or is it? In the world
of athletics, proficiency is often based more on performance
consistency than flexibility. In many realms we define excellence
by how single-minded and focused a person is, and how she
pursues the goal to its end with dogged determination.
Change brings unpredictability, uncertainty, and often, a
diminished performance because a person has left his or her
domain of expertise. Adaptable people can come across like a
chameleon as they change their face for each person with
whom they interact. This is itself somewhat unnerving. But if
everyone is adapting to everyone elses adaptations, people
become chameleons in a paisley room, disabled by the shifting
pattern of their social context. Persistence and consistency may
be hobgoblins of little minds, but they can accomplish great
things when applied in a focused manner.
The Myth of Creativity
The gurus of creativity tout advantages in innovation, unfore-
seen solutions to problems, and new perspectives toward the
world at large. But creativity as an end in itself can result in a
host of potential problems. Brainstorming groups, for
example, can produce so many ideas that the best tree of an idea
can get lost in the forest of alternatives. Creativity thrives on
horizontal thinking, but occasionally a vertical solution is best
for vertical problems. Heres a fruitful example. With a son and
daughter fighting over the only orange in the house, the mother
asks them what they want it for. The boy wants it for a snack
and the girl wants it for a recipe that calls for orange peel. The
mother could get creative and try to think of alternative,
divergent, or numerous solutions, but in this case, theres a
singularly obvious solution. For many routine tasks, the best
solutions are known well in advance.
Conformity, by contrast, has the stigma of the old, the
traditional, and the boring. But its conformity that permits
society, organizations, and culture, to exist at all. Conformity is
highly efficient because people dont have to expend mental and
behavioral energy figuring out what youre going to do. You do
what everyone else does in this situation, and things work.
Certainly, conformity is probably dysfunctional in the extreme,
as no source of growth and evolution will exist, but it hardly
seems as dark as its often depicted.
The Myth of Assertiveness
For the decades of the 1970s and 1980s, many therapists and
experiential group facilitators got wealthy hyping the key to
interpersonal effectiveness: assertiveness training. We were all
wimps, and assertiveness skills were going to make us power-
ful, successful, and charismatic. A funny thing happened on the
way to this self-actualization. Research found that when you
observed someone else being assertive, that person appeared to
be competent. However, recipients of assertive behavior tend to
see it as effective, but also rather inappropriate and unlikable. So
thousands of us were being trained how to lose friends and
influence people.
Appropriate, even passive, behavior, has its place in social and
task interaction, as it serves to balance power disparities and
38 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

smooth tensions among people who, after all, perceive that they
have the right to be right as well. Finally, its sometimes
preferable to lose a battle so as to win the war.
The Myth of Competence
Can a person be competent by behaving incompetently? At first
blush, this may seem an absurd proposition. But consider the
concept of passive aggressiveness. A person dislikes a particular
task relative to other jobs that he is not currently assigned. By
fouling up on his own task, eventually he may get reassigned to
a task he likes more. A student who
wants to shine, can shine more in a normal class than an
advanced class, and may choose this alternative by performing
less than optimally on selection tests.
Theres a logical reverse of this concept called skilled incompe-
tence. A person or group may do everything in a skilled way;
that is, in a normal way that has always worked in the past and
seems to fit all the requirements of effective behavior. Yet,
when all the dust clears, the outcomes are deeply flawed. A
study of the fatal spacecraft Challenger disaster is a case in point.
Everyone was an expert, everyone was competent, everyone was
doing what they were supposed to, and everyone was making
the best decision they could at the time. And most of the
people made the wrong decision.
How Dark is the Dark Side?
So the dark side isnt so dark after all. And the bright side
doesnt look so bright anymore. Does this mean you should be
more ambiguous, rigid, traditional, unassertive, and incompe-
tent? Of course not. The myths above are not myths because
their opposites are always true. They are myths because you
already engage in equivocal, consistent, persistent, normative,
passive, and less than optimal communication, and yet, you are
probably not banished from meetings, slapped in the face on a
regular basis, or treated like a social pariah.
The point of this analysis of interpersonal communication
myth-making isnt to recommend incompetent forms of
communication, but to draw attention to two conclusions.
First, the ideologies we profess about interpersonal communi-
cation are false when taken to the extreme. Business textbooks
tend to treat clarity as an inherent good, rather than exploring
the functional uses of non-clarity. Second, to understand such
falseness requires that people stop getting their interpersonal
wisdom from talk shows, motivational speakers, and people ill-
equipped to either conduct original research or interpret other
scholars scientific work. After all, we all know that clarity,
adaptability, creativity, assertiveness, and competence are
intrinsically good. Right?
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 39

After CompletingThis Lesson You Will
Brush upyour basicgrammar
Studymoreabout nouns, pronouns, gerunds andinfinitives, verbs and
Learn tomakesubjects and verbs agree.
Brush upyour understandingin phrases andclauses.
Students, this lesson will make you go back to your primary
classes where you were taught about basic grammar. It is
important to ensure that your language in all business commu-
nication is grammatically correct. Therefore lets start by the
What is a noun?
A noun is a person, place, thing, or idea. Every sentence must
have a noun as its subject
Examples: The bear sleeps.
Toronto is a city.
Types of Nouns
Proper Nouns
Common Nouns
Forms of Nouns
Plural Nouns
Possessive Forms
Proper Nouns
A proper noun is the name of a person, place or thing. Proper
nouns should always be capitalized.
Examples: Toronto
Mr. Brown
Common Nouns
A common noun is any noun that is not a proper noun.
Common nouns are not capitalized.
Examples: the city
a leader
this woman
Plural Forms
The plural form of a noun indicates more than one. The plural
form is usually formed by adding an s or es.
Examples: One week, two weeks

a house, many houses
One box, two boxes
Nouns that end in a consonant followed by a y are made plural
by dropping the y and adding ies.
Example: one country, two countries
Nouns that end in a vowel followed by a y are made plural by
adding s.
Example: one toy, two toys
Nouns that end in f or fe drop the f or fe and add ves.
Example: one leaf, two leaves
Certain irregular nouns have special plural forms.
Examples: one foot, two feet
a mouse, many mice
To find the plural form of a noun that you are unsure of, check
the Gage Canadian Dictionary.
Possessive Forms
The possessive form of a noun indicates ownership or
modifies another noun. The possessive form is usually formed
by adding s to the end of a noun.
Examples: the player's equipment
the woman's job
Canada's government
Using Pronouns Clearly
Because a pronoun REFERS BACK to a noun or TAKES
THE PLACE OF that noun, you have to use the correct
pronoun so that your reader clearly understands which noun
your pronoun is referring to.
Therefore, pronouns should
1. Agree In Number
If the pronoun takes the place of a singular noun, you have
to use a singular pronoun.
If a student parks a car on campus, he or she has to buy a
parking sticker.
(NOT: If a student parks a car on campus, they have to buy
a parking sticker.)
Remember The words EVERYBODY, ANYBODY,
PERSON, etc. are singular and take singular pronouns.
Everybody ought to do his or her best. (NOT: their best)
Neither of the girls brought her umbrella. (NOT: their umbrellas)
NOTE: Many people find the construction his or her
wordy, so if it is possible to use a plural noun as your
antecedent so that you can use they as your pronoun, it
may be wise to do
40 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

so. If you do use a singular noun and the context makes the
gender clear, then it is permissible to use just his or her
rather than his or her. See our handout on Non-sexist
Language for more information.
2. Agree in Person
If you are writing in the first person ( I), dont confuse
your reader by switching to the second person ( you) or
third person (he, she, they, it, etc.). Similarly, if you are
using the second person, dont switch to first or
When a person comes to class, he or she should have his or
her homework ready.
(NOT: When a person comes to class, you should have your
homework ready.)
3. Refer Clearly To A Specific Noun.
Dont be vague or ambiguous.
NOT: Although the motorcycle hit the tree, it was not
damaged. (Is it the motorcycle or the tree?)
NOT: I dont think they should show violence on TV. (Who
are they?)
NOT: Vacation is coming soon, which is nice. (What is nice,
the vacation or the fact that it is coming soon?)
NOT: George worked in a national forest last summer. This
may be his lifes work. (What word does this refer to?)
NOT: If you put this sheet in your notebook, you can refer
to it. (What does it refer to, the sheet or your notebook?)
Pronoun Case
Pronoun Case is really a very simple matter. There are three
1. Subjective case: pronouns used as subject.
2. Objective case: pronouns used as objects of verbs or
3. Possessive case: pronouns which express ownership.
Pronouns as
Pronouns as
Pronouns that
I me my (mine)
You you your (yours)
he, she, it him, her, it his, her (hers), it (its)
We us our (ours)
They them their (theirs)
Who whom whose

The pronouns THIS, THAT, THESE, THOSE, and WHICH
do not change form.
Some problems of case:
1. In compound structures, where there are two pronouns or a
noun and a pronoun, drop the other noun for a moment.
Then you can see which case you want.
NOT: Bob and me travel a good deal.
(Would you say, me travel?)
NOT: He gave the flowers to Jane and I.
(Would you say, he gave the flowers to I?)
NOT: Us men like the coach.
(Would you say, us like the coach?)
2. In comparisons. Comparisons usually follow than or as:
He is taller than I (am tall).
This helps you as much as (it helps) me.
She is as noisy as I (am).
Comparisons are really shorthand sentences which usually omit
words, such as those in the parentheses in the sentences above.
If you complete the comparison in your head, you can choose
the correct case for the pronoun.
NOT: He is taller than me.
(Would you say, than me am tall?)
3. In formal and semiformal writing:
Use the subjective form after a form of the verb to be.
FORMAL: It is I.
INFORMAL: It is me.
Use whom in the objective case.
FORMAL: To whom am I talking?
INFORMAL: Who am I talking to?
Verbals: Gerunds, Participles, and
Inf initives
There are three types of verbals : gerunds, participles, and
Gerunds and participles are also compared and contrasted in a
separate section of this handout because they can both end in -
ing but have different functions in a sentence. Finally, since they
can both function as nouns in a sentence despite their different
forms, gerunds and infinitives are compared and contrasted in
the last section below.
A gerund is a verbal that ends in -ing and functions as a noun.
The term verbal indicates that a gerund, like the other two kinds
of verbals, is based on a verb and therefore expresses action or a
state of being. However, since a gerund functions as a noun, it
occupies some positions in a sentence that a noun ordinarily
would, for example: subject, direct object, subject complement,
and object of preposition.
Gerund as subject:
Traveling might satisfy your desire for new experiences.
The study abroad program might satisfy your desire for new
Gerund as direct object:
They do not appreciate my singing.
They do not appreciate my assistance.
Gerund as subject complement:
My cats favorite activity is sleeping.
My cats favorite food is salmon.
Gerund as object of preposition:
The police arrested him for speeding.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 41

Finding a needle in
a haystack would be
easier than what
we're trying to do.
The gerund phrase functions as the
subject of the sentence.
Finding (gerund)
a needle (direct object of action
expressed in gerund)
in a haystack (prepositional phrase
as adverb)
I hope that you
appreciate my
offering you this
The gerund phrase functions as the
direct object of the verb appreciate.
my (possessive pronoun adjective
form, modifying the gerund)
offering (gerund)
you (indirect object of action
expressed in gerund)
this opportunity (direct object of
action expressed in gerund)
Newt's favorite
tactic has been lying
to his constituents.
The gerund phrase functions as the
subject complement.
lying to (gerund)
his constituents (direct object of
action expressed in gerund)
You might get in
trouble for faking
an illness to avoid
The gerund phrase functions as the
object of the preposition for.
faking (gerund)
an illness (direct object of action
expressed in gerund)
to avoid work (infinitive phrase as
Being the boss
made Jeff feel
The gerund phrase functions as the
subject of the sentence.
Being (gerund)
the boss (subject complement for
Jeff, via state of being expressed in
A gerund virtually never requires any punctuation with it.
Points to Remember
1. A gerund is a verbal ending in -ing that is used as a noun.
2. A gerund phrase consists of a gerund plus modifier(s),
object(s), and/ or complement(s).
3. Gerunds and gerund phrases virtually never require
Exercise on Gerunds
Underline the gerunds or gerund phrases in the following
sentences and label how they function in the sentence (subject,
direct object, subject complement, object of preposition).
1. Swimming keeps me in shape.
2. Swimming in your pool is always fun.
3. Telling your father was a mistake.
4. The college recommends sending applications early.
5. He won the game by scoring during the overtime period.
A participle is a verbal that is used as an adjective and most
often ends in -ing or -ed. The term verbal indicates that a
participle, like the other two kinds of verbals, is based on a verb
and therefore expresses action or a state of being. However,
since they function as adjectives, participles modify nouns or
pronouns. There are two types of participles: present participles
and past participles. Present participles end in -ing. Past
participles end in -ed, -en, -d, -t, or -n, as in the words asked,
eaten, saved, dealt, and seen.
The crying baby had a wet diaper.
Shaken, he walked away from the wrecked car.
The burning log fell off the fire.
Smiling, she hugged the panting dog.
A participial phrase is a group of words consisting of a
participle and the modifier(s) and/ or (pro)noun(s) or noun
phrase(s) that function as the direct object(s), indirect object(s),
or complement(s) of the action or state expressed in the
participle, such as:
Finding a needle in
a haystack would be
easier than what
we're trying to do.
The gerund phrase functions as the
subject of the sentence.
Finding (gerund)
a needle (direct object of action
expressed in gerund)
in a haystack (prepositional phrase
as adverb)
I hope that you
appreciate my
offering you this
The gerund phrase functions as the
direct object of the verb appreciate.
my (possessive pronoun adjective
form, modifying the gerund)
offering (gerund)
you (indirect object of action
expressed in gerund)
this opportunity (direct object of
action expressed in gerund)
Newt's favorite
tactic has been lying
to his constituents.
The gerund phrase functions as the
subject complement.
lying to (gerund)
his constituents (direct object of
action expressed in gerund)
You might get in
trouble for faking
an illness to avoid
The gerund phrase functions as the
object of the preposition for.
faking (gerund)
an illness (direct object of action
expressed in gerund)
to avoid work (infinitive phrase as
Being the boss
made Jeff feel
The gerund phrase functions as the
subject of the sentence.
Being (gerund)
the boss (subject complement for
Jeff, via state of being expressed in
The police arrested him for criminal activity.
A Gerund Phrase is a group of words consisting of a gerund
and the modifier(s) and/ or (pro)noun(s) or noun phrase(s)
that function as the direct object(s), indirect object(s), or
complement(s) of the action or state expressed in the gerund,
such as :
42 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Placement : In order to prevent confusion, a participial phrase
must be placed as close to the noun it modifies as possible, and
the noun must be clearly stated.
Carrying a heavy pile of books, his foot caught on a step. *
Carrying a heavy pile of books, he caught his foot on a step.
In the first sentence there is no clear indication of who or what
is performing the action expressed in the participle carrying.
Certainly foot cant be logically understood to function in this
way. This situation is an example of a dangling modifier error
since the modifier (the participial phrase) is not modifying any
specific noun in the sentence and is thus left dangling. Since a
person must be doing the carrying for the sentence to make
sense, a noun or pronoun that refers to a person must be in the
place immediately after the participial phrase, as in the second
Punctuation: When a participial phrase begins a sentence, a
comma should be placed after the phrase.
Arriving at the store, I found that it was closed.
Washing and polishing the car, Frank developed sore
If the participle or participial phrase comes in the middle of a
sentence, it should be set off with commas only if the informa-
tion is not essential to the meaning of the sentence.
Sid, watching an old movie, drifted in and out of sleep.
The church, destroyed by a fire, was never rebuilt.
Note that if the participial phrase is essential to the meaning of
the sentence, no commas should be used:
The student earning the highest grade point average will
receive a special award.
The guy wearing the chicken costume is my cousin.
If a participial phrase comes at the end of a sentence, a comma
usually precedes the phrase if it modifies an earlier word in the
sentence but not if the phrase directly follows the word it
The local residents often saw Ken wandering through the
(The phrase modifies Ken, not residents.)
Tom nervously watched the woman, alarmed by her silence.
(The phrase modifies Tom, not woman.)
Points to Remember
1. A participle is a verbal ending in -ing (present) or -ed, -en, -d,
-t, or -n (past) that functions as an adjective, modifying a
noun or pronoun.
2. A participial phrase consists of a participle plus modifier(s),
object(s), and/ or complement(s).
3. Participles and participial phrases must be placed as close to
the nouns or pronouns they modify as possible, and those
nouns or pronouns must be clearly stated.
4. A participial phrase is set off with commas when it: a) comes
at the beginning of a sentence, b) interrupts a sentence as a
nonessential element, or c) comes at the end of a sentence
and is separated from the word it modifies.
Exercise on Participles
Underline the participial phrase(s) in each of the following
sentences, and draw a line to the noun or pronoun modified.
1. Getting up at five, we got an early start.
2. Facing college standards, the students realized that they
hadnt worked hard enough in high school.
3. Statistics reported by the National Education Association
revealed that seventy percent of American colleges offer
remedial English classes emphasizing composition.
4. The overloaded car gathered speed slowly.
5. Gathering my courage, I asked for a temporary loan.
Inf initives
An infinitive is a verbal consisting of the word to plus a verb
(in its simplest stem form) and functioning as a noun,
adjective, or adverb. The term verbal indicates that an infinitive,
like the other two kinds of verbals, is based on a verb and
therefore expresses action or a state of being. However, the
infinitive may function as a subject, direct object, subject
complement, adjective, or adverb in a sentence. Although an
infinitive is easy to locate because of the to + verb form,
deciding what function it has in a sentence can sometimes be
To wait seemed foolish when decisive action was required.
Everyone wanted to go. (direct object)
His ambition is to fly. (subject complement)
He lacked the strength to resist. (adjective)
We must study to learn. (adverb)
Be sure not to confuse an infinitivea verbal consisting of to
plus a verbwith a prepositional phrase beginning with to,
which consists of to plus a noun or pronoun and any modifiers.
Infinitives: to fly, to draw, to become, to enter, to stand, to
catch, to belong
Prepositional Phrases: to him, to the committee, to my house,
to the mountains, to us, to this address
An Infinitive Phrase is a group of words consisting of an
infinitive and the modifier(s) and/ or (pro)noun(s) or noun
phrase(s) that function as the actor(s), direct object(s), indirect
object(s), or complement(s) of the action or state expressed in
the infinitive, such as:
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 43

Actors: In these last two examples the actor of the infinitive
phrase could be roughly characterized as the subject of the
action or state expressed in the infinitive. It is somewhat
misleading to use the word subject, however, since an infinitive
phrase is not a full clause with a subject and a finite verb. Also
notice that when it is a pronoun, the actor appears in the
objective case (me, not I, in the fourth example). Certain verbs,
when they take an infinitive direct object, require an actor for the
infinitive phrase; others cant have an actor. Still other verbs can
go either way, as the charts below illustrate.
Verbs That Take Inf initive Objects
Without Actors
agree begin Continue decide
fail hesitate Hope intend
learn neglect Offer plan
prefer pretend Promise refuse
remember start Try
Most students plan to study.
We began to learn.
They offered to pay.
They neglected to pay.
She promised to return.
In all of these examples no actor can come between the
italicized main (finite) verb and the infinitive direct-object
advise allow Convince remind
encourage force Hire teach
instruct invite Permit tell
implore incite Appoint order
He reminded me to buy milk.
Their fathers advise them to study.
She forced the defendant to admit the truth.
In all of these examples an actor is required after the italicized
main (finite) verb and before the infinitive direct-object phrase.
Verbs that use either pattern
ask expect (would) like want
I asked to see the records.
I asked him to show me the records.
Trent expected his group to win.
In all of these examples the italicized main verb can take an
infinitive object with or without an actor.
Exercise on Inf initives
Underline the infinitive phrase and label the way it is used in the
sentence, adding any punctuation as needed.
1. I want to go.
2. I want you to go home.
3. We want to see the play.
4. To see a shooting star is good luck.
5. To fight against those odds would be ridiculous.
Forget and Remember
These two verbs change meaning depending on whether a
gerund or infinitive is used as the object.
Jack forgets to take out the cat. (He regularly forgets.)
Jack forgets taking out the cat. (He did it, but he doesnt
remember now.)
Jack forgot to take out the cat. (He never did it.)
Jack forgot taking out the cat. (He did it, but he didnt remem-
ber sometime later.)
Making Subjects and Verbs Agree
1. When the subject of a sentence is composed of two or more
nouns or pronouns connected by and, use a plural verb.
2. When two or more singular nouns or pronouns are
connected by or or nor, use a singular verb.
50 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Bytheendof this lesson you will learn moreabout :
Students this lesson is a continuation of lesson 6 and will help
you recall and brush up your understanding about preposi-
tions, conjunctions and punctuation.
What are prepositions?
Prepositions are used before nouns to give additional informa-
tion in a sentence. Usually, prepositions are used to show where
something is located or when something happened.
Prepositions Showing
Prepositions of Direction: To, On (to), In
Prepositions that express movement toward something: to,
onto, and into. First, the prepositions will be introduced as a
group. Then, the special uses of each one will be discussed.
To, into, and onto correspond respectively to the prepositions
of location at, in, and on.
1. The basic preposition of a direction is to.
TO : signifies orientation toward a goal
When the goal is physical, such as a destination, to implies
movement in the direction of the goal.
(1) Sa'id returned to his

When the goal is not a physical place, for instance, an action,
to marks a verb; it is attached as an infinitive and expresses
purpose. The preposition may occur alone or in the phrase in
2. Sudeep washed her dog (in order) to rid it of fleas.
The two uses can also occur together in a single sentence:
2. The other two prepositions of direction are compounds
formed by adding to to the corresponding prepositions of
The preposition of location determines the meaning of the
preposition of direction.
ON + TO = onto:
signifies movement toward asurface

IN + TO = into:
signifies movement toward
the interior of a volume

(To is part of the directional preposition toward, and the two
mean about the same thing.)
3. With many verbs of motion, on and in have a
directional meaning and can be used along with onto and
(See the sections below for some exceptions to this rule.) This is
why to is inside parentheses in the title of the handout,
showing that it is somewhat optional with the compound
Location Time Action and Movement
above at at
below on by
over by from
under before into
among from on
between since onto
beside for off
in front of during out of
behind to
next to until
with after
in the middle of

Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 51

prepositions. Thus, the following sentences are roughly
(4) Anil jumped in/ into
the pool.

(5) Reenafell on/ onto
the floor.

(6) The crab washed up
on/ onto the shore.

To the extent that these pairs do differ, the compound preposi-
tion conveys the completion of an action, while the simple
preposition points to the position of the subject as a result of
that action. This distinction helps us understand how direc-
tional and locational prepositions are related: they stand in the
relationship of cause and effect.
Completion of
an Action

Position of

(7) Jean fell
on(to) thefloor.

Jean is on
the floor.

(8) Neeta dived
in(to) the water.

is in the

Uses of to
To occurs with several classes of verbs.
1. verb + to + infinitive
Verbs in this group express willingness, desire, intention, or
Willingness: be willing, consent, refuse
Desire: desire, want, wish, like, ask, request, prefer
Intention: intend, plan, prepare
Obligation: be obligated, have, need
(9) I refuse to allow you to intimidate me with your threats.
(10) Id like to ask her how long shes been skiing.
(11) I plan to graduate this summer.
(12) Henry had to pay his tuition at the Bursars office.
2. In other cases to is used as an ordinary preposition.
Verbs of communication: listen, speak (but not tell), relate,
appeal (in the sense of plead, not be attractive)
Werbs of movement: move, go, transfer, walk/ run/ swim/
ride/ drive/ fly, travel
Except for transfer, all the verbs in (2b) can take toward as well
as to. However, to suggests movement toward a specific
destination, while toward suggests movement in a general
direction, without necessarily arriving at a destination:
(13) Drive toward the city limits and
turn north.

(Drive in the direction of the city limits; turnoff
may be before arriving there.)

(14) The plane was headed toward a

(It was headed in the direction of a mountain; it
may not have reached or hit the mountain.)

(15) Take me to the airport, please.

(I actually want to arrive at the airport.)

Uses of onto
1. Onto can generally be replaced by on with verbs of
(16) John jumped on(to) the mat.

(17) Manish fell on(to) the floor.

(18) Athena climbed on(to) the
back of the truck.

2. Some verbs of motion express the idea that the subject
causes itself or some physical object to be situated in a certain
place (compare #15-17 above).
Of these verbs, some take only on. Others take both on and
onto, with the latter being preferred by some speakers.
(19) The plane landed on the runway. (not onto the runway)
(20) Sam hung the decoration on the Christmas tree. (not onto
the tree)
(21) He placed the package on the table. (not onto the table)
52 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

(22) Joanna spilled her Coke on the rug. (not onto the rug)
(23) Samir moved the chair on(to) the deck.
(24) The crane lowered the roof on(to) the house.
(25) The baby threw the pot on(to) the floor.
Verbs taking only on are rare: set may be another one, and so
perhaps is put. Other verbs taking both prepositions are raise,
scatter (when it takes a direct object), pour, and add.
(26) The farmer scattered seed on(to) the fertile ground.
(27) Were adding on a wing at the back of the building.
(28) Were adding a porch onto the house.
In (27), on is really part of the verb, while in (28) onto is a
simple preposition. This contrast points to a fairly important
and general rule:
Simple prepositions can combine with verbs, but compound
prepositions cannot.
Note also that in (27), the word on has its ordinary meaning
of a position on a surface, but in this case the surface is vertical
rather than horizontal the side of a building. The use of
onto in (28) is like its use in (24) and (25) above.
3. There are a number of verb-preposition combinations which
are formally like add on but have the meaning of
continuing or resuming an action when used in the
imperative mood.
(Not all of them have the force of a command.) Except for
hang, which takes both on and onto, they all occur only with
on. The meanings of these combinations, some of which are
idiomatic, are given in parentheses.
Hang on(to the rope)! (continue to grasp tightly)
carry on (resume what you were doing)
sail on (resume or continue sailing)
dream on (continue dreaming; a humorous way of saying
that is an unattainable goal)
2. Some verbs of motion express the idea that the subject
causes itself or some physical object to be situated in a certain
place (compare #15-17 above).
Of these verbs, some take only on. Others take both on and
onto, with the latter being preferred by some speakers.
(19) The plane landed on the runway. (not onto the runway)
(20) Sam hung the decoration on the Christmas tree. (not onto
the tree)
(21) He placed the package on the table. (not onto the table)
(22) Joanna spilled her Coke on the rug. (not onto the rug)
(23) Samir moved the chair on(to) the deck.
(24) The crane lowered the roof on(to) the house.
(25) The baby threw the pot on(to) the floor.
Verbs taking only on are rare: set may be another one, and so
perhaps is put. Other verbs taking both prepositions are raise,
scatter (when it takes a direct object), pour, and add.
(26) The farmer scattered seed on(to) the fertile ground.
(27) Were adding on a wing at the back of the building.
(28) Were adding a porch onto the house.
In (27), on is really part of the verb, while in (28) onto is a
simple preposition. This contrast points to a fairly important
and general rule:
Simple prepositions can combine with verbs, but compound
prepositions cannot.
Note also that in (27), the word on has its ordinary meaning
of a position on a surface, but in this case the surface is vertical
rather than horizontal the side of a building. The use of
onto in (28) is like its use in (24) and (25) above.
3. There are a number of verb-preposition combinations which
are formally like add on but have the meaning of
continuing or resuming an action when used in the
imperative mood.
(Not all of them have the force of a command.) Except for
hang, which takes both on and onto, they all occur only with
on. The meanings of these combinations, some of which are
idiomatic, are given in parentheses.
Hang on(to the rope)! (continue to grasp tightly)
Carry on (resume what you were doing)
Sail on (resume or continue sailing)
Dream on (continue dreaming; a humorous way of saying
that is an unattainable goal)
Lead on (resume or continue leading us)
Rock on (continue playing rock music)
Uses of into
1. With verbs of motion, into and in are interchangeable
except when the preposition is the last word or occurs
directly before an adverbial of time, manner, or frequency.
In this case only in (or inside) can be used.
(29) The patient went into the doctors office.
(30) The patient went in. (not into)
(31) Our new neighbors moved into the house next door
yesterday. (to take up residence in a new home)
(32) Our new neighbors moved in yesterday.
In (32), the last word is the time adverbial yesterday, so the
object of the preposition in (32) can be omitted. Of course, in
an information question, into also can be last word except for
an adverbial when its object is questioned by a wh- word:
(34) Now what kind of trouble has she gotten herself into?
(35) Now what sort of trouble is she in?
2. Verbs expressing stationary position take only on or in
with the ordinary meanings of those prepositions.
If a verb allows the object of the preposition to be omitted,
the construction may have an idiomatic meaning.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 53

(36) The cat sat on the mat.

(37) The doctor is in his

(38) The doctor is in.
('available for consultation')

In(to) has two special uses with move.
3. When move in is followed by a purpose clause, it has the
sense of approach.
(39) The lion moved in for the kill.
(40) The police moved in to rescue the hostages inside the
In (39) and (40) in is part of the verb, so into cannot be
used; We cannot say: The lion moved into for the kill.
4. When into is used with move, it functions as an ordinary
preposition to convey the idea of moving something from
one place to another.
(41) We'll move your
brother's old bed into
your room.

This use of into is like the use of onto illustrated in (24)-(27)
and (29).
Prepositions of Location: at, in, on
Prepositions expressing spatial relations are of two kinds:
prepositions of location and prepositions of direction. Both
kinds may be either positive or negative. Prepositions of
location appear with verbs describing states or conditions,
especially be; prepositions of direction appear with verbs of
motion. It deals with positive prepositions of location that
sometimes cause difficulty: at, on, and in.
Dimensions and Prepositions
Prepositions differ according to the number of dimensions
they refer to. We can group them into three classes using
concepts from geometry: point, surface, and area or volume.
Prepositions in this group indicate that the noun that follows
them is treated as a point in relation to which another object is
Prepositions in this group indicate that the position of an
object is defined with respect to a surface on which it rests.
Area/ Volume
Prepositions in this group indicate that an object lies within the
boundaries of an area or within the confines of a volume.
Notice that although in geometry surface and area go together
because both are two-dimensional, in grammar area and
volume go together because the same prepositions are used for
In light of these descriptions, at, on, and in can be classified as
at ....... point

on ....... surface

in ....... area/ volume

The meanings of the three prepositions can
be illustrated with some sample sentences:
54 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

1) My car is at the

2) There is anewroof
on thehouse.

3) Thehouseis in

4) Therearefive
rooms in the house,
which has alovely
fireplacein the living

All of these sentences answer a question of the form, Where is
_______? but each gives different information. Before going
on, explain to yourself the spatial relations shown in each
1) locates a car in relation to a house, understood as a fixed
point. 2) treats the house as a surface upon which another
object, the roof, is placed. 3) locates the house within a geo-
graphical area. 4) treats the house as a three-dimensional
structure that can be divided into smaller volumes, namely,
rooms, inside one of which is an object, the fireplace.
Using at
At calls for further comment. Because it is the least specific of
the prepositions in its spatial orientation, it has a great variety
of uses.
Here are some of them
5a) Tom is waiting for his
sister at the bank.

5b) Sue spent the whole
afternoon at the fair.

6a) We arrived at the house.

6b) The waiter was at our
table immediately.

7a) The policeman leaped at
the assailant.

7b) The dog jumped at my
face and really scared me.

in and on
1. Nouns denoting enclosed spaces, such as a field or a window,
take both on and in. The prepositions have their normal
meanings with these nouns: on is used when the space is
considered as a surface, in when the space is presented as an
Three players are practicing
on the field. (surface)

Three cows are grazing in
the field. (area)

The frost made patterns on
the window. (surface)

A face appeared in the
window. (area)

Notice that in implies that the field is enclosed, whereas on
implies only that the following noun denotes a surface and not
necessarily an enclosed area:
The sheep are grazing in
the pasture. (enclosed by a

The cattle are grazing on
the open range. (not
enclosed by a fence)
Three players are on the
basketball court. (not
Three players are on the
soccer field. (not
Two boxers are in the
ring. (enclosed by ropes)
2. When the area has metaphorical instead of actual boundaries,
such as when field means academic discipline, in is used:
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 55

She is a leading researcher in the bioengineering field.
3. Several common uses of in and on occur with street. The first
two follow the general pattern of in and on usage. The third
is an idiom that must be learned as a unit.
a) The children are
playing in the street.

b) Our house is on
Third Street.

c) He declared
bankruptcy last
week, and now he's
out on the street.
(This is an idiom
meaning that he's poor.)
In a) the street is understood as an area enclosed by the
sidewalks on either side. Compare b) with the discussion of
sentence 3) in the first section. Here on locates the house on
either side of Third Street: it doesnt mean that the street is a
surface on which the house sits. Because the street is under-
stood as a line next to which the house is situated, on functions
much like at in its normal use: it locates the house in relation to
the street but does not specify the exact address. For that
purpose, at is used because the address is like a particular point
on the line. Compare: Our house is at 323 Third Street. In c)
out on thestreet is an idiom meaning poor or destitute.
4. In and on are also used with means of transportation: in is
used with a car, on with public or commercial means of
in the car
on the bus
on the plane
on the train
on the ship
Some speakers of English make a further distinction for public
modes of transportation, using in when the carrier is stationary
and on when it is in motion.
My wife stayed in/ on the bus while I got out at the rest stop.
The passengers sat in/ on the plane awaiting takeoff.
Prepositions of Time, of Place, and to
Introduce Objects
One point in time
On is used with days:
I will see you on Monday.7
The week begins on Sunday.
At is used with noon, night, midnight, and with the time of
My plane leaves at noon.
The movie starts at 6 p.m.
In is used with other parts of the day, with months, with years,
with seasons:
He likes to read in the afternoon.
The days are long in August.
The book was published in 1999.
The flowers will bloom in spring.
Extended Time
To express extended time, English uses the following preposi-
tions: since, for, by, fromto, from-until, during,(with)in
She has been gone since yesterday. (She left yesterday and has
not returned.)
Im going to Paris for two weeks. (I will spend two weeks
The movie showed from August to October. (Beginning in
August and ending in October.)
The decorations were up from spring until fall. (Beginning in
spring and ending in fall.)
I watch TV during the evening. (For some period of time in
the evening.)
We must finish the project within a year. (No longer than a
To express notions of place, English uses the following
prepositions: to talk about the point itself: in, to express
something contained: inside, to talk about the surface: on, to
talk about a general vicinity, at. For more detail, see our
handouts on Prepositions of Location and Prepositions of
There is a wasp in the room.
Put the present inside the box.
I left your keys on the table.
She was waiting at the corner.
Higher than a Point
To express notions of an object being higher than a point,
English uses the following prepositions: over, above
He threw the ball over the roof.
Hang that picture above the couch.
Lower than a Point
To express notions of an object being lower than a point,
English uses the following prepositions: under, underneath,
beneath, below.
The rabbit burrowed under the ground.
The child hid underneath the blanket.
We relaxed in the shade beneath the branches.
The valley is below sea-level.
Close to a Point
To express notions of an object being close to a point, English
uses the following prepositions: near, by, next to, between,
among, opposite.
She lives near the school.
56 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

There is an ice cream shop by the store.
An oak tree grows next to my house
The house is between Elm Street and Maple Street.
I found my pen lying among the books.
The bathroom is oppositethat room.
To Introduce Objects of Verbs
English uses the following prepositions to introduce objects of
the following verbs.
At: glance, laugh, look, rejoice, smile, stare
She took a quick glance at her reflection.
(exception with mirror: She took a quick glance in the mirror.)
You didnt laugh at his joke.
Im looking at the computer monitor.
We rejoiced at his safe rescue.
That pretty girl smiled at you.
Stop staring at me.
Of : Approve, Consist, Smell
I dont approve of his speech.
My contribution to the article consists of many pages.
He came home smelling of alcohol.
Of (or about) : Dream, Think
I dream of finishing college in four years.
Can you think of a number between one and ten?
I am thinking about this problem.
For : Call, Hope, Look, Wait, Watch, Wish
Did someone call for a taxi?
He hopes for a raise in salary next year.
Im looking for my keys.
Well wait for her here.
You go buy the tickets and Ill watch for the train.
If you wish for an A in this class, you must work hard.
Brief Overview of Punctuation:
Semicolon, Colon, Parenthesis, Dash,
Quotation Marks and Italics
Punctuation marks are signals to your readers. In speaking, we
can pause, stop, or change our tone of voice. In writing, we use
the following marks of punctuation to emphasize and clarify
what we mean. Punctuation marks discussed in other OWL
documents include commas, apostrophes, quotation marks,
and hyphens.
In addition to using a semicolon to join related independent
clauses in compound sentences, you can use a semicolon to
separate items in a series if the elements of the series already
include commas.
Members of the band include Harold Rostein, clarinetist; Tony
Aluppo, tuba player; and Lee Jefferson, trumpeter.
Colon :
Use a colon
Parentheses ()
Parentheses are occasionally and sparingly used for extra,
nonessential material included in a sentence. For example, dates,
sources, or ideas that are subordinate or tangential to the rest of
the sentence are set apart in parentheses. Parentheses always
appear in pairs.
Before arriving at the station, the old train (someone said it was
a relic of frontier days) caught fire.
Use a dash (represented on a typewriter, a computer with no
dashes in the type font, or in a handwritten document by a pair
of hyphens with no spaces) . . .
in the following
for example:
to emphasize a point or
to set off an explanatory
comment; but don't
overuse dashes, or they
will lose their impact.
To some of you, my
proposals may seem radical-
-even revolutionary.
In terms of public
legitimation--that is, in
terms of garnering support
from state legislators,
parents, donors, and
university administrators--
English departments are
primarily places where
advanced literacy is taught.
for an appositive phrase
that already includes
The boys--Jim, John, and
Jeff--left the party early.
As you can see, dashes function in some ways like parentheses
(used in pairs to set off a comment within a larger sentence)
and in some ways like colons (used to introduce material
in the following situations: for example:
after a complete statement in
order to introduce one or more
directly related ideas, such as a
series of directions, a list, or a
quotation or other comment
illustrating or explaining the
The daily newspaper contains
four sections: news, sports,
entertainment, and classified
The strategies of corporatist
industrial unionism have
proven ineffective:
compromises and concessions
have left labor in a weakened
position in the new "flexible"
in a business letter greeting. Dear Ms. Winstead:
between the hour and minutes in
time notation.
5:30 p.m.
between chapter and verse in
biblical references.
Genesis 1:18
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 57

illustrating or emphasizing the immediately preceding state-
ment). But comments set off with a pair of dashes appear less
subordinate to the main sentence than do comments in
parentheses. And material introduced after a single dash may be
more emphatic and may serve a greater variety of rhetorical
purposes than material introduced with a colon.
Quotation Marks
Use quotation marks . . .
in the following situations: for example:
to enclose direct quotations.
Note that commas and
periods go inside the closing
quotation mark in
conventional American usage;
colons and semicolons go
outside; and placement of
question and exclamation
marks depends on the
situation (see our quotation
He asked, "Will you be
there?" "Yes," I answered,
"I'll look for you in the
to indicate words used
ironically, with reservations,
or in some unusual way; but
don't overuse quotation
marks in this sense, or they
will lose their impact.
History is stained with blood
spilled in the name of
Underlining and Italics
Underlining and italics are not really punctuation, but they are
significant textual effects used conventionally in a variety of
situations. Before computerized word-processing was widely
available, writers would underline certain terms in handwritten
or manually typed pages, and the underlining would be replaced
by italics in the published version. Since word processing today
allows many options for font faces and textual effects, it is
generally recommended that you choose either underlining or
italics and use it consistently throughout a given document as
needed. Because academic papers are manuscripts and not final
publications and because italics are not always easily recognized
with some fonts, many instructors prefer underlining over
italics for course papers. Whichever you choose, italics or
underlining should be used . .
in the following situations: for example:
to indicate titles of complete
or major works such as
magazines, books,
newspapers, academic
journals, films, television
programs, longpoems, plays
of threeor moreacts
Faulkner's last novel was The
TheSimpsons offers hilarious
parodies of American culture
and family life.
foreign words that are not
commonly used in English
Wearingbluejeans is de
rigueurfor most college
words used as words
The English word nuance
comes from aMiddleFrench
word meaning"shades of
words or phrases that you
wish to emphasize
of our nation areat stake!
The Apostrophe
The apostrophe has three uses
1. To form possessives of nouns
2. To show the omission of letters
3. To indicate certain plurals of lowercase letters.
Apostrophes are NOT used for possessive pronouns or for
noun plurals, including acronyms.
Forming possessives of nouns
To see if you need to make a possessive, turn the phrase
around and make it an of the... phrase. For example:
The boys hat = the hat of the boy
Three days journey = journey of three days
If the noun after of is a building, an object, or a piece of
furniture, then no apostrophe is needed!
Room of the hotel = hotel room
Door of the car = car door
Leg of the table = table leg
Once youve determined whether you need to make a posses-
sive, follow these rules to create one.
add s to the singular form of the word (even if it ends in -s):
the owners car
Jamess hat
Add s to the plural forms that do not end in -s:
the childrens game
the geeses honking
Add to the end of plural nouns that end in -s:
houses roofs
three friends letters
Add s to the end of compound words:
my brother-in-laws money
Add s to the last noun to show joint possession of an
Todd and Annes apartment
Showing Omission of Letters
Apostrophes are used in contractions. A contraction is a word
(or set of numbers) in which one or more letters (or numbers)
have been omitted. The apostrophe shows this omission.
Contractions are common in speaking and in informal writing.
To use an apostrophe to create a contraction, place an apostro-
phe where the omitted letter(s) would go.
Here are Some Examples
dont = do not
Im = I am
hell = he will
whos = who is
shouldnt = should not
didnt = did not
couldve= could have (NOT could of!)
60 = 1960
Forming Plurals of Lowercase Letters
Apostrophes are used to form plurals of letters that appear in
lowercase; here the rule appears to be more typographical than
grammatical, e.g. three ps versus three ps. To form the
58 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

plural of a lowercase letter, place s after the letter. There is no
need for apostrophes indicating a plural on capitalized letters,
numbers, and symbols (though keep in mind that some
editors, teachers, and professors still prefer them).
Dont use Apostrophes f or Possessive
Pronouns or f or Noun Plurals
Apostrophes should not be used with possessive pronouns
because possessive pronouns already show possession they
dont need an apostrophe. His, her, its, my, yours, ours are all
possessive pronouns. Here are some examples:
wrong: his book
correct: his book
wrong: The group made its decision.
correct: The group made its decision.
(Note: Its and its are not the same thing. Its is a contraction for
it is and its is a possessive pronoun meaning belonging to
it. Its raining out= it is raining out. A simple way to remem-
ber this rule is the fact that you dont use an apostrophe for the
possessives his or hers, so dont do it with its!)
wrong: a friend of yours
correct: a friend of yours
wrong: She waited for three hours to get her ticket.
correct: She waited for three hours to get her ticket.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 59

Upon completion of this lesson, you will beabletousetheacceptedstandardof English grammar adpunctuation in written business communication. To
reachthis you shouldbeableto:
Punctuatemessagecorrectly. Writecompletegrammatically correct sentence.
Practice Class
Adverb or adjective?
I feel (bad)_______ about what happened yesterday. I
didnt know you were going to take everything so
This beer tastes too(bitter)_________ for my liking.
She looked at me (tender)________ and said (soft)______
that I looked (good) _______in my chequered shirt.
I could (easy) _______ convince him not to become too
excited with all the media attention.
He turned the car(cautious)__________ as not to drive into
the (nice) ___________ laid-out border of the neighbours.
Have you ever been (wrong)_______________ accused of
My brother is an (incredible)___________ successful
businessman, he said (cynical)____________ hes just
gone bankrupt for the fifth time!
(Unfortunately)__________all the milk has gone
(sour)_________ overnight.
She (haste)_________ ran down the
stairs,(picked)_________ picked up her coat and umbrella
and disappeared in the (unusual)____________ mysterious
The number of visitors to the exhibition dropped
(considerable)_________ in the second week.
Prepositions of Direction: To, On (to), In (to):
Complete the following sentences with the correct preposition:
to, toward, on, onto, in, or into. Some sentences may have
more than one possible correct answer. Remember that a few
verbs of motion take only on rather than onto.
1. Anna has returned ______ her home town.
2. The dog jumped ______ the lake.
3. Are the boys still swimming ______ the pool?
4. Thomas fell ______ the floor.
5. The plane landed ______ the runway.
6. We drove _____ the river for an hour, but turned north
before we reached it.
7. The kids climbed ______ the monkey bars.
8. Joanna got ______ Freds car.
9. The baby spilled his cereal ______ the floor.
10. We cried to the man on the ladder, Hang ______!
11. I just called ______ say I love you.
12. Matthew and Michelle moved the table ______ the dining
13. Allan left your keys ______ the table.
14. Dr. Karper apologized for interrupting us, and told us to
carry ______ with our discussion.
15. Id like ______ ask you a question.
16. Pat drove Mike ______ the airport.
17. Glenn almost fell ______ the river.
18. The waitress noticed that there was no more Diet Pepsi
______ Martys glass.
19. Lee and Sarah took the bus that was heading ______ the
20. Mary Sue jumped ______ the stage and danced.
Exercise 2
Complete the following sentences with the correct preposition:
at, in, or on.
1. Will you wait for me _____ the bus stop?
2. Jane is _____ her bedroom.
3. Darias books are lying _____ the floor.
4. The girls didnt want to spend a long time _____ the
5. I let the cat sit _____ my lap, but then suddenly it jumped
_____ my face!
60 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

6. Do you live _____ the city or _____ the country?
7. Trent arrived _____ the school building just in time.
8. The rancher built a fence to keep his cows _____ the
9. Kevin and Mack are out practicing _____ the football field.
10. From afar, Heathcliff could see a light _____ the window.
11. The old house had so much grime _____ the windows
that Bradley could hardly see inside.
12. The shepherd boy grazed his flock _____ the grassy
13. The audience threw tomatoes _____ the terrible comedian.
14. Wrestling isnt real; those guys _____ the ring are just
15. David works _____ the field of network administration,
while Marty works _____ web design.
16. The car stalled and got stuck _____ the street.
17. Audrey lives _____ Third Street.
18. If William doesnt make any money on his book, hell be
out _____ the street.
19. Ill use my cellular phone when Im _____ the bus, but
never while Im _____ the car.
20. Passengers are not allowed to use electronic devices _____
airplanes during takeoff and landing.
Apostrophes: Exercise
Punctuate the following sentences with apostrophes according
to the rules for using the apostrophe.
1. Whos the partys candidate for vice president this year?
2. The fox had its right foreleg caught securely in the traps
3. Our neighbors car is an old Chrysler, and its just about to
fall apart.
4. In three weeks time well have to begin school again.
5. Didnt you hear that theyre leaving tomorrow?
6. Whenever I think of the stories I read as a child, I
remember Cinderellas glass slipper and Snow Whites wicked
7. We claimed the picnic table was ours, but the Smiths
children looked so disappointed that we found another
8. Its important that the kitten learns to find its way home.
9. She did not hear her childrens cries.
10. My address has three 7s, and Tims phone number has four
11. Didnt he say when he would arrive at Arnies house?
12. Its such a beautiful day that Ive decided to take a sun bath.
13. She said the watch Jack found was hers, but she couldnt
identify the manufacturers name on it.
14. Little girls clothing is on the first floor, and the mens
department is on the second.
15. The dogs bark was far worse than its bite.
16. The moons rays shone feebly on the path, and I heard the
insects chirpings and whistlings.
17. Theyre not afraid to go ahead with the plans, though the
choice is not theirs.
18. The man whose face was tan said that he had spent his two
weeks vacation in the mountains.
19. I found myself constantly putting two cs in the word
20. Johns 69 Ford is his proudest possession.
Sentence Fragment Exercises#1
The sentences below appeared in papers written by students.
Act as their editor, marking a C if the sentences in the group are
all complete and an F if any of the sentences in the group is a
fragment. Could you tell these writers why the fragments are
incomplete sentences?
____ 1. Then I attended Morris Junior High. A junior high
that was a bad experience.
____ 2. The scene was filled with beauty. Such as the sun
sending its brilliant rays to the earth and the leaves of various
shades of red, yellow, and brown moving slowly in the wind.
____ 3. He talked for fifty minutes without taking his eyes off
his notes. Like other teachers in that department, he did not
encourage students questions.
____ 4. Within each group, a wide range of features to choose
from. It was difficult to distinguish between them.
____ 5. A few of the less serious fellows would go into a bar
for a steak dinner and a few glasses of beer. After this meal, they
were ready for anything.
____ 6. It can be really embarrassing to be so emotional.
Especially when you are on your first date, you feel that you
should be in control.
____ 7. The magazine has a reputation for a sophisticated,
prestigious, and elite group of readers. Although that is a value
judgment and in circumstances not a true premise.
____ 8. In the seventh grade every young boy goes out for
football. To prove to himself and his parents that he is a man.
____ 9. She opened the door and let us into her home. Not
realizing at the time that we would never enter that door in her
home again.
____10. As Christmas grows near, I find myself looking back
into my childhood days at fun-filled times of snowball fights.
To think about this makes me happy.
____11. Making up his mind quickly. Jim ordered two dozen
red roses for his wife. Hoping she would accept his apology.
____12. They were all having a good time. Until one of Joes
oldest and best friends had a little too much to drink.
____13. Although it only attained a speed of about twelve
miles an hour. My old rowboat with its three-horsepower
motor seemed like a high-speed job to me.
____14. With my brother standing by my side, I reached for
the pot handle. Tilting the pot way too much caused the boiling
water to spill.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 61

____15. The small, one-story houses are all the same size and
style. With no difference except the color.
____16. Being a friend of mine like he was when we first
joined the soccer team. Together we learned a lot.
Tick on the correct possessive form in the sentences below.
According the Department of Energy, if we were to set up
an area of solar cells equal to 0.25 the area currently covered
by our roads, these cells could supply our entire (nations /
nations / nations) electrical needs.
With a rear-facing child seat, the top of the seat and the
(infants / infants / infants) head will be in the deployment
zone of the air bag.
When you receive my (boss / bosses / bosss / boss /
bosses) memo requesting your participation, please respond
to her that your job description, as written, will not allow
you to perform that type of work.
This section explains the function of each technique and
describes (its / its / its) advantages and disadvantages.
62 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Bytheendof this lesson you shouldbeableto
Explain theimportanceof oral communication
Outlinethesteps neededtostructureeffectiveoral communication
Barriers tocommunication
Understandwhat Noiseis
Tips for Presentations
Conversation is so basic to human existence that any study of it
inevitably leads to some of lifes most important rulesrules
that lead to trouble if ignored. Consider the following list of
consequences of poor conversation skills.
Ask yourself if any of these basic emotions and conditions is a
persistent part of your social and business life:
being misunderstood
being misinterpreted
giving offense
being insulted
being overlooked
Good conversation skills, on the other hand, lead to success,
and success leads to more success. Good verbal abilities usually
promote good relations with others, influence, respect, and a
reputation for leadership and effectiveness. People with these
advantages go through life feeling the emotions and talents
listed below.
in control
We all feel the above emotions and conditions, good and bad,
from time to time. But do you have the feeling that the negative
factors occur too persistently in your life? Do you feel that some
of these harmful conditions are crippling your family life and
your social and career progress? Do you wonder how you can
increase the good elements and decrease the bad?
Well, as stated above, most of lifes successes and problems are
founded in the quality of your communication skills. Human
beings are social animals. Our vast civilizations exist and
function only because each of us has learned to control our
behavior in very intricate ways. Still, some of us have a better
grasp than others of the complex systems in which we live.
Those who have the deepest awareness and understanding of
the core rules are the ones who succeed and prosper. This is a
book of rules, rules many people live and die without ever fully
Societys rules arent always obvious. The rules that allow us to
get by and survive are fairly simple (dont run red lights, dont
make bank robbery a career). But other rules, the ones that
confer real success, not mere survival, can sometimes be as
difficult to detect as black holes in deep space.
When your career progress bogs down, when your relationships
are weak or troubled, when you have a hard time making
friends, when you have difficulty making yourself heard, and
when people take advantage of you, it is because you have an
imperfect comprehension of those shadowy rules that allow
you to focus social power to your advantage.
No one in our world succeeds strictly on his or her own. True
accomplishment requires that you efficiently influence those
around you in positive ways. The primary tool of influence is
communication, and like society itself, communication has rules
that few fully understand.
Communication is a composite of speaking and listening.
Honing skills in both these areas is absolutely essential if the
communicator wishes to impress the receiver. The initial impact
is made by speaking abilities of the sender. Equally important is
the ability to listen carefully. If the overall effectiveness of these
two components is considered. It would e seen that he ability
to listen rather than to speak fluently impress more.
The two activities viz, speaking and listening, cannot be
segregated. Both are closely intertwined an overall impact is
created if both these skills are used effectively. Let us use the
word IMPRESS as an acronym to understand the basic
features of communication or concept, which, if once under-
stood, would define helps us to impress the other person.
I Idea
The first step in the process of communication is to decide on
the idea which needs to be communicated. There may be a host
of ideas passing through the mind of the sender. Depending
upon the situation and the receiver, the speaker selects the idea
suited to the occasion.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 63

M Message
Once the idea has been selected, it needs to be clothed in a
language that is comprehensible to the receiver. The encoding
of the message has to be done keeping a number of factors
inmind. What is it that needs to be stated? What is the language
that is going to be understood y the receiver? Does the idea
necessarily pertain to the interest of the receiver? What is it that
the receiver actually needs to know? Framing of the message , if
done(keeping answers to these question in mind), would
definitely make an impact on the receiver.
P - Pause/ Paragraphs
The significance of pauses cannot be underestimated. Pauses
should be juxtaposed at just the right minute so that the
receiver can assimilate the impact of the message. The use of
pauses would be best understood in the context of a presenta-
tion. The presenter should, at the time of making a
presentation, use this device suitably. Excessive usage of this
device can lead the presentation into being one that is pretty
boring and monotonous. The right use of pauses actually
stimulates the audience. The impact is often so great and
forceful that the receiver actually leans forward in their chairs
when the presenter pauses, as if urging him to resume the
presentation. This device, in the course of the interaction, lasts
for barely a few seconds. However, the impact is long and
meaningful. In written communication pauses get translated
into paragraphs. If the decision to use a certain number of
paragraphs is right and the division of points in these para-
graphs is also correct, then written communication becomes
meaningful and creates a positive impression.
R - Receiver.
The receiver is the most important person in the process of
communication who could, if he so desires, also prove to be
the most difficult. He is the one who is generally led into the
interaction. In order to draw his attention, it is imperative that
there be an extra plus that would retain his interest and make
him attentive to the ensuing communication. To satisfy this
criterion the sender should address himself to the needs and
expectations of the receiver. Formulating the statements
according to a mutually accepted goal is a good way of proceed-
ing and drawing his attention.
E - Empathy
In communication empathy should be used to help us
understand the other individual, the strategies that. he adopts
and the responses that he gives at a particular moment. It
would be worthwhile to note that all communication is
situation bound. The same individual in two different situa-
tions might use the same words but his intention might be
totally different. Gauging the exact meaning of an utterance can
onlybe done when we literally put ourselves in the shoes of
the other person and try to understand the situation from the
perspective of the sender.
Each individual, as a sender has, what we refer to as, a logic
bubble that enables him to formulate his message in a
particular fashion. The same holds true for the receiver or the
listener. The greater the empathy between them, the higher the
level of understanding and more the receptivity to messages
word, namely, sympathy, which is different in connotation.
Sympathy is placing the sender on a higher pedestal and viewing
the other in a sympathetic light.

S - Sender
The communication process hinges on the sender. He initiates
the interaction and comes up with ideas and concepts that he
wishes to share with the receiver. His role is the most crucial.
The success or failure of interaction depends on him and on the
strategies he adopts to get his message across by securing the
attention of the receiver. A cautious sender would understand
that there is a difference between the mental frames of the
participants. Such a difference could be a result of discrepancy in
interpretation of words, perception of reality, and attitudes,
opinions and emotions. Message, if formulated, with aware-
ness along these areas, is sure to bring success to the sender.
S - Security Check
Effective communication necessitates that the receiver listens
carefully to the utterances of the sender so that the end results
are positive. The primary rule is: never bein -a rush tocommence
communication. Sufficient time and effort should be put in
formulating the message. Suppose the sender wishes to
communicate five points. The sequencing and necessary
substantiation of points with facts and figures should be done
prior to the actual beginning of the communication process.
This would build confidence in the message and eliminate
possibility of errors in the statements.
To sum up, the sender, in order to impress the receiver should,
at the start, have an idea encoded in the form of a message. At
the time of encoding, the sender does a thorough security check
to ascertain that all points have been dealt with in a desired
order. The message is then transmitted to the receiver with the
required voice articulations and pauses so as to heighten the
impact. Finally, the response of the receiver should be viewed
empathetic ally. Once all these factors have been understood, it
proves easy to prevail upon the receiver.
There could, however, be moments when, in spite of efforts
being made to make the interaction informative and meaning-
ful, all communication links fall apart and the process ends in a
64 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

meaningless rumble of words and sounds. This disturbing or
distracting factor is what we refer to as Noise. This may be on
the part of the sender or the receiver; it can be voluntary or
Noise can be defined as a physical sound or a mental distur-
bance that disrupts the flow of communication as the sender or
the receiver perforce gets distracted by it. According to this
definition, noise can be classified into two categories:
1. Physical
2. Psychological.
Physical noise is that sound which emanates from the sur-
roundings and hampers the listening process, e.g. while
speaking on the telephone, disturbances might hinder the
smooth transmission of
message or just at the time when the sender wishes to transmit
an important point, there might be a queer squeaking sound.
Physical noise is not all that difficult to manage. It can be done
away with at the time of communication by ensuring that all
channels are in proper functioning order. For example, often,
companies have a soundproof room for discussions.
While care may be taken to eliminate possibilities of physical
noise, problems arise at the time when psychological noise
plagues either the sender or the receiver. Whenever there is
noise, it results in (un)welcome ideas or thoughts crowding the
mind, which are of more relevance than the ensuing communi-
cation to either of the participants. Listening, as a result, is
hampered and responses are not well formulated. Some of the
common forms of noise are mental turbulence, preoccupation,
ego hang-ups, anxiety, tiredness, pre-conceived ideas and
notions. These are mostly involuntary and no cause can be
assigned to them.
What is important is awareness about these factors. The sender
at a particular moment might be disturbed by psychological
noise. If he is aware of the mental turmoil and knows that it
would disturb his listening process he should, at the time of
communicating, carry a piece of paper and a pen or pencil to jot
down points or comments of the receiver. On the other hand,
the receiver might also be distracted by psychological noise.
Outward manifestations of this disturbance would be in the
form of restless tapping on the table, looking in other direc-
tions, shifting restlessly, changing positions, etc. These are just
some of the means through which the sender can gauge the
presence of psychological noise in the mind of the receiver. To
make more meaningful and successful communication, the
sender should try through certain strategies to draw the
attention of the receiver. He can do this by entering into a
question answer session or asking for advice. Both these devices
would, to a great extent, remove the element of psychological

Physical Disturbances and
distractions in the

Ensuring that all
channels are clear
and free of noise

Psychological Mental turbulence,
preoccupation, ego
hang-ups, anxiety,
preconceived ideas
and notions
Entering into
Question/ Answer
sessions, Securing

Barriers To Communication
An activity as complex as communication is bound to suffer
from setbacks if conditions contrary to the smooth functioning
of the process emerge. They are referred to as barriers because
they create impediments in the progress of the interaction.
Identification of these barriers is extremely important. Accord-
ing to the role observed by the two participants, let us
categorize the barriers as:
Sender-oriented Barriers
Sender-oriented barriers could be voluntary or involuntary. At
any cost, efforts should be made on the part of the sender to
identify and remove them. As the sender is the originator of
communication, he should be extremely careful not to erect
barriers. If his interaction gives rise to or indicates that there are
barriers, the communication comes to a grinding halt. Some of
the barriers that are sender-oriented are as follows:
1. Badly Expressed Message.
Not being well versed in the topic under discussion can create
problems of this nature. The sender may not be able to
structure his ideas accurately and efficiently. What he wishes
to say and what he finally imparts may not be the same. The
discrepancy emerges as soon as the words are uttered. In fact,
one of the important criteria at the time of initializing a piece
of communication is that ideas should be concrete and the
message should be well structured. The receiver should not
feel that the interaction is a waste of time. The moment this
feeling crops up, the listener totally switches off and thus
ceases the process of effective communication.
2. Loss In Transmission.
This is a very minor issue but one that gains in magnitude
when it leads to inability in transmitting the actual message.
Once again, if the choice of the channel or medium is not
right, the impact of the message is lost. This is mostly a
physical noise. However, the responsibility lies with the
sender, as he should ensure that all channels are free of noise
before commencing communication.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 65

3. Semantic Problem
High and big sounding words definitely look and sound
impressive. But if the receiver is not able to comprehend the
impact of these words, or if they sound Greek or Latin to
him, the entire exercise proves futile. This problem could
arise in the interpretation of the words or overall meaning
of the messageIt is also related to the understanding of the
intention behind a particular statement. For the receiver, e.g.,
the sanctity associated with the word white might be
violated when the receiver uses it in a careless fashion.
The idiosyncrasies of the receiver should be well understood
by the sender if he does not wish these barriers to crop up at
the time of communication. The look on the face of the
listener should be sufficient to warn the sender that he has
overstepped his limits or he has been misunderstood.
4. Over/ Under Communication
The quantum of communication should be just right.
Neither should there be excess information nor should it be
too scanty. Excess information may confuse the receiver as he
has to figure out the exact import of the message, and scanty
information would make him grope for the actual intent of
the message .The sender should ,as far as possible try to get
the profile of the receiver so that at the time of
communication he knows how much material is needed and
how much can be done away with. Suppose he starts with
some information that the receiver already possesses, the
latter might lose interestas it is merely repetition of what he
already knows . So b the time he arrives at the core of he
matter , he had already lost the attention of the receiver.
5. I -Attitude.
Imagine a piece of communication that begins and ends
with the pronoun I. How tedious it is going to be for the
listener to sit through the entire piece of interaction. If the
sender starts every sentence with I, it gradually leads to
what is referred to as the I-syndrome. He would not be
receptive to changes, if suggested by the receiver; as such,
changes would go against his personal formulation of
certain views.
6. Prejudices.
Starting any piece of communication with a bias or know-it-
all attitude can prove to be quite detrimental to the growth
of communication process. Though it is easier said than
done, still, when communication commences, all sorts of
prejudices should be done away with, and the mind should
be free of bias. This would enable the sender to formulate
his message, Mind, freeof keeping only the receiver and his
needs in mind. Thoughts like Last time he said this... or
Last time he did this... or He belongs to this group...
can totally warp the formulation of the message. This barrier
can also be extended to the receiver. If the respondent starts
with prejudices in mind, he too would be unable to listen to
the intent of the message. His understanding of the
message is going to be warped. The messages are going to be
understood in relation to the prejudices that a receiver
harbors against the sender.
Exhibit 11.3 Sender-oriented Barriers
Participant Barrier
Sender/ Encoder/
1. Loss in
Badly expressed
Think prior to
2. Ineffective
grasp of
Loss in
Use simple

4. Groping for
Over/ Under
Make the
just right
5. Lack of
Minimise usage
of "I"

6. Biased
with an open

Rules f or Overcoming Sender - Oriented
These barriers are not insurmountable. Care and constant
practice on the part of the sender can remove these barriers.
Some of the rules for overcoming sender-oriented barriers are
as follows:
1. Plan and clarify ideas.
Ideas should be carefully formulated/ thought out before
beginning any kind of communication. This can be done by
following few steps. Primary among them is to test thinking
by communicating with peers and colleagues. It is said that
two minds are always better than one. Ideas, when discussed
aloud with another person, necessarily take on a shape and
form. Errors of logic, if any, get sorted out. In this process
the concepts of others can also be collated and incorporated
to make the communication richer and more fruitful. As
these steps require preplanning and extra time, the sender
should be highly motivated. Unless he is sufficiently
motivated, he will not spend extra hours in planning the
message and clarifying it by facilitating discussions with other
members in the organization.
2. Create a climate of trust and confidence.
In order to win the trust and confidence of the receiver, the
sender has to put in extra effort through which he is able to
win the trust and confidence of the recipient. This is what we
normally refer to as establishing sender credibility. If the
receiver is convinced that the sender has his best interests at
heart, he would be willing to pay attention to all that is being
said and try to grasp the import of the message in the
manner in which it is intended.
3. Time your message carefully.
Different occasions and different hours necessitate a change
in the encoding of the message. The sender has to be careful
of the time and the place he makes his statements. As all
communication is situation bound, a statement made at an
66 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

incorrect moment, or a wrong place can stimulate an
undesired response. The most prudent step is to measure
the import of the message in relation to the situation and
then impart it.
4. Reinforce words with action.
Whatever statements are made should be reinforced by
action on the part of the sender. The receiver should not feel
that there are two codes at play, one for transmittal and the
other for action. If there is harmony between the two, the
decoder is mentally at peace, for his grasp is more accurate
and thorough.
5. Communicate efficiently.
The sender can only ascertain whether communication has
been effective when he confirms with feedback. The receiver
on his part is also wary as he knows that he would be
requested for feedback. Soliciting and receiving feedback is the
simplest and the surest way of removing any barriers that
might crop up in the course of communication as a result of
either over communication or a semantic problem.
Once all barriers to communication have been overcome,
communication, it is said has been meaningful and
Receiver-Oriented Barriers
Receiver can also have some barriers in the course of the
interaction. Although his role in the initial phase is passive, he
becomes active when he starts assimilating and absorbing the
information. He is equally to blame if the situation goes awry
and communication comes to a stop, or there is miscommuni-
cation. Some of the barriers emanating from the side of the
receiver are as follows:
1. Poor retention.
Retention is extremely important during interaction. If the
receiver has poor retention capability, he would probably get
lost in the course of the proceedings. There would be
no connection between what was said initially and what is
being said now. He might counter statements instead of
seeking clarifications that might lead to clamping on the part
of the sender. If the decoder feels that his retention
capacities are not good, a judicious strategy for him would be
to jot down points. It does not portray him in a poor light.
On the contrary, it shows how conscientious he is to get the
message right.
2. Inattentive listening.
The mind has its own way of functioning. It is very difficult
to exercise control over ones mind. Listening is more of an
exercise in controlling the mind and exercising it to assimilate
messages. The errors in listening arise primarily because the
receiver is either not interested in what is being said, or has
other things to concentrate on. The art of listening is an
exercise in concentration.
3. Tendency to evaluate.
Being judgmental and evaluative are both the starting points
for miscommunication. Remember, one mind cannot
perform two activities at the same time. If it is evaluating,
listening cannot take place. Evaluation should always be a
sequel to the listening process. It cannot be done
simultaneously with listening. The minute sender opens his
mouth, if the listener starts mentally pronouncing
judgments concerning his style or content, he has actually
missed out on a major part of what has been said. His
responses naturally are then going to be incorrect or expose
his misunderstanding.
4. Interests and attitudes.
I am not interested in what you are saying or My interest
lies in other areas. Starting any piece of communication
with this kind of indifference can thwart any attempts at
communication. Fixed notions of this kind should be
dispensed with. It is not possible to be interested in all that
is being said. But to start any communication with this
notion is hazardous.
5. Conflicting information.
Dichotomy in the information that the receiver possesses
and that which is being transmitted can create confusion and
result in miscommunication. Conflict between the existing
information and fresh one results in elimination of the latter
unless and until the receiver is cautious and verifies with the
sender the reliability and validity of the message. The sender
should convince the receiver that whatever is now being said
is correct and relevant to further proceedings.
6. Differing status and position.
Position in the organizational hierarchy is no criterion to
determine the strength of ideas and issues. Rejecting the
proposal of a subordinate or harboring a misconception that
a junior cannot come up
with a eureka concept is not right. In fact, many companies
have started encouraging youngsters to come up with ideas/
solutions to a particular problem. These ideas are then
discussed among the senior managers and their validity is
ascertained keeping the workings and the constraints of the
company in mind. The basic purpose of this upward
traversing of ideas is that fresh and innovative minds can
come up with unique solutions. If an individual has been
working in a particular company for some years, it is natural
that his mind gets conditioned in a particular manner.
Challenging newcomers to innovate,as a part of company
policy takes care of ego problems that may arise if this is not
a accepted norm.
7. Resistance to change.
Fixed ideas, coupled with an unwillingness to change or
discuss, hampers listening and results in miscommunication.
Novae concepts that require discussion before they can really
materialize, if rebuked, fall flat. The onus lies directly on the
receiver who is unreceptive and unwilling to change. People
with dogmatic opinions and views prove to be very poor
communicators and erect maximum number of barriers.
8. Refutations and arguments.
Refutations and arguments are negative in nature. Trying to
communicate with the sender on the premise that
refutations and arguments can yield fruitful results would
prove to be futile.Communication is a process in which the
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 67

sender and the healthyreceiver are at the same level. The
minute refutations or discussions arguments begin, there is a
shift in balance between the two participants, after which the
receiver moves to a conceived higher position and the sender
remains at the same level. In case there are some
contradictions that need to be resolved, discussion is the
right way to approach. Listening to the views of the other,
trying to understand or at least showing that there has been
understanding, appreciating and, finally, positing own views
should be the sequence to be followed. The strategy adopted
should not make the sender feel small or slighted.
Exhibit 11.4 Receiver-oriented Barriers
Participant Barrier Causative
1. Dichotomy
in reception
Poor retention Jot down
Listener 2. Partial grasp
of topic
Keep the
mind open
3. Distancing
from the
Tendency to
4. Lack of
Differences in
nterests and
Find an
5. Mental
6. Superior
status/ Position
Listen to
7. Mental block Resistance to
Be open to
8. Lack of
provision of
and arguments
Enter into

A Strategic Focus on Face-to-face Communication
By Jim Shaffer
Superior communication management should help improve
organizational performance. Its job is to focus people on whats
required to win and build an environment that gives them the
information needed to improve performance. It should do its
job as effectively and efficiently as possible. Three factors have
reinvented the way we must manage communication: technol-
ogy, increased global competition and the emerging partnership
between an organization and its members.Technology has
replaced layers of management that frequently blocked commu-
nication back in the days when the communication process was
thought to be a hierarchic, cascading, up and down process.
Technology now allows anyone with E-mail to move informa-
tion throughout the organization, posing questions or
suggesting new product ideas to any individual, regardless of
their location or status.
Increased competition has forced us to look for ways to do
everything exponentially better, faster and at less cost. Its caused
us to challenge all the rules, processes, policies, programs and
structures. Self-direction, virtual offices, spiderweb organiza-
tional structures and telecommuting has forced many
organizations to adopt more efficient and effective ways of
moving information among people who need that it. A new
partnership has evolved from a recognition that assets such as
capital, raw materials and technology are inert until people do
something with them. Those firms that can get the right people
doing the right things at the right time with precious finite
assets will be tomorrows winners. Communication in its
broadest form is a critical enabler that can engage people and
unlock the discretionary effort thats needed to win. Organiza-
tions that understand these factors and manage
communications well have adopted or are adopting the
following two best practices.
1. Using a concept commonly called open book
leadership, theyre creating businesses of business
people where everyone thinks and acts like a business
In these organizations, often considered the model of
communication management, everyone knows how the
enterprise makes money and how to track business
performance. Everyone knows that a large part of the job is
to move the numbers in the right direction. The income
statement, cash flow statement and balance sheet are the
primary communication media. Everyone works to manage
these three statements prospectively. (For instance, if a
variance in material usage is projected on next months
income statement, employees who can influence material
usage work to avoid the variance. This effort may involve
frontline employees; it may involve others. Focusing
communication primarily on frontline people at the
exclusion of others could too often circumvent people who
have valuable contributions to improving the organizations
financial health.
2. Theyre seeking faster, more focused ways to get
relevant information into the hands of those who can
most influence business performance.
These businesses understand that some organization
capabilities or processes drive the business more than others.
In a world of finite resources, its often strategically efficient
to focus on these needed-to-win capabilities or success
drivers. For instance, if an electric power company were
deficient in a needed-to-win capability such as creating
strategic partnerships, it should direct its attention at
eliminating this deficiency. This may or may not involve
frontline employees but would address a major competitive
If a retail store were deficient in a core driver such as increasing
in-store traffic, it would want to fucus on this activities that
would increase in-store traffic. This might include merchandis-
68 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

ing, advertising, perceived product quality, atmosphere, retail
skills, leadership skills and a host of other activities that could
increase in-store traffic. This probably would involve frontline
people, but not to the exclusion of others.
Essentially, best practice companies focus communication
management where it has maximum strategic impact. This
requires involving people who bring a mix of competencies
from various places within the organization. In these organiza-
tions, frontline isnt part of the lexicon. Frontline is a
hierarchic remnant.
In the new model, everyone is critical to the value chain.
Everyone is part of the business. Everyone is engaged in a
This emerging model represents a fundamental shift in the way
we think about our organizations and how we share informa-
tion. Part of this shift renders the historical frontline employee/
supervisor discussion obsolete. In this new model, the way we
move information should be situational. Sure, face-to-face may
be ideal. It can capture the essence of human interaction better
than E-mail, fax, courier services, video or teleconference. But,
try telling someone at Hewlett-Packard in Palo Alto, California
that she should communicate cash flow reports face-to-face to
someone in the Asia-Pacific office and shed be justified in
giving us a quick lesson in business economics and the need for
speed in todays competitive environment. Lionize face-to-face
as an ideal, but be prepared to seek better ways to move
information among telecommuters who have child care
obligations. Face-to-face may have significant advantages, but
perhaps not at the expense of dragging a world-wide sales force
to London for a monthly sales meeting.
Organizations are changing dramatically. Work gets done
differently. Structures are fluid. Businesses will continue to
metamorphose as customers needs and members needs
Communication practitioners should be hard at work looking
for new ways to help adapt to a new business environment.
They should be looking for better ways to engage everyone in
achieving increasingly higher levels of performance through
improving information sharing. Doing this effectively will
require a mind set change and a fresh view of the needs of the
emerging organization. It will mean letting go of the past when
it doesnt serve todays business needs - however painful letting
go might be.
Jim Shaffer, is one of the worlds leading thought leaders and
consultants in generating employee commitment to achieving
improved organizational performance. His new book The
Leadership Solution has been hailed by CEOs as a practical
common sense look at how leaders use communication to
solve business problems. Jim pioneered performance-based
communication management, the process for improving critical
performance indicators such as quality, service, speed, costs,
innovation or productivity by improving the way businesses
manage communication. He leads the JimShaffer
Generally, peopleretain
10% of what they READ
20% of what they HEAR
30% of what they SEE
50% of what they SEE and HEAR
70% of what they SAY
90% of what they SAY and DO
Business Communication Goals
Receiver Understanding
Receiver Response
Favorable Relationship
Organizational Goodwill
Sender is responsible for these goals.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 69

Say what you are going to say, say it,
then say what you have just said.
Parts of a presentation
Guidelines for Effective Introductions
Always prepare your opening
Tell people what the presentation is about
Keep the opening short and simple
Only use anecdotes that are relevant
Use caution with personal experiences
Stay away from inappropriate humor
Guidelines for Effective Closings
Always prepare a closing
Always restate the main point, and, perhaps,
the key supporting points
Say clearly what happens next
If appropriate, make a call to action
Thank the audience
Communication Barriers/Noise
Word choice
too difficult, too technical, etc.
overused words such as, good, excellent
value, etc.
Connotations VS Denotations
Examples sender denotes rec. connotes
Cheap inexpensive poorly made
Flexible offers choice no standard
Compromise adjust give in
70 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Communication Barriers/Noise
Pace of the delivery
Speaking too fast or too slow
Poor grammar, spelling, etc.
Appearance and performance of the presenter
Use of gender bias terms or stereotypical
Positive VS Negative terms
We have a full year warranty. VS Warranty is
only for the first year.
When to use and distribute handouts
@ beginning if audience needs them during
during presentation, have someone else hand
them out
at end if possible
Running handouts two, three or six to a
10 common presentation mistakes
(and suggestions for avoiding them)
#1 Accepting an inappropriate invitation
personally decline, retain opportunity for
#2 Neglecting to research the audience
take the time to find out who you are talking to
What you should know about
your audience
How large is the audience?
What are the audience members relevant
Why are people attending?
What are the audiences specific needs,
interests, and concerns?
How much do people already know?
How are people likely to respond to your
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 71

10 common presentation mistakes
(and suggestions for avoiding them)
#3 Procrastinating, then punting.
Do not try to organize your talk and create your
slides simultaneously.
#4 Getting a late start.
Always plan to arrive early for your
10 common presentation mistakes
(and suggestions for avoiding them)
#5 Assuming all projectors are the same.
Be sure you know the equipment or bring your
#6 Failing to heed Murphys Law
Always assume the equipment will NOT work.
10 common presentation mistakes
(and suggestions for avoiding them)
#7 Backing up to the wrong media
Check your back-up media before leaving for your
#8 Telling tasteless or offensive jokes
A greater awareness of your audience can determine if
they will find your sense of humor funny or offensive.
10 common presentation mistakes
(and suggestions for avoiding them)
#9 Relying on the World Wide Web live
Web connection
Create a copy on your hard drive.
#10 Having too little to say
Be prepared!
72 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Always use a title slide. Put it up about five
minutes before your presentation begins.
The presentation should set the tone of the
If you are sharing good news, your presentation
can use a lot of fun art, audio and video. If you
have bad news, stick to the points.
Tips on PowerPoint Presentations
Sales are down!
We are going to have to down size.
Sample Slide
Tips on PowerPoint Presentations
Keep the presentation look simple. You
dont want to distract from the content of
the slide/presentation.
Keep a consistent look from slide to slide.
Create high contrast between the
background and the text.
Consider creating a company specific
background for sales presentations.
Tips on PowerPoint Presentations
Clip art should match your audience.
Art should match a key word or phase in the
When using art, keep the images balanced
on the page. Use the rule of thirds.
Use art judiciously.
All of the rules apply to sound (even more
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 73

One of the significant advantages of using
presentation software packages is that you have
access to color. Use it wisely and judiciously.
Keep it simple and consistent.
Use no more than five colors for charts or graphs.
Choose no more than two colors for text.
Be careful with the use of red because the eye will
naturally go there first.
Tips on PowerPoint Presentations
One of the significant advantages of using
presentation software packages is that you have
access to color. Use it wisely and
Use complimentary colors together.
Never use red and green together unless you want
your audience to think of Christmas!
Tips on PowerPoint Presentations
Limit your bullet points to three or four
Try to have no more than 24 words on any
one slide.
Be careful when using abbreviations,
acronyms, and special phases on your
slides. Explain them quickly or you lose
your audience.
Tips on PowerPoint Presentations
Fonts are like colors, just because you have
a lot of them to choose from you dont have
to use them all! No more than two or three
per slide.
Be consistent from slide to slide.
Dont overdo the use of italics, bolding and
shadows and like e-mail, do NOT use all
Tips on PowerPoint Presentations
74 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

It is important to explain how to read your
chart or graph as soon as you put it on the
Do not say anything important within ten
seconds of putting up a chart. People wont
be listening, theyre too busy figuring out
the chart.
Tips on PowerPoint Presentations
Tips on PowerPoint Presentations
Have a final slide that lets the audience
know that the presentation is over.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 75

After readingthis chapter, you shouldbeabletounderstand:
1. Howimportant listeningis in oral communication
2. Common faults wemakewhilelistening
3. Howwecan improveour listeningskill
4. Different approaches tolistening
Students, today, lets learn about the importance and listening .
Do you think you are a good listener? I do hear a loud Yes
from you all!!! At the end of the lesson we have some exercise
to evaluate your listening skills.
Its a pity that Raman didnt receive the promotion he wanted,
but he has one big fault: he doesnt know how to listen. This
remark was made by a department head in a manufacturing
firm. Listening is a skill, an art necessary for success in life and
Do you know that we devote about 40 to 45 per cent of our
working hours to listening? And do you know that, if you have
not taken steps to improve this skill, you listen at only 25 per
cent efficiency?
For a long time most persons assumed that listening was a
natural trait, but practically, not all people are good listeners.
Evidence indicates that many persons do not know how to
listen - that listening is a skill that must be developed. In
Shakespeares Julius Caesar, Marc Antony realizes that persons
dont listen readily, for he begins his famous oration by saying,
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.
As you will learn in the following pages, listening effectively is
hard work. It involves far more than sitting passively and
absorbing others words. It occurs far more frequently than
speaking, reading, or writing and is just as demanding and
What Listening is
Johnson defines listening as the ability to understand and
respond effec-tively toOral communication.
Thus, we can state at the outset that hearing is not listening.
Listening requires more than hearing; it requires understanding
of the communication received. Davis states it this way:
Hearing is with the ears, but listening is with the mind.
Consider the Following Examples
I told him we were meeting this Tuesday, not next Tuesday.
Now we have to reschedule the meeting. It will cost us a weeks
time and we will not be able to meet the deadline.
He said he was listening, but hed obviously made up his mind
before I started. He didnt give me a minute to talk before he
started interrupting.
Note that in both the cases, the listener has not listened to the
actual message. In the first case, listener has taken the message
without giving proper attention to understand it, and in the
second case, the listener has a blocked mind to listen anything
other than his own notions. Situations like this are disturbingly
common in business. They show that listening failures can
prove to be very costly. Because of listening mistakes, letters
have to be retyped, appointments rescheduled, shipments re-
routed, productivity is affected and profits suffer. Thus poor
listening habits can keep an organization from functioning
Industrial firms have recognized the importance of the listening
skill to manag-ers for some time. Dr. Earl Planty, in his role as
executive counselor at Johnson and Johnson, has said: By far
the most effective method by which executives can tap ideas of
subordinates is sympathetic listening in the many day-to-day
informal contacts within and outside the work place. There is
no system that will do the job in an easier manner. Nothing can
equal an executives willingness to listen.
The benefits of applied listening skills are impressive. Good
listeners make a company a more effective organization. They
have better rapport with others, they get more out of meetings
and are more effective in conferences, and they are better at
understanding the needs of others.
Common Faults of Listening
Research studies shows that our listening efficiency is no better
than 25 to 30 per cent. That means the considerable informa-
tion is lost in the listening process. Why? Some reasons follow-
1. Prejudice against the speaker At times we have conflict
in our mind as to the speaker. Whatever he speaks seems to
be colored and we practically dont listen what he says.
2. Rehearsing Your whole attention is on designing and
preparing your next comment. You look interested, but
your mind is going a mile a minute because you are
thinking about what to say next. Some people rehearse
whole chains of responses: Ill say, then hell say, and so on.
3. Judging negatively Labeling people can be extremely
limiting. If you prejudge somebody as incompetent or
uninformed, you dont pay much attention to what that
person says. A basic rule of listening is that judgments
should only be made after you have heard and evaluated the
content of the message.
4. Identifying When using this block, you take everything
people tell you and refer it back to your own experience.
They want to tell you about a toothache, but that reminds
you of your oral surgery for receding gums. You launch
into your story before they can finish theirs.
76 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

5. Advising You are the great problem solver. You dont
have to hear more than a few sentences before you begin
searching for the right advice. However, while you are
coming up with suggestions and convincing someone to
just try it, you may miss what is most important.
6. Sparring This block has you arguing and debating with
people who never feel heard because you are so quick to
disagree. In fact, your main focus is on finding things to
disagree with.
7. Being Right Being right means you will go to great
lengths (twist the facts, start shouting, make excuses or
accusations, call up past sins) to -avoid being wrong. You
cant listen to criticism, you cant be corrected, and you cant
take suggestions to change.
8. Derailing This listening block involves suddenly
changing the subject. You derail the train of conversation
when you get uncomfortable or bored with a topic. Another
way of derailing is by joking.
9. Placating Right. . . Absolutely. . . I know. . . Of course
you are. . .Incredible ... Really? You want to be nice,
pleasant, supportive. You want people to like you. So you
agree with everything.
10. Dreaming When we dream, we pretend to listen but
really tune the other person out while we drift about in our
interior fantasies. Instead of disciplining ourselves to truly
concentrate on the input, we turn the channel to a more
entertaining subject.
11. Thinking speed Most of us speak between 60 to 180
words per minute, and people have capacity to think at the
rate of 500 to 800 words per Minute. The difference leaves
us with the great deal of mental spare time. While it is
possible to use this time to explore the speakers ideas, we
most often let our mind wander to other matters - from the
unfinished business just mentioned to romantic fantasies.
12. Premature evaluation It often happens that we
interrupt the speakers before they complete their thought,
or finish their sentence, or state their conclusions. Directly as
a result of our rapid thinking speed, we race ahead of what
we feel is the conclusion. We anticipate. We arrive at the
concluding thought quickly although often that is quite
different from what the speaker intended.
13. Semantic stereotypes As certain kind of people bother
us, so too do certain words. When these words are repeated
time and again, they cause annoyance in the mind and
effective listening is impaired.
14. Delivery A monotonous delivery by the speaker can put
listeners to sleep or cause them to loose interest.
15. External distractions The entire physical environment
effects the listen-ing. Among the negative factors are noisy
fans, poor or glaring lights, distracting background music,
overheated or cold rooms, a conversation going on nearby,
and so on.
How to Improve Listening Skill
The ability to listen more effectively may be acquired through
discipline and practice. As a listener you must be physically
relaxed and mentally alert to receive and understand the
message. Effective listening requires sustained concentration
(regardless of the length of the message), attention to the main
ideas presented, note-taking (if the conditions are appropriate),
and no emotional blocks to the message by the listener. You
cannot listen passively and expect to retain the message. If you
want to be an effective listener, you must give the communica-
tor of the message sufficient attention and make an effort to
understand his viewpoint. Here are some practical suggestions
for effective listening, which, if followed, can appreciably
increase the effectiveness of this communicative skill.
1. Realize that listening is hard work You must appreciate
the art of listening, and make conscious effort to listen
2. Prepare to listen To receive the message clearly, the
receiver must have the correct mental attitude. In your daily
communications, establish a permissive environment for
each communicator. .
3. Have positive attitude If you have to do it, do it with a
positive attitude.
4. Resist distractions Tune out internal and external
distractions by facing and maintaining contact with the
speaker. If you experience some negative environment
factors, you can sometimes move to another loca-tion in the
room. Good listeners adjust quickly to any kind of
5. Listen to understand, not refute -Respect the viewpoint
of those you disagree with. Try to understand the points
they emphasize and why they have such feelings (training,
background, etc.). Dont allow your personal biases and
attitudes to influence your listening to the message.
6. Keep an open mind A good listener doesnt feel
threatened or insulted, or need to resist messages that
contradict his beliefs, attitudes, ideas, or personal values. Try
to identify and rationalize the words or phrases most
upsetting to your means.
7. Find an area of interest Good listeners are interested
and attentive. They find ways to make the message relevant
to themselves and/ or their jobs. Make your listening
efficient by asking yourself what is he saying that I can use?
Does he have any worthwhile ideas? Is he conveying any
workable approaches or solutions? G. K Chesterton once
said, There is no such-thing as an uninteresting subject;
there are only uninteresting people.
8. Concentrate on the context Search out main ideas.
Construct a mental outline of where speaker is going. Listen
for transition and progression of ideas. If need be, you
may reinforce the mental outline by physically taking down
the notes.
9. Capitalize on thought speed Most of us think at
about four times faster than the communicator speaks. It is
almost impossible to slow down our thinking speed. What
do you do with the excess thinking time while someone is
speaking? The good listener uses thought-speed to
advantage by applying spare thinking time to what is being
said. Your greatest handicap may be not capitalizing on
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 77

thought-speed. Through listening training, it can be
converted into your greatest asset.
10. Combine verbal delivery with nonverbal cues F. S.
Pearls, author of Gestalt Theory Vibration, said Dont
listen to the words_ just listen to what the voice tells you,
what the movements tell you, what the posture tells you
what the image tells you.
11. Show some empathy Empathy means placing yourself in
the shoes of speaker and try understand his viewpoint from
there. If we show some empathy, we create a climate that
encourages others to communicate honestly and openly.
Therefore, try to see the communicators point of view.
12. Hold your fire Be patient. Dont interrupt. Dont
become over-stimulated, too excited, or excited too soon,
by what the speaker says. Be sure you understand what the
speaker means; that is, withhold your evaluation until your
comprehension is complete. Mentally arguing with a
communi-cator is one of the principal reasons so little
listening takes place in some discussions. Dont argue. If
you win, you lose.
13. Listen critically and delay judgment Good listeners
delay making a judgment about the communicators
personality, the principal points of the message, and the
response. Ask questions and listen critically to the answers.
Then, at the appropriate time, judgment can be passed in an
enlightened manner.
Approaches to Listening
Just as a carpenter or a chef uses different tools to tackle a job,
listeners can take advantage of several skills for listening and
responding to messages at work. Different approaches to
listening are discussed below-:
Passive listening - Sometimes the best approach to listening is
to stay out of the way and encourage the speaker to keep going:
Uh-huh, really, Tell me more, and so on. Non-verbal
cues like eye contact, attentive posture, and appropriate facial
expressions are an important part of the passive listening.
Generally this approach is used when there is one to one
conversation or the speaker is giving a formal presentation.
Questioning - Sincere questions are genuine request for
information: when did you find that fuel was leaking from the
barrel?, When did you inform your manager?, and the like.
These questions may be used to gather facts and details, clarify
meanings, and encourage a speaker to elaborate.
Paraphrasing - Paraphrasing occurs when a listener restate the
speakers ideas in his own words in order to ensure that he has
understood them correctly. This is often preceded by phrases
such as, Let me make sure I understand what you are say-
ing..., or in other words you are saying... and the like. We
often think that we understand other person but we may be
wrong at times. Paraphrasing is a practical technique that can
highlight misunderstandings.
It is the recipient who communicates. The so called
communica-tor, the person who emits the communication,
does not communi-cate. He utters. Unless there is someone
who hears, there is no. communication. There is only noise.
Peter Drucker
Points to ponder
Here are some hints and tips to make you a better listener:
1. Listen carefully to what the speaker says. Pick out the key
words in any information. Its easier to remember one or
two important words than a whole sentence.
If youre taking a message for someone its easier to write
down key words to help you remember the message than it
is to try to write everything out. You can add to your
message after youve finished listening to the information.
2. Give each new stage in a set of instructions a number, it
will help you remember them later.
3. Repeat the instructions or the information youve been
given back to the person who gave them to you. If youve
got anything wrong the person will correct you and the
repetition will help you to remember.
4. Ask questions about anything that you are unsure of, or
replay the recorded message.
5. Go through the complete sequence in your mind so that it
is clear. If youre taking a message for someone else
you might want to rewrite it using complete sentences
so that it will make sense to the reader.
6. If you are with someone you need to do some extra things
while you are listening, because you are part of a two-way
process and you want to encourage the other person.
Look interested in what they are saying
Maintain eye contact
If the person is giving you directions, pay attention to the
direction they are pointing. Gesturecan be very important
and can often make the speakers meaning much clearer.
78 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

The Secrets to Listening Well
Listening is as powerful a means of communication and
influence as to talk well. - John Marshall
There must be a lot of frustrated people out there, a lot of
people who feel like they arent listened to, a lot of people
throwing up their arms and saying, You just dont get it, do
There seems to be a growing realization of the importance of
listening and communication skills in business. After all, lack of
attention and respectful listening can be costly - leading to
mistakes, poor service, misaligned goals, wasted time and lack
of teamwork.
You cant sell unless you understand your customers problem;
you cant manage unless you understand your employees
motivation; and you cant gain team consensus unless you
understand each team members feelings about the issue at
hand. In all of these cases, you must listen to others.
However, listening is less important than how you listen. By
listening in a way that demonstrates understanding and respect,
you cause rapport to develop, and that is the true foundation
from which you can sell, manage or influence others.
I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening
carefully. Most people never listen. - Ernest Hemingway
Following are some keys to listening well:
Give 100% Attention: Prove you care by suspending all other
Respond: Responses can be both verbal and nonverbal
(nods, expressing interest) but must prove you received the
message, and more importantly, prove it had an impact on
you. Speak at approximately the same energy level as the
other person...then theyll know they really got through and
dont have to keep repeating.
Prove understanding: To say I understand is not enough.
People need some sort of evidence or proof of
understanding. Prove your understanding by occasionally
restating the gist of their idea or by asking a question, which
proves you, know the main idea. The important point is not
to repeat what theyve said to prove you were listening, but
to prove you understand. The difference in these two
intentions transmits remarkably different messages when
you are communicating.
Prove respect: Prove you take other views seriously. It
seldom helps to tell people, I appreciate your position or
I know how you feel. You have to prove it by being
willing to communicate with others at their level of
understanding and attitude. We do this naturally by
adjusting our tone of vice, rate of speech and choice of
words to show that we are trying to imagine being where
they are at the moment.
Listening to and acknowledging other people may seem
deceptively simple, but doing it well, particularly when disagree-
ments arise, takes true talent. As with any skill, listening well
takes plenty of practice.
I think one lesson I have learned is that there is no substitute
for paying attention. - Diane Sawyer
Only about 25 percent of listeners grasp the central ideas in
communications. To improve listening skills, consider the
Poor Listener Effective Listener
tends to "wool-gather"
with slow speakers
thinks and mentally
summarizes, weighs the
evidence, listens between the
lines to tones of voice and
subject is dry so tunes out
finds what's in it for me
distracted easily
fights distractions, sees past bad
communication habits, knows
how to concentrate
takes intensive notes, but
the more notes taken, the
less value; has only one way
to take notes
has 2-3 ways to take notes and
organize important information
is overstimulated, tends to
seek and enter into
doesn't judge until
comprehension is complete
inexperienced in listening
to difficult material; has
usually sought light,
recreational materials
uses "heavier" materials to
regularly exercise the mind
lets deaf spots or blind
words catch his or her
interpret color words, and
doesn't get hung up on them
shows no energy output
holds eye contact and helps
speaker along by showing an
active body state
judges delivery -- tunes out
judges content, skips over
delivery errors
listens for facts listens for central ideas
Exercise 1
Choose one of the following topics and discuss it in groups of
4. Prepare a statement in which you list the arguments for and
against. To begin the discussion, each person in the group must
take a particular stance:
Comment on the positive elements of the proposal
Suggest problems with implementing the proposal
Suggest the people who will need to be involved
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 79

Suggest practical/ organizational issues which will need to be
dealt with.
The group should also come to a consensus on how to proceed
with the proposal you are discussing. Note that consensus
means that you come to a group view. It is different from a vote
in which the majority rules.
Nominate someone to lead the group, someone to take notes
and someone to act as a critical friend. Keep a personal record
of the roles you play, so that you have an opportunity to take
different roles throughout the semester.
The Leader of the Group Should
1. Encourage all people to contribute make sure that
everyone has a turn at speaking
2. Ensure that the discussion sticks to the topic
The Note Taker Should
1. Record the names of group members
2. Keep notes of the main points raised
3. Record the groups point of view (arrived at by consensus)
4. Report back to the class
The Critical Friend Should
1. Observe the way the group functions (including body
2. Report on how each member participated, including whether
they contributed and whether they allowed or encouraged
others to contribute.
Scenario 1
You are concerned about water usage in your school. You
would like to put in a tank to use rainwater for drinking
Scenario 2
You would like to organize an overseas tour of students to a
country which speaks the language you are studying (e.g. Italy,
France, China, Indonesia, Japan, Germany)
Scenario 3
You are concerned about the amount of litter in your school or
local area. You would like to improve student attitudes towards
Listening to Others
Reflect on the group discussion that you have been involved in
while completing the above exercises. Did everyone speak for
about the same length of time? How easily was consensus
achieved? How often did the group stray from the topic (e.g. by
talking about personal matters). Did anyone ask questions of
other group members?
Consider the characteristics of listeners. Who are people whom
you consider to be good or bad listeners? What is it about them
that leads you to make this judgment?
A Good Listener May
1. Work co-operatively and concentrate.
2. Be sympathetic to the speaker (e.g. concerned about their
3. Picks up cues, which ask for a particular response. For
What do you think?
4. Ask questions about something that has been said (to clarify
or expand)
I dont understand the point about
Did you consider trying to
Does that mean it wont work?
or in informal conversation
What did he say to that?
What did you wear?
What are you going to say to them?
5. Use eye contact to show concentration on the person
6. Using facial expressions (smiles or frowns, nods or shakes
of the head) to show interest or concentration
7. Use confirming words and phrases
Go On!
You dont say!
Oh no!
8. Uses the persons name when speaking to them
9. Allow the speaker to make a point or tell a story without
10.Encourage others to take a turn, and to respond when
someone presents a different view during discussion
A Poor Listener May
1. Not focus on the speaker (e.g. look around the room)
2. Interrupt when another speaker is taking their turn, or before
the person has finished
3. Talk about themselves only
4. Maintain a blank face
5. Show no interest in the topic or not understand the points
being made (e.g. lack background in the topic)
6. Not ask questions about what has been said
7. Aggressively disagree with the points being made (although
this may be because the listener is appalled by the ideas being
The Speakers Background
The background or relationships of the speakers/ listeners can
also have an impact. For example, suppose that you are
listening to someone put a point a view about race relations in
Australia. Discuss how your response might differ if the person
putting the point of view is:
A friend
A member of your group in a discussion
Your employer
Your teacher
A politician invited as a guest speaker to your class
An aboriginal guest speaker invited to your class
80 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

The place where the conversation is taking place is also signifi-
cant. In particular, the level of formality can affect a listeners
Body Language
Our body language can send messages to others in a conversa-
tion or discussion. In groups, consider the impact of the
following body language. Then draw a table like the one below.
Use this table to record whether the actions are likely to help or
hinder a discussion.
It may be useful to ask group members to act out these
examples so that you can more easily assess their impact.
Help Hinder Comment
Folding arms Suggests a closed approach to
the discussion. Puts a barrier
between speaker and listener.
Nodding Suggests agreement with the
speaker and encourages them
to continue.
Folding arms
Putting arms behind head
Nodding/ shaking the head
Fidgeting with hands or an object (e.g. a pen)
Rocking on the chair
Leaning forward
Leaning back
Looking around the room
Staring at the speaker
Maintaining occasional eye contact with the speaker .
Active Listening
The Heart of Empathic
n Purpose
To show that you understand how the person
n Action
Reflects the speakers basic feelings.
n Example:
You seem very upset.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 81

n Purpose
To help you clarify what is said.
To get more information.
To help the speaker see other points of view.
n Action
Ask questions.
Restate wrong interpretation to force the speaker to explain
n Example
When did this happen?
Do I have this right? You think he told you to give him the
pencil because he doesnt like you?
n Purpose
To convey interest.
To encourage the other person to keep talking.
n Action
Dont agree or disagree.
Use neutral words.
Use varying voice intonations.
n Example
Can you tell me more?
n Purpose
To review progress.
To pull together important ideas and facts.
To establish a basis for further discussion.
n Action
Restate major ideas expressed, including feelings.
n Example
These seem to be the key ideas youve expressed
n Purpose
To show you are listening and understanding what is
being said.
To help the speaker see other points of view.
n Action
Restate basic ideas and facts.
n Example
So you would like your friends to include you at
recess, is that right?
82 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

The Keys to Effective Listening The Keys to Effective Listening
The Good Listener The Good Listener The Bad Listener The Bad Listener Keys to Effective Keys to Effective
Listening Listening
Stays with the speaker,
mentally summarizes the
speaker, weighs evidence,
and listens between the lines
Tends to daydream 1. Capitalize on thought
Listens for central or overall
Listens for facts 2. Listen for ideas
Listens for any useful
Tunes out dry speakers or
3. Find an area of interest
Assesses content by listening
to entire message before
making judgments
Tunes out dry monotone
4. Judge content, not
Withholds judgment until
comprehension is complete
Gets too emotional or worked
up by something said by the
speaker and enters into an
5. Hold your fire
Sources: Derived from N Skinner, Communication Skills, Selling Power, July/August 1999, pp 32-34; and G Manning, K
Curtis, and S McMillen, Building the Human Side of Work Community (Cincinnati, OH: Thomson Executive Press, 1996), pp
n Purpose
To acknowledge the worthiness of the other person.
n Action
Acknowledge the value of their issues and feelings.
Show appreciation for their efforts and actions.
n Example
I truly appreciate your willingness to resolve this
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 83

The Keys to Effective Listening The Keys to Effective Listening (continued) (continued)
The Good Listener The Good Listener The Bad Listener The Bad Listener Keys to Effective Keys to Effective
Listening Listening
Gives the speaker full
Does not expend energy on
6. Work at listening
Fights distractions and
concentrates on the speaker
Is easily distracted 7. Resist Distractions
Listens to both favorable and
unfavorable information
Shuts our or denies
unfavorable information
8. Hear what is said
Treats complex
presentations as exercises
for the mind
Resists listening to
presentations of difficult
subject manner
9. Challenge yourself
Takes notes as required and
uses visual aids to enhance
understanding of the
Does not take notes or pay
attention to visual aids
10. Use handouts, overheads,
or other visual aids

Lesson 11 Non Verbal Communication

After completion of this lesson you will be able to:

Understand the meaning and importance of non-verbal
Categories of Non verbal communication
Ways in interpreting the non verbal cues
Steps to improve non verbal communication

Students, this is the last lesson of Unit one and here we shall learn about nonverbal
communications. The blank faces I see today is also a nonverbal communication wherein
the class tells me how prepared they are for the lesson. Ok, lets proceed.
Why do we study nonverbal communication?
Nonverbal messages communicate emotions
As we know, it forms the bulk of our communication. Most of that communication is
about emotional information, which in turn is a powerful motivator in human behavior.
We base our feelings and emotional responses not so much upon what another person
says, but upon what another person does.

Because of nonverbal communication, you cannot not communicate
The very attempt to mask one's communication communicates something in and of itself.
If you are playing poker with someone who has been talking normally, but who suddenly
stops talking and goes "stone-faced," that person has communicated something. It may be
a very good hand, or a very bad hand, but at the least the poker player has communicated
a desire to hide what is there. Long periods of silence at the supper table communicate as
clearly as any words that something may be wrong.

Nonverbal communication is strongly related to verbal communication
Nonverbal cues substitute for, contradict, emphasize, or regulate verbal messages.
For instance, if someone asks us which way the restroom is, we may simply point down
the hall. We may compliment someone's new haircut while our faces give away the real
feeling of dismay we have. We may describe a fish we caught with a motion of our hands
to emphasize the monster-like proportions. And most certainly we regulate the flow of
conversation nonverbally by raising an index finger, nodding and leaning forward, raising
eyebrows, and/or changing eye contact.

Problems of studying nonverbal communication
Studying nonverbal communication presents a whole range of challenges that are unique
to its nature. They include:

Nonverbal cues can be ambiguous
No dictionary can accurately classify them. Their meaning varies not only by culture and
context, but by degree of intention, i.e., you may not be intending to communicate (in the
absence of nerve disorders, people seldom talk out loud when they don't intend to). A
random gesture may be assumed to have meaning when none at all was intended. Plus,
some people who may feel emotion strongly nevertheless find that their bodies simply do
not respond appropriately, i.e., someone who is feeling happy may not necessarily smile.

Nonverbal cues are continuous
This is practically related to the last point. It is possible to stop talking, but it is generally
not possible to stop nonverbal cues. Also, spoken language has a structure that makes it
easier to tell when a subject has changed, for instance, or to analyze its grammar.
Nonverbal does not lend itself to this kind of analysis.

Nonverbal cues are multichannel
While watching someone's eyes, you may miss something significant in a hand gesture.
Everything is happening at once, and therefore it may be confusing to try to keep up with
everything. Most of us simply do not do so, at least not consciously. This has both
advantages and disadvantages. Because we interpret nonverbal cues subconsciously and
in a "right-brained", holistic fashion, it can happen quickly and fairly accurately.
However, because it is not conscious and more "right-brained" it is difficult to put one's
finger on exactly why one got a certain impression from someone, or even to put it into
"left-brained" wording.

Nonverbal cues are culture-bound
Evidence suggests that humans of all cultures smile when happy and frown when
unhappy. A few other gestures seem to be universal. However, most nonverbal symbols
seem to be even further disconnected from any "essential meaning" than verbal symbols.
Gestures seen as positive in one culture (like the thumbs-up gesture in the USA) may be
seen as obscene in another culture.

Categories of nonverbal communications

The major categories of nonverbal communications include the following:
personal space eye contact position
posture paralanguage expression
gesture touch locomotion
pacing adornment context
physiologic responses

Personal Space: This category refers to the distance which people feel comfortable
approaching others or having others approach them. People from certain countries, such
as parts of Latin America or the Middle East often feel comfortable standing closer to
each other, while persons of Northern European descent tend to prefer a relatively greater
distance. Different distances are also intuitively assigned for situations involving intimate
relations, ordinary personal relationships (e.g., friends), social relations (e.g., co-workers
or salespeople), or in public places (e.g., in parks, restaurants, or on the street.)

Eye Contact: This rich dimension speaks volumes. The Spanish woman in the Nineteenth
Century combined eye language with the aid of a fan to say what was not permissible to
express explicitly. Eye contact modifies the meaning of other nonverbal behaviors. For
example, people on elevators or crowds can adjust their sense of personal space if they
agree to limit eye contact. What happens if this convention isn't followed? This issue of
eye contact is another important aspect of nonverbal communication.
Modern American business culture values a fair degree of eye contact in interpersonal
relations, and looking away is sensed as avoidance or even deviousness. However, some
cultures raise children to minimize eye contact, especially with authority figures, lest one
be perceived as arrogant or "uppity." When cultures interact, this inhibition of gaze may
be misinterpreted as "passive aggressive" or worse.

Position: The position one takes vis-a-vis the other(s), along with the previous two
categories of distance between people and angle of eye contact all are subsumed under a
more general category of "proxemics" in the writings on nonverbal communications .

Posture: A person's bodily stance communicates a rich variety of messages. Consider the
following postures and the emotional effect they seem to suggest:

slouching stiff slumped
twisted (wary) cringing towering
crouching angled torso legs spread
pelvis tilt shoulders forward general tightness
kneeling angle of head jaw thrust

Paralanguage: "Non-lexical" vocal communications may be considered a type of
nonverbal communication, in its broadest sense, as it can suggest many emotional
nuances. This category includes a number of sub-categories:
Inflection (rising, falling, flat...)
Pacing (rapid, slow, measured, changing...)
Intensity (loud, soft, breathy,... )
Tone (nasal, operatic, growling, wheedling, whining...)
Pitch (high, medium, low, changes...)
Pauses (meaningful, disorganized, shy, hesitant...)]

Facial Expression: The face is more highly developed as an organ of expression in
humans than any other animal. Some of these become quite habitual, almost fixed into
the chronic muscular structure of the face. For instance, in some parts of the South, the
regional pattern of holding the jaw tight creates a slight bulge in the temples due to an
overgrowth or "hypertrophy" of those jaw muscles that arise in that area. This creates a
characteristic appearance. The squint of people who live a lot in the sun is another
example. More transient expressions often reveal feelings that a person is not intending to
communicate or even aware of. Here are just a few to warm you up:

pensive amused sad barely tolerant
warning pouting anxious sexually attracted
startled confused sleepy intoxicated

Gesture: There are many kinds of gestures:
clenching fist shaking a finger pointing
biting fingernails tugging at hair squirming
rubbing chin smoothing hair folding arms
raising eyebrows pursing lips narrowing eyes
scratching head looking away hands on hips
hands behind head rubbing nose rocking
sticking out tongue tugging earlobe waving

These, too, have many different meanings in different cultures, and what may be friendly
in one country or region can be an insult in another .

Touch: How one person touches another communicates a great deal of information: Is a
grip gentle or firm, and does one hold the other person on the back of the upper arm, on
the shoulder, or in the middle of the back. Is the gesture a push or a tug? Is the touch
closer to a pat, a rub, or a grabbing? People have different areas of personal intimacy, and
this refers not only to the sexual dimension, but also the dimension of self-control. Many
adolescents are particularly sensitive to any touching that could be interpreted as
patronizing or undue familiarity. Even the angle of one's holding another's hand might
suggest a hurrying or coercive implicit attitude, or on the other hand, a respectful, gentle,
permission-giving approach .

Locomotion: The style of physical movement in space also communicates a great deal, as
well as affecting the feelings of the person doing the moving
slither crawl totter walk
stroll shuffle hurry run
jog spring tiptoe march
jump hop skip climb
swing acrobatics swim slink

Pacing: This is the way an action is done.
jerky pressured nervous gradual
graceful fatigued tense easy
shaky deliberate furtive clumsy

A related variable is the time it takes to react to a stimulus, called "latency of
response." Some people seem to react to questions, interact in conversations, or are
slower or faster "on the uptake" than others.

Adornment: Our communications are also affected by a variety of other variables, such
as clothes, makeup, and accessories. These offer signals relating to context (e.g. formal
vs. informal), status, and individuality. The ways people carry cigarettes, pipes, canes, or
relate to their belts, suspenders, or glasses also suggests different semiotic meanings.
(Semiotics is the science of the emotional or psychological impact of signs, appearances
not wordsthat's "semantics"-- but of how things look.)

Context: While this category is not actually a mode of nonverbal communication, the
setting up of a room or how one places oneself in that room is a powerfully suggestive
action. Where one sits in the group is often useful in diagnosing that person's attitude
toward the situation. Group leaders need to be especially alert to the way the group room
is organized. Consider the following variables and imagine how they might affect the

- amount and source of light
- color of the lighting
- obvious props, a podium, blackboard
- the size of the room
- colors of the walls, floor, furniture
- seating arrangements
- number of people present
- environmental sounds, smells, and temperature
- the numbers and ratios of high-status and low status people
- the positioning of the various people in the space,
who sits next to whom, who sits apart, who sits close, etc.

Physiological Responses: This, too, is an exceptional category, because it cannot be
practiced voluntarily. Still, it's useful for therapists and group members to become more
aware of these subtle signs of emotion. It often helps to comment on these observations,
as it implicitly gives permission to the person experiencing the emotion to more fully
open to that feeling; or, sometimes, to more actively suppress it. Either way, the existence
of that signal is made explicit in the group process. Some of the clues to physiological
processes include:

shaking flaring of nostrils trembling chin
sweating blanching cold clammy skin
blushing moisture in eyes flushing
blinking swallowing breathing heavily

While a few of these behaviors can be mimicked, for the most part these reactions happen
involuntarily. The only exercise is to watch for these reactions in oneself or others, at
least mentally note their occurrence, and consider what the meaning of that emotional
reaction might be.

Interpreting nonverbal cues
Immediacy cues communicate liking and pleasure. We move toward persons and things
we like and avoid or move away from those we dislike. Generally, we instinctively
decide whether we like someone or not and then later find "reasons" to back up our
feelings. We can summarize the nonverbal behaviors then by saying that cues that move
or lean or otherwise open up or go toward the other person communicate liking.
Cues that fall in this dimension include eye contact, mutual eye contact, touching,
leaning forward, and touching.

Arousal in this usage is similar to animation. That is, when we are interested in
communicating with someone else, we tend to be more animated. A flat tone of voice and
very little movement indicate a lack of interest.
Cues that fall in this dimension include eye contact, varied vocal cues, animated facial
expressions, leaning forward, movement in general.

These cues indicate something about the balance of power in a relationship. They
communicate information about relative or perceived status, position, and importance.
For instance, a person of high status tends to have a relaxed body posture when
interacting with a person of lower status. High-status people tend to have more space
around them, such as bigger offices, and more "barriers" such as more hallways, doors,
and gatekeepers such as secretaries.
Furniture, clothing, and location also tend to communicate in this dimension.

Improving nonverbal communication
Check context
Don't try to interpret cues isolated from other such cues, from the verbal communication,
or from the physical or emotional context. As we've said in class, someone's arms being
crossed may indicate nothing more than physical discomfort from a cold room.

Look for clusters
This is the nonverbal context itself. See if the arms being crossed are accompanied by a
resistance to eye contact and a flat tone of voice.

Consider past experience
We can more accurately interpret the behavior of people we know. For one thing, we
notice changes in behavior more than the behavior itself. Unless we know someone, we
can't know that something has changed. For another thing, we interpret patterns of
behavior. Your mother may always cry when you come home from school with an A, and
so you learn that this represent happiness in that particular situation.

Practice perception checking
This is basically the art of asking questions. For instance, you come home and announce
to your significant other that you have received a great promotion that requires you to
move to another state. Your announcement is met with silence. Rather than assume that
s/he is upset, ask, "Does your silence mean that you're opposed to the move?" You may
find out that s/he is simply stunned at the opportunity. Recognize that you are interpreting
observed behavior, not reading a mind, and check out your observation.


It is not only what you say in the classroom that is important, but it's how you say it
that can make the difference to students. Nonverbal messages are an essential
component of communication.

Some major areas of nonverbal behaviors to explore are:
Eye contact
Facial expressions
Posture and body orientation
Para linguistics
Eye contact:
Eye contact, an important channel of interpersonal communication, helps regulate
the flow of communication. And it signals interest in others. Furthermore, eye
contact with audiences increases the speaker's credibility. Teachers who make eye
contact open the flow of communication and convey interest, concern, warmth and
Facial expressions:
Smiling is a powerful cue that transmits:
Thus, if you smile frequently you will be perceived as more likable, friendly, warm
and approachable. Smiling is often contagious and students will react favorably and
learn more.
If you fail to gesture while speaking, you may be perceived as boring, stiff and
unanimated. A lively and animated teaching style captures students' attention, makes
the material more interesting, facilitates learning and provides a bit of entertainment.
Head nods, a form of gestures, communicate positive reinforcement to students and
indicate that you are listening.
Posture and body orientation:
You communicate numerous messages by the way you walk, talk, stand and sit.
Standing erect, but not rigid, and leaning slightly forward communicates to students
that you are approachable, receptive and friendly. Furthermore, interpersonal
closeness results when you and your students face each other. Speaking with your
back turned or looking at the floor or ceiling should be avoided; it communicates
disinterest to your class.
Cultural norms dictate a comfortable distance for interaction with students. You
should look for signals of discomfort caused by invading students' space. Some of
these are:
Leg swinging
Gaze aversion
Typically, in large college classes space invasion is not a problem. In fact, there is
usually too much distance. To counteract this, move around the classroom to
increase interaction with your students. Increasing proximity enables you to make
better eye contact and increases the opportunities for students to speak.
This facet of nonverbal communication includes such vocal elements as:
For maximum teaching effectiveness, learn to vary these six elements of your voice.
One of the major criticisms is of instructors who speak in a monotone. Listeners
perceive these instructors as boring and dull. Students report that they learn less and
lose interest more quickly when listening to teachers who have not learned to
modulate their voices.
Humor is often overlooked as a teaching tool, and it is too often not encouraged in
college classrooms. Laughter releases stress and tension for both instructor and
student. You should develop the ability to laugh at yourself and encourage students
to do the same. It fosters a friendly environment that facilitates learning.
Obviously, adequate knowledge of the subject matter is crucial to your success;
however, it's not the only crucial element. Creating a climate that facilitates learning
and retention demands good nonverbal and verbal skills. To improve your nonverbal
skills, record your speaking on video tape. Then ask a colleague in communications
to suggest refinements.


Human beings constitute the integral part of any communication. It is people who give
out messages. It is people who receive messages. It is people who understand messages
and act on them. Herein lies the significance of human behavior and its impact on
communication. Human beings are extremely divergent and no two individuals are
identical in all respects. Man is not just a physical being or a rational being. He is a social
and an emotional being. These factors bring in a new dimension to the entire process of
communication. Effective communication becomes more challenging. It is rightly
observed, "meaning is in people, not in words". Human beings interpret the words. They
translate the messages they receive. In translating the messages, in interpreting the words,
each individual brings into the process his or her total personality. The literal and
mechanical dimension apart, the behavioral dimension assumes significance.
Human behavior in any given context is the product of his or her perceptions, attitudes,
beliefs, values, norms and experiences. They distinctly influence a person's role and
response in communication as the sender and the receiver. In order to ensure the
effectiveness of communication, it is, therefore, very essential that we understand the
meaning and impact of each one of them. Each one of them may bring in a bias or an
expectation that will affect communication. Let us, therefore, take a brief look at each of

The word perception has many shades of meaning as per the dictionary. It can mean "act
or power of perceiving' or 'discernment' or 'appreciation of any modification of
consciousness'. It could also be used to indicate 'the combining of sensations into a . recognition
of an object' or ' reception of a stimulus' or 'action by which the mind refers its sensation3
to external object as cause' and so on.
Perception implies discernment, reception of a stimulus and an act by which the mind
refers its sensations to an external object as cause. In other words, perception is a process
of making sense out of events. It is we who perceive the meaning of any event. In the
organisational context, the commonly used word is "role perception". As against a
defined role, there is a perceived role. The definition mayor may not be adequate. It is the
attitude of the individuals that will influence their perception of the role-whether to
continue in the defined role or go beyond it. Great leaders and achievers bring their own
perceptions to the legally or organizationally defmed roles. It is such positive perceptions
that help people become more creative and make human endeavour much more

Good or Bad
Beautiful or Ugly
Sincere or Manipulative
Fair or Unfair
Precise or Exaggerated

These are not absolutes. They have an element of judgment. Perception is the action by
which the mind refers its sensations to these external stimuli and the individual draws his
own interpretations. A good communicator has to have a good understanding of the
perceptions of the persons with whom he is communicating. He has to recognize the fact
that others may not necessarily perceive his intentions as he himself does.

Perception is the process of making sense out of events. A classic example is that of two
salesmen of a shoe making company who visit a remote village and make the following

Salesman A: "There is absolutely no scope. No one wears shoes here".
Salesman B: "No one wears shoes here. There is tremendous scope". .

Although the event or information base is the same, the inferences are quite different.

The dictionary provides several meanings to the word attitude. Attitude means a >posture
or position or affected posture; settled behaviour, as indicating any condition of things or
persons viewed as expressing some thought, feeling etc.
Attitudes exercise a strong influence on human relationships .in any sphere" be it family,
society, group, organisation or nation. Attitudes can be both positive and negative.
Positive attitudes contribute to the _,effectiveness of any process. Negative attitudes
hinder-or vitiate the process. Attitudes, however, are not necessarily permanent in nature.
It is possible, with conscious efforts, to change the attitude of a person or group of
persons. Organisations and businesses are all the time making efforts to change attitudes
to make them more positive. Negative attitudes bring negative: feelings that undermine
achievement of personal and organisational objectives.

Deficiencies in service by the staff at the counters and the front line staff, in service
organizations like banks can be attributed to attitudinal factors as well. They can
communicate better, they can interact more meaningfully by developing the right attitude.
In the training programmes organised by various organisations, the attitudinal and
behavioural aspects are recognised to be as important as imparting of knowledge and
development of skills.

The word belief again has different shades of meaning: faith-, intuition, judgement, trust
or confidence, acceptance as true or existing of any fact or statement, persuasion
of the truth of anything etc.
Like perceptions and attitudes, people have their beliefs as well. They are not easily
changed. Beliefs can cover different areas. Belief in God, fate, superstition, religion and
belief in future. So strong are such beliefs, that quite often people spend much time,
energy and efforts in pursuing those beliefs.
While it is appropriate to recognise the existence of beliefs, it is not always desirable to
make a judgement on various beliefs. The fact that one individual, or a group of
persons, believes-in a particular father judgement does not mean that all others have to
necessarily subscribe to it. Organisations generally exhibit a degree of tolerance to
accommodate such beliefs as long as they do not affect their functioning. Every country,
every race, every group has its share of beliefs developed over the years, which must be

Values constitute yet another dimension of human behaviour. Values exist at various
levels. There are individual values, social values, organisational values, national values
and one can even refer to global values. They are so integral that often one can see the
existence of a value system within a group or community.
Values refer to a certain intrinsic quality or worth. Values are seen as standards or criteria
that people develop for guiding their actions. Values are Cleve loped or adopted in terms
of various influences, upbringing, group identification, needs, expectations and
c<5mparative standards. Values and ethics often go together. Ethics relates to the
treatment of morality or duty. Ethics deals with that branch of philosophy which is
concerned with human character and conduct. When we refer to values we are also
referring to the ethical dimensions, i.e., the human character, conduct and moral values.

It is widely accepted that any business or organisation can achieve sustainable success
only when its activities are governed by a sound value system. Every- profession has to
have its set of values. There are values in teaching, in banking, in trading, in corporate
governance etc. These values cover various groups of people with whom interaction takes
place. These are values in relation to employees, values in relation to customers, values in
relation to competitors, values in relation to community and so on.
The process of communication is influenced _Y.. values and value systems. It would be
necessary to take note of the degree of congruence or divergence in values. When there is
a high degree of congruence, communication is easy. If the values are highly divergent,
communication becomes more complex.

Norms and experiences
Norms and experiences are also among the factors which influence the process of
communication. A norm relates to a rule, a pattern or an authoritative standard. It is also
understood as the ordinary or most frequent value or state.
While discussing the norms, it is also appropriate to refer to the normal standards. Every
business or profession normally adopts and articulates such norms or standards. They
may be in the nature of expectations, compliances or prescriptions. Norms may also
relate to a set of do's and don'ts. We often talk about prudential norms, priority sector
norms (in banking), entry norms, and the like.

Similarly human beings face a variety of experiences in their lives and work situations.
People naturally tend to relate events and messages to their previous experience in
dealing with them. People associated with the process of communication should
necessarily take cognizance of this. Based on their past experience, people may
categories communicators and communications like boring speaker, impatient listener,
not very articulate, prone to exaggeration, evasive, contradicts himself, persuasive, well
informed, insightful, etc. A good communicator makes it a point to be in the know of
such perceptions and impressions. He tries to overcome negative impressions through
conscious efforts.

Various aspects of human behavior generally come into play in any human interaction
and thereby make the communication process more complicated. There are both positive
and negative aspects. Some of them exercise a strong influence, others don't. Some of the
negative factors may exist and will have to be removed so as to make communication
effective. A good communicator is one who develops a clear insight into human behavior
and uses that knowledge to his advantage.

Honing Your Nonverbal Communication
THE BOTTOM LINE: To improve your communication skills use body
language such as eye contact, facial expressions and gestures to make your
conversation more interesting.
The words you use have only a 7% impact on your communication; your tone of voice,
another 38%. But your nonverbal body language has a 55% impact on the message you're
trying to communicate.
Body language refers to the way you sit, stand, move and look when talking to others.
Without it, your conversations would be boring and less effective. These five nonverbal
communication skills will help you add vitality to your conversations.

Where you look is one of the most obvious aspects of behavior when talking to another
person. Looking directly at the person as you speak helps to communicate your sincerity
and increases the directness of your message. It shows you respect the person, which
helps create a more positive relationship.
Even more importantly, avoiding eye contact can make you seem sneaky, guilty, bashful
or frightened. The common expression He couldn't look me in the eye is often used to
describe a person's guilt.
While using eye contact, be careful not to stare, squint or blink your eyes rapidly. It's
more natural to look away from time to time in a relaxed, comfortable manner.
Observe how people stand or sit while talking to others. You'll be surprised how many
people talk with their bodies turned away from those they're speaking to.
Standing side by side may disconnect you from your partner, and standing face to face
may seem confrontational. Instead, stand or sit at an angle from the other person. And,
whenever possible, sit or stand at the same eye level as the other party, which signals
you're equals and decreases any feelings of intimidation.
Posture also matters. Good posture reflects your confidence and helps ensure others will
pay more attention to your message.
Pay attention to how close you are to another person. Some people feel comfortable with
physical closeness; others may be offended. Many cultures also place limitations on such
closeness. If you sense someone feels uncom fortable, put a little more space between
Gesturing with your hands adds life and meaning to your message. Practice in front of a
mirror using your hands to emphasize important points. When not gesturing, don't cross
your arms; that signals anger or a lack or openness. And don't play with your clothing,
jewelry, pencils, etc., which is distracting. Instead, relax your arms at your side.
Have you ever seen someone trying to express anger while smiling? It just doesn't come
across. Effective assertions require an expression that agrees with the message. If you're
sending mixed messages, others will believe your facial expression, not your words. For
example: A forced smile makes you appear insincere. Tension can be seen in your face
with a wrinkling forehead or a pursed or tight-lipped moutb. Rolling your eyes and other
disapproving looks can have powerful negative effects on communication.
If you have to say something negative, sit down and have a meaningful discussion with
the other person; your body language will naturally coincide with your verbal message.
Try to use these five skills each day to improve your nonverbal communication. Others
will find you more enjoyable to talk to, and you'll communicate more persuasively,
interestingly and effectively.

By Harriet Meyerson, president of the Confidence Center in Dallas.

92 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Upon completion of thelesson , you will beabletolisten well and
understandnon verbal communication. Toreach thesegoals , you haveto
Participatein thefollowingexercises andknowyour listeningskills.
Explain thelisteningproblemandhowtosolveit.
Practice Class
Listening Skills
The group should be divided into subgroups of three. There
will be three roles in each subgroup: speaker, listener, and
observer. Everyone will take each role once in this practice, so
divide into your subgroup and decide who is going to take
which role first.
ObjectiveThe point of the practice session is to give each
person the opportunity to learn how to use verbal and non-
verbal minimal encouragers and become a better listener.
To the speakerYour task is to talk about something that is
important to you: your job, your family, a decision, or a
question. The practice will be more helpful if you talk about
something you
really care about, although role-playing is possible. You may
find yourself in the midst of discussing something important
when the allotted time runs out. If this happens, you could
make an agreement with the person listening to carry on later,
after work or during a break.
To the listenerYour task is to practice the skills of the
session: eye contact, body language, silences, and verbal minimal
encouragers. Dont panic! Just concentrate on following the
speakers train of thought. Try to limit your responses to the
skills discussed in this session.
To the observerYour task is to observe the listeners verbal
and non-verbal skills. Observe and count only as many
behaviors (eye contact, body posture, verbal minimal encourag-
ers, topic
jumps) as you can manage and still be relatively accurate.
The first speaker will talk with the listener for three or four
minutes. The listener will then discuss the listening experience
with the two other members of the subgroup. (To the listener:
What was comfortable? Difficult? Did you stay with the
speaker?) Then the speaker will share his or her feelings about
the listeners listening. (To the speaker: Did you feel listened to?
Was it helpful? Did the listener have any habits you found
distracting?) The observer will then share observations. This
sharing process should take about three or four minutes.
Now everyone change places. Have the listener become the
speaker, the speaker the observer, and the observer the listener.
Go through the five minutes of talking and listening and five
minutes of exchanging remarks twice more so that each person
takes each role once. The entire practice session should take
about 25 minutes.
When you are finished, form the large group. Your facilitator
will help you share your practice experiences. How are these
skills relevant to your work? Where else would they be useful?
Go around the group so that participants have a chance to share
at least one thing they have learned about themselves in this
practice session.
Listening Skills
Questions, Reflections, Summarization
Form subgroups of three and practice using question asking as
a listening skills. Each member of your subgroup should take
turns being the speaker, the listener (who practices the skill of
questioning), and the observer.
To the speaker: In the speaker role, we ask you to share
something that is a real concern to you. Obviously, we are not
asking that you share anything that is very private or that might
be embarrassing. Sharing a real part of your life, however, will
make this practice both interesting and useful. (And you might
find it helpful to have someone carefully listen to your concern).
Or, you can tell of situations that occur in workwe all have a
storehouse of work problems that give us difficulty.
The qualifier on being real in the practice sessions, however, is
that we are here to give the listener a chance to practice interactive
skills. If you, as the speaker, take all of the practice time in a
monologue about yourself, the listener will not have a chance to
practice listening skills. So, be sure to pause often to encourage
the listener to respond, even though this may seem a bit
unnatural. Try to share information that allows the speaker to
practice the skill of the sessionthe art of
questioning. If you give the complete details of your concern,
for example, it may be difficult for the listener to find anything
to ask questions about. Or, if your story is completely factual
and does not include your personal feelings or opinions, the
listener may have difficulty asking questions with a speaker
focus. As the speaker in the practice session, part of your job is
to help your listener practice listening skills.
To the listener: In this session try to concentrate on asking
questions, reflecting, and, at the end, summarizing even though
this may seem difficult. You may use minimal encouragers
occasionally, as long as your primary responses are questions.
Vary your responses between open and closed questions and
vary the focus of your questions (i.e., on speaker, topic, or
others). By using both open and closed questions you will also
see how your question and its focus can determine the course
of the conversation.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 93

To the observer: Keep track of the listeners responses.
Include the number of open and closed questions used by the
listener and the focus of each question; note the use of feeling
and factual reflection, and the effectiveness of the listeners
The speaker and listener will have a conversation of three or
four minutes duration. The observer can also time the conversa-
tion, gently announcing stop when the time is up.
After the conversation, take a few minutes: First, the listener will
share thoughts about how they used questions; second; the
speaker will comment on his/ her experience during the conversa-
tion and the listeners use of the skill; finally, the observer will
share observations and comment on the conversation.
Now change roles and repeat the practice.
Each listener practice should take eight to ten minutes:
Three or four minutes for the initial conversation and three
Four minutes to review itto share the listeners and the
Speakers impressions and the observers reactions (l/ 2
When exchanging observations about a conversation, please
give the listener accurate feedback about how he or she used the
skills. If the listener is having difficulty asking open questions,
reflecting, or summarizing, say so and help him/ her learn how
to do so better. Remember that the purpose of practice is for
the listener to learn the listening skill. Feedback and sugges-
tions from both speaker and observer are essential to the
learning process.
94 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

After completion of this lesson you will beableto
Understandthemeaningandimportancebusiness letters
Carry out an audienceanalysis
Knowabout thegeneral format of a business letter
Students, we have talked much about the verbal skills, now in
this lecture let us learn about writing skills particularly letter
writing. You need to be equally good in writing as you are in
your speaking skills. Tell me how many of you have writing
letters, I am not talking about personal letters. Is there anyone
in the class who have written a letter to any company to enquire
about its products and services? Did you get a reply to it ? with
all the queries answered. I guess not for a simple reason that
while writing letters we tend to forget that we are actually
writing a letter and not an essay or writing notes. Meaning to
say we tend to write too long a letter or too short a letter which
will wither confuse the receiver as to what do you want to know.
Therefore students, lets us today hone our letter writing skills.
Def inition of a Business Letter
The business letter is the basic means of communication
between two companies. It is estimated that close to 100
million Business Letters are written each workday. It is a docu-
ment typically sent externally to those outside a company but is
also sent internally to those within a company.
Most business letters have a formal tone. You should write a
business letter whenever you need a permanent record that you
sent the information enclosed. Because you generally send
business letters to other professionals, always include a formal
salutation and closing.
Purpose of a Business Letter
You will write business letters to inform readers of specific
information. However, you might also write a business letter to
persuade others to take action or to propose your ideas.
business letters even function as advertisements at times.
Consider the letters long-distance phone companies send to
those not signed up for their services or the cover letter to your
resume. Both of these serve to promote or advertise.
Business letters can be challenging to write, because you have to
consider how to keep your readers attention. This is particularly
the case if your readers receive large amounts of mail and have
little time to read.
Writing business letters is like any other document: First you
must analyze your audience and determine your purpose. Then
you gather information, create an outline, write a draft, and
revise it. The key to writing business letters is to get to the point
as quickly as possible and to present your information clearly.
Audience Analysis
Writing a business letter is like any other type of technical
communication. First you have to analyze your audience and
determine your purpose. The typical audience is other profes-
sionals. However, you might also write business letters to your
co-workers. These audiences generally require you provide a
detailed background about your purpose.
As a student, you may have to write business letters to your
instructor or classmates. When composing academic business
letters, consider what this audience already knows about the
For example, if you are writing a business letter to accompany a
paper, does your audience already know what the paper is
about? What further information do they require? What do you
require from them as a result?
Because a business letter is a communication from one person
to another, a letter must convey a courteous, positive tone.
Look at the situation from your readers point of view and
adjust the content and tone to meet the audiences needs.
Audience Def inition
An audience is a group of readers who reads a particular piece
of writing. As a writer, you should anticipate the needs or
expectations of your audience in order to convey information or
argue for a particular claim. Your audience might be your
instructor, classmates, the president of an organization, the
staff of a management company, or any other number of
possibilities. You need to know your audience before you start
Determining your Audience Type
Writers determine their audience types by considering:
Who they are (age, sex, education, economic status, political/
social/ religious beliefs);
What Level of Information they have about the subject
(novice, general reader, specialist or expert);
The Context in which they will be reading a piece of writing
(in a newspaper, textbook, popular magazine, specialized
journal, on the Internet, and so forth).
Youll need to analyze your audience in order to write effectively.
Three Categories of Audience
Three categories of audience are the lay audience, the mana-
gerial audience, and the experts.
The lay audience has no special or expert knowledge. They
connect with the human-interest aspect of articles. They usually
need background information; they expect more definition and
description; and they may want attractive graphics or visuals.
The managerial audience may or may have more knowledge
than the lay audience about the subject, but they need knowl-
edge so they can make a decision about the issue. Any
background information, facts, statistics needed to make a
decision should be highlighted.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 95

The experts may be the most demanding audience in terms
of knowledge, presentation, and graphics or visuals. Experts are
often theorists or practitioners. For the expert audience,
document formats are often elaborate and technical, style and
vocabulary may be specialized or technical, source citations are
reliable and up-to-date, and documentation is accurate.
Academic Audiences
Assuming you are writing a paper for a class, ask yourself who
is the reader? The most important reader is probably the
instructor, even if a grader will look at the paper first. Ask
yourself what you know about your teacher and his or her
approach to the discipline.
Do you know, for example, if this teacher always expects papers
to be carefully argued? Has this teacher emphasized the
importance of summarizing cases accurately before referring to
them? Will this professor be looking for an argument
synthesis, showing how the cases all support one point or will
this professor be more interested in seeing how the cases
complicate one another? In other words, take the time to
brainstorm about what youve learned about the teacher to help
you meet his or her expectations for this paper. You probably
know more about the teacher than you think, and asking
questions about how the teacher treats this material in class will
help you remember those details to help you shape your paper.
Nonacademic Audiences
Nonacademic audiences read your writing for reasons other
than to grade you. (Some teachers assign papers specifically
asking students to write for nonacademic audiences). They will
gain information from your writing. Think about writing a
newsletter or a resume: an audience read these for information,
only how they use the information varies. A nonacademic
audience involves more than writing. Consider the following:
Youll have to determine who the audience is.
Youll have to think about what is an appropriate format to
Youll have to consider what is and is not an appropriate
topic for your audience. (If you dont have one already.)
Youll have to determine how your topic will fit the format.
Audience Invoked Versus Audience
An audience addressed versus an audience invoked is basically
your real audience versus the reader you create through your text
and introduction. In a way, you tell the reader who you want
them to be. In a conference paper Im writing, I start off by
assuming that were (the reader and myself) sharing some
presumptions. By saying that, Im almost telling the reader who
I want them to be. Im creating an audience position that Yes,
there exists some reality. But Im also trying to create it for
people who are going to approach this and say, Okay there are
things I think we all hold in common. I dont say that in my
text, but my text invokes it. The other audience, the real
audience, is those who will be at the conference. Whos at the
conference and who reads the journal are not always the same.
Teacher as Audience
For most academic papers, the teacher is the explicit audience.
But even within the same discipline, professors might expect
quite different formats for papers. For example, in sociology,
one professor might ask you to write mainly about your own
experiences and your reactions to your experience. Another
professor might want you to do library or field research about a
social problem and never refer to your own experiences or
attitudes toward that problem.
Teachers will often try to give students more experience with
writing to different audiences by targeting particular readers for a
given paper. Then students address the target audience (class
members, members of a business community, congressional
representatives, and so on), including the teacher as a secondary
When asked who their audience is, many students say, Its my
I think its useful for students to widen their sense of audience
in order to realize that their specific teacher is, in fact, a represen-
tative reader from a particular academic field or discourse
community. Their teacher may be a composition teacher, an
English literature teacher, a historian, a chemist, a psychologist,
or a biologistand they want and expect writing that is
appropriate for their field.
In terms of their expectations about effective writing, each of
these teachers wants something slightly different, and those
differences reflect the expectations of different academic areas. A
composition teacher may want an introduction that gradually
leads into the topic; a journalist may want an article that begins
immediately with the most startling fact or event; a chemist may
want to begin with a review of the research. Psychologists,
literature professors, and historians may or may not want you
to use your own personal experience, depending on the level
(informal to formal) of the writing. Not all-academic writing
has the same requirements, and those requirements are not so
much personal whims (Professor Jones hates it when I use
first-person or I!) as they are the expectations of that
particular academic discourse.
So when you are writing an essay, imagine writing not just for
your teacher, but for your teacher as a representative of a larger
group of readers who belong to that particular academic area.
That awareness may help you see that the requirements of that
assignment are not just strange or quirky, but make some sense
in the larger context of that particular academic discourse.
General Format
When you write a business letter, you will follow a general
format. However, your instructor or your company may have
specific requirements that you must use. For instance, a
company might have a particular way of presenting a salutation
or may even use a specific type of letterhead.
Because a business letter is an effective way to communicate a
message, its format should allow readers to quickly grasp
information. Information should stand out to readers as they
scan the document. Remember, a business letter reflects your
Heading or Return Address
Inside Address
96 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Attention Line
Subject Line
Complimentary Close and Signature
Reference and Enclosure Lines
Copy Line
Letterhead or Return Address
Readers should always be able to quickly locate your contact
information. This information is located at the top of the
business letter in the return address or by using the companys
letterhead. This includes:
Phone number
Company logo or letterhead
The letterhead and the date the letter will be sent (usually
printed two lines below the letterhead) make up the heading.
When printing on blank paper, use your address (without your
name) and date as the heading.
Print only the first page of any letter on letterhead stationary,
with subsequent pages on blank paper, with the heading
looking like this:
Ms.Lata Maheshwarit
Page 2
May 23, 1999
Do not number the first page.
Inside Address
The inside address is your readers full address. This includes
the readers:
Organization (as the company calls itself)
Complete mailing address
If your reader has a courtesy title, such as Professor, then use it.
Otherwise use Mr. or Ms., unless you know the reader prefers
Miss or Mrs. These should also appear identically on the
envelope. For example:
Dr. Ram Malhotra, Professor
ICU Technical College
New Delhi, 110004
Attention Line
When you cannot address a business letter to a particular
person, use an attention line:
Attention: Human Resource Manager
Use the attention line if you want an organization to respond
even if the person you write to is unavailable. In this instance,
put the name of the organization or division on the first line
of the inside address, and the attention line immediately
Department of Journalism,
New Horizon University
ABC Lane,Banglaore
Attention: Dr. Anil Mehta, Department Chair
Subject Line
Use a brief phrase or keywords to describe the content of the
business letter:
Department of Journalism,
New Horizon University
ABC Lane,Banglaore
Attention: Dr. Anil Mehta, Department Chair
Subject: Admission Requirements
A business letter should always include a salutation. This is to
whom the letter is addressed. Salutations add a personal touch
to your letter. If unsure to whom you should address a letter,
always call an organization to find a contact. You should also
use a colon rather than a comma because a comma is less
Dear Dr. Mehta:
Dear Sir or Madam:
If you have no attention or subject line,put the salutation two
lines below the inside address. The traditional salutation is Dear
followed by the readers courtesy title and last name.
When addressing a group of people, use one of the following
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Gentlemen: (if all the readers are male)
Ladies: (if all the readers are female)
The body of a business letter is typically single-spaced and has
three paragraphs:
Introductory paragraph
One or more body paragraphs
Concluding paragraph
Like essays written for college courses, a business letter intro-
duces one main idea and then supports this idea. At the end of
the letter, always include a way for your readers to contact you.
Finally, consider how your letter looks. If you have nothing but
paragraph after paragraph of text, you might use lists to draw
attention to specific information. Lists are effective ways to
present information because they break down large amounts of
text and are visually pleasing. Lists are especially useful when you
have to convey steps, phases, years, procedures, or decisions,
and can be bulleted or numbered.
When creating a list, consider writing phrases, fragments or even
questions and answers. By avoiding full sentences in a list, your
information is concise and more likely to engage your readers.
For example, to receive a degree in engineering, you must
complete the following:
Core Courses
Elective Courses
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 97

Senior Design
Complimentary Close and Signature
Business letters should end with a closing, such as:
Best regards,
Yours very truly,
Capitalize only the first word in the complimentary close, and
follow all phrases with a comma.
You should also remember to sign and type your name under
the closing.
End Notations
If someone else types your letters, the reference line identifies
this person, usually by initials. It appears a few spaces below the
signature line, along the left margin. The writers initials come
first, and they are capitalized.
For example, if Nina sharma wrote a letter that Ajay Singh
typed, it would appear like this:
If the envelope contains any documents other than the letter
itself, identify the number of enclosures:
Enclosure(1), which means two documents
In determining the number of enclosures, count only the
separate items, not the number of pages.
Copy Line
The copy line is used to let the reader know that other people
are receiving a copy of the document. Use the following
c: for copy
pc: for photocopy
bc: blind copy
Follow the symbol with the names of the other recipients,
listed either alphabetically or according to organizational rank.
If you do not want your reader to know about the other copies,
type bcon the copies only, not the original.
Ef f ective Writing
Even though no one formula exists for a perfect business letter,
some basic guidelines will help you, regardless of the form,
purpose, and audience of the document.
Many executives still prefer a written document over other
forms of communication, because the document can serve as a
contract, the facts will be on record in writing, and executives do
not have to rely on memory.
This is why it is important to write a good business Letter, and
the principles below will help you do so.
Service Perspective
Empathy means to care about someones feelings or ideas. A
well-written business letter will convey the feeling that the writer
does care about the reader and is genuinely interested in
working together to solve a problem or discuss a concept.
To write a good letter, put yourself in the readers shoes and try
to anticipate the readers reaction to your comments. By doing
this, you are more likely to choose more appropriate words and
use the correct tone.
Every business letter is in some degree a sales letter, because you
are always requesting a response or course of action. Therefore,
the following principles of persuasion will help you compose
and efficient and effective Business Letter:
Plan according to the readers reaction
Write with the you attitude- the state of mind where you
always emphasize the benefits to the reader and subordinate
your interests. This can be accomplished by using empathy
and the words you and your often
Adjust the language to the reader and use terms and
concepts that the reader is familiar with
Write positively and with confidence
Tone is the use of accent and inflection to express a mood or
emotion in speaking or writing. Many times it is not what you
say in a business letter, but how you say it. It is a good idea to
always consider your tone so that you do not risk upsetting the
reader, thereby lessening the chances your requests and com-
ments will be respected.
You can avoid making mistakes with tone by using the
following techniques:
Avoid the I attitude by having more emphasis on the
reader and not yourself
Avoid extreme cases of humility, flattery, and modesty
Avoid condescension
Avoid preaching your ideas
Facts about the business Facts about the business
letter letter
nn One of the cheapest forms of comm. One of the cheapest forms of comm.
nn Permanent record Permanent record
nn Conveys a professional & business Conveys a professional & business--like like
impression impression
nn Allows you time before replying Allows you time before replying
nn Can reach where no telephones or fax Can reach where no telephones or fax
machines are available machines are available
98 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Applications of the Applications of the
business letter business letter
n n To persuade: e.g. sales letter To persuade: e.g. sales letter
n n To express an opinion: e.g. letter to the To express an opinion: e.g. letter to the
press press
n n To get somehing done: e.g. letter of To get somehing done: e.g. letter of
complaint complaint
n n To supply somebody else with information: To supply somebody else with information:
e.g. letter of invitation / application e.g. letter of invitation / application
n n To obtain information: enquiry To obtain information: enquiry
Five secrets of effective Five secrets of effective
business letters business letters
nn Write simply, briefly and clearly Write simply, briefly and clearly
nn Write as you speak Write as you speak
nn Check twice Check twice
nn Create a favourable impression Create a favourable impression
nn Be courteous and polite Be courteous and polite
Five ways to make a business Five ways to make a business
letter more readable letter more readable
nn A clear subject line A clear subject line
nn Short sentences Short sentences
nn Short paragraphs Short paragraphs
nn Simple vocabulary Simple vocabulary
nn Enough spacing Enough spacing
12 Rules f or Writing GREAT Letters

You write letters to request information, request action, provide
information or describe an event, decline a request, and express
When you write letters to the school, you want to express
concerns and educate your reader about your childs problems.
You want your letters to create a good first impression. This
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 99

article, 12 Rules for Writing Great Letters, will help you accom-
plish your objectives. 12 Rules is the companion article to The
Art of Writing Letters.
1. Before you write a letter, answer these questions.
Why? Why am I writing? What am I trying to accomplish?
What? What do I want? What are my goals?
Get three blank sheets of paper.
On the first sheet write WHY? Why am I writing this
On the second sheet write WHAT? What are my goals in
writing this letter?
On the third sheet write Other Thoughts.
Brainstorm. Write down your thoughts. Make lists.
Dont worry about writing in sentence or prioritizing. Your
goal is to dump your thoughts from your brain onto these
sheets of paper. Write down any additional ideas and
thoughts on the third sheet of paper. You will write down
your important thoughts in less than ten minutes. Do not
allow yourself to obsess about details. You are interested in
the Big Picture.
2. First Letters are Always Drafts
You write letters to:
1. Make a request
2. Clarify an event
3. Decline a request
4. Express appreciation
5. Create a paper trail
Some letters have more than one purpose. Because letters you
write to schools are so important, you need to do it right.
If you anticipate resistance, you may begin by telling a story
to get the readers interest. Lets see how Kathryns mother
used the story telling method to begin an important letter
to the school:
Id like to share a story about Kathryn with you. This year,
when Kathryn turned four, we had a birthday party for her.
She looked very grown-up in her pink dress. More than a
dozen friends from pre-school and dance class came to her
party. You can imagine what this was like.
The children were laughing, singing, shouting, and creating
a huge ruckus. We had a big chocolate birthday cake. The
children were covered with icing.
As we watched our daughter with her friends, we felt so
proud of her. She was laughing, shouting, giggling with
her friends. Only we knew how hard she worked for this
Kathryn is hard of hearing. With hearing aids, she can hear
at almost the same level as normal children. But if Kathryn
had gone into the public school program with hearing
impaired children, she wouldnt be able to have a birthday
party with friends who laugh, and sing, and shout.
In the public school program, the children dont learn how
to sing or shout or speak. Their classroom is very quiet. If
we had allowed her to attend the public school program,
Kathryn would have learned to communicate through sign
language and lip reading.
All of Kathryns friends communicate by oral speech, not
sign language. Kathryn would not be able to speak, listen,
giggle with her friends.
Do you see how Kathryns mother begins her letter Id like
to share a story with you . . .
Gradually, the letter shifts as the mother makes her case. She
leads the reader into agreeing that placing Kathryn in a class
where children dont speak or listen is not appropriate.
3. Allow for cooling off and revision time.
After you write the first draft, put your letter away for a few
Firing off a letter is one of the most common mistakes
parents make. You must give cooling off and revision
time. Later, parents say But they said I had to respond
right away . . .
Ninety-nine percent of letters from the school system DO
require you to respond immediately.
A cooling-off period allows you to look at your letter
more objectively. If you send a letter without allowing for
cooling off and revision time, youll probably damage
your credibility and your position. Sometimes, this damage
is impossible to repair.
4. You are always negotiating for services.
As you are learning, you negotiate with the school for
special education services. If you are negotiating with the
school for special services or with a car dealer for a car, the
principles are the same. You never begin negotiations by
telling the other side what your bottom line is.
In negotiations with schools, parents often make the
mistake of being too open. Parents think they have to share
everything with the school - immediately. They hope that
by sharing everything, theyll be rewarded with the help their
child needs. This doesnt happen.
You need to share the results of all evaluations and any
other new information with the school, as soon as you
receive it. However, you do not need to share your wish list
or your bottom line.
5. Never threaten. Never telegraph your punches!
Youll remember that in the first chapter of this Tactics
section, the parents wrote two letters. In their first letter,
they made several threats. In their second letter, they made
no threats, and told their story in a compelling way. If you
make threats (i.e., were going to call our lawyer), you may
experience temporary relief but youll pay a high price later.
As a negotiator, one of the most powerful forces you have
on your side is the Fear of the Unknown. When you
threaten, you are telling the other side what you plan to do.
If you tell them what you plan to do, you have told them
how to protect themselves. At that moment, you lose your
advantage - which is the wonderful, powerful Fear of the
Unknown. Never telegraph your punches you will destroy
their power and effectiveness.
100 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

EXAMPLE of Fear of the Unknown
You went to the doctor to get the results of your annual
physical, including your lab work. As your doctor, I come in
and tell you that:
The results of your blood work are very concerning.
However, Im behind schedule right now. We need to admit
you to the hospital as soon as bed space is available -
probably tomorrow or the next day. I dont have time to
discuss the results with you right now. Im behind schedule
and have other patients waiting. Ill be in to talk with you
after you are admitted.
Fear. Panic. What happens now? Youll imagine the worst
case scenario.
Now, lets change the facts. You are at the doctors office to
get the results of your physical. As your doctor, I come in
and tell you that:
Some of your blood work is not clear. Its probably only
ABC and if it is ABC, we have nothing to worry about. The
worst case scenario is that you have XYZ. XZY is
inconvenient but its certainly not life threatening. Nine
times out of ten, people have ABC. However, its still
important for us to rule out XYZ.
Unfortunately, we cant run the additional tests here. We
just arent equipped to do it. So, we need to send you to the
hospital where they have more sophisticated equipment. We
can schedule your admission tomorrow or the next day.
This is not so important that we have to do it today.
Can you feel the difference?
When you know what youre facing, is your fear as intense?
If you dont fill in answers if you dont telegraph your
punches - then the fear of the unknown will force the other
side to attribute more power to you. Because theyll be in
the fear of the unknown, theyll wonder what youre
going to do and theyll imagine a worst case scenario.
6. Assume that you wont be able to resolve your dispute. A
special education due process hearing will be held - and you
will not be able to testify or tell your side of the story.
These are important assumptions. These assumptions are
one of the keys to successful letter writing. Assume things
will get worse. Assume that success in securing services for
your child depends on how well you describe the events
that cause you to write to the school.
A letter you write today may sit in your childs file for
months or years. If things blow up later, these letters can be
the most compelling evidence in your favor. Bobs letter at
the beginning of this chapter shows how letters can work
against you.
7. Make your problem unique.
If you are writing a letter about a specific problem (i.e., a
teachers refusal to follow an IEP), present your situation as
unique. You want the person who reads your letter to see
your problem as different. You want them to think Wow!
Weve never had this problem before!
By presenting your problem as unique, youre trying to
avoid We ALWAYS handle ABC situations this way. We
ALWAYS have handled ABC situations this way. We
ALWAYS will handle ABC situations this way. We cant
make exceptions for you.
If you present your situation as unique, it wont be listed in
the Bureaucrats Big Book of Rules and Procedures.
Remember: bureaucracies are inflexible and rule-bound. By
presenting your situation as unique, you can sometimes get
people in the system to see things differently. If they see
things differently, they may be able to handle things
8. You ARE writing letters to a Stranger. You are NOT writing
letters to the school.
When you write a letter to the school, you are really writing a
Letter to the Stranger. Why? You have to assume that
someone outside your school system will decide this issue.
This person will have no personal interest in you or your
child. This person wont care what program your child is
enrolled in.
When you write letters, keep this Stranger in your minds
eye. Who is this Stranger? What does he look like? How
does he think?
The Stranger is an older person who has worked hard all his
life. Hes conservative, fair, and open minded. He knows
that life is often difficult and unfair. He doesnt have much
patience with complainers. Hes more sympathetic to people
who have a plan to solve problems. He dresses casually.
When he sits down to read your letter, he sips a cup of tea
and lights his pipe.
The Stranger doesnt know you, your child, or your
situation. Your letter gives you the chance to sell the
Stranger on the justice of your cause. You can describe the
problem and tell the Stranger what should be done to make
things right.
Judges are Strangers. Most judges arent knowledgeable
about special education or children with disabilities. When
you write letters, you are also trying to educate and inform
this person.
9. You write business letters to the school. When you write
business letters, you use tactics and strategy (your brain).
You do not demand, threaten, ventilate anger or frustration
(your emotions).
If you are writing an important letter to the school, you
want it to be smooth, polished, and professional. Begin
your letter chronologically and develop it chronologically. To
see how this is done, go back and read the original Letter
to the Stranger at the beginning of this section. The letter
began like this:
Dear Mr. So and So:
We received a letter from you dated February 1, and were
very perplexed by the content.
To put my letter into the proper context, let me go back to
the beginning . . .
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 101

Do not attack or express anger. Resist the urge to take
cheap shots.
10. Never make judgments.
What a jerk you were! You didnt have enough guts to be
straight-up with us!
Never be judgmental. You want the Stranger to be
interested, not anxious. Provide information logically, then
let the Stranger draw conclusions. You want your Stranger
to conclude What a jerk!
11. You are telling a story. Write your letter chronologically.
Dont broach the main issue in the first paragraph of your
Tell your story chronologically, weaving in your facts. Your
objective is to write a letter than is interesting, and easy to
Remember, when you write a letter to the school, this is
your chance to present your case and tell your story. The
Stranger wont understand the background or history unless
you provide this information. You can provide background
information very naturally and easily by going back to the
beginning and writing a chronological story.
For example: On DATE, our son entered your program
because . . .
You can move the clock earlier if this helps you tell the
story. We realized that our daughters problems were
serious when she was unable to communicate with others
by her third birthday.
Where should you begin? Begin wherever you want. In your
mind, you know when things began. Then, continue to
tell your story: Then this happened . . . When she started
school . . .
You are telling a story and you are using your facts. Select
your facts carefully and keep your opinions to a bare
minimum. As you tell the story, youre planting seeds in the
memories of Strangers who read your letter later. Let these
Strangers water the seeds using their own imaginations!
There is another reason to write chronologically. If you
jump from issue to issue, the reader will get confused, then
frustrated. Readers have negative reactions to people who
write letters that are hard to follow. The Stranger may get
angry at you if he cant figure out your point. If the
Stranger gets frustrated, he will quit reading and hell
blame you for this frustration. You dont want this to
happen to you.
12. Write letters that are clear and easy to understand.
Letters provide you with an opportunity to make your
case while you create a positive impression. An
important part of the impression you make will depend on
how you express yourself.
We dont like to think that our writing skills need
improving. Unless you are a professional writer or editor,
you will need to spend time improving your writing skills
in four areas: clarity, brevity, interest, accuracy.
ALWAYS read your letters aloud. This is a valuable tip
from professional editors. ALWAYS have at least one
outside person read your letters. Your reader should be
someone who will tell you the truth, especially when you
dont make things clear or you need to tone the letter down.
Ask your reader to pretend that he or she is a Stranger.
You want your reader to tell you if answered the three
questions we listed at the beginning of this chapter:
What am I trying to accomplish?
What do I want?
What are my goals?
The answers to these questions must be clear. After your
Stranger has read the draft of your letter, ask the person to
answer these questions. If the reader cannot answer these
questions clearly means you havent expressed yourself
clearly. Remember: your letter is to the Stranger, not the
special ed supervisor or the building principal. If you find
yourself explaining your real point to the reader, stop, and
write down the explanation. Incorporate this into your letter.
Letter Writing Tips
Make It Clear
Its incredibly easy to get side-tracked when writing letters. This
is especially true if youre feeling upset or emotional. Remem-
ber: Youre writing to make a point, clarify an event, make a
request, and create a paper trail. Refer back to the sheets of paper
you used during the brainstorming stage. Have you answered
these three questions?
Why are you writing?
What is the point you want to make?
What do you want?
Talk out loud. Avoid vague words, jargon, and long rambling
sentences. Use short words when possible. If you naturally use
long words to express yourself, try substituting short words
that mean the same thing. Long rambling letters put people off
because they are hard to read. You dont want this to happen.
You want the reader, your Stranger, to enjoy reading your
Make It Short
Say what you have to say. Be succinct. Most people dont have
the time to read long letters. If you repeat yourself, youre
wasting the readers time and your letter will generate a negative
response. Keep your message short and to the point.
There is one exception to this rule. If you are writing a letter to
request a due process hearing, then the letter needs to be a
comprehensive Letter to the Stranger. This letter should tell
story, from the beginning, using visual imagery.
Make It Alive
Speak directly to the reader. Use the same words and figures of
speech you use in your day-to-day speech. Think about the
Stranger as a real person. Visualize the Stranger and imagine
yourself talking with him about your problems. This is the
person you are writing to. Youre not firing a letter off to the
person who chaired the IEP meeting and didnt have the
102 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

courage to tell you that the school had just suspended your
child, as you see in the example below.
Use words like you, we, us, our to make your letter
more personal. Everyone who reads the letter will feel that the
message is directed at them.
Make it RIGHT
Letters filled with errors are distracting. Readers get so distracted
by misspelled words and poor grammar that they miss the
point. If you send a letter thats filled with mistakes, your real
message is that you are sloppy and careless. If you prepare your
letter on a computer, it will be easier to read. The Stranger will
thank you for little touches like this.
Your goal is to eliminate all spelling, grammatical, and format-
ting errors from your letters. The problem? We dont notice
our own errors! The solution? Always have at least one other
person proof-read your letters. Try to locate more than one
proof-reader. Buy a book about How to Write Business
Letter writing is an art. A well written letter is a pleasure to read.
Its also very hard work.
About the Authors
PamWright is a psychotherapist who has worked with
children, adults, and families for more than 30 years. Her
training and experience in clinical psychology and clinical social
work give her a unique perspective on parent-child-school
dynamics, problems, and solutions. She has written many
articles about raising, educating, and advocating for children
with disabilities. Pam designed the Wrightslaw web site at
http:/ / and publishes The Special Ed
Advocate newsletter.
Pete Wright represented Shannon Carter before the U. S.
Supreme Court in Florence County School District Four v.
Shannon Carter where he received a unanimous decision in
Shannons favor.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 103

Bytheendof thelesson you will
Knowthevarious types of business letters
Knowthegeneral format of a acknowledgement letter
Knowthegeneral format of a Inquiry letter
Students, in business we need to write various types of business
letters . In this lesson we will focus on acknowledgment letter
and inquiry letter. Can anyone tell me when do write an
acknowledgement letter and when do we write a inquiry letter?
The very word acknowledgment and inquiry says it all.
Types of Business Letters
The following are the most common types of business letters.
Keep in mind that the purpose and audience of your business
letter effects, which form you, choose.
The Acknowledgement Letter
The Inquiry letter
Response to an inquiry letter
Complaint letter
Order letter
Acknowledgement Letters
A letter of acknowledgement is good public relations maneu-
ver. Though not always required, they can go along way.
Remember, its the thought that counts. The objective is to let
the reader know you are in receipt of whatever it is was they
sent; usually something requested in an inquiry letter. It can be
viewed as a response to a response. The actual scope of an
acknowledgement letter need only include a small detail, such as
what day something arrived, and an expression of appreciation.
Its most important function is to say thank you, a mark of
professional courtesy. In the sample acknowledgement letter the
writer confirms receipt of information and appreciates the
senders promptness. She also references a specific point to
which she is sure to return in an as yet, unscheduled appoint-
ment. Here are the steps to follow when writing an
acknowledgement letter. Each link provides tips and a blank
editing box in which you can practice your writing skills. You
will be able to save and edit the contents of these boxes while
working on your writing project.
Identify your reader.
Establish your objective.
Determine your scope.
Organize your letter.
Draft your letter
Close Your Letter
Review and Revise Your Letter
Identif y Your Reader
The identity of the reader to whom you are sending an
acknowledgement will be found in the complimentary close of
a previous response letter. That persons name should be placed
in the salutation and the inside heading of your reply. It should
also be included on the top line of your envelope.
Remember that people do business with people first, busi-
nesses second. When you address your reader by name, you are
recognizing their individual importance, their value as a human
being. In the inside heading of the sample acknowledgement
letter the reader is identified by both his name and the position
he holds.
Establish Your Objective
The objective of an acknowledgement letter is to let the reader
know you are in receipt of whatever it is was that you requested.
You should be brief.
In the body of the sample acknowledgement letter, the writer
mentions a specific point, clarifying for the reader that it is an
important part of her overall objective, letting him know that
further discussion will be expected in their upcoming meeting.
Briefly mention what you have received, when you received it
and that you appreciate the senders effort. Sentence fragments
are fine for this exercise. Save and edit this list as you work. On
completion your objective will be clearly stated.
Determine Uour Scope
The scope of an acknowledgement letter encompasses very
little. It provides the reader with a short line or two, the
objective of which is to notify that a request has been satisfied.
Should it be useful, the scope may be broadened to include new
information, particularly if a continuing dialogue is desired.
In the body of the sample acknowledgement letter the writer
provides the name of her assistant, a second contact person
with whom he can speak should she be unavailable to take his
call. This establishes a line of communication that indicates her
serious interest in exploring a further business relationship.
Make a simple list of what you want to tell your reader.
Sentence fragments are fine for this exercise. Feel free to delete or
add items. You can save and edit this list as you work. On
completion you will have determined your scope.
Organize Your Letter
Organizing an acknowledgement letter is a simple procedure
designed to help you draft your request. You have established
your objective and determined the scope. Refer back to them.
Together they make up the main components in the body of
your letter.
A simple outline will get you organized. A list will probably do
the job. Consider each item on the list as having a logical place,
either at the beginning, the middle or the end of your letter. Put
each item where it belongs.
With list in hand you can begin a rough draft. Most of your
104 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

thinking is done and you can concentrate on the writing task.
You wont be worried about forgetting something important.
Its already on your list. You wont be worried about in what
order things should appear. Your list is already organized.
When you begin the rough draft your outline will become a
Draf t Your Letter
Working from an outline is the simplest way to draft a adjust-
ment letter. Refer back to your list and turn each fragmentary
sentence into a full and complete sentence expressing a single
thought or idea.
Concentrate on communicating your objective to your reader.
Be certain that you describe the scope of your solution with an
appropriate amount of information.
Keep in mind that you are writing a rough draft. For an overall
sense of cohesion, be as quick as you can. Spelling, grammar,
sentence and paragraph structure need not be perfect. Those
details will be tuned up in the final step when you review and
revise your work.
Start with the point that you feel the strongest or most
confident about and then do the others. Remember to do this
quickly. On completion you will have a rough draft that can be
saved and edited.
Do one at a time, starting with the point that you are most
confident about turning into a complete sentence. Then do the
others. Remember, it is best to do this quickly. On completion
you will have a rough draft that can be saved and edited.
Close Your Letter
An acknowledgement letter should close with a professional
tone and style. Once your last paragraph is written, sign off
between a complimentary close such as Sincerely or Thank
you, and your printed name.
If your acknowledgement letter is written in conjunction with
an official duty, place your title below the printed name as in the
sample acknowledgement letter. Additional information such as
dictation remarks, notification of attachments and copies sent
to other individuals should be placed beneath your title line.
In situations where you are unsure of the proper close, consult
the Formatting Business Letters page for acceptable options.
Review and Revise Your Letter
Reviewing and revising your acknowledgement letter is the final
step in the writing process. You will check your draft in this
step, making sure that your objective is clear and your scope is
concise. Put yourself in the readers shoes as you examine the
rough draft. Ask yourself, as the recipient, whether you are able
to comprehend the request quickly and if enough information
has been included to enable a timely response.
Look for the obvious errors first. Check for spelling, sentence
structure and grammar mistakes. Remember that a passive voice
is not as commanding as an active one. You want your inquiry
to be strong, so write with an active voice.
The important thing to keep in mind is the overall cohesiveness
of the whole unit. Look for accuracy, clarity and a sense of
completeness. Ask yourself if the transitions between para-
graphs are working and if your point of view, tone and style are
consistent throughout the text.
Examine your word choices carefully. Ambiguous words lead to
confusion. Jargon and abstract terms may not be understood at
all and affectations, clichs and trite language serve no real
purpose and will obscure your objective. You want to help your
reader understand exactly what it is that you want, so remove all
that is not helpful.
And finally, if you have not written an opening or a conclusion
now is the time. The introduction needs to lead into the body
of your letter with a firm statement about the subject of your
inquiry and enough supporting information to keep the reader
reading. Your closing remarks need to reiterate your objective
with a question that calls for an action.
Sample Acknowledgement Letter
__________Better Widget Makers, Inc.__________
5555 Widget Avenue
Silver City, CO 80456
October 1, 2003
Mr. Russ Hamilton
Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Golden Bread Company
123 Loaf Street
Silver City, CO 80451
Dear Mr. Hamilton:
I received your price information packet today and appreciate its
prompt delivery. It
seems to have everything I need.
You mentioned deeper discounts in consideration of an annual
contract. I am looking for
just such an arrangement.
Should I be unavailable when you call on Friday, please speak
with my assistant, Annie
Getz. She keeps my calendar and will assist you in making an
Thanks again,
Ida Mae Knott
Purchasing Agent
CC: Annie Getz
At the beginning of the sample acknowledgement letter the
writer mentions that she had received what she had requested
and lets the reader know that she appreciated his promptness.
At the end of the sample acknowledgement letter the writer
names a second contact person, someone with whom to speak
in her absence, effectively widening the lines of communication.
Complaint Letters
A complaint letter, also known as a claim, advises a business
that an error has been made or that a defect has been discovered.
The objective is to provide detailed information regarding the
error or defect. It also serves as a legal document notifying the
recipient that a correction or adjustment is being requested.
Keep in mind that your reader is most likely a trained customer
service professional and not the person responsible for the error
or defect. Rather than being angry, use a firm but courteous
tone when stating your complaint. Remember, it is results you
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 105

are after.
The scope of a complaint letter should include only the relevant
facts validating your claim and a request that appropriate
corrective steps be taken. The scope may also detail the options
that you are willing to accept in satisfaction of the claim.
In the sample complaint letter the writer explains that an
incorrect shipment was received and that a promised correction
has not materialized. He then proposes two equally satisfactory
Identify your reader.
Establish your objective.
Determine your scope.
Organize your letter.
Draft your letter
Close Your Letter
Review and Revise Your Letter
Identif y Your Reader
Although a clearly identified reader is not absolutely necessary, a
complaint letter should be addressed to the person who is
most able to resolve an unsatisfactory situation. In a very small
business the owner is generally the contact person. In a mid-size
company a vice president or upper level management person
solves problems. Large companies often have a Customer
Service department to whose attention a complaint can be
addressed. In these cases, the inside heading should contain just
the name and address of the company. The salutation will then
be replaced by a simple attention getting device such as that
shown in the sample complaint letter.
Establish Your Objective
The objective of a complaint letter is to prompt an action that
resolves a conflict. You should avoid threats and accusations
when providing the details of your complaint. Stick to the facts
and your reader will comprehend what went wrong and what
action you expect to have implemented.
Any company or business organization with a legitimate
complaint lodged against them will act quickly to resolve the
problem. Doing so fulfills a primary business goal: keeping the
customer satisfied.
In the first sentence of the sample complaint letter, the writer
clearly states that he has received an incorrectly filled order,
establishing legitimate grounds for both his complaint and
request for corrective action.
Briefly list your complaints. Sentence fragments are fine for this
exercise. On completion your objective will be clearly stated. You
can save and edit this list as you work.
Determine Your Scope
The scope of a complaint letter should encompass the relevant
information necessary to resolve a problem, correct an error or
repair a defect. It should provide the reader with exact descrip-
tions, including dates, times and places. It should reference
purchase orders, invoice numbers, payment records and even
dollar amounts when appropriate.
In the body of the sample complaint letter the writer politely
expresses dissatisfaction that a problems promised resolution
is long overdue. He supports his claim with facts.
Make a simple list of your complaints. Be specific. Attention to
detail is very important. Feel free to delete or add items. You can
save and edit this list as you work. On completion you will have
determined your scope.
Organize Your Letter
Organizing a complaint letter is a simple procedure designed to
help you draft your request. You have already started this task.
You have established your objective and determined the scope.
Refer back to them. Together they make up the main compo-
nents in the body of your letter.
A simple outline will get you organized. A list will probably do
the job. Consider each item on the list as having a logical place,
either at the beginning, the middle or the end of your letter. Put
each item where it belongs.
With list in hand you can begin a rough draft. Most of your
thinking is done and you can concentrate on the writing task.
You wont be worried about forgetting something important.
Its already on your list. You wont be worried about in what
order things should appear. Your list is already organized.
When you begin the rough draft your outline will become a
Draf t Your Letter
Working from an outline is the simplest way to draft a adjust-
ment letter. Refer back to your list and turn each fragmentary
sentence into a full and complete sentence expressing a single
thought or idea.
Concentrate on communicating your objective to your reader.
Be certain that you describe the scope of your solution with an
appropriate amount of information.
Keep in mind that you are writing a rough draft. For an overall
sense of cohesion, be as quick as you can. Spelling, grammar,
sentence and paragraph structure need not be perfect. Those
details will be tuned up in the final step when you review and
revise your work.
Start with the point that you feel the strongest or most
confident about and then do the others. Remember to do this
quickly. On completion you will have a rough draft that can be
saved and edited.
Do one at a time, starting with the point that you are most
confident about turning into a complete sentence. Then do the
others. Remember, it is best to do this quickly. On completion
you will have a rough draft that can be saved and edited.
Close Your Letter
A complaint letter should close with a professional tone and
style. Once your last paragraph is written, sign off between a
complimentary close such as Sincerely or Thank you, and
your printed name.
If your credit letter is written in conjunction with an official
duty, place your title below your printed name as shown in
sample complaint letter. Additional information such as
dictation remarks, notification of enclosures and copies sent to
other individuals should be placed beneath your title line.
In situations where you are unsure of the proper close, consult
the Formatting Business Letters page for acceptable options.
106 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Review and Revise Your Letter
Reviewing and revising your complaint letter is the final step in
the writing process. You will check your draft in this step,
making sure that your objective is clear and your scope is
concise. Put yourself in the readers shoes as you examine the
rough draft. Ask yourself, as the recipient, whether you are able
to comprehend the request quickly and if enough information
has been included to enable a timely response.
Look for the obvious errors first. Check for spelling, sentence
structure and grammar mistakes. Remember that a passive voice
is not as commanding as an active one. You want your inquiry
to be strong, so write with an active voice.
Keep in mind is the overall cohesiveness of the whole unit.
Look for accuracy, clarity and a sense of completeness. Ask
yourself if the transitions between paragraphs are working and
if your point of view, tone and style are consistent throughout
the text.
Examine your word choices carefully. Ambiguous words lead to
confusion. Jargon and abstract terms may not be understood at
all and affectations, clichs and trite language serve no real
purpose and will obscure your objective. You want to help your
reader understand exactly what it is that you want, so remove all
that is not helpful.
And finally, if you have not written an opening or a conclusion
now is the time. The introduction needs to lead into the body
of your letter with a firm statement about the subject of your
inquiry and enough supporting information to keep the reader
reading. Your closing remarks need to reiterate your objective
with a question that calls for an action.
As shown in the sample complaint letter, the writer opening
paragraph states the problem and the closing paragraph requests
a specific solution.
Sample Complaint Letter
__________Dandy Manufacturing, Inc.__________
2525 E. 34th Street
Greeley, CO 80631
February 18, 2004
Better Widget Makers, Inc.
5555 Widget Avenue
Silver City, CO 80456
Attention: Customer Service Department
On February 9th I received an incorrect shipment of Widgets
fulfilling the order I placed
on February 3rd. Rather than the 300 Deluxe Yellow Widgets
(Ref. # XT111) that I
ordered, the shipment contained 300 Regular Yellow Widgets
(Ref. # XT101).
As per the instructions we received on the telephone, the
unwanted Regular Widgets were
shipped back the same day. It was promised that the correct
items would be shipped out
the very next day, February 10th, and be delivered freight free the
following week.
As of this date we have not yet received our shipment of
Deluxe Widgets. This was a
COD order, paid for with check #250564 in the amount of
$1,913.50, which has already
cleared through our bank. If these Widgets cannot be shipped
February 20th, please
cancel the order and send a refund check in the amount of
$1,368.00 for the unfulfilled
portion of the order.
I have enclosed a copy of the original order.
Thank you,
Jim Dandy, Jr.
General Manager
Enclosure: Order Letter dated February 3, 2004
Inquiry Letters
A letter of inquiry is a letter of request. The objective is to get
the reader to respond with an action that satisfies the request.
The action taken can benefit either the writer or the reader, and
sometimes both. That being the case, the scope of an inquiry
letter must include enough information to help the reader
determine how best to respond.
In the sample inquiry letter there is a benefit to both the writer
and the reader. In it the writer asks for some information and
some help. She also makes an offer to the reader that provides
an incentive to act.
Here are the steps to follow when writing an inquiry letter:
Identify your reader.
Establish your objective.
Determine your scope.
Organize your letter.
Draft your letter
Close Your Letter
Review and Revise Your Letter
Identif y Your Reader
An inquiry letter should be addressed to a specific person
whenever possible. Doing so improves your odds on receiving
a reply. Naming a person in your letters salutation, and on the
inside heading and envelope informs the reader that you have
done your homework. It announces that you have identified
them as being the likely contact person to whom you can direct
your request, and to whom you can turn for help.
Identifying your reader is not always possible, but often a quick
phone call will do the job. Most businesses and organizations
will supply names and contact procedures over the phone. It is
especially important to check on procedures, as it is not unusual
for large companies to have specific protocols for contacting
their employees and associates. You will be expected to follow
Remember that people do business with people first, busi-
nesses second. Valuable time can be lost when an inquiry letter
is sent to the wrong person or address. In the inside heading of
the sample inquiry letter the reader is identified by both his
name and the title he holds. In situations where you do not
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 107

have the name of a contact person to address, consult the
Formatting Business Letters page for acceptable options.
Establish Your Objective
The objective in an inquiry letter is communicated by one or
more questions to which the writer desires a response. The
question(s) will either ask the reader to provide something
beneficial to the writer, or ask the reader to take advantage of a
benefit that the writer has to offer.
Phrase your question(s) in a tone and style that is both courte-
ous and straightforward. Be specific and brief. If you are asking
for multiple pieces of information you might consider placing
them into a bulleted list. This tactic acts like a snapshot
highlighting the components of your objective.
In the body of the sample inquiry letter, the writer states her
objective by asking the reader for help in compiling informa-
tion. She then outlines the scope of her needs in a bulleted list
immediately following her request.
Answer the questions raised by the sample statements or build
your own. You will end up with a list of things you want the
reader to do or provide. Sentence fragments are fine for this
exercise. On completion you will have shaped your objective.
You can save and edit this list as you work.
Determine Your Scope
The scope of an inquiry letter is contained in the information
you provide for the specific purpose of helping the reader grasp
your objective. You may safely assume that your reader is a busy
person, so getting to the point is important. Your goal is to
have the reader make a decision quickly and respond in a timely
manner. Information that is not related to your objective
should be left out.
Consider your targeted reader. Make it your business to now
something about that person. What is their title or position?
Are they the president of the company or the shipping clerk?
Do they have what you want? Can they do what you ask?
Give them the relevant background informationneeded in order
to make an informed decision. Let the reader know who you are
and something about your motive. If you are to receive some
benefit, it may help to explain for what purpose the benefit will
be used. If the reader is to receive some benefit, it may help to
offer an incentive to respond.
Put yourself in the readers shoes and ask yourself what and
how much background information is needed in order to take
the action you are requesting. Would you already know every-
thing you need to know, or would you need a little more?
While you are in their shoes you might also ask yourself how
much persuasion you would you need in order to be moved to
This will help you determine whether you have supplied too
much information, or not enough. It will also help you
determine what information needs to be qualified or amplified
for the readers benefit.
In the body of the sample inquiry letter the writer supplies
relevant logistical information that the reader will need in order
to respond quickly and effectively.
Make a list of relevant information that explains the reason for
your inquiry. Think about what your reader will need to know
before making a decision. Sentence fragments are fine for this
exercise. Feel free to delete or add items. On completion you will
have determined your scope. You can save and edit this list as
you work.
Organize Your Letter
Organizing an inquiry letter is a simple procedure designed to
help you draft your request. You have already started this task.
You have established your objective and determined the scope
of your inquiry. Refer back to them. Together they make up the
main components in the body of your letter.
A simple outline will get you organized. A list will probably do
the job. Consider each item on the list as having a logical place,
either at the beginning, the middle or the end of your letter. Put
each item where it belongs.
With list in hand you can begin a rough draft. Most of your
thinking is done and you can concentrate on the writing task.
You wont be worried about forgetting something important.
Its already on your list. You wont be worried about in what
order things should appear. Your list is already organized.
When you begin the rough draft your outline will become a
Consult the points you have established in your objective and
scope and decide where they belong. Are they part of the
beginning, the middle or the end? Organize the information
point by point in an order that makes sense. If it does not flow
naturally, you may have something out of order. Feel free to
move things around. On completion you will have a simple
outline that can be saved and edited.
Draf t Your Letter
Drafting an inquiry letter is a process by which your outline
notes become sentences and paragraphs. Keep in mind; its
O.K. to be sloppy, you are writing a rough draft. Your spelling
can be imperfect, your sentences can be grammatically incorrect
and your paragraph structure can be less than impeccable. These
things will be accounted for in the final step when you review
and revise your work.
Write without fear. Your only concern is getting the point of
your objective across to the reader and providing the relevant
scope of information that supports your request. A draft will
get it all down on paper. Best advice; be quick about it. Enlarge
each sentence fragment in your outline until it expresses a
complete thought. Gather your thoughts into paragraphs and
then give yourself a rest. Thats right-take a break.
Do one at a time, starting with the point that you are most
confident about turning into a complete sentence. Then do the
others. Remember, it is best to do this quickly. On completion
you will have a rough draft that can be saved and edited.
Close Your Letter
An inquiry letter should close with a professional tone and style.
Once your last paragraph is written, sign off between a compli-
mentary close such as Sincerely or Thank you, and your
printed name.
If your inquiry letter is written in conjunction with an official
duty, place your title below the printed name as in the sample
inquiry letter. Additional information such as dictation remarks,
notification of attachments and copies sent to other individuals
108 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

should be placed beneath your title line.
In situations where you are unsure of the proper close, consult
the Formatting Business Letters page for acceptable options.
Review and Revise Your Letter
Reviewing and revising your inquiry letter is the final step in the
writing process. You will check your draft in this step, making
sure that your objective is clear and your scope is concise. Put
yourself in the readers shoes as you examine the rough draft.
Ask yourself, as the recipient, whether you are able to compre-
hend the request quickly and if enough information has been
included to enable a timely response.
Look for the obvious errors first. Check for spelling, sentence
structure and grammar mistakes. Remember that a passive voice
is not as commanding as an active one. You want your inquiry
to be strong, so write with an active voice.
The important thing to keep in mind is the overall cohesiveness
of the whole unit. Look for accuracy, clarity and a sense of
completeness. Ask yourself if the transitions between para-
graphs are working and if your point of view, tone and style are
consistent throughout the text.
Examine your word choices carefully. Ambiguous words lead to
confusion. Jargon and abstract terms may not be understood at
all and affectations, clichs and trite language serve no real
purpose and will obscure your objective. You want to help your
reader understand exactly what it is that you want, so remove all
that is not helpful.
And finally, if you have not written an opening or a conclusion
now is the time. The introduction needs to lead into the body
of your letter with a firm statement about the subject of your
inquiry and enough supporting information to keep the reader
reading. Your closing remarks need to reiterate your objective
with a question that calls for an action.
At the beginning of the sample inquiry letter the writer
introduces a situation and announces a compelling opportunity
from which the reader stands to gain.
At the end of the sample inquiry letter the writer reiterates her
request for help, establishes a timeline in which she would like
the help to be offered, asks for a meeting and strongly reinforces
the benefit to the reader.
As the title indicates, the purpose of this form is to obtain
information from the reader. If the reader is expecting the letter,
your task is easy. For example:
Could you pleasesend metheadmission requirements for your programso
I can apply for next fall semester?
A secretary or school official in the college department receives
many of these requests each month and would have no
problem comprehending the meaning or necessary actions.
If the reader is not expecting your letter, then it is more
difficult. In this case, following these four guidelines will be
State your purpose
List your questions or requested action
Offer something in return to encourage action
Follow up with a thank you note, e-mail, or phone call to the
person who helped you with your request
Example Inquiry Letter
Dept. of English
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
May 23, 1999
Ms. Dawn Snyder,
ICU Technical College
Portland, ME 04101
Dear Ms. Snyder:
I am a professor in English at Colorado State University
organizing a seminar on concept mapping for a colloquium
coming up in December. Based on your experience in this area, I
was wondering if you would be interested in attending.
The deadline for admission is August 13. It would be a great
honor to have you in attendance. Enclosed is an admissions
form and more information on the colloquium.
Thank you for your time,
I.B. Writing,
Professor, CSU
IW/ gt
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 109

Bytheendof thelesson you will
Learn about howtowritea responsetoan inquiryletter
Learn about theformat of a complaint letter andorder letter.
Learn about theformat of a complaint letter andorder letter.
Get tips as tohowdoyou draft a goodbusiness letter.
Students now that we have learnt about acknowledgement
letter and inquiry letter we will today learn about responding to
an inquiry letter, complaint letter and sales letter.
Response to an Inquiry Letter
When you receive an inquiry letter, answer the questions as
clearly and as concisely as possible. If you cannot answer the
questions, explain the reasons and offer to assist with alternate
Example Response to an Inquiry Letter
Dawn Snyder, Professor
ICU Technical College
Portland, ME 04101
May 27, 1999
Professor I.B. Writing,
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
Dear Mr. Writing:
I would be honored to attend your colloquium on concept
mapping in December. I think you know how strongly I feel
about that paradigm and the role the great state of Maine has
played in its development.
I am enclosing the admissions sheet sent to me, as well as the
articles you requested that I have recently published on the
subject. Good luck on organizing the event- I cannot wait to be
I.B. Writing,
Professor, CSU
DS/ ls
c: Scott McRae, Dean of Department of Journalism
Order Letters
An order letter, also known as a PO (purchase order) begins the
paper trail of a specific purchase. The objective is to provide
detailed instructions to a vendor fulfilling an order. It is also
serves as a legal document recording the transaction. It should
be written with careful attention to detail.
Your intentions need to be clear and concise. The reader will fill
your order only according to your instructions and your
satisfaction will depend largely upon their accuracy.
The scope of an order letter should include only the informa-
tion needed to fulfill the order. Keep in mind that in most cases
the seller does not need to know why you are placing the order,
what it is going to be used for or for whom it is intended. Such
information is unnecessary when placing an order.
In the sample order letter the writer purchases three specific
widgets from an out of date vendor catalogue. The reader can
infer that either an infrequent customer or a new customer is
placing the order.
Identify your reader.
Establish your objective.
Determine your scope.
Organize your letter.
Draft your letter
Close Your Letter
Review and Revise Your Letter
Identif y Your Reader
An order letter does not necessarily need a clearly identified
reader. In fact, most first-time and one-time-only orders are just
addressed to the attention of the Sales department within a
In these cases, the inside heading of the letter will contain just
the name and address of the company to whom the order is
being sent, and the salutation will be replaced by a simple
attention getting device such as that shown in the sample order
Establishing an account with a company will announce that
your intention is to have an ongoing business relationship. At
that time a specific contact person, to whom all future orders
can be directed, will be assigned to handle your account.
In situations where you do not have the name of a contact
person to address, consult the Formatting Business Letters
page for acceptable options.
Establish Your Objective
The objective of an order letter is to clearly indicate to the
recipient that you are making a purchase. You should be brief.
In the body of the sample order letter, the writer begins by
saying that he is placing an order. He concludes his order with
some specific instructions.
Determine Your Scope
The scope of an order letter should provide only that informa-
tion relevant to accomplishing the objective of making a
purchase: what the item is, the terms of the purchase and any
specific shipping instructions. It provides the reader with an
exact description of what is expected.
In the body of the sample order letter the writer has formatted
his list of purchases in a table and provided a brief instruction
linking his payment instructions to his shipping instructions.
110 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

He has also included a phone number at which he can be
reached should there be any difficulties fulfilling the order.
Make a simple list of what you want to purchase. Be specific.
Attention to detail is very important. Feel free to delete or add
items. You can save and edit this list as you work. On comple-
tion you will have determined your scope.
Organize Your Letter
Organizing a order letter is just a practical way to begin drafting
a written notification of pending purchase. You have already
started this task by establishing your objective and determining
the scope. Refer back to them. Together they make up the main
components in the body of your letter.
A simple outline will get you organized. Make a list of the
things that your credit letter will include and put them in a
sequential order that will best help your reader comprehend
your response.
If the information does not flow naturally, you may have
something out of order. Feel free to move things around. On
completion you will have a simple outline
Draf t Your Letter
Working from an outline is the simplest way to draft a adjust-
ment letter. Refer back to your list and turn each fragmentary
sentence into a full and complete sentence expressing a single
thought or idea.
Concentrate on communicating your objective to your reader.
Be certain that you describe the scope of your solution with an
appropriate amount of information.
Keep in mind that you are writing a rough draft. For an overall
sense of cohesion, be as quick as you can. Spelling, grammar,
sentence and paragraph structure need not be perfect. Those
details will be tuned up in the final step when you review and
revise your work.
Start with the point that you feel the strongest or most
confident about and then do the others. Remember to do this
quickly. On completion you will have a rough draft that can be
saved and edited.
Do one at a time, starting with the point that you are most
confident about turning into a complete sentence. Then do the
others. Remember, it is best to do this quickly. On completion
you will have a rough draft that can be saved and edited.
Close Your Letter
An order letter should close with a professional tone and style.
Once your last paragraph is written, sign off between a compli-
mentary close such as Sincerely or Thank you, and your
printed name.
If your order letter is written in conjunction with an official
duty, place your title below the printed name as in the sample
order letter. Additional information such as dictation remarks,
notification of attachments and copies sent to other individuals
should be placed beneath your title line.
In situations where you are unsure of the proper close, consult
the Formatting Business Letters page for acceptable options.
Review and Revise Your Letter
Reviewing and revising your order letter is the final step in the
writing process. You will check your draft in this step, making
sure that your objective is clear and your scope is concise. Put
yourself in the readers shoes as you examine the rough draft.
Ask yourself, as the recipient, whether you are able to compre-
hend the request quickly and if enough information has been
included to enable a timely response.
Look for the obvious errors first. Check for spelling, sentence
structure and grammar mistakes. Remember that a passive voice
is not as commanding as an active one. You want your order to
be strong, so write with an active voice.
The important thing to keep in mind is the overall cohesiveness
of the whole unit. Look for accuracy, clarity and a sense of
completeness. Ask yourself if the transitions between para-
graphs are working and if your point of view, tone and style are
consistent throughout the text.
Examine your word choices carefully. Ambiguous words lead to
confusion. Jargon and abstract terms may not be understood at
all and affectations, clichs and trite language serve no real
purpose and will obscure your objective. You want to help your
reader understand exactly what it is that you want, so remove all
that is not helpful.
And finally, if you have not written an opening or a conclusion
now is the time. The introduction should lead into the letter
with a firm statement about the details of your order. The
conclusion should reiterate your objective and, when appropri-
ate, contain any explicit instructions.
This is the most common form of business communication,
and it is written for a manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer.
When writing an order letter, include all the information the
reader will need to identify the merchandise, such as
Model number
As shown in the sample order letter, the actual details are
formatted into a table bracketed by very short opening and
closing paragraphs.
Example Order Letter
Dept. of English
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
May 23, 1999
Ms. Dawn Snyder,
ICU Technical College
Portland, ME 04101
Dear Ms. Snyder:
Would you please send me the following articles via COD?
According to your Web site, all articles are in your possession
and all is needed is the article name, date, and number of pages.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 111

Article Date Pages
"Role of Maine in the fishing strike of 1867" 1987 47
"Effect of Maine geography on the War of 1812" 1969 121
"World War II: From Androscoggin to York" 1997 4
Thank you very much,
I.B. Writing,
Professor, CSU
IW/ gt
Sales Letter
When writing a sales letter, it is important to have a good
attitude in order to sell your product or service, because the
reader will want to know why they should spend their valuable
time reading the letter. Therefore, you need to provide clear,
specific information that will explain to the reader why they
should be interested in buying your product or service.
Sales letters usually have a four-part strategy
Catch the readers eye: it is very crucial in a sales letter to attract
the readers attention or else you will probably fail to sell your
product or service
Describe the product or service you are trying to sell
Convince your reader that your claims are accurate: back up
your comments with research and facts
Give the reader opportunities to learn more about your
product or service: provide the reader with a phone number,
a Web site address, or some way for them to seek out
information on their own
Example Sales Letter
Closet Care
1248 SE Lancaster Blvd
Tigard, OR 97225
July 7, 1999
Professor I.B. Writing,
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
Dear Mr. Writing:
Are you having trouble organizing your clothes into your
existing closets? If you are like most Americans, you have
trouble finding your favorite shirt when you really need it. This
is why it is important to have an organized closet system.
At CLOSET CARE, we have the skills and experience to come
in and help you with your closet needs. May we stop by and
offer you a FREE estimate at how much it would cost you to
rebuild your closet? If so, give us a call at 555-1212 and set up
an appointment with one of your friendly operators.
Kent Lenoir
KL/ jt
Types of business letters Types of business letters
n n Letter of enquiry Letter of enquiry
n n Letter of complaint Letter of complaint
n n Letter of invitation Letter of invitation
n n Letter to the press Letter to the press
n n Letter of acknowledgement Letter of acknowledgement
n n Letters of goodwill or public relations Letters of goodwill or public relations
Letter of enquiry Letter of enquiry
nn Introductory paragraph Introductory paragraph
Create goodwill with a friendly opening Create goodwill with a friendly opening
nn Other paragraphs Other paragraphs
Explain what information is required Explain what information is required
List questions / information required List questions / information required
nn Closing paragraph Closing paragraph
Promote goodwill Promote goodwill
112 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Reply to a letter of Reply to a letter of
enquiry enquiry
nn Introductory paragraph Introductory paragraph
Acknowledge receipt and express Acknowledge receipt and express
appreciation appreciation
nn Other paragraphs Other paragraphs
Answer all questions in detail Answer all questions in detail
Recommend someone to help if you are Recommend someone to help if you are
not able to help not able to help
nn Closing paragraph Closing paragraph
Promote goodwill, offer further assistance Promote goodwill, offer further assistance
Letter of complaint Letter of complaint
nn Introductory paragraph Introductory paragraph
Create goodwill, positive note Create goodwill, positive note
nn Other paragraphs Other paragraphs
Explain problem, provide all necessary Explain problem, provide all necessary
information information
Describe inconvenience or loss Describe inconvenience or loss
Suggest a solution to the problem Suggest a solution to the problem
nn Closing paragraph Closing paragraph
Promote goodwill, willingness to help Promote goodwill, willingness to help
Reply to a complaint Reply to a complaint
nn Introductory paragraph Introductory paragraph
Acknowledge receipt and thank the Acknowledge receipt and thank the
customer customer
nn Other paragraphs Other paragraphs
Explain the cause of the problem Explain the cause of the problem
Apologize if needed Apologize if needed
Explain how you plan to solve the Explain how you plan to solve the
problem problem
nn Closing paragraph of goodwill Closing paragraph of goodwill
Letter of invitation Letter of invitation
n n Introductory paragraph Introductory paragraph
Create goodwill, explain why invited Create goodwill, explain why invited
n n Other paragraphs Other paragraphs
Provide info about function (type, date, Provide info about function (type, date,
time, place) time, place)
Info about audience (gender, age, Info about audience (gender, age,
background, interests, expected number background, interests, expected number
of people) of people)
The Seven CS of Business Letter Writing
Effective letter writing boils down to knowing why you are
writing a letter, understanding your readers needs and then
clearly writing what you need to say. Every letter should be clear,
human, helpful and as friendly as the topic allows. The best
letters have a conversational tone and read as if you were talking
to your reader. In brief then, discover the Seven-Cs of letter
writing. You should be
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 113

When you write a letter, you are trying to convince someone to
act or react in a positive way. Your reader will respond quickly
only if your meaning is crystal clear.
Put yourself in the readers shoes and write in a friendly and
helpful tone. Dont represent your company as one that cannot
make a mistake and must always be in the right. Try not to reply
in the normal bland and defensive way of organizationswrite
a sincere and helpful letter.
Show you are interested in the readers circumstances. If he or
she has mentioned something personal in the letter, refer to it
in your reply. This builds a bridge between you and the reader.
Read the original letter carefully and see if there is something
you can put in your letter to show your interest.
Writing Your Business Plan in Plain
Good writing is effortless reading that makes you want to read
more. It is clear and concise, uses short sentences and simple
words. It keeps to the facts and is easy to read and to under-
Plain English is clear English. It is simple and direct but not
simplistic or patronising. Using plain English doesnt mean
everyones writing must sound the same. There is no one right
way to express an idea. Theres plenty of room for your own
stylebut it will only blossom once you have got rid of the
poor writing habits that are typical of most business writing
Here are some of the key techniques to help you write in plain
Use Active Verbs Rather Than Passive
Using active verbs rather than passive verbs is the key to good
writing. Why? Because passive verbs are longwinded, ambigu-
ous, impersonal and dull. Active verbs make your writing
simpler, less formal, clearer and more precise. Heres an example:
Passive: It was agreed by the committee...
Active: The committee agreed...
Passive: At the last meeting a report was made by the Secre-
Active: At the last meeting the Secretary reported...
Passive: This form should be signed and should be returned
to me.
Active: You should sign the form and return it to me.
In switching your style from passive verbs to active verbs
throughout your writing, you face several problems.
You must accurately spot them. Often writers miss passive
verbs or try to change verbs that are already active.
You need to measure your use of passive verbs. One or two
passive verbs a page will not ruin your style, nine or ten will.
You need to know how to turn passive verbs to active verbs.
Keep Your Sentence Average Length Low
Sentence length is crucial to good writing. Almost everything
written by good writers has an average sentence length of
between 15 and 20 words. This doesnt mean writing every
sentence the same length. Good writers naturally vary the length
and rhythm of their sentenceslonger sentences balanced with
shorter onesbut they keep their average sentence length well
below 20 words.
Compare These Examples
Long Sentence Shorter Sentences
I refer to my letter of 13th
June and am writing to advise
you that if we do not receive
your completed application
form within the next fourteen
days, I shall have no
alternative but to arrange
property insurance on the
bank's block policy. (One
Sentence45 words)

I have not yet received
your reply to my letter of
13th June. If we do not
receive your completed
application form within
fourteen days, I shall have
to arrange property
insurance on the bank's
block policy.
(Two sentences13 words
and 24 words)
Use Simple Words Rather than Complex
Many writers have difficulty keeping their message simple and
clear. Instead of using everyday words they use complex or
unfamiliar words. Simple, everday words will help you get your
message across. Too often we use words such as additional,
indicate, initiate and proliferate for extra, show, startand
Complex words Simple words
As we noted in the
preceding section, if you
purchased additional printer
options, such as a second
printer tray, it is a
requirement you verify its
correct installation.
As we noted in the previous
section, if you bought extra
printer equipment, such as
a second printer tray, you
must check you install it

Edit Wordy Phrases
Padding is the enemy of good writing. Unnecessary words and
phrases clutter up sentences and obscure meaning. By compari-
son, economy of words is the mark of good writing. You have
to learn to make every word count in technical documents. You
must edit ruthlessly, cutting any word. Set yourself a target of
cutting 10 to 20 percent of the words in your document.
114 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Look for wordy phrases such as these in your writing and
replace them with a single word or cut them out completely:
Wordy Concise
at a later date later
at the present time now
for the purpose of for
have no alternative but must
in addition to besides, as well as, also
In order to to
in relation to about, in, with, towards, to
on a regular basis regularly
Avoid Jargon and Technical Terms
Its up to you to judge how much you need to explain your
industry jargon and specialist terms by putting yourself in your
readers shoes. Dont overestimate your readers understanding
of terms because they may have a hazy idea of the true defini-
It doesnt insult the intelligence of your readers to explain
terms clearly. Imagine a customer was sitting with you when
you mentioned a technical term and asked Whats that? You
would explain in everyday language. Do the same when you
Avoid Abbreviations
The most common and irritating form of jargon is overuse of
abbreviations. Here are some abbreviations. How many do you
Acronym Meaning
CRA Camera-ready Artwork
DPI Dots Per Inch
DTP Desktop Publishing
PMS Pantone Matching System
SC Spot Color
UGD User Guide Documentation

How many did you get right? Two out of six? Probably DPI
for dots per inch and DTP for desktop publishing as these are
industry terms. Many people would not recognize these two. As
for CRA, camera-ready artwork would be better. SC for spot
color is an unnecessary shortened form and UGD for User
Guide Documentation is jargon for a manual.
Avoid Abstract Words and Phrases
One habit you should avoid, common to many writers, is
overusing abstract words. Heres a list of the most common
ones to avoid in your writing.
Abstract words to avoid in technical writing
Activities Devices Inputs Sectors
Amenities Elements Operations Structures
Amenity Facilities Outputs Systems
Aspects Factors Processes Variables
Concepts Functions Resources

For example, what is a device, output or facility. Such words
are so abstract they become meaningless to the reader. String
them together, such as output device and you have instant
jargon for the word printer. Add them to acronyms and you
can produce CAS Facility which in turn means Civic Amenity
Site Facility, pure jargon for Council Recycling Site.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 115

By the end of the lesson you should
Be perfect in writing letter particularly business letters.
Students, just learning the tips and format of letters will not
help you in the long run. As you all know practice makes a man
perfect this lesson will help you remember what you studied in
lesson 14 and 15 and try to put your learning into practice.
I am sure at the end of the lesson youll have more confident
in writing business letters.
So lets start the exercise
Practice Exercise on Personal Letter
Writing Skills
Overview : Students need to practice writing a friendly
Activity Time: 50 minutes
1. As a result of this activity, the students will
2. Better understand parts of a greeting letter and envelope.
3. Be able to address an envelope.
4. Be able to write a letter to a friend.
Poster of a letter and envelope
Labels to identify the parts of the letter and envelope
Piece of paper and a envelope for each student in the class
Activities and Procedures
1. Call on different students to point out different parts of a
letter and envelope.
2. The class will discuss writing a letter together (e.g., the class
could discuss writing to a person in the class or the principal
of the school).
3. Have students write a friendly letter and address an envelope
to anyone they would like to write.
Evalution : This letter will be put into the student letter
portfolio. On the fifth day spent on friendly letters, students
will choose one of theirs to read aloud to the class. If this letter
is chosen, students will type the letter and spell check it on the
computer. The chosen letter will be graded according to the
teachers rubric for letter writing evaluation.
Practice Exercise on Business Letter
Writing Skills
1. Students will become familiar with business letters and the
difference between a business letter and friendly letter.
2. Students will know how to address an envelope for sending
business mail.
Procedure: Students will work from a format and prepare a
sample business letter. Parts of that business letter will be
discussed. Different formats of typed business letters will be
Here is the form that will be used:
4 blank lines from top of page
( Heading )
skip line
(Inside Address/ address to recipient)
1blank line
Dear Sir or Madam: (Salutation or Greeting)
1blank line(Body)
Please send me any information that is available on the events
in (City name) during the month of June. My mother, father,
brother, and I plan to visit the area and will also need a list of
accommodations and restaurants. Sometimes we camp if there
is a nearby campground. Please supply this information, also.
Directions to places and maps of the area would be helpful.
1blank line
Do you have a web site where I might learn more about your
1blank line
I will appreciate any pamphlets or information sheets that you
could send me along with the activities, accommodations, and
their directions to help us plan a fun and meaningful vacation.
1blank line
Very truly yours, (Closing)
3 blank lines for your handwritten (Signature)
(Your Name)
Now students will discuss possible business letters that
they may want or need to write in the future. Envelopes
will be prepared during this class, also.
116 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Evaluation Plan f or Letters
Score 1 2 3 4
Layout/ Design
Letter is unattractive
or inappropriate.
Text is difficult to
read. It does not
have proper
grammar or
punctuation for a
friendly letter.
Letter appears busy
or boring. Text may
be difficult to read.
May have some
grammar and or
punctuation that
indicates it is a
friendly letter.
The letter is eye-
catching and
attractive. Text is
easy to read.
Grammar, style, and
punctuation is
indicative of a
friendly letter.
The letter is
creatively designed
with easily read text.
Grammar, style, and
purpose all excellent
for a friendly letter.
Information, style,
audience, tone
Information is
poorly written,
inaccurate, or
Some information is
provided, but is
limited or
Information is well
written and
interesting to read.
Information is
accurate and
complete, is
creatively written,
and is cleverly
Accurate Parts of the
Friendly Letter
Improper form is
Most friendly letter
elements out of
place or missing.
Some friendly letter
elements may be
Letter is complete
with all required
Punctuation, and
choice of words for
the friendly letter
punctuation, and
choice of words
poor for a friendly
mislabled or missing.
punctuation or
Style, purpose,
audience, grammar,
and punctuation all
fair and indicative of
a friendly letter.
Excellent job on
presentation, style,
grammar, and
Guidelines and
Students are often
out of their area
without permission
and are disruptive to
the class.
occasionally leave
area without
Students stay in
their area and talk
quietly to their own
partner only.
Students are always
on task, stay in their
own area, and work
quietly. Students
followed project
directions and
classroom directions.

Rubric for the Friendly Letter
Suggested Point Scale
Heading 15 points
Inside Address 15 points
Greeting 10 points
Body 40 points
Closing 10 points
Signature 10 points
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 117

Rubric f or the Business Letter
Score 1 2 3 4
Layout/ Design
Letter is unattractive
or inappropriate.
Text is difficult to
read. It does not have
proper grammar or
punctuation for a
business letter.
Letter appears busy
or boring. Text may
be difficult to read.
May have some
grammar and or
punctuation that
indicates it is a
business letter.
The letter is eye-
catching and
attractive. Text is
easy to read.
Grammar, style, and
punctuation is
indicative of a
business letter.
The letter is creatively
designed with easily
read text. Grammar,
style, and purpose all
excellent for a
business letter.
Information, style,
audience, tone
Information is poorly
written, inaccurate, or
Some information is
provided, but is
limited or inaccurate.
Information is well
written and
interesting to read.
Information is
accurate and
complete, is creatively
written, and is cleverly
Accurate Parts of the
Friendly Letter
Improper form is
Most business letter
elements out of place
or missing.
Some business letter
elements may be
Letter is complete
with all required
Punctuation, and
choice of words for
the friendly letter
punctuation, and
choice of words poor
for a business letter.
mislabled or missing.
punctuation or
Style, purpose,
audience, grammar,
and punctuation all
fair and indicative of
a business letter.
Excellent job on
presentation, style,
grammar, and
Following Classroom
Guidelines and
Students are often
out of their area
without permission
and are disruptive to
the class.
Students occasionally
leave area without
Students stay in their
area and talk quietly
to their own partner
Students are always
on task, stay in their
own area, and work
quietly. Students
followed project
directions and
classroom directions.
Layout/ Design
Letter is unattractive
or inappropriate.
Text is difficult to
read. It does not have
proper grammar or
punctuation for a
business letter.
Letter appears busy
or boring. Text may
be difficult to read.
May have some
grammar and or
punctuation that
indicates it is a
business letter.
The letter is eye-
catching and
attractive. Text is
easy to read.
Grammar, style, and
punctuation is
indicative of a
business letter.
The letter is creatively
designed with easily
read text. Grammar,
style, and purpose all
excellent for a
business letter.

118 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

On completion of this lesson you will
Know the importance of recruitment correspondence
particularly job application letter.
Understand the tips on drafting an effective cover letter.
Students, all of you after completion of your course will either
go for higher studies or go for jobs. This lesson will make you
familiar with the components of recruitment correspondence
which includes job application letter , preparation of CV and
interviews. We will focus on the job application letter, which is
also known as the cover letter.
Writing Job Application Letters
The job application letters sole purpose is to get the recipient to
read your CV. It should be clear, concise and straight to the
point. Here you are simply telling the employer that you are
worth having a look at.
The application letter should be brief, no more than one page in
length. It should be easy to read and flow through. It should
include only the absolute necessary information. Like most
other things, there is a formula that works extremely well for
preparing job application letters. Following we discuss each
paragraph and give you some guidelines.
Addressing Job Application Letters
The style you choose is not important, there are many different
styles of job applications and professional letters, this comes
down to personal preference. However somewhere on the top,
whether it is on the right or left hand sides, there should be
your address and the date. Following this, on the left hand side
you should address it. Ensure you include the name of the
person, their title, company name, address and any position
reference number. This is probably obvious, but ensure that
you spell their name correctly, nothing worse than receiving a
letter incorrectly addressed or misspelled. It gives a poor first
The Introductory Paragraph
The first paragraph should simply state why you are writing to
them. If it is an advertised position, mention the position title
and where it was advertised. If you are cold calling a com-
pany then you should specify that you are applying for any
current or future employment opportunities.
An easy way to start this paragraph is with the following
statement: Please find enclosed my CV, which I am forward-
ing to you as an application for the position of.......
The Main Body of Job Application Letters
The main body of the letter should be two to three paragraphs
at the most. Here is where you tell them what you have to offer
and why they should read your CV. This is a good time to read
the job advertisement again. In one paragraph (two at the
most) you need to summarize your experience and skills, at the
same time, you need to respond to the position requirements
as per the advertisement.
Analyze your career and summarize it in a few sentences,
highlight what you specialize in, or how many years in the
industry you might have, or even the level that you have reached.
This paragraph should direct the reader to your CV and should
sell you on some unique points that you might have.
A good way to start this paragraph is with a statement like this:
You will see from my enclosed CV.... then go ahead and tell
them something about your career which will immediately get
their interest.
The next part of the body of the letter should be a brief
description of your personal skills. Again read the advertise-
ment and respond to their needs. If they are asking for
someone with good co-ordination skills, then ensure you
mention something to that effect. If it is communication or
perhaps leadership skills they value, then tell them that you have
these. Use adjectives like demonstrated ability, well devel-
oped, and strong.
Job Application Letters Closing
The closing paragraph should ask for some action from the
recipient. This is where you ask for an interview. It should also
state where and how they can reach you, and it should thank the
recipient for giving you the opportunity to apply. You can
include things like should you require further information... .
Finish the letter by adding a closing remark, either yours
sincerely, yours faithfully or whatever you feel comfortable
with and obeying general letter writing etiquette. Leave a few
spaces for your signature and then place your full name.
Before you mail the application letter, read it over again, making
sure that it is perfect. Special attention should be placed to
ensure the letter
It is not too long.
There are no grammar or spelling errors.
That you have answered the job requirements.
The application letter flows and is easy to read.
You might have to type and edit the letter many times before
you are happy with it, but just remember that the job applica-
tion letter is just as important as the CV itself. The letter
should invite the recipient to read the resume, in turn the
resume should raise enough interest for them to want to
interview you. The Interview is where you will demonstrate
your skills and abilities.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 119

Cover Letters : How to Sell Yourself
Your application letter is one of your most important job-
search documents. An effective letter can get you a phone call for
an interview, but a poorly written application letter usually spells
continued unemployment. The difference can be a matter of
how you handle a few key points. The following are some tips
to help you develop effective application letters.
Individualizing Your Letter
Give your readers some insight into you as an individual. In the
example below the writer chose to describe particular experiences
and skills that could not be generalized to most other recent
graduates. Draft your letter to show how your individual
qualities can contribute to the organization. This is your letter,
so avoid simply copying the form and style of other letters
youve seen. Instead, strive to make your letter represent your
individuality and your capabilities.
Addressing a Specif ic Person
Preferably, the person you write to should be the individual
doing the hiring for the position youre seeking. Look for this
persons name in company publications found, if the name is
unavailable in these places, phone the organization and ask for
the persons name or at least the name of the personnel
Catching Your Readers Attention
Your introduction should get your readers attention, stimulate
interest, and be appropriate to the job you are seeking. For
example, you may want to begin with a reference to an adver-
tisement that prompted your application. Such a reference
makes your reason for contacting the company clear and
indicates to them that their advertising has been effective. Or
you may want to open by referring to the companys product,
which you want to promote. Such a reference shows your
knowledge of the company. Whatever opening strategy you use,
try to begin where your reader is and lead quickly to your
purpose in writing.
First Paragraph Tips
Make your goal clear.
If youre answering an advertisement, name the position
stated in the ad and identify the source, for example: your
advertisement for a graphic artist, which appeared in the
Times of India, May 15, 1998,...
If youre prospecting for a job, try to identify the job title
used by the organization.
If a specific position title isnt available or if you wish to
apply for a line of work that may come under several titles,
you may decide to adapt the professional objective stated in
your resume.
Additionally, in your first paragraph you should provide a
preview of the rest of your letter. This tells your reader what to
look for and lets him or her know immediately how your
qualifications fit the requirements of the job. In the example
letter, the last sentence of the first paragraph refers to specific
work experience that is detailed in the following paragraph.
Highlighting Your Qualif ications
Organize the middle paragraphs in terms of the qualifications
that best suit you for the job and the organization. That is, if
your on-the-job experience is your strongest qualification,
discuss it in detail and show how you can apply it to the needs
of the company. Or if you were president of the Marketing
Club and you are applying for a position in marketing or sales,
elaborate on the valuable experience you gained and how you
can put it to work for them. If special projects youve done
apply directly to the job you are seeking, explain them in detail.
Be specific. Use numbers, names of equipment youve used, or
features of the project that may apply to the job you want.
One strong qualification, described so that the reader can picture
you actively involved on the job, can be enough. You can then
refer your reader to your resume for a summary of your other
qualifications. If you have two or three areas that you think are
strong, you can develop additional paragraphs. Make your letter
strong enough to convince readers that your distinctive
background qualifies you for the job but not so long that
length will turn readers off. Some employers recommend a
maximum of four paragraphs.
Other Tips
Refer to your resume. Be sure to refer to your enclosed
resume at the most appropriate point in your letter, for
example, in the discussion of your qualifications or in the
closing paragraph.
Conclude with a clear, courteous request to set up an
interview, and suggest a procedure for doing so. The date
and place for the interview should be convenient for the
interviewer. However, youre welcome to suggest a range of
dates and places convenient to you, especially if you travel at
your own expense or have a restricted schedule. Be specific
about how your reader should contact you. If you ask for a
phone call, give your phone number and the days and times
of the week when you can be reached.
Be professional. Make sure your letter is professional in
format, organization, style, grammar, and mechanics.
Maintain a courteous tone throughout the letter and
eliminate all errors. Remember that readers often deselect
applicants because of the appearance of the letter.
Seek advice. Its always good idea to prepare at least one
draft to show to a critical reader for comments and
suggestions before revising and sending the letter.
Sample Letter
311 Nestor Street
West Lafayette, IN 47902
June6, 1998
Ms. ChristineRennick
Aerosol MonitoringandAnalysis, Inc.
P.O. Box 233
Gulltown, MD 21038
Dear Ms. Rennick:
Dr. Saul Wilder, a consultant toyour firmandmyOrganizational
Management professor, has informedmethat Aerosol Monitoringand
120 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Analysis is lookingfor someonewith excellent communications skills,
organizational experience, andleadershipbackgroundtotrain for a
management position. I believethat my enclosedresumewill demonstrate
that I havethecharacteristics andexperienceyou seek. In addition, Id
liketomention howmywork experiencelast summer makes mea
particularlystrongcandidatefor theposition.
As a promoter for KentechTrainingat the1997 Paris Air Show, I
discussedKentechs products with marketers andsales personnel from
aroundtheworld. I alsoresearchedandwrotereports on newproduct
development andcompiledinformation on aircraft industrytrends. The
knowledgeof theaircraft industryI gainedfromthis position wouldhelp
meanalyzehowAerosol products can meet theneeds of regular and
prospectiveclients, andthevaluableexperienceI gainedin promotion,
sales, andmarketingwouldhelpmeusethat information effectively.
I wouldwelcometheopportunitytodiscuss theseandother qualifications
with you. If you areinterested, pleasecontact meat (317) 555-0118 any
morningbefore11:00 a.m., or feel freetoleavea message. I look forward
tomeetingwith you todiscuss theways myskills maybest serveAerosol
First Lastname
Enclosure: resume
Purdue University Writing Lab
Cover Letters
A presentation
brought to you by the
Purdue University
Writing Lab
Purdue University Writing Lab
What Is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter
expresses your
interest in and
qualifications for a
position to a
prospective employer.
Purdue University Writing Lab
What Should My Cover Letter
l Your cover letter should
introduce the main
points of your resume.
l It should also help you to
sell your qualifications
to the prospective
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 121

Purdue University Writing Lab
Emma Markley
Human Resources Director
St. Luke's Medical Center
729 S. Paulina
Chicago, IL 60612
Dear Ms. Markley:
l Address your letter to a
specific person, ideally
to the person who will
interview you.
l Look for the persons
name in company
publications, or phone
the organization and
ask for the persons
name or for the
personnel manager.
Purdue University Writing Lab
Preliminary Research
l Find out
* General job
* Desired qualifications
and skills
* Key values and words
l Check with
* Placement office files
* Trade journals,
magazines, and
* Directories
* Professors
* Company literature
Purdue University Writing Lab
Introductory Paragraph
Your first paragraph should:
l Get the readers attention, stimulate interest,
and be appropriate for the job you are seeking.
l Make your goal clear to readers.
l Preview the rest of your letter. Highlight the
qualifications you will discuss throughout the
Purdue University Writing Lab
Solicited Application Letters
l Solicited application
letters are letters written
in response to an
advertised job opening.
l It is appropriate to
mention where you
learned of the opening in
the first paragraph.
I believe that my knowledge
of public relations and my
proven communication and
leadership skills make me a
strong candidate for the
position of Media Relations
Coordinator that was posted
by the Delta Airlines Job
Opportunities Program.
122 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Purdue University Writing Lab
Unsolicited Application Letters
l Unsolicited application
letters are written to
companies that have not
posted a job opening.
l It is important to gain the
readers attention and
persuade them that you
can contribute to the
companys goals.
As a member of one of the
fastest growing publishing
houses in the world, do you
have an opening in your
acquisitions department for
a recent college graduate
with a major in English and
publishing and editing
Purdue University Writing Lab
Goals of the Body Paragraphs
l Highlight your strongest
qualifications for the
position for which you
are applying.
l Demonstrate how these
qualifications will benefit
the employer.
l Refer employers to your
enclosed resume.
Purdue University Writing Lab
Detailing Your Experience
l Show (dont tell)
employers your
l Include specific, credible
examples of your
qualifications for the
l Use numbers, names of
equipment you've used,
or features of a project
that may apply to the job
you want.
As a banking
representative at Bank
One, I provided quality
customer service while
promoting the sale of
products to customers.
I also handled upwards
of $20,000 a day and
was responsible for
balancing the banks
ATM machine.
Usi ng Acti ve LanguageDonts
l Don t be vague i n your
descri pti ons.
l Don t use weak verbs
such as endeavored,
tri ed, hoped, and
l Don t use sexi st
l anguage such as
chai rman and
Vague: I worked as a ramp
agent at Comai r .
Weak: I attempted to
attract customers.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 123

Using Active LanguageDos
l Use concrete words to
descri be your experi ence.
l Use present tense to
discuss current activities
and past tense for
previ ous j ob duti es or
accompl i shments.
l Be as speci fi c as possi bl e
in descriptions; list dollar
amounts and fi gures when
you can.
Vague: I worked as a ramp agent
Specific : As a ramp agent , I
assi sted i n l oadi ng baggage,
oversaw fuel i ng the ai rcraft, and
stocked commi ssary i tems on
the aircraft.
Weak: I attempted to attract
Strong: I initiated a program to
attract customers to Pizza Hut,
whi ch resul ted i n a 5% i ncrease
i n sal es f or t he mont h of June.
Organizing Your Letter
l In general, cover letters should be no longer than
one typed page.
l Organize your body paragraphs to emphasize your
strongest and most relevant qualifications. Only
include the two or three strongest qualifications
from your resume.
l Make it easy for readers to scan your letter by
beginning each paragraph with a topic sentence.
Purdue University Writing Lab
Concluding Your Letter
I would welcome the
opportunity to discuss
these and other
qualifications with you. If
you are interested, please
contact me at (317) 555-
0118 any morning before
11:00 a.m., or feel free to
leave a message.
l Conclude by asking for a
personal interview.
l Be flexible regarding a
date and time for the
l Be specific about how
the interviewer should
contact you.
l Include a thank you.
Mailing Your Letter With Your
l Coordinate the design of
your letter with the
design of your resume.
l Be sure to send both to
prospective employers;
they both reveal different
kinds of information
about you.
124 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Purdue University Writing Lab
Key Points to Remember
l Appeal to company values,
attitudes, goals, projects, etc.
l Elaborate on the information
in your resume.
l Provide evidence of your
l Proofread carefully for
grammatical and
typographical errors. The
letter should be error-free.
How to Write a Winning Cover Letter
by Dr. Jerry Bills, IJCTC, CPRW, MBA, Ph.D.,
A cover letter introduces your resume and spells out your
reason for sending the resume. It also presents your qualifica-
tions and availability to prospective employers. If written in a
succinct, appealing format, it is your first opportunity to make
an impression with the hiring authority or HR department.
By sending a cover letter with your resume you tell the reader
you are serious about your job search. It should entice the
reader to review your resume over the many others received for
each open position.
Professional resume writers are regularly asked, Do I really
need a cover letter? We always answer yes because sending a
resume through the mail is like showing up at your physicians
office without an appointment you will probably get no-
where. Your resume should arrive on the decision-makers desk
with a cover letter that introduces you and presents your
qualifications in such a manner as to entice him/ her to actually
read your resume.
Cover Letters should be clear and to the point so that they can
be quickly scanned by the reader. They should include the
specific job title you are applying for. They should provided a
list of reasons why your experience makes you a good fit with
the position. They should provide a brief summary of your
career highlights.
Some resume writing firms and some Internet job search firms
offer Broadcast Cover Letters where the cover letter is
canned. Successful cover letters are personalized. A personal-
ized cover letter shows that you are serious about working for
the company. The letter should mention something specific
about the company and should be address to a specific indi-
vidual whenever possible.
The cover letter is an excellent vehicle to brag about your special
skills and accomplishments. Cover Letters can also be used
effectively to make you stand out from the crowd and to show
how you would be a valuable addition to the company. But the
cover letter is no place for negative information personality
conflicts with previous managers, pending litigation, or
knocking your previous employer do not belong in either the
resume or cover letter.
If the advertisement asks for salary history or willingness to
relocate you can say something like My salary requirements are
in the range of $ to$, depending upon the duties
and requirements of the position plus the overall benefit
package offered and I am willing to relocate to the geographic
areas of and . If the advertisement
is silent on salary requirement or relocation, never include such
One of the most effective tools of a cover letter is that it allows
you to be proactive. You can state that you are available to fill
immediate or anticipated needs; you can provide a variety of
ways to communicate with you (home number, cell phone
number, email address or even a friend if you are traveling).
You can also note that you will follow up by telephone to
provide additional information if necessary. You can even say
Please keep this resume and cover letter on your desk and I will
call you Friday morning (or other specific date or time). If so,
dont forget to call.
Jerry Bills, IJCTC, CPRW, MBA, Ph.D., is President of theResume
Center, Inc., a leadingresumewritingserviceprovidingresumes, cover
letters, Internet posting, career transition counseling, and other
professional services.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 125

By the end of this lesson you will:
Know what Curriculum vitae is.
Learn different types of CVs
Learn how to prepare a CV
Students, now that you have learnt how to write a covering
letter, you also need to know about curriculum vitae. CV as it is
most commonly known, as is the first hurdle in getting a job.
3 Types of Resume
There are three types of resume most commonly described.
They are:
Chronological Resume
The Chronological Resume is the most traditional method of
summarizing your employment information and it is the one
that this guide advocates. Its key feature is the fact that it
arranges your work experience chronologically and usually
elaborates on skills and accomplishments within the body copy
of the Work Experience section. Its weakness is the fact that it
cant help you hide a recent position youd rather forget you ever
Points to remember with a Chronological Resume are:
1. You should ideally relate your Work History to your current
targeted position
2. You should have a stable Work History with few gaps and
nothing to be ashamed about
3. Your Work History should demonstrate a logical progression
toward your current objective
Functional Resume
The Functional Resume differs from the Chronological Resume
in the way it presents information. Unlike a Chronological
Resume, which leaves you vulnerable to gaps in your work
history, the Functional Resume can help you hide a past
position that youd rather forget. The Functional Rsums key
feature is the fact that it highlights your skills and achievements
without referring those skills to any particular past position. For
this reason, the Functional Resume is a favorite with people
who have something to hide. This is a very good reason for not
using the format if your past Work Experience is nothing to be
ashamed of as recruiters/ interviewers will be aware of the
benefits of a Functional Resume as well.
Points to remember about a Functional Resume are:
1. You should use it if your Work History is repetitive and
your past positions lack variety
2. You should use it if your Work History is composed of
differing kinds of position types that do not form a cohesive
3. You might want to use it if you are dramatically changing
careers. This will allow you to emphasize your transferable skills
rather than your growth in a certain kind of industry or job
4. You should use this type of resume if your skills have been
learned through schooling rather than work experience.
5. You should use this type of resume if you are switching
career tracks or returning to the workforce after a hiatus.
Combination Resume (Transition
Combines the best features of both of the former (though that
does not necessarily make it better) by allowing applicants to
highlight their skills and accomplishments in one section and
their Work History in another (minus descriptive details). My
personal dislike for this form stems from the fact that it is
harder to picture exactly how the persons skills fit with their
experience. It requires the employer to be a detective to some
extent, and with a mass of resumes on their desk, chances are
theyll give up before they have a positive picture of your
Points to remember about using a Combination Resume are:
1. It can help you overcome some of the same difficulties a
Functional resume can, while maintaining the comfortable
structure of a Chronological Resume. However, it tends to
abstract skills from experience which can call your expertise
into question
Self -Preparation Bef ore (Re) Writing a
Before you start thinking about the actual content of your
resume, you really need to ask yourself a number of key
What is Your Ideal Position?
Think about the perfect job. Everybodys is different. What is it
about the job you like? Working with people or not working
with anybody?. Having plenty of projects or do you prefer
repetitive tasks which free you mind?
What Kinds of Things Do You Like Doing?
Think about your hobbies. Think about what you do at home
in your sparetime that makes life worth living. Can you do it
and get paid for it somewhere or in some form? It might not
be quite the same, but if your job evens contains an atom of
what you enjoy, youll find you like the job.
Think About Your Favorite Job in the
Past; What Was It You Liked About It So
Was there a part-time job that you really enjoyed? Maybe the job
only lasted a few months, but you really liked it. What was it
about that job that made you enjoy it so much? Could you find
those things in another job?
126 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Are There Gaps In Your Employment?
If there are, its not the end of the world. Are those gaps legiti-
mate? What were you doing during that time? Can you turn your
absence from the workplace into a positive virtue? For example, if
you were travelling during a gap of three months or so, what did it
teach you. Try to sell it as a gain, rather than as a loss.
Reasons For Leaving Each Position?
Figure out the best way to explain why you left each position.
The idea is to present your move in the best light possible.
Above all, be honest. Getting caught in a lie is far worse than
having to admit that you didnt like a particular job. Remember,
at some point your potential employer will contact your past
employer to get their side of the story.
Resume Dos & Donts
Keep to one or two pages depending on experience
Describe your main functions, not what you did incidentally
Emphasize those duties that are most relevant to your
present application
Include any special recognition, accomplishments or projects
you were involved with
Describe your former/ current employer, including size of
company, type of industry, etc.
Write about yourself in a positive light
Strive to be concise and target your information to the
Try to fit too much on the page. (Leave some space on the
List personal information such as marital status, race, age, etc.
Leave suspicious gaps in your Work History
Include salary requirements (leave that until an interview or
Put a photograph on your resume (even if you do have a
Use negative expressions or comments about previous
Include any health information
Include references (separate sheet please)
Include reasons for leaving a previous job (save your reasons
for the interview)
Preparing the CV
Resume writing seems to be the part that gives people the most
trouble. It isnt that hard if you follow some guidelines.
At some stage or another during your life, you will need to
prepare a CV. If you are like most people, you will have many
attempts at preparing your resume before you actually get
anything decent together. The problem is generally due to a lack
in planning.
The key to resume writing excellence is in presenting it the right
way. Most people make the error of just listing their experience
and qualifications, this ends up being a rather boring document.
A good resume should not only demonstrate your skills and
experience, but should also give the reader a good indication of
the type of person you are. It needs to have personality.
Following are some helpful hints on getting started, Definition
of a Resume and Types of CVs.
Getting Started
Lets start at the beginning, what exactly is a CV and what is its
The sole purpose of a CV is to show the reader what you are
capable of.
The CV is your selling document. It needs to be able to show
your prospective employer that you are the person that they are
looking for. This goes beyond experience, training and skills. It
needs to demonstrate your personal strengths, capabilities and
the type of person you are.
It also needs to be a concise document. Most employers will
skim through all the CVs and put aside only 5-10 that might be
worth reading. On average an employer will only spend around
1-3 minutes on each CV. In other words your CV has to stand
out from the others.
This does not mean that the CV should be full of graphics,
colours or printed on coloured paper. Employers feel that if
you have to use gimmicks to impress them, then you probably
dont have anything to offer. The CV needs to have a clean,
professional look about it. It needs to be easy to read and
should look balanced.
The format or style you choose depends on the type of CV that
you require, but no matter which one, the resume should
always be easy to follow and read.
Types of CVs
The type of CV you decide on will depend entirely on the type
of position you are applying for. The key is to analyze what the
employer will be looking for and ensuring your CV will sell you
in the best possible way.
For example if you are applying for a Project Manager position,
then the projects that you have handled in the past will be
important. Your CV needs to list the type of projects, your
responsibilities and any achievements. It is important to show
the relevance of what you have done in the past as it relates to
the position you are applying for.
On the other hand, if the position you are applying for is more
a hands-on type of job, and then your CV needs to demon-
strate your hands-on experience in these areas. Again
highlighting the relevance to the position.
The Chronological CV is the easiest to write. It should always
be written with your current or most recent position first.
Showing your responsibilities and achievements that would be
relevant to this position.
If the job is more of a technical nature, then you need to prepare
a technical style resume. There are other types of resumes,
Graduates need to use a different approach. A different approach
would be used for someone seeking a career change.
The style that you choose will depend on which one will serve
you best.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 127

The Graduates CV
To successfully sell yourself to a prospective employer, as a
graduate, you need to show him your strengths and minimize
your weaker points. The way to do this successfully is to
emphasize on your studies and the relevant experience you have.
At this stage of your career, it is probable that your recent
graduate studies are your biggest selling point and therefore
they need to be at the forefront of the CV, The CV should be
formatted in a way so that straight after your personal details
and the career statement, your education is listed.
The order in which you list your subjects is very important.
Subjects that are relevant to the position you are applying for
should be listed first, highlight any special marks or achieve-
ments in each subject. Thesis and papers written should also be
mentioned just as you would with any achievements.
If you have failed or not completed any subjects, do not
mention these, if need be they can be mentioned at the
The CV should also mention any work experience (paid or not
paid) that you have. Start by listing the most relevant work first
and work your way through others.
Employers like to know what you are capable of, and even if
you were paying your way through College by cooking at the
local diner, the fact that you held a responsible position and
have some skills becomes relevant. The key here is to try and
turn your skills around and demonstrate how they are valuable
to the new job. Dont expect the employer to see the relevance
here, it is up to you to highlight them.
For example lets say you worked at the local video store, not
very relevant to Engineering right? Wrong, it is how you present
the information that makes all the difference.
Mentioning things like customer service, inventory control,
working under stressful conditions or even maintaining
accurate records can take on a new meaning when applied to
the Engineering profession.
What you want to achieve with this graduate CV style, is to
demonstrate that you have the qualifications, some relevant
experience and most importantly the right attitude.
Throughout the CV you should be displaying an eagerness to
learn and a high degree of motivation. This is what a prospec-
tive employer will be looking for. Someone that is willing to
learn, study further and adapt easily.
When applying for a position, ensure you have a good applica-
tion letter, written specifically for the position and highlighting
your qualification and most importantly the right attitude. The
same applies with the interview, you need to demonstrate these
skills and an enthusiastic attitude, that will get you the job!
Guide to Successf ul Job Interviews
Handling job interviews is probably the most critical part of the
whole job searching process. There are numerous books on the
subject and just about everyone has something to say on the
matter. Mention job interviews and most people will have a
horror story to tell you about some experience they had.
This section has been written to give you some practical advice
on handling job interviews successfully. Well discuss various
elements like interviewing methods, what to expect, how to
handle those tricky questions, preparation, what to take with
you, what to discuss and what not to discuss.
The job interview is a time for them to get to know you better.
They have already decided that you have the experience and
knowledge that they require, that is why they want to meet you
in person. What they really want to see at the interview is who
you are. Your attitude and personality are going to be the most
important factors in the decision making process.
Preparing For Job Interviews
Preparing for job interviews is probably the most important
aspect. Do this right and you will breeze through it, go
unprepared and you will fail miserably. Preparing for a job
interview means getting your mind right and feeling confident.
Remember you are the best person for the job, you just have to
show them that.
Firstly do some research on the company and its products,
know who their customers are and what the companys
objective is. Once you have this information, then make a list
of what skills or knowledge you have that would be valuable to
them. You cannot sell yourself to them if you dont know
what it is you are selling.
Next thing to prepare is your physical appearance. You have to
dress right for job interviews, dont wear anything too flashy,
neat and clean are more important than the latest fashion. The
aim is to look professional without overdoing it. If you are not
comfortable with a shirt and tie, it might be best not to wear
one, unless the job will require you to dress this way. It is
important that you feel comfortable, the last thing you want is to
be worried about your appearance during the interview. It will
only make you nervous and you will quickly lose confidence.
Work out what you need to take with you. A copy of your CV,
originals (and copies) of your qualification papers, copies of
references, samples of your work (if applicable) and anything
else that they may want to see. Again make sure everything is
well organised and neatly presented. Dont take a pile of
paperwork that you have to sift through for ten minutes to find
something, that will give them the impression that your are
Interviewing Methods
As the job market becomes more competitive, so do screening
methods. Employing a new person is an expensive exercise and
companies want to ensure they do it right. When the job
market becomes more competitive, new interviewing methods
are introduced. It is not uncommon these days to be put
through a series of tests and interviews before a company
makes the final decision.
Some of the processes that you might experience include:
Aptitude tests: These tests are designed to find your personal-
ity traits. They would be looking for a particular type of person
and this test will show them if you fit their profile. You cant
cheat in these tests, if you attempt to formulate your
answers, the results of the test will show. Be honest here, you
cant hide who you are.
128 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

IQ/ Thinking tests: These have been prepared to work out
your analytical and logical thinking patterns. To some extent
general knowledge would be useful, however they are really
geared towards finding out how you analyse data and find
solutions to problems. Again it is impossible to cheat on these
tests, but a little preparation would go a long way. Prepare for
this test by doing some logical thinking puzzles. There are lots
out there in the bookshops.
General knowledge : Tests in this section include mathemati-
cal, grammar, spelling and general knowledge. Preparing to take
some of these will include doing a revision of you school work.
Forget the calculator and go back to pencil and paper. If you are
a wiz at maths, then you should have no problem, but if you
are like the rest of us that reaches out for the calculator, then get
some practice prior to attending.
Panel Job Interviews : These can be nerve wracking types of
interviews, however, most job interviews these days include a
panel. The panel might just 2 people or it can be as many as 10.
To handle this interview well, you must appear to be confident,
dont hesitate too long before you give an answer. Watch your
posture and try not to fidget too much. When answering a
question make eye contact with one or two of the people. Find
a friendly face and use that person for most of your eye contact,
it will help in making you feel more relaxed.
One on one job interviews : These type of interviews are
easier to handle, they are generally more informal. The best way
to handle these type of interviews is to relate to them as a form
of conversation. You should ask questions and exchange
information as you would during a normal conversation. Offer
your own information as needed without waiting to be asked.
Handling job interview questions:
There are various types of questions asked at a job interview.
Most job interviews start with chit-chat type of questions, these
are designed to break the ice and get the conversation flowing.
Questions like did it take you long to get here, did you find
the place alright, were you able to find parking. Most of
these just require a yes, no problem type of response, you can
elaborate more if you wish, however ensure that you dont
provide information that will give them a bad impression.
Saying something like It took me ages to get here, traffic was
so bad, I hate travelling to this side of town.. would not
make a good impression. If this is the place where you would
be working, they would automatically be worried that you will
be late to work everyday.
Most questions will be geared towards finding out a bit more
about you. They might be historical questions regarding your
previous employment or education, or they may be hypothetical
questions what if.... These are geared to finding out how
you would handle a situation or to find out your personal
views to certain areas.
Whenever answering a job interview question, give as much
information as you can. Tell them why, where, when and how.
In other words use samples to prove what you are saying. Make
a statement, then qualify it by giving a sample of a situation and
how you handled it.
There are times that you will be asked a hard question during a
job interview. Dont panic, there is a reason why these ques-
tions are asked and that is to see how you handle a difficult
situation. Being prepared is always the best policy.
Following are some samples of questions and some advice on
how to handle them efficiently.
How would you handle a difficult customer?: Be careful here,
dont say that you have never had a difficult customer as anyone
who has dealt with customers knows that is impossible. Use a
sample to demonstrate how you handle a difficult customer.
Talk about an incident at a previous job (where, when), explain
the situation, how you handled it, and what the outcome was.
Why should we choose you? : Ask yourself why you applied,
what makes you prefect for this position, what can the company
gain from hiring you, what have you got to offer, how would
you handle this job. This is what they want to know, so go
ahead and tell them.
Tell me about yourself: Split your answer into two, the
professional and the personal level. Both are just as important,
how you move from one to the other depends on what you
have to say. The best way to answer this job interview question
is to give a brief summary of your life, professional and
personal, less emphasis on the early past, more emphasis on the
present and the future.
What are your weaknesses?: Dont say I dont have any.
Everyone has weaknesses and it takes strength to recognize
them. Say something relevant but not hugely important to the
specific position, and always add a positive. Something like I
havent had a lot of exposure to on-site maintenance, however
I am looking forward to being more involved in dealing with
customers directly and learning their needs.
What are your strengths?: Customize your answer to meet the
position requirements, remember the things they asked for in
the advertisement? Tell them your strengths but also demon-
strate them and show them how they would apply to this job.
Use samples of how your strengths were valuable, use the
why, where, when, how demonstrate and prove your
Job interviews are not that bad, so long as you are prepared.
Maintain good eye contact and ensure that you have some
questions to ask. job interviews are a two way process, a
conversation where they want to get to know you better and
you want to find out more about the position.
Above all, try and keep calm, smile and show professionalism.
E-mailing Resumes
Submitting a resume to an employer via e-mail requires a little
thought if you are going to avoid some of the more common
pitfalls. Do you send your resume in the body of an e-mail or
as an attachment? If you are sending an attachment, what
format should it be in? Perhaps you want to take advantage of
the web and demonstrate your online savvy by serving your
resume straight off the Internet?
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 129

E-mailing Your Resume in the body of an
You may have spent hours on Word or WordPerfect nicely
formatting your resume, but when you send it in the body of
an e-mail, guess what? All your hard work gets turned into crazy
ampersands, dollar signs and *@*&**$.
How Do You Avoid This?
Prepare a special copy of your resume for inclusion in the body
of an e-mail. Create your resume in a plain text (ASCII) format
with an application like Windows WordPad or Notepad. If
you prefer to use your favorite Word Processor (Word, Works,
WordPerfect), theyll also allow you to save your resume to plain
text. No matter what operating system or e-mail client applica-
tion the employer is using, theyll be able to read your resume if
its in text form.
While including your resume in the body of an e-mail gives it
near guaranteed accessibility, there is the problem of formatting.
Somehow or other, e-mails invariably look worse once theyve
gone through the wringer known as the Internet. A perfectly
justified e-mail message with bolding and italics becomes a
series of jagged text edges and lost formatting.
Appearance is very important in a resume and although
potential employers realize the nature of e-mail is disorganized
when it comes to style, they still like to see a nice looking
resume. Its the nature of employers.
How do you achieve both goals - universal readability and
presentability? First, keep the resume simple. Align all the text
to the left of the page. Dont make it more complicated than
that. Forget tab spaces. Forget bolding and italicizing. Use
upper-case letters and line breaks to create headings rather than
differing sizes of fonts.
Choose a basic font that exists on everyones machine: Times
Roman, Arial or Courier are common examples. Make sure no
line exceeds 72 characters; after that it may break awkwardly and
create an odd pattern of sentences on down to the bottom of
the resume.
Finally, e-mail yourself a copy of your resume and proof-read it.
Does it make sense? Good, start sending it out to companies.
E-mailing Your Resume as an Attachment
What about sending your resume as an attachment and
avoiding the trouble of converting your resume to a text file?
Here are some of the disadvantages associated with e-mailing
your resume as an attachment:
i. Opening an attachment can be time-consuming if you are an
employer answering hundreds of applications a day.
ii Attachments are sometimes corrupted by the time an
employer tries opening the file.
iii. Attachments are sometimes created in formats the employer
cannot open (i.e. Works, Wordstar).
Ever wonder how many employers never got back to you
because they couldnt/ wouldnt open your resume? Scary
thought, isnt it? All those missed opportunities.
So, should you resist sending your beautifully formatted Word
document altogether? The answer is no. Include your resume in
the body of your e-mail for easy reference but also attach a
properly formatted version for later use if the employer wishes
to pursue you as a potential employee.
Some advice on creating attachments might also be useful here.
Try to create your attachment in a format you know a large
number of people will be able to access. Word is good for most
businesses, while WordPerfect is ideal only if you are sending
your resume to a legal firm. Try to avoid creating and attaching
your resume as MS Works files or Wordstar, etc. You may use
these programs to create basic .txt or .doc files though, which
anyone should be able to view.
Some people attach their resumes as HTML files. This has the
advantage of being almost as universal as a text or document
file because most businesses have a browser on their worksta-
tions. HTML files are restricted in their formatting though and
do not always copy nicely to other text based programs,
especially those used as resume databases by companies.
Serving Your Resume of f the Web
You want to show employers you are web savvy so you take
your resume and turn it into a website. Now you send prospec-
tive employers an e-mail, directing them to your site, If you
want to see my resume, click here.
Big mistake. What busy employer is going to take the time to
connect to the Internet to download the resume of a person
they know nearly nothing about?
Do not expect an employer to do your hard work for you. If
you send an employer an e-mail directing them to your resume,
you are committing a gross breach of business etiquette (not to
be confused with netiquette).
What you are doing is the offline equivalent of mailing an
employer a letter which says, If you want to see my resume,
send a stamped addressed envelope to such and such address
and Ill mail it back to you.
Not all employers have easy access to the web. Many companies
prohibit internal use of the web owing to productivity issues.
Other times, your vaunted webpage will come back Not
Found or your page may take forever to load. Perhaps your
resume is linked to other pages on your site with less than
savory material. Even if the potential employer does visit your
site, copying your resume as HTML can be a pain (forget about
formatting, its every word for itself).
In most cases, the employer will probably not bother with your
resume at all.
It is, however, acceptable to include a link to your online resume
as long as you also send a text copy with the e-mail. Indeed,
your web resume might well contain more information or
samples of your work than it would be possible or desirable to
include in a normal resume.
130 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Ten Keys to a Dynamite Resume
To help you construct a better, more powerful resume, here are
ten overall considerations in regard to your resumes content
and presentation:
1. Position title and job description. Provide your title, plus a
detailed explanation of your daily activities and measurable
results. Since job titles are often misleading or their function
may vary from one company to another, your resume should
tell the reader exactly what youve done. (Titles such as
account manager, business analyst, and internal consultant
are especially vague.)
2. Clarity of dates and place. Document your work history
accurately. Dont leave the reader guessing where you were
employed, or for how long. If youve had overlapping jobs,
find a way to pull them apart on paper, or eliminate
mentioning one, to avoid confusion.
3. Detail. Specify some of the more technical, or involved
aspects of your past work or education. Have you performed
tasks of any complexity, or significance? If so, dont be shy;
give a one or two sentence description.
4. Proportion. Give appropriate attention to jobs or
educational credentials according to their length, or
importance to the reader. For example, if you wish to be
considered for a position at a bank, dont write one
paragraph describing your current job as a loan officer,
followed by three paragraphs about your high school
summer job as a lifeguard.
5. Relevancy. Confine your curriculum vitae to that which is job-
related or clearly demonstrates a pattern of success. For
example, nobody really cares that your hobby is spear fishing,
or that you weigh 137 pounds, or that you belong to an
activist youth group. Concentrate on the subject matter that
addresses the needs of the employer.
6. Explicitness. Leave nothing to the imagination. Dont
assume the resume reader knows, for example, that the
University of Indiana you attended is in western
Pennsylvania, or that an M.M. is a Master of Music degree,
or that your current employer, U.S. Computer Systems, Inc.,
supplies the fast-food industry with order-taker headsets.
7. Length. Fill up only a page or two. If you write more than
two pages, it sends a signal to the reader that you cant
organize your thoughts, or youre trying too hard to make a
good impression. If your content is strong, you wont need
more than two pages.
8. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Create an error-free
document that is representative of an educated person. If
youre unsure about the correctness of your writing (or if
English is your second language), consult a professional
writer or copy editor. At the very least, use a spell-check
program if you have access to a word processor, and always
proofread what youve written.
9. Readability. Organize your thoughts in a clear, concise
manner. Avoid writing in a style thats either fragmented or
long-winded. No resume ever won a Nobel Prize for
Letter of appointment Letter of appointment
nn Intro I ntro
Create goodwill by congratulating on Create goodwill by congratulating on
appointment appointment
nn Other paragraphs Other paragraphs
Provide complete info about position Provide complete info about position
J ob title, conditions of service, salary J ob title, conditions of service, salary
scale, working hours, leave, fringe scale, working hours, leave, fringe
benefits, memberships, commencement benefits, memberships, commencement
date, time, place, contact person date, time, place, contact person
Letters of appointment Letters of appointment
Indicate whether the applicant should Indicate whether the applicant should
reply telephonically or in writing and reply telephonically or in writing and
when contract should be returned when contract should be returned
nn Closing Closing
Express hope that the applicant will Express hope that the applicant will
accept the offer and that you hope to accept the offer and that you hope to
spend many years working together spend many years working together
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 131

literature; however, an unreadable resume will virtually
assure you of starting at the back of the line.
10. Overall appearance and presentation. Select the proper visual
format, type style, and stationery. Resume readers have become
used to a customary and predictable format. If you deviate too
much, or your resume takes too much effort to read, itll
probably end up in the trash, even if you have a terrific
Resume writing can be tricky, especially if you havent done it
before. I suggest you write several drafts, and allow yourself
the time to proofread for errors and ruminate over what youve
written. Practice, after all, makes perfect. If you have a
professional associate whose opinion you trust, by all means,
listen to what he or she has to say. A simple critique can save
you a great deal of time and money.
I worked with a candidate recently who had the most
beautifully written resume Ive ever seen. When I asked him
about it, he said that he sharpened his skills by writing and
rewriting his wifes resume. After he got the hang of it, he
worked on his own and kept revising it on a monthly basis.
132 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

By the end of this lesson you will
Understand the meaning of a job offer letter and
resignation letter.
Learn the structure of these letters.
Understand the role of Job descriptions in recruitment.
Students can you tell me how do you apply for a job? Yes, you
need a very attractive CV and a job application letter, which is
also called as a cover letter. On the basis of the CV you will be
called for an interview and then finally selected or rejected. If
selected the company will give you an offer letter, which you
need to sign and give a copy of it back to the company.
In this lesson we will learn about the format of a job offer letter
and resignation letter. Lets start by job offer letter.
Of f er of Employment
After all the interviews have been conducted a shortlist may be
drawn up and second interviews held. Once a decision has been
made on the successful candidate, a formal offer of employ-
ment will be sent to the successful applicant. Depending on the
size of the organization, a separate contract of employment
may be drawn up. Here we will deal with a simple offer letter
enclosing a job description.
Moonlit Holdings plc
Temple Street, Delhi ll
Tel: +91(1)2542555
Fax: +91(1)2 555 4444 Email:
20 June 2000
Miss Anita Gupta
26 Gandhi Nagar
Dear Miss Gupta
Telephone Executive (Marketing)
Thank you for attending the recent interview.
I am pleased to offer you this post commencing on Monday 2
August 2000.
Full details of the post are shown on the attached Job Descrip-
tion. The terms and conditions of employment will be as laid
down in our Contract of Employment which is also enclosed.
Please let me have written confirmation of your acceptance of
this post as soon as possible.
Two other telephone Executives will start work on the same day
. The 2
of August will be spent on an induction training
course. Please report to out reception on at 09:00 and ask for my
Secretary, Miss Madhu Chopra.

I look forward to welcoming you to the staff of Moonlit
Holdings plc.
Yours sincerely
Ankita Sharma
Human Relations Manager
Copy: Bhasker Pandey. Marketing Manager
Does companies issuea formal contract of employment?
What issues arecovered in this?
Job Description
A job description states the title of the post and to whom the
person reports, as well as giving full details of the duties and
responsibilities involved.
Moonlit Holdings plc
Job Description
Job Title Telephone Executive (Marketing)
Location Marketing Department, Head Office
Responsible to Marketing Manager
Main purpose of job To telephone customers with the
objective of identifying opportuni
ties where business can be increased
Main Duties and Responsibilities
1. Two achiev e daily call rate targets and any target set for sale
2 To have a good telephone manner and be courteous to
customers at all times.
3 To carry out any administrative requirements generated by
the telephone calls in an accurate and efficient manner. This
may include sending letters, fax messages reports, product
literature, etc.
4 To undertake training courses to make good use of
telephone selling techniques.
5 To undertake training on the companys products and
services and to promote associated products where
6 To carry out competitor market research by contacting their
branches to gather information on pricing, product
availability etc as directed by your supervisor.

Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 133

7 To communicate clearly and effectively with other employees
in the company an necessary.
8 To carry out any other tasks as requested by your supervisor.
20 June 2000
Discuss thedifferencebetween a job description and a job specification
Letter of acceptance
Letter of acceptance as the word says it all, is given to the
company accepting the job offer as well as the terms and
conditions. It is writing a formal letter to the company accepting
the post. Keep it simple.
26 Gandhi Nagar
25 June 2000
Ankita Sharma
Human Relations Manager
Moonlit Holding plc
Temple Street
Dear Mrs. Sharma
Telephone Executive (Marketing)
Thank you for your letter of 20 June 2000.
I am please to confirm my acceptance of this post as detailed in
the job Description and Contract of Employment.
I shall look forward to joining the staff of Aurora Holdings plc.
Yours sincerely
Anita Gupta (Miss)
Letter of Resignation
When you have been in employment and want to leave for
whatever reason. It is usual to write a formal letter resigning
from your post.
25 June 2000
Mrs. Ruby Bhatia
Administration Manager
Moonlit Holdings plc
Temple Street, Delhi ll
Dear Mrs. Bhatia
Further to our discussion today I regret to inform you that I
wish to give one months notice of my resignation from the
company. My last day of work will be Friday 30 July.
I have been very happy working here and found my work very
varied and enjoyable. I have gained a lot of experience in many
areas which I am sure I shall find useful in future employment.
Thank you for your help and guidance.
Yours sincerely
Anita Gupta (Miss)
Testimonial (letter of recommendation)
It is useful to ask previous employers for testimonials, as there
will be useful when applying for future posts.
Calcutta Technical College
16 Gandhi Nagar
Telephone: 5 876789
Fax: 5876889
28 June 2000
To Whom It May Concern
Miss Anita Gupta has been part-time Administration Assistant
in our General Office from 24 May 1999 to 28 June 2000. We
asked her to join us on a permanent part-time basis after she
had been with us for several short periods of work experience
during her Business Administration course.
Miss Gupta carried out a wide range of general office duties
including opening and distributing mail, photocopying, filing,
dealing with general telephone and walk-in enquiries and
entering data into out computer systems.
A conscientious, hard-working and reliable employee, Miss
Gupta set herself very high standards in her work. She had a
pleasant telephone manner and was always courteous when
dealing with her colleagues and external contacts. She was a
good timekeeper and had a good attendance record.
Miss Gupta has a friendly, outgoing personality, a good sense
of humor and she works well as part of a team.
I feel sure that Miss Gupta will be an asset of any organization.
Helen Bradley (Mrs.)
Administration Manager
Writing a Letter of Resignation
Keep Your Letter of Resignation Simple
Writing a letter of resignation may be an unpleasant task, but
theres really not that much to it. In its simplest form, you just
date your letter of resignation, say when and what youre
resigning, sign it, hand it over, and thats it. Five minutes, and
youre done.
Unless you possess the judgment of an attorney and style of a
professional writer, dont write much more in your letter of
resignation, if you wish to use your soon-to-be ex-employer as
a reference. Theres really no need to explain your reasons for
resigning anyway. For one thing, its really nobodys business
but your own. For another, however honorable your reasons
may be, its very hard to strike just the right tone in writing.
For example, if you write in your letter of resignation that
youve found a more challenging career opportunity, it implies
that youre bored with your current job. If you write that youre
having family or health problems, you just documented that
you might be a risky hire. Your words may haunt you down the
road, when a potential employer contacts your former employ-
ers as references.
134 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

In other words, try not to leave anything up to the interpreta-
tion (or rather, misinterpretation) of the reader when writing
your letter of resignation.
Guidance on Writing Job Descriptions &
Person Specif ications
Job Description
1 A job description should clearly and accurately set out the
duties and responsibilities of the job. It should include:
The job title
The department
The grade
Work relationships - to whom the post holder reports and
for whom the post holder is responsible
Brief summary of job function or main purpose of the job
Main duties and responsibilities with indication of % of
time spent
Occasional duties with indication of % of time spent
Any special working conditions (e.g. shift or weekend
working, call out arrangements, periods when leave cannot
be taken, etc.)
Purpose and frequency of contact with others
Signed agreement by postholder and date
2. Items which should be considered for inclusion in job
descriptions are:
Actively follow UCL policies including Equal Opportunities
Attend staff meetings and training as required
Maintain an awareness and observation of Fire and Health &
Safety Regulations
Carry out any other duties as are within the scope, spirit and
purpose of the job, the title of the post and its grading as
requested by the line manager or Head of Department/
Note: This job description reflects the present requirements of
the post. As duties and responsibilities change and develop the
job description will be reviewed and be subject to amendment
in consultation with the postholder.
3 The language used in job descriptions should:
Avoid jargon and unexplained acronyms and abbreviations
Be matched to the type of job and be readily understood by
the employees concerned
Avoid ambiguity about responsibility and be clear about the
post-holders accountability for results and resources
Drawing Up The Person Specif ication
The following notes give guidance on drawing up a person
specification. The associated selection criteria pro forma may be
used for the purpose of developing the person specification and
recording how applicants measure up against the specification.
The Person Specification should be derived from and therefore
drawn up after the job description and before advertisement.
The criteria set out in it are the only criteria against which
applicants should be assessed at the shortlisting, test and
interview states. The criteria must:
Be specific
Be justifiable in relation to the job needs
Not be unnecessarily restrictive (for example, in relation to
qualifications required)
Criteria are categorized as essential or desirable
Essential criteria are those which a successful appointee must
possess, otherwise, they will be unable to adequately perform
the job; inflation of the job requirements (for example, the
amount of previous work experience required) should be
Desirable criteria are those that may enable the candidate to
perform better or require a short familiarization period.
Care should be taken to avoid indirect discrimination in person
specifications, for example by setting unjustifiable age limits.
(see below).
Elements of the Person Specif ication
Knowledge can be derived in a number of ways, for example
education, training, or experience
Skills are practical abilities gained through study or practice
Aptitude is the ability to attain knowledge or to develop a skill
Qualif ications/Training
There are a wide variety of educational, vocational and
professional qualifications (together with their foreign
equivalents); for some jobs a particular qualification may be
essential, while for others no single qualification may be
most appropriate and experience may be of just as much
importance as a formal qualification. Where qualifications are
deemed essential these should reflect the minimum basic
educational requirements necessary to carry out the job to an
acceptable standard.
Candidates will increasingly come forward with National
Vocational Qualifications (NVQs). The qualifications
recognize the achievement of employment-led standards of
competence. Where possible, requirements for specific
employment competence should be expressed in terms of
possession of the relevant NVQ at the required level.
Previous Experience
The type of experience applicants are required to have should
be specified; however, stipulating length of experience
required should be used cautiously because quality of
experience is more important than length of experience.
Note that experience can sometimes be transferable from one
area of work to another, in which case skills may be more
important than a narrow definition of experience.
Other Requirements
It may be necessary to specify availability to attend evening
meetings or possession of a driving license, but you
should distinguish between need and convenience and weigh
up need against discriminatory effect.
Remember the possibility of adaptations or aids to enable a
disabled person to fulfill a requirement.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 135

You Won the Race!
You have the JOB of your dreams!
Now its time to write the
nn Purpose Purpose
nn What to Include What to Include
nn Specifics Specifics
nn Format Format
nn Tone Tone
The Purpose
nn Accepts a job offer Accepts a job offer
nn Briefly reaffirms the offer to complete the Briefly reaffirms the offer to complete the
legal contract between you and the firm legal contract between you and the firm
nn May request clarification May request clarification
What to Include:
n n Appreciation for the Offer Appreciation for the Offer
n n Statement of Acceptance Statement of Acceptance
n n Brief Reaffirmation of Employment Conditions Brief Reaffirmation of Employment Conditions
n n Any Instructions Based on Employment or Any Instructions Based on Employment or
Notices Notices
What to Include:
1. Appreciation for the Offer
Placement: First Paragraph Placement: First Paragraph
Be appreciative and sincere Be appreciative and sincere
Reaffirm Offer: Clearly restate the job offer Reaffirm Offer: Clearly restate the job offer
you received. you received.
For Example: For Example:
Thank you for offering me a Sales Associate Thank you for offering me a Sales Associate
Position at Denmark Inc. Position at Denmark Inc.
136 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

What to Include:
2. Statement of Acceptance
n n Placement: Placement:
Follows the Appreciation for the Offer in the Follows the Appreciation for the Offer in the
First Paragraph First Paragraph
n n Clearly state that you accept the position that was Clearly state that you accept the position that was
offered to you offered to you
Can I still negotiate job conditions in
my acceptance letter?
n n Any issues or job details that may be negotiable, should Any issues or job details that may be negotiable, should
not not be addressed for the first time in a job acceptance be addressed for the first time in a job acceptance
letter. letter.
n n When accepting a position, the applicant should have a When accepting a position, the applicant should have a
complete understanding of the position and related details. complete understanding of the position and related details.
n n It is not appropriate to address serious issues or concerns It is not appropriate to address serious issues or concerns
after accepting a position. after accepting a position.
n n The applicant should discuss any questions or concerns The applicant should discuss any questions or concerns
he/she may have with the employer before accepting a job he/she may have with the employer before accepting a job
offer. offer.
What to Include:
3. Reaffirmation of Employment
n n Placement: Placement:
Within the body of the letter, in the paragraphs following Within the body of the letter, in the paragraphs following
the first paragraph the first paragraph
n n Restate the conditions of your employment Restate the conditions of your employment : These should : These should
be pre be pre--determined and accepted by both parties. determined and accepted by both parties.
n n This is not the time to include critical items or concerns This is not the time to include critical items or concerns
you have. It is recommended to address any questions or you have. It is recommended to address any questions or
issues you may have, prior to accepting a position. issues you may have, prior to accepting a position.
n n Placement: Place after the Reaffirmation of Placement: Place after the Reaffirmation of
Employment Conditions and before closing Employment Conditions and before closing
n n Possible information to request: Possible information to request:
uu Starting date of employment Starting date of employment
uu Where to go? Where to go?
uu Who to contact? Who to contact?
What to Include:
4. Instructions Based on
Employment or Notices
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 137

A Winners Attitude: Tone
nn The tone is the writers The tone is the writers
attitude toward the reader and attitude toward the reader and
the subject of the message. the subject of the message.
nn The tone that the writer uses The tone that the writer uses
will affect the way the will affect the way the
message of the letter is message of the letter is
conveyed and how effectively conveyed and how effectively
the reader will understand and the reader will understand and
act upon this message. act upon this message.
Tone: Writing with Confidence
n n An employer will welcome a confident attitude and a self An employer will welcome a confident attitude and a self- -
assured personality. assured personality.
n n However However, an over , an over--confident attitude may affect the way a confident attitude may affect the way a
message is perceived. It may sound arrogant or message is perceived. It may sound arrogant or
presumptuous. presumptuous.
For Example: For Example:
NOT: I am a valuable addition to your team and will meet NOT: I am a valuable addition to your team and will meet
and surpass your expectations. and surpass your expectations.
INSTEAD: I look forward to joining your team and striving INSTEAD: I look forward to joining your team and striving
to meet and surpass the job expectations. to meet and surpass the job expectations.
What kind of tone should I use?
nn Write confidently Write confidently--- ---but not too confidently but not too confidently
nn Be courteous and sincere Be courteous and sincere
nn Use nondiscriminatory language Use nondiscriminatory language
nn Stress the You Attitude Stress the You Attitude
nn Utilize an appropriate level of difficulty Utilize an appropriate level of difficulty
Tone: Courteous & Sincerity
n n When writing a job acceptance letter an applicant must When writing a job acceptance letter an applicant must
show their appreciation for the offer in a way that is show their appreciation for the offer in a way that is
sincere sincere
For Example: For Example:
NOT You are truly wonderful for offering me such a NOT You are truly wonderful for offering me such a
prestigious position. prestigious position.
INSTEAD Thank you for offering me a Sales Representative INSTEAD Thank you for offering me a Sales Representative
position. position.
138 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

n n The applicant should never use language or The applicant should never use language or
convey a message that discriminates against convey a message that discriminates against
any group or individual. any group or individual.
n n It is unprofessional to exhibit prejudicial It is unprofessional to exhibit prejudicial
behavior or to stereotype individuals. behavior or to stereotype individuals.
Tone: Use Nondiscriminatory Language
n n Emphasize the employer and company Emphasize the employer and company
interests rather than the interests of the interests rather than the interests of the
writer writer
For Example: For Example:
NOT I hope to gain valuable experience as a Sales NOT I hope to gain valuable experience as a Sales
Representative at Forest Foods International. Representative at Forest Foods International.
INSTEAD As a Sales Representative, my objective is to INSTEAD As a Sales Representative, my objective is to
maximize client relations. maximize client relations.
Tone: Stress the You Attitude
n n The text and message in the letter should The text and message in the letter should
match the readability and knowledge level match the readability and knowledge level
of the reader of the reader
For Example: For Example:
An acceptance letter for an internship position in Aviation Admi An acceptance letter for an internship position in Aviation Administration: nistration:
NOT I look forward to learning about airplanes. NOT I look forward to learning about airplanes.
INSTEAD I look forward to learning about the manufacturing of a INSTEAD I look forward to learning about the manufacturing of aircraft ircraft
and engines and working with marketing divisions of various and engines and working with marketing divisions of various
airlines. airlines.
Tone: Utilize an appropriate
level of difficulty
A Winners Gameplan: Format
n n Block Form Block Form
n n Components Components
uu Personal Address Personal Address
uu Recipient Address Recipient Address
uu Salutation Salutation
uu Body Body
uu Closing Closing
uu Signature Signature
uu Notations Notations
n n Size 12 Size 12
n n Fonts Fonts
uu Times New Roman Times New Roman
uu Helvetica Helvetica
uu Arial Arial
uu Garamond Garamond
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 139

Effective Communication for Colleges, 10 th ed., by Brantley & Miller, 2005 Chapter 9 Slide 21
Resignation Letter
Begin with main idea: confirming your resignation.
If appropriate, provide a brief explanation for your
decision including resignation date and other details.
Maintain goodwill by restating your appreciation for
your work experience at the company.
Your Resignation Letter: How To Have
The Last Word
By T.J. Snaith
In most cases, we recommend that you keep your letter of
resignation concise, formal and polite. Your name, date, the
person it is addressed to, a notice of termination of employ-
ment, when this is effective from and finally, your signature will
suffice. The resignation letter is a formality first and last - you
can expect your boss to read it quickly, acknowledge it and then
file it away with all the other quitters. However, there may be an
occasion when you really, really want to tell your boss some-
thing else.
People leave jobs for a many different reasons: they decide to
continue their career elsewhere, they need more money, theyre
bored of their work, personalities have clashed too often, and
so on. Your own reason for leaving can usually be expressed in
a few sentences, if at all. What were going to deal with here is
how to handle the urge to get something off your chest. How
should your boss be made aware of a problem that he or she
would otherwise fail to notice or refuse to face up to? Weve
seen hundreds of letters that set out with this intention but
which get bogged down in unpleasantries. Its unfortunate that
in these cases the final correspondence with an employer is used
as an opportunity to issue personal abuse, whinge and score
points - a letter of revenge rather than resignation. We never,
ever advocate resorting to this in your own letter. It can only do
you harm.
We also receive letters where the advice if youve nothing good
to say, keep quiet is abandoned with some style. It is possible
to quit your job, say your piece and leave your bridges intact
behind you. If you have any concerns about getting a good
reference (your new job may depend on it), maintaining good
relations with friends who are also colleagues or keeping your
good reputation intact, think about what you commit to paper.
Its simple: keep your criticism constructive, dont get too
personal and if you must express your criticism of an indi-
vidual or department use only civil, businesslike language.
Compare these two extracts from a pair of letters sent to us in
the last few months. The first is from someone who has
decided, reluctantly, to leave his job in the telecommunications
The very fact that we have let our infrastructure erode to such a
level that many systems have become redundant or severely
downgraded through lack of investment and or maintenance
has always perplexed me. This apparent philosophy will always
ensure that we come second best to companies that concentrate
on the fabric and foundations of their business first, thus
ensuring that they have a solid platform to go forward into the
market place.
I hope the company is able to find a formula for success and
move out of this cycle of melancholy and become the brand
leader, which all other companies will use as yardstick within the
industry and so I wish you all the success in the future.
Fair enough - this employee has given his companys predica-
ment a lot of thought and seems to be leaving out of sheer
frustration. He can see how the company should be doing
better. If things improve, he might even be persuaded to
return. Conversely, can you detect a hint, the merest hint of
bitterness in the following extract?
It was bad enough that our 28 year old director has an ego the
size of the corporate debt, but it was completely impossible to
sit through any more of his lectures on sacrificing for the
company as he sat there drawing in over 65k a year doing
nothing but giving wise lectures to more experiences people.
Note to self - its who you know, not WHAT you know.
This second extract doesnt reflect well on the writer - its
personal, anecdotal, smacks of jealousy, bad blood and ill-
temper. The manager in question is probably glad to see this
employee go. It would have been possible to raise the same
concerns with more diplomacy and tact. Yes, the inexperience of
the director and inequity of the pay structure would be fair
game, but bringing up his age is probably unnecessary. The
message is lost amid the bile. That last extract is relatively mild
in its personal attack compared to others we have received.
Sometimes an employee goes nuclear and disses everyone they
have ever worked with one by one:
Sally, though not a particularly pleasant human being was a
good manager, but then I supposed she had to take up the
slack for that total dickhead Larry (did you know hes been
falsifying records?) And how those arseholes in human
resources can sleep at night Ill never know...
This is the sort of thing we get sent all the time. We only hope
that theyre beefed up versions of the letter they actually sent.
Its becoming more common to hand in ones notice by email
(we recently heard from someone who had been sacked by
140 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

means of text message). This is doubly dangerous because
there is a misperception that email is more disposable and
therefore less meaningful than a paper letter. On the contrary,
emails are simply easier to retrieve at any moment and easier to
duplicate. Insults and accusations hammered out on a keyboard
and then sent without due care and attention could bring your
career and reputation crashing down - you might even make the
evening news! We published a letter of this type and received a
terse missive from the companys lawyers within three days.
Other firms were begging us to send them a copy, but of
course we had to refuse.
There is a time and place for serious accusations - and its not in
a resignation letter. Another writer thinks about what her letter
says and, after making a number of recommendations about
how the business is run, concludes:
If this rings any bells with anyone in upper management,
maybe some good will come of it.
Bell-ringing and whistle-blowing is an admirable purpose for
your parting shots but think through what you plan to say and
cover your back. So here are our four points for resignation
letter writing:
1. If you have worked up yourself into a lather about quitting,
the chances are that you wont be thinking as clearly as you
would normally. Youll want to say things that, in the cold
light of the future, wont sound as reasonable as they do
today. Theyll make you cringe when you look back at them,
and youll probably make some spelling errors.
2. Dont get personal. If you do, prepare for the possible
consequences which could mean a bad reference,
uncomfortable notice period or punch-ups.
3. Try to adhere to the maxim of remaining
Magnanimous and Dignified throughout.
4. Finally, if you do have some constructive criticism that youd
like to share with your boss before you leave, maybe the best
place to do this would be in the Exit Interview rather than
your resignation letter. Remember that by writing something
down, youre giving it a permanence, which may come back
some day to haunt you.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 141

Learning Outcomes
Honeyour skills on preparingcurriculumvitae, jobapplication
letter, job offer letter and resignation letter.
Students , business communication is a subject which de-
mands a lot of practice classes. Just learning about CVs , job
application letters , offer letters in theory will not help you in
anyway until and unless you put it into practice.
Lets us do 3 small exercises in this lesson.
In an advertisement dated 14
May 2004 in Times of India,
Success Industries has advertised for the post of a management
trainee in the area of HR, Write a letter applying for the job.
Exercise 1: Prepare you curriculum vitae and a job application
Exercise 2: Write a fifteen-word career objective for a job in this
company if the vacancy had been in the area of:
a. Marketing
b. Finance.
c. Operations
Exercise 3: Prepare a job offer letter the company will provide
you if selected.
Resume Goals:
To convince an employer to interview you in under
30 seconds.
To summarize your skills, abilities, and interests in
a clear/concise manner.
To write a resume that is targeted to a certain field
or position.
To target the skills/experience listed in the position
that is being advertised.
The 3 Rs: Research, Research,
v Research Yourself: Assess your skills, abilities, interests.
v Research the Position: Find out what the employer is looking
for so you can tailor your resume to show them you can meet
their needs.
v Research the Organization: Use the Internet or literature in
the FSU Career Center library.
142 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

w Most Common Headings:
- Objective
- Education
- Experience
- Skills
- Summary
w Additional Headings:
Relevant Coursework, Research, Academic Honors & Awards,
Computer/Technical Skills, Languages
Internships, Volunteer Experience, Travel...
Organizational Memberships & Activities, Significant
Experience Highlights, Professional Background, Publications
Resume Styles
w Chronological
-Experiences are in reverse, chronological order
-Good choice if you have solid work history
* Format most widely accepted by employers*
w Functional
-Concentrates on functional skill areas related to your job objective
-Usually focuses on three skill areas or more
-Work history section may only contain job titles
w Combination (Chronological/Functional)
-Has skills, relevant experience , and/or other work experience sections
* Most appropriate for recent grads*
Personal Data
Necessary Info: Name, Address, Zip, Phone, E-mail
Bob A. Cat
Email: bcat0@frostburg, edu
Current: Permanent:
100 Braddock Road 100 Constitution Ave
Frostburg, Maryland 21532 Washington, DC 2000
(301) 687-7000 (555) 776-7890
Also include your personal web-site address if
v A brief description of the position you wish to be
considered for - emphasize how you can help the
v May be stated by the job title, by level or type of
responsibility, in terms of skills you wish to develop,
or a combination of all three.
v Avoid being overly restrictive or vague!
v Examples of Career Objectives
Detail-oriented Business Administration/Finance grad with excellent
team and interpersonal skills seeking analyst position in public or
private sector.
Dynamic public speaker/presenter with advanced technical knowledge
seeking to leverage these strengths as an award-winning computer
instructor into an entry level software position where I can increase
Career Objectives: Be Specific!!!
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 143

Education & Coursework Examples
Bachelor of Science, Wildlife & Fisheries May 2003
Minor, Forestry GPA: 3.5
Frostburg State University
Frostburg, MD
Environmental Planning Ecology Animal Physiology
Forest Science Dendrology Herpetology
Genetics Plant Diseases Hydrology
_____________________________________OR _______________________________________
Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology May 2003
Frostburg State University, Frostburg, MD GPA: 3.5
v Research: Female Eating Disorders and the Media, Attention Deficit Disorder in Elementary
School Students
v Relevant Course Work: Research Methods I&II, Introduction to Counseling, Child and
Adolescent Disorders, behavioral Approaches to Human Problems, Social Psychology, Drugs
and Human Behavior, Health Psychology, Human Cognition
v Titles can be: Skills Summary, Highlight of Qualifications,
Strengths, Abilities.
v Skill sections that can be used: organizational, interpersonal,
managerial, communication, leadership, creative, and computer.
Computer Skills:
- Systems: DOS, Windows, NT
- Software: Microsoft Suite, Netscape
- Database Management: Access, Excel, FoxPro.
Skills Summary:
-Able to utilize communicative abilities to coordinate efforts in a team environment.
- Efficient in organizing and creating group activities to promote cohesiveness and
- Act as leader to communicate delegation of group tasks in order to accomplish
goals established by company.
ExperienceIt All Counts!!!
vExperience can include:
- Jobs, fieldwork, internships, clinical work, student
teaching, volunteering, research or class projects.
- It can be paid or unpaid
vOn your Resume include:
- Job/Experience Title, Company, City, State, No Zip,
vEmphasize Skills/Accomplishments in action
Sample Experiences
Relevant Experience:
Computer Science Tutor September 2001 - May 2003
Student Support Services, Frostburg State University
w Organized and scheduled tutor sessions for 50 students
w Designed practice exercises to help tutees problem solve
Teaching Internship January 2001- May 2001
Meyersdale High School, Meyersdale, PA
w Maintained daily attendance and evaluation records
w Observed daily classroom activities for grades 8 and 9
w Monitored study halls
Summer Volunteer June 1999 - August 2002
Deep Creek State Park, Oakland, MD
w Conducted nature tours for groups of over 50 campers
w Implemented concept of Leave No Trace to park guests and employees to promote
park maintenance
144 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

The Reference Page
References for Bob A. Cat
Name of Reference
Job Title
Name of Organization
Work Phone Number
E-mail Address
* 3-5 references is an appropriate amount. Remember to ask
people whom you know will provide a good reflection of you and
in a timely manner. Remember to provide copies of your
resume and send thank you notes!
Resume Checklist
v Length: (Depends on Industry)
- One page for recent graduates
- Two for experienced candidates
v Layout/Appearance: (Professional)
- Neat, concise, easy to read,
- Balance of text and white space
- Use of bolds, underlines, different fonts
- Absolutely NO spelling/grammar errors
v Content: (Dynamic, Persuasive)
- Action-oriented verbs, emphasize skills
- Grammar, present/past tense
- Lead w/ strengths/accomplishments
Electronic Resumes
w Employers now search a database, using
keywords. (i.e. an employer will type in business
major into the database and look at hits )
w Resister with
and view your resume.
w Guidelines if it will be scanned or uploaded from
- Choose keywords and place in order of importance
- Choose basic fonts
- Avoid italics, graphics, underlines, bolds
- Light colored paper is best
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 145

By the end of this lesson you should be able to
Explain thepurposeof memos, circulars and notes
Understandthestructureof memos, circulars andnotes.
Tips on preparation of memos, circulars andnotes.
Students , today we will learn about the importance of memo-
randums, circulars and preparing notes. Along with this now a
days organizations are more comfortable using emails as the
primary tool of communication (refer to lesson 4 ). Lets start by
Why Memos?
Affectionately called a memo this is a written communication
from one person to another (or a group of people) within the
same organization. Memos serve a variety of purposes:
To inform of decisions
To request decisions, actions, etc
To provide information of any kind
To remind someone of action required.
Preparing a Memo
Memos standard form of communication in many public
and are anonprofit organizations. Memos are often used
to help decision makers:
understand the critical issues requiring their attention
recognize what are available
what a staff recommendation is and
4) what the basis or support for your recommendation is.

It helps if you follow a fairly fixed pattern when
preparing memos. For example, it is often useful to
summarize the main issues and recommended course
of action in the first paragraph rather than making the
reader wait until the end of the memo (it isn't a
mystery novel). A useful structure (subject, of course,
to variation and adaptation when appropriate) for these
memo assignments:

State the issue/ problem as clearly as
possible: Trying to state the issue or problem as
a one-sentence statement is a useful habit to get
into. When necessary, this can be followed by a
brief explanation or clarification (no more than a
paragraph or two). If more than one issue is
presented, use bullets to summarize and then
explain in more detail in subsequent paragraphs.
If extensive background is required, you would
use an attachment;

Major issues that must be addressed or
solved: Many times significant issues will be
implicit rather than explicit and are linked to
larger policy and management issues. Part of
your task is to point out the significance of the
larger issues.

Identify relevant alternative courses of
action: There are always at least two options
(taking no action is always an alternative). Limit
the number of options but be sure to cover the
full range of choices;

Evaluate the alternatives: Be sure to critique
the relative strengths and weaknesses of the
options and make a balanced presentation to the
decision maker (remember that he/ she may
prefer an alternative course of action); and,

Recommend a specific course of action: Be
sure to clearly state the recommended course of
actions and the consequences you expect to flow
from the selected course of action.

Remember that the point of analyzing cases is to draw
out the pertinent issues, some of which will be implicit
rather than explicit, and link them to broader
management and/ or policy issues. It does not mean
that you simply rehash the facts of the case or
summarize what has occurred. That will get you a
poor grade on these assignments. Instead, you are
asked to analyze a situation and present your
recommendation for a specific course of action. You
should then use the facts and examples from the case
or other readings to support your analysis and
conclusions. It is also important that you are specific
when analyzing issues and presenting your
recommendations such that they are communicated

The four point plan for structuring all business documents
should also be applied to memos.
Subject heading
Give a brief indication of the topic, for eg:
Confirmation of meeting - Incorrect
Departmental meeting, 20 June - Correct
Letter of complaint - Incorrect
Kodak Camera model X345 - Correct
Main body of memo
Introduction Background information
146 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

+ briefly give the reason for writing
+ refer to previous communication
+ who? What? Where? When?
Details Facts and Figures
+ logical sequence
+ separate into paragraphs - each
one dealing with a separate aspects
of the main theme
Response An action statement:
+ action you want the reader to take
+ action you will take
+ deadline ?
Close A relevant one liner.


To Tripta Kaur, Administration Assistant

From Maggie Ong. Executive Secretary

Ref MO/ ST

Date 12 July 2000


Congratulations on recently joining the staff in the Chief Executives
office. Here are some general guidelines on the format of
correspondence preferred in this office:




All documents should be displayed in the fully blocked style with open
punctuation. Some specimen documents are attached which will guided you
in these requirements.


On outgoing letters the Chief Executive prefers his name and title in lower
case with initial capitals, ie

Peter Nunn
Chief Executive

On some personal letters, no salutation or complimentary close will be
required, but Mr Nunn will usually give instructions about this.


When items need to be numbered they should be typed alone with no full
stop or bracket. Subsequent enumeration should be decimal, eg 3.1, 3.2, etc.
Use these standard
headings and align all
the details neatly

Dont forgot
and date

Leave 3/ 4 line spaces
before the heading
(but dont put Re!)

Separate the body
into paragraphs, using
numbered points and
sub-headings if

No complimentary
close is necessary

Leave a space here for
the sender to sign or
initial the memo

Dont forget Encs

I hope that these guidelines will be useful but if you have any questions please
speak to me.


As you most likely know your recipients fairly well, memos are
usually written in an information style. You should aim to put
over your message as concisely as possible while still being
courteous , clear, concise and correct. The major consideration in
composing memos should be the status of the sender and
recipient in the organization, and of course the topic of the
memo. Try to adopt a tone which reflects these factors.
Avoid being abrupt or impolite (add Please..)
Avoid over- politeness (do not say I should be very grateful
Avoid unnecessary expressions (do not say Thank you or
Warm Regards)
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 147

A circular letter is one which is sent out to many people at the
same time. The letter may be prepared once only and then
duplicated . With modern technology , however , it is more
likely that each letter could be personalized to look like an
original . Circular letters may be sent for many reasons:
Introduce a new product / service
Open a new branch
Change of address
Seasonal discounts

Reference and date
(month and year only)

Use singular expressions
here (not students)

Use individual
in the body, i.e. you
all of you or you all

Yours sincerely
may be used

MM/ et

November 2000

Dear Student

I thought you might like to keep this example showing the correct layout of a
circular letter.

A circular may be sent to all customers of a company announcing
something new, eg

a move of premises
2. introduction of new goods/ services
3. a forthcoming sale or special event

Internally a senior executive may send out a circular letter to all employees. This
is sometimes called an Open Letter.

Although a circular letter will be sent to many people, the term you is used in the
body of the letter. Never use the wording all of you or all customers. Remember
that only one person will read each letter so it must be worded in a personal

Not that as many copies are required it may take a while to print out all the
letters, so only the month and year are shown in the date.

I hope this example is useful to you.

Yours sincerely

Manish Malhotra
Training Consultant

Increase in price, etc
The tone of the circular is always in the form of a request
instead of a command. It needs to have a heading, date, and
circular no and signed by the authorized person.
When writing a circular letter remember these important
Keep it brief, otherwise it may not be read
Ensure the letter is informative and direct
Use individual terms, e.g. you and not you
148 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Circular with Tearof f Slip

Line of hyphens and
symbol separate main
from tear-off portion

Include date for return
and name/ address

Heading will probably
be the same as the main

Keep it simple and

Use double spacing for
the section to be

Use this footnote
when appropriate

" ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please return by 28 November 2000 to Mr Preeti Arora
Sales Manager
Arora Holdings (Asia) Pte Ltd
Peak Towers
210 Peak Road


I shall/ shall not* be able to attend the Cocktail Evening to mark the opening of
your new showroom at 1930 on Wednesday 18 December.

Signature . Date

Name (in capitals)


Telephone Fax

* Please delete where appropriate

Writing Notes
Sandeep applied to a housing finance company for a house loan
of Rs. 5,00,000. He deposited the relevant application form, his
income-tax returns for last three year, proof of his residence,
and estimated cost of the house, which he was going to buy.
Sudhakar, the loan officer reviewed all these papers. He found
that as per the Sandeeps income scale he is entitled to the
maximum of Rs. 4 lac loan. Henoted on the file that intimate
Sandeep that he is entitled to Rs. 4 lac loan only, and marked
this note in the name of his junior for action. This note was an
order of Sudhakar for his junior. He intimated the same to
Sandeep. Sandeep met Sudhakar and convinced him that his
salary is going to increase in one month time, which would
make him entitled to Rs. 5 lac loan. Sudhakar agreed in principle
but he had no power to sanction this amount. Sudhakar
prepareda note detailing all the relevant matter about Sandeeps
case, and recommended Rs. 5 Lac loan in the note. He put up
this note in the Board meeting. The Board approved the note.
This approval note became part of the file papers. Now
Sudhakar again wrotea note, Rs. 5 lac loan may be sanctioned as
per Boards approval via note.. And marked the file to legal
department for completing other legal formalities.
Officenotes arewritten remarks recordedon a paper under consider-
ation tofacilitateits disposal In fact noting is the way by which
the concerned officer gives his suggestion or decision on the
given problem/ project. This is widely used in public sector
A note may consist of precis of all relevant papers (like
Sudhakars note put up before the Board contain summary of
Sandeeps case), a statement or analysis of the question
regarding the given case, suggestion, or order (like Sudhakar
ordered his assistant to send an intimation of the relevant
decision to Sandeep).
Characteristics of a Good Note
1. A note should be concise and to the point.
2. It should be deterministic, conveying decision of the note
maker clearly.
3. It is to be assumed that the officer to whom the case is
submitted will read the paper under consideration and the
previous notes, if any. The reproduction of verbatim (copy)
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 149

of extracts from the attached papers is not required. Just give
4. It Should be written in a courteous language free from
personal remarks.
5. If any information to be included in the note a very lengthy,
it should be incorporated in a separate statement, and can be
referred to as appendix to the note.
6. The note must be signed by its maker with his name and
designation below it.
It must be clearly marked to another person or department for
further action.
Ef f ective Note Taking
Note Taking is a Skill
This takes understanding of what youre doing
It takes practice, which involves effort
Note Taking is Dif f icult Because
Spoken language is more diffuse than written
Speakers organisation is not immediately apparent
Immediate feedback seldom occurs
Spoken language is quick, and does not exist for long
This makes analysis difficult
Four Purposes For Note Taking
Provides a written record for review
Forces the listener to pay attention
Requires organisation, which involves active effort on the
part of the listener
Listener must condense and rephrase, which aids
Physical Factors
Near the front and centre
Vision is better
Hearing is better
Avoid distractions
Doorways, window glare, etc.
Two pens
Ink easier to read
You have a reserve
Wide-lined, easy-eye paper
Conference/ Meeting date, and topic clearly labelled
May use dividers
Plenty of blank paper in back
Bef ore Taking Notes
Prepare yourself mentally
Be sure of your purpose and the speakers purpose
They may not be the same
Review your notes and other background material
Review your reading assignment
Reading should be done BEFORE class
Think through what has happened in the class to date
Generate enthusiasm and interest
Increased knowledge results in increased interest
A clear sense of purpose on your part will make the
course content more relevant
Acting as if you are interested can help
Dont let the personality or mannerisms of a speaker put
you off
What, not how, is important
Be ready to understand and remember
Anticipate what is to come, and evaluate how well you were
able to do this
We learn from failure
Decide How Much You are Going to Do
Are notes necessary?
Dont be lulled into a sense of security by an effective
Hearing a thing once is not enough. Memory requires Review
and Understanding
While Taking Notes
Dont try for a verbatim transcript
Get all of the main ideas
Record some details, illustrations, implications, etc.
But remember that the speaker may serve as a model
Integrate with other knowledge you already have
But dont allow preconceived notions to distort what you
are hearing
Use form to indicate relative importance of items
Underscore or star major points
Leave plenty of white space for later additions
Note speakers organisation of material
Organisation aids memory
Organisation indicates gaps when they occur
Be accurate
Listen carefully to what is being said
Pay attention to qualifying words like sometimes, usually,
rarely, etc.
Notice signals that a change of direction is coming but,
however, on theother hand
Be an aggressive, not a passive, listener
Ask questions and discuss if its permitted
If not, jot questions in your notes
Seek out meanings. Look for implications beyond
what is being said
150 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Develop a suitable system of mechanics
Jot down words or phrases, not entire sentences
Develop some system of shorthand and be consistent
in its use (e.g. Hr s sntnc wth vwls lft t - Here is a
sentence with vowels left out!)
Leave out small service words
Use contractions and abbreviations
Use symbols +, =, &, @
Try to get the hang of listening and writing at the same
time. It can be done.
You may practice listening to the news on TV and
taking notes
Af ter Taking Notes
Review and reword them as soon as possible
You should consider this in scheduling your work load
Dont just recopy or type without thought
Reminiscing may provide forgotten material later
Rewrite incomplete or skimpy parts in greater detail
Fill in gaps as you remember points heard but not
Arrange with another colleague to compare notes or
debrief if appropriate
Find answers to any questions remaining unanswered
Write a brief summary of the event
We forget 50% of what we hear immediately; two
months later, another 25% is gone. Relearning is rapid if
regular review is used
Compare the information in your notes with your own
Dont swallow everything uncritically
Dont reject what seems strange or incorrect. Check it out.
Be willing to hold some seeming inconsistencies in your
mind over a period of time
Make meaningful associations
Sharpen your note taking technique by looking at your
colleagues notes. How are they better than your own? How
are your notes superior?
Practice those skills you wish to develop
TLQR Note Taking Technique
Listening takes energy
Listening effectively requires you to get intellectually involved.
Try to focus your attention and forget about other work
issues or distractions
Look & Listen
Look at the speaker
Mannerisms will give extra clues
Looking helps focus attention
Listen to the speaker
Be selective. Some things are more important than others.
Be alert for speaker emphasis through
Tone or gesture
Use of cue words such as remember, most important,
Illustration on board
Reference to text
Note especially new words and ideas
Note especially those ideas which conflict with your own
picture of the world
Odd ideas are difficult to understand initially and
require extra effort
You remember things which support your existing
concepts, and forget those things which disagree
Nothing will generate interest so much as an appropriate
Unusual or different ideas will be difficult to understand
initially and will require extra effort since you have a tendency
to remember what you accept and forget what you disagree
Glance back over material from time to time to see if a
pattern is emerging, if consistency is being maintained, etc.
If possible, clarify points during or after the meeting/ talk
Give the speaker a reasonable chance to make the point
Avoid sidetracking the speaker. You are the loser when
this occurs
Some Specimen Notes
Consider the, case of Sandeep taken up by Sudhakar. The note
put up by him before the Board is as follows:
Mr. Sandeep Aggarwal has applied for a house loan of Rs.
5,00,000. His present salary is Rs. 4 lac per annum. As per our
rules, the maximum loan we can give to a person for housing is
equal to his annual salary. Thus he is eligible for a maximum
loan amount of Rs. 4 lac as on today.
All other credentials of Mr. Sandeep Aggarwal has been
checked, and they are found in accordance with our rules.
Mr. Sandeep Aggarwal met me and showed me his salary
increment order. From one month hence that order would be
effective, and his annual salary would become Rs. 5.25 lac. A
copy of his increment letter is attached as annexure I.
In my opinion, we can give him Rs. 5 lac house loan, because
the main reason of the said clause is to ensure the repayment
capacity of the loanee. Since we have a confirmed proof of
increase in his annual income within one month, and it will take
us one months time to process the loan papers, we may
consider the case for sanction.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 151

Sd/ -
-Sudhakar Sinha
Finance officer
Chairman, Board
Hints of Creating Your Own
Abbreviations and Symbols
Abbreviation involves using shortened versions of words to
represent the complete form of the word. Symbols, such as our
alphabet, are abstract representations of some word or idea.
Shorthand makes use of both abbreviations and symbols. The
gleaning strategy involves representing the main ideas of a book
(or meeting) in shorthand version. With gleaning, vowels are
omitted, words are shortened, and symbols are used to
represent the main ideas of the text.
These strategies are useful in note taking because they allow one
to write more quickly, once symbols and shorthand systems
have been internalised.
Directions for using abbreviations, symbols, and shorthand
when taking notes are summarised below.
Use standard maths, accounting, and science symbols.
+ plus
/ / parallel
Use standard abbreviations and leave out full stops.
eg example
IT dept Information Technology department
UK United Kingdom
Use only the first syllable of a word. Examples:
mar marketing
cus customer
cli client
Use the entire first syllable and the first letter of the second
syllable. Examples:
subj subject
budg budget
ind individual
To distinguish among various forms of the same word, use
the first syllable of the word, an apostrophe, and the ending
of the word. Examples:
techgy technology
genion generalisation
dely delivery
Use just enough of the beginning of a word to form a
recognisable abbreviation. Examples:
assoc associated
ach achievement
info information
Omit vowels from the middle of words, retaining only
enough consonants to provide a recognisable skeleton of the
word. Examples:
bkgd background
mvmt movement
prblm problem
Form the plural of a symbol or abbreviated word by adding
s. Examples:
custs customers
fs frequencies
/ s ratios
Use g to represent ing endings. Examples:
decrg decreasing
ckg checking
estblg establishing
Spell out, rather than abbreviate short words. Examples:
Leave out unimportant verbs. Examples:
Leave out unnecessary articles. Examples:
If a term, phrase, or name is initially written out in full
during the talk or meeting, initials can be substituted
whenever the term, phrase, or name is used again. Example:
January Advertising Campaign Budget JACB
Use symbols for common connective or transition words.
@ at
2 to
4 for
& and
w/ with
w/ o without
vs against
Create your own set of abbreviations and symbols. You may
wish to develop separate sets of symbols and abbreviations
for different courses or subjects.
Other Symbols and Abbreviations
as a result of / consequences of <>
resulting in >
and / also +
equal to / same as =
following ff
most importantly *
less than <
greater than >
especially esp
152 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y



What is a memo?
When Should I write a memo?
How should I do it?


Choose a template: fill in the heading information

Organize the sections of your message into these

- the main information
supporting information
- contact/follow up requests


When you need to communicate with someone you
work with

When you distribute specific information such as :

a new project/ development
a progress report
a recommendation
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 153

This practiceclass will giveyou tips on preparinga memoandwill
alsohelpyou practiceyou skills in preparinga circular with a tear
off slip.
How to Write Memos!
Excerpted from
Quick, Take This Memo
by Neil Chesanow
The Washington Post 9/ 17/ 87
I love being a writer, quipped novelist Peter Devries, What I
cant stand is the paper work.
When it comes to writing memos, most business people would
agree. Mounting evidence shows that memos may be small, but
they give big headaches to everyone from secretaries to corporate
officers. They are hard to write quickly and clearly, are like War
and Peace to read, require Miss Marple to figure out, and, if
written in the wrong tone of voice, can make the nicest people
sound heartless.
In the office as well as out, your personality is often judged by
how you write. Muddled memos can cost you dearly in career
advancement. Communication skills are a top priority for
business leadership often more important than financial,
marketing and technical know-how. To keep getting raises and
promotions, experts like Van Skiver and Booher say you need
to literally write your own ticket. Heres how:
What is a Memo?
What its not is a school essay. A memo is a written document
that stays inside the company; if it goes outside, its a letter. A
memo is also short. Most experts say two pages should be tops
after which a memo starts to turn into a report. If you can
boil down even a two-page memo to two paragraphs that take
up only a half page and still convey the same facts, you get an
A+ in business. Equally important, memos are written to get
someone to do or understand somethingbe it to spend
money, meet a deadline, constructively criticize, or say yes or no.
Get Personal
Use words like I, you, and we. Its a lot more human to say, I
would like you to do this. To get action, write in the active, not
the passive, voice.
Be Conversational
Write the way you talk. Use contractions, says Holly Church, a
business consultant who trains Fortune 500 executives. You
probably say Im happy more often than you say I am
Dont Show Off
Avoid scholarly words, technical jargon, and just plain gibberish
like as per your request when you simply mean Heres what
you wanted. Or how about this: R & D wants your input
because temporal considerations are of primary importance.
Translation: Our research people need your answer today.
Avoid Smothered Words
Van Skiver explains that these are simple root words with fancy
endings tacked on to puff them up. Favorites are tion,
ance, ent, ment, ize and ility. For example: The
continuation of our issuance of incentives is dependent upon
the prioritization by employees of company objectives.
Loosely translated: If you want to keep getting incentives,
meet company goals.
If Youre Not Sure, Check
If theres an error in the memo, it will probably be in names,
dates, or numbers, cautions Booher, and such mistakes may
cost you dearly. One of Boohers clients, an oil company, was
sued by the families of two employees killed in an on-site
accident. A specialist on the scene said that the company was to
blame, but when the specialist described the incident on paper,
he got the date wrong. This cast doubt on his credibility
regarding everything he said he had witnessed, and the upshot
was the company settled out of court.
Dont Be Trite
One hackneyed expression Booher sees regularly is, Were sorry
for any inconvenience this may have caused you, which just
sends people up the wall, she says.
Nothing could be more insincere.
Please dont hesitate to call is another phrase that gets no
results and turns people off. A more sincere ending is, If you
need help, Im available. Give me a call.
Visualize the Reader
Memos are usually written from the writers point of view, not
the readers. Yet the reader usually has to do something when
receiving a memo, and, not being a psychic, he is often not sure
what it is. Experts suggest you pretend youre having a face-to-
face discussion or a telephone conversation with the memo
Make the Bottom Line the Top Line
Memos often begin with a statement of a problem, proceed to
discuss why the problem exists, suggest a course of action, and
conclude with something wishy-washy, like I would like to
hear from you soon. The action you want the reader to take
should be spelled out in the first line (or at least the first
Dont Give Too Many Whys
Its necessary to explain why you want something done, but
dont overdo it. One expert cautions that a reader can probably
only absorb no more than six or seven reasons at once. If you
must cite more whys, put them on a separate sheet of paper,
and staple the sheets together. This way, the basic memo
message doesnt get lost in a sea of details.
154 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Keep Paragraphs Short
Limit each paragraph to five lines or less. Put each reason in a
separate paragraph rather than bunching them up in a forbid-
ding 20-line block of type.
Close with a Call to Action
Many memos dont close with anything, leaving the reader
hanging. If you want a response by Friday at 3 p.m., say so
You work for Healthy Life, a magazine which is published
monthly . Write a circular letter which may be sent to all
subscribers of the magazine informing that their subscription is
due to expire . State the last issue they will receive. These readers
can renew their subscription for the special annual subscription
price for six bi-monthly issues of only Rs 300.
If they renew now they will receive an exclusive discount card
which entitles them to 10% off selected health farms and
supplements available from Healthy Life Healthy Stores; 15%
Discount at all Green Cuisine cafs ; 20% off allergy testing at
Scanhealth Ltd (further details about this in next months issue)
Design a circular, which includes a tear-off potion for readers to
send back to you with their subscription. Compose any details
which you feel are needed.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 155

Upon completion of this lesson you will beableto:
Discuss theroleandimportanceof reports in business environment.
Understandtheroleof report planning.
Implement thetips given thelesson whilepreparingreports.
Students, reports are an integral part in a written communica-
tion. You need to know what are reports, its types and to
understand the need of report planning. Lets start by knowing
what does the term report mean?
A report is a presentation and summation of facts and figures
either collated or derived. It is a logical and coherent structuring
of information, ideas and concepts. As a neatly structured piece
of work, the report, for greater ease in comprehension, is
segregated into various sections. Understanding the important
of these sections, coupled with logical conjoining of the various
parts, results in a well written and presented report.
Five Ws and One H
Prior to commencing work on a report, a few queries should be
raised by the report-writer and satisfactorily answered. This
enables the writer to produce a highly focused report. The
queries centre on the five Ws and the one H.
What is the problem? What is it that needs to be ascertained?
Clarity along these lines helps in eliminating any redundancies
that might crop up. Identification of the genesis of the
problem helps in streamlining the approach. The problem
could, for instance, be one that has to determine the cause for
the decrease in sales.
Why is the issue important? What is its relevance and signifi-
cance to the department in specific, and organization in general?
The issue is important because a decrease in sales is a cause for
concern to the entire organization. Strategies need to be chalked
out for redemption of the situation.
Why (purpose) should the problem be analyzed? What are the
benefits that will accrue as a result of this particular report-to the
department, the organization, and the self? The report would
probably lead to a suggestion of various strategies that could be
implemented. This, in turn, would, as suggested in the report,
lead to increase in sales.
Who is involved in the situation? This could take into account
both the reader(s) and the writer. In case there is a third party
involved, it would also account for that. Who is going to be my
reader? With a change in the reader, a change is visible in the
manner of approach in the report. The marketing and the
production department people would probably be the readers
in this particular case.
Further, when did the trouble start? In case it is an analytical
report, one would also need to address oneself to the source
and time of the problem before reaching any conclusion. This
would entail tracing in brief the downward curve of the sales
graph. It may be asked: When am I going to write the report?
The time factor is very important. Chalking out or revision of
strategies should be done prior to the marketing season or
entrance of new players in the market.
Wherewould the reader be at the time when he receives the
report? Would the reader read the report in a meeting so as to
provide information on the causes for decrease in sales or read it
within the confines of his room? There would definitely be a
difference in the manner of approach. Finally, howwould the
report be written? What information is to be included and what
is to be excluded Which graphs and charts would be used/
avoided? All these queries need to be satisfied before
beginning a report. They give the report a particular direction
and help the writer to concentrate on the acceptability of the
report by the audience to which it is aimed.
Let us take a look at a project report to be prepared by a financial
institution. In a report such as this, queries of the following
nature could be raised:
Why - Why should project A be supported?
What - What is the justification of a loan for project A?
Who - Who would read the report? Would it act as precedence
for further similar loans to be sanctioned? Or would it remain
just one of the usual reports written within a standard format?
Answers to these queries would also bring about a change in
the writing style.
When - When would the loan be sanctioned? Is the report
being written close to the time of sanctioning of the loan, or is
it merely an informative one, providing information on the
various factors leading to the sanctioning of the loan?
Where - Where would the report be read? The degree of
formality or provision of details would vary in response to
these queries.
How-If the sanctioning of the loan is important, persuasive
language can be used to get the ideas and message across. All
details should be provided and meticulous care should be taken
to ensure that nothing unwarranted is included.
Report Planning
The planning stage is the most crucial one. Spend as much time
as possible in collecting material, synchronizing details, and
ensuring that nothing has been left out. If the planning is
done in a detailed manner, there are very few chances of missing
out errors at the final stage. In fact, planning for a report is as
important as the process of writing itself. The various steps
involved in report planning are as follows:
1. Define the problem,and the purpose.
The problem and purpose had already been identified at the
stage when the answers to the question what and why were
attempted. It is essential at this stage to understand the
nature of the report whether it is informational or analytical.
In an informational report the writer would stress factors
contributing to collation of information at the time of
stating the purpose. However, in an analytical report the
writer would need to prepare a problem statement, the
analysis of which becomes the thrust area of the report.
With a variance in the type of the report, there is bound to
be a difference in the definition of the problem and purpose.
2. Outline the issues for investigation.
In a problem solving or analytical report, all issues pertaining
to the problem need to behighlighted in the initial stage.
None of the alternatives or variables should be ignored or
sidetracked. Once the issues have been clarified, delineation
of the points becomes easier. Further, if the report is of an
informational nature, all issues to be exemplified need to be
outlined. Even the methodology adopted for
exemplification has to be understood. There should be a
basic pattern that has to be observed and it should clearly
emerge in the reading of the report.
3. Prepare a work-plan.
What is the best procedure to collect the data? How should
the writer proceed? What are the strategies that need to be
observed? These are a few of the questions that need to be
well answered before taking the final plunge into conducting
research on the topic.
4. Conduct research, analyze and interpret.
The modus operandi at the time of conducting research
should be well examined. This should, however, be taken
care of at the stage of preparing a work-plan. The manner in
which research is conducted is contingent upon the problem
defined in the initial phase of report writing. Once the
research has been conducted, begins the process of analysis
and the subsequent interpretation, which happen to be the
toughest parts in report making. An attempt should be
made to bring about accuracy in the analysis and make the
interpretation objective and unbiased, as far as possible.
5. Draw conclusions.
Subsequent to the stage of interpretation of data, certain
conclusions need to be drawn and recommendations or
suggestions made. This comprises the last stage of the
report and the tone of it is determined by the position held
by the report writer. For instance, if it is a report being
written by a subordinate, he can only make suggestions.
However, if it is one being written by superiors, it would
definitely have in the terminal section a rather well developed
part comprising recommendations.
Types of Reports
Basically there are two types of reports:
1. Informational
2. Analytical
Broadly speaking, both types of reports contain similar
components in terms of,
structure or organisation. The three major sections in a report
1. Introduction
2. Text
3. Terminal section
However, there is a major difference in the structuring of these
three sections. This stems primarily from the nature of the task
attempted in the two different types of reports.
Inf ormational Report
An informational report, as the name suggests, entails provi-
sion of all details and facts pertaining to the problem. For
instance, it could be a report that attempts to trace the growth
of Company X in the automobile industry. In a report of this
kind, the presentation of all details that led to the growth of
Company X should be listed in a chronological order.
The sequential arrangement of issues or topics in an informa-
tional report could observe anyone of the following ways of
presentation. It could be, as stated earlier, by
Sequence/ procedure
As the presentation of information is the basic purpose of the
report, details are worked out in a systematic and coherent
manner. The structural orientation in an informational report
should be clearly evident to the reader and its significance also
In a report of this kind, the various sections are simple and self-
explanatory. The introduction is followed by a presentation of
information or facts and a summary thereafter where all the
details are collated in brief for a recall or recap of earlier sections.
Hints and Tips on Business Report
Questions to ask when designing your report
Who is your audience?
What does your audience know?
What do you want them to know?
Conclusions (recommendations)
Design Issues
Each fact is in its logical place
Relationship of each fact to other facts and to overall report
is clear
Inductive order - moving from known to unknown
Orientation (introduction)
Facts (perhaps including their analysis)
Summary or conclusion
Report Components
Table of Contents
Show beginning page number where each
report heading appears
Connect page numbers with leaders (spaced
Deductive Order - start with conclusions, then present
support facts and analysis. Often preferred for short reports.
Chronological Order - combine with one of the above, but
list facts in chronological order
Organization by Division
Division by time period (e.g., quarter)
Division by place (e.g., sales region)
Division by quantity (e.g., sales by categories of
Division by conceptual factors (e.g., worker availability,
transportation facilities, etc.)
More than just making it pretty, good presentation makes
your document more understandable.
It is highly related to the organization of the document.
A well-designed document
Creates an immediate positive impression for the reader,
Highlights the major topics of the document
Helps the reader read effectively (faster and more efficiently).
Elements of Design
For helping the reader find a topic or component
Making transitions
establish order
can use multiple levels of headings
Variations in fonts can be used to set off pieces of text
(headings, quotes, etc.)
Do not get carried away with use of fonts - too
Indentation and justification
As with headings and subheadings, can be used to show
relationship/ hierarchy of topics
Excellent for lists
Excellent for emphasis
Make sure they use parallel structure (i.e., text in each is
worded similarly)
Tables - Used to list values of at least two variables - excellent
for comparison
Pie charts - how parts relate to the whole
Bar graphs - for comparing values, showing trends
Line graphs - for showing trends
Illustrations and photographs
Checklist f or Business Reports
Grammar and Spelling
Is the writing grammatically correct?
Is the document free of typographical errors and
Is the document ordered in a logical way?
Are the parts of the document logically separated from each
other (good), or do the same issues appear unnecessarily in
multiple parts of the document (bad)?
Do the subparts logically fit under this major part?
Does each paragraph and section show unity of purpose?
Is the purpose of the document introduced appropriately?
Content Issues
Is the analysis covered sufficiently to allow the reader to
follow your logic?
Are facts and opinions clearly distinguished?
Is the style of writing appropriate to your audience and
Has information been presented in a clearly understandable
manner, using tables and graphs as appropriate?
Are headings and bullets used appropriately?
158 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Report Components
Executive Summary
One of most important parts of report
Synopsis (overview) of report
Concentrate on what management needs to know
Report Components
Executive Summary
Organized same as report
Style and tone same as report
Avoid unexplained jargon/abbreviations
Do not refer to figures/tables presented later
Should not contain exhibits or footnotes
Include headings/make skimmable
Use transitional words
Length should be generally 1/10 of whole report
Executive summaries should be
the last pieces of reports to be
written since they are the most
important sections of the reports!
Report Components
Explain problem motivating report
Describe its background and significance
Clarify scope and limitations of report
Describe data sources, methods, key terms
Close by previewing reports organization
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 159

Report Components
Discuss, analyze, interpret research findings
Arrange findings in logical segments following
Use clear, descriptive headings/skimmable
Report Components
Make recommendations on suggested action to
be taken
Report Components
All items must be referred to in the text and
listed on the table of contents
Items of interest to some, but not all, readers
For example, data questionnaires or computer
Report Components
List all references in section called Works
Cited or References
Include all text, online, and live sources
Follow style manual for citing sources
160 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Other Specifics on Report
Single- or double-spaced
About 2500 words (not counting appendix)
Tables of Contents will help you organize
and write reportwrite early!
Headings of same level must be consistent
First, second, third levels
Same-level headings must be written consistently!
(For example)
Level 2: Centered Upper-case and Lower-case
Level 3: Centered, Underlined, Upper-case and Lower-case
Level 4: Flush left, Underlined, Upper-case
and Lower-case
Level 5: Indented, underlined, lower-case paragraph
heading ending with a period.
Visual Aids
1. Introduce
2. Label/Number/Informative Title
3. Discuss
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 161

Upon completion of this lesson you will
Learn about various types of reports andtheir structures.
Knowthedifferencebetween an analytical report andan informational
Learn about theusageof visual aids in reports
Students , this is a continuation of lesson 23 wherein we will
study about different types of reports and their structure.
Types of Reports and Their Structure
Types Structure

Informational _ Introduction
Terminal section

Analytical Terminal section
Analytical Report
The analytical report comprises stages in which there is a proper
identification of the problem, analysis and subsequent interpre-
tation. Recommendations or suggestions are then incorporated
in the report, depending upon what is required by the report
writer. Thus, in a problem solving method, the steps observed
are as follows
1. Draft Problem Statement
2. Evolve criteria
3. Suggest alternatives and evaluation
4. Draw conclusion(s) and make recommendations
The structure of an analytical report could follow any of the
two patterns deductive or inductive. An inductive ordering
follows a simple, logical arrangement in which you proceed
from the known to the unknown. There are two premises or
syllogisms that conjoin to yield a final conclusion, e.g.
Syllogism 1 Ram is a man and he is mortal.
Syllogism 2 Shyam is a man and he is mortal.
Syllogism 3 ....................................................
Syllogism n, ...
Conclusion Therefore, all men are mortal
One could formulate umpteen number of syllogisms to reach a
final conclusion, which is always based on the number of
experiments conducted, or factors observed. Certain disciplines,
in which experiments have to be done and surveys conducted ,
naturally follow this pattern. Here the progression is always in
the nature of working on the known elements to arrive at an
unknown conclusion.
However, inductive patterning, while normally followed for
organization based studies and experiments, suffers from a
major drawback. As it is not based on any universal truth, it
holds valid only up to the point there is discovery of an issue
that proves contrary to the findings in the report. It is by nature
only relevant in the present and no universal claims to the same
can be made. .
On the other hand, a deductive ordering observes a reverse
ordering where it proceeds from the unknown to the known.
Universal truths are taken as the formulation point for the
problem. The various alternatives are suggested, evaluated and
conclusions drawn, keeping in mind the original problem
stated. To take a look at the manner of approach in deductive
methodology, let us take an example.
Conclusion All men are
Syllogism 1 Ram is a man
and he is mortal
Syllogism 2 Shyam is a man
and he is mortal
Syllogism 3
Sy1logism n

While in an inductive method the pattern of the report would

normally fo1low the sequence of introduction, text and
terminal section, in deductive method the structure could also
be of a slightly different pattern. It could start with the terminal
section in which conclusions and recommendations are stated at
the start fo1lowed by an introduction and the text section. This
pattern would be observed if the report is of high importance
and the receiver does not have the time to browse through the
entire report. Merely a glance at the initial pages would enable
the reader to assess the contents. Such readership would only be
concerned with the conclusions and recommendations/
suggestions or plan of action.
162 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Dif f erent Styles of Opening a Report
Inductive Approach Deductive Approach
The automobile sector in India
seems to have made tremendous
headway in the last ten years.
Company X has produced three
models of cars. However, with
the entry of new players in the
market the company is facing
stiff competition. There is also a
slump in the market with
excessive production and
insufficient demand. The current
study analyses the growth
prospects of Company X vis--
vis its competitors.

The study focuses attention on
following three questions:
1. Who are the competitors?
2. Will Company X be able to
face stiff
competition from other
3. What are the prospects of
growth? The report attempts to

The automobile sector in India
seems to have made tremendous
headway in the last ten years.
Company X has produced three
models of cars. However, with
the entry of new players in the
market, Company X is facing stiff
competition. There is also a
slump in the market with
excessive production and
insufficient demand. The current
study analyses the growth
prospects of Company X vis--vis
its competitors. It can easily be
concluded that:

1. Company X is facing severe
competition from Companies Y
and Z.
2. Unless and until Company X
brings down its price to match
that of the competitors, it will not
be able to corner a substantial
market share.
It is recommended that an
additional f
feature such as power steering be
introduced as an extra facility or a
reasonable reduction in price be
carried out.
Further, it is recommended that
Company X target students
pursuing professional courses
with a lowered price and basic
strip down model so that it
appeals to their taste and fits their
The conclusions arrived at and
recommendations made are based
on the following study. Five
sample automobile com_anies
were taken...

Developing An Outline
It is extremely important to develop an outline of the report
prior to commencing work on the report. The formatting of
the report should be carried out only after completion of the
outline. Questions revolving round the five Ws and one H
should be answered or kept in mind at the time of preparing an
Once these questions have been satisfactorily tackled should
begin the process of brainstorming. All ideas that come to ones
mind should be written on small pieces of cue cards so that it is
easier to arrange them, at a later stage, in a sequential order.
Brainstorming would give rise to a host of ideas, some of
which would form main points and others ancillary points.
Now comes the tedious task of assigning an order to the cues.
This could be done in such a way that the following points are
taken into account.
1. A logical, general description
2. A schematic summary
3. An organizational pattern
4. A visual, conceptual design of writing
Once this is completed begins a three-stage process:
1. All group-related ideas are clubbed together.
2. Points, are organized in the form of sections and sub-
sections. The expected progression is from the general to the
specific or abstract to the concrete.
3. Main and sub-headings are created keeping in mind the fact
that all follow a similar grammatical pattern.
Nature of Headings
Headings can be of two types: informativeanddescriptive, depend-
ing on the nature of the report which is being written. An
informative heading should present information in the direct
order and be geared towards a more receptive audience, e.g. in
discussing the various alternatives, a heading could be of the
following nature.
1. Change the size of tins
If the same were to be converted into a descriptive heading,
it would take on the following shape:
2. Size of tins
A descriptive heading report in an indirect order, and the
readers are less receptive in such instances.
Point Formulation
Parallel Ordering of Points
Within an outline the headings should be expressed in a parallel
form. In case the writer decides to follow the format of using
the noun or verb or verb +ing, he should follow it consistently.
Correct Ordering
1. Increase promotional efforts.
2. Change the size of tins.
3. Install more capacity.
Incorrect Ordering
1. Increase promotional efforts.
2. Changing the size of tins.
3. Installing more capacity.
This patterning could be further corrected by using a similar
verb +ing form in
the fIrst point as has been used in the second and third points.
1. Increasing promotional efforts.
2. Changing the size of tins.
3. Installing more capacity.
Organize Group Related Ideas Together
Together with putting all the headings in a grammatically similar
pattern, there should be a consistent pattern of clubbing them
together. In other words, the general or specific connotations
should be the same.
Correct Formulation
1. Inventory backup
2. Promotional strategy
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 163

3. Distribution channel
Incorrect Formulation
1. Piling inventory
2. Promotional aspects
3. Distribution networks
The above formulation is incorrect, as it does not place items of
the same specificity in the same category. While in the first the
writer talks about the piling up of the inventory because of
disuse, in the second a number of promotional strategies are
hinted which could be in the nature of advertisements,
hoardings etc. The third category again presupposes a number
of networks through which distribution is done.
1. Promotional Aspects
2. Distribution Networks.
Institutional markets
Shelf display
Logical Sequencing of Points
Finally, the arrangement or the connection between the sub-
sections and the main section should follow a logical sequence.
The relationship between the main heading and its sub-sections
should be the same. The progression should, as far as possible,
be from the abstract to the concrete and from the general to the
Correct Arrangement
A. Tact maxim
1. Minimize cost to other
2. Maximize benefit to other
B. Generosity maxim
1. Minimize benefit to self
2. Maximize cost to self
Incorrect Arrangement
A. Tact maxim
1. Minimize cost to other
2. Strategies
3. Usefulness
The problem with a formulation of this kind is that the
example uses the alphabet A without a B. Further, 1,2 and 3 are
not of the same specificity. The first falls in the nature of
issuing a directive, the second is a noun and the third is a quality
that may be applicable or non-applicable according to the
prevailing conditions.
A. Cost strategy
1. Minimize cost to other
2. Maximize cost to self
B. Benefit strategy
1. Minimize benefit to self
2. Maximize benefit to other
In order to carry on with divisions the writer needs at least two
parts that he can divide. There cannot be a 1 without a 2, an a
without a b and so on and so forth. Care should be exercised
at the time of dividing the headings into sub-sections as the
basis of division should be similar.
Correct Division
A. Opening section
1. Introduction
2. Greeting
3. Action-related exchange
B. Concluding section
1. Summary
2. Justification
3. Contact-termination
Incorrect Division
A. Opening section
1. Introduction
2. Greeting
3. Main topic and sub-topic repetitions
4. Action-related exchange leading to digressions
B. Concluding section
1. Summary of main topic and sub-topics
2. Justification
3. Repetitions in leave-taking and well-wishing
4. Contact-termination
The incorrect division on many occasions takes more than one
category into account, for example, main-topic and sub-topic
repetitions. Similarly for B. In two headings we have a sub-
division within a sub-section: Summary of main topics and
sub-topics and repetition in leave-taking and well-wishing.
A. Opening section
1. Introduction
2. Greetings
3. Repetitions
a. Main topic
b. Sub-topics
4. Digressions
a. Action-related exchange
b. Anecdote narrations
B. Closing section
1. Summary
a Main topic
b. Sub-topics
164 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

2. Justifications
3. Repetitions
a. Leave-taking
b. Well-wishing
4. Contact termination
The report can follow anyone of the numbering systems: the
Roman numerals and letters system or the Arabic numerals and
the decimal system.
Roman Numeral and letters
Further subdivisions may be done by capitalization and
different typography (as computer setting facility is available
Arabic Numeral and Decimal
It should be kept in mind that as various sub-sections are being
exemplified, they keep getting indented. Further, it is essential
to note that in the Roman numerals and letters, there is always a
period or a full-stop after indication of the letter or numeral, for
instance, 1., A. However, the same pattern is not followed in
the decimal system. There is no stop or period at the end of the
numeral, e.g. 1.0,1.1, 1.1.1, etc.
Further subdivisions may be done by different typography
using the computer setting facility.
Visual Aids
Translating words and ideas in a visual form requires a lot of
ingenuity on the part of the writer. Visual aids by way of charts
and graphs cannot be included at any juncture. There should be a
systematic ordering by which the writer decides which part of the
information he would like to incorporate in the form of words
and what he would like to use in the form of charts and tables.
The raw material or data that the individual possesses has to be
given a structured ordering. The steps that enable the writer to
proceed at an easy pace are
1. Confirm readers needs and thought pattern. This is the
first stage, which should be adhered to before
conceptualizing the use of visual aids. The reader may be
looking for the entire report either as a visual presentation or
a verbal one or maybe a combination of the two. Depending
upon the requirement the report with its verbal and visual
support can be balanced.
2. Clarify which ideas would be best represented in visual
form. It is difficult to present all ideas through graphics.
Some ideas would definitely have a greater impact if
presented through charts or tables, e.g. comparison between
the sales figures of two consecutive years. It is a judicious
discretion on the part of the report writer as to which points
he would like to present visually.
3. Visualize the presentation of the same points in graphic
form. Once the sorting out of the points or ideas is done
the next stage happens to be the imaginary conceptualizing
of the same points, i.e., which of the charts or table would
be most suitable at this juncture, e.g. if one was to take up
the comparison between the sales figures of two consecutive
years, one could use both the tabular form and the
comparative bar diagram. It is now for the report writer to
decide what format he would like to incorporate in his
4. Establish balance between the verbal and the visual. Too
much of visual and too little of verbal or the other way
round adds to the monotony of the text. There should be a
happy balance between the two so that report-reading
procedure is not tedious.
While it may seem rather exciting entering the domain of
visuals, care should be exercised from the point of view of
presentation of the same. A badly presented visual can have
a negative impact. Probably the following points, if kept in
mind, can improve the quality of presentation. .
1. Thick line implies more power.
2. More mass indicates solidity.
3. Bold color implies emphasis.
One could make use of these strategies effectively at the time of
indicating contrast or showing comparison.
There are a number of ways through which graphic presenta-
tions can be done
1. Tables
2. Bar Graphs
a. Vertical bar graphs
b. Stacked vertical bar graphs
c. Horizontal bar graphs
d. Multiple bar graphs
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 165

4. Pie-Charts
5. Line Graphs
6. Pictograms/ Pictorial graph
7. Flow Charts and organization charts
8. Drawings, diagrams and maps
These are the simplest of the visual
presentations and require a form in
which there are both horizontal rows as
well as vertical columns. These tables are
mostly numerical but word tables are
also used. In a survey concerning TV
viewing habits of men, women and
children the following results can be
presented as follows
Exhibit IV.3 Table: TV
Viewing Habits
Category Percentage
of viewers
of non-
Men 44 56
Women 70 30
Children 80 20
The tabular form of presentation, while
simple for the report writer, has both
advantages and disadvantages. A lot of
figures can be depicted. A number of
combinations are possible in this tabular
form; for example, numeric and non-
numeric data can together be depicted.
However, it also has certain disadvan-
tages: While it is part of the visual depiction yet, visually the
details are not evident at a glance. Occasionally the writer might,
in the process of putting in too much data, make it too detailed
and complicated. Finally the visual appeal in these charts is
Bar Graphs
These are the simplest to construct and make for easy compre-
hension by the reader. They could be of various types: Vertical
with singular or multiple bars (Exhibit IV.4), stacked or
comparative and horizontal (Exhibit IV.5). If these graphs
depict more than one variable, two colors or designs are used so
as to highlight the difference between two variables. These
graphs are comparative and if more than two variables in terms
of the same time frame are used a stacked vertical or horizontal
bar chart is used. The greatest advantage of these bar diagrams
is that they can also be used with a three-dimensional effect (see
Exhibit IV.6).
Presentations in this form are advantageous as they have a
compelling impact and two or more variables can be stacked
without leading to difficulties in grasping the details. The color
and schematic designs added to the bars lend visual appeal to
these charts. However, there -could be a lack of precision in
presentation of details as of bar graphs the variables may become
too cluttered and the lettering too small.
Exhibit IV.6 Three Dimensional Stacked
Vertical Bar Diagram
This is one of the most popular forms to depict the share of
the various categories and their correlation to the whole as a
percentage. If there is a need to emphasize a particular segment
it is detached from the pie and referred to as the floating wedge.
The other segments are demarcated by lines or differing colors
in a circular form.
The pie chart captures the attention of the reader at a much
faster pace than probably any other presentation would. Within
one chart itself segments can be highlighted. In addition to the
color pattern used the categorization of the segments can be
166 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

within, outside or alongside the chart. However, there could be
occasions when the difference is very minor and it might get
blurred, for example, a segment depicting 0.5% may become
too small to notice. Further, if the patterning of the segments
has not been done imaginatively they might merge into one
another and may become too small to notice.
Exhibit IV.7 Pie-chart with a Floating
Relative Customer Value of Facilities and Ambience
Line Graph
This graph is usually used to depict time and the variations in
time over a period. Time is normally plotted on the x-axis or
the horizontal axis and the variable on the y-axis. Both the
scales begin at zero and proceed in equal increments. However,
occasionally on the y-axis there might be a small break immedi-
ately after the zero point. This is normally done when there is a
large difference between zero and the first quantity to indicate
that some data has no bearing on the current study and has
therefore been left out. However, care should be exercised to
indicate the points of omission.
Exhibit IV.8 Line Graph
Sales of Nilgiris shopping complex
A lot of trends over a specific period can be depicted by the line
graph. A little caution should however, be exercised if the lines
cross each other at points as this might create confusion in- the
mind of the reader. Preferably if there are crisis-crossing lines
only three variable should be plotted as more than these might
lead to erroneous conclusions.
Several variables can be plotted indicating trends over time
allowing easy comparisons. However, problems could arise if
too many variables are plotted preventing fine distinctions from
being evidenced or noticed.
Pictograms/Pictorial Graph
These are more in the nature of bar charts with figures or small
pictures plotted instead of lines. The pictures are chosen in
accordance with, the topic or the -subject matter. This chart is
self-explanatory, e.g. if a chart were to be prepared indicating the
population boom in the last five years, human figures could be
used thus exemplifying the point being made by the report
writer. In this example a cluster of the figures or pictures would
indicate an excessive number at that period. This chart is not
used extensively for business reports.
Exhibit IV.9 Pictorial Graph Showing
European Population From 1000 AD to
1990 AD
= 100 millions of Population
The advantage of a chart of this kind is that large numbers can
be presented by a single cluster of figures. Much time and effort
goes into the designing of this chart so as to make it truly
representative of the problem that it seeks to address. However,
it is not very useful for business reports as they are more
concrete and not based on pictorial depiction of the problem.
Flow Charts and Organization Charts
Flow charts present a sequence of activities from start to finish.
They are normally used when we wish to illustrate processes,
procedures and relationships. The various elements in the chart
can also be depicted either with figures or geometrical designs.
Organization charts illustrate the various positions or functions
of the organization. Most of the communication channels in
an organization are described with the usage of these kinds of
Drawings, Diagrams and Maps
Various drawings and diagrams can be used in business reports,
though their usage is definitely limited. Most of these are added
to make the report colorful and decorative. However, they
should be used sparingly so that the reader does not get swayed
and lose track of the import of the message.
Maps are rather appropriate at the time when we wish to discuss
or present statistical data through geographical indicators or so
wish to express location relationships.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 167

Exhibit IV.10 Flow Chart of Patients in a
168 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

On completion of this lesson you will understand the
different elements of a report and its role in effective report
Students, we have already learnt about reports its types and
structure in the previoue lessons. In this lesson we will
understand what constitutes a report and and what role does
each element play in a report. You must have made atleast two
reports during the last two semesters. What were the compo-
nents in your project report?
Reports have a standardized format. The structure will be based
on the following model:
Not all reports include all elements shown and you should
always check exact requirements with your Department or
Course Organiser.
Title Page
Table of Contents
Executive Summary
1. Title Page
This shows the title or subject of the report, who the report
is for, the name of the writer and date of submission.
2. Table of Contents
This details all sections and sub-sections of the report with
page numbers.
3. Executive Summary or Abstract
This summarizes the main points and findings. (This is not
always required, particularly if it is a short report).
4. An Introduction
This includes the scope and background to the work
The aims and objectives and the terms of reference. The
context of the report and its purpose. Sometimes included
are details of the organization requesting the report and the
question(s) they are hoping will be answered.
The Methodology - how the information presented in the
report will be obtained and what procedures will be used, for
example: interviews or postal questionnaires. Sometimes an
explanation is included explaining why a particular
investigative approach / methodology was chosen.
The topics covered - giving a broad outline of content and
scope and indicating any limitations of the project.
5. Body of the Report
This is where information is presented, explanations
provided and questions answered. It deals with what, how,
where and why?
The findings of the report are broken down into discrete
sections and sub-sections. Each section and sub-section
should have a title/ heading, and be numbered.
Include in The Body of the Report
A literature review
Method - what you did and why you did it.
What you found - quantitative data - outcomes, what was
observed, outcome of questionnaires and results of
experiments. Case studies and any qualitative information.
Discussion - what has been deduced from the findings and
how these relate to previous research or other studies.
Findings should be discussed in relation to a theoretical
framework and opinions presented based on reasoning and
critical thinking. All sources should be referenced.
6. Conclusion
The conclusion sums up the main points raised in the report
and arrives at conclusions, which clearly relate to the
objective(s) of the report. This is the place to draw together
key points made in the report . However, nothing new
should appear here.
7. Recommendations
These should provide practical and viable proposal(s)and
may offer solutions to problems investigated in the report.
(You will not always be asked to include recommendations).
Each recommendation should be listed and discussed
8. Bibliography
This should detail all: books, articles, journals, websites, and
any other sources consulted when writing the report.
9. Appendices
These should be placed at the end of the report. They detail
relevant information, which is too lengthy or detailed to
include in the body of the report. Each appendix should
contain different information. These should referred to
within the Report (Appendix 1) and so on.
Preparing a Report is a Skilf ul Process
Research skills
Skills in analysing and evaluating information
Writing skills
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 169

1. The starting point is to establish the objective of the report.
This will determine: what research is required, what research
methods should be used and also how the report might be
written and structured.
2. When the topic has been researched material should be
collated and information grouped under sub headings.
3. Data needs to be analysed and then the report constructed.
Structure, format and layout are of great importance; a
considerable body of detailed material has to be carefully
presented in a coherent, logical and non-repetitive manner.
4. Intellectual skills have to be applied in interpreting and
evaluating findings. Valid conclusions have to be drawn and
appropriate recommendations made.
The report should look professional and information should
be easy to extract.
Use plenty of white space with wide margins and generous
spacing. When text is too dense and the page is too cluttered
it becomes very daunting for the reader. (1.5 line spacing is
often recommended but particular specifications may be
Conventionally a serif font (e.g.Times) that is clear and
comfortable to read is used for the main text and a sans serif
(e.g. Helvetica) for headings. Choose fonts that convey a
formal style.
Do not use fonts at less than 12 point. Headings and sub-
headings can be larger, and in bold.
When using diagrams, graphs or tables number these
sequentially and place them at the point at which they are first
referred to. Sources should be included - this can be in a
smaller font 9 or 10.
Use consistent and suitable formatting and numbering. For
1. Heading
a. Sub-heading one.
b. Sub- heading two
A. Heading
i. Sub-heading one
ii. Sub-heading two
Bullet points can also be used
Headings should be consistent and convey a clear meaning.
They will also be used in the Table of Contents to direct the
reader to the information they are seeking. Avoid writing
headings in the form of questions - in academic writing you
are not expected to directly address the reader.
Ensure that the length of a report adheres to guidelines or
restrictions imposed.
Proof read and carefully check grammar, punctuation and
The emphasis in report writing is on facts and interpretation of
the facts. These should be presented in a logical way using an
academic writing style.
Some Academic Writing Tips
Use straightforward language and take care with grammar
and sentence construction. Avoid using a note-style of
Try not to use pompous language.
For example: use find out rather than endeavour to
ascertain - try not to use jargon or clichs
Provide definitions.Include explanations of technical or
unusual terms, unless you can reasonably expect your reader
to know them.
Use impersonal language.The report should be written in
the third person singular. Avoid personal terms such as I or
We; the word It should be used instead:
For example:
I decided to interview the Tourism Planning Officer...
should read
It was decided to interview the Tourism Planning Officer...
Be precise.
Avoid using terms that lack a precise meaning such as nice,
good or excellent. One persons idea of what is meant by
good is not necessarily anothers.
Remember that the report needs to be concise and to the
For example:
Use Now or Currently instead of phrases like At the time
of writing or At this point in time.
Try not to make generalizations
For example:
Everyone agrees that cold calling does not produce results.
While this may be true you can only make such statements if
supported with evidence. Instead you should write:
According to the Mori Report(2000), cold calling does not
produce results.
Use cautious language so that statements cannot easily be
Cold calling may not produce results.
Use appropriate verb tenses
Reports often use the present tense in the Introduction and
the past tense when discussing findings.
Introduction: This report examines..
Findings: Results showed that..
Be careful when using Acronyms
The use of acronyms is allowed provided that the first time
you write the letters you also write the words out in full.
For example:
Curriculum Vitae (C.V.)
When using a lead sentence make sure that the points that
follow on link to this
Incorrect Example
This style of CV creates the opportunity to:
Can highlight skills and achievements
Identifies personal attributes
170 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Correct Example
This style of CV creates the opportunity to:
Highlight skills and achievements
Identify personal attributes
Other Writing Pitf alls to Avoid
Do not address the reader directly or use questions
Does this mean that some strategies are better than others?
Be careful not to use redundant phrases
For example: various differences
Various implies different so both words are not required.
Do not start sentences with linking words
such as: but, and, or yet.
Avoid using abbreviations and contractions
For example:
theyre for they are
etc and ie should also be avoided.
Avoid making negative statements
For example:
Calling firms directly should not be discouraged. This can
obscure the meaning. Instead write positive statements.
Calling firms directly should be encouraged.
Writing numbers in text
Short small numbers should be written in full and longer
numbers given in figures
For example:
Three points were made - There are 134 websites on this
Try to avoid making sentences overlong and
complicated as wordiness and padding can obscure
Ef f ective Report Writing
By Mustafa Muchhala
Article added on December 27, 2002
Most of us have been involved in writing a report at some
time, either in our working lives or our personal lives. Be it an
audit report, a directors report or simply an insurance claim
report, it is very important for any report to effectively commu-
nicate information to the report user.
So, what constitutes an effective report? A report is a general
term that simply means telling or relating. It may present
itself in a wide range of formats. If you give someone a verbal
account, or write a message in a letter or a memorandum
informing, say, your manager of facts, events, actions you have
taken, suggestions you wish to make as a result of the investi-
gation and so on, you are reporting.
Someone who is instructed to do so by a superior usually writes
a report. A manager, who will then expect to make a decision on
the basis of what the report tells him, may commission a
special one-off report. For example, the board of directors of
a company might call for a report on the financial viability of a
new product or investment, and they will expect to decide
whether or not to undertake the product development or the
investment on the basis of the reports findings
On the other hand, routine reports, such as performance
reports, might be required because they are a part of established
procedures. The managers receiving the reports will not have
commissioned them specifically, but they will be expected to act
on anything out of the ordinary that the report tells them.
Some reports arise out of a particular event, on which regula-
tions prescribe the writing of a report. For example, a leaving or
exit interview report must be written following an employees
resignation; any accident in the workplace must be reported.
Individual responsibilities often include the requirement to
write reports a representative on a committee, or the secretary
at a meeting, will have to report to members, or other commit-
tees, the procedures and decisions taken.
Planning a Report
Whether you are writing a report in an exam or compiling a
report at work, you will need to know how to put information
together effectively. Before you can even begin to think about
what information you will need and where you will find it, you
need to consider the following.
Who is the user?
What type of report will be most useful to him/ her?
What exactly does he/ she need to know, and for what
How much information is required, how quickly and at what
Do you need to give judgments, recommendations and so
on (or just information)?
If you know who the user is, what he or she wants and why,
and if you are aware of particular constraints imposed on
you in terms of report size, time and money, you will have a
good framework for going on to plan the structure and
content of your report. When you then come to plan a
report in detail, you can ask yourself some or all of these
What information do I need to provide? What is relevant to
the users requirements?
Do I need to follow a line of reasoning? If so, what is the
most logical way in which data can be grouped, and
sequenced, to make my reasoning clear?
Do I need to include my own personal views? If so, at what
point: final recommendation or throughout the report?
What can I do to make the report easier to read?
Are there suitable section or sub-headings I can use to
indicate effectively each stage of the information/ argument?
Is the subject of the report too technical for the users? What
vocabulary should I use to help them understand?
Do I have a clear introduction to ease the readers in to the
subject, and a clear conclusion that will draw everything
together for them?
You could use the above questions as a checklist for planning
your report. If you can then jot down a skeleton of the
headings and sub-headings you have decided to use (with notes
of any particular points that occur to you as you go along) you
will be ready to write. The formal headings of standard
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 171

business reports may be useful to help you to organize your
thoughts but may not be necessary, or even advisable, if they
simply act as a constraint on what you actually want to say, and
how you want to shape it. There are certain stylistic require-
ments to bear in mind, whether writing formal or informal
reports. In a report designed to persuade as well as inform,
subjective value judgments and emotions should be kept out
of the content a and style as far as possible. Any bias, if
recognized, can undermine the credibility of the report and its
Emotional or otherwise loaded words should be avoided.
In more formal reports, impersonal constructions should be
used rather than I, we etc., which carry personal and possibly
subjective associations. In other words, first person subjects
should be replaced with third person. For example, avoid saying
I/ We found that. Instead the sentence can be framed as It
became clear that or Mr. X found that or even Investi-
gation revealed that
Colloquialisms and abbreviated forms should be avoided in
formal written English. Colloquial (informal) words such as
Ive, dont and so on should be replaced by I have and
do not. You should not use expressions like blew his top,
instead formal phrases should be used, such as showed
considerable irritation.
Make the report easy to understand by avoiding technical
language and complex sentence structures for non-technical
users. The material will have to be logically organized,
especially if it is leading up to a conclusion or
recommendation. Relevant themes should be signaled by
appropriate headings or highlighted for easy scanning.
The layout of the report should display data clearly and
attractively. Figures and diagrams should be used with
discretion, and it might be helpful to highlight key figures
that appear within large tables of numbers.
Various display techniques may be used to make the content
of a report easy to identify and digest. For example, the
relative importance of points should be signalled, each point
may be referenced, and the body of text should be broken up
to be easy on the eye. These aims may be achieved as follows.
Headings Spaced out or enlarged CAPITALS may be used for
the main title. Important headings, e.g. of sections of the report,
may be in CAPITALS. Underlining or Italics may be used for
subheadings. References Each section or point in a formal
report should have a code for easy identification and reference.
You can use different labelling for each type of heading or
alternatively a decimal system may be used as shown below.
Main Section Headings
I, II, III, IV, V etc. 1 Heading 1 A, B, C, D, E etc. 1.1 Sub-
heading 1
Subsections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc. 1.1.1 Sub-heading 1, Point 1 1.1.2
Sub-heading 1, Point 2 1.2 Sub-heading 2
Points and subpoints (a), (b), (c) or (i), (ii), (iii) etc. 1.2.1 (a)
Sub-heading 2, Point 1, Sub-point (a), 2 Heading 2
Spacing Intelligent use of spacing separates headings from
the body of the text for easy scanning, and also makes a large
block more attractive and digestible.
Generally Accepted Principles of
Ef f ective Report Writing
The purpose of reports and their subject matter vary widely, but
there are certain generally accepted principles of report writing
that can be applied to most types of report. Bear in mind that
all these principles may not strictly apply to all reports but can be
used as necessary. They will help you further develop your
report writing skills.
The report should have a title, and the title should be explicit
and brief. In other words, it should indicate clearly what the
report is about and should be as short as possible.
Identif ication of Report Writer, Report
User and Date
Reports should indicate in a clear place, possibly before the title
itself, whom they are directed at, who has written them and the
date of their preparation.
Conf identiality
If the report is confidential or secret this fact must be printed
at the top of the report and possibly on every page.
Contents Page
If the report is extensive, it should open with a list of contents.
Terms of Ref erence
The introductory section of the report should explain why the
report has been written and the terms of reference. The terms
of reference will explain not only the purpose of the report but
also any restrictions on its scope. For example, an internal
auditing report might state that its terms of reference have been
to investigate procedures in the credit control section of the
accounts department, with a view to establishing whether the
existing internal checks are adequate.
Similarly, the terms of reference of a management accounting
report might be to investigate the short-term profit prospects
for a particular product, with a view to recommending either the
closure of the product line or its continued production. These
terms of reference would exclude considerations of long-term
prospects for the product, and so place a limitation on the scope
of the report.
When timescale is important, this should be specified in the
terms of reference. For example, the board of directors might
call for a report so that they can take a decision by a certain cut-
off date, e.g., whether to put in a tender for a major contract
and if so at what price, in a situation where a customer has
invited tenders which must be submitted by a certain date.
Sources of Inf ormation
If the report draws on other sources for its information, these
sources should be acknowledged in the report. Alternatively, if
the report is based on primary research, the nature of the fact-
finding should be explained, perhaps in an appendix to the
If there is an extensive series of documents referring to one
matter, a summary of the history may be provided in the
appendix. If the literature includes a lot of correspondence, a
uniform code should be used to refer to letters in the summary.
172 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

For example, letters between the Company Secretary and the
Companies Registry might be referenced as CS/ Reg [date].
The main body of the report should be divided into sections.
The sections should have a logical sequence, and each section
should ideally have a clear heading. These headings or sub-
headings should, if possible, be standardized when reports are
produced regularly e.g., audit reports. Paragraphs should be
numbered for ease of reference. Each paragraph should be
concerned with just one basic idea.
To keep the main body of the report short enough to hold the
readers interest, detailed explanations, calculations, charts and
tables of figures should be put into appendices. The main body
of the report should make cross-references to the appendices in
appropriate places.
Summary of Recommendations
A report will usually contain conclusions or recommendations
about the course of action to be taken by the report user. These
conclusions or recommendations could perhaps be stated at the
beginning of the report (after the introduction and statement
of terms of reference). The main body of the report can then
follow, in its logically progressive sections, and should lead the
report user through the considerations that led the report writer
to these conclusions.
The conclusions or recommendations could then be re-stated at
the end of the main body of the report. For example, a
management accounting report into the performance of an
operating division might summarise its findings at the
beginning, as follows.
Plan Actual
Sales turnover X X
Profit X X
Cash movement X X
Capital employed X X
Return on capital
The following sections of the report would then go on to look
at each of these items in more detail, concluding with an
assessment of the divisions performance and perhaps recom-
mendations as to how it needs to be improved.
Any assumptions, forecasts or conjectures should be signalled
as such, and not passed off as fact.
Prominence of Important Items
The most significant items in a report should be given promi-
Report Summaries
Long reports should be summarised in brief. However, as
suggested already it is often better to keep the main report itself
brief, with the detail in appendices; a report summary would pr
obably not then be necessary.
Implications For Management
Reference should be made where appropriate to costs, savings
and other benefits that might accrue, and to any other implica-
tions for management in the reports recommendations (e.g.,
implications for staff recruitment, training or redundancies and
so on).
A report should be logically complete and should not overlook
any item or consideration so that its recommendations are called
into question.
Types of Report
Having discussed the generally accepted principles applicable to
most types of reports, let us go through the three main types
of report you might have to deal with.
The short formal report
The short informal report
The memorandum report
The short formal report is used in formal contexts such as
where middle management is reporting to senior management.
It should be laid out according to certain basic guidelines. It will
be split into logical sections, each referenced and headed
i. Terms of Reference (or Introduction)
ii. Procedure (or Method)
iii. Findings
1. Section heading
2. Section heading if required
Appropriateness; and
Steps in Writing a Routine Business
Your assignment will be to write a memo report to help solve a
business-related problem.
Think of a job you currently have (or have had in the past). Is
there something you would change? Have you noticed a
procedure or on-going situation that could be improved?
Perhaps new equipment is needed or the physical layout is
inefficient. Perhaps the work flow needs to be revised or
company policy needs to be reevaluated. Im sure there is
something you would like to see improved.
Once you have a topic, youre then ready to start thinking in terms
of a report. Dont decide on a solution right now. I want you to
go through some steps to come to the RIGHT solution.
In creating your report, follow these steps:
1. Determine the Scope of the Report
2. Consider Your Audience
3. Gather Your Information
4. Analyze Your Information
5. Determine the Solution
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 173

6. Organize Your Report
Determine the Scope of the Report
A common fault of many reports is making the scope of a
report too general or too vague. When you choose a subject for
a report, one of the first steps is to narrow the scope to a report
The scope of the report is defined by determining the factors
which you will study. You need to limit the amount of
information you will gather to the most needed and most
important factors.
For example, factors to be studied to determine ways to
improve employee morale might include:
Fringe benefits
Work assignments
Work hours
Evaluation procedures
You could study many other factors relative to improving
employee morale. Some may be important, and you may want
to consider them later. For any one report, however, a reason-
able scope must be clearly defined by determining what factors
will be included.
Consider Your Audience
Always consider your reader or readers. Unlike letters and
memos, reports usually have a far wider distribution. Many
people may be involved in a decision-making process and have
need to read the information in the report
Your job is to make it easy for the reader. In order to make
reading your report easier, think in terms of the reader.
Each audience has unique needs. Some audience consideration
Need (from your report)
Education level
Position in the organization
Knowledge of your topic or area
Responsibility to act
Some false assumptions commonly made regarding audiences
1. That the person who will first read or edit the report is the
2. That the audience is a group of specialists in their field
3. That the audience is familiar with the subject of the report
4. That the audience has time to read the entire report
5. That the audience has a strong interest in the subject of the
6. That the author will always be available to discuss the report
To avoid making these false assumptions, writers should
identify everyone who might read the report; characterize those
readers according to their professional training, position in the
organization, and personal traits; and determine how and when
the reader might use the report. Audiences are basically of three
Primary People who have to act
or make decisions on the
basis of the report
Secondary People affected by
actions of the primary
audiences would take in
response to the report
Immediate People responsible for
evaluating the report and
getting it to the right
Additional questions to ask regarding your audience are:
1. How much background will the audience need?
2. Do you need to define any terms you are using?
3. What language level will be most appropriate for your
4. How many and what kind of visual aids should you use?
5. What will the audience expect from your report?
6. Does the reader prefer everything given in detail or merely a
brief presentation that touches upon the highlights?
Gather Your Inf ormation
Now that you have a clear understanding of the purpose and
scope of your report and who you are writing to, youre now
ready to gather your information.
Information you gather can be of two types: Secondary and
Primary. Secondary is information gathered and recorded by
others. Primary is information you gather and record yourself.
Sources Caution
Secondary Books, internet,
pamphlets, and
may be
inaccurate, out
of date, or
Primary Questionnaires,
information, and
raw data
must be
carefully to
ensure it is
accurate and
bias free.
174 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

At this point you should be doing your research. Think
WHERE you are going to find your information. If the
purpose of your report requires purchase information, you
might want to check with vendors and distributors for features
and pricing information. For certain types of information you
might be checking out the library (books, magazines, journals,
or newspapers). Another good source of information is the
internet. Conduct a search using key words to find what
information that might be useful to you in cyberspace.
As you are gathering your information, create a way to manage
your information. Massive information is difficult to sort
through if it is not organized. One idea is to place different
piece of information on note cards (with the source on that
card). By separating pieces of information on cards, the
information later can be rearranged and sorted when you are
determining your plan of presentation.
Analyze Your Inf ormation
Now that you have information, you need to analyze it.
The purpose of the analysis is to make sense, objectively, out of
the information you have gathered. You will not want personal
bias of any kind to enter into the analysis.
Information is compared and contrasted in an effort to try to
find new ideas or the best ideas. Separate facts and figures need
to be interpreted by explaining what they meanwhat signifi-
cance they have.
For example, if you were doing a study to determine which
computer to buy for your office, you would collect information
on the type of work you are currently doing in your office and
the kinds of work you want to do. Then you would gather
information on computers. This information might include
cost, compatibility, speed of operation, machine capacity,
machine dependability, maintenance availability, potential for
upgrading, and other factors. Then you would compare and
contrast (analyze) the different computers to determine how
well they can do what you want done, what their potential is,
how dependable they are, and so on. Once all the information
is gathered, you are ready to determine solutions.
Determine the Solution
Based on your analysis, you will be then be ready to offer a
solution (or solutions) to the problem you have been studying.
For example, which computer would be the best buy for the
word processing center or what office arrangement would be the
best for effective work flow?
A word of caution: The gathered information should be the
basis for making this decision. A tendency in business report
writing is to slant information in the report to lead the reader
to the decision the writer want. Make sure you report all
pertinent informationgood and bad. The credibility of the
report (and credibility of you) is at stake.
Make sure, however, that a solution is even requested. Depend-
ing on your position in the organization and the particular
business study, a solution may NOT be requested in the report.
Your purpose would then be to present the objective facts.
These facts would be used by someone else to determine the
best solution.
Organize Your Report
Youve got your topic, your information, and your decision. Now
youre ready to determine how to present your information.
Before actually writing, organize your information into an
outline form. You can formulate an outline for your report by
choosing the major and supporting ideas, developing the
details, and eliminating the unnecessary ideas youve gathered.
This outline becomes the basic structure of your report.
A report could be presented as a memo report, a standardized
form report, or a formal report. The report you will be
assigned in this course will be a memo report intended for an
audience within your organization.
Your memo report will have the following five steps:
Provide identifying information (usually in the To, From,
Date, Subject Area)
Define the project or problem (purpose of the report)
Give the background
Give the supporting data
State your conclusions and recommendations
Create a skeleton outline by jotting down these five steps and
filling in the information from your gathered material that
would fall into each category.
Based on your outline you are NOW ready to begin the actual
writing of your report. Write a rough draft. Dont be overly
concerned about proofreading and editing at this point. Just
get your thoughts done
Be systematic if you canstarting at the beginning and work
your way through. However, if you can find no logical
approach, start anywhereBUT START. Expert writers often
use this technique. They know that they can write the opening
paragraph(s) or page(s) at a later time. Remember, dont think
about editing when writing the first draft. Editing proves a
stumbling block in creativity for many writers. Write first. Then
come back and edit. Otherwise, you are working against the
creative process
In writing your report, you might want to use headings for each
of these sections of your report. Headings and subheadings are
used as organizational tools in writing to identify major parts
of a report. Headings serve as guideposts for a reader, dividing
the information into segments that make it easy for a reader to
When writing headings be sure they are descriptive, parallel, and
unnecessary to transition.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 175

Descriptive Headings should talk about the contents of
their portion of the report.
Poor: Supporting Data
Better: Comparison of Three Computer
Parallel All headings of the same level should start
with the same grammatical structure.
Headings should not be relied upon to give
meaning to that section of the report.
Headings do serve as guides, but the report
should be understood even though no
headings are used.
Changes Must Be Communicated to
Employees: This problem has been a
persistent one throughout the industry.
Changes Must Be Communicated to
Employees. The problem of communicating
changes procedures to employees has been a
persistent one throughout the industry.
176 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Bytheendof this lesson you shouldbeableto:
Statewhyquestionnaires maybeused
Explain techniques usedin designingeffectivequestionnaire
Illustratethedifferent types of question usedon questionnaire
Students, how many of you have filled up a questionnaire
related to any product or service? Questionnaires are the most
economical form data collection. We will discuss in this lesson
the need and usage of questionnaires as well as various types of
questions .
Designing and Using Questionnaires
This is the information age. More information has been
published in the last decade than in all previous history.
Everyone uses information to make decisions about the future.
If our information is accurate, we have a high probability of
making a good decision. If our information is inaccurate, our
ability to make a correct decision is diminished. Better informa-
tion usually leads to better decisions.
Ways to Get Inf ormation
There are six common ways to get information. These are:
literature searches, talking with people, focus groups, personal
interviews, telephone surveys, and mail surveys.
A literaturesearch involves reviewing all readily available materi-
als. These materials can include internal company information,
relevant trade publications, newspapers, magazines, annual
reports, company literature, on-line data bases, and any other
published materials. It is a very inexpensive method of
gathering information, although it generally does not yield
timely information. Literature searches take between one and
eight weeks.
Talkingwith peopleis a good way to get information during the
initial stages of a research project. It can be used to gather
information that is not publicly available, or that is too new to
be found in the literature. Examples might include meetings
with prospects, customers, suppliers, and other types of
business conversations at trade shows, seminars, and associa-
tion meetings. Although often valuable, the information has
questionable validity because it is highly subjective and might
not be representative of the population.
A focus groupis used as a preliminary research technique to
explore peoples ideas and attitudes. It is often used to test new
approaches (such as products or advertising), and to discover
customer concerns. A group of 6 to 20 people meet in a
conference-room-like setting with a trained moderator. The
room usually contains a one-way mirror for viewing, including
audio and video capabilities. The moderator leads the groups
discussion and keeps the focus on the areas you want to
explore. Focus groups can be conducted within a couple of
weeks and cost between two and three thousand dollars. Their
disadvantage is that the sample is small and may not be
representative of the population in general.
Personal interviews are a way to get in-depth and comprehensive
information. They involve one person interviewing another
person for personal or detailed information. Personal inter-
views are very expensive because of the one-to-one nature of
the interview ($50+ per interview). Typically, an interviewer will
ask questions from a written questionnaire and record the
answers verbatim. Sometimes, the questionnaire is simply a list
of topics that the research wants to discuss with an industry
expert. Personal interviews (because of their expense) are
generally used only when subjects are not likely to respond to
other survey methods.
Telephonesurveys are the fastest method of gathering informa-
tion from a relatively large sample (100-400 respondents). The
interviewer follows a prepared script that is essentially the same
as a written questionnaire. However, unlike a mail survey, the
telephone survey allows the opportunity for some opinion
probing. Telephone surveys generally last less than ten minutes.
Typical costs are between four and six thousand dollars and they
can be completed in two to four weeks.
Mail surveys are a cost effective method of gathering informa-
tion. They are ideal for large sample sizes, or when the sample
comes from a wide geographic area. They cost a little less than
telephone interviews, however, they take over twice as long to
complete (eight to twelve weeks). Because there is no inter-
viewer, there is no possibility of interviewer bias. The main
disadvantage is the inability to probe respondents for more
detailed information.
E-mail andinternet surveys are relatively new and little is known
about the effect of sampling bias in internet surveys. While it is
clearly the most cost effective and fastest method of distribut-
ing a survey, the demographic profile of the internet user does
not represent the general population, although this is changing.
Before doing an e-mail or internet survey, carefully consider the
effect that this bias might have on the results.
Questionnaire Research Flow Chart
Questionnaire research design proceeds in an orderly and specific
manner. Each item in the flow chart depends upon the
successful completion of all the previous items. Therefore, it is
important not to skip a single step. Notice that there are two
feedback loops in the flow chart to allow revisions to the
methodology and instruments.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 177

Design Methodology

Determine Feasibility

Develop Instruments

Select Sample

Conduct Pilot Test

Revise Instruments

Conduct Research

Analyze Data

Prepare Report
Time Considerations
Many researchers underestimate the time required to complete a
research project. The following form may be used as an initial
checklist in developing time estimates. The best advice is to be
generous with your time estimates. Things almost always take
longer than we think they should.
This checklist contains two time estimates for each task. The
first one (Hours) is your best estimate of the actual number of
hours required to complete the task. The second one (Duration)
is the amount of time that will pass until the task is completed.
Sometimes these are the same and sometimes they are different.
Most researchers and business-people have to divide their time
among many projects. They simply cannot give all their time to
any one project. For example, my estimate of goal clarification
may be four hours, but other commitments allow me to spend
only two hours a day on this study. My hours estimate is four
hours, and my duration estimate is two days.
To arrive at your final time estimates, add the individual
estimates. The hours estimate is used for budget planning and
the duration estimate is used to develop a project time line.
Hours Duration
1. Goal clarification ________ ________
2. Overall study design ________ ________
3. Selecting the sample ________ ________
4. Designing the questionnaire
and cover letter ________ ________
5. Conduct pilot test ________ ________
6. Revise questionnaire (if necessary) ________ ________
7. Printing time ________ ________
8. Locating the sample (if necessary) ________ ________
9. Time in the mail & response time________ ________
10. Attempts to get non-respondents________ ________
11. Editing the data and coding open-ended questions
________ ________
12. Data entry and verification ________ ________
13. Analyzing the data ________ ________
14. Preparing the report ________ ________
15. Printing & distribution of the report
________ ________
Cost Considerations
Both beginning and experienced researchers often underesti-
mate the cost of doing questionnaire research. Some of the
most common costs are:
Proposal typing and editing. ________
Cover letter and questionnaire typing. ________
Addressing mailing envelopes. ________
Following up on non-respondents. ________
Mailing list cost (if necessary). ________
Artwork and keylining. ________
Cover letter and survey printing costs. ________
Envelope costs (both ways + more). ________
Postage costs (both ways + more). ________
Incentives. ________
Data entry and verification. ________
Statistical analysis programmer. ________
Distribution of the final report. ________
Advantages of Written Questionnaires
Questionnaires are very cost effective when compared to face-to-
face interviews. This is especially true for studies involving large
sample sizes and large geographic areas. Written questionnaires
become even more cost effective as the number of research
questions increases.
Questionnaires are easy to analyze. Data entry and tabulation for
nearly all surveys can be easily done with many computer
software packages.
Questionnaires are familiar to most people. Nearly everyone has
had some experience completing questionnaires and they
generally do not make people apprehensive.
Questionnaires reduce bias. There is uniform question presenta-
tion and no middle-man bias. The researchers own opinions
will not influence the respondent to answer questions in a
certain manner. There are no verbal or visual clues to influence
the respondent.
Questionnaires are less intrusive than telephone or face-to-face
surveys. When a respondent receives a questionnaire in the mail,
he is free to complete the questionnaire on his own time-table.
Unlike other research methods, the respondent is not inter-
rupted by the research instrument.
Disadvantages of Written Questionnaires
One major disadvantage of written questionnaires is the
possibility of low response rates. Low response is the curse of
statistical analysis. It can dramatically lower our confidence in the
178 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

results. Response rates vary widely from one questionnaire to
another (10% - 90%), however, well-designed studies consis-
tently produce high response rates.
Another disadvantage of questionnaires is the inability to probe
responses. Questionnaires are structured instruments. They
allow little flexibility to the respondent with respect to response
format. In essence, they often lose the flavor of the response
(i.e., respondents often want to qualify their answers). By
allowing frequent space for comments, the researcher can
partially overcome this disadvantage. Comments are among the
most helpful of all the information on the questionnaire, and
they usually provide insightful information that would have
otherwise been lost.
Nearly ninety percent of all communication is visual. Gestures
and other visual cues are not available with written question-
naires. The lack of personal contact will have different effects
depending on the type of information being requested. A
questionnaire requesting factual information will probably not
be affected by the lack of personal contact. A questionnaire
probing sensitive issues or attitudes may be severely affected.
When returned questionnaires arrive in the mail, its natural to
assume that the respondent is the same person you sent the
questionnaire to. This may not actually be the case. Many times
business questionnaires get handed to other employees for
completion. Housewives sometimes respond for their hus-
bands. Kids respond as a prank. For a variety of reasons, the
respondent may not be who you think it is. It is a confounding
error inherent in questionnaires.
Finally, questionnaires are simply not suited for some people.
For example, a written survey to a group of poorly educated
people might not work because of reading skill problems. More
frequently, people are turned off by written questionnaires
because of misuse.
Questionnaire Design - General
Most problems with questionnaire analysis can be traced back to
the design phase of the project. Well-defined goals are the best
way to assure a good questionnaire design. When the goals of a
study can be expressed in a few clear and concise sentences, the
design of the questionnaire becomes considerably easier. The
questionnaire is developed to directly address the goals of the
One of the best ways to clarify your study goals is to decide
how you intend to use the information. Do this before you
begin designing the study. This sounds obvious, but many
researchers neglect this task. Why do research if the results will
not be used?
Be sure to commit the study goals to writing. Whenever you are
unsure of a question, refer to the study goals and a solution
will become clear. Ask only questions that directly address the
study goals. Avoid the temptation to ask questions because it
would be interesting to know.
As a general rule, with only a few exceptions, long question-
naires get less response than short questionnaires. Keep your
questionnaire short. In fact, the shorter the better. Response
rate is the single most important indicator of how much
confidence you can place in the results. A low response rate can
be devastating to a study. Therefore, you must do everything
possible to maximize the response rate. One of the most
effective methods of maximizing response is to shorten the
If your survey is over a few pages, try to eliminate questions.
Many people have difficulty knowing which questions could be
eliminated. For the elimination round, read each question and
ask, How am I going to use this information? If the
information will be used in a decision-making process, then
keep the question... its important. If not, throw it out.
One important way to assure a successful survey is to include
other experts and relevant decision-makers in the questionnaire
design process. Their suggestions will improve the question-
naire and they will subsequently have more confidence in the
Formulate a plan for doing the statistical analysis during the
design stage of the project. Know how every question will be
analyzed and be prepared to handle missing data. If you cannot
specify how you intend to analyze a question or use the
information, do not use it in the survey.
Make the envelope unique. We all know how important first
impressions are. The same holds true for questionnaires. The
respondents first impression of the study usually comes from
the envelope containing the survey. The best envelopes (i.e., the
ones that make you want to see whats inside) are colored,
hand-addressed and use a commemorative postage stamp.
Envelopes with bulk mail permits or gummed labels are
perceived as unimportant. This will generally be reflected in a
lower response rate.
Provide a well-written cover letter. The respondents next
impression comes from the cover letter. The importance of the
cover letter should not be underestimated. It provides your best
chance to persuade the respondent to complete the survey.
Give your questionnaire a title that is short and meaningful to
the respondent. A questionnaire with a title is generally
perceived to be more credible than one without.
Include clear and concise instructions on how to complete the
questionnaire. These must be very easy to understand, so use
short sentences and basic vocabulary. Be sure to print the return
address on the questionnaire itself (since questionnaires often
get separated from the reply envelopes).
Begin with a few non-threatening and interesting items. If the
first items are too threatening or boring, there is little chance
that the person will complete the questionnaire. People generally
look at the first few questions before deciding whether or not to
complete the questionnaire. Make them want to continue by
putting interesting questions first.
Use simple and direct language. The questions must be clearly
understood by the respondent. The wording of a question
should be simple and to the point. Do not use uncommon
words or long sentences. Make items as brief as possible. This
will reduce misunderstandings and make the questionnaire
appear easier to complete. One way to eliminate misunderstand-
ings is to emphasize crucial words in each item by using bold,
italics or underlining.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 179

Leave adequate space for respondents to make comments. One
criticism of questionnaires is their inability to retain the flavor
of a response. Leaving space for comments will provide
valuable information not captured by the response categories.
Leaving white space also makes the questionnaire look easier
and this increases response.
Place the most important items in the first half of the ques-
tionnaire. Respondents often send back partially completed
questionnaires. By putting the most important items near the
beginning, the partially completed questionnaires will still
contain important information.
Hold the respondents interest. We want the respondent to
complete our questionnaire. One way to keep a questionnaire
interesting is to provide variety in the type of items used.
Varying the questioning format will also prevent respondents
from falling into response sets. At the same time, it is
important to group items into coherent categories. All items
should flow smoothly from one to the next.
If a questionnaire is more than a few pages and is held together
by a staple, include some identifying data on each page (such as
a respondent ID number). Pages often accidentally separate.
Provide incentives as a motivation for a properly completed
questionnaire. What does the respondent get for completing
your questionnaire? Altruism is rarely an effective motivator.
Attaching a dollar bill to the questionnaire works well. If the
information you are collecting is of interest to the respondent,
offering a free summary report is also an excellent motivator.
Whatever you choose, it must make the respondent want to
complete the questionnaire.
Use professional production methods for the questionnaire
either desktop publishing or typesetting and keylining. Be
creative. Try different colored inks and paper. The object is to
make your questionnaire stand out from all the others the
respondent receives.
Make it convenient. The easier it is for the respondent to
complete the questionnaire the better. Always include a self-
addressed postage-paid envelope. Envelopes with postage
stamps get better response than business reply envelopes
(although they are more expensive since you also pay for the
The final test of a questionnaire is to try it on representatives of
the target audience. If there are problems with the question-
naire, they almost always show up here. If possible, be present
while a respondent is completing the questionnaire and tell her
that it is okay to ask you for clarification of any item. The
questions she asks are indicative of problems in the question-
naire (i.e., the questions on the questionnaire must be without
any ambiguity because there will be no chance to clarify a
question when the survey is mailed).
Qualities of a Good Question
There are good and bad questions. The qualities of a good
question are as follows:
1. Evokes the truth. Questions must be non-threatening.
When a respondent is concerned about the consequences
of answering a question in a particular manner, there is a
good possibility that the answer will not be truthful.
Anonymous questionnaires that contain no identifying
information are more likely to produce honest responses
than those identifying the respondent. If your
questionnaire does contain sensitive items, be sure to
clearly state your policy on confidentiality.
2. Asks for an answer on only one dimension. The purpose
of a survey is to find out information. A question that
asks for a response on more than one dimension will not
provide the information you are seeking. For example, a
researcher investigating a new food snack asks Do you like
the texture and flavor of the snack? If a respondent
answers no, then the researcher will not know if the
respondent dislikes the texture or the flavor, or both.
Another questionnaire asks, Were you satisfied with the
quality of our food and service? Again, if the respondent
answers no, there is no way to know whether the quality
of the food, service, or both were unsatisfactory. A good
question asks for only one bit of information.
3. Can accommodate all possible answers. Multiple choice
items are the most popular type of survey questions
because they are generally the easiest for a respondent to
answer and the easiest to analyze. Asking a question that
does not accommodate all possible responses can confuse
and frustrate the respondent. For example, consider the
What brand of computer do you own? __
B. Apple
Clearly, there are many problems with this question. What
if the respondent doesnt own a microcomputer? What if
he owns a different brand of computer? What if he owns
both an IBM PC and an Apple? There are two ways to
correct this kind of problem.
The first way is to make each response a separate
dichotomous item on the questionnaire. For example:
Do you own an IBM PC? (circle: Yes or No)
Do you own an Apple computer? (circle: Yes or No)
Another way to correct the problem is to add the necessary
response categories and allow multiple responses. This is
the preferable method because it provides more
information than the previous method.
What brand of computer do you own?
(Check all that apply)
__ Do not own a computer
__ Apple
__ Other
4. Has mutually exclusive options. A good question leaves no
ambiguity in the mind of the respondent. There should be
only one correct or appropriate choice for the respondent to
make. An obvious example is:
Where did you grow up? _
A. Country
180 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

B. Farm
C. City
A person who grew up on a farm in the country would not
know whether to select choice A or B. This question would
not provide meaningful information. Worse than that, it
could frustrate the respondent and the questionnaire might
find its way to the trash.
5. Produces variability of responses. When a question
produces no variability in responses, we are left with
considerable uncertainty about why we asked the question
and what we learned from the information. If a question
does not produce variability in responses, it will not be
possible to perform any statistical analyses on the item. For
What do you think about this report? __
A. Its the worst report Ive read
B. Its somewhere between the worst and best
C. Its the best report Ive read
Since almost all responses would be choice B, very little
information is learned. Design your questions so they are
sensitive to differences between respondents. As another
Are you against drug abuse? (circle: Yes or No)
Again, there would be very little variability in responses and
wed be left wondering why we asked the question in the
first place.
6. Follows comfortably from the previous question. Writing a
questionnaire is similar to writing anything else.
Transitions between questions should be smooth.
Grouping questions that are similar will make the
questionnaire easier to complete, and the respondent will
feel more comfortable. Questionnaires that jump from one
unrelated topic to another feel disjointed and are not likely
to produce high response rates.
7. Does not presuppose a certain state of affairs. Among the
most subtle mistakes in questionnaire design are questions
that make an unwarranted assumption. An example of
this type of mistake is:
Are you satisfied with your current auto insurance? (Yes or
This question will present a problem for someone who
does not currently have auto insurance. Write your
questions so they apply to everyone. This often means
simply adding an additional response category.
Are you satisfied with your current auto insurance?
_ Yes
_ No
_ Dont have auto insurance
One of the most common mistaken assumptions is that
the respondent knows the correct answer to the question.
Industry surveys often contain very specific questions that
the respondent may not know the answer to. For example:
What percent of your budget do you spend on
Direct mail advertising? ____
Very few people would know the answer to this question
without looking it up, and very few respondents will take
the time and effort to look it up. If you ask a question
similar to this, it is important to understand that the
responses are rough estimates and there is a strong
likelihood of error.
It is important to look at each question and decide if all
respondents will be able to answer it. Be careful not to
assume anything. For example, the following question
assumes the respondent knows what Proposition 13 is
Are you in favor of Proposition 13 ?
___ Yes
___ No
___ Undecided
If there is any possibility that the respondent may not
know the answer to your question, include a dont know
response category.
8. Does not imply a desired answer. The wording of a
question is extremely important. We are striving for
objectivity in our surveys and, therefore, must be careful
not to lead the respondent into giving the answer we
would like to receive. Leading questions are usually easily
spotted because they use negative phraseology. As
Wouldnt you like to receive our free brochure?
Dont you think the Congress is spending too much
9. Does not use emotionally loaded or vaguely defined
words. This is one of the areas overlooked by both
beginners and experienced researchers. Quantifying
adjectives (e.g., most, least, majority) are frequently used in
questions. It is important to understand that these
adjectives mean different things to different people.
10. Does not use unfamiliar words or abbreviations.
Remember who your audience is and write your
questionnaire for them. Do not use uncommon words or
compound sentences. Write short sentences. Abbreviations
are okay if you are absolutely certain that every single
respondent will understand their meanings. If there is any
doubt at all, do not use the abbreviation. The following
question might be okay if all the respondents are
accountants, but it would not be a good question for the
general public.
What was your AGI last year? ______
11. Is not dependent on responses to previous questions.
Branching in written questionnaires should be avoided.
While branching can be used as an effective probing
technique in telephone and face-to-face interviews, it
should not be used in written questionnaires because it
sometimes confuses respondents. An example of
branching is:
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 181

1. Do you currently have a life insurance policy ?
(Yes or No) If
no, go to question 3
2. How much is your annual life insurance
premium ? _________
These questions could easily be rewritten as one question
that applies to everyone:
1. How much did you spend last year for life
insurance ? ______
12. Does not ask the respondent to order or rank a series of
more than five items. Questions asking respondents to
rank items by importance should be avoided. This
becomes increasingly difficult as the number of items
increases, and the answers become less reliable. This
becomes especially problematic when asking respondents
to assign a percentage to a series of items. In order to
successfully complete this task, the respondent must
mentally continue to re-adjust his answers until they total
one hundred percent. Limiting the number of items to five
will make it easier for the respondent to answer.
Pre-notif ication Letters
Many researchers have studied pre-notification letters to
determine if they increase response rate. A meta-analysis of
these studies revealed an aggregate increase in response rate
of 7.7 percent. Pre-notification letters might help to establish
the legitimacy of a survey, thereby contributing to a
respondents trust. Another possibility is that a pre-
notification letter builds expectation and reduces the
possibility that a potential respondent might disregard the
survey when it arrives.
Pre-letters are seldom used in marketing research surveys.
They are an excellent (but expensive) way to increase
response. The researcher needs to weigh the additional cost
of sending out a pre-letter against the probability of a lower
response rate. When sample sizes are small, every response
really counts and a pre-letter is highly recommended.
1. Briefly describe why the study is being done and identify the
sponsors. This is impressive and lends credibility to the
2. Explain why the person receiving the pre-letter was chosen to
receive the questionnaire.
3. Justify why the respondent should complete the
questionnaire. The justification must be something that will
benefit the respondent. For most people, altruism is not
sufficient justification. If an incentive will be included with
the questionnaire, mention the inclusion of a free gift
without specifically telling what it will be.
4. Explain how the results will be used.
Cover Letters
The cover letter is an essential part of the survey. To a large
degree, the cover letter will affect whether or not the respondent
completes the questionnaire. It is important to maintain a
friendly tone and keep it as short as possible. The importance
of the cover letter should not be underestimated. It provides an
opportunity to persuade the respondent to complete the
survey. If the questionnaire can be completed in less than five
minutes, the response rate can be increased by mentioning this
in the cover letter.
Flattering the respondent in the cover letter does not seem to
affect response. Altruism or an appeal to the social utility of a
study has occasionally been found to increase response, but
more often, it is not an effective motivator.
There are no definitive answers whether or not to personalize
cover letters (i.e., the respondents name appears on the cover
letter). Some researchers have found that personalized cover
letters can be detrimental to response when anonymity or
confidentiality are important to the respondent.
The literature regarding personalization are mixed. Some
researchers have found that personalized cover letters with
hand-written signatures helped response rates. Other investiga-
tors, however, have reported that personalization has no effect
on response.
The signature of the person signing the cover letter has been
investigated by several researchers. Ethnic sounding names and
the status of the researcher (professor or graduate student) do
not affect response. One investigator found that a cover letter
signed by the owner of a marina produced better response than
one signed by the sales manager. The literature is mixed
regarding whether a hand-written signature works better than
one that is mimeographed. Two researchers reported that
mimeographed signatures worked as well as a hand-written
one, while another reported that hand-written signatures
produced better response. Another investigator found that
cover letters signed with green ink increased response by over 10
It is commonly believed that a handwritten postscript (P.S.) in
the cover letter might increase response. One older study did
find an increase in response, however, more recent studies
found no significant difference.
1. Describe why the study is being done (briefly) and identify
the sponsors.
2. Mention the incentive. (A good incentive is a copy of the
3. Mention inclusion of a stamped, self-addressed return
4. Encourage prompt response without using deadlines.
5. Describe your confidentiality/ anonymity policy.
6. Give the name and phone number of someone they can call
with questions.
Response Rate and Following up on
Response rate is the single most important indicator of how
much confidence can be placed in the results of a survey. A low
response rate can be devastating to the reliability of a study.
One of the most powerful tool for increasing response is to use
follow-ups or reminders. Traditionally, between 10 and 60
percent of those sent questionnaires respond without follow-
up reminders. These rates are too low to yield confident results,
so the need to follow up on nonrespondents is clear.
182 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Researchers can increase the response from follow-up attempts
by including another copy of the questionnaire. When design-
ing the follow-up procedure, it is important for the researcher to
keep in mind the unique characteristics of the people in the
sample. The most successful follow-ups have been achieved by
phone calls.
Many researchers have examined whether postcard follow-ups
are effective in increasing response. The vast majority of these
studies show that a follow-up postcard slightly increases
response rate, and a meta-analysis revealed an aggregate gain of
3.5 percent. The postcard serves as a reminder for subjects who
have forgotten to complete the survey.
Nonresponse Bias
Many studies have attempted to determine if there is a differ-
ence between respondents and nonrespondents. Some
researchers have reported that people who respond to surveys
answer questions differently than those who do not. Others
have found that late responders answer differently than early
responders, and that the differences may be due to the different
levels of interest in the subject matter. One researcher, who
examined a volunteer organization, reported that those more
actively involved in the organization were more likely to
Demographic characteristics of nonrespondents have been
investigated by many researchers. Most studies have found that
nonresponse is associated with low education. However, one
researcher reported that demographic characteristics such as age,
education, and employment status were the same for respon-
dents and nonrespondents. Another study found that
nonrespondents were more often single males.
Most researchers view nonresponse bias as a continuum,
ranging from fast responders to slow responders (with
nonresponders defining the end of the continuum). In fact,
one study used extrapolation to estimate the magnitude of bias
created by nonresponse. Another group of researchers argue
that nonresponse should not be viewed as a continuum, and
that late respondents do not provide a suitable basis for
estimating the characteristics of nonrespondents.
The Order of the Questions
Items on a questionnaire should be grouped into logically
coherent sections. Grouping questions that are similar will make
the questionnaire easier to complete, and the respondent will
feel more comfortable. Questions that use the same response
formats, or those that cover a specific topic, should appear
Each question should follow comfortably from the previous
question. Writing a questionnaire is similar to writing anything
else. Transitions between questions should be smooth.
Questionnaires that jump from one unrelated topic to another
feel disjointed and are not likely to produce high response rates.
Most investigators have found that the order in which ques-
tions are presented can affect the way that people respond. One
study reported that questions in the latter half of a question-
naire were more likely to be omitted, and contained fewer
extreme responses. Some researchers have suggested that it may
be necessary to present general questions before specific ones in
order to avoid response contamination. Other researchers have
reported that when specific questions were asked before general
questions, respondents tended to exhibit greater interest in the
general questions.
It is not clear whether or not question-order affects response. A
few researchers have reported that question-order does not
effect responses, while others have reported that it does.
Generally, it is believed that question-order effects exist in
interviews, but not in written surveys.
Anonymity and Conf identiality
An anonymous study is one in which nobody (not even the
researcher) can identify who provided data. It is difficult to
conduct an anonymous questionnaire through the mail because
of the need to follow-up on nonresponders. The only way to
do a follow-up is to mail another survey or reminder postcard
to the entire sample. However, it is possible to guarantee
confidentiality, where those conducting the study promise not
to reveal the information to anyone. For the purpose of follow-
up, identifying numbers on questionnaires are generally
preferred to using respondents names. It is important,
however, to explain why the number is there and what it will be
used for.
Some studies have shown that response rate is affected by the
anonymity/ confidentiality policy of a study. Others have
reported that responses became more distorted when subjects
felt threatened that their identities would become known.
Others have found that anonymity and confidentiality issues do
not affect response rates or responses.
The Length of a Questionnaire
As a general rule, long questionnaires get less response than
short questionnaires. However, some studies have shown that
the length of a questionnaire does not necessarily affect
response. More important than length is question content. A
subject is more likely to respond if they are involved and
interested in the research topic. Questions should be meaning-
ful and interesting to the respondent.
Many researchers have examined the effect of providing a variety
of nonmonetary incentives to subjects. These include token
gifts such as small packages of coffee, ball-point pens, postage
stamps, key rings, trading stamps, participation in a raffle or
lottery, or a donation to a charity in the respondents name.
Generally (although not consistently), nonmonetary incentives
have resulted in an increased response. A meta-analysis of 38
studies that used some form of an incentive revealed that
monetary and nonmonetary incentives were effective only when
enclosed with the survey. The promise of an incentive for a
returned questionnaire was not effective in increasing response.
The average increase in response rate for monetary and non-
monetary incentives was 19.1 percent and 7.9 percent,
Most researchers have found that higher monetary incentives
generally work better than smaller ones. One researcher pro-
posed a diminishing return model, where increasing the
amount of the incentive would have a decreasing effect on
response rate. A meta-analysis of fifteen studies showed that an
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 183

incentive of 25increased the response rate by an average of 16
percent, and $1 increased the response by 31 percent.
Notif ication of a Cutof f Date
Several researchers have examined the effect of giving subjects a
deadline for responding. While a deadline will usually reduce the
time from the mailing until the returns begin arriving, it appears
that it does not increase response, and may even reduce the
response. One possible explanation is that a cutoff date might
dissuade procrastinators from completing the questionnaire
after the deadline has past.
Reply Envelopes and Postage
A good questionnaire makes it convenient for the respondent
to reply. Mail surveys that include a self-addressed stamped
reply envelope get better response than business reply enve-
lopes. Some investigators have suggested that people might feel
obligated to complete the questionnaire because of the guilt
associated with throwing away moneythat is, the postage
stamp. Others have pointed out that using a business reply
permit might suggest advertising to some people. Another
possibility is that a business reply envelope might be perceived
as less personal.
A meta-analysis on 34 studies comparing stamped versus
business reply postage showed that stamped reply envelopes
had a 9 percent greater aggregate effect than business reply
envelopes. In another meta-analysis on nine studies, an
aggregate effect of 6.2 percent was found.
The Outgoing Envelope and Postage
There have been several researchers that examined whether there
is a difference in response between first class postage versus
bulk rate. A meta-analysis of these studies revealed a small, but
significant, aggregate difference of 1.8 percent. Envelopes with
bulk mail permits might be perceived as junk mail, unimpor-
tant, or less personal, and thus will be reflected in a lower
response rates.
A few researchers have also examined whether metered mail or
stamps work better on the outgoing envelope. The results of
these studies suggest a small increase in response favoring a
stamped envelope. A meta-analysis of these studies revealed
that the aggregate difference was slightly less than one percent.
Many researchers have reported increased response rates by
using registered, certified, or special delivery mail to send the
questionnaire. The wisdom of using these techniques must be
weighed against the consequences of angering respondents that
make a special trip to the post office, only to find a question-
It is not clear whether a typed or hand-addressed envelope
affects response. One study, conducted at the University of
Minnesota, reported that students responded better to hand-
addressed postcards, while professors responded better to
typed addresses.
This writer could find no studies that examined whether
gummed labels would have a deleterious effect on response
rate, although we might predict that response rate would be less
for gummed labels because they have the appearance of less
This writer could also find no studies that examined whether
the color of the envelope affects response rate. First impres-
sions are important, and the respondents first impression of
the study usually comes from the envelope containing the
survey. Therefore, we might predict that color would have a
positive impact on response because of its uniqueness.
The Dont Know, Undecided, and
Neutral Response Options
Response categories are developed for questions in order to
facilitate the process of coding and analysis. Many studies have
looked at the effects of presenting a dont know option in
attitudinal questions. The dont know option allows
respondents to state that they have no opinion or have not
thought about a particular issue.
The physical placement of the undecided category (at the
midpoint of the scale, or separated from the scale) can change
response patterns. Respondents are more likely to choose the
undecided category when it was off to the side of the scale.
There are also different response patterns depending on
whether the midpoint is labeled undecided or neutral.
Several researchers have found that the physical location of the
middle alternative can make a difference in responses, and that
placing the middle option at the last position in the question
increases the percentage of respondents who select it by over 9
percent. Frequently, offering respondents a middle alternative in
a survey question will make a difference in the conclusions that
would be drawn from the data. The middle option of an
attitudinal scale attracts a substantial number of respondents
who might be unsure of their opinion.
Researcher have also studied the dont know option for
factual questions. Unlike attitude questions, respondents might
legitimately not know the answer to a factual question. Surpris-
ingly, the research suggests that the dont know option
should not be included in factual questions. Questions that
exclude the dont know option produce a greater volume of
accurate data. Furthermore, there is generally no difference in
response rate depending on the inclusion or exclusion of the
dont know option. There is still a controversy surrounding
the dont know response category. Many researchers advocate
including a dont know response category when there is any
possibility that the respondent may not know the answer to a
question. The best advice is probably to use a dont know
option for factual questions, but not for attitude questions.
Question Wording
The wording of a question is extremely important. Researchers
strive for objectivity in surveys and, therefore, must be careful
not to lead the respondent into giving a desired answer.
Unfortunately, the effects of question wording are one of the
least understood areas of questionnaire research.
Many investigators have confirmed that slight changes in the
way questions are worded can have a significant impact on how
people respond. Several authors have reported that minor
changes in question wording can produce more than a 25
percent difference in peoples opinions.
Several investigators have looked at the effects of modifying
adjectives and adverbs. Words like usually, often, sometimes,
184 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

occasionally, seldom, and rarely are commonly used in
questionnaires, although it is clear that they do not mean the
same thing to all people. Some adjectives have high variability
and others have low variability. The following adjectives have
highly variable meanings and should be avoided in surveys: a
clear mandate, most, numerous, a substantial majority, a
minority of, a large proportion of, a significant number of,
many, a considerable number of, and several. Other adjectives
produce less variability and generally have more shared meaning.
These are: lots, almost all, virtually all, nearly all, a majority of, a
consensus of, a small number of, not very many of, almost
none, hardly any, a couple, and a few.
There have been several studies to determine if the sponsor of
a survey might affect response rate. The overwhelming majority
of these studies have clearly demonstrated that university
sponsorship is the most effective. A meta-analysis of these
studies revealed an aggregate increase in response rate of 8.9
percent. This may be due to the past benefits that the respon-
dent has received from the university. Another possibility is that
a business sponsor implies advertising or sales to potential
It is incumbent on the researcher to clearly define the target
population. There are no strict rules to follow, and the re-
searcher must rely on logic and judgment. The population is
defined in keeping with the objectives of the study.
Sometimes, the entire population will be sufficiently small, and
the researcher can include the entire population in the study.
This type of research is called a census study because data is
gathered on every member of the population.
Usually, the population is too large for the researcher to attempt
to survey all of its members. A small, but carefully chosen
sample can be used to represent the population. The sample
reflects the characteristics of the population from which it is
Sampling methods are classified as either probability or
nonprobability. In probability samples, each member of the
population has a known non-zero probability of being selected.
Probability methods include random sampling, systematic
sampling, and stratified sampling. In nonprobability sampling,
members are selected from the population in some nonrandom
manner. These include convenience sampling, judgment
sampling, quota sampling, and snowball sampling. The
advantage of probability sampling is that sampling error can be
calculated. Sampling error is the degree to which a sample might
differ from the population. When inferring to the population,
results are reported plus or minus the sampling error. In
nonprobability sampling, the degree to which the sample differs
from the population remains unknown.
Random sampling is the purest form of probability sampling.
Each member of the population has an equal and known chance
of being selected. When there are very large populations, it is
often difficult or impossible to identify every member of the
population, so the pool of available subjects becomes biased.
Systematic sampling is often used instead of random sampling.
It is also called an Nth name selection technique. After the
required sample size has been calculated, every Nth record is
selected from a list of population members. As long as the list
does not contain any hidden order, this sampling method is as
good as the random sampling method. Its only advantage over
the random sampling technique is simplicity. Systematic
sampling is frequently used to select a specified number of
records from a computer file.
Stratified sampling is commonly used probability method that
is superior to random sampling because it reduces sampling
error. A stratum is a subset of the population that share at least
one common characteristic. The researcher first identifies the
relevant stratums and their actual representation in the popula-
tion. Random sampling is then used to select subjects from
each stratum until the number of subjects in that stratum is
proportional to its frequency in the population. Stratified
sampling is often used when one or more of the stratums in
the population have a low incidence relative to the other
Convenience sampling is used in exploratory research where the
researcher is interested in getting an inexpensive approximation
of the truth. As the name implies, the sample is selected
because they are convenient. This nonprobability method is
often used during preliminary research efforts to get a gross
estimate of the results, without incurring the cost or time
required to select a random sample.
Judgment sampling is a common nonprobability method. The
researcher selects the sample based on judgment. This is usually
and extension of convenience sampling. For example, a
researcher may decide to draw the entire sample from one
representative city, even though the population includes all
cities. When using this method, the researcher must be
confident that the chosen sample is truly representative of the
entire population.
Quota sampling is the nonprobability equivalent of stratified
sampling. Like stratified sampling, the researcher first identifies
the stratums and their proportions as they are represented in
the population. Then convenience or judgment sampling is
used to select the required number of subjects from each
stratum. This differs from stratified sampling, where the
stratums are filled by random sampling.
Snowball sampling is a special nonprobability method used
when the desired sample characteristic is rare. It may be ex-
tremely difficult or cost prohibitive to locate respondents in
these situations. Snowball sampling relies on referrals from
initial subjects to generate additional subjects. While this
technique can dramatically lower search costs, it comes at the
expense of introducing bias because the technique itself reduces
the likelihood that the sample will represent a good cross
section from the population.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 185

In this lesson wewill
Learn sometips on questionnairedesign
Practice someexercises on questionnairedesign
The Functions of a Questionnaire
Translates the research objectives into specific
Standardizes questions and all or some of the
response categories
Fosters cooperation and motivation
Serves as permanent record of the research
Can speed up the process of data analysis
Can serve as the basis for reliability and validity
Developing Questions
Research Questions
A questionnaire (survey) item or question:
statement or question used in research projects
to obtain overt, written or oral communication
from individual study participants
Its intended function is to obtain meaningful
responses from study participants.
Survey item or question measures such as:
Points to Ponder
The Questionnaire Development Process
186 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Developing Questions
Shoulds of Question Wording
Question should be focused on a single issue or
topic. No double-barreled questions.
Question should be brief.
Question should be interpreted the same way by
all respondents; no ambiguity in word meaning.
Question should use respondents core
vocabulary. Keep wording simple.
Question should be a grammatically simple
sentence if possible.
Developing Questions
Should Nots of Question Wording
Question should not assume criteria that are not
Question should not be beyond the respondents
ability or experience; also, you do the math.
Question should not use a specific example to
represent a general case.
Question should not ask the respondent to recall
specifics when only generalities will be
Question should not require the respondent
to guess a generalization.
Questionnaire Organization
Five Functions of the Introduction
Identification of the survey or respondent
Purpose of survey
Explanation of respondent selection
Request for participation/provide incentive
Screening of respondent
Questionnaire Organization
Typical Question Sequence
Approaches to Question Flow
Work approach: is employed when the researcher
realizes that respondents will to need to apply
different mental effort to groups of questions
Sections approach: organizes questions into sets
based on a common objective of questions in the
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 187

Precoding the Questionnaire
Precoding: placement of numbers on the
questionnaire to represent answers; facilitates
data entry after the survey has been completed
Numbers are preferred for two reasons:
Numbers are easier and faster to keystroke
into a computer file
Computer tabulation programs are more
efficient when they process numbers
Pretesting the Questionnaire
Pretest the entire survey process, including the
questionnaire: sampling frame, sample draw,
data gathering (mail, phone, online, etc.), editing,
coding, file building, data entry, and preliminary
Questionnaire pretest: 20-40 questionnaires; 10
percent change pretest rule
Changes: add Qs, delete Qs, modify Qs,
change order of Qs
Less than 10 percent change no new pretest,
10 percent or more, pretest again
Computer-Assisted Questionnaire Design
Computer-assisted questionnaire design:
software programs allow users to use computer
technology to develop and disseminate
More functionality
1. You work at The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi as a Sales and
Marketing Executive. Design a feedback form to be
completed by visitors to any of your many coffee houses/
restaurants. Use your initiative to decide which categories and
statements should appear on the questionnaire so that it will
be valuable to management in gauging customers opinions.
2. You are working with a market research company and have
been given an assignment to do a survey to do a
comparative analysis of the two media giants: Aaj Tak and
NDTV. Prepare a suitable questionnaire.
188 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Bytheendof this lesson you shouldbeableto:
Explain thepurposeof meetings
Describethedifferent types of meetings which takeplacein business
Statethedocuments which areusedin themeetings process
Composeagenda andminutes
Students, I am sure you are very familiar with this term
meeting. But in business meetings is an effective and efficient
tool in the communication process. Meetings enable face-to-face
contact of a number of people at the same time. They provide a
useful opportunity for sharing information, making sugges-
tions and proposals, taking decisions and obtaining instant
Need and Purpose of Meetings
1. To coordinate or arrange activities
2. To report on some activity or experience
3. To put forward ideas or grievances for discussion
4. To give information to a group of people
5. To obtain assistance
6. To create involvement and interest
Types of Meetings
Formal Meetings
The rules of conduct of formal meetings are laid doen in a
companys Articles of Association and/ or Constitution or
Standing Orders. With such meetings a quorum must be
present, i.e the minimum number of people who should be
present in order to validate the meeting. A formal record of
these meetings must be kept , usually by the company secretary.
Annual General Meeting (AGM)
AGMs are held once a year to assess the trading of the organi-
zation over the year . All shareholders are invited to intend the
GM but they must be given 21 days notice.
Statutory Meetings
Statutory meetings are called so that the directors and share-
holders ca communicate and consider special reports.
Companies are required by law to hold these statutory meetings
Board Meetings
Board meetings are held as often as individual organizations
require. They are attended by all directors and chaired by the
Chairman of the board.
Informal Meetings
Informal meetings are not restricted by the same rules and
regulation as formal meetings. Such meetings may take the
form of brainstorming or discussion sessions where strict
agendas may not be necessary and minutes may not be kept.
However, it is usually considered good business practice for an
agenda to be issued to all members prior to the meetings so
that they can be prepare adequately in order to make a valuable
These meetings are attended by a group of managers who may
need to discuss a specific matter, report of progress reports. For
example the marketing manager, sales manager, production
manager and research and development manager may meet to
discuss the launch of a new product being launched soon.
Meetings are the most popular method of interactive commu-
nication. They facilitate direct, face-to-face communication and
are essential at various levels in all organizations. They facilitate
exchange of information, fostering of team spirit and commit-
ment to common goals and objectives. More importantly, they
help in elaborating ideas, clarifying concepts and clearing
confusion, if any, created on account of ambiguous and
incomplete verbal and vocal messages. Misunderstandings
arising from unclear memos, circulars, directives, targets, etc. can
be cleared through meetings with the people concerned.
Meeting of marketing people with prospective customers while
launching a new product or service helps in clearly bringing out
the significant features of the product and clarifying the finer
points. Similarly, meetings with the computer or EDP person-
nel facilitate detailed and effective planning of the Y2K or any
such contingency planning and preparedness strategies. These
are just two examples of the ways in which meetings can be of
use to serve a vital communication need in an organization. In
addition to these, there can be customer meets, dealer meets,
managers meets, staff meetings, association meetings, business
meets, review meets, and so on.
Meeting at What Cost
A recent studyconductedbytheAmerican management consultants, Booz,
Allen andHamilton, as reportedin thepress, concludedthat 299
managers, at an averagesalary of$50,000 a year, spent half of their
timein meetings. Andthat a largeproportion of this timewas wastedon
useless discussions, politi-cal maneuvering
and personal conflicts. Based on their study, the consult-ants
advised organizations not to call a meeting that costs $10,000
for a deci-sion that is worth $1000.
Like their Western counterparts, Indian executives too, in many
organizations spend a large part of their working day in company
meetings. In the United States, it is to be noted, decisions are
made by groups of managers or executives rather than by
individual top management functionaries. Similarly, in India too,
we have various committees in organizations like the Credit
Committee, Recovery Committee, Man-agement Committee,
Audit Committee, Promotions Committee, Systems Committee,
and Legal Committee which take decisions and that is why it
becomes necessary to organize many meetings.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 189

While meetings, which are effective, contribute to decision-
making and positive outcome, illconceived and indifferently
conducted meetings entail enormous waste of time, efforts and
other resources. They may even lead to chaos and confusion. It
would therefore be imperative to give attention to certain details
while convening meetings. The preparation for an effective
meeting starts well in advance and there is a lot that needs to be
attended to on the day of the meeting, during the meeting and
thereafter till the minutes are drawn up and sent.
Hope Not
Meetings keepminutes, but wastehours.
Meetingsareindispensablewhen you dont want todoanything.
J K Galbraith
Agenda is the list of items to be taken up for discussion during
the meeting. It provides the reason for calling a meeting. It
should be ensured that there are ad-equate numbers of worth-
while issues, which need deliberation at the meeting. All topics
and issues that will be taken for discussion during the meeting
call for advance efforts. The items stated in the agenda should be
relevant and appropriate, keeping in view the purpose of the
meeting and the expertise of members who will be participat-ing
in it. If the agenda is not properly drawn up, the meeting may
not serve any useful purpose. The agenda should be such that
adequate numbers of issues that merit the attention of members
are drawn up and listed for deliberation so that the duration of
the meeting is gainfully spent. Calling a meeting for the sake of it
or just to ensure that the pre-determined periodicity is met
entails waste of time and resources.
Bef ore the Meeting
Background Papers
Every meeting of some importance will have a set of back-ground
papers, which are sent in advance to the members who, will
participate in the meeting. These background papers relate to the
items listed in the agenda and provide glimpses of the issues
involved. Background papers are normally prepared by the
concerned functionaries or functional departments who are seeking
a decision on the issue. Background papers cover all relevant details
that are germane to effective de-liberation and would normally
include facts, figures, different views, expert opinion, latest
position, and so on. Minutes of the previous meeting are also sent
along with the first lot of background papers since it is always the
first item on the agenda . They are also taken up for confirmation
before proceeding to the other items. Background pa-pers ensure
that deliberations are focused and cover all relevant dimensions of
the subject under discussion.
Background papers should state clearly what is expected of the
meeting. Board notes, office notes, etc. put up for important
meetings should state clearly whether the note is submitted for
consideration and orders or submitted for information. It
is also a common practice to state the Resolution covering the
type of orders sought to ensure abundant clarity.
Whom to Invite
To be effective, deliberations at the meetings should involve all
the concerned functionaries and persons. Regular members of
the committees, wherever formally constituted, will have to be
invariably invited. At the same time, in the ab-sence of a formal
list, it would be essential to identify people whose presence
would be of significance when subjects are taken up for
deliberation. In some cases, senior functionaries will have to -
be necessarily invited to lend authority to the decision making
process whereas some junior level functionaries and subject
matter specialists may have to be present to provide technical
details and other relevant backpapers. Persons to be invited for
the meeting, wherever not specifically stated, are best decided in
consultation with the chairperson and other senior functionaries
on whose behalf the meeting is called.
Invitation for the meeting is to be clearly drawn up indicating
the day, date, time and venue of the meeting. Invitations have
to be sent well in advance to ensure that outstation participants
have sufficient time to make appropriate travel plans. Meeting
notices will have to clearly indicate who should attend the
meeting. Sometimes, people in organizations receive notices,
which do not clearly indicate whether they are sent as an
invitation or just as intimation. The addressee in this case is
likely to be confused and will have to start making further
enquiries. The meeting notice should also state whether the
addressee, if not in a position to attend, can depute someone
else on his behalf. Though most of these are-simple neces-
saries, they are often overlooked.
190 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y


Company name and
committee name

Notice states place, day, date
and time of meeting

Use the heading AGENDA

These three items of
ordinary business are
included on every agenda
(some committees will also
include Correspondence)

Special business is listed
separately (any official
reports come first)

Finish all agendas with these
final two items of ordinary

Dont forget reference and



A meeting of the Sports and Social Club will be held in the Conference
Suite A on Friday 14 May 2000 at 1800


Apologies for absence
Minutes of last meeting
Matters arising
Chairmans Report
Football Results and Matches (Frank Jones)
New Keep-Fit Classes (Carol Chen)
Purchase of Tennis Equipment (Aileen Forster)
Annual Dinner and Dance
Any other business
Date of next meeting


7 May 2000

Timing and Venue
Care should be taken in fixing up meetings in a manner that is
generally convenient to most of the members or participants. A
notice in advance will ensure that participants get adequate
opportunity to schedule or reschedule their en-gagements. The
date and time should be fixed taking into account holidays,
other important evel1ts and functions that may clash with
meeting timings and make it difficult for the members to
choose between one or the other. While it may not be possible
to totally avoid overlapping in all cases, some advance planning
and enqui-ries will certainly help better attendance at meetings.
Indication of the duration of the meeting will also be helpful
so that the participants would know how much time is to be
allocated for it. Also, details such as arrangements for breakfast,
lunch, etc. need to be mentioned.
While reasonable advance intimation for any meeting facilitates
better atten-dance, any notice sent months in advance or much
earlier will have to be necessarily followed up with subsequent
The venue of the meeting should be fixed up obviously well
before the meeting notices are dispatched. With so many
meetings taking place there is bound to be considerable demand
for meeting halls and conference rooms. The meeting room
should lave all the physical facilities-fans, air conditioners,
microphones, projectors, etc. that ensure minimum comfort for
the members and facilitate uninterrupted deliberations. As we
have seen in the earlier chapters, physical barriers such as non--
availability of sound systems, extraneous sounds, cramped
seating, etc. hinders effective communication. It is not uncom-
mon in organizations to come across instances where the
availability of venue is not confirmed or there is some misun-
derstanding in the date or time as a result of which either
meeting are delayed or participants are made to move from one
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 191

venue to another. A little extra care will avoid much embar-
rassment at the time of meeting.
There are occasions when the chief executive or other senior
functionary may decide to convene impromptu or emergent
meetings with very short notice in which case the availability of
venue, physical facilities and other arrangements for refresh-
ments, etc. will have to be attended to on priority: A situation
where the deliberations have concluded and yet refreshments or
lunch is not ready speaks of poor prepara-tions and has to be
scrupulously avoided. Also the participants time is important
and cannot be taken for granted.
Starting the meeting on time is an area that calls for conscious
efforts. Keeping the venue open, reminding the Chairman and
other members, ensuring that all papers have reached the
participants, and table items are placed, and ensuring that the
convenors and organizers are at the venue well before the
scheduled time are all a must in making meetings time bound
and purposeful. A situation where the convenor is still in
consultation with the chairman of the meeting, well past the
scheduled start-ing time, while the participants are waiting in
the venue not knowing when and if at all the meeting would
take place is the kind of situation that speaks of the indifferent
attitude towards the meeting and must be avoided.
Time Management
Time management is of essence in ensuring the effectiveness of
meetings. Meetings, which start on time, end on time and
provide adequate time for proper deliberation of all listed
items, ensure cost effectiveness. On the contrary, meet-ings that
start with undue delay, take up items not on priority and run
out of focus entail waste of efforts and time and prove to be
costly to the organization. On_ tan assess the efficiency level of
an organization in terms of effectiveness of the meetings
conducted at various levels.
Checklist For Meetings
The convenor or the secretariat for the meetings will have to take
responsibility for the success of the meetings. They have to
invariably give attention to details and ensure that everything is in
order. It would be desirable to maintain a checklist of items to be
checked at various stages Le., before, during and after the meeting.
The checklist should include, among others, the following items:
Venue arrangements such as ensuring that the meeting hall is
ready and open well in time, checking whether all equipments
such as mikes, air conditioners, fans, projectors are
functioning, providing pens and pads, etc.
Refreshments and catering as are appropriate to the meeting
Checking flight arrivals, room bookings, conveyance, etc for
chairper-son and others wherever required
Reminding the local members about the time and venue of
the meeting
Ensuring that all relevant background papers have reached
the members as intended
Ascertaining the participation of members and the
availability of quorum Ensuring that table items required for
the days meeting are put up
Briefing the chairman and other key members about the
issues to be taken up in the meeting
Entrustment of responsibility concerning the recording of
minutes or proceedings
Preparation of minutes on time, obtaining approval for the
same and their dispatch
Timely intimation of postponement, cancellation, change of
venue, etc.
Changes to be effected in the composition of the members
or participants, special invitees, etc.
This kind of attention to all details by the convenor or the
secretariat brings in the much-needed professional approach
in conducting meetings.
Role of the Chairperson
The Chairperson, the convenor or the secretary and senior
members have a vital role to play in conducting the meetings
effectively. He or she has to ensure punctuality and effective time
management. While providing the freedom for expressing
views on items taken up for deliberation, the chairperson
ensures that discussions do not stray. The Chairperson ensures
that as far as possible, all the agenda items slated for discus-sion
are duly taken up for deliberation. The chairperson may also
have to make appro-priate opening remarks and concluding
remarks in the interest of directing delibera-tions and arriving at
clear decisions. Through his experience, wit and wisdom, he
brings in authority and decisiveness to the deliberations. If,
during the course of delibera-tions, members get into a war of
words, or personal clash, the chairperson will have to use his or
her skill in resolving such conflicts without hurting the people
concerned. When meetings are either long or very frequent,
some time may have to be spent in warming up 9r refreshing
the participants or what may be called unwinding. Partici-pants
in all the meetings are the people and people management will
have to be done smoothly. It is common fact that sometimes
discussions in meetings tend to revolve too much on insignifi-
cant or irrelevant topics, leaving much less time for deliberating
on the most important topics. The chairperson or the convenor
who should play a complementary role in conducting the
meetings, should intervene and bring in the much needed sense
of proportion.
To conclude, it should be reiterated that meetings, when
conducted effectively, could bring in substantial benefits in
resolving even sensitive matters through collective wisdom.
They can be very cost effective means of intensive interaction.
When participants learn to talk, listen and interact in a respon-
sible manner, meetings can be really result-oriented. At the same
time, it should be borne in mind that although the people
participating are knowledgeable, they mayor may not speak out
freely and contribute to the deliberations. Sometimes, some of
the participants may tend to dominate the deliberations, not
giving an opportunity to others to express themselves. In other
words, it takes conscious efforts and attention to details in
ensuring that meetings are effective.
192 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Meeting Procedures: Conduct of the
For success of the problem-solving meeting, the leaders
attitude and efficiency-from the beginning statement through
the entire discussion-are critically important. The leader should
be well prepared, be able to think and act quickly, get along with
others, respect their opinions, know objectives of discussion
and the reasoning process, be patient, and have a sincere interest
in the values of cooperative group action. This section lists
procedures the leader should follow in conducting the meeting:
1. Begin with appropriate opening statement-
Obviously, you should prepare your introductory statement
before the meeting but neither memorize nor read it. Present
it informally and naturally-in one or more of these
suggested ways:
Good morning/ afternoon, everyone.
If we are all here, lets.:.
. . . .get started
. . . .start the meeting.
.. . .start.
Other possibilities are open to you as chairperson, but the
above are some of the most common.
2. Stimulate discussion for solution discovery
In general, try to encourage all members to participate, and
do keep the discussion moving forward. To help spark
discussion on each topic, ask questions and keep participants
from wandering onto irrelevant paths. Sometimes if the
original contributor of an idea cannot add to it, another
member may be able to carry it further. If a participants
statement is vague, rephrase it clearly. Maintain an
atmosphere of goodwill and cooperation throughout the
meeting. If a situation becomes tense or some members are
reluctant to speak or are annoying or antagonistic, try to calm
down the situation. Even taking a recess diffuses tensions.
Try to be tactful, considerate, and understanding and show a
sense of humor.
3. Understand roles of participants
In a meeting, different participants (including the
chairperson) tend to acquire some roles. These roles may be
categorized as task roles - roles facilitating the achievement of
the task assigned to the meeting, and group building and
maintenance roles - roles facilitating the harmony in the
meeting so that meeting goes undisturbed. While
performing a task role, an individual may playas coordinator,
or information seeker, or opinion seeker, or information
giver, or opinion giver, or recorder. While playing the group
building and maintenance role, an individual may perform as
encourager, compromiser, follower, and likewise.
Knowing the various roles being played by group members
assists the leader in knowing how to react, how to handle
role statements made during a meeting.
4. Particularly important, however, is handling a problem
Here are some suggestions for leaders on handling difficult
a. The quiet, nonparticipating member -First ask this person
question he can answer by a simple yes or no. Then,
whenever possible, ask this member to give some
information that he is sure to know because of job, training,
or experience. Thank and praise the person as much as you
can; he may then be more likely to enter the discussion
b. The know-it-all- : This person may be asked to justify every
statement he or she makes. Whenever possible, ask other
members for their opinions of these statements.
Sometimes, it necessary and you feel the majority are
annoyed by this persons arrogance, you may tactfully quiet
the person by asking for a show of hands from the group,
which strongly outvotes the know-it-alls suggestions.
If the negative member still insists on knowing all the
answers, a private, outside-the-meeting session can bring the
groups concern to the person. This one-on-one meeting in a
non-threatening atmosphere may produce more positive
c. The long -winded speaker - You may thank this excessive
talker when he is at the end of a sentence, and then recognize
someone else. Or you might move the discussion to another
highly important point, perhaps with a statement like Well,
we have two more points, perhaps with a statement like
Well, we have two more points to consider before we wind
up this meeting, so lets move along to the next topic.
d The erroneous member - If the other members-out of
respect-are reluctant to correct this person, an especially tactful
comment by you, the leader, may be required. As with any
bad-news message, avoid direct criticism, sarcasm, or ridicule.
Shield the persons pride. When praising people, single them
out; when criticizing them, put them in a group. Perhaps
analyze a similar case, without referring to the speaker
e. The member who shows personal animosity -Though rare,
sometimes an angry member shouts hateful, tactless
comments towards another mem-ber or members. You can
show an attitude of calm understanding and turn him or her
of by directing a question to another member.
5. Sort, select, interpret data for solution evaluation - After you
have listed members suggestions on the board, encourage
participants to consider advan-tages and disadvantages of
each suggested course of action. List them sepa-rately. As
leader, be careful not to impose your own opinions on the
group, or if you wish to participate, ask another member to
chair the meeting. Encourage each group member to feel a
sense of responsibility for the success of the analysis. Good
listening by everyone. to what others offer is extremely
6. State the conclusion and plan of action As with a written
analytical report, the terminal section is of major importance.
Before you dismiss the meeting, review what the group has
accomplished. Summarize what parts of the problem
members have solved or partially solved. State the decision
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 193

(conclu-sion) clearly and definitely. You might begin your
statement of the conclusion by saying You have agreed..
..or You have suggested.. ... or Its my interpre-tation
that we have approved rather than. I think this is what
should be done. If the group arrived at several conclusions,
list them, preferably in order to importance.
Make some statement about how the solution the group
decided on will be carried out. Appointments may be made
then or announced later in a memo regarding the action.
7. Follow-up after the meeting - Two functions after the
meeting are distribu-tion of the minutes and-most
important-seeing that
responsible committees,
departments, or individuals
are appointed to carry out the
chosen action. In some
situations the meeting leader
may have to confer with other
executives of higher authority
before appointments are
made regarding policy
Copies of the minutes your
secretary or assistant prepared
should be sent to the meeting
participants soon after the
They usually should include:
Name of the organization,
department, or group
Date, time, place of the
Names of members present
Names of any others present
as invited visitors
Name of chairperson and (at
the end) recording secretary
Brief summary of reports, if
any, by those listed on the
Highlights of solutions
presented and decisions made
Time of adjournment and (if
announced) date or next

Same main headings as the

Leave right side blank and
use the heading NOTES
Chairman will write notes in
this section during the

Mention any details which
will help the Chairman to
conduct the meeting

Reference and date



A meeting of the Sports and Social Club will be held in the Conference
Suite A on Friday 14 May 2000 at 1800



None received

Circulated on 16 May. Point out error
in 4.1 - 1,200 should read 12,000



Separate notes attached


Frank Jones to report on 3 matches held
during April. Also future match schedule.


Carol Chen to propose the introduction of
Keep Fit classes for staff.


Aileen Forster to report on new tennis
equipment needed for July tournament.


Discuss date and venue, ideas for
programme and appoint person in charge.



Suggest 24 June 2000

12 May 2000

194 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Here are Some Tips to Help You Take
Better Minutes at Your Next Meeting.
1. Have a copy of the agenda with you. Follow the
agenda closely during the meeting and use a
stopwatch to note when items begin and end.
2. If the agenda item has been addressed under the
allocated time, the speaker should finish. The time
that's left over can be used to address any items
that couldn't be covered earlier in the discussion.
3. It's up to the group, with the help of the facilitator,
to decide to keep on the issue or move on. For
example, the group may want to get through the
rest of the agenda and then revisit the extended
issue at the end of the meeting. In some groups,
the leader may make this decision. If it's important
enough, a separate meeting may be scheduled to
discuss an issue in more detail, which would also
give people time to prepare better for meaning
4. It's the timekeeper's role to let the group know
when a speaker's time is up. When one-minute
remains, signal the group non-verbally (raise your
hand, ring a small bell). This gesture should be
determined before the discussion begins. When the
speaker's time is up, make the gesture again. Using
a non-verbal gesture is comfortable for the
timekeeper since he doesn't have to interrupt and
encourages the speaker to be concise and stay on
5. The timekeeper should also alert the facilitator and
group members to breaks. You could say, for
example, "I just wanted to let everyone know there
are only 10 minutes before our break". You could
also write reminders on cards and hold them up as
a reminder.
As follow-up, e-mail an attachment of the meeting notes to
each of the participants. Or save them to the companys
network in a meetings folder. This way, all the meeting partici-
pants have access to the meeting notes if theres an idea or
discussion theyd like to revisit. In the e-mail, also summarize
the action items assigned during the meeting. Outline what was
assigned, to whom it was assigned, the priority level and the
due date. When a meetings adjourned, its not always clear
whos responsible for what, which means action items arent
always carried through. By summarizing the action items in an
e-mail, you can be certain all participants understand whos
responsible for what.
How to Keep People Interested in a
With the number of meetings that most of us attend, keeping
participants interested in what you have to say can be a major
challenge. The first thing you have to do is introduce some
variety into your meeting. Dont be afraid to break away from
the traditional meeting format and try something fun
attendees will appreciate the change to their routine and will be
more likely to pay attention if theyre enjoying themselves! Here
are a couple of ideas to get you thinking.
Try introducing each agenda item with a humorous quote
or a comic strip. It will trigger the audiences interest in
what you have to say.
If your meeting objective is to introduce new information,
let the group know that there will be a quiz on the content
you're going to present. At the end of your presentation,
ask the group questions about the content you've just
presented. Whoever provides the correct answer first
receives a prize. Not only will this generate some
excitement, but you can guarantee that fewer people will be
daydreaming during your presentation!
During a discussion or brainstorming session, try this
simple game involving a soft, small ball. Begin by throwing
the ball to a participant. That person must comment on the
subject at hand and then throw it to another participant.
Each time the ball is thrown around the room, another
comment or suggestion is made. This encourages every
participant to contribute to the meeting discussion.
Mixing up the meetings format should help keep participants
on their toes. But if you sense that interest is waning, schedule
a ten-minute break, or suggest you wrap up and continue the
session later in the week. It should be pretty easy to gauge if the
audience is losing interest stifled yawns, wandering gazes and
random chatter are all good clues. Remember most people
need a ten-minute break every 50 minutes, so try to incorporate
that into your meeting. If you have a lot of detailed informa-
tion to wade through, try to insert stories, analogies and guest
speakers into your presentation. Any change of pace will help
revive the audiences interest.
If you want people to fully participate in meetings, its worth
putting some extra time and effort into your planning. Partici-
pants who daydream or doze off during meetings make the
entire session unproductive. As the wise philosopher Confucius
said Being fond of courage while detesting poverty will lead
men to unruly behavior. Excessive detestation of men who are
not benevolent will provoke them to unruly behavior. So
make sure your meeting troops are kept happy or you may be
stuck with an uprising on your hands!
Using Meeting to Help Rebuild Team
Conf idence.
Layoffs can spark hard feelings and fear in an office. Its difficult
to feel like a team player when youre wondering if youre next
in line for a pink slip.
First, ask your boss to attend the meeting and give the team a
pep talk, reassuring them that their positions are secure. Having
this message delivered in person, rather than in a memo or e-
mail, will have a more positive effect. You can then explain the
rationale behind the layoffs. If people understand why the
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 195

organization downsized and that these goals have been
addressed, they will begin to feel secure again.
To help bring the group back together, ask everyone to brain-
storm some teambuilding activities. If theyre having trouble
getting inspired, throw a few ideas into the ring: a lunchtime
potluck, a Friday afternoon scavenger hunt or a mini-golf game
throughout the office. Organizing and participating in fun time
together will help re-establish some of your departments lost
enthusiasm. Also use the meeting to recognize the teams
efforts and accomplishments. A simple acknowledgment of
their achievements and a word of thanks will go a long way. If
youre able, consider giving the team a more tangible reward as
well, such as a Friday afternoon off.
By addressing the remaining employees status and showing
them how appreciated they are, youll be on the way to rebuild-
ing their trust and, with it, their effectiveness and enthusiasm.
As the wise philosopher Confucius once said, To put the
world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the
nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the
family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to
cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right. In
other words, before you can expect your department to be as
effective and enthusiastic as it was, you must first help each
individual realize that she is a valued member of the company.
What is an Ef f ective Decision Making
Process in a Meeting?
Achieving a decision can be a rare occurrence in some meeting
rooms. Here are some tips for ensuring decisions are made in
your meetings and helping the process run more smoothly.
Determine the meetings goal and state it clearly before,
and several times during, the meeting. For example,
The purpose of this meeting is to decide on the
publications in which we will advertise this year.
Help attendees be better prepared by sending them all
relevant information for their review prior to the
Brainstorm possible courses of action on a whiteboard
so attendees can refer to them throughout the decision-
making process.
Explore the potential outcomes of each option
including both the benefits and difficulties.
Define and prioritize the criteria for judging the options.
For example, is cost the most important factor,
followed by past results? Having these criteria will help
the process move more quickly.
Determine how the decisions will be made will you
need full consensus or will the majority win?
Make your final decisions, record them and send them
to all attendees and other colleagues who are affected.
Follow through with your decisions.
As Peter F. Drucker, author of TheEffectiveExecutive, said, No
decision has been made unless carrying it out in specific steps
has become someones work assignment and responsibility. In
other words, successful decision-making requires that you
follow through with your decisions. Otherwise, youll have
succeeded in nothing more than wasting peoples time.
How to Become a Better Audience
It takes great courage to recognize ones shortcomings. Since
youve already come this far, Im confident you will be able to
change your negative meeting behavior. Here are some ideas for
breaking your bad meeting habits
Avoid side conversations by writing down questions or
comments as you think of them. If the comments are related
to the topic of the meeting, wait for an opening and share
your ideas with everyone. If theyre not, address them after the
meeting. Then start being an active listener pay attention,
make eye contact and respond positively to the presenter.
Also, figure out why youre nitpicking and making unwanted
comments, and take action. If the topics are boring or the
presenters longwinded, come up with some fresh ideas, such
as new ways to meet or new rules for talking out of turn.
Most importantly, determine whats behind your negative
behavior. Are you unhappy with the way meetings are run? Is
there not enough time for attendee feedback? Are you
attending too many meetings? If these things are making you
resentful, speak up before the meeting and suggest some
changes to make your meetings more interesting and effective.
Minutes of a Meeting
During the course of meeting, the items or topics listed in the
Agenda are discussed serially one by one. All the participants
express their views/ opinions and discuss amongst themselves
the pros and cons of each item of Agenda. Finally they arrive at
some conclusions or decisions, which are always kept on official
record. We call them as minutes of a meeting.
Thus minutes are the formal records of proceedings of a
meeting. In other words these are the brief of discussions held
and decisions taken at the meeting. It is the duty of a Secretary
to retain all such discussions, deliberations and decisions in
writing specifically.
The purpose of writing minutes is
To serve as the formal record of discussion and
To serve as a background for future discussions.
Minutes comprises of
a. Date and number of meeting.
b. A list of those names of those who attended the meeting
c. A list of those members who did not attended the meeting
and from whom apologies were received.
d. The record of confirmation of the previous minutes and any
amendments agreed to by the committee.
e. The essential, relevant background to the topic under
f. A succinct summary of the discussion
g. A clear and unambiguous record of the decision reached/
resolution and if appropriate, of those individuals/ bodies
responsible for talking subsequent action.
196 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

h. Where discussion of a specific case leads to a policy issue , it
is important that a separate minute be written on the policy
issue(even if this item did not appear on the agenda)
UsethetermChairperson andnot Chairman or Chairwoman. Non
gender specific language must beused in theminutes.
Before setting out to write the minute, the following principles
should be borne in mind for effective writing:
Brevity- A minute is a selective, not verbatim record.
Clarity- Clarity is essential for good communication. Those
who were not present should be able to understand what
happened at the meeting from reading the minutes. All
references should be specific, relevant and accurate.
Self -containment - The minute should stand by itself so
that additional information is not required if it is required if
it is referred to somebody. If readers want more of the
background, they should be able to check references.
Decisiveness Decisions / resolutions should be conveyed
clearly. The language of actual resolution or decision should
be reproduced.
Immediate recording Write up the minutes as soon as
possible after the meeting.
Further Readings
Do Your Meetings Measure Upto Your
CEOs Expectation?
If the CEO of your company decided to sit in on a few of your
meetings, would she be impressed or distressed? We asked Nancy
Knowlton, Co-CEO of SMART Technologies Inc. and Bob
Hagerty, CEO of Polycom Inc., what they expect from meetings
and how important effective meetings are to the success of their
companies. Find out if your meetings are effective enough to
measure up to the expectations of these CEOs.
What Your Meeting Means to the CEO
Both Knowlton and Hagerty feel strongly that the effectiveness
of a companys meetings has an impact on the organizations
bottom line. Meetings are a huge investment of time, and the
number-one expense that most companies have is their
people, explains Knowlton. When people make good use of
their time theres a terrific return on investment. But when
people dont make good use of their time in meetings they
dont achieve their objectives, theres useless chatter or theyre
cycling around on the same topic thats a prescription for no
return on an investment.
Hagerty agrees, I think unsuccessful meetings can be a disaster
theyre unpleasant to be in, theyre ineffective, theyre a waste
of time, and they create a huge productivity hole. If you look
around the room in most corporate meetings, theres a lot of
money being burned by the minute.
What Would Your CEO Change About
Todays Meetings?
I think people are generally well prepared for most of the
meetings I attend, says Knowlton. Theyve all read back-
ground material and prepared their own materials. But I find it
frustrating when Im not told what the objective of the
meeting is and when I dont see a clearly laid out agenda thats
going to accomplish that objective. Hagertys first pet peeve
about meetings is lateness: Dont come in late. Its disruptive
and its too expensive. People should be on time, be prepared
and be ready to roll. But what he thinks would make the
biggest improvement in meetings is for people in geographi-
cally dispersed companies to have more access to technology. I
just dont think a phone connection is quite adequate anymore.
Meeting attendees need to be able to see the information and
the people especially if they are remote, explains Hagerty.
He feels that in order for people to buy in to the focus of a
meeting, they need to be fully engaged in the discussions that
happen in these meetings. When people are engaged, they feel
better because they know whats going on, and they can take
better and faster action because its direct information they are
getting, not second- or third-hand through some memo that
came in the mail or through e-mail.
How to Reach Your CEOs Meeting
So what can you do to make sure youre measuring up to your
CEOs meeting expectations? Follow their meeting advice.The
basics of holding a good meeting actually havent changed over
the years, says Knowlton. It all starts with whether or not
theres a clearly stated objective for the meeting in the agenda a
meeting without an agenda is a recipe for a waste of time.
Knowlton explains that she expects the meeting organizer to
inform people in advance of the meeting objective and agenda,
stay on track in the meeting, cover off the action items and
clearly state what the outcome of the meeting is.
Hagerty says there are seven main steps to follow if meeting
organizers and attendees want to hold a successful meeting: stay
focused on the main point; stay in control of the meeting; have
an agenda; discuss the important issues; make sure everyone is
fully engaged; get a decision; get out. Because action happens
outside the meetings.
Six Tips f or Ef f ective Meetings
1. Dont Meet
Avoid a meeting if the same information could be covered in
a memo, e-mail or brief report. One of the keys to having
more effective meetings is differentiating between the need
for one-way information dissemination and two-way
information sharing. To disseminate information you can
use a variety of other communication media, such as sending
an e-mail or posting the information on your companys
intranet. If you want to be certain you have delivered the
right message, you can schedule a meeting to simply answer
questions about the information you have sent. By
remembering to ask yourself, Is a meetingthebest waytohandle
this? youll cut down on wasted meeting time and restore
your groups belief that the meetings they attend are
2. Set Objectives for the Meeting
Set objectives before the meeting! Before planning the
agenda for the meeting, write down a phrase or several
phrases to complete the sentence: By the end of the meeting,
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 197

I want the group to Depending on the focus of your
meeting, your ending to the sentence might include phrases
such as: be able to list the top three features of our newest
product, have generated three ideas for increasing our
sales, understand the way we do business with customers,
leave with an action plan, decide on a new widget
supplier, or solve the design problem.
One benefit of setting objectives for the meeting is to help
you plan the meeting. The more concrete your meeting
objectives, the more focused your agenda will be. A second
important benefit of having specific objectives for each
meeting is that you have a concrete measure against which
you can evaluate that meeting. Were you successful in
meeting the objectives? Why or why not? Is another meeting
required? Setting meeting objectives allows you to
continuously improve your effective meeting process.
3. Provide an Agenda Beforehand
Provide all participants with an agenda before the meeting
starts. Your agenda needs to include a brief description of
the meeting objectives, a list of the topics to be covered and
a list stating who will address each topic and for how long.
When you send the agenda, you should include the time,
date and location of the meeting and any background
information participants will need to know to hold an
informed discussion on the meeting topic. Whats the most
important thing you should do with your agenda? Follow it
4. Assign Meeting Preparation
Give all participants something to prepare for the meeting,
and that meeting will take on a new significance to each
group member. For problem-solving meetings, have the
group read the background information necessary to get
down to business in the meeting. Ask each group member
to think of one possible solution to the problem to get
everyone thinking about the meeting topic. For example, to
start a sales meeting on a positive note, have all participants
recall their biggest success since the last meeting and ask one
person to share his success with the group. For less formal
meetings or brainstorming sessions, ask a trivia question
related to the meeting topic and give the correct answer in the
first few minutes of the meeting. These tips are sure-fire
ways to warm up the group and direct participants attention
to the meeting objectives.
5. Assign Action Items
Dont finish any discussion in the meeting without deciding
how to act on it. Listen for key comments that flag potential
action items and dont let them pass by without addressing
them during your meeting. Statements such as We should
really thats a topic for a different meeting or I wonder if
we could are examples of comments that should trigger
action items to get a task done, hold another meeting or
further examine a particular idea. Assigning tasks and projects
as they arise during the meeting means that your follow-
through will be complete. Addressing off-topic statements
during the meeting in this way also allows you to keep the
meeting on track. By immediately addressing these statements
with the suggestion of making an action item to examine the
issue outside of the current meeting, you show meeting
participants that you value their input as well as their time.
6. Examine Your Meeting Process
Assign the last few minutes of every meeting as time to
review the following questions: What worked well in this
meeting? What can we do to improve our next meeting?
Every participant should briefly provide a point-form answer
to these questions. Answers to the second question should
be phrased in the form of a suggested action. For example,
if a participants answer is stated as Jim was too long-
winded, ask the participant to re-phrase the comment as an
action. The statement We should be more to-the-point when
stating our opinions is a more constructive suggestion.
Remember dont leave the meeting without assessing what
took place and making a plan to improve the next meeting!
198 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Bytheendof this lesson you will
Learn howtoorganizemeetings
Beabletostatethedocuments which areusedin meetings
Discuss thebasicpresentation requirements of each document
Composeagenda andminutes
Students, now that we know what meetings are and have also
briefly studied the purpose and types of meetings let us do a
small exercise.
Lets assume that you all are a part of the academic cell of Rai
Business School. We need to choose amongst us a Dean,
secretary and faculties. Since that we have recently implemented
the system of continuous evaluation system and there are yet
some confusions amongst the students about its reliability and
procedure, the dean has called for a meeting.
Use the procedure discussed with you in the previous lesson
and organize a meeting along with allocation of work as to who
will send the email informing about the meeting and agenda
and who will write the minutes.
Topics Discussed:
Reasons for meetings
Types of meetings
Meeting structures and leadership
Participating in, organizing and conducting a
Following-up meeting outcomes
Why do people meet?
People meet to:
Share ideas
Coordinate activities
Negotiate solutions
Plan policy and implementation strategies
Develop new procedures
Foster team spirit
Effective Meeting Skills
Organisational skills:
Interpersonal skills:
Active listening
Using appropriate
cultural awareness
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 199

Evaluating Meetings
Effective meetings:
Have a clear purpose
Are well planned
Involve the participants
Result in action
Types of Meetings
Internal/External clients
Face-to-face/At a distance
Individual/Small group/Large group
Organising a meeting
Organise action
Planning a Meeting
Determine the purpose
Organise the venue
Inform the participants
Prepare and circulate the agenda and
Check things on the day
200 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Conducting a Meeting
Consider your purpose and audience and
decide on the most effective:
Type of meeting
Management/leadership style
Facilitation strategies
Recording process
Ways to follow-up meeting outcomes
During the Meeting
1. Establish the purpose of the meeting
2. Specify the outcomes
3. Get agreement on the process and rules
4. Facilitate participation
5. Maintain focus
6. Pull the issues and outcomes together
7. Get agreement on action
8. Record decisions
Record decisions and follow
The minutes record the proceedings of a
meeting and provide a basis for action
Any decision on action should address
what, who, how and when
Summarise the actions and check that
everyone understands what they have
agreed to do
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 201

Upon completingthis lesson, you will abletousepersuasion effectivelyin
makingrequests and composingsales messages. Toreach this goal, you
Useimagination in writingskillful persuasiverequests that begin
indirectly, developconvincingreasoningandclosewith goodwill and
Composesales messages that gain attention, persuasively present
appeals, andeffectively drivefor action
Persuasive messages generally are written in the indirect order.
While they do not necessarily involve bad news, their goals run
contrary to the readers wishes. The mindset of the reader must
be changed before they can be successful. Achieving this change
require indirectness. Requests that are likely to be resisted require
a slow, deliberate approach. You must persuade the reader that
he or she should grant the request before making the request.
Moe specifically, you must present facts and logical reasoning
that supports your case. And you must do it convincingly. Such
a presentation requires that you begin by developing a plan.
Sales Messages
Questioning the Acceptability of Sales Messages
As we begin our discussion of sales messages, we should note
that they are a most controversial area of business communica-
tion. Probably you know from your own experience that
direct-mail sales literature is not always received happily. Called
junk mail, these mailings often go into the wastebasket
without being read. Even so, they must be successful, for the
direct mail business has survived for over a century.
Sales messages sent by email appear to be creating even more
hostility among intended, customers. Angrily referred to as
spam unsolicited, email sales messages have generated strong
resistance among email users. Perhaps it is because these mes-
sages clutter up inboxes. Maybe the rage results from the fact
that mass mailings place a heavy burden on Internet providers,
driving up costs to the users. Or perhaps the fact that they
invade the readers privacy is to blame. There are the downright
uneth-ical practices of some email advertisers who use mis-
leading subject lines and invalid email addresses to thwart
filtering attempts and get respondents to open them. What-
ever the explanation, the resistance is real. You will need to
consider these objections any time you use this sales medium.
As we shall note later, there are steps reputable advertisers can
take to minimize this resistance.
We take no stand on the issue. Our goal in the following
paragraphs is to show you how to write sales messages. You
will have to decide whether and when sales mes-sages should be
written. We can only suggest that you follow your conscience
and practice good business ethics in whatever you do.
Benef iting f rom Sales Writing
Probably you will never write sales messages - real ones, that is.
In business, profes-sional writers usually write them. These
professionals achieve their status by practic-ing long and hard,
and usually they are blessed, with a special talent for writing.
Why, then, you might ask, should you study sales writing?
The answer is that even an amateurish effort to write sales
messages gives you knowledge of selling techniques that will
help you in many of your other activities. Especially will it help
you in writing other business messages, for in a sense most of
them involve selling something-an idea, a line of reasoning,
your company, yourself. Sales techniques are more valuable to
you than you might think. After you have stud-ied the remain-
der of this lesson, you should see why.
Planning the Structure
As you probably know from experience, most direct-mail sales
efforts consist of a number of pieces. Typically, brochures,
leaflets, foldouts, a letter, and so on combine to, form a coordi-
nated message. But usually a letter is the main piece. It carries the
main message, and the other pieces carry the supporting details.
Sales efforts by email also use support information, usually
enough to give the reader all that is needed to complete a sale.
The information may be in the basic mes-sage, perhaps broken
down into distinct subtopics in boxes, separate listings, or such.
Or it may be in links or attachments skillfully arranged by
subtopics. With the use of artwork, color, font selection, and
such the total email package can be as complete and attractive as
the comparable direct-mail package.
After you have studied the following material, you should have
a general idea of how to sell by the written word.
Knowing the Product or Service and the
Before you can begin writing, you must know about the
product or service you are selling. You simply cannot sell most
goods and services unless you know them and can tell the
prospects what they need to know. Before prospects buy a
product, they may want to know how it is made, how it works,
what it will do, and what it will not do. Clearly, a first step in
sales writing is careful study of your product or service.
In addition, you should know your readers. In particular, you
should know about their needs for the product or service.
Anything else you know about them can help their economic
status, age, nationality, education, and culture. The more you
know about your readers, the better you will be able to adapt
your sales message.
In large businesses, a marketing research department or agency
typically gathers in-formation about prospective customers. If
you do not have such help, you will need to gather this
information on your own. If time does not permit you to do
202 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

the necessary research, you may have to follow your best logic.
For example, the nature of a prod-uct can tell you something
about its likely buyers. People with technical backgrounds
would proba-bly buy industrial equipment. Expensive French
perfumes and cosmetics would probably be bought by people
in high-income brackets. If you are purchasing a mailing, list,
you usually receive basic demographics such as age, sex, race,
education, income, and marital status of those on the list.
Sometimes you know more-interests, spending range, con-
sumption patterns, and such.
Determining the Appeal
With your product or service and your prospects in mind, you
are ready to create the sales message. This involves selecting and
presenting basic appeals. By appeals, we mean the strategies you
use to present a product or service to the reader. You could, for
example, present a products beauty or its taste qualities. Or you
could present a product through an appeal to profits, savings,
or durability.
For convenience in studying appeals, we can divide them into
two broad groups. In one group are emotional efforts to
persuade. Such efforts affect how we feel, taste, smell, hear, and
see. They also include strategies that arouse us through love,
anger, pride, fear, and enjoyment. In the other, group is rational
appeals. These are appeals to reason-to the thinking mind. Such
appeals include strategies based on saving money, making
money, doing a job better, and getting better use from a
In any given case, many appeals are available to you. You should
consider those that fit your product or service and those that fit
your readers best. Such products as perfume, style merchandise,
and candy and fine food lend themselves to emotional appeals.
On the other hand, such products as automobile tires, tools
and industrial equipment are best sold through rational appeals.
Automobile tires, for example are not bought because they are
pretty but because they are durable, because they grip the road
and because they are safe. Sometimes the appeals can be
combined to support each other.
How the buyer will use the product may be major basis for
selecting a sales strategy. Cosmetics might well be sold to the
final user through emotional appeals. Selling cosmetics to a
retailer (whos primarily interested in their emotional qualities is
only to the extend that these make customers buy. A retailers
main question about the product is: Will it sell? What turnover
can I expect? How much money will it make for me?
Determining the Mechanics
After selecting the appeal, you should write the sales message.
At this point , your imagination comes intot he picture. Writing
sales messages is as creative as writing short stories , plays, and
novels. In addition to imagination , it involves applied
psychology and skillful word use. There are as many different
ways of handling a sales message as there are ideas. The only
sure measure of the effectiveness of each way is the sales that
the message brings in.
Gaining Attention
The beginning of all sales messages have one basic requirement.
They must gain attention. If they do not , they fail. The reason
is apparent. Because sales messages are sent without invitation,
they are not likely to be received favorably. Infact , they even may
be unwanted. Unless they gain attention early, the messages are
nit read.
With direct mail , the envelope containing the message is the
first attention getter. All too often the reader recognizes the
mailing as an uninvited sales message and promptly discards it.
For this reason many direct mail writers place an attention
getter on the envelop. It may be the offer of a gift (Free gift
Inside). It may present a brief sales message (12 months of
Time at 60% off the newsstand price).
Holding Attention in Opening
The first words of your message also have a major need to gain
attention. The reader must be moved to read on. What you do
here is a part of your creative effort. But the method you use
should assist in presenting the sales message. That is, it should
help set up your strategy. It should not just gain attention for
attentions sake. Attention is easy to gain if nothing else is
needed. In a sales letter, a small explosion set off when the
reader opens the envelope would gain attention. So would an
electric shock or a miniature stink bomb. But the method, you
use should assist in presenting the sales message. That is, it
should help set up your strategy. It should not just gain
attention for attentions sake. Attention is easy to gain if
nothing else is needed. In a sales letter, a small explosion set
off when the reader opens the envelope would gain attention.
So would an electric shock or a miniature stink bomb. But
these methods would not be likely to assist the selling. One of
the most effective attention gaining techniques is a statement
or question that introduces a need that the product will satisfy.
For example , a rational appeal message to a retailer would
clearly tap his or her stron needs with these opening words:
Here is a proven best seller and with a 12percent greater profit
Another rational appeal attention getter is this beginning of
an email sales message from
Never type a fax again!
As was mentioned previously, gimmicks are sometimes used to
gain attention in direct-mail sales. But a gimmick is effective
only if it supports the theme of the message. One Company
made effective use of a penny affixed to the top of a letter with
these words;
Most pennies wont buy much today, but this penny can save
you untold worry and money and bring you new peace of
Presenting the Sales Message
With the readers attention gained , you proceed with the sales
strategy that you have developed . In general , you establish a need.
Then you present your product or service as fulfilling that need.
The plan of your sales message will vary with your imagina-
tion. But it is likely to follow certain general patterns determined
by your choice of appeals. If you select an emotional appeal, for
example, your opinion has probably established an emotional
atmosphere that you will continue to develop. Thus, you will
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 203

sell your product based on its effects on your product so vividly
that your reader will mentally see it, feel and want it. In
general, you will seek to create an emotional need for your
If you select a rational appeal, your sales description is likely to
be based on factual material. You should describe your product
based on what it can do for your reader rather than how it
appeals to the senses
The writing that carries your sales message can be quite different
from your normal business writing. Sales writing usually is
highly conversational, fast moving and aggressive.
Sales Letters: Four Point Action Closing
Securing Action
Having convinced your reader that your product or service is
worth the price, you want to get action before the reader has a
change of mind , before forgetfulness defeats you, before the
money goes for something elsebefore any of the things that
could happen do happen. Therefore, a good persuasive closing
is essential.
A good action closingor clinchershould include the
following four points:
1. Clearly state what action you wish the reader to take.
2. Make that action easy through facilitating devices and careful
3. Date the actionif possible and appropriate.
4. Pprovide a reader benefit as stimulus for action.
1. Clearly State What Action You Wish The Reader To
Should the reader order your product or service? Call your
office to set up an appointment? Fill out a form? Visit a local
dealership or store to see a demonstration? Invite the visit
of a sales representative? On finishing your letter, your reader
should know just exactly what you want done and how it
should be done.
At times, you may have to name two actions and ask the
reader to take one or the other. If you possibly can, avoid
doing so. Some people faced with a choice resolve their
dilemma by doing nothing.
2. Make That Action Easy Through Facilitating Devices
And Careful Wording
Facilitating devices: order blanks, order cards, and postcards or
envelopes already addressed and requiring no postage
remove some of the work in taking action. Also, your phone
number (with area code and extension) are useful if you want
the reader to call you. Finally, state your office hours and
location if you want the reader to come to see you in person.
References to these facilitating devicespreferably directing the
reader to use themreassure the reader that what you are
asking is simple and requires little time and effort.
Careful wording: through careful wording, you can also
emphasize that what you are asking the reader to do is simple.
Write and let us know your choice suggests more work than
Check your color choice on the enclosed card. Jot down,
just check, simply initial are also examples of wording
that suggest ease and rapidity in doing something. Such
wording helps reduce reader reluctance to take action.
3. Date The ActionIf Possible And Appropriate
Name the date whenever you need the readers response by a
certain time. Tactfully tell the reader why you need it then
perhaps to meet the deadline for a sale.
4. Provide A Reader Benefit As Stimulus For Action
Always mention some benefit(s) the reader will gain by
prompt action. Such a reminder of the desirability of your
product or servicesome- times called a clinchercomes
appropriately at the ending of your letter. It not only
provides motivation for the reader, but it also has decided
psychological value as well because it emphasizes service
attituderather than the greed stressed if you end with
dollars and cents talk or the mechanics of ordering.
You should always include elements 1, 2, and 4 of the four
point action closing when you are writing a letter relating to
sales. You should use dated action, item 3, ONLY when it is
appropriate for your writing situation.
Further Readings
The 10 Laws for Writing Letters that Get Results
By Joe Vitale
The following is a letter in response to a question about how to
write sales letters. This is something you could model in layout,
tone, and ideas, to write your own letters. By the way, this is
where your letterhead should go.
Dear Fellow Chicago Seminar Attendees,
Jerry Jenkins asked me to tell you how to write letters that get
read and get results. Thats a tall order! Well, heres what I think
the laws are:
1. Know whats in it for your reader.
Get out of your ego and into your readers ego. Complete
this sentence: Get my book so that you can...(fill in the
blank). Your book (or whatever you are selling) is the
feature. What people get as a result of having your book is
the benefit. Focus on benefits. Always! Without this, your
letter will bomb.
2. Write a headline that telegraphs the key benefit to your
ALWAYS use a headline. There is only ONE exception to
this rule. When you personalize your letter, the Dear
(whoever) opening becomes your headline. There are few
headlines more powerful than the readers own name. The
headline is THE most important part of your letter! Spend
nearly all of your time on it.
3. Be brief.
Say what you have to say in terms of the readers self interest
and shut up. This does NOT necessarily mean a short letter.
If you are trying to make a sale, and the reader has never
heard of you or your item for sell, you may have to write
four or more pages to get your message across. If all you
want is a return call, a one page letter may do. Don be afraid
of length. People will read any length of copy AS LONG AS
204 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

4. Always use a PS.
Always. Why do copywriters who charge upwards to
$15,000 to write a sales letter and have weeks to draft it
always use a PS? They are always read. Always.
5. Look good.
Visual attractiveness accounts for 70% of your letters
impact. Use short sentences, short paragraphs, bulleted
points, indented paragraphs, subheads, etc. Some people
will just skim your letter, so engaging subheads and
bulleted points help reach them instantly.
6. Outline first.
Use a planning tool such as the program Project Kick Start
to help you think through your message. Or talk to a
friend. Or to a tape recorder. Or to yourself. This also helps
you get comfortable with speaking your letter rather than
writing it.
7. Write first, edit last.
Turn your inner editor off. You can rewrite later. For now,
write spontaneously and quickly to get your ideas on paper.
8. Ask for something.
Why are you writing? You want a call. Or an order.
Something. Say so!
9. Get a reader.
Find one person to read your letter OUT LOUD in front
of you. If he (or she) has trouble reading your letter, if he
wrinkles his brow or stops to reread a sentence, rewrite
those places. Dont skip this step! Its the secret of many
professional writers.
10. Rewrite your letter again.
Is it the best you can do? Be honest! If not, throw it away
and call the person instead. Or hire a copywriter to write it
for you. Why waste your time or your readers with
something that doesnt communicate in a persuasive and
interesting way? (I rewrote this letter 24 times!)
Well, there you have it. Of course, there are more rules,
laws, ideas and suggestions for writing letters that get
results. You should always guarantee whatever you are
selling, for example, and always offer proof for all of your
claims. But the above will get you rolling.
Using Emotion f or Persuasion
By Robert F. Abbott
The other day, I received the last issue of a business magazine
before my subscription runs out. Now, I like this magazine, but
Im swamped with reading matter so I wont renew.
Of course, Ive received many reminders and offers about
renewing; magazines try very hard to keep the subscribers
theyve got. So when the last issue came with a special promo-
tional wrapper on the cover, I wasnt surprised.
But, what made this one interesting was a clever piece of copy
that hit an emotional chord: inside the back cover of the special
wrapper were the words, Youre about to be dropped from
our list of active subscribers. Unless you act now.
Personally, I thought it was an effective piece of copy (even
though I still wont renew). It made an emotional case for what
is essentially a business-to-business offer.
Many people who write persuasive copy, whether in sales letters
or internal memos, say the rest of us underestimate the power of
emotion in getting the response we want from our messages.
Theres a sort of rule of thumb that goes like this: Consumers
buy on emotion and justify on reason. In other words, we, as
buyers, think were being rational in making a decision to
purchase, or in choosing among different offers, but in reality
we make the decision with our hearts and then justify that
decision with our reasoning powers.
In the case of the magazine copy, I was about to be dropped
Imagine! Me being dropped! from the list of active subscrib-
ers. Im not sure what active subscribers are: do they also have
passive subscribers? But, the meaning comes through. Im
about to get dropped from an exclusive club unless I act now.
Which is where the emotional factor kicks in. Who wants to be
dropped? Isnt that like being in high school again and not
wanting to be excluded from a popular group? Isnt there an
eternal desire to belong?
With this appeal to my insecurities and ambitions, the copywrit-
ers have forced me to think about my decision not to renew. I
cant just make a business as usual decision; it must be a
personal as well as business decision. And when a message gets
personal, it demands more involvement from the reader or
listener. More involvement, in turn, means more attention to
the message, making it more persuasive.
If you sell, this idea wont come as much of a surprise. But, if
you try to influence behaviors in other ways, you may wish to
add emotion to your communication toolbox. Its something
you do by getting personal, by tapping into the hopes, fears,
or aspirations of those with whom youre communicating.
Of course, we must use emotion ethically and responsibly. If
you plan to use it, step back and ask yourself how you would
respond if someone else directed that kind of a message to
you. Thats always a simple but helpful litmus test.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 205

Copyright 2002by TheMcGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rightsreserved.
Preliminary Considerations Preliminary Considerations
Writing Persuasive Requests Writing Persuasive Requests
q Your Goal: Ask for something reader likely
to oppose.
q You must develop strategy that w/convince
reader to comply.
Copyright 2002by TheMcGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rightsreserved.
Procedure for Writing Procedure for Writing a a
Persuasive Request Persuasive Request
q Open with words that
v Set up the strategyAND
v Gain attention.
q Present strategy (persuasion), using
persuasive language & you-viewpoint.
q As logical follow-up, make request clearly
& without negatives.
q End message w/the request or words that
recall the appeal.
Copyright 2002by TheMcGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rightsreserved.
Why Write Sales Messages? Why Write Sales Messages?
Sales messages are helpful in training you because:
qSales techniquesuseful in your other activities
vIn writing other messages
vIn actual sales work
vIn selling yourself
Copyright 2002by TheMcGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rightsreserved.
Preliminary Steps to Sales Writing Preliminary Steps to Sales Writing
qLearn product or service you sell:
vHow it is made
vHow it works
vWhat it will do [AND WHAT IT WILL NOT DO]
qLearn about prospective customers:
vEconomic status
206 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Copyright 2002by TheMcGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rightsreserved.
Determining the Appeal Determining the Appeal
qEmotional: Appeals to the senses (feeling, tasting,
smelling, hearing)
qRational: Appeals to thinking mind (save money,
make money, do better job, get better use)
2-Broad Categories:
Copyright 2002by TheMcGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rightsreserved.
Determining the Appeal Determining the Appeal
Select appeal that fits product or service:
q Some better suited to emotional:
Fancy foods
q Some better suited to rational:
q Work tools
qIndustrial goods
Copyright 2002by TheMcGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rightsreserved.
Determining the Appeal Determining the Appeal
Select appeal that fits prospects:
qSales to retailers (for resale):
Probably rational
qSales to ultimate consumers:
Either rational
Or emotional
Copyright 2002by TheMcGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rightsreserved.
Organization of Sales Message Organization of Sales Message
Many variations are used:
qWhatever works
q But there is this conventional pattern:
vGain attention
vCreate desire
vCover all necessary information
vDrive for the sale
vPossibly add a postscript
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 207

Copyright 2002by TheMcGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rightsreserved.
Conventional Org. Pattern of Sales Conventional Org. Pattern of Sales
Letter in Detail Letter in Detail
q Begin w/words that set up sales presentation &
gain attention.
q Present sales message. Use imagination, persuas-
ive language, & you-viewpoint.
q Include sufficient information to convince.
q Then, drive for sale. Make it clear, use approp-
riate strength.
q Urge immediate action.
q May recall basic appeal in final words.
Message Plan:
Copyright 2002by TheMcGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rightsreserved.
If you want to succeed, you should strike out
on new paths rather than travel the worn
paths of accepted success.
--J ohn D. Rockefeller
208 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Bytheendof this lesson you shouldbeableto
Explain thefunction of thepublicrelations department
Explain thepurposeof a press release
Discuss thespecial writingskills needed for compilinga press release
Explain theappropriateformat for presentingpress release
Composepress releaseaccordingtogiven instruction
Students, you must have studied about the role of public
relations in marketing. Public relation is a part of the marketing
function and press release is a part of the PR activity. A press
release is an announcement, which a company sends to the
press and other media about anything, which it considers to be
newsworthy. A press release is not an advertisement but it can
result in useful publicity for the company issuing the release.
Public Relations
The public relations (PR) function in any organization is usually
carried out by staff who have specialized in this sector. Public
relations, as the name suggests, is all about the relationship
between the organization and the general public. On of the
aims of PR is to influence the general public through the mass
media, e.g newspapers, television, radio, information , services ,
exhibitions, sponsorship. The job of the PR person in nay
organization is to constantly on the lookout for newsworthy
events, products, developments and human interest stories and
then turn them into any of the following:
A press release
A press conference
A photo opportunity for newspaper coverage
Corporate material for direct mailing
Briefing packs for potential customers
Briefing packs for special groups of visitors
Free educational packs for schools and colleges
If you are responsible for helping to produce public relations
material, here are some guidelines to follow. Effective PR
material will:
1. Be factual, newsworthy and impartial
2. Appeal to human interest
3. Contain up-to-date information
4. Be appropriately distributed
5. Be a produced professionally
How to Write a Press Release
Planning Begins Before You Write a Press Release
While no one can guarantee your press release will be published
or used for an article, there are things you can do to improve
your chances. The biggest obstacle to most press releases is the
release itself.
When writing your press release, it should be
Concise - editors receive hundreds of press releases a week
(perhaps more) and appreciate releases that are brief and to
the point.
Well-written - a good way to ensure your press release ends
up in the wastebasket is: bad spelling, poor grammar, and
illogical or unsubstantiated claims.
Factual - stick to logical and substantiated claims, avoiding
statements of belief: were the best, the cheapest, etc.
Honest - avoid the padded quotes by company officers; even
if they are experts, they come across as biased. If used, stick
to the facts.
Timely - if your press release isnt topical, consider
incorporating it with a recent news event but dont stretch
Questions to Consider Bef ore You Write
a Press Release
Who is the preferred audience of your press release?
What do you want readers to take away from your press
What does your press release provide: invaluable
information or just another offer?
What is the support or justification for the information in
your press release?
What is the tone of your press release?
Are you aware of possible pitfalls or areas to avoid?
What do you want to accomplish with your press release:
increase business, disseminate information or both?
Does the press releases lead (opening) address or answer the
basic tenets of journalism
Write a Successf ul Press Release
A press release is one of the primary ways you can communicate
news about your company to the media. Reporters, editors, and
producers are hungry for news, and they often depend on
releases to tip them off to new and unusual products, company
trends, tips and hints, and other developments. In fact, much
of what you read in newspapers, magazines, or trade publica-
tions, hear on the radio or see on television originated in press
release form. Unfortunately, the average editor receives as many
as several hundred press releases each week, the vast majority of
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 209

which end up getting filed. Your challenge is to create a release
that makes the journalist want to know more and discover that
your story is one they must tell.
Use these 10 tips to write a release that will get noticed.
1. Use an active headline to grab the reporters attention
The headline makes your release stand out. Keep it short,
active, and descriptive; in other words, use something like
Rajdeep Named Man of the Year instead of Rajdeep
Gets Award.
2. Put the most important information at the beginning
This is a tried and true rule of journalism. The reporter
should be able to tell what the release is about from the
first two paragraphs. In fact, chances are thats all they may
read. So dont hide good information. And remember the
5 Ws and the H - make sure your release provides
answers to Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.
3. Avoid hype and unsubstantiated claims
A writer can smell a sales pitch a mile away. Instead of
making over-inflated statements, provide real, usable
information. Find legitimate ways to set you and your
company apart and stress those points. To promote your
business, write a release that answers questions about your
business, rather than one that provides only general
statements about how great or interesting your business is
without saying why.
4. Be active and to the point
Use language that will get the reader as excited about your
news as you are. If your release is boring or meandering,
they may assume that you will not be a good interview.
5. Keep your release to two pages or less
On the rare occasion, you can opt for a third page if it is
necessary to provide critical details. Otherwise, if you cant
state your message in two pages, youre not getting to the
6. Include a contact
Make sure your release has a person the journalist can
contact for more information. This person should be
familiar with all the news in the release, and should be
ready to answer questions. And issue the release on your
company letterhead - it looks professional and gives the
writer another way to reach your firm.
7. Keep jargon to the minimum
If youre in a technical field, try not to use technical terms.
Many reporters are not as intimate with your company or
your industry as you are. Real English, not jargon, best
communicates your story.
8. Stress benefits
This falls into the category of dont say it, show it.
Avoid saying something is unique or the best. Instead,
show how people will benefit - i.e. save time, save money,
make their life easier, etc.
9. Be specific and detailed
Marcia Yudkin, author of Six Steps to Free Publicity calls
this Yes, but what IS it? syndrome. The reader needs to
be able to visualize a new product, or know how a new
service works. If in doubt, have someone unfamiliar with
your product or service read the release and asks him or her
to describe what you trying to publicize. And its better to
use too many details than too few. So, as Yudkin notes,
Instead of Shekhars new book contains information
designed to benefit any stock market investor, write,
Shekhars new book contains seven principles of market
analysis that enable even casual investors to choose
profitable stocks. Even better, describe two of the seven
principles right in the release.
10. Proofread
When youve finished your press release, remember to
proofread it for typographical errors. If you dont have a
good eye for spelling or grammar, give the release to a
friend or colleague who does. If your release looks sloppy
and careless, so will you.
Who do I send my press release to?
In order to properly answer your question, Im going to ask
you to put on two pairs of shoes. The first pair belongs to the
editor or producer of a particular publication or broadcast. Why
walk in these shoes? These are the people responsible for
assembling a publication or broadcast. If your information
does not fit the format or purpose of the publication or
broadcast, this editor or producer will ignore and bypass your
press release information.
The second pair of shoes to wear are those of the reader or
viewer of a publication or broadcast. What are they interested in
reading or viewing? Do they want news, entertainment, tips or
techniques? Knowing what readers and viewers want and how
editors and producers supply these needs will help you craft and
target your press release.
With these two pair of shoes in mind, who do you now send
the press release to? The logical answer is daily or weekly
newspapers that serve your target market. You can get a list of
these from your library or from search engine research. Once you
have identified the publication, then you can contact each to find
the appropriate contact person for your genre of information.
Sometimes this will be a reporter, a feature editor, a managing
editor or, in rare cases, the actual publisher. For radio and
television, this person is the producer, executive producer, news
director, program manager, feature editor (sports, food,
lifestyle) or individual reporter. Again, calling the station or
searching the Internet will help you track down the correct name
and contact information.
Once youve compiled your lists, its time to send your informa-
tion. Hopefully in your contact information research, you were
able to obtain an e-mail address and/ or fax numbers. There is a
trend today toward e-mail communication, although faxes do
still work. In some cases, when pictures, graphics or exhibits are
pertinent, snail-mail works best. Knowing which method your
contact prefers and then delivering accordingly will enhance your
chance of publication or broadcast.
210 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Keep your list of contacts, add to it, work it and keep in touch,
even when you dont have an actual press release. Remember,
though, these people are very busy and usually face tighter
deadlines than you and I work with on a daily basis. Respect
this and work with their schedules, and youll be on your way to
hitting your target with PR.
What are the preferences of some of the well-known publica-
tions as far as submitting PR-related material?
The advice given here applies to any situation in which you are
submitting PR materials to the press. This is Part I.
What do magazines and newspapers look for in a story pitch?
Not all magazines are looking for news stories. Instead, as
one editor put it, We want leads about people who are
flying beneath the radar and doing something quite
remarkable. Your best bet is to offer a story very grounded in
best practices. Give us a company that no one has really heard
about before or a new effort from a fascinating company that
is trying something different.
Some magazines prefer to examine case studies, though their
writers do them in their own way. Most importantly, know
the magazine. Although editors admit its not something
that can be easily explained, all too often they receive
irrelevant pitches that dont relate to the publication. If, for
instance, you wanted to pitch an idea for a technology article,
use the press release to tell the editor that youre pitching a
proven example of something. And get their attention in
two paragraphs or less.
Magazines love it when a company approaches them with
real examples of how it differs from the competition. Its
also not a bad idea to give a clear definition of what segment
of the market you are playing into. Keep in mind, though,
editors dont like companies that come off as boastful in
their press releases.
Before you pitch a newspaper in a major city, heed this advice:
Read previously published articles. Make sure your story is
one no one has written about. And if its a new campaign, it
has to be different and relevant.
If youre trying to get PR for your new product, make sure
your press release communicates to editors exactly what
makes the product unique, be it pricing or a cool technical
aspect. Above all, know their audience.
What is the best way to contact editors?
Most editors are too busy to field phone calls. Voice mail is
unreliable because it tends to clog up really fast. Postal mail is
even worse; most of it gets discarded by editors. So use e-
mail instead. To make it work for you, dont say press
release in the subject line. And, most importantly, get to the
point early. Tell editors quickly why your story is so
important to their readers.
Where can you go to meet the publication staff?
Magazine editors attend a variety of conferences each year.
Most tend to shy away from the standard issue trade shows
and instead go to conferences that feature new ideas,
intriguing case studies and fresh thinking.
There are certain big events that attract the attention of the
Its rare, but some magazine editors will take time to visit
individual companies, but something in the trip must make
it worthwhile for them to travel. And if youve got a great
story and youre in the local area, some newspaper editors
just might be receptive to meeting you.
Newspaper editors try to attend any local ad and media
What about deadlines?
Monthly magazine editors plan ideas all the time, so theres
no magic window of opportunity. Its best to just take your
shot. But before you do, contact the marketing department.
They should have a good sense of what is coming up on the
editorial calendar. The calendar is proprietary, so youll need
to go through them to get it.
Newspaper editors, on the other hand, are on deadline every
day of the workweek, but they will do their best to respond
in a timely manner. Frequently, articles will go to print at
around 6:30 p.m. in the city where the publication is based,
but days are set by 4 p.m. Unless it really is breaking news, try
to reach them early in the day.
10 Essential Tips to Ensure Your Press
Release Makes the News.
1. Make sure the information is newsworthy.
2. Tell the audience that the information is intended for them
and why they should continue to read it.
3. Start with a brief description of the news, then distinguish
who announced it, and not the other way around.
4. Ask yourself, How are people going to relate to this and
will they be able to connect?
5. Make sure the first 10 words of your release are effective, as
they are the most important.
6. Avoid excessive use of adjectives and fancy language.
7. Deal with the facts.
8. Provide as much Contact information as possible:
Individual to Contact, address, phone, fax, email, Web site
9. Make sure you wait until you have something with enough
substance to issue a release.
10. Make it as easy as possible for media representatives to do
their jobs.
Further Readings
Beyond the Press Release
Develop a public-relations plan that will keep your business in
the spotlight.
Business Start-Ups magazine - May 1997
By Catherine A. Reilly
If you build it, they will come. This abstract concept worked for
Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams. His character, an Iowa
farmer, built his dream baseball field. Eventually, his vision
turned into reality as the players came, followed by an audience.
Hollywood makes it seem so easy! But if you want to attract
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 211

employees and customers to your new business, you must
publicize your field of dreams.
Trouble is, while you know that you must do more than fire up
the old computer and hang out a shingle, youre not exactly sure
what you should do. So you place an advertisement in your
favorite magazine. Or, in a marketing frenzy, you try to promote
your company on every level possible, which is as futile as trying
to boil the ocean. As a result, you spend a lot of money and
time, and garner very few results.
Owners of thriving ventures know that, just as they must start
with a good business plan to launch their businesses, they must
develop a solid public-relations plan to promote their enterprises.
If you have a good plan, and devote enough time and energy to
carrying out that plan, you will obtain a great deal of positive
publicity for your companyat very little cost.
What is Public Relations?
Public relationsor PRis, literally, the relationship your
company has with its public. Your public includes your current
customers, your future customers, and even potential custom-
ers. Your employees, if you have any, are a part of your public,
as are your neighbors and the local press. All these people have
an interest in your companyin the prices it sets, and in the
products and services that it provides.
The relationship you create with these people will have a
profound effect on the future of your business. The function
of PR is to publicize your company to these people, and to
create a positive image of your business which will translate into
sales dollars. No one will know that your company exists if you
dont tell them, but you must tell them in a systematic, planned
manner. If you dont plan what you want to say, and how and
when you will say it, your public will be left to develop their
own opinions without any guidance from you.
It is important to remember that PR is not marketing, although
it can play a key role in marketing your products and services.
Defined literally, marketing is the use of pricing and distribu-
tion to sell a product. Certain PR practices can aid the marketing
process, and as a new business owner, you can learn to use PR
to enhance your marketing plan.
Do I Really Need a Plan?
Imagine yourself in a car, beginning a long road trip. You want to
drive from New York City to Las Vegas. So you throw some
clothes together, point your van southwest, and head off. You
dont know how long the trip will take. You dont know what the
weather will be like along the way. You dont have a road map.
You dont have a plan.
You may get thereeventually. But it will be much easier if you
first research what you want to accomplish, and plan how you
will achieve this feat.
Planning the publicity for your business is similar to planning a
trip. It may require a little extra time, initially, but it will save you
timeand moneyin the long run. You may be successful
without the plan, but you have a much better chance of arriving
in Las Vegas if you have a map in the glove compartment and
consult it regularly during your journey.
Craig S. Rice, former president of Royal Crown Cola Ltd.
Canada, and author of Marketing Without a Marketing Budget
(Adams Media Corp., $10.95, 800-872-5627), says planning
should be an ongoing part of your day-to-day business
operations. When should you plan? he asks. All the time.
You should always be thinking about next steps, just as a
sports coach or combat commander is constantly evaluating
All good planning begins with research. Consider your road
trip: In planning for this journey, you must first decide on your
objective (in this case, Las Vegas). You should then consult a
map, select the roads you would like to travel and the places you
would like to visit along the way, and determine how long it
will take to drive there. Once youve determined these basics,
you can plan the best method for achieving your goal. You will
plan when to leave, when you will stop along the way, and
when you will finally reach your destination.
Similarly, in creating a PR plan, you must first do your research.
What does your public know about your business, if anything?
Who are your competitors? How do they publicize their
businesses? Understanding your competition will help you rival
them in the marketplace.
With this information in mind, determine your objectives.
What do you wish to accomplish with your PR plan? Of
course, you want to expand sales volume. However, what other
things do you want to achieve? Perhaps you want to increase the
number of repeat customers your company has. Maybe you
want to introduce a new product or service. If your company is
very new, your initial PR plan may include simply getting the
word out about your business. Write down your objectives.
Look them over. Rearrange them. Put them into a logical
sequence. Naturally, you cannot increase sales volume before
your potential customers know about you. Put your goals into
an orderly list of achievable objectives.
Beyond the Press Release
How Do I Create a Plan of Action?
Now that you know what you want to accomplish, you must
create a plan of actiona way in which you will achieve your
objectives. Lets begin with a time chart.
Your time chart should be a weekly calendar of things that you
will do to promote your business. Each promotional effort
should be listed, with its start and completion dates indicated.
It is important to remember that the media, whether print or
broadcast, all have lead timesthe time between when they
receive your promotional material and when it appears. For this
reason, your promotional materials must be released well in
advance. For example, suppose your new company is going to
introduce a new product. Obviously, you want people to know
about it. Once you send a press release to a publication,
however, it can take from two to four months for that release to
be printed. Therefore, your time chart for promoting your new
product should begin four to six months prior to the release
date, if you are to realize any benefit from your effort.
If youre running a one-person show, you must be realistic in
your action planning. Its best to keep your initial plan simple,
212 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

and expand it later, when you have more people and resources
to assist you.
What is a Press Release?
The press release is the most common communication tool
used in PR efforts. It is an informational letter describing a
newsworthy fact about your company. Written correctly, the
press release can be very effective in promoting your business.
Also, unlike advertising, which can be very expensive, magazines
and newspapers do not charge for editorial coverage. That
means you pay only for the cost of postage (and photography,
if you choose to include a photograph).
Of course, editors receive many press releases, and there is no
guarantee that yours will be printed. Therefore, you must try to
make your release stand out from the crowd. How? Be profes-
sional. Remember these tips when issuing a press release:
1. Keep your target audience in mind. The worst thing you
can do is to inundate all publications on your mailing list
with the same press release. Research the publications first.
Make sure you tailor your release to their respective markets.
2. Start with the most important information. Publications
rarely run press releases word for word. Editors usually cut
from the bottom up, so make certain youve included all the
necessary facts in the opening paragraphs.
3. Keep it factual. The fastest way to diminish your credibility
is to put gushing, biased copy in your press release. Editors
want the facts, not your opinion.
4. Make sure its news. Editors want to create publications
that are interesting to their audiences. Find the angle. Is your
company new, unique or unusual? Tell them how running
your release can benefit their readers.
5. Photos help. Editors love photos. Supply a caption,
identifying any individuals pictured, and type it on a separate
sheet of paper. (Never write on the back of a photograph.)
Characteristics of News
n Conflict
Is the subject man vs. man, man vs. nature, etc.?
n Novelty
Is the subject unusual, bizarre? Is it the first, the last
or once in a lifetime? Does it show progress or human
n Usefulness
Is the information useful to those reading it?
Elements of News
n What
Subject of the story, person, object, action,
phenomenon or area
n Who
People by name, title and description, if
n Why
Reasons for action, attitude, event
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 213

Writing Style
n Inverted Pyramid
Most important points expressed first
Required by newspapers and other
publications that have limited space
n Most critical part of the news release
n Without an effective lead, the reader will
not read further.
n A good lead sells the story.
n What, how, why, when and who should
be covered in the first paragraph.
n Give this information in three or four
sentences (no more than 30 words).
n Answer the following questions:
What will take place?
Why are you holding this event?
Who will be there?
When and where is it?
How many people are participating and what
will they be doing?
What do you expect to come out of the event?
Parts of the Release
n Body
Inverted pyramid
Include support for each point
n Quotes
n Comparisons
n Statistics
n Causes and consequences
n Background information
214 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Parts of the Release
n Closing
Tell how one can receive more information
n Name of person, phone number, e-mail, etc.
Closing example
n For more information about OSUs
basketball team, contact Coach Eddie
Sutton at (405) GO-POKES.
January 14, 2003 (405) 555- 1234
Headline is centered and bolded
STILLWATER, Okla. First paragraph: interesting lead sentence,
general description of event, date, place, and who is invited.
Second and succeeding paragraphs: more description, background
of the event, quotes from people involved.
Final paragraph: program details, contact information.
# # #
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 215

Upon completion of this lesson you will
Learn thestructureof a sales letter
Composea sales letter
Writing an Ef f ective Sales Letter
(32 easy ways to give a new life into your sales letter...)
1. Write your sales letter with an individual in mind. Go ahead
and pick out someone, a real person to write your sales
letter to. Doesnt matter if it is grandma or your next door
neighbor or your cat. Write your sales letter just like you are
writing it to them personally. Why? Because when your
potential customer reads, it then it will seem personal,
almost like you wrote it with them in mind. Too often,
sales letters are written as if they were going to be read to an
audience rather than one person. Keep your sales letters
personal, because one person at a time is going to read
2. Use an illustration to get your point across. In my sales
letters I have told stories about my car stalling on the side
of the road to illustrate the idea that we must constantly
add the fuel of advertising to keep our businesses running.
I have compared the hype of easily making millions online
to the chances of me riding bareback across Montana on a
grizzly bear. Leads have read of how getting to the top of
an oak tree relates to aggressively marketing online. People
love a good story that pounds home a solid message. Tell
stories that illustrate a point you are trying to make.
Emphasize a benefit by sharing an account from the real
world. It effectively creates interest and further establishes
the point.
3. Create an interest in the reader from the very first line. Your
first line of the sales letter should immediately create a
desire in the reader to want to know more. Go back to the
beginning of this article. The first words were, Its true. I
can guarantee you that either consciously or subconsciously
you thought Whats true? Immediately, your mind
wanted to know what I was talking about. Before you even
knew it you were right here, 8 paragraphs into this article.
Carefully craft your first line. If you can immediately get
them wanting to know more, youve got a winner.
4. Use bullets. People spend a lot of time reading bulleted
lists. In fact, they often reread them over and over. Use
bulleted lists to stress the benefits of your product or
service, to spell out exactly what is included in your offer.
Use an extra space in between each bullet to really highlight
each line and create a sense of more length to the list.
5. Launch into a bullet list immediately. Shortly after your
opening line, immediately give the reader a bullet list of
benefits to absorb. Hit them with your best shot. Pull out
the big guns and stress just a few of the most important
things the reader will discover. By offering a killer list early in
your sales letter, you will automatically create a desire in the
reader to continue through your ad copy. After all, if they
are already interested after the first list of benefits, they will
certainly be open to finding out even more reasons why
your product or service will aid them.
6. Just let it all flow out. Write down everything that enters
your mind as you are writing your sales letter. You can edit
it later. If you just sit and start writing everything you know
about your product or service and how it will benefit your
customer, you will be amazed at how much information
floods your mind. Write it ALL down. Then read through it
- youll be able to add a lot more detail to many of the
points. Edit it after you have exhausted all of your ideas.
7. Make your sales letter personal. Make sure that the words
you and your are at least 4:1 over I and my. Your
ad copy must be written about YOUR CUSTOMER not
yourself. Im not sure how the old advertising adage goes,
but its something like this, I dont care a thing about your
lawn mower, I just care about my lawn. Leads arent
interested in you or your products; they are interested in
themselves and their wants and needs. When you are
finished with your sales letter and have uploaded it to a test
web page, run a check at http:/ /
and see what the ratio between you and your versus
references to I, me, my, etc. Its a free service. Make
sure its at least 4:1 in favor of the customer.
8. Write like you speak. Forget all of those rules that your
grammar teacher taught you. Write your sales letters in
everyday language, just like you would talk in person. Dont
be afraid to begin sentences with And or Because.
Dont worry about ending a sentence with a preposition.
Write like you speak. Your sales letter isnt the great
American novel, so dont write it like you are Ernest
9. Use short paragraphs consisting of 2-4 sentences each. Long
copy works...but long paragraphs do not. Use short
paragraphs that lead into the next paragraph. Dont be
afraid to use short sentences. Like this one. Or this. See
what I mean? Shorter paragraphs keep the interest of the
reader. Longer paragraphs cause eyestrain and often force the
reader to get distracted.
10. Stress the benefits, not the features. Again, readers want the
burning question answered, Whats in it for me? What
need is it going to meet? What want is it going to fill? How
is your product or service going to be of value or benefit to
the reader? Spell it out. Dont focus on the features of your
product or service , but rather how those features will add
value to the life of your reader. For example: If you are
216 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

selling automobile tires, you may very well have the largest
assortment of tires in the world, but who cares? I dont care
about your selection. But, I do care about keeping my 3-
month-old baby girl safe while we are traveling. So, instead
of focusing on your selection, you focus on the fact that my
baby girl can be kept safe because you have a tire that will fit
my car. Youre not selling tires, youre selling safety for my
family. Stress the benefits, not the features.
11. Keep the reader interested. Some sales letters read like they
are a manual trying to explain to me how I can perform
some complicated surgery on my wife. They are filled with
words and phrases that I need a dictionary to understand.
Unless you are writing to a very targeted audience, avoid
using technical language that many readers might not
understand. Keep it simple, using words, language and
information that are easy to understand and follow.
12. Target your sales letter. When you are finished with your
final draft of the sales letter, target it to a specific audience.
For example: If you are selling a work at home product,
then rewrite the sales letter by adding words in the headlines
and ad copy that are targeted towards women who are
homemakers. Then, rewrite the same sales letter and target
it to college students. Write another letter targeting senior
citizens. Still another could be written to high school
teachers wanting to earn extra income during summer
vacation. The possibilities are endless. All you need to do is
add a few words here and there in your ad copy to make it
appear that your product or service is specifically designed
for a target audience. Work only 5 hours a week, would
become College Students, work only 5 hours a week.
Your sales letter is now targeted. Upload all of the sales
letters to separate pages on your website (you could easily
target 100s of groups).
Then, simply advertise the targeted pages in targeted
mediums. You could advertise the College Students page
in a campus ezine. The Senior Citizens page could be
advertised at a retirement community message board.
By creating these targeted sales letters, you can literally open
up dozens of new groups to sell your existing product to.
And, in their eyes, it looks like the product was a match
made for them.
13. Make your ad copy easy to follow. Use short sentences and
paragraphs. Break up the sales letter with attention grabbing
headlines that lead into the next paragraph. One thing that I
have always found to work very well in sales letters... to use a pause like this.
Start the sentence on one line, leaving the reader wanting to
know more, and then finishing up on the next line. Also, if
you are going to use a sales letter that continues on several
different pages of your website, use a catchy hook line at the
end of each page to keep them clicking. Lets get you
started down the road to success, shall we? CLICK HERE
to continue.
14. Use similes and metaphors for effect. When the customer
purchases your product, they will generate a flood of traffic
that would make Noah start building another ark. If they
do not order today, then they will feel like a cat that let the
mouse get away. Use words to create a picture in the
readers mind. When you think of Superman, what comes
to mind? Immediately, we remember that he is faster than
a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive.
Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. See how
word pictures stick in our minds?
15. Focus on one product or service. Dont try to sell your
customer multiple products at the same time. It only
confuses the reader. Keep your ad copy directed at one
specific product or service. Then, use other products and
services as back-end products.
16. Make it stand out. Dont kid yourself. There are hundreds,
maybe thousands out there on the web doing the same
thing you are doing. How will you stand out among the
crowd? Your sales letter must inject personality. It must
breathe of originality. Your product or service is different.
Its not like all of the rest. It is unique. Right? Your sales
letter must separate you from the competition. It must
create a feeling of You wont find this anywhere else.
17. Be believable. Earn $54,000 in the next 24 hours!!!!!
Delete. Good grief, do they think I am an idiot or
something? Get real. Dont make outrageous claims that are
obviously not the truth. Youll ruin your reputation. Let me
tell you a simple universal fact that cannot be reversed. Once
you have been branded a liar, you will NEVER be anything
but a liar. It doesnt matter if you launch the most
respectable, honest business available anywhere, people will
always have doubt because they remember the crazy stuff
youve said before. Be believable. Dont exaggerate, mislead,
stretch or distort the truth.
18. Be specific. Dont generalize your information, but rather be
EXACT. Instead of over 100 tips for losing weight use
124 tips for losing weight. By generalizing information, it
creates doubt and questions in the readers mind. What am
I really getting here? Does he even know? When you use
specific information, the reader begins to think, This
person must have counted. I know exactly what I can
expect. Platitudes and generalities roll off the human
understanding like water from a duck, wrote Claude
Hopkins in his classic book Scientific Advertising. They
leave no impression whatsoever.
19. Be complete. Tell the reader everything they would want to
know about your product or service. Answer all of their
questions, anything they would want to consider before
making a purchase. Think about it from their point of view.
Ask yourself, Why wouldnt I buy this? Then, address
that in your sales letter. Remove anything that would keep
the reader from making the purchase.
20. Use testimonials to boost your sales. Share actual excerpts
from what your current customers are saying about your
product or service. Many websites have an entire section or
even a separate page that has endorsements and
compliments listed. Satisfied customers remove some of
the doubt in the mind of the reader. If these people have
found a lot of value and benefit in the product, then I
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 217

probably will too. Especially effective are testimonials from
respected, well-known authorities within your target field.
21. Use headlines over and over throughout the sales letter. A
headline isnt just relegated to the beginning of your ad
copy. Use them frequently -but dont overuse. A well-placed
headline re-grabs the readers attention, brings them deeper
into the letter, and readies them for the next paragraph. You
will want to spend as much time working on your headlines
as you do the entire sales letter. They are that important.
22 Avoid asking stupid questions. Wouldnt you like to make
$1,000,000 a year? Doesnt that sound great? Would
you like to be as successful as I am? Avoid any question
that insults the intelligence of your reader or makes them
feel like they are inferior.
23 Offer a freebie even if the customer doesnt buy. If the
customer decides he or she isnt going to make a purchase,
then you want to follow-up with them later to try to
influence them to buy in the future. By offering a free item,
you can request their email address in order to obtain the
freebie. By doing this, you can now follow-up with the
customer for a potential future sale. Additionally, you can
continue the sales process by having your ad copy, banners,
flyers, etc. within the free item. And, of course, if your free
item is a high quality, useful product or service which
impresses the customer, they probably will be back as a
customer soon.
24 Use bonuses to overwhelm the reader. One of the things
that I have found very effective in writing sales letters is to
include bonus items that OUT-VALUE the actual product I
am offering. Ginsu made this one famous. They were
selling a set of steak knives, but before the commercial was
finished, you had so many bonus items on the table it was
hard to refuse. Make sure you provide quality bonuses and
not some worthless, outdated junk that damages the
credibility of your main offer.
25. Use connective phrases like But wait, theres more and
But thats not all. These phrases effectively lead the reader
from one paragraph to the next, particularly when the next
paragraph is a bullet list of benefits, or leads into bonus
items. Again, the idea is MORE and MORE value and
benefits to the reader.
26. Always include a deadline. By including a deadline, you
create a sense of urgency in the mind of the customer. If I
dont order within 24 hours, then I wont get the
bonuses. Oh no, there are only 10 items remaining, Ive
got to hurry. Let the customer know what they will be
missing out on if they dont make the deadline. Remember,
they wont miss out on your products or bonuses, they will
miss out on all of the benefits of your products. Deadlines
are very effective. Every sales letter should have one.
27. Tell them exactly how to order. Be clear as to the order
process. Point them towards the order link. Tell them what
methods you offer. (I.E. credit cards, checks, etc.) Make this
process as simple and clear as can be. If it takes more than 2
steps, most people wont continue.
28. Explain when the product will be delivered. How quickly
will the order be processed? When will the order be
available? Let the customer know exactly what they can
expect when they place their order. The more specific you
can be here, the better. Let them know that you have a
system in place. Operators are standing by. Their order
will be handled properly. Tell them.
29. Offer a money back guarantee. Take away their last reason to
hold back. Offer a no questions asked 30 day guarantee.
Most people may not realize this, but in most cases, its the
law of the land. You are REQUIRED to give them their
money back if they are not satisfied with the product or
service. Since its the law anyway, why not make it a benefit.
Let them know that they are purchasing your product or
service RISK-FREE.
30. Instruct them to respond immediately. Many people just
need to read those words, Act Now! Order today!
Click Here to Instantly Place Your Order. Youve got
them this far, now tell them what you want them to do.
Get them to Act Fast! Have you ever heard a mail order
commercial on television that didnt prompt the viewer to
order right way?
31. Include a postscript. People will always read the P.S. Always.
In fact, the P.S. is one of the MOST IMPORTANT parts
of your sales letter. Why? Because in many cases the visitor
at your website will scroll immediately down to the end of
your page to see how much it is going to cost. A P.S. is a
perfect place to recap your offer, so when they see your price
tag, they will also see a very detailed description of what
they will receive for their money. Use your P.S. to restate
your offer in detail.
32. Include a second postscript. You better believe if they read
the first P.S., they will read a P.P.S. Use this post script to
remind them of the deadline or offer another bonus or
point out some compelling factor that would make them
want to order. I guarantee you they will read it.
1. Write a sales message for Memories Forever, a photography
group socializing in weddings. The groups primary service is
making videos of the complete wedding and the post
wedding festivities. In addition, they can prepare the
conventional individual photographs of the wedding
highlights. In fact, they can do just about everything
photographic that the wedding couple desires.
The group has decided to send sales messages presenting
their services to the brides as their weddings are announced
in the society columns of the local newspaper. The message
will be designed to sell idea of preserving the wedding for all
time. It will use whatever appeals and approaches will best
achieve this goal. As the one who will write this sales
message, you will need to think through this situation
carefully to determine just what these appeals are. Then you
will develop them in a carefully worded message that will
create conviction.
In preparing your message, you will use this basic
information plus any additional facts consistent with the
218 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

information given. The photographers in the group are all
experienced professionals. They guarantee satisfaction or
your money back. For the basic video and selected still
photographs package the charge is Rs 8000. But it can go p or
down, depending on what is wanted. A company
representative would meet with the customer in advance to
determine precisely what is wanted and the cost. You can
supply the names of satisfied customers if necessary, for you
have a number of good testimonials.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 219

Bytheendof this unit you will beableto
Explain why leaflets may beproducedin business
Describedifferent designs, which may beused for leaflets.
Design leaflet accordingtogiven instructions.
Students in this class we will understand what are leaflets, its
purpose. We will also learn to design leaflets.
Leaf lets
Leaflets are very powerful tools for promoting your products.
The idea is to find potential customers by distributing leaflets
to their homes or workplaces. Alternatively they can be placed
where potential customers will see them.
Although many network marketers achieve great results using
leaflets it is not without hard work and careful preparation.
This section runs through the key stages in a leaflet campaign -
and includes suggestions and questions to consider when
designing your particular approach.
One Step or Two?
First you must decide what kind of campaign you want to run -
one step or two.
In a one-step campaign your leaflet asks your customers to buy
your product immediately. So the leaflet has to include all the
information to persuade them to buy - and place their order.
In a two-step campaign the leaflet is only intended to attract the
customers attention - and persuade them to phone or write
requesting more information. You capture their contact details and
send them a brochure or information pack. This then contains the
material to persuade them to buy, and place their order.
The telesales variant of the two-step campaign asks the
customer to phone for more information. When they phone
in, you answer their questions and try to clinch the sale there
and then. It can work well but requires good telephone
Distribution Options
There are several options for distributing your leaflets:
Push them through letterboxes in your area. Place them on
car windscreens.
Place piles of them in public places insert them into
newspapers or magazines.
Include them in mail shots.
Think about the product you are trying to sell - and more
importantly - think about the kind of people who are likely
to buy it.
Where do they live? Are you just aiming at people in your
neighborhood? Or do you have wider ambitions? Will
saturation coverage of your area reach the people you want to
find? Or will your leaflets just get chucked in the bin?
Do they have cars? If so, where do they park them? Will a blitz
on the town center car parks reach the people you want to find?
Or will they just get thrown away?
Which public places do they visit? Supermarkets? Libraries?
Sports centers? Doctors surgeries? Use your imagination.
Youll need permission to leave your leaflets in these places -
and some may demand a small fee. Leave a small heap and see
how quickly they get taken.
Which publications are they likely to read? Dont just think
about well-known titles. If your product is aimed at a select
group of people then look for specialist publications aimed at
that group. Do they insert leaflets? How much does this cost?
Who is already mailing your target customers? Use your
imagination. Suppliers of related products? Clubs and special
interest groups? Do they insert leaflets? Look for adverts
under Business-To-Business headings. There are specialist
mailers who charge for their services.
Pick out a few promising candidates and evaluate them a bit
more. For each one: How many people will see your leaflet?
What proportion is likely to be interested? How much will it
cost? Dont forget to include the cost of the leaflets as well as
any charges for distributing them.
Finally, work out the Value For Money rating - our transatlantic
cousins charmingly call this the bang for a buck. How many
interested people you can contact for each 1 spent? Estimate
how many people will see your leaflets - and adjust it by your
guess at the percentage interested in your product. Then divide
this figure by the total cost of the leaflets plus any charges for
distributing them, ie:
Value For Money = People Contacted x % Interested
Leafleting Cost
Obviously, to get the most out of your hard-won cash,
distribute your first leaflets via the options offering the best
Value For Money.
Remember: Its worth taking your time to get your planning
right because its easy to waste a lot of money and effort on
unsuccessful leaflets.
Designing Leaf lets
Leaflets vary in size from A6 (a quarter of an A4 page) up to A3
(folded to A4 size). They can include color, photos, drawings
and logos, which make them extremely effective.
The great advantages of leaflets are
1. They can be made to stand out so theyre very good for
attracting the readers attention
2. They put across your sales message very powerfully
3. With the bigger leaflets you can include a cutout form for
enquiries or immediate purchases.
220 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

The Main Disadvantages are
1. They have to look good so you may have to pay someone to
design them and produce the camera-ready copy
2. Printing can take time so you have to plan ahead
3. Flashy ones can be quite expensive.
There are some basic rules for designing leaflets - but there is
also great scope for artistic inspiration. Like most things, the
more you do the better you get. Start by being clear what your
leaflet is intended to achieve.
Many leaflets are part of a two-step campaign - where the object
is to persuade the reader to phone, write, fax or email for more
information. If you want them to write, and you can afford the
space, include an information request form for the reader to fill
in and post to you. This makes life easier for them. And you
can make sure they fill in all information you need. You can
also put a code on the form so you know which campaign
produced the response.
One-step campaigns - where the object of the leaflet is to
persuade the reader to buy your product immediately - are less
common. Youll need to describe the product, persuade readers
to buy, and tell them where to send their order and payment -
which takes space and increases the cost. If you can afford the
space, include an order form for the reader to fill in and post to
you. This makes life easier for them. And you can make sure
they fill in all information you need. You can also put a code on
the form so you know which campaign produced the response.
Your customers get bombarded with lots of leaflets. Most get
thrown straight in the bin. So, if you dont want your message
to end up in landfill, youll have to use your artistic ingenuity to
make your leaflet stand out from the crowd.
All Leaf lets Should Follow the Tried and
Tested AIDA Formula
Attract the readers Attention
Interest the reader in the product
Excite the readers Desire
Ask for Action from the reader
The big advantage of leaflets is that you can use photographs,
drawings and logos to attract the readers attention.
If you cant afford the artwork, or youre limited for space,
maybe you can use lines, boxes, large print or special typefaces to
achieve the same effect. Some printers offer colors, but these
usually cost more. Glossy paper looks more professional but
costs more. Photographs or drawings of people help catch the
attention. Obviously they need to be happy people. If your
customers are mostly men then a picture of a woman will be
most effective - and vice versa. (Reverse that if your target
market is gay people).
Pictures of the product dont just catch the attention. They
also help to arouse the readers interest and desire. Theyre
especially important if youre trying to sell off-the-page. If
youre selling a service then consider a picture of something
related to it. For example, a car for motor insurance, or
someone on the phone for cheap calls. Logos also work well,
especially if the brand name is well known.
Short phrases enclosed in simple graphics (banners, stars,
speech balloons, etc) can be used to attract the attention and put
across key points. For example, Sale!, Special Offer!,
New!, Half Price!.
Use all these special effects sparingly. A few of them will create a
strong visual impression. Too many looks fussy - or even a
mess! Leave some white space around the content as that
helps to draw the readers eyes.
The headline - the first phrase or sentence - is critical. It should
be written in large bold type, possibly capital letters, and
separated from the rest of the text. Use the headline to attract
the readers attention - and make your leaflet stand out from the
rest. Take some time thinking of alternative headlines and
picking out the best. You want people to stop and read your
leaflet - not other things around it.
If youre inserting in publication with a broad readership, eg. the
local paper, then your headline should probably specify your
product, eg. Rare Books!. This will only attract the attention of
people who are genuinely interested in rare books. If youre
inserting in a publication with a specialist readership, eg. Bikers
News, then your headline can focus on what makes your
product different from the rest. For example, More Studs Than
Any Other Jacket.
Another powerful approach, especially suitable for business
opportunities, is to forget the product and lead with the benefit
to the customer. Examples include: Be your own boss! Earn
in your spare time! Or you can use blatant attention grabbers
like: Free! Brand New! Only Rs20! Two for the price of one!
The middle wording needs to interest the reader and build up
their desire. Where possible, emphasise the benefits for them.
Give enough information about the product so they under-
stand what youre offering. But, if youre two-stepping, dont
attempt to do the job of your brochure or your telephone sales
pitch. Make good use of power words - words that make the
reader sit up and take notice. These include: avoid, bargain,
bonus, discover, earn, easy, enjoy, exciting, exclusive, extra, fast,
fortune, free, how to, learn, money, more, mystery, new, now,
profit, save, special, win. Dont force these words into your
leaflet - but use them rather than weaker alternatives.
The tail end of the leaflet must tell the reader what to do next.
For example: Phone 567890 for details. Send 4 x 26p stamps
to Anita at ... Visit our website at
Proof read this bit especially carefully. It would be a crying
shame to excite your customers desire and not be able to receive
their responses.
If youre one-stepping, include an order form for the reader to
cut out, fill in and post to you. This makes life easier for them.
And prompts them to fill in all information you need. Put a
code on the form so you know which leaflet and publication
produced the response. Make sure it tells them who to make
out their cheque to, and clearly shows your postal address.
Check with your company. They may already have some
effective leaflets you can use or modify. They can probably
supply you with camera ready copy - which will save a lot of
effort. Also they may have restrictions about where or how you
distribute leaflets. They may insist on approving your leaflet
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 221

before its published. Youll definitely need permission to use
their trade names, photos and logos.
Make sure you proof read what you send for printing.
Spelling errors and nonsense wording make you look an idiot.
Incorrect contact details will lose you business and annoy your
customers. If youre setting the leaflet yourself, youll need to
send camera ready copy to the printers - a good quality original
of your leaflet. It must be clear and sharp enough for them to
photograph or scan into their publishing / printing system.
For simple non-glossy leaflets, you can produce acceptable
camera ready copy using your PC with a good laser or inkjet
printer. If you dont have the expertise or the facilities you may
have to pay someone else to do this. Some printers will
produce the artwork for you - for a fee! For very small leaflets
check whether the printer can photo-reduce a larger original.
This may well give a sharper image than you can achieve directly
from your PCs laser or inkjet.
If youre posting camera ready copy to the printer - dont fold it!
It wont photograph cleanly with a fold line down the middle.
And put a stiffener or some padding in the envelope so your
precious original doesnt get mangled by the postman.
For most publications there is no flexibility about their
deadlines. If you want your leaflet to go into a particular issue,
get it to the publisher in good time for the deadline. Make sure
you tell them (preferably in writing) which issue you want it to
go in. If you dont tell them itll be your own fault if it goes
wrong. And you wont be able to claim a refund.
Handling Responses
Telephone Calls
Good telephone manner is vitally important. Speak clearly and
at a comfortable speed - not too fast - not too slow. Try to
sound keen and interested in what the customer is saying. But
be yourself. If you try to put on airs it will sound false.
Work out a standard greeting and use it whenever you answer
an incoming call. This should include your trading name - so
the caller knows theyve got through to the right number - and
your name - so they know who theyre dealing with. For
example: Akash traders Anil speaking.
You should also get an answering machine to field your calls
when youre out, or otherwise unavailable. Murphys Law says
that the phone only rings when youre in the toilet.
Work out a standard message along the lines of: Thank you
for calling Akash Traders. Im sorry we cant take your call right
now. If youd like to leave your name and number after the
tone, well get back to you. Note this doesnt say youre out
(which might give a hint to burglars) and it doesnt say when
youll call back (which might raise false hopes).
Your friends and family may think youre a bit odd - but the
only alternative is a separate phone number. Answering with
Hello? will make your customers wonder just what kind of
business they are dealing with.
Youll also have to train the family to answer the phone
properly too. Stroppy teenagers often baulk at this - it doesnt
help their street cred. Explaining that new clothes or computer
games depend on business success may tip the balance.
Modern telephones are very good at picking up background
noises - even with your hand over themouthpiece. For some reason
the television, the kids fighting, and the toilet flushing - all
sound much louder over the phone than they do in the room.
So try to find somewhere quiet for your business calls. Never,
ever, make remarks about the caller! Assume they can hear
If you just want to capture the callers details and send them an
information pack then keep the call short and business-like.
Capture the bare minimum of information: name, address,
postcode, phone number, what product theyre interested in,
and where they saw the leaflet. Write it all down - there and
then. Keep a notepad and pen by the phone. Human memory
is notoriously unreliable - so dont rely on it!
If you want to clinch the sale over the phone then make sure
youre well prepared. Work out the key points of your sales pitch
and rehearse how youre going to say them. Emphasis and
intonation can be quite important here. Prepare counters for
objections they might raise. For example: It costs more than
brand X, Yes, but you use less each time so it lasts longer.
Try to establish a personal relationship with the caller.
Make sure you get their name early on and use it occasionally. If
they mention their family, or their job, or where they live - show
an interest, or tell them something similar about yourself. But
dont overdo this or youll spend all the time gossiping rather
than selling. Make a note of key points. Theyll come in handy
the next time you talk to them.
Listen carefully to what the caller is saying. Ask them open
questions (ones that cant be answered yes or no) so youre clear
what theyre looking / hoping for. This should be a conversa-
tion - with them speaking as much as you. Dont let it
degenerate into a monologue. Try to tune your comments to
fit in with their train of thought. Find ways to agree with
them. Simply dropping in the occasional Yes helps build a
rapport. Even if you have to disagree with them try to say
Yes, but ....
When youve told them about the product and its benefits, and
they seem to be interested, you come to the crunch point -
asking them to buy. Sales people call this closing the sale.
Dont approach this head on. Do you want to buy one?
comes across as aggressive - and allows them to answer No.
Much better to ask them a question that implies they have
decided to buy. Like How many would you like, Which
color would you like?, How would you like this delivering?,
or How would you like to pay?. Usually theyll just answer
the question and you can move swiftly on to capturing their
order details.
Even if they baulk at this question all is not lost. Theyll
probably say I dont know or I havent decided. You just
switch back into your sales pitch and try to close the sale when
theyve had a bit more time.
If you dont have the enough time to make the sales pitch - eg.
you have to get the kids out of school - explain the problem,
take the callers name and phone number, and sort out a
mutually convenient time to call them back. You should call
them (and pay the call charges) because youre the one causing
222 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

the problem. Whatever you promise to do - do it! This is
essential to build up their trust.
At the end, thank them for their call - and say goodbye.
Then wait for a second so they can hang up first (otherwise they
may think youre glad to be rid of them). Youd be surprised
how many people forget these simple courtesies.
If youve promised to send the caller an information pack then
get it on its way today! Follow the guidance below about
replying to letters, faxes and emails.
If youve taken an order from the caller then move it on to
payment collection and delivery promptly. If possible despatch
the order today. Fast delivery is always very impressive and
makes them well-disposed towards further purchases.
Letters, Faxes and Emails
First rule- strike while the iron is hot! Your customer has seen
your leaflet and taken the time to ask for more information
about your product. Its vitally important to reply quickly while
theyre still keen. Aim to post, fax or email your reply the same
day. If illness or absence delays your response then apologize!
Keep an accurate record of who has responded and what
you have sent to them - with dates. Store their personal details
securely - and dont give this information away to anyone else.
What are you going to put in the reply? Make sure it includes
everything the customer needs to make their purchase decision
and return their order.
Where possible, use the standard brochures, price lists and order
forms produced by the company who supplies your products.
Theyre usually well printed on glossy paper with nice pictures.
And the wording has usually been carefully crafted to present the
product in a good light, explain the offer accurately, and comply
with the law. Substitute your own material at your peril.
Make sure your name and contact details appear on the material
you send out - even if you have to add a sticky label to each item.
Adding a short personalized letter or note is a nice touch that can
endear you to the customer. But write it neatly (or type it) on
quality paper - or you can undo all that goodwill at a stroke. The
same goes for the envelope. Appearances really matter a lot.
If youre replying by fax or email then take your time to get the
wording right. Also lay out the text so its easy to read and the
page looks visually attractive. Youll only get this one chance to
make your pitch so prepare it with the same care as you lavished
on the original leaflet.
You can use graphics on faxes to improve their appearance but
check what they look like after faxing. Shades of grey get changed
to black or white, which can have some unfortunate effects. If
you have a PC with a modem, try sending your faxes direct from
the PC. The appearance at the receiving end is often much better
than if you send from a low-cost fax machine. If youre replying
by letter, make sure you put enough stamps on it. Having the
postman knock on their door to demand excess postage will put
a customer right off you. Check the weight of the sealed
envelope on your kitchen scales if youre in any doubt.
If you can afford it, use first class postage for replies. Second
class may be cheaper but it allows the customer 24 hours longer
to cool off and gives the impression youre less serious about
wanting their business.
Following Up
Your campaign will have given you the names and contact
details of paying customers (even if you didnt recover your
costs). Record these people in your customer list and guard it
Once youve captured a customer, follow up every few weeks/
months. Send them the latest brochure when its updated. Or
phone them for a brief chat (but back off if they dont seem
keen to be called). Your aim is to encourage them to buy again.
Remember, its much easier to get further orders than to find
new customers.
Sanity Check
OK. Youve now worked out what leaflets to distribute where
- and what to do with the responses. However, its possible to
design a leafleting campaign that successfully sells products to
customers - but ends up losing you money! So, before you leap
into action, take a short breather and conduct a Sanity Check on
your plans.
Review Results
At the end of your campaign you should review how well it
worked so you can learn how to do better in future. Count up
how many responses your leaflet produced (and, if youre two
stepping, how many orders). Work out the value of the orders
taken and your commission / profit. Then take away your
costs. Did you recover your costs? Earn a bit of extra cash?
Were the response rate, order rate and average order value what
you predicted before you started? If they were higher - well
done, your campaign design worked better than expected.
Remember that publication and the key elements of your
leaflet. Theyre probably worth using again.
If your campaign didnt do as well as you hoped, have you any
clues as to why it went wrong? Should you use that distribu-
tion option again? Was there something wrong with the
leaflet? Keep a note of what happened, and bear this hard-won
learning in mind for future campaigns.
Types of Leaflet
Most organizations produce leaflets or brochures for any
number of reasons:
1. To prublicise goods or services
2. To promote special events an promotions
3. To give information of any kind
Such leaflets may take the form of a single page or they could be
designed as a folded document A4 size couldbe folded once
or twice to make a four page or six page leaflet as shown here:
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 223

224 11.234
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y

Most infections get better without antibiotics

In cases where patients will get better without antibiotics, it makes sense for your doctor not to prescribe them.
Your bodys defence system can often protect against infection without the need for antibiotics.

Listen to your doctor
Your doctor will be able to recognize whether you
have an infection that needs antibiotics, so you should
not always expect to be given a prescription. Doctors
need to prescribe antibiotics with care: This is because
inappropriate use of antibiotics can be dangerous for
individual patients and for the whole population.

Overuse of antibiotics can also cause resistance and
result in them not working in the future. This is a very
worrying trend, especially for patients with serious life
threatening infections.

Harmful side-effects
Potential side-effects are another reason why doctors
are cautious about prescribing antibiotics. Some
antibiotic treatment can cause side-effects such as
stomach upset and thrush. For women on the pill,
antibiotics can reduce contraceptive protection.

Antibiotic facts
Antibiotics have no effect on viral infections
(eg. Colds, flu and most sore throats). Viral
infections are much more common than
bacterial infections.
Inappropriate use of antibiotics can
encourage the development of resistant
bacteria. This could mean that the antibiotic
may not work when you really need it.
Some antibiotics have harmful side-effects
such as diarrhoea and allergic reactions.
Antibiotics do not just attack the infection
they are prescribed for they can also kill
useful bacteria which normally protect you
against other infections such as thrush.
There are effective alternative remedies for
managing the symptoms of many infections.

If you have an infection such as a cold, flu or sore
(1) Take paracetamol according to the
instructions to help reduce fever and relieve
aches and pains.
(2) Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
(3) Ask your pharmacist (chemist) for advice.
Many infections can be managed effectively
with over-the-counter medications. The
pharmacist will refer you to your doctor or
practice nurse if they think it is necessary.

When to contact your GP
Call your GPs surgery for advice if, after taking over-
the-counter medications as directed, you or your child
are experiencing any of the following:
symptoms which are severe or unusually
extreme shortness of breath.
coughing up of blood or large amounts of
yellow or green phlegm.

Promotinga healthypartnershipbetweenpatientsandhealthprofessionals

BMA House Tavistock Square London WC1H 9JP
Fax : 0171 383 6403 Internet :

Reproducedcourtesyof Doctor Patient Partnership

If you are prescribed antibiotics ensure you take
the medication according to instructions.
(1) Although you may begin to feel better, you
must take the full course of antibiotics to
prevent your illness coming back.
(2) Not taking the full course of antibiotics can
lead to future antibiotic resistance.
Copy Right : Ra i Unive rsit y
11.234 225

Bytheendof this lesson you shouldbeableto
Statereasons whyinvitations areused
Composeformal andinformal invitations
Replytoformal andinformal invitations
Students I am sure you must received many invitations for
birthday parties, weddings, etc. You must have liked some of
the invitations you have received. Can you tell me what did you
like about that invitation? Is it the wordings or is the paper
quality or the color combinations, what?
Many companies organize special functions for various reasons:
To publicize a special event
The launch of a new product
The opening of a new branch office
The retirement of a senior executive
You may be expected to know how to prepare invitations to
such functions , or how to reply to such invitations, when your
employer gives you an instruction simply to accept or refuse.
The History of the Invitation
There is a long history to the evolution of the Invitation, as we
know it today. How did they arise? Who used them? How was
a wording composed? How were they delivered? What was the
impact of the printing press? Why do current invitations all
appear to follow a consistent style? Why is calligraphy so
Knowing the history and the traditions behind the social
invitation will help you in your selection. You can then take
exception to current standards and still conform to socially
accepted standards. Or if you wish, you can create a new, unique
invitation that will set you apart from the norm yet still be in
good taste.
Only f or the Elite . . .
The aristocracy in England and France probably beginning in
the 18th century used invitations to social events. It may be
possible to go back another hundred or two hundred years to
find the foundations, which began the tradition of the
The Kings, Queens, Lords, Ladies, Dukes, Duchesses, or in
todays vernacular, High Society would invite their peers to
their social events with hand written announcements of the
event. The wife, butler, or secretary wrote these. Writing was a
mark of education. Even after the printing press, the aristocracy
hand wrote invitations since mass production would be in
bad taste.
In those days, society was not in a hurry, and most who could
read and write had excellent penmanship. Do you recall what the
pen was like as an early writing instrument? It was a quill made
of a feather with a carefully cut tip. As one wrote, while holding
the pen in one position, the