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Effective business communicators - to select those communication skills that will prove the most
adequate for a particular situation and will serve their interests best.
Recent studies necessity to organise training courses for developing
communication skills
critical-thinking skills
to cope with:
high technology
competitive world
demands of the modern economy
written & oral communication skills
oral response
preparing formal reports
writing business plans
planning and writing strategies
changing people's attitude towards acquiring these abilities
communication = innate ability?
Good communicators'
they know what to communicate
how to communicate to different people in different ways
a system of measuring their performance (how much they have progressed)
Business schools should teach both formal and informal skills
Specific language functions:
making tactful refusals
making complaints
criticising tactfully

communication expertise

Needed to work consciously on these skills

to acquire a set of abilities associated with
high performance in business communication



express oneself
use analytical/conceptual skills
write and speak creatively
empathise with the partner (social self)

Exploiting the language functions

Emotive function ability to express oneself induce a certain reaction; selection of

vocabulary/structures/registers, etc)

Conative function correct level of approach; to get the partner involved; use of
vocatives/ polite forms of address/titles)
Emotive + referential function ability to speak & write creatively; adequate reference
to the business context = proof of increased creativity)
Phatic function empathy with the partner/ adapting to the partner
Phatic communication/ Rapport adequate use of those verbal and non verbal elements
in order to create the atmosphere of sociability/ communion necessary to the development of
co-operative relationships (business meetings & negotiations)

Oral and written communication

nature of the channel
Oral communication
roles of speaker & listener
(biunivocal relationship)
open to linguistic varieties
(regional, social varieties, dialectal items
negotiation of meaning
(both partners contribute to the building
of the meaning; "I mean", "What do you
mean by?", "what I mean is ")
The processing of information =
face-to-face communication
(less elaborate, sometimes, faulty;
repetitions; starts & re-starts;
hesitations; fillers; redundant elements;
non-verbal = paraverbal elements,
violation of rules, feedback, more
informal, etc)
interactional + transactional
Tends to establish and maintain
relationship, to create a certain social

Written communication
(univocal relationship)
(standard language)
once the message has been sent, the
writer cannot change the meaning
(cannot work out on it)
careful elaboration of the message;
observance of rules
(complex syntax, reduced repetition,
precise, concrete vocabulary, lack of
immediate feedback, more formal)

predominantly transactional
(orientation towards conveying factual

Business communication strategy based on the following elements



The problem assess the circumstances imposing the necessity to communicate (speak/write)
Particular setting/background

state of competition
technological level

(of various people/depts)

customers' attitude

The objectives

to inform
to get approval
to get information
to persuade
to give instructions
to make complaints
to notify
to make adjustments
to make proposals
to congratulate

Specific objectives
to give details
to support the general objective
Successful communicators:
only one major objective for each piece of communication
make the message clear taken into account promptly
followed by immediate action
not clear objectives

lead to misinterpretation
ineffective communication
additional action/waste of time

The audience (reader/writer)

Action oriented towards the audience
do whatever necessary to help the audience
sensitive to the audience's needs
try to anticipate their reactions
adapt their communication to the type of the audience
Categories of audience
general public
expert audience

primary (decision makers; action takers, etc)

secondary (people affected by the decision taken)

The order of presentation

The way in which selected information & data are arranged to achieve the objectives
In business letters 3 levels where order becomes relevant
the overall message
the paragraph
the sentence

The overall message: can be arranged

directly most important ideas at the beginning of the message
indirectly main objective at the end of the message
Arrangement depends on:
type of message
relationship with the partner
The paragraph - arranged such a way as to emphasize a particular point
direct the reader's attention to the main point
Topic sentence = the sentence carrying the core information;
all the other sentences will be related to it
A well-written paragraph should be;
coherent (it follows a definite plan)
developed (all sentences explain the main point)
unified (all sentences should be relevant to the main point)
The sentences: selection + combination of words
to achieve emphasis
to direct the reader's attention
1. Decision-making is essential in managerial activity.
2. Managerial activity includes decision-making.
Presentation of ideas: certain patterns
simple complex
familiar unfamiliar
known unknown
most important least important
cause effect

Lecture 2

Effective Business Communication

Success in business ability to communicate inside & outside the company

When is communication effective?
Only when others understand your message and respond to it the way you want them to
Effective communication:
manage your work flow
improve business relationships
enhance your professional image
other important benefits:








work flow

What do employers expect from you?

competent communication tasks
Specific skills advance in career
organizing ideas and information coherently and completely
expressing and presenting ideas coherently and persuasively
listening to others effectively (active listening)
communicating effectively with people from diverse backgrounds and having different
using communication technologies effectively and efficiently
communicating in a civilised manner that reflects contemporary expectations of business
communicating ethically, even when choices are not crystal clear
Characteristics of Effective Communication
Knowledge may be power, but communication skills are the primary raw materials of good
client relationships. (project manager at NASA's Marshal Space Flight Center)
provide practical information
give facts rather than impression
clarify and condense information
state precise responsibilities
persuade others and offer recommendations
Communication in Organizational Settings
Communication = vital link bet. people / information
Internal & external communication
Formal and Informal Communication
1. Formal Communication Network
Ideas & information along the lines of command (hierarchical levels)
Internal formal network information flows in three directions:
downward flow : executives employees
upward flow: employees executives
horizontal flow: lateral or diagonal communication flow (between departments)
2. Informal Communication Network (a grapevine)
e-mail and instant-messaging systems
Grapevines most active (when employees think the formal network is not providing the
information they want or need)
flows in and out the organization along formal lines
(carefully prepared letters, announcements, e-mail messages, face-to-face meetings etc.)


Planned communication among
insiders (letters, reports, memos,
e-mail, instant messages ) that
flows the companys chain of

Planned communication with
outsiders (letters, reports,
memos, speeches, websites,
instant messages and news


Casual communication among
employees (e-mail, instant
messages, face-to-face
conversations, and phone calls
that do not follow the companys
chain of command)

Casual communication with
suppliers, customers, investors
and other outsiders (face-to-face
conversations, e-mail, instant
messages, and phone calls)

The Communication process

Understanding why Business Communication is unique
Bus. Comm. far more demanding than the communication we are involved in with family,
friends, and colleagues
expectations are higher on the job
business environment complex
(possible failure)
Factors that affect business communication:
globalization of business
increase in workforce diversity
increasing value of information
pervasiveness of technology
growing reliance on teamwork
evolution of organizational structures
other barriers
Globalization of business and the increase in workforce diversity
The increasing value of Business Information
1. Competition for jobs, customers, resources continues to grow
2. The importance of information continues to escalate
3. For an organization, information is as important as money, raw materials and its people
Information Age
Knowledge workers at all levels of the organization
= employees who specialize in acquiring, processing and communicating
Key areas are in view:
competitive insights
customer needs
regulations and guidelines
Competitive insights: competitors strengths and weaknesses (competitors plans)
Customer needs:
information collected from a variety of sources
needs to be analysed
to develop goods and services that better satisfy customer needs)
Regulations and guidelines:
government regulations and guidelines: employment, environment, taxes, and accounting
The pervasiveness of technology
Technical expertise to keep up with that of your colleagues
Imbalance can put you at a disadvantage
The evolution of organizational structures:
a) company structure relationships communication (nature, quality)
Tall structures

many layers of management (L/H positions) communication

breakdowns; delays
messages are passed up & down through multiple layers
Solution: adopting flatter structures (reduce the number of layers)
fewer links in the communication chain
pushing responsibility downward
more responsibility for lower-level employees
to pool the talent of employees and external partners
(externalization of certain operations)
b) the organization's corporate culture
that give a company its atmosphere & personality
Successful companies
encourage employee contributions
communication flows freely up, down & across the organization chart
open climate
honest relationships (admit mistakes, disagree with their boss, express their opinions)
prepare employees to send & receive negative news and hear constructive criticism from
their superiors
employees want feedback from their managers
managers (to overcome the natural inclination to smooth things over and avoid conflicts)
attention to communication higher performance + more satisfying work experience)
The growing reliance on teamwork
teams offer many potential advantages:
increasing responsibility for communication
information: not conveyed automatically
to invent new communication processes
employee satisfaction
organization flexibility
ability to respond to competition
Barriers to effective communication
physical: bad connections, poor acoustics, illegible printing, uncomfortable meeting rooms
emotional: delivery of messages; interpretation
Information overload
too many messages; e-mail traffic alone is mushrooming; phone messages, traditional
mail pieces, other interruptions
difficult to discriminate bet. useful and useless info.
Perceptual differences
individual perception of reality
a sender / a receiver when something does not quite fit into our existing
pattern inclined to distort the information rather than rearrange our
individual pattern (selective perception)
share experience to share perception + share meaning
Language differences
asap ?
Restrictive environments
restriction of information flow (intentionally or unintentionally) affects the competitive
tall hierarchies: loss of message quality

Deceptive tactics
Deceptive communication regrettably easy
Unscrupulous communicators
can present opinions as facts
omit crucial information
exaggerate benefits
downplay risks
High performance in business communication



express oneself
use analytical/conceptual skills
write and speak creatively
empathise with the partner (social self)

Exploiting the language functions

Emotive function ability to express oneself induce a certain reaction; selection of

vocabulary/structures/registers, etc)
Conative function correct level of approach; to get the partner involved; use of
vocatives/ polite forms of address/titles)
Emotive + referential function ability to speak & write creatively; adequate reference
to the business context = proof of increased creativity)
Phatic function empathy with the partner/ adapting to the partner
Phatic communication/ Rapport adequate use of those verbal and non verbal elements
in order to create the atmosphere of sociability/ communion necessary to the development of
co-operative relationships (business meetings & negotiations)

Lecture 3


1. First condition to understand the why of communication

What am I expected to achieve by delivering this speech?

Do I want action? Feedback? Sympathy? Support? Sales? Sharing of ideas?

Without the why of the communication

first impulse: to develop the message
concentration on the what step (more than on the results you want to attain)
message may fail in meeting its purpose
2. Objectives
Most messages delivered in business have one of the three objectives:
to inform
to persuade
to celebrate
purpose of message:
to present: facts/ issues/ events
various presentations
purpose of message:

to motivate
to persuade
to think /act in accordance with the speaker

to sell products & services

to support ideas/strategies
to motivate listeners to change behaviours

Celebrate recognize/ acknowledge

a person
an event
an occasion
an organisational theme
purpose of message:
to inspire; to entertain

commencement awards
retirement addresses
achievement awards
founder's day speeches
other congratulatory speeches

3. Understanding the Listener

level of experience
Useful questions:
Are they clients/ potential clients/ colleague/ strangers/ supervisors/ subordinates?
Are they similar in age and background or widely varied?
What do they want to hear from me?
What questions will they want answered?
What is their political, social, economic, cultural background?
Will they be friendly or hostile?
How many will be listening to me?
Your chances of success depend on your perception of the audience.
4. Getting feedback
not all presentations need feedback (to celebrate an event, to acknowledge a merit, to recognize
an achievement)
Feedback can be obtained:
by chatting with the listeners after the
presentation (reactions, comments will
show you if and how well they
understood the message)

questions & answers sessions
(plan carefully so as not to lose control
of the meeting)

Suggestions for maintaining control

Anticipate your listeners' questions


Prepare additional materials for the Q&A session: statistics, figures,

supporting documents. Convince the audience of your preparedness
For technical questions, ask specialists in relevant departments to take part
at the meeting and provide the data needed;
If you don't know the answer, say so;
offer to send an answer
say you have to study the point more
Come with a list of questions as back up
The question I am most often asked is
Last week someone asked me.
If the listeners react negatively, be ready to shift gears when it is necessary
to obtain a desired result
If the audience is large, repeat the questions for all to hear

5. Methods of Delivery
Reading from a prepared manuscript
Delivering from memory
Delivering extemporaneously relying on brief notes or clue cards.
Reading from a prepared manuscript
Purpose: to deliver an exact, structured message
Examples: keynote speeches
speeches with long-range effect (government officials)
sometimes, scripts are approved prior to presentation
and made available to the members of the press
Delivering from memory
memorizing the presentation word-for-word
Possible problems:
may forget a line or sentence
may lose their place in the speech
Extemporaneous presentation most popular, most desirable
materials are organised either in outline form or on note cards;
allows to monitor the audiences reactions, to slow down, to elaborate on different
encourage the audiences involvement;
contributes to building trust, confidence and commitment
Lecture 4


The PMM Concept

Three basic components:
Person individual making the oral presentation
Message the presentation itself
Media the presentation aids
The basis for the strategy for communicating orally
Every society has an unwritten standard by which its citizens are measured.
Professional image:
implies capacity to determine what constitutes that standard in your society
Necessary: to analyse yourself objectivelly in terms of:


educational background
intelligence level
status (leader or follower)
Nonverbal elements
used as standards for determining success
good grooming
appropriate dress
natural manners
silent communicators
effective body language
a pleasing voice
good eye contact
an authoritative presence
55% of what we believe about one another is based on our observation & interpretation of
nonverbal signals.
Most people will judge you by:
your self-confidence
your personality
your determination
your self-control
Natural Manners
Stress = natural part of public speaking
Audience may detect how confident you are by observing your mannerism.
Annoying habits:
knuckle rapping
fist clenching
nail biting
foot tapping
coin jingling
During oral presentations, it is wrong to:
fold your arms across your chest
lean against the wall/lectern other object
folding your hands behind you
placing your hands in your pockets
Natural, self-confident manners - recommended
Professional speaker's stance:
- standing straight (arms/hands hanging loosely at your sides)
- feet firmly planted and spread naturally

Appropriate Attire
good grooming
appropriate dress

tailored clothing only (no frills, ruffles, straps or plunging necklines)

suits and blazers in plain, neutral colours
scarves for colour accents
skirts that are pleated, straight, or dirndl, with no extreme slits
basic dark pumps with medium or low heels
stud earrings; gold or pearl necklaces; avoid dangling bracelets


dark or grey suits; navy blazers and grey trousers

dress shirts in solid colours, mostly white, pale blue, or yellow
variety of ties in muted colours but in contrast to the suit
calf-length hose in dark colours to match suits
black or brown 1-inch belt
loafers, wingtips or laceup shoes
avoid flashy cuff links, rings, or neck chains

Body Language
For effectiveness natural gestures to emphasize a point.
Key word = natural
The Voice
Good voice quality provides an effective presentation.
For feedback :
a tape recorder
a friend
a member of the family
Eye Contact
the most prominent feature of your face;
use them to make contact with the audience;
try not to single out a particular person, but make eye contact with many people in
the audience;
begin by looking ahead, rotate slowly from side to side, making eye contact with a
number of different people;
lock eyes for a few seconds, but never long enough to complete more than 8-10
let your eyes do some of the talking;
Visual presence:
by integrating nonverbal elements into a professional image
positive visual image
The Voice
Good voice quality provides an effective presentation.
For feedback :
a tape recorder
a friend
a member of the family
Lecture 5


3 basic parts:
the Takeoff gains the audiences attention
introduces the theme
the Convincing Evidence data /facts /info. (used to support the claim)
the Windup closes the message
a summary of key elements
The Takeoff sets the stage for the audiences response
Reasons for being present:


Some participants
Other participants

desire information
are required to attend

Necessary: impact at the very first

Techniques for achieving effective beginning
Startling information
The Unusual
The Message Core ("We are here to discuss the parking problems on the university
Courteous Beginning always effective
express your appreciation for the honour of speaking and then congratulate the
listeners on any accomplishment relevant to the speech topic
Convincing Evidence middle section of your presentation

Begin this section with:

concepts that are familiar to your audience
( esp. for controversial subjects)
gradually introduce more complex concepts
group important elements in logical sequence
support ideas with cases & incidents
use illustrations & examples
give your presentation the necessary depth but avoid boring, irrelevant
The Windup
restate the central theme
summarize the evidence
propose some type of action
do not introduce new evidence
The MEDIA any aid used to enhance an oral presentation
Varieties of media
The chalkboard/whiteboard
great impact on the audience
where quality, simplicity and mobility are demanded
The chalkboard/whiteboard


beforehand, write on note cards, what you intend to present on the board, to avoid
making mistakes
do not write pertinent information on the board beforehand: will divert the audience's
attention to the board.

you can write information on one sheet at a time
you can write information ahead of time and then flip the sheets as you discuss
esp. useful for small group presentations
Handouts a useful way of complementing your presentation

should be distributed at the end of the speech (audience - free to concentrate on yr.
what you want the audience to do with your handouts

Lecture 6

to take home some ideas

a summary of the presentation (key points)
to take some action
feedback (provide a checklist; easy for them to respond)


General aspects
Communication between companies various means
telephones (mobile phones)
fax machines
the Internet
Phone messages, faxes or e-mail messages a certain degree of informality, that may not
illustrate the real nature of the relationship
such messages are sent by persons who do not have the necessary authority for making
decisions on behalf of the company
the information conveyed can not be taken as having official value
Consequently any important element in business, discussed or agreed upon the phone
should be confirmed by an official, formal letter
For this reason (and for many others) writing ability appears in the top three activities of
a business person
Businesses value effective communicators:
being an effective writer can enhance your professional career
the letters you write become your ambassadors
people in other departments of the company get to know you through your writing
your letters may get your superiors attention showing how effective or ineffective you are
as a business communicator.
The layout of a business letter
The layout of a business letter some specific elements
Information about:
the two companies that communicate by letters
the people authorised to communicate on behalf of each company
or may refer to the filing system that enables tracing a letter (or a number of letters in
the correspondence file)


Reference line

Inside address

Subject line

Main body of the letter

Complimentary line
Authors signature
Typed name


Fig. 1. Main parts of a business letter

Figure 5. Main parts of a business letter.

The letterhead
Information about the sender:
the companys name and status
its address
telephone/fax number/ e-mail address
the logo
The date
There are various ways to express date:
2.11. 2001
The 1st of November 2001
November 1st, 2001
In business correspondence pattern recommended:

2 November 2001
The reference line
Your ref. (your reference)
Our ref. (our reference)
helps tracing a letter in the file
the name of the person who signed the letter
the name of the typist
the filing code
Example: Your ref.: FW/ms/P
the letter was written/signed by Frank Warrington
it was typed by Mary Storm
is located in the file P (petrol) 25
"Our ref." gives similar information about the sender
The inside address indicates the following:
name and address of the addressee
position in the company (e.g. The Supply Manager, The Chief Accountant etc.)
mail address written exactly as given by your partner
The salutation
Forms of address used to open business letters
depend on:
the addressees status
the social distance between the partners

Sir when the addressee is a gentleman whose name we do not know;

Sirs used to address a company;
Madam the addressee is a lady whose name we do not know;
Mr Robertson/ Dear Ms Watson to address a person whose name is known to the
Dear Bill - used to address a person with whom the writer is on friendly terms
High officials or personalities:
(the addressees name is associated with)
courtesy titles
titles deriving from appointment or honours
Useful information:
no special form of address for the Prime Minister and members of the Ministry
ambassadors are addressed as:


Your Excellency (formal)

Dear Mr Rodson or Dear Lord Bart
The subject line
below the salutation and underlined
tells what the letter is about
helps the reader direct the letter to the right person
facilitates fast processing of correspondence
Dear Mr Winter
Tax collection
The body of the letter the main text of the letter (the message of the letter)
the rule of the four Cs
clear, concise, correct, courteous
divided into paragraphs
information distributed according to the role of each paragraph
The opening paragraph
makes connection between the subject line and the rest of the text (" above" or
refers to the source of information, which is used as a basis for the letter you are
The following two or three paragraphs
the proper message of the letter
describe facts/give arguments/ make complaints/ make suggestions etc (according
to the purpose of the letter)
The closing paragraph
emphasises the main idea of the letter
restate the writers point of view
conclusion of the letter
The last sentence of this paragraph often contains the formula:
We look/are looking forward to hearing/ receiving news from you
We look/are looking forward to your answer/reply/letter
The complimentary line
depends on the level of formality
the relationship between the writer and the addressee
directly related to the salutation
Differences between British and American English:


British English

Complimentary line

Dear Madam / Sir(s)

Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss Waters/
Dear Mary

Yours faithfully

Yours sincerely
Yours/ Best regards/ wishes/ Kind

American English
Complimentary line
Gentlemen:/ Dear Madam / Sir(s)
Truly yours
Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss Hudson
Yours sincerely
Dear Nicholas
Best regards/ Cordially
The signature given together with
the writer's name
the writers position in the company
If the writer is not the person authorised to sign the letter:
the printed name is preceded by:
p.p. (per procurationem) or
Mary Smith
p.p. Tom Richard
Supply Manager
Enclosure line the last point of a business letter
abbreviated to Enc./encl.
gives the list of additional documents sent with the letter:
Encl.: 2 copies of the Monthly Statement


78 Bell Street
Washington DC, WA 53124
27 January 2002
Our ref. CG/mn/ T 99
Mr Paul Levin
Washington Marketing Society
667 Seventeenth Street
Washington DC
WA 64702
Dear Mr Levin
Training course
We have read your article on new trends in marketing in the December issue of the
Marketing Review. Since your ideas seem very interesting to us, we would like to
invite you to deliver some lectures to our sales people within a two-week training
course at the beginning of April.
We are sure that the new strategy you propose for selling medical equipment will be of
great interest to our people.
Could you please confirm, by 15 February 2002, if you would accept our invitation?
All the other details will be discussed as soon as we receive your confirmation.
We look forward to your answer.
Yours sincerely,
Marion Evans
Human Resources Manager

Fig.2 Business letter (sample).


Types of business letter layout

Layout patterns/ styles:
indented style
block style
semi-indented style
The indented style requires:
inside address
complimentary close
signature block
each line be indented as compared to the line above
closed punctuation (full stops, commas, etc) is used after each element and line of these
layout items
letter body
the first line of each paragraph is indented
reference line
date line
complimentary line
are placed on the right-hand side
The block style
all layout items are placed on the left-hand side
punctuation is omitted from all the items except for the main letter body
each line of the paragraphs starts in the left-hand margin
paragraphs are separated by double space
The two patterns differ from many points of view
However, the use of punctuation in the main body of the letter is compulsory in both cases.
Combinations of the two patterns:
semi-block style - (when some elements are placed in the centre of the paper or on the
right-hand side)
semi-indented style indentation of the first line of each paragraph
full punctuation (inside address, salutation, complimentary line,
signature block and enclosure line)


Lecture 7


Complete the following letter and then answer the questions:

10 Lion Street
7 AHD Amsterdam
The Netherlands
15 December 2003
Your ref:
Our ref: AC/gc/ Amst 03
12 Queen Mary Street
District 3
Dear Sirs
Re: Banking services
We 1 your 2 from Mr Toma Dnescu, General Manager of "RomTour"Bucharest, who has 3 you as one of the most reliable banks in Romania.
We are 4 the hotel5 and our 6 of hotels is well-known 7 Europe. We have
recently 8 the Romanian market, with two 9 in Bucharest and we would 10 to
11 your bank for paying 12our staff 12our suppliers.
We would 14 if you 14 send us 15 about the card system and credit lines you
can 16 us.
We look 18 to 19 from you soon.
Yours 20
Steven Carlsson
Head of Finance Department


Who writes on behalf of SUNSHINE Hotels?

Who is the addressee?
What information is given in the first paragraph?
What does Mr Carlsson say in the second paragraph of his letter?
Which of the phrases below would you use to refer to Mr. Carlsson's action?


He is arranging a meeting
making payment
sorting out letters
giving a presentation
making an enquiry
making a proposal
Letters of enquiry asking for information
You make an enquiry in order to find out:
where you can find the product
how much you have to pay for it
if you can get a discount
what quantities of that product are available
how soon the supplier may honour your order
what similar products are available on the market
The paragraphs of an enquiry letter have clear functions:


2nd ;

giving additional
information about the
giving brief information
about your company;
offering to give further
launching the request.

"We have found the September issue of

your magazine in the library of
(how you found information
about the addressee:
"Mr. Steven Robson, Managing Director
name, address, type of
of FINDAS Corporation, one of our
business etc.)
partners, has recommended your
company to us and "
"We have heard of your firm at the 3rd
Fair of Consumer Goods in Tokyo last

"We are in the hotel industry and our

chain of hotels is well-known
throughout Europe"

"Our company is involved in road


"We will be happy to offer you further


"We would like your comments on the

possibility of organising a joint

"We would appreciate if you would

consider our proposal for a
"Could you please send us your catalogue
and price list?"

last para

ending the letter (a

formal sentence to close

"We look forward to hearing from you."


The general structure of an enquiry letter:
may begin directly with the request
information about the sender + his interest in the request made
has to indicate the source of information, which has facilitated the enquiry
Letters enquiring about people more specific
it shows clearly who you are enquiring about
describes the situation that has led to the enquiry (promotion to a top position, new
employment, a prospective merger/partnership etc.)
include a set of clear questions that will help the respondent to structure the answer
these letters should
the information supplied should be used for business purposes only
getting or giving information about someone with the permission from the person
such information must be treated confidentially


A serious businessperson will always answer an enquiry.

positive an order or a contract will follow

negative (refusal)
Interested in the proposal answer it promptly!
Experienced business people use to move fast:
confirm the letter: orally, over the phone, by e-mail
a formal letter will be sent later
Read the enquiry reply letter below and then find in its text the parts that comply with the
functions given in the list below:

confirming receipt of enquiry and thanking for the letter

expressing satisfaction for being contacted
giving specific information in answer to the questions in the enquiry
taking action
closing optimistically, expressing hope for future co-operation


23 King Ferdinand Bulevard
District 1, Bucharest

2. Giving

20 December 2003
Your ref: SC/gc/Rom.03
Our ref: OD/ms/ Amst 03
10 Lion Street
7 AHD Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Dear Mr Carlsson,
Re: Your letter of 15 December 2003
Thank you for your above-mentioned letter enquiring about our banking services. As you
have found out from some of our clients, our standards are high and our services prompt
and efficient.
We have recently developed our range of products, including some new credit lines, which
are successfully used by many large Romanian firms and foreign companies working in
We are sending you enclosed a detailed description of our products and hope that you will
find them suitable for you. Please contact us by phone or e-mail if you have additional
questions. Our staff will be glad to help you make the best choice.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Yours sincerely
Oana Dumitrescu
Head of Marketing Department

negative replies to enquiries

2.a Complete the following sentences that are often used in letters expressing refusal:
1. We are __________ that we ___________ send the goods so soon.
2. We ________sorry ______ we ________ unable to help you ______ developing the
3. We are sorry to _________you that we __________invest in hotel industry.


4. We _________ that we are __________to grant you such a big loan without third_______ guarantee.
5. We ____________ inform you _______ the C12 video projectors are _____ of stock.
6. We _________to inform you that the opening you are interested in was filled two weeks
7. ____________, you have failed to supply the goods as per the contract.
2.b Now fill in the paragraphs below taken from two letters of refusal:
"We 1 to inform you that we no 2 manufacture the projector type you are 3 in.
Instead, we could 4 you a similar product at an affordable 5 and significantly 6
" Thank you for 1 letter 220 June 2004 3 about a bank 4.
After careful 5 of your documents, we 6 to 7 you that we are 8 to help you.
9, you do not 10 sufficient collateral, as it results 11your documents."
A letter of refusal
carefully worded
the general tone of the letter respect and understanding
to create a favourable atmosphere for a possible relationship in the future

confirm receipt of the enquiry letter

express regret (for not being able to help)
give reasons for your negative answer
offer an alternative (if possible)
end on a friendly, encouraging tone


5 Long Street
3E 56 EG
Great Britain
Grungwald and Son
24 Forest Street
The Netherlands
Dear Mr Grundwald
Reply to enquiry
Thank you for your letter 118 May 2002.
2 your proposal is very attractive, we 3 that we are 4 to invest in
your project for the moment.
5 some management changes, we 6 restricted our 7 funds for a
certain 8of time. We 9 move back to our 10 investment 11 as
12 as some old 13 will 14been 15. We estimate that this will
not 16more 17six months. 18 your proposal is really interesting; we
can take your project as a priority at that time.
Thank you again for your19.
20 our proposal does 21fit you, we would like to 22you every
success in the future.
Yours 23

Mary Bray
Head of Investments Department

Lecture 8


Possible reasons/situations of complaint related


1. delayed delivery
2. undershipment
3. slow operations
4. inadequate invoices
5. incomplete information
6. overshipment
7. bad behaviour
8. breakdown of the IT system
9. delays in money transfer
inadequate advice
slow recording of documents
ineficiency in manipulating documents
delivery of the wrong goods
Conflicts are very frequent in business.
Partners interested in achieving and defending their interests and goals
When conflicts occur try to solve them amiably
without affecting the basic relationship
without damaging the professional image or position held in the business environment
keep the costs of the conflict to the minimum
An effective way:
let our partner know that something wrong happened
try to find out about the causes of the mistake that have generated our
speak or write about them
Making complaints
What functions do the following phrases (a -f) express?

a. "We are ready to do that if you can offer us a 2% discount for the remaining shipments."
b. " We are writing with reference to the above-mentioned contract for repair works."
c. " We can presume that the contents of the second van were intended for another

d. " However, we regret to inform you that "

e. " We are sorry to remind you that, if you do not replace the wrong goods within 10 days
as from the receipt of this letter, we will be obliged to refer to the Penalty Clause
stipulated in our contract."
f. " According to a previous agreement with you, we have placed the merchandise in our
warehouse and we will keep it there until you can collect it."
1. stating the subject; reference to documents (connection with the "subject
line", if expressed)
2. stating the reason of complaint;
3. suggesting possible causes of the problem;
4. stating the action you request your partner to take;
5. mentioning the action taken by you (if any)
6. making suggestions to solve the problem (special requests to compensate
you for the losses suffered; mentioning penalties if the partners may fail to
repair the situation).


Romanian Division
The Continental Hotel
Str. Azurului 15, Sector 2
63451 Bucureti, Romnia
30 September 2004
Mr Doru Dinescu
12 Queen Mary Street
District 3, Bucuresti, Romania
Dear Mr. Dinescu
Contract 215 of 27 March 2004
We are 1in connection with our 2 contract for staff payment through card systems 3
between your bank and our4.
As 5 in the contract, your bank 6 transfer the corresponding 7 to our staff individual
8 before the 9th day of each month. Everything went quite well until June 2004 when our
employees 9 about their accounts 10 credited one week after the 11date.
Since this 12 again in July and September, we wonder what has 13with the relevant
department of your bank.
14, we have 15 all the records and documents delivery dates for 16our 17staff are
responsible, but everything has been 18 without 19 delay or mistake.
Since 20 in 21payment is a very serious matter, we 22 inform you that, if you do not
take 23 so as such things be completely24, we will be 25 to 26to the 27Clause
in our contract and even to 28the contract altogether.
In the hope that the situation will be 29as soon as possible, we look forward to hearing from
Yours 30
Tom Bell
Financial Manager


3.b Explaining the problem

Writing letters of complaint a difficult task
explaining the problem a key function in this situation
make the reader understand his full responsibility for the negative consequences
deriving from the mistake
the letter should convey the necessary encouragement for immediate action
try to maintain the previous friendly relationship
Striking balance between irritation and politeness
the writer's ability to select adequate language
Polite negative messages:
"we are sorry but we have to remind you that"
"we regretfully inform you that"
"we regret but we have to draw your attention to "
"we are sorry to inform you that"
"we were surprised to find out that"
1. Match the following meanings of the verbs in italics with the sentences below:

put in order
settling claims
in harmonious relations with other persons
change one's way of living, thinking, etc.


You have to be grateful to her for helping you to become a well-adjusted young man.
Please do not adjust your sets! (warning on TV screen)
Managers have to adjust themselves to new cultural contexts.
I've checked it myself. Our partner is right. We've delivered less than agreed. We have to
send them an adjustment letter.
5. The device adjusts itself to changes in humidity.
An adjustment letter is an attempt to restore the relationship and maintain the company's
good reputation. As a result, its tone should be polite and reconciliatory and should help to
achieve the following functions:

confirm receipt of the complaint letter;

explain the cause(s) of the problem;
mention action taken so as the problem may not happen again;
reassure the customer;
state the steps taken in order to solve the problem;
if a solution was suggested, give your opinion by accepting it or coming up with a
apologise for the trouble caused and end optimistically.


12 Queen Mary Street
District 3
4 Oct.2004
Your ref: TB/tg/ Rm 04
Our ref: DD/md/ BCC
Romanian Division
Str. Amurgului 28
Sector 4
Dear Mr Bell
Complaint - Contract 215 of 27 March 2004
We 1 receipt of your letter 2 30 September 2004, 3 the delay in 4 for
your staff as per the 5 contract.
We have looked 6 the matter and found 7 that your 8is9. Due to an
10breakdown of the IT11, the last step of the money 12procedure 13not
be 14at the 15 time. Besides, in July, we 16two persons for money tranfer
17and it 18some time until they got 19with the whole system.
We are 20very 21for the 22created and we 23you that no 24will
occur from now 25. We have taken measures that the 26-hired persons 27
helped by an 28 officer for a period of six months. The 29of department will
increase 30on this area of activity. Also, in 31 for the situation you have
32 through, we 33 to carry out bank operations for your staff, free of34, for a
period of three months.
35again for the trouble 36to you, we do hope that this regrettable 37 will
not 38 our future39.

Doru Dinescu

Clients usually request compensation for the loss incurred:

a discount
an additional quantity


an extension of time for completion etc.

Unjustified complaints
There are situations when their claims should be rejected
1. In such a case, the letter should include a paragraph stating clearly that you cannot
accept responsibility for the mistake and, consequently, no compensation will be given.
2. Rejection of complaints should be done in a polite way, no matter how firm the writer's
attitude may be.
4. Choose a suitable paragraph from column B in order to reject complaints in column A:
1. the quality of the flour is not the
same as that agreed on; the client asks
for a 3% reduction in price for the whole

a. We are sorry but we cannot accept
your complaint. Our experts have
established that you did not observe
the maintenance instructions.
Therefore, we cannot assume any

2. the printers have been installed soon

after unpacking but they do not work;
the client wants the printers to be

b. Our people have checked the whole

lot carefully and found out that the fabric
has been damaged during
transportation. Consequently, we cannot
be kept responsible as the damage
occurred in transit.

3. the whole lot of fabric must be

replaced as it is stained and torn

c. We have investigated your complaint

carefully. Samples of the material have
been taken and tested again. They
comply fully with the standard agreed
on. We regret we cannot accept your
complaint and, consequently, no
reduction in payment will be made.
d. Our experts have looked into the
matter and say that the printers have
not been installed according to our
instructions. Therefore, we can offer you
technical assistance to correct the
installing defects but we do not accept to
replace them.

4. after three month operation, five of

the washing machines bought for the
hotel laundry seem to have serious
defects; the client claims that the
machines be replaced

Note: The seminar activities have been based on materials (texts and exercises)
distributed to students in the classroom.