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Planning Reports and Proposals

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Excellence in Business Communication, 8e

Chapter 11 - 1

Writing for the Workplace


Informational reports Analytical reports Proposals

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Excellence in Business Communication, 8e

Chapter 11 - 2

The Three-Step Process


Planning
Writing

Completing

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Analyzing the Situation


Define the purpose Prepare the work plan

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Excellence in Business Communication, 8e

Chapter 11 - 4

Statement of Purpose
Inform Persuade Recommend Confirm Analyze Summarize
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Preparing the Work Plan


Statement of the problem

Statement of the purpose and scope


Discussion of tasks to be accomplished

Description of final products or outcomes


Review of schedules and requirements Plans for following up Working outline
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Gathering Information
Purpose
Audience

Priorities

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Selecting the Medium


Hardcopy Digital format Multimedia

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Chapter 11 - 8

Organizing the Information


Direct approach
State conclusions and recommendations Introduce findings Include support

Indirect approach
Introduce findings Discuss support State conclusions and recommendations
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Supporting Your Messages


Plan your research Locate data and information Process data and information Apply your findings Manage information

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Excellence in Business Communication, 8e

Chapter 11 - 10

Plan Your Research


Learn about the subject Identify information gaps Prioritize research needs

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Excellence in Business Communication, 8e

Chapter 11 - 11

Ethics and Etiquette in Business Research


Dont skew results Respect privacy of participants Document sources Respect intellectual property Dont distort information Dont misrepresent
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Data and Information


Secondary research Primary research

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Chapter 11 - 13

Evaluating Sources
Honesty and Reliability Potential Bias Data Collection Methods Purpose of the Material Independent Verification Logic and Good Sense
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The Author

Timeliness
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Completeness
Excellence in Business Communication, 8e

Secondary Research
Inside the company
Company documents Knowledge management systems

Outside the company


Hardcopy resources Online resources
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Finding Information at the Library


Business Books Electronic Databases Newspapers Periodicals

Directories

Almanacs

Statistical Resources

Government Publications

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Using Search Engines


Advantages
Keyword searching Scanning webpages Ranking results

Disadvantages
No human editors Inconsistent results Restricted access

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Excellence in Business Communication, 8e

Chapter 11 - 17

Alternate Search Methods


Web directories Metasearch engines Online databases

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Chapter 11 - 18

Search Techniques
Keywords
Boolean operators

Natural language
Forms-based

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Chapter 11 - 19

Fine Tune Search Methods


Read instructions
Review your options

Observe the details


Vary search terms Adjust the search scope

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Excellence in Business Communication, 8e

Chapter 11 - 20

Innovative Search Methods


Desktop search engines Enterprise search engines Research managers Content managers Social bookmarking sites Newsfeeds
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Documenting Sources
Credit sources
Support your message

Help your readers

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Chapter 11 - 22

Primary Research
Surveys
Interviews

Experiments
Observations

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Conducting Surveys
Representative sample
Effective questions

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Excellence in Business Communication, 8e

Chapter 11 - 24

Effective Questionnaires
Provide clear instructions
Keep questionnaire short and easy to answer Seek answers that are easy to analyze

Avoid leading questions


Avoid ambiguous questions Ask one question at a time Make the survey adaptive
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Effective Internet Surveys


Minimize cost
Reach more people

Boost response rate

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Conducting Interviews
Types of questions
Sequence of questions

Subjects background

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Processing Information
Gather your thoughts
Review your notes

Organize the material


Transcribe recordings

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Using Research Results


Mean, median, and mode
Overall trends

Cause and correlation


Cross-tabulation

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Chapter 11 - 29

Processing Data and Information


Quoting
Paraphrasing

Summarizing

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Applying Your Findings


Drawing conclusions Making recommendations

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Planning Informational Reports


Monitor and control operations Implement policies and procedures Demonstrate compliance Report progress

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Organizing Informational Reports


Comparison Importance Sequence Chronology Spatial orientation Geography category
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Website Content
Web readers are demanding Reading online can be difficult Nonlinear, multidimensional format Multiple purposes Diverse audiences

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Information Architecture
Vertical hierarchy of pages Horizontal division of pages Links that tie pages together

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Organizing the Site


Plan your navigation first Let your readers be in control Break the information into chunks

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Planning Analytical Reports


Assess opportunities
Solve problems

Support decisions

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Challenges of Writing Analytical Reports


Quality of reasoning
Clarity of writing

Responsibility of persuasion

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Organizing Analytical Reports


Logical arguments
Feasible recommendations

Bottom-line conclusions

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Focus on Conclusions
Advantages
Ease of use Bottom-line driven

Disadvantages
Possible resistance Oversimplification

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Excellence in Business Communication, 8e

Chapter 11 - 40

Focus on Recommendations
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Establish the need for action Introduce the overall benefits List the required steps Explain each step more fully Summarize the recommendations

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Excellence in Business Communication, 8e

Chapter 11 - 41

Focus on Logical Arguments


2 + 2 = 4 approach
Problem/opportunity Reasons for conclusions Reasons for recommendations Evidence behind reasons

Yardstick method
Problem/opportunity Alternatives Decision criteria Alternatives vs. criteria

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Chapter 11 - 42

Planning Proposals
Internal requests
Funding Management support

General projects
External requests
Investments

Grants
Sales
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Structuring Proposals
Solicited
Direct approach Interested audience

Unsolicited
Indirect approach Uninterested audience
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Excellence in Business Communication, 8e Chapter 11 - 44