Planning Business Messages

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Chapter 4 - 1

Learning Objectives
‡ Describe the three-step writing process ‡ Explain why it¶s important to analyze the situation and define your purpose carefully before writing a message ‡ Discuss information-gathering options for simple messages and identify three traits of quality information
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Learning Objectives
‡ List the factors to consider when choosing the best medium for your message ‡ Explain why good organization is important to both you and your audience ‡ Compare and contrast the direct and indirect approaches to organizing a message

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The Three-Step Process ThreePlanning Analyze Situation Gather Information Select Medium Get Organized Writing Completing Revise Produce Message Proofread Message Distribute Message
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Adapt to the Audience

Compose the Message

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Optimizing Your Time
‡ 50% planning ‡ 25% writing ‡ 25% completing

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Planning Effectively
‡ Find and assemble facts ‡ Deliver compelling information ‡ Reduce indecision as you write ‡ Reduce reworking during completion ‡ Minimize embarrassing blunders ‡ Prepare for analyzing the situation
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Analyzing the Situation
‡ Who is the audience? ‡ What is the purpose?

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Define Your Purpose
‡ General
± Inform, persuade, collaborate

‡ Specific
± Your goals, audience actions and thoughts

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Analyze Your Purpose
‡ Will anything change? ‡ Is your purpose realistic? ‡ Is the timing right? ‡ Is the purpose acceptable?

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Profile Your Audience
‡ Identify primary audience ‡ Determine size and location ‡ Determine composition ‡ Gauge level of understanding ‡ Review expectations and preferences ‡ Forecast probable reaction
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Gathering Information
‡ Uncover needs ‡ Find your focus ‡ Provide information

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Select the Medium
‡ Oral ‡ Written ‡ Visual ‡ Electronic

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Oral Communication
‡ Conversations ‡ Interviews ‡ Speeches ‡ Presentations ‡ Meetings

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Written Communication
‡ Memos ‡ Letters ‡ Reports ‡ Proposals

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Visual Communication
‡ Communicate fast ‡ Clarify complexity ‡ Overcome barriers ‡ Expedite memory

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Electronic Communication
‡ Oral media ‡ Written media ‡ Visual media

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Choosing the Medium
‡ Media richness ‡ Message formality ‡ Media limitations ‡ Message urgency ‡ Cost factors ‡ Audience preferences
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Organizing Information
‡ Get to the point ‡ Omit irrelevant ideas ‡ Use logical groupings ‡ Include important data

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Organizing the Message
‡ Helps your audience understand ‡ Helps your audience accept ‡ Saves time for your audience ‡ Makes you more productive

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Defining the Main Idea
‡ The topic
± The broad subject of the message

‡ The main idea
± A specific statement about the topic

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Generating Ideas
‡ Brainstorming ‡ Mind mapping ‡ Storyteller¶s tour ‡ Journalistic approach ‡ Question-and-answer chain

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Limiting Message Scope
‡ Length Limitations ‡ Support Points ‡ Subject matter ‡ Depth of research

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Choosing the Approach
‡ Direct or Indirect
± Audience reaction ± Message length ± Message type

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Outlining the Content
Alphanumeric
I. First Major Point A. First subpoint B. Second subpoint 1. Evidence 2. Evidence C. Third subpoint II. Second Major Point A. First subpoint B. Second subpoint
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Decimal
1.0 First Major Point 1.1 First subpoint 1.2 Second subpoint 1.2.1 Evidence 1.2.2 Evidence 1.3 Third subpoint 2.0 Second Major Point 2.1 First subpoint 2.2 Second subpoint
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Organization Chart Outlines
The Main Idea
I. Major Point A. Evidence B. Evidence C. Evidence II. Major Point A. Evidence B. Evidence C. Evidence III. Major Point A. Evidence B. Evidence C. Evidence
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Basic Message Structure
‡ Start with the main idea ‡ State the major points ‡ Illustrate with evidence

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Chapter 4 - 26

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