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JTW 105E Business Communication

SV 2: 15th Aug 2009 9.00 10.00 p.m. Chapter2: What Is Good Business Writing? Chapter 3: Developing and Revising Short Business Messages
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Chapter 2: What Is Good Business Writing?


Section A:
Section B:

A Simple, Clear, and Concise Style


Tone and Style

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Learning Objectives
Manage aspects of style that lead to simple, clear, and concise writing. Revise sentences from passive to active voice. Develop an editing strategy to remove empty information, redundancy, and outdated expression. Correct sentences for parallel structure and align modifiers with their subjects. Build transition with adverbial and subordinating conjunctions. Apply principles of style to shape the tone of a business documents.

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Section A:

A Simple, Clear, and Concise Style

Topics That Affect Style Controlling sentence structure, length, and content Using the active voice Being concise Mixing specific language with general language Building old to new information flow Using parallel structure Avoiding misplaced modifiers Using conjunctions to show relationships Bridging ideas effectively
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Control Sentence Structure


Subject + Verb = Sentence Core
Keeping a subject close to its verb helps the reader understand the message more easily
The chicken crossed Jane pondered
the road.

her fate.

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Control Sentence Length


Keep sentences between 10 and 22 words. Most readers lose information after 22 words, which means that they may need to read the beginning of the sentence again. Think of sentence length as a sound bite.

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Control Sentence Content


Each sentence should have only one controlling idea. When a sentence contains more than one controlling idea, the meaning is not clear.
The president needs to examine policies about workers compensation, and he is spending his time planning a new plant in Iowa.

Correct: Because the president is spending his time planning a new plant in Iowa, he has not yet examined policies about workers compensation.

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Use the Active Voice


The active voice is direct and uses fewer words.

The subject, verb, and object perform their prescribed grammatical functions. Readers have an easier time understanding meaning when the subject, verb, and object perform their prescribed functions.

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Example:
Active: Billy threw the ball. (Who did what?) Passive: The ball was thrown.

The ball was thrown by Billy.


Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Be Concise
Eliminate the following from your writing:
Redundant phrases Outdated expressions

For example:
Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Be Specific
General Language:
The Riley proposal was good.

Specific Language:
The Riley proposal was comprehensive, and their recommendations were reasonable. By mixing specific language with general language, the reader will have a clearer idea of what you mean.
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Build Old to New Information Flow


Start sentences with a familiar idea as a lead-in to an unfamiliar idea. Instead of writing:
Branch office policies that differ from those of the main bank will be the topic of our next meeting.

Change the information flow to:


At our next meeting, we will discuss branch office policies that differ from those of the main bank.
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Use Parallel Structure


Parallel structure creates balance by presenting related words in the same grammatical form. Incorrect: Bobs duties are surveying the employees, to prepare the agendas, and chair the meetings. Revised: Bobs duties are surveying the employees, preparing the agenda, and chairing the meetings.

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Avoid Misplaced Modifiers


Incorrect: Entering the conference room, Johns briefcase fell. The briefcase entered the room? Revised: John entered the room. Entering the conference room, John dropped his briefcase. As John entered the conference room, his briefcase fell.

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Use Conjunctions to Show Relationships


When you write, show a logical flow of thought.

Use connecting words such as:


Coordinating Conjunctions: and, but, or, nor, for . . . Subordinating Conjunctions: although, while, after . . . Adverbial Conjunctions: however, therefore . . .

We went to the conference. We arrived the second day.


We went to the conference; however, we arrived the second day.

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Section B: Tone and Style


Make the tone of your message more inviting to the reader:
Focus on the you point of view
Turn nominals into active verbs

Use real subjects and strong verbs


Use voice to control level of formality Choose simple language Write in the affirmative
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Focus on the You Point of View


Less effective:
I dont know anyone who is more efficient than you are.

More effective:
You are the most efficient person I know.

Less effective:
I would like to invite you to our next meeting.

More effective:
You are welcome to attend our next meeting.
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Turn Nominals into Active Verbs


A verb can turn into a noun in various ways; for example, by adding tion or ment: institute: institution develop: development

Nominalized: I want to express my appreciation for your help. Active: I appreciate your help.
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Use Real Subjects and Strong Verbs


Use the active voice. Avoid starting sentences with it is or there are. Use action verbs rather than state of being verbs and weak verbs such as:

is, are, seem


make, give, take Eliminate nominals by turning them into active verb.
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Use Voice to Control Level of Formality


Professional Writing Active voice Simple words Personal pronouns (I, You, or We point of view) Highly Formal Writing Passive voice Complicated language Nominals Abstract references
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Choose Simple Language


We utilize the best methods. Our manager is cognizant of the policy.
We endeavor to give the best service.

We use the best methods.


Our manager knows the policy. We try to give the best service.

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Using Voice to Control Tone


Use the active voice when . . .
You want to connect directly to the reader. You know the real subject and want to get to the point efficiently. You want to set a professional tone.

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Applying the concepts . . .


Write an example of a passive sentence and turn it into active voice. Write an example of a sentence that has nominalized verb forms and turn the nominal back into a verb.

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Chapter 3: Developing & Revising Short Business Messages


Section A: Developing Paragraphs Section B: Eliminating Empty Information Section C: The Process of Revising Section D: Transitions and Connectors

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Section A: Developing Paragraphs


Cohesive paragraphs
present one main idea or topic demonstrate connectedness among ideas
ideas are related Ideas adhere together for a common purpose details support the main idea
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Coherent Paragraphs
Coherent paragraphs
develop the main idea in a logical way demonstrate a logical flow of ideas
topic develops in a consistent, rational way one idea leads to another

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

How do proofreading, editing, and revising differ?


Proofreading corrects the grammar, punctuation, spelling, and word usage the final step in producing any document Editing improves the flow by
changing the wording cutting unnecessary words and phrases

Revising changes the way the ideas are presented on the page by
moving sentences making sure the major parts of the document do what they are supposed to do
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Section B: Eliminating Empty Information


Old Information information that is obvious or that the reader already knows New Information information that you wish to convey to the reader Empty Information information that adds nothing of value to your reader
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Section C: The Process of Revising


Revising

deals with substance as well as structure


is a re-visioning process

demands that you shed some wellconstructed sentences and paragraphs that

do not add value


Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Factors in Revising Process


Re-visioning

Questioning
Identifying critical issues

Rewriting

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Basic Structure: The Beginning, Middle, and Ending


Beginning connects your purpose with your reader Middle contains the body of evidence and examples to support your purpose, validating its relevance Ending brings closure for the reader and indicates next steps, defining action for the reader and/or writer
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

The Introduction
Introduction
states the purpose and provides and
overview

explains why the purpose is relevant


connects the reader to the purpose

at times, poses questions


Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

The Body
Body breaks the topic into component parts covers all main points supports main points with evidence, examples, and details answers questions that may be posed in the introduction
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

The Conclusion
Conclusion summarizes and draws conclusions for readers clarifies and restates main points reinforces the introduction, solidly establishing the purpose at times, reveals new questions and suggests

additional research

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

The PEER Model


Purpose What points are you making and why are they relevant?

Evidence
What are the facts and details? Explanation or Examples What do you need to provide so that the reader understands the evidence and its significance? Recap Draw conclusions and make recommendations
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Section D: Transitions And Connectors


Transitions
make connections for the reader through transitional words, phrases, sentences, and even paragraphs bring the readers thinking along with the writers intention
are the elements that bridge ideas between sentences and paragraphs
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Conjunctions as Connectors
Adverbial Coordinating

Subordinating
Correlative conjunction
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Adverbial Conjunctions
Adverbial Conjunctions
provide transitions between sentences and paragraphs signal the meaning of the ideas that follow
however indeed furthermore consequently in summary fortunately
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Subordinating Conjunctions
Subordinating Conjunctions
define the relationship between the ideas show an inequality between ideas highlight one idea over another
even though
after before

whereas
since
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Coordinating Conjunctions
provide transitions between ideas help smooth the flow of choppy writing

FANBOYS
for and nor but or yet so
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Correlative Conjunctions
Correlative Conjunctions
pairs of conjunctions that place more emphasis on comparing or contrasting aspect of it
either . . . or neither . . . nor both . . . and

not . . . but
not only . . . but also
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Conjunctions in Pairs
When conjunctions come in pairs the structure following the second part of the correlative must be parallel with the first part Incorrect: We will not only service your account but also are providing monthly reports.

Revised:
Revised:

We will not only service your account but also provide monthly reports.
We not only will service your account but also will provide monthly reports.

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Phrases as Transitions and Connectors


A phrase
is a group of words without a subject and verb (whereas a clause has both a subject and a verb) can function as a transition for a clause

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Prepositions
A preposition
is a connective that shows a relationship between ideas

Prepositional phrases can be used as introductory connectors, for example:


During that time, we welcomed their suggestions. After the game, Bill wanted to resume the meeting.
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Gerund Phrases
Gerund phrases (the ing form of a verb that is used as a noun) often function as introductory connectors, for example:
Walking into the meeting late, Donald stumbled and dropped his papers.
Stopping to speak to employees, the president developed increased rapport.
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Infinitive Phrases
Infinitive phrases (the base form of the verb plus the word to) can also be used to introduce clauses, for example:
To go to the conference, he first had to complete his presentation. To communicate effectively, a person must express feeling behind the words.

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Transitional Sentences and Paragraphs


Transitional sentences and paragraphs

relate to information flow


connect old information to new provide logical connections between paragraphs prepare the reader to understand the content of the next paragraph. For example: Next we will show how communication relates to corporate success.
Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Transitional Paragraphs
Transitional paragraphs achieve two purposes:
summarize the key ideas of the current section indicate how the major theme of the document will be developed in the next section

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.

Tan Cheng Ling Pusat Pengajian PJJ, U.S.M.