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Written Communication


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Introduction Business writing seeks to accomplish specific tasks

Written Communication
 Business writing is functional writing and as such it should

serve the needs of organizations and their customers.  The expected result is to get people to do something or to think in some way they would not have if they had not received your message  What do written messages in an organization comprise?

 To ensure that communication is effective follow the four-

stage process in formulating letters, memos and reports. The stages include:  Plan the message  Organize the message  Compose the message  Evaluate the message

 Planning involves the following five steps:

1.Establish your purpose or purposes - Is the message necessary? - Does it respond to a particular need or problem? - Have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish ( i.e. the goal end result) - Think of your company’s business environment and corporate culture and exceed the expectations

2. Choose a Medium and Channel
 Is the message best delivered in written or oral form?  Consider that some people who are listening oriented

prefer oral conversations and messages whereas those who are reading oriented prefer written material  Choose the written form in the following cases: conveying complex information, to retain a permanent record, to control what is included

3.Consider Legal and Ethical Issues
 Consider what is ethical and within the legal framework of

the law  Being ethical involves doing the right thing to achieve positive results ( Code of ethics)  Legal issues are about: written contracts which can serve as evidence in courts, defamation and libel, invasion of privacy, ownership and copyright

4.Analyze the Audience
 Identify and learn about your audience

-Do you have primary and hidden audience? -Learn about each audience • Gather personal and professional facts • Consider audience attitudes about your subject • Evaluate audience “wants” and your needs • Look for consistent concerns of the audience

5.Gather Necessary Resources
 Listen  Observe  Secondary source other documents

( e.g. letters, reports, statistics)

 Think of how you can motivate the audience to pay attention

and digest your message ( What are the audience’s expectations?)  Content preview helps the readers to focus on what the message will be about and alludes to the value of information  Make subject line informative( to convey a complete thought) rather than topical

 Free write your work  Select the best organizational strategy • The Direct Message Strategy • The Indirect Message Strategy • The persuasive Message Strategy  Give important information a position of prominence by

using accessing: verbal, psychological and visual

 Use the free written notes and the chosen organizational

strategy (helps to minimize “ the writers block”)  This involves putting together the elements or ideas to make a whole message  Use efficient sentence structure and vigorous, economic language

 Revise the message • Opening and closing remarks

• Message itself
• Tone • Mechanics • Readability • Format and appearance • Feedback

As mentioned earlier there are three strategies for writing messages as follows  The Direct Strategy  The Indirect Strategy  The persuasive strategy NB. THESE STRATEGIES CAN ALSO BE USED FOR ORAL MESSAGES

The Direct Strategy
• Involves using the BIF approach (Big Idea First) • Used for messages which are not likely to elicit a negative

response from the reader • This depends on the kind of correspondence. • Examples of correspondence that use this strategy include: a). Routine Requests & Announcements.  These are requests that do not anticipate any resistance from the reader.

The Direct Strategy Cont.
 The request or most important point of the message is put in

the first sentence of the letter.  Further details i.e. explanations or information that is necessary to fulfill the purpose of the message, are put in the middle paragraphs.  Last paragraphs usually show an appreciation that is tied to the future.

The Direct Strategy Cont. an explanation of goodwill.  Avoid thanking the reader in advance as it is presumptuous and it may be resented.  Goodwill should be sincere & professional, an d not viewed as patronizing. b). Routine Replies.  Are replies that are not likely to elicit negative responses or reactions from the readers/receivers.

The Direct Strategy Cont.
 These messages should be replied promptly to avoid sending

a negative message of unconcern through delay.  Thus the first paragraph should get to the point immediately.  The middle paragraph should contain any additional information needed to fulfill the purpose of the message or make the reply complete.

The Direct Strategy Cont.
 If the request asked for answers to specific questions, respond

to these questions in the same order they were asked.  Conclude with an expression of goodwill or sincere offer to further assistance. c). Routine Claim Letters.  These seek some type of corrective action to resolve a conflict.

The Direct Strategy Cont.
 State the problem in the first paragraph and if possible the

desired action if it can fit in logically.  Include details of any other relevant information.

The Direct Strategy Cont.
 The middle paragraph should include all the details the

recipient needs in order to deal with the problem.  Include all copies of the pertinent documents with specific attention to the dates and names of those concerned.  In the last paragraph mention what the reader needs to do in order to resolve the issue.

The Direct Strategy Cont.
 Include any goodwill .  Gratitude should be expressed in term of the action the

reader will do in the future.  One can also specify a date by which the matter should be handled.
d). Routine Adjustment Letters  These are written in response to claim letters.

The Direct Strategy Cont.
Routine Adjustment Letters Cont.  They more often than grant the customer’s desire.  Companies with many routine claims have generalized letters that could easily be personalized to fit particular situations.  The first paragraph usually states what the reader wants to hear; that the problem is being corrected.

The Direct Strategy Cont.
 It’s important to recognize that customers do not lodge

claims unless they feel strongly about their case.  Thus it’s advisable to avoid words that imply that their request is worthless.  The middle paragraph comprise of any information the reader would like to know.  They serve the purpose of re-establishing customer confidence.

The Direct Strategy Cont.
 Should contain a summary of how the error occurred

without placing any blame on the reader, giving excuses or blaming an employee.  Incase the company is on the wrong it is wise to apologize but avoid dwelling too much on the wrong or making unrealistic promises.

The Direct Strategy Cont.
 It’s imperative to regenerate confidence in the organization in

its products & services.  The last paragraph should include any actions required to complete the transaction i.e. sending the items to the customer.  It’s important not to refer to the negative situation.

There are various letter styles i.e • Indented • Semi-indented • Blocked • Fully blocked • The most commonly used style in business communications is the fully blocked style where each line starts from the left hand margin

• Has to create a professional image • Business letters should be printed on high-quality letterhead stationery Should have: • Company symbol • The company name • Company address • Telephone number • Facsimile number/e-mail address

• In business letters write the dates out in full without abbreviating them For example, use: July 8, 2011(U.S) NOT 8/7/2011 or Jul.8, 2011 • International style- 8 July, 2011

• Is for ease of filing and tracing for reference purposes it is advisable to provide a reference code: • Our ref: when replying to a letter which itself includes its own reference, both references are typed.

• If relevant, reference to a particular file • In all cases, they should be quoted when replying to a letter

• Contains the complete name and address of the letter’s recipient. It should contain: • Courtesy title & name • Business title • Department, branch or unit • Company name • Street/post office box, suite • City, state zip code

Mrs Annah Mwonga Vice President of Operations Kola Branch First National Bank P.O. Box vvv MASAKU, Kenya

• Two lines below the inside address (or the attention line if it is used), type the salutation. E.g. • Individual, normal business situation- Dear Mr Kamau • Individual, have done business on a first-name basis-Dear Jim • Individual, gender unknown –Dear A.K. Hamlin • Company or organization-Ladies & Gentlemen

• Considered as part of the body • A subject line is optional • It helps the writer to get to the point immediately • Helps the reader identify immediately the topic of the message e.g. ORDER NO. 24980

• Is the close of a letter • It will be dictated by the type of salutation used • Where a name is not used-Yours faithfully • Where a name is used-Yours sincerely

• Consists of handwritten signature • The typed name of the sender • The senders title

• Is used when other documents are to be enclosed with a letter or memorandum • The word attachment may also be used • May be itemized if necessary • Normally the last thing printed on the page • Enc./Enclosure/Enclosures(2)

• Used when copies of a letter are to be sent to someone in addition to the recipient • Indicated in a copy notation at the bottom of the page • It appears at the left hand margin two lines below the enclosure notation. • Type the word copy/copies and follow it with the name or names of the people to whom a copy wil be distributed.

• Can also use the letters cc(fo copy), xc(for extra copy) or pcc(for photocopy) • C Samuel Olanyika • Copy to S. Olanyika, Director Finance • Copies to: Samuel Olanyika • Rena Parks

• Should be short and to the point • Should be clearly written and very well set out • Should have the following content: • A clear subject-line stating the post applied for • An opening paragraph giving more detail about the post, with reference to an advertisement

• A statement of the applicant’s reasons for seeking the job • A statement of the applicant’s objectives in the job. The applicant should stress what (s)he can do for the organization • A statement of the applicant’s career objectives

• An indication that the applicant knows something about the organization • A reference to an attached curriculum vitae • Contact telephone numbers

• Literally means-’the course of one’s life’. This is a record of your personal details and the important facts about your life. • It should also be a document in which you sell yourself • The CV should contain the following sections:

• Personal details-name, age, gender, marital status, nationality, address, telephone numbers etc. • Academic details-list a reverse chronological order. Schools you attended, the years, qualifications • Professional qualifications-record of postschool studies i.e colleges attended, years, Certificates attained.

• Work experience-places worked, years, positions held (company name and location, dates of employment, job titles, job duties) • Career Objectives-indicates a specific job or field for which the applicant is applying • Career Plans (optional)-I plan to pursue a career in…….. • Awards and scholarships

• Membership of professional organizations and offices held • Other activities and interests • Referees- names, address, telephone no. of five or more people who are willing to attest to such things as your character, your attitude towards work & your ability to perform the duties of the job you are applying to. Select the most prominent individuals, the higher the title or the most recognizable the name, the better.

• • • • • Name Business title Company name Complete company name Telephone number

• Look for job opportunities by checking all possible sources> • Newspaper classified ads • Professional publications • State employment agencies • Private employment agencies • College placement offices

• Computer job banks-electronic bulletin boards, through the internet • Unions, religious groups and civic groups • Friends, relatives and acquintances • Medium and large-size companies (walk-ins, HR depts.) • Executive search firms-’head hunters’ (specialised in top management positions)

Wanainchi bank has recently advertised in the press for the post of Marketing Representative for their Nyeri Branch. You feel that you are qualified and wish to apply for the post. Write a suitable application for the post and enclose your C.V.

You are a senior clerk in the marketing department of your organization. You have just read an advertisement for a vacant post of marketing officer in a different organization. You feel you have enough experience and qualifications for the job. Write an appropriate application letter for the post.

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