Recap of Writing • Basics of business writing • Writing effectively for your audience • Writing concisely and accurately
Essential Business Writing Skills • Writing is an integral part of all business operations • One of the most valuable skills in the workplace • Strongly determines how others will evaluate you • Bad writing undermines effectiveness of the individual and the organization
Characteristics of Good Writing • Completeness: all information needed is provided • Correctness: relevant and precise information • Concreteness: support your argument • Clarity: reader decides what is vague, confusing, ambiguous • Conciseness: get to the point • Consideration: anticipate the reader’s reaction • Courteous: use the active voice rather than the passive voice
The Writing Process • Planning: • Keep objectives in mind and research the topic • Think about the audience • Outlining helps organize thoughts • Writing: • Follow your outline, use your handbook • Inspiration is acceptable but must be carefully reviewed • Use the interview approach to supplement the outline(who, what, where, when, how) • Quality control: • Reread your work • Be critical of your own work
Good business document • A good business document should always answer the following questions: • What is this document about? • Why has it come to be? • Who wrote it? • How is it organized? • What is it trying to accomplish • What supports the conclusion? • What problem or opportunity does it address?
Know your reader, when you know: • Before you write, ask yourself these questions about your reader: • How interested or involved in the subject is my reader? • How knowledgeable is he or she on the subject? • What is my reader’s purpose for reading? To make a decision? To be better informed? • Does my reader have special concerns or strong views about the subject? What are they? • How does my reader regard me personally and professionally? • What is my reader’s style of doing business?
When you do not know your reader • Skimmers are readers that are typically very busy. Pressed for time, they often skim documents in a rather short period of time. The documents you prepare for skimmers should: • State the main point clearly and up front • Place the most important information at the beginning or ending of paragraphs • Highlight key dates or figures
When you do not know your reader • The second type of reader is a Skeptic. A Skeptic is a reader that is cautious and doubtful. • Skeptical readers will tend to read a document carefully, questioning its validity and the writer’s claims.
When you do not know your reader • In order to meet the needs of the Skeptical reader, it is necessary to support your statements with sufficient details and evidence. • Provide specific examples, numbers, dates, names, and percentages to meet the needs of the skeptical reader.
Content • Some common methods that writers use to help them determine content are: • Outlining • Brainstorming • Clustering
Content Progress Report for January 2002 I. Background A. Details of my being hired in Dec. 2001 B. My objectives the first month II. Work completed to date A. Developed a plan and presented it to the necessary committee B. Plan has been approved III. Work to be completed A. Plan will be initiated by March 2002 • Outlining: create a hierarchy of your ideas. • This will help you to identify what your main points are, what supporting material is available, and what other information you need to include.
Content • Brainstorming: write down ideas, facts, and anything else that seems related to your purpose. • Don’t edit yourself as you brainstorm. • When you’re finished, decide what’s important and what can be deleted or revised. • Jan.2002 Progress Report: • ----Being hired: no clear procedure for handling mail. • ---My plan: name of the committee who approved it?? • ---Madhu and I hope the plan will be in place by March 2002.
Content Work to do • Clustering: Write your main point in the middle of the page and circle it. • As you think of ideas, write them down and link them to either the main idea or to another point. Hired in Dec. My progress Work to do Work finished
Organization • The first step to organizing is to group like information together. • Next, consider the reaction you are likely to get from your reader.
Organization • If you expect a positive response, you can use a direct organizational plan. • Present your conclusions or major idea first, followed by the reasons or support. I recently came across your posting for aviation interns on an employment opportunities board. My organizational, leadership, and problem- solving skills uniquely qualify me for the position of planning and development intern at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
Organization You did such a good job of explaining the merits of our new Tuition Assistance Program that I have tentatively decided to apply for the program myself. To keep my options open, then, I must ask you to select someone else to serve on the program committee. . . • If you expect a negative response, you might choose to use an indirect organizational plan. • Present your reasons first and your conclusions after. • Even when using this plan, be sure to state your main point up front.
20-second test • Skimmers are likely to spend 20 seconds or less skimming a document to decide whether or not to read it more carefully. • Skim your document for 20 seconds, and mark what stands out most to you in that amount of time. • After you are finished, see if what you have marked is able to convey your message clearly. • Even better, have someone else skim your document before sending it, and see if your message is clear to them as well.
What is a proposal ? A proposal is a business document which defines a problem and describes the proposed solution.
Kinds of proposals Research document Project plan Construction/design layout
Who will read your proposal? Engineers and Scientists: to review proposal and see if it is technically feasible Managers: to check if the proposal is cost-effective Governmentofficials: For project approval
What you need Before you set out to write a proposal, you need to have …….good idea SOLUTION TO A PROBLEM
Formula for a proposal Here’s the problem Here’s the solution Here’s what it will cost
What a proposal achieves Do you understand the need your proposal is trying to solve? A proposal sells a particular product, service or organization. Addresses the decision-maker Creates impact for project acceptance Often it is the basis for decision-making
Format of a proposal Title page Introduction Objectives P.O.A Management plan Criteria for evaluation Conclusion
The Title Page Scope of online teaching in Engineering Colleges L. Surender Reddy MSIT, REC Warangal Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh October 21st, 2002
Introduction This section will discuss the need for the proposal reviewer to know the facts contained in the paper Purpose Problem Scope Team
Objectives State your objectives clearly to your select audience: “I now propose to place before you the scope of online teaching in engineering colleges. Through this, I hope to achieve three goals: Awareness of online education Its relevance today Benefits to the academia ”
P.O.A. Your Plan of Action will discuss: Methods & sources Sequence of activities Equipment, facilities, products Evaluation & benefits
Management Plan Gives details relevant to the management in decision making: Schedule & duration Budgeting & costs Qualifications
Criteria for evaluation TechnicalEvaluation How unique is the proposal? Is it believable? Does the writer justify his claims? ManagementEvaluation Is it worth doing? Does it arouse awareness in the reader? Is it objective in its approach ?
Conclusion Here’s the problem……the need Here’s the solution……what will be achieved Here’s what it will cost ……the economics Quick wrap up of the proposal
Expert’s Exercise Pick a company or business that you know well. Now think of a customized product or service that this company needs.Write a proposal to the managers of the business convincing them of the worthiness of your product.