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English for Business Writing Prepare for Adlink Technology INC. Prepared by Yu Tao (Tom)

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  1. English for Business Writing Prepare for Adlink Technology INC. Prepared by Yu Tao (Tom) Morgan English May 2, 2006

  2. Contents • Introduction • Part One – Email Writing Techniques (21 Course Hours) • Features of Email Writing • Efficiency • Cost-saving • Humanness • Documentation • Multi-recipients • Recycling • Structure of Emails • Header • Text Area • Business Email Writing • Request Email • Follow-up Email • Reminder Email • Abbreviations and Smiley Faces • Remarks on Common Email Errors English for Business Writing

  3. Contents (cont’d) • Part Two – Business Letter Writing (18 Course Hours) • Role of Business Letters • Effective Communication • Impression of Professionalism • Formality and Courtesy • Basic Features of a Good Business Letter • 0% Error = 100% Reliability • Accuracy • Brevity, clarity, courtesy and interest • Parts, Styles and Layout of Business Letters • 3 Parts – Contacting Details, Body and Supporting Information • 18 components – 13 obligatory, 5 optional • 3 Styles and Layout - Block, Semi-block and Indented • Introduction to Some Common Business Letters • Enquiry Letter • Response Letter • Application Letter • Confirmation Letter English for Business Writing

  4. Contents (cont’d) • Part Three – Meeting Notice and Record (9 Course Hours) • Basic Features of Meeting Notice and Record • Standard Structure • Techniques on Shorthand and Symbol Writing • English vs. Chinese Conversion • Use of Idioms • Final Examination This will be done on July 25 or 27, 2006. Exam questions all relate to what have been taught in class. Students should be able to do well as long as they grasp what they have learned from the course. • Course Completion Ceremony English for Business Writing

  5. Introduction Good business writing not only helps commercial partners establish cooperative relationship and reach successful deals, but also creates effective internal communication to enhance understanding and efficiency. This program tailored for Adlink Technology aims to improve its key personnel’s English business writing in the fields of email construction, official letters, meeting notice and record. The entire material is programmed into 48 course hours, during which students are trained to achieve standard and effective business writing in English. While delivering the techniques, the instructor will also spend a significant amount of time in allowing class interactivity, on-spot writing and evaluation on students’ writings. English for Business Writing

  6. Part One – Email Writing Techniques • Features of Email Writing • Efficiency Computer is everywhere in our life. It is most efficient to construct and edit an E-letter. It gets delivered and received at the same time. • Cost-saving It only needs a connected PC and gets to everywhere in the world at the same cost. • Humanness It’s not restricted by time and distance, and people can have live communication. • Documentation Regardless whether they are small or large, few or many, email letters are easily saved and documented. • Multi-recipients An email can be received by multiple individuals at the same time. • Recycling Email letters are of recycle use as long as the communication is same subject related. English for Business Writing

  7. Part One (cont’d) – Email Writing Techniques • Structure of Emails An email letter is normally comprised of 2 parts – header and text area. They can be explained as follows: • Header Header includes From, To, Cc, Blind Cc and Subject, of which From, To and Subject are obligatory items, others can be optional depending on the needs of the actual mail. An original email can be used to either reply to the sender, or reply to the sender and some (or all) recipients in the mail. It can also be forwarded in the same text to anyone it is supposed to go. • Text Area The text area usually consists of Salutation, Body, Complimentary Close and Signature. They have different functions and each has its own characters. English for Business Writing

  8. Part One (cont’d) – Email Writing Techniques • Structure of Emails • Text Area (cont’d) • Salutation Salutation are usually classified and written as follows, English for Business Writing

  9. Part One (cont’d) – Email Writing Techniques • Structure of Emails (cont’d) • Text Area (cont’d) • Message Body There are no distinct rules for the writing of the actual message body. However there are certain tips a writer may find useful. For instance, the following contents tell some of the Dos and Don’ts: • The Dos: • Be brief. People nowadays do things in rush, let them finish your mail. • Make it easy for your recipient to reply. • Make the appearance more attractive to read. • End with either a deadline or a positive goodwill statement. • Make yourself good online. Remember, your email can easily be forwarded by your recipient to anyone else in the company (or the world). English for Business Writing

  10. Part One (cont’d) – Email Writing Techniques • Structure of Emails (cont’d) • Text Area (cont’d) • Message Body (cont’d) • The don’ts • Use all capital letters. • Forward a 3rd person’s email to someone else without careful thinking. • Bears unpleasant news. • Requires immediate response. • Could be misunderstood. • Send an email you consider as secret. • Forward message without a comment. • Overrun with smiley faces or other emotions. They are less appealing to business associates. • Use discriminative terms. • Press “send” without checking for mistakes. English for Business Writing

  11. Part One (cont’d) – Email Writing Techniques • Structure of Emails (cont’d) • Text Area (cont’d) • Complementary Close Depending on the relationship with the recipient, the writer can put the complementary close in the following ways: The writer can also use the “Thank You Exit” mode as complimentary close to end the message. It means that, instead of using any of the terms in the above table, the writer can also just say “Thank you” at the end of the message. English for Business Writing

  12. Part One (cont’d) – Email Writing Techniques • Structure of Emails (cont’d) • Text Area (cont’d) • Signature Subject to the relationship with the recipient, the writer can put the signature as classified in the following: English for Business Writing

  13. Part One (cont’d) – Email Writing Techniques • Business Email Writing There are some fundamental elements in business email writing people need to pay attention to, and they can be found in the following: • Make sure email is the right method for communicating the particular message. • A good body of a business email usually contains facts (or backgrounds), the writer’s comments and conclusion. • Think about the reader before composing the message. • Try to give a personal touch if possible. • Try to make the subject line descriptive and interesting. • Get the reader’s attention in the first paragraph. • Include only the necessary details and avoid everything else. • Try not to write long paragraphs. • Use lists to convey a series of ideas. • Make all the names, dates, times and figures accurate. • Check for spelling mistakes and use correct punctuation. • Try to minimize the number of attachments in one mail. • Send the message only to the people who need to receive it. Below we will read some business email examples in the sort of request, follow-up and confirmation. English for Business Writing

  14. Part One (cont’d) – Email Writing Techniques • Business Email Writing (cont’d) • Request Email English for Business Writing

  15. Part One (cont’d) – Email Writing Techniques • Business Email Writing (cont’d) • Follow-up Email English for Business Writing

  16. Part One (cont’d) – Email Writing Techniques • Business Email Writing (cont’d) • Reminder Email English for Business Writing

  17. Part One (cont’d) – Email Writing Techniques • Abbreviations and Smiley Faces Since email is a less formal way of communication, writers can type in abbreviations in the message text to the extent that they are not overused. The following are some commonly recognized abbreviationsand smiley faces: English for Business Writing

  18. Part One (cont’d) – Email Writing Techniques • Remarks on Common Email Errors • Structure • Leave the subject line blank. • Confusing style of message writing. • Use all capital letters - it means you are either desperate, or out of control. • Talk in a roundabout way - it means you don’t know what you are saying, or you are not confident on what you are saying. • Get to the point on the first word - it could mean that you are not civilized. • Frequently use emotional adverbs, like very, indeed, really, etc. • Improper use of humor – it could be rude to people if they don’t get what you mean. • Overuse smiley faces and abbreviations. • Grammar and spelling Such mistakes could make people feel you are not from a high-class organization, and you don’t care much about details. So always check grammar and spelling before you send the message. English for Business Writing

  19. Part One (cont’d) – Email Writing Techniques • Remarks on Common Email Errors (cont’d) • Punctuation • Overuse brackets. • Leave no space after punctuations. • Omit punctuation after abbreviations, like e.g., vs., i.e., etc. • Idiom use Some idioms do not mean what they appear in writing, so be careful and make sure you know the meaning before sending them out. For instance, “give me a break” means “I don’t believe you”, “pull my leg” means “mock at me”, etc. • Culture Cultural gap exists between people of different native languages. If you are not sure about the cultural background of the recipient, then try to be neutral to avoid embarrassment. For example, not all people in the world celebrate Chinese New Year or Christmas, so rather than saying “Happy New Year” or “ Merry Christmas”, you can say “May the joy be with you during the holiday seasons”. English for Business Writing

  20. Part Two – Business Letter Writing • Role of Business Letters • Effective Communication Business letters play an essential role in a company’s correspondence with the outside world. Such correspondence is often the most important means by which business relations with clients and associates are established. • Impression of Professionalism Through a company’s letter, the reader forms an impression of the company. The image of the company may relate greatly to its business writings. • Formality and Courtesy Despite the growing use of telephone and other electronic media, business letters provide the most personal contact between the public on the one hand and business organizations and government agencies on the other. For example, although enquiries can be made by telephone, telex, postcard or email, if you wish to lodge a formal request or demand more information, you may have to write a letter. English for Business Writing

  21. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Basic Features of a Good Business Letter • 0% Error = 100% Reliability It is crucial that letters should create a good impression. They must be well organized, attractively displayed, and as far as possible, free from errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation. A clean and error free letter most likely encourages the reader to put credit and trust on the writer. • Accuracy If a company maintains high standard of accuracy in its letters, it usually suggests that high standard of service are also provided. • Brevity, clarity, courtesy and interest A well-written letter may well pave the way for an essential relationship. Every letter should have an aim. A letter is often judged by whether or how well it fulfills its aim. Moreover, a well-written letter normally embodies the following features: brevity, clarity, courtesy and interest. English for Business Writing

  22. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Parts, Styles and Layout of Business Letters This section examines the component parts, and investigates the format and layout of business letters. • A business letter has 3 parts, which are Contacting information, Body and supporting information. • In the 3 parts of a business letter, there are 18 components, of which 13 are obligatory and 5 are optional. • A business letter can be formed in 3 different styles and layout, which are Block, Semi-block and Indented. English for Business Writing

  23. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Parts, Styles and Layout of Business Letters • 3 Parts of a Business Letter (13 OB – Obligatory, 5 OP – Optional) English for Business Writing

  24. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Parts, Styles and Layout of Business Letters (cont’d) • 13 Obligatory and 5 Optional Components Many of the components listed on slide 23 are obligatory in a good business letter. Others are optional and could either be included or omitted according to the purpose of a particular letter. For instance, if a letter is sent with documents enclosed, an indication of its enclosures should be provided. On the other hand, if nothing is enclosed, the letter should not include any enclosure reference. A description of each of the components on slide 23 is provided below. English for Business Writing

  25. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Parts, Styles and Layout of Business Letters (cont’d) • 13 Obligatory and 5 Optional Components (cont’d) • The Writer’s or Return Address (obligatory) • This is an essential piece of information that has to be included in a letter as this informs the reader where to send his or her reply. • You can choose between the open and the closed styles. 1. 48 George Street 2. 48 George Street, RANDWICK NSW 2031 RANDWICK NSW 2031, Australia Australia. • The return address of business organizations is usually provided in pre-printed Letterheads similar to either of the above. English for Business Writing

  26. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Parts, Styles and Layout of Business Letters (cont’d) • 13 Obligatory and 5 Optional Components (cont’d) • File References (optional) • File references are optional elements of a business letter. • File references are usually provided under the following headings: Our Ref.: Your Ref.: English for Business Writing

  27. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Parts, Styles and Layout of Business Letters (cont’d) • 13 Obligatory and 5 Optional Components (cont’d) • Date Line (obligatory) • The Date Line is an obligatory component of a letter since it is the most convenient way of providing a reference to your letter. • There are a vast number of ways of writing dates. Some examples are given below: 1. 23/7/2006 2. 23 – 7 – 2006 3. 23.7.2006 4. 23 July 2006 5. 23rd July 2006 6. July 23, 2006 Example 1-5 above are British format, and example 6 is American format. • No matter which date format you use, you should be consistent throughout. For example, a mix of British and American formats in the same letter not only gives an impression of poor organization and lack of consistency, but could also cause a good deal of confusion and result in great inconvenience. English for Business Writing

  28. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Parts, Styles and Layout of Business Letters (cont’d) • 13 Obligatory and 5 Optional Components (cont’d) • Reader’s or Inside Address (obligatory) The reader’s Address or the Inside Address is an obligatory component of a business letter. It usually appears beneath the Date Line, next to the left-hand margin. Its major function is to provide the writer with a record of to who and where a letter is sent. • Attention Line (Optional) The Attention Line is an optional element. Some institutions require all incoming letters to be addressed to their chief executive such as the Managing Director or the Commissioner. Suppose you have to send a letter to a client’s firm which requires all correspondence to be addressed to its Managing Director that the letter will not be misdirected to another person when it reaches the firm, you could include Ms. Lee’s name in the Attention Line: Attn (or attention) : Ms. Lee English for Business Writing

  29. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Parts, Styles and Layout of Business Letters (cont’d) • 13 Obligatory and 5 Optional Components (cont’d) • Salutation (obligatory) • The Salutation begins the second part of a letter where the actual message is given. If you know the name of your reader, you should salute him or her by writing Dear followed by his or her title and family name, e.g., Dear Mr. Wilson Dear Ms. Young Dear Dr. Robinson Dear Prof. Lee • If you do not know the name of your reader, you should use either Dear Sir or Dear Madam. Sometimes Dear Sirs may be used if you are addressing more than one person in your reader’s firm. English for Business Writing

  30. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Parts, Styles and Layout of Business Letters (cont’d) • 13 Obligatory and 5 Optional Components (cont’d) • Subject Line or Heading (obligatory) • The Subject Line or Heading is a preferred element in a business letter. It enables the reader to identify the topic of the letter at a single glance. • It facilitates effective communication. • Learners of letter writing might find selecting an appropriate phrase for the Subject Line a very difficult task indeed and often choose to omit it. • It is not difficult to learn and master the technique. With most letter, a noun phrase describing the topic will be satisfactory, such as Order No. BR2013 or Computer Laboratory Hire. English for Business Writing

  31. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Parts, Styles and Layout of Business Letters (cont’d) • 13 Obligatory and 5 Optional Components (cont’d) • The Introduction of a Letter (obligatory) • The actual message of a well written business letter should be presented in three distinct parts: Introduction, Body and Conclusion. • The first paragraph of a letter is normally reserved for the Introduction. It compliments the Subject Line and spells out the topic clearly, preparing the reader for the details to follow in the Body. It usually refers to a previous medium of communication such a letter, another document, a telephone call, an advertisement or some other contacts. Experienced writers often keep their Introduction brief. English for Business Writing

  32. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Parts, Styles and Layout of Business Letters (cont’d) • 13 Obligatory and 5 Optional Components (cont’d) • The Body of a Letter (obligatory) • The second paragraph begins the Body of the letter. It is the part where supporting details of the topic are specified. • Some common topics found in the Body of business letters may include requesting or offering information, providing instructions, and confirming business deals or arrangements. • The Body may take one or more paragraphs. • For easy reading, such information may be presented in columns or sub-paragraphs. • Use simple words and sentences. • The tone of language used in contemporary business letters is usually friendly, personal and sincere. For this reason, active structure rather than passive ones are preferred. Compare the two examples below. 1. Enclosed herewith are a brochure and a price-list. 2. I enclose a brochure and our price-list for your reference. English for Business Writing

  33. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Parts, Styles and Layout of Business Letters (cont’d) • 13 Obligatory and 5 Optional Components (cont’d) • Conclusion or “Stating Intended Action” (obligatory) • It is the next step of the letter, and it should not take too long to appear. • You may specify, for example, some communication you hope to receive in the future. • You should provide a message of appreciation and / or offer a parting note such as “with good wishes”, “ Merry Christmas”, etc. English for Business Writing

  34. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Parts, Styles and Layout of Business Letters (cont’d) • 13 Obligatory and 5 Optional Components (cont’d) • Complimentary Close (obligatory) • It is an obligatory component following the salutation. See below the corresponding relations: • From the above table, we can tell that British and Australian writers are more formal than the Americans. English for Business Writing

  35. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Parts, Styles and Layout of Business Letters (cont’d) • 13 Obligatory and 5 Optional Components (cont’d) • Signature (obligatory) • It is an obligatory component. The name is word-processed in the letter, so never forget to actually sign the document. • An unsigned letter does not carry any legal weight. • Name and Title of the Writer (obligatory) Signatures are often difficult to make out. So beneath the signatures, writers often have their names typed out. Some examples are provided below: Chris Craig Jenny Carter (Ms.) Peter Long (Dr.) Helen Pennington (Prof.) English for Business Writing

  36. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Parts, Styles and Layout of Business Letters (cont’d) • 13 Obligatory and 5 Optional Components (cont’d) • Position of the Writer (obligatory) • The position is often provided beneath the name and title. • Some examples of positions include Director, Managing Director, Manager, Marketing Manager, Sales Executive, Financial Controller, etc. • Enclosures (optional) • This element is included if additional information or documents are enclosed. • The abbreviation forms as “Enc.” or “Encl.” are placed at the left side of the page bottom. The following is an example: Enc. ZX99 brochure English for Business Writing

  37. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Parts, Styles and Layout of Business Letters (cont’d) • 13 Obligatory and 5 Optional Components (cont’d) • Copies to Others (optional) • “Copies to others” appears in letters as c.c. (carbon copy). • Both the reader and related parties will know who else has received copies of the letter. • The mark is normally placed at the lower left-hand margin of a letter. • Writer and Typist References (optional) • This is an optional component. It appears under the c.c. list. • The references can be one of the following forms: 1. AB / gw 2. CFG / AB / gw AB could be Alan Brown, who takes full responsibility of the first form. CFG could be Christina Florence Gordon, who shares responsibilities with Alan in the second form. gw could stand for Grace Wilcock, the typist. English for Business Writing

  38. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Parts, Styles and Layout of Business Letters (cont’d) • 13 Obligatory and 5 Optional Components (cont’d) • Indication of Page to Follow (obligatory) If the letter takes more than one page, an Indication of the Page to Follow is normally given at the bottom of the first page. It usually takes one of the following forms: 1. cont./… 2. cont./…2 3. cont./…133 Form 1 indicates that there are page(s) to follow. While form 2 and 3 respectively means that there are 2 and 133 pages to follow. English for Business Writing

  39. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Parts, Styles and Layout of Business Letters (cont’d) • 3 Styles and Layout of Business Letters English for Business Writing

  40. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Parts, Styles and Layout of Business Letters (cont’d) • 3 Styles and Layout of Business Letters (cont’d) English for Business Writing

  41. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Parts, Styles and Layout of Business Letters (cont’d) • 3 Styles and Layout of Business Letters (cont’d) English for Business Writing

  42. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Introduction to Some Common Business Letters • Enquiry Letter • Letter written to enquire about information are know as Letters of Enquiry. • In the commercial sector, a dealer could write to a distributor to enquire product information. An importer could write to an oversea supplier enquiring about terms of business. • At an individual level, a student could write to a university asking for course scholarship. A parent could write to a primary school enquiring about children’s enrolment information. • Normally, a Letter of Enquiry can be divided into three parts – Introduction, Body and Conclusion. • Introduction may include the subject line and the first paragraph. Body may take one or more paragraphs. Conclusion usually spells out the writer’s wish to the reader after reading the letter. The following is an example of an Enquiry Letter, English for Business Writing

  43. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Introduction to Some Common Business Letters (cont’d) • Enquiry Letter (cont’d) English for Business Writing

  44. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Introduction to Some Common Business Letters (cont’d) • Response Letter • In the commercial sector, a supplier could respond to an enquiry of an overseas distributor. In turn, the distributor could forward a reply to a local dealer. • At a personal level, you could respond to the requests of business firms, professional bodies, government agencies and other institutions to provide information or documents. • Like the Letter of Enquiry, the Letter of Response consists of three parts – Introduction, Body and Conclusion. • The introduction normally consists of the subject line and the first paragraph. It identifies and addresses the topic of the enquiry. • The body includes supporting details. This part of letter can be quite brief if the information requested is straightforward. • You may regard your response as an excellent opportunity to stimulate the reader’s interest in your products. Therefore, in the conclusion, you should aim at attracting your reader to return for business. The following is am example of a response letter, English for Business Writing

  45. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Introduction to Some Common Business Letters (cont’d) • Response Letter (cont’d) English for Business Writing

  46. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Introduction to Some Common Business Letters (cont’d) • Application Letter • Letters of Application are written when people apply for jobs, courses, services, etc. You are to an extent acknowledging the authority of your reader. • You are aware that the reader, or the institution the reader represents has full authority to either approve or reject your application. • At a personal level, you could apply for a job. You could also, on behalf of you child, write to the Headmaster of a school to apply for enrolment. • An Application Letter consists of 3 parts - Introduction, Body and conclusion. • The introduction often comprises the Subject Line and the first paragraph. The topic in the letter is normally specified in the Subject Line. The first paragraph may provide some background information regarding the application. • The Body of a letter provides details in support of the application. This could include references to supporting documents and key points of such documents. • The conclusion often requests the reader to provide a prompt reply. The following is an example of an Application Letter, English for Business Writing

  47. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Introduction to Some Common Business Letters(cont’d) • Application Letter (cont’d) English for Business Writing

  48. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Introduction to Some Common Business Letters (cont’d) • Confirmation Letter • Letters of confirmation are written when people wish to put down things or items in writing which they have previously discussed and agreed upon. Such letters could then become formal records of the agreements. They could also serve as reminders for the reader. • At a personal level, you could write to the Principal of your child’s school to confirm his or her absence. • A confirmation may consists of 3 parts – Introduction, Body and Conclusion. • The Introduction often refers to some previous communication such as a phone call or a letter to the topic provided in the Subject Line. • Details to be confirmed usually follow. Such details constitute the Body of the letter. • In the conclusion, the writer usually checks with the reader to see if he or she has any questions or requires further information. The following is an example of a Confirmation Letter English for Business Writing

  49. Part Two (cont’d) – Business Letter Writing • Introduction to Some Common Business Letters (cont’d) • Confirmation Letter (cont’d) English for Business Writing

  50. Part Three – Meeting Notice and Record Meetings are common means of communication in an organization, particularly when there are needs for consolidated information to be distributed on the one hand, or confusing situation to be cleared on the other. In order for all relevant participants to be prepared and be at the meeting on time, the organizer needs to send out a well-drafted notice. A good notice is a good beginning of a meeting. Meeting is not for the purpose of meeting, it is to have the issues discussed, and to get the actions implemented and examined by real life. No matter how successful or effective a meeting is, the result will not be seen if the meeting subjects are not noted and carried out. Therefore, a good meeting record is necessary for all participants. It serves not only as reminder of the matters discussed, but also clarifies responsibilities so confusions are minimized. The below contents talks about the method and techniques on how to send out a clear and meaningful meeting notice. Moreover, the principles and skills on making a good and concise meeting record are also discussed. English for Business Writing