Planning Business Messages

Understanding 3 Steps Writing Process

  • Planning

    • Analyze the situation

    • Gather information

    • Select the right medium

    • Organize the information

  • Writing

    • Adapt to your audience

    • Compose the message

  • Completing

    • Revise the message

    • Produce the message

    • Proofread the message

    • Distribute the message

Analyzing Your Situation

  • Defining your purpose

    • General purpose – to inform, persuade or collaborate with the audience

    • Specific purpose – identifies what you hope to accomplish

  • Developing an audience profile

    • Identify your primary audience

    • Determine audience size & geographic distribution

    • Determine audience composition

    • Gauge audience members’ level of understanding

    • Understand audience expectations & preferences

    • Forecast probable audience reaction

Gathering Information

  • Variety of informal techniques to gather insights & focus your research efforts :

    • Consider other viewpoints

    • Read reports & other company documents

    • Talk with supervisor, colleagues, or customers

    • Ask your audience for input

  • Uncovering audience needs

    • If you are given an unclear request, ask questions to clarify it before you plan a response

    • Include any additional information that might be helpful, although the requester do not specifically ask for it

  • Providing required information

    • Is the information accurate?

    • Is the information ethical?

    • Is the information relevant?

Selecting the Right Medium

Medium – the form through which you choose to communicate your message

  • Oral media (face-to-face conversation, interviews, speeches, presentation, meetings)

    • Advantages

      • Provide immediate feedback

      • Easier interaction

      • Involve rich nonverbal signal

      • Help express emotion

    • Disadvantages

      • Only involve those present physically

      • Not permanent (unless recorded)

      • Reduce the communicator’s control over the message (when interrupted)

      • No chance to edit the spoken words

    • Used when :

      • Want immediate feedback from audience

      • Message is straightforward & easy to understand

      • Do not need permanent record

      • Able to gather the audience conveniently & economically

      • Want to encourage interaction to solve problem

      • Want to read audience’s body language & their tone of response

      • Message has an emotional content

  • Written media (memos, letters, reports etc)

    • Advantages

      • Allow to plan & control message

      • Permanent & verifiable record

      • Can reach geographically dispersed audience

      • Minimize distortion

      • Avoid immediate interaction (emotional confrontations)

    • Disadvantages

      • Slow feedback

      • Lack of nonverbal signal

      • Take more time & resources

      • Need special skills in preparation & production

    • Used when :

      • Do not need immediate feedback & interaction

      • Complex message

      • Need permanent, verifiable record

      • Audience is large & geographically dispersed

      • Ensure the message cannot be change after delivered

      • Has limited emotional message

      • Formality

  • Electronic media (telephone, voice mail, online meeting, DVDs, faxes, e-mail, instant message, website, blogs, podcast)

    • Advantages

      • Delivery messages in great speed

      • Can reach audiences physically separated

      • Reach dispersed audience personally

      • Offer persuasive power of multimedia formats

      • Increase accessibility & openness in an organization

    • Disadvantages

      • Create tension & conflict

      • Easy to be overuse

      • Expose companies to data security threats & malicious software

      • Lack of privacy

      • Decrease employee productivity

    • Used when

      • Need to deliver message quickly

      • Physically separated from audience

      • Give audience chance to edit the message

      • Take advantage of electronic media

  • Factors to consider when choosing media

    • Media richness – the more complicated the message, the richer the medium requires

    • Message formality

    • Media limitation

    • Sender intention

    • Audience preferences

    • Urgency & cost

Organizing Your Messages

  • Benefits from good organizations of messages :

    • Help audience to understand

    • Help audience to accept

    • Save the audience time

  • Defining your main idea

    • Topic – big idea

    • Main idea – a statement about the topic

    • Techniques to generate creative ideas :

      • Brainstorming

      • Journalistic approach

      • Question-and-answer chain

      • Storyteller’s tour

  • Limiting your scope

    • Scope – range of information you present (length, detail)

    • Limit the number of major support points

  • Choosing between direct & indirect approaches

    • Direct approach

      • You know the audience will be receptive

      • Start with the main idea

      • Follow with supporting evidence

    • Indirect approach

      • Your audience will be skeptical or resist the message

      • Start with evidence

      • Follow with main idea

  • Outlining your content

    • Common outline forms :

      • Alphanumeric outline

      • Decimal outline

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