Guide to Good Business Communication Paper

Guide to Good Business Communication Paper

Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu Jubail University College Department of Business Administration Semester 422 BUS 261 – Business Communication Assignment 1 (10 marks) Many business communication experts have written books. As experts, they provide you with insight on the business environment and how you can use communication skills to succeed. Your assignment is to write a report within a group of 5 students discussing any book on business communication. Here is what you should do: Step 1: Get acquainted with your group.  Groups have been randomly created on BB and each student has been placed in one.  Go the ‘Assessments’ folder  Access ‘Assignment 1’ folder  Click on ‘Assignment 1 Groups’  You will directly access your group’s page, and you can use many tools to start collaborating with your group members, including emails, live sessions, etc.  Initiate communication and start making a plan on how to approach the next steps together.  If any group member is not responsive by Tuesday February 16, the group should inform me through email of his name and he shall receive zero marks for this assignment. * Important note: even though this is a group assignment, I do not condone face-to-face meetings at all due the current pandemic circumstances. There are plenty of online tools to use for group collaboration. In addition to the tools available on your group’s page on BB, there are other ones such as google docs, office 365, zoom, google meet, etc. If you choose to go against my instruction and meet physically, observe social distancing, wear your facemask, use hand sanitizer regularly, and avoid sharing stationery, laptops, etc. 1 Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu Jubail University College Department of Business Administration Step 2: Search  Go online and search for an appropriate book, or go to a bookstore and get one. Audio books are acceptable. The book must be in English! o If you are going out: Do not forget to wear your facemask, take your hand sanitizer, and adhere to social distancing. Strictly follow all the guideline of the Ministry of Health and other authorities when going out. Step 3: Read and summarize  After deciding on a book, read it (or listen to it if it is an audio book) and take notes of the assignment’s requirements. Step 4: Plan and distribute  Now that you have the answers to the assignment’s questions, agree within your group who is going to write which part and how are you going to go about this task. Step 5: Begin your first draft  Start the writing process and follow this template: o Introduction (opening statement, the title of the book, the name of the author) o Main Ideas (summarize the book’s main ideas and mention any specific parts you found particularly interesting) o Critique (what you liked about the book in terms of the topic, the author’s style, the book’s organization, design, etc.) o Reflection (how would you apply the ideas, strategies presented in the book in your personal relationships or prospective professional career) o Conclusion (wrap up and summarize and end with a positive note)  * Plagiarism is treated with zero tolerance and will result in nullifying the entire group’s 2 Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu Jubail University College Department of Business Administration grade as well as further disciplinary actions.  The report must have a cover page with the following information: o Your first and last names o Your student ID numbers o The course code and title o The group’s number o The section number o Date of submission o The phrase: (Submitted to: MR. Ahmed Al-Hebshi)  The report must follow these instructions: o Use font size 12 o Use font type: Arial o Text must be double-spaced throughout the paper o Section headings must be in bold o Include page numbering o Length: no less than 4 pages (not including the cover page), and no more than 6 pages Step 6: Review and proofread  Correct any spelling or punctuation errors, check your tone, and ensure that you have addressed all requirements thoroughly.  The evaluation form uploaded to Blackboard shows how your performance will be assessed, so pay attention to criteria and ensure that your report incorporates all of them. Step 7: Upload  Only one member of the group should upload the report to BB.  The file to be uploaded must be in Word Document format (not pdf).  You have only one attempt! 3  Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu Jubail University College Department of Business Administration The deadline is March 6 at 11:59 PM. No submissions after this date are allowed. 4 A Guide to Good Business Communication Visit our How To website at At you can engage in conversation with our authors – all of whom have ‘been there and done that’ in their specialist fields. You can get access to special offers and additional content but most importantly you will be able to engage with, and become a part of, a wide and growing community of people just like yourself. At you’ll be able to talk and share tips with people who have similar interests and are facing similar challenges in their life. People who, just like you, have the desire to change their lives for the better – be it through moving to a new country, starting a new business, growing your own vegetables, or writing a novel. At you’ll find the support and encouragement you need to help make your aspirations a reality. How To Books strives to present authentic, inspiring, practical information in their books. Now, when you buy a title from How To Books, you get even more than words on a page. A Guide to Good Business Communication 5th edition How to write and speak English well in every business situation Michael Bennie Published by How To Content, A division of How To Books Ltd, Spring Hill House, Spring Hill Road, Begbroke, Oxford OX5 1RX, United Kingdom Tel: (01865) 375794. Fax: (01865) 379162 How To Books greatly reduce the carbon footprint of their books by sourcing and printing in the UK. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or stored in an information retrieval system (other than for the purposes of review) without the express permission of the Publisher given in writing. The right of Michael Bennie to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. © 2009 Michael Bennie Fifth edition 2009 First published in electronic form 2009 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 978 1 84803 322 1 Produced for How to Books by Deer Park Productions, Tavistock Typeset by Pantek Arts Ltd, Maidstone, Kent NOTE: The material contained in this book is set out in good faith for general guidance and no liability can be accepted for loss or expense incurred as a result of relying in particular circumstances on statements made in this book. The laws and regulations are complex and liable to change, and readers should check the current position with the relevant authorities before making personal arrangements. Contents Introduction 1. Communicating in business The Functions of Business Communication Written and Spoken Communication in Business Business and Other Styles of Communication 2. Planning what you are going to say Your Reasons for Writing or Speaking Getting the Right Reaction Assembling and Ordering Your Information and Arguments 3. Laying out documents Letters Memos and E-mails Reports Incorporating Tables and Charts 4. Constructing sentences and paragraphs What Is a Sentence? Building Sentences into Paragraphs How Sentences and Paragraphs Affect the Way You Speak 5. Good business style Using the Right Tone Choosing the Right Words Speaking Clearly 6. Techniques for different occasions Making Requests Answering Requests Writing Sales Letters Conducting Meetings Making Complaints Answering Complaints Clarifying Complex Problems Writing Reports Making Presentations 7. Common grammatical mistakes Nouns and Pronouns Verbs Adjectives and Adverbs Prepositions Conjunctions Phrases and Clauses vii 1 1 2 6 8 8 13 19 29 29 36 38 44 54 54 60 69 72 72 78 81 84 84 86 89 93 98 101 105 108 110 114 115 117 119 121 122 124 v A Guide To Good Business Communication 8. Punctuation 126 Full Stops Commas Semicolons Colons Brackets Dashes Apostrophes Quotation Marks Exclamation Marks Question Marks Hyphens 127 127 129 131 131 132 133 133 134 134 135 9. Spelling and vocabulary Commonly Misspelt Words Commonly Confused Words vi 136 136 139 Answers to Exercises 143 Further reading 157 Glossary 159 Index 161 Introduction Communication is the key to success in any business. Whether you are trying to sell a product, answer a query or complaint or convince your colleagues to adopt a certain course of action, good communication often means the difference between success and failure. At best, imprecise language, clumsy sentences or long-winded ‘waffle’, whether in speech or writing, will give a poor impression of you or your business; at worst, what you are trying to say will be misunderstood or ignored. In contrast, clear, precise English will be enjoyable to read or listen to, and is likely to evoke the response you want. This book is written for everyone who wants to develop the skill of good communication in the workplace – from business students to managers, voluntary workers to government officials. Moreover, because of the globalisation of trade and the use of the Internet, the position of English as the international language of business is stronger than ever. I hope, therefore, that those who do not have English as their first language but need to use it for business communication will also find this a useful guide. The aim is to give you a good grounding in writing and speaking style, which you can then apply to any situation. It shows what is good and bad style, what you should avoid and why. What it does not do is provide a set of model documents for particular situations. You should think about what you want to say, not just copy someone else’s models. So although you will find a great many examples of documents throughout the book, they are just that – examples to illustrate particular points and techniques, not models to be copied. The book is arranged in such a way as to be easy to use, whether you are following it from start to finish or dipping into it. It starts with a general discussion of business communication and then goes on to planning, layout, construction and style. There are chapters on grammar, punctuation and spelling, but I have put them towards the end. This is not because they are unimportant – far from it – but so that you can refer to them if you need to without them getting in the way of the discussion of style and construction. They contain the minimum of theory; the emphasis is on practical application, and on mistakes to avoid. Throughout the book there are exercises in which you can put the techniques discussed into practice. Answers are provided at the back. In many cases (for example, when an exercise involves writing a letter or memo) there will be several possible options, depending on your own personal style, and the samples shown are just suggestions. In other instances, especially when it comes to grammar or spelling, there will clearly be only one answer, and in these cases that is made clear. As you improve your communication skills, you will find it very satisfying to be able to express yourself clearly and succinctly, and to get your precise meaning across to your audience. Not only will you have the satisfaction of a job well done, but you will know that there is a greater chance that people will react in the way you want them to. All the characters and organisations in the examples and exercises are purely fictional, and any resemblance to real individuals or organisations is purely coincidental. vii This page intentionally left blank CHAPTER 1 Communicating in business Communication The definition of communication is: The process by which information is exchanged. It can take place in a number of ways: G G G G G through the written word through the spoken word through pictures and diagrams through facial expressions, behaviour and posture through non-verbal sounds In business the most common forms of communication are spoken and written, although visual forms can play a part, as we shall see in Chapter 3. The Functions of Business Communication We communicate in business for a number of different reasons, and the methods we use will depend on the reasons, the circumstances, and perhaps the people with whom we are communicating. These are some of the reasons why we may need to communicate with others in a business setting: G to pass on information G to persuade people to buy a product or use a service G to discuss an issue G to recommend a course of action G to make or answer a request G to make or answer a complaint G to keep a record of something that has happened or been agreed G to explain or clarify a situation G to give an instruction Clearly, to cover such a variety of situations, you will need to be able to use a range of different methods and styles. Your style and tone are unlikely to be the same if you are making a request, for example, as if you are making a complaint. You are also more likely to speak to someone than to write to them if you want to discuss an issue, whereas a record of something that has happened would need to be in writing. 1 A Guide to Good Business Communication Written and Spoken Communication in Business Whether you communicate in writing or orally will depend on the circumstances, and to some extent on the person or people you are addressing. The main reasons for communicating orally are: G G G G G To have a discussion. It is very difficult to hold a meaningful discussion by letter, memo or e-mail. To receive instant feedback from your audience. Speaking to someone means that you do not have to wait for their response. However, this can sometimes be a disadvantage; in some circumstances, a considered response might be better. To be able to judge your audience’s reaction to what you are saying. This usually only applies in face-to-face communication, but it can sometimes be useful to be able to judge from your audience’s comments, expressions or body language what they think of what you are saying and perhaps adapt your style or tone accordingly. For speed. Even the fastest typist or writer cannot match the speed at which we speak, so if you want to communicate something quickly, it might be better to do so orally. If the person with whom you are communicating has initiated the conversation. If you are responding to an oral request, for example, you are likely to do so orally, unless your response is so complex that it would be better explained in writing (see below). The main reasons for communicating in writing are: G G G G G 2 To retain a permanent record. A conversation can be forgotten, misunderstood or even deliberately twisted. But if something is in writing (and if it is well written), everyone who reads it will be sure to get the right information. It also provides something to refer to if there is any dispute in the future. This is particularly important if the document constitutes a form of agreement, but it can also be useful in the case of a complaint. To provide a basis for discussion. We saw above that a discussion is usually best conducted orally, but it can be very useful for a discussion document to be available beforehand, setting out the facts of the case and perhaps giving the writer’s own views and recommendations. This saves time, as it means that the meeting itself can discuss the implications and people’s opinions, instead of having to go over the facts before any useful discussion can begin. To clarify a complex subject. Some subjects do not lend themselves easily to spoken communication. A graph or bar chart, for example, may be a better way of presenting figures, as you will see in Chapter 3, and it is easier to explain a confused situation in writing than orally (see Chapter 6). To send the same message to a number of people. If you want to give a number of people the same information (perhaps the date and venue of a meeting), then an e-mail or a circular memo or letter would be quicker and cheaper than speaking to each person individually. To be able to think carefully about what you want to say. You can plan your document and correct any errors before sending it out. It is easier to make a mistake when you are speaking spontaneously. Communicating in business The differences between written and spoken English There are, of course, significant differences between written and spoken English. Let us look at an example. Jane Lee, the Export Manager of John Smith & Sons Ltd, has had a meeting with a prospective agent in South America, Carlos Rodriguez. Below is a transcript of her verbal report on the meeting. Jane Lee: I must say, I had a really good meeting with Mr Rodriguez. I think he might be the man for us. He seems to know the market very well, and he already does business all over South America. Peter Morgan (Managing Director): Which countries exactly? JL: Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil mainly. He knows the import regulations for the different countries, but I would expect that – we wouldn’t be considering him if he didn’t! But he also seems to know things like who matters in each country, how they do business there, how we can avoid giving offence without knowing it, any problems there may be about payment, all that kind of thing. He is already agent for quite a few companies – Wilson Fabrics, Richmond Consumer Products and Simon Black Ltd – but they’re all in competition with us, so it doesn’t matter – sorry, I mean none of them is in competition with us. Oh by the way, I forgot to mention that he’s based in Argentina, which is our fastest-expanding market in the area. Sarah Brown (Financial Director): This all sounds too good to be true. Will he accept our usual commission? JL: Yes, initially, but instead of being paid a fixed percentage, he would want to be able to negotiate his commission on a sliding scale eventually. James Robinson (Operations Director): Sorry, Jane, what do you mean ‘negotiate his commission on a sliding scale’? JL: He would like his percentage commission to rise as our turnover in his territory increases. Now I know what some of you may be thinking – why pay him more than our other agents? Well, perhaps we should be paying them in the same way. After all, if Rodriguez increases our turnover significantly, then he probably deserves more. Now look at what Jane might have written. On 25 July I met Mr Carlos Rodriguez of Carlos Rodriguez Import SA, Buenos Aires, who has expressed an interest in becoming our agent in South America. I found the meeting both informative and productive. The main points we discussed are as follows. Market penetration. He seems to know the South American market well, and he already does business in many of the countries there, in particular Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil. He appears to have a sound knowledge of the business climate of each country. He is based in Argentina, which is our fastest-expanding market in the area. Existing agencies. His existing agencies include Wilson Fabrics, Richmond Consumer Products and Simon Black Ltd. None of these companies is in competition with us; indeed their products complement ours, and no other agent has as good a track record as he does. 3 A Guide to Goo…


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