Business Comunication

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Midterm Review

How to Write Business Messages

Instructor: Le Dinh Minh Tri
Based on: Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication:
Process and Product, 5e

Guffey’s 3-x-3 Writing Process

BC - Spring 2012

Mary Ellen Guffey, Business
Communication: Process and Product, 5e

2

General things to remember
• Identify the purpose of each message
• Present ideas clearly and concisely. Please avoid a too-long letter
• Write a letter from the readers’ perspective, not the
writers’ perspective
• Select the best channel
• Profile the Audience
– Primary and Secondary Audience

• Use the right tone
• Use Bias-Free Language
• Avoid negative words or phrase
BC - Spring 2012

Mary Ellen Guffey, Business
Communication: Process and Product, 5e

3

Creating Effective Sentences

BC - Spring 2012

Mary Ellen Guffey, Business
Communication: Process and Product, 5e

4

Creating Effective Sentences
• Recognize phrases and clauses.
• Use short sentences.
• Emphasize important ideas.

• Use the active voice for most sentences.
• Use the passive voice to deemphasize the performer
and/or to be tactful.
• Avoid dangling and misplaced modifiers.

BC - Spring 2012

Mary Ellen Guffey, Business
Communication: Process and Product, 5e

5

Recognizing Phrases and Clauses
• Clauses have subjects and verbs; phrases do not.

• Independent clauses are complete; dependent clauses
are not.
• Phrases and dependent clauses cannot function as
sentences.



Dependent Clause: that they want to return for a refund



BC - Spring 2012

Independent Clause: They were eating cold pizza.

Phrase: to return for a refund

Mary Ellen Guffey, Business
Communication: Process and Product, 5e

6

Using Short Sentences
Sentence Length

Comprehension Rate

8 words

100%

15 words

90%

19 words

80%

28 words

50%
Source: American Press Institute

BC - Spring 2012

Mary Ellen Guffey, Business
Communication: Process and Product, 5e

7

Emphasizing Important Ideas
• Position the most important idea at the
beginning of the sentence.

• Make sure the most important idea is the
subject of the sentence.
• Place the main idea in a short sentence.

BC - Spring 2012

Mary Ellen Guffey, Business
Communication: Process and Product, 5e

8

Use the Active Voice
for Most Sentences

• Active voice: We lost money.
• Active voice: I sent the e-mail message yesterday.

(The subject is the performer.)

BC - Spring 2012

Mary Ellen Guffey, Business
Communication: Process and Product, 5e

9

Use the Passive Voice To Deemphasize
the Performer and/or To Be Tactful
• Passive voice: Money was lost (by us).
• Passive voice: The e-mail message was sent yesterday (by me).
(Passive voice test: Ask “By whom?” If you can fill in the performer, the verb is probably in the passive voice.)

BC - Spring 2012

Mary Ellen Guffey, Business
Communication: Process and Product, 5e

10

Avoid Dangling Modifiers
• Dangling modifier: To be hired, an application must be
completed.
Revision: To be hired, you must complete an application.
Revision: To be hired, fill out an application.
(In the last example, you is understood to be the subject
of fill.)

BC - Spring 2012

Mary Ellen Guffey, Business
Communication: Process and Product, 5e

11

Avoid Misplaced Modifiers
• Misplaced modifier: The patient was referred to a
psychiatrist with a severe emotional problem.
Revision: The patient with a severe emotional problem
was referred to a psychiatrist.

BC - Spring 2012

Mary Ellen Guffey, Business
Communication: Process and Product, 5e

12

Effective Paragraphs

BC - Spring 2012

Mary Ellen Guffey, Business
Communication: Process and Product, 5e

13

Effective Paragraphs
• Drafting effective paragraphs
• Discuss only one topic in each paragraph.
• Arrange sentences in a strategic plan.
• Link ideas to build coherence.
•...
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