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Business Communication for Success Chapter 4: Effective Business Writing
4.0.1 Upon what does
effective written
communication depend?
“Written communication is only as accurate as the writer’s knowledge of the
subject and audience, and understanding depends on how well the writer
captures the reader’s attention.”
4.1.1 How does written and
Written and oral communication both rely on the 8 essential components of
oral communication compare? communication: source, receiver, message, channel, feedback, environment,
context, and interference. Both types also involve verbal and nonverbal
information (in writing, the words are the verbal and the manner in which they
are presented are the nonverbal). In oral communication, we often receive
immediate, often simultaneous feedback, on our message; while with written
communication, we often do not receive feedback about how the message was
received until later, if at all.
4.2.1 How do reading, writing, Read business-related documents such as letters, reports, business proposals,
and thinking critically
and business plans, and read industry-related publications. In these documents
contribute to becoming a
you will see examples of the types of writing you will need to do. Before
good writer?
beginning a writing assignment, clarify the expectations and stay focused on the
goal, looking to a mentor or supervisor for help. Thinking critically will help you
make sure the audience will understand the message as you intend it. Read
your own writing and ask yourself questions like: “Does this really make sense?”
“Are there other, perhaps better, ways to explain this idea?” “Did you really
write what you meant to, and will it be easily understood by the reader?”
4.3.1 What are the six basic
Good business writing
qualities that characterize
 follows the rules,
good business writing?
 is easy to read,
 attracts the reader,
 meets the reader’s expectations,
 is clear and concise,
 is efficient and effective.
4.3.2 What are the rhetorical
elements and cognate
strategies that contribute to
good writing?
4.4.1 What are three common
styles of writing?
The rhetorical element logos uses the cognate strategies of clarity to create
clear understanding, arrangement to determine order, and conciseness to share
key points. The rhetorical element pathos uses the cognate strategies of tone to
express a specific emotion, emphasis to indicate relevance, and engagement to
create a relationship with the audience. The rhetorical element ethos uses the
cognate strategies of credibility to create trust, expectation to delineate norms
and anticipated outcomes, and reference to provide sources.
Colloquial: informal, conversational
Casual: everyday words and expressions
Formal: has a degree of formality, focuses on professional expression with
attention to roles, protocol, and appearance. writers using a formal style tend
to use a more sophisticated vocabulary—a greater variety of words, and more
words with multiple syllables—not for the purpose of throwing big words
around, but to enhance the formal mood of the document. They also tend to
use more complex syntax, resulting in sentences that are longer and contain
more subordinate clauses.
4.4.2 What is appropriate use
of casual, formal, and
colloquial writing?
4.5.1 What are the rules that
govern written language?
4.5.2 What are the legal
implications of business
4.6.1 What are some barriers
to written communication and
how can I overcome these
Colloquial writing is “suitable only for one-on-one internal communications
between coworkers who know each other well (and those who do not judge
each other on spelling or grammar)” or in a specific context such as “a
marketing letter describing a folksy product such as a wood stove or an oldfashioned popcorn popper might use a colloquial style to create a feeling of
relaxing at home with loved ones.”
When you write for business, a casual style is usually out of place. Instead, a
respectful, professional tone represents you well in your absence.
Business documents, including emails, will utilize varying degrees of formality,
depending on the audience and purpose.
Effective communication requires as much knowledge of the specific audience
as possible in order to create links between the known and the unknown.
Knowing which words to choose and which to avoid based on different cultures
is important.
Written words are considered permanent because they can last so much longer
than the spoken word. There is a record of written language. “They can become
an issue if they exaggerate, state false claims, or defame a person or legal entity
such as a competing company.” Plagiarism, using someone else’s words without
their permission and/or without giving them credit is a violation of copyright
law. “Libel is the written form of defamation, or a false statement that damages
a reputation.” Libel is illegal and can result in lawsuits.
1. Failure to sweat the small stuff: use formal language and pay attention to
spelling, grammar, and context. Self-edit every document.
2. Bypassing (when the receiver completely misunderstands the intended
message): request feedback and ask for confirmation and clarification, even if
you think you understand the intended message.
3. Nonverbal aspects can get in the way of understanding: pay attention to
message elements like headers, contact information, context, subject lines,
font, design, symbols, timing, and channel.
4. Neglecting to take the time to revisit, review, and revise: focus on the task at
hand during the drafting stage, take another look before sending the
documents taking into consideration audience and purpose, and revise so that
the intended message is most clear.