A letter of Recommendation – Gerald Obrien Readings due— Chapter 7 (Chapter 10 in full text)
HW due—Final Draft Email Message—write a properly formatted and properly organized
email message to me about anything you want to talk about. Include an appropriate
and effective subject line, a greeting or salutation, a message in direct opening format,
a body that explains your point in logical order, a conclusion with some kind of action
information, and a closing thought and signature.
HW due—1stDraft Positive or Negative letter—need 2 copies! Write a properly formatted
and organized Positive Message (from Chapter 8), or Negative Message (from Chapter
9). You can choose any type and organization of a letter listed in Chapter 8 or 9, and
you must have a correct heading, recipient address, salutation, Introductory
paragraph, body paragraph(s), concluding paragraph, and proper close of the letter.
Make sure your letter is organized, cohesive, and properly formatted.
HW due—1stDraft Persuasive memo—need 2 copies! Write a properly formatted and
organized Persuasive Memo. You need to have a correct memo heading with initials next
to your name, well-organized introductory paragraph with a summary, body paragraphs
or itemized information using numbers, letters, or bullets, and concluding paragraph
with the final persuasive push. Make sure the persuasive aspect of the memo is clear—
persuasion should be in the introduction, the body, and the conclusion, which should
have some kind of action information or a persuasive closing thought.
HW due—4.3 p. 146—use info on p. 135-137 to answer questions
HW due—5.8 p.172—use info on p. 165-168 to answer questions
HW due—Aplia assignments: 1) Review of Simple Sentences, 2) Commas, and
Peer-edit 1stdraft Positive or Negative letter
Peer-edit 1stdraft letter or memo Chapter 1: Planning Business Messages
4.1 Audience Benefits and the “You” View (Obj. 4)
YOUR TASK. Revise the following sentences to emphasize the
perspective of the audience and the “you” view.
We have prepared the enclosed form that may be used by
victims to report identity theft to creditors.
b. To help us process your order with our new database software,
we need you to go to our website and fill out the customer
We are now offering Rapid Assist, a software program we have
developed to provide immediate technical support through our
website to your employees and customers.
d. We find it necessary to restrict parking in the new company lot
to those employee vehicles with “A” permits.
To avoid suffering the kinds of monetary losses experienced in
the past, our credit union now prohibits the cashing of double-
endorsed checks presented by our customers. OG
f. Our warranty goes into effect only when we have received the
product’s registration card from the purchaser.
g. Unfortunately, the computer and telephone systems will be
down Thursday afternoon when we will be installing upgrades
to improve both systems.
h. As part of our company effort to be friendly to the environ-
ment, we are asking all employees to reduce paper consump-
tion by communicating by e-mail and avoiding printing.
4.2 Conversational but Professional (Obj. 4)
YOUR TASK. Revise the following to make the tone conversational
yet professional.note bluore storey ter we
Pertaining to your request, the above-referenced items (printer
toner and supplies) are being sent to your Oakdale office, as per
your telephone conversation of April 1.
b. Kindly inform the undersigned whether or not your represen-
tative will be making a visitation in the near future.
It’s totally awesome that we still snagged the contract after
the customer amped up his demands, but our manager pushed
d. BTW, dude, we’ve had some slippage in the schedule but don’t
have to dump everything and start from scratch. ob
To facilitate ratification of this agreement, your negotiators
urge that the membership respond in the affirmative.
f. Rhead honcho wz like totally raggety bkuz I wz sick n stuff n
mist the team meet. Geez!
YOUR TASK. Revise the lo
e. Although you apparently failed to consult the mounting
instructions for your Miracle Wheatgrass Extractor, we are
enclosing a set of clamps to fasten the device to a table. A new
set of instructions is enclosed.
We regret to announce that the special purchase price on iPads
will be available only to the first 25 buyers.
4.4 Bias-Free Language (Obj. 4)
YOUR TASK. Revise the following sentences to reduce gender,
racial, ethnic, age, and disability bias.
Every employee must wear his photo identification on the job.
b. The conference will offer special excursions for the wives of
C. Does each salesman have his own smartphone loaded with his
special sales information?
d. A policeman is responsible for covering his territory.
Serving on the panel are a lady veterinarian, an Indian CPA,
two businessmen, and a female doctor.
4.5 Plain Language and Familiar Wordsiden og
and familiar words.
We are offering a pay package that is commensurate with other
b. The seller tried to obfuscate the issue by mentioning closing
and other costs.
Even after officers interrogated the suspect, solid evidence
failed to materialize.
d. In dialoguing with the owner, I learned that you anticipate
terminating our contract.
4.6 Precise, Vigorous Words (Obj. 4)
YOUR TASK. From the choices in parentheses, select the most
precise, vigorous words.
Management is predicting a (change, difference, drop) in earn-
ings after the first of the year.
b. Experts (predict, hypothesize, state) that the economy will
(change, moderate, stabilize) by next year. Cido
We plan to (acknowledge, announce, applaud) the work of
After (reading, looking at, studying) the report, I realized that
the data were (bad, inadequate, inaccurate).
e. The comments responding to his blog were (emotional, great,
4.7 Document for Analysis: Applying Expert
Writing Techniques to a Poor E-Mail Message
4.3 Positive and courteous Expression (Obj. 4)
YOUR TASK. Revise the following statements to make them more
Plans for the new community center cannot go forward
without full community support.
b. We must withhold authorizing payment of your contrac-
tor’s fee because our superintendent claims your work was
C. If you do not fill in all of the blanks in the application form, we
cannot issue a password.
d. It is impossible for the builder to pour the concrete footings
until the soil is no longer soggy.
YOUR TASK. Analyze the following demanding e-mail message to
be sent by the vice president to all employees. In teams or indi-
vidually, discuss the tone and writing faults in this message. Your
instructor may ask you to revise the message so that it reflects
some of the writing techniques you learned in this chapter. How
can you make this message more courteous, positive, and precise?
Chapter 1: Planning Business Messages
preferred because it identifies who is doing the acting. You will learn more about active and
passive voice in Chapter 5.
In recognizing the value of the “you” attitude, however, you don’t have to sterilize your
writing and totally avoid any first-person pronouns or words that show your feelings. You
can convey sincerity, warmth, and enthusiasm by the words you choose. Don’t be afraid of
phrases such as I’m happy or We’re delighted, if you truly are. When speaking face-to-face,
you can show sincerity and warmth with nonverbal cues such as a smile and a pleasant voice
tone. In letters, e-mail messages, memos, and other digital messages, however, only expres-
sive words and phrases can show your feelings. These phrases suggest hidden messages that
say You are important, I hear you, and I’m honestly trying to please you.
Sounding Conversational but Professional
Most of the business messages you write replace conversation. Thus, they are most effective
when they convey an informal, conversational tone instead of a formal, pretentious tone.
Just how informal you can be depends greatly on the workplace. At Google, casual seems to
be preferred. In a short message to users describing changes in its privacy policies, Google
recently wrote, “We believe this stuff matters.”18 In more traditional organizations, that
message probably would have been more formal. The dilemma for you, then, is knowing how
casual to be in your writing. We suggest that you strive to be conversational but professional,
especially until you learn what your organization prefers.
E-mail, instant messaging, chat, Twitter, and other short messaging channels enable you
and your coworkers to have spontaneous conversations. Don’t, however, let your messages become
sloppy, unprofessional, or even dangerous. You will learn more about the dangers of e-mail and
other digital channels later. At this point, though, we focus on the tone of the language.
To project a professional image, you want to sound educated and mature. The overuse
of expressions such as totally awesome, you know, and like, as well as reliance on unneces-
sary abbreviations (BTW for by the way), make a businessperson sound like a teenager.
Professional messages do not include texting-style abbreviations, slang, sentence frag-
ments, and chitchat. We urge you to strive for a warm, conversational tone that avoids low-
level diction. Levels of diction, as shown in Figure 4.7, range from unprofessional to formal.
Your goal is a warm, friendly tone that sounds professional. Although some writers are
too casual, others are overly formal. To impress readers and listeners, they use big words, long
sentences, legal terminology, and third-person constructions. Stay away from expressions such as
Figure 4.7 Levels of Diction
line of command
If the principals persevere,
they will secure the contract.
If we just hang in there,
we’ll snag the contract.
© Cengage Learning 2015
If we don’t get discouraged,
we’ll win the contract.
Chapter 1: Planning Business Messages
the undersigned the writer, and the affected party. You will sound friendlier with familiar
such as I, we, and you. The following examples illustrate a professional yet conversational tone:
Mr. Smith, our new firewall software is
now installed. Please check with me before
Hey, boss, Gr8 news! Firewall now
installed!! BTW, check with me b4
Because the figures in this report seem
inaccurate, please submit the source
have to cau
and try t
It was a p
Look, dude, this report is totally bogus.
And the figures don’t look kosher. Show me
some real stats. Got sources?
All employees are herewith instructed Please return your contracts to me.
to return the appropriately designated
contracts to the undersigned.
Pertaining to your order, we must verify the We will send
order as soon as we
sizes that your organization requires prior to confirm the sizes you need.
consignment of your order to our shipper.
Being Positive Rather Than Negative
You can improve the clarity, tone, and effectiveness of a message if you use positive rather
than negative language. Positive language generally conveys more information than nega-
tive language does. Moreover, positive messages are uplifting and pleasant to read. Positive
wording tells what is and what can be done rather than what isn’t and what can’t be done. For
example, Your order cannot be shipped by January 10 is not nearly as informative as Your order
will be shipped January 15. An office supply store adjacent to an ice cream parlor in Portland,
Maine, posted a sign on its door that reads: Please enjoy your ice cream before you enjoy our store.
That sounds much more positive and inviting than No food allowed!19
Using positive language also involves avoiding negative words that create ill will. Some
words appear to blame or accuse your audience. For example, opening a letter to a customer
with You claim that suggests that you don’t believe the customer. Other loaded words that can
get you in trouble are complaint, criticism, defective, failed, mistake, and neglected. Also avoid
phrases such as you apparently are unaware of, you did not provide, you misunderstood, and you
don’t understand. Often you may be unconscious of the effect of these words. Notice in the
following examples how you can revise the negative tone to create a more positive impression.
This plan definitely cannot succeed if we
don’t obtain management approval.
You failed to include your credit card
number, so we can’t mail your order.
Your letter of May 2 claims that you
returned a defective headset.
This plan definitely can succeed if we obtain
We look forward to completing your order as
soon as we receive your credit card number.
Your May 2 letter describes a headset you
Employees cannot park in Lot Huntil April 1. Employees may park in Lot H starting April 1.
You apparently are unaware of our new
mailing address for deposits because you
used the old envelopes.
Enclosed are envelopes with our new
mailing address for your deposits.
Chapter 1: Planning Business Messages
Maintaining a courteous tone involves not just guarding against rudeness but also avoiding
words that sound demanding or preachy. Expressions such as you should, you must, and you
have to cause people to instinctively react with Oh, yeah? One remedy is to turn these demands
into rhetorical questions that begin with Will you please …. Giving reasons for a request also
softens the tone.
Even when you feel justified in displaying anger, remember that losing your temper or
being sarcastic will seldom accomplish your goals as a business communicator: to inform, to
persuade, and to create goodwill. When you are irritated, frustrated, or infuriated, keep cool
and try to defuse the situation. In dealing with customers in telephone conversations, use
polite phrases such as I would be happy to assist you with that, Thank you for being so patient, and
It was a pleasure speaking with you.
More Courteous and
Can’t you people get anything right? This is
the second time I’ve written!
Please credit my account for $340. My latest
statement shows that the error noted in
letter of May 15 has not yet been corrected.
Stewart, you must complete all perfor-
mance reviews by Friday.
Stewart, will you please complete all perfor-
mance reviews by Friday.
You should organize a car pool in this
Organizing a car pool will reduce your
transportation costs and help preserve the
Am I the only one who can read the oper-
Let’s review the operating manual together
so that you can get your documents to print
correctly next time.
As a new or young employee who wants to fit in, don’t fail to be especially courteous to older
employees (generally, those over thirty) and important people in superior positions.20 To make
a great impression and show respect, use good manners in person and in writing. For example,
don’t be presumptuous by issuing orders or setting the time for a meeting with a superior. Use
first names only if given permission to do so. In your messages be sure to proofread meticulously
even if the important person to whom you are writing sends careless, error-filled messages.
of boilgan wad
Employing Bias-Free Language
In adapting a message to its audience, be sure your language is sensitive and bias free. Few
writers set out to be offensive. Sometimes, though, we all say things that we never thought
might be hurtful. The real problem is that we don’t think about the words that stereotype
groups of people, such as the boys in the mail room or the girls in the front office. Be cautious about
expressions that might be biased in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, age, or disability.
Generally, you can avoid gender-biased language by choosing alternate language for
words involving man or woman, by using plural nouns and pronouns, or by changing to a
gender-free word (person or representative). Avoid the his or her option whenever possible.
REALITY CHECK: Changing Perceptions With
In a letter to the editor, a teacher criticized an article in USA Today on autism because
it said “autistic child” rather than “child with autism.” She championed “people-first”
terminology, which avoids defining individuals by their ability or disability.22
Can language change perceptions?
Courtesy of IndependenceFirst/
Designer Clay Altman
Purchase answer to see full