Succeeding in Business Communication

BCM 3700
Welcome, syllabus, schedule, etc.
Chapter 1: Achieving Success
Through Effective Business
Excellence in Business
Communication, 11/E
 John V. Thill
 Courtland L. Bovee
 ©2015
ISBN-10: 0133544176
ISBN-13: 9780133544176
Excellence in Business
Communication, 10/E
 John V. Thill
 Courtland L. Bovee
 ©2013
ISBN-10: 0132719045
ISBN-13: 9780132719049
Excellence in Business
Communication, 9/E
 John V. Thill
 Courtland L. Bovee
 ©2011
ISBN-10: 0136103766
ISBN-13: 9780136103769
Easy Writer 5th Edition
Andrea A. Lunsford
ISBN-13: 9781457640469
Create and Maintain a Blog (5%)
Job Package (10%)
Individual Oral Presentation (10%)
Seven (smaller) Assignments
“Self” Analysis (6%)
Informative Message (6%)
Positive Message (6%)
Persuasive and Sales Messages (6%)
Negative Message (6%)
Designing Flyers and Forms (6%)
Visual Impression Analysis (6%)
Two (larger) Projects
One (three-part) Team Project
Team Report & Presentation (10%)
Progress Report and Outline (3%)
Final exam (10%)
Class contributions (10%)
BCM 3700
Achieving Success
Through Effective
Business Communication
“Communication is an
essential part of life, but
where business is concerned,
it is critical to success.”
“In nature, language is what sets us apart
from the animals. In business, it's what sets
true leaders apart from perpetual followers.
That's because communicating effectively
can make all the difference between success
and failure as a manager.”
~Harvard Business Review, 2014
“In business, what we say – and how we say it – equates
to who we are. And the way in which we communicate is
as important as our brand...
Whether creating a multi-million dollar Super Bowl ad at
the pinnacle of a career or participating in an interview
for an entry-level job at the onset of a career, the
language choices we make are given tremendous
significance by our peers, by those in the board room
and by those with the decision making power to hire us.”
~~Brett West,, 2013
Communication helps organizations and
the people in them achieve their goals.
The ability to write and speak well
becomes increasingly important as you
rise in an organization.
Career Advancement
 Improving your communication skills may be the single most
important step you can take in your career.
Ability to Share Complex Ideas
 Even great ideas won’t go anywhere without great communication.
Enhance Entrepreneurial Endeavors
 If you learn to write well, speak well, listen well, and recognize the
appropriate way to communicate in any situation, you’ll gain a major
advantage that will serve you throughout your career.
Become an Effective Leader
 As you take on leadership and management roles, communication
becomes even more important.
Public perception – customers, suppliers, peers,
Internal perception – staff
Closer ties with important communities in the marketplace
Increased productivity and faster problem solving
Improve employee engagement and satisfaction
Better financial results and higher return for investors
Opportunities to influence conversations, perceptions, and
Stronger decision making
More persuasive marketing messages
You must…
 Provide useful practical information
 Give facts and evidence
 Be concise
 Be clear
 Be persuasive
 Face-to-face
• Computer graphics
 Phone
• Company logos
Informal meetings
E-mail messages
• Smiles
• Size of an office
• Location of people
at meetings
All business communication has three basic purposes
To inform (explain or tell an audience something)
To request or persuade (want the audience to act)
To build goodwill (make good image—the kind of image
that makes people want to do business with you. )
Most messages have more than one purpose
 Example: When you write an e-mail to co-workers asking a
question, you inform them about your situation, persuade
them to help you, and try to build a good image of yourself
as someone who wants to resolve an issue.
 Messages go to people inside the organization
 Memo to subordinates, superiors, peers
 Messages go to people outside the organization
 Letter to customers, suppliers, others
Effective writing
Saves time
Increases one’s productivity
Communicates points more clearly
Builds goodwill
Poor writing
 Wastes time
 Wastes effort
 Loses goodwill
Good business writing meets five basic criteria:
1. Clear: The meaning the audience gets is the meaning the
communicator intended.
2. Complete: All of the audience’s questions are
3. Correct: All of the information in the message is
4. Saves Time: The style, organization, and visual or
aural impact of the message help the receivers read,
understand, and act on the information as quickly as
5. Builds Goodwill: The message presents a positive image of
the communicator and his or her organization
Widely accepted practices you routinely encounter
 Vary by organizational setting
 Help people…
▪ recognize, produce, and interpret
 Need to fit rhetorical situation:
▪ audience, context, and purpose
What questions should I ask??…
 What’s at stake?
 To whom should you send a message?
 What channel should you use?
 What should you say?
 How should you say it?
Six-step process for effective messages…
1. Analyze (following 6 questions)
2. Organize
3. Make it Readable
4. Make it Positive
5. Edit & Proofread
6. Follow-up Strategy
Answer the following six questions…
1. Who are your audiences?
2. What are your purposes?
3. What information must you include?
4. How can you support your position?
5. What audience objections do you expect?
6. What part of context may affect audience
Organize to Fit Audience, Purpose, Situation
1. Put good news first
2. Put the main point/question first
-or3. Persuade a reluctant audience by
delaying the main point/question
Make Message Look Inviting
Use subject line to orient reader
Use headings to group related ideas
Use lists for emphasis
Number items if order matters
Use short paragraphs—six lines max.
Create Positive Style
Emphasize positive information
 Give it more space
 Use indented list to set it off
Omit negative words, if you can
 Focus on possibilities, not limitations
  Spelling
  Grammar
  Punctuation
   Reader’s Name(s)
   Numbers
   First and Last ¶
Always always always proofread before sending
Use Response to Plan Next Message
Evaluate feedback you get
 If message fails, find out why
 If message succeeds, find out why
Success =
 results you want,
 when you want them
All of these aspects are present in any
business communication
 …but some might be more emphasized or obvious
in certain typed of communication.
These aspects are also highly interdependent,
 …but we separate them for clarification,
discussion, and grading.
1. Task/Context:
 “Context” can be defined as…
▪ the “time, place, and situation” or
▪ the “big picture” for communication.
 Successful business communicators know that
messages never occur in vacuums…
▪ but are viewed within the larger situations that surround
2. Audience:
 the recipient(s) of the message…
whether that be an individual,
a group,
a market,
or a public.
 “Audience” discussions include…
▪ analysis (what’s important about the audience)
▪ adaptation (how that affects the message)
▪ approaches to particular types of audiences
3. Channel Choice:
 A key consideration, given the proliferation of
media and how different they are.
 Effective communicators make wise choices,
recognizing the need for…
direct contact,
opportunities for interaction, etc.
4. Organization:
 Smart communicators ask themselves…
 “What goes where?”
 and the related question “What follows what?”
 When they do, they worry about…
▪ the order of elements they are working with
▪ the relationships among those elements (e.g. visual
coherence or transitions).
5. Content:
 In business, “content” covers
▪ what is said (or written)…
▪ what is omitted
▪ how much of it to include about each point
 Many business communicators forget to consider the
importance of amount for small and large areas.
6. Self-expression:
 awareness of the “self” you’re presenting is critical for any
business student.
 The presenter’s
attention to details
 …are all parts of self expression.
 “Selves” here are not just individuals,
▪ Departments
▪ Organizations
▪ (A communicator often represents the “face” of an organization.)
7. Visual Impression/Format:
 “Organization” refers to the ordering of content,
 “Visual Impression/Format” treat its
▪ placement,
▪ depiction,
▪ proportions on a page (paper, PowerPoint slide, Web page,
 These considerations include conventions for formats like
where the date is placed on a page (often specific to
organizations), as well as aesthetic and functional design
8. Mechanics/Language use:
 Two discrete (though often blurred) aspects are at work
here… conventions & style.
 “Conventions” (spelling, punctuation, grammar)
▪ are matters of “right and wrong” which can be corrected.
 “Style” (word choice and sentence structure)
▪ treats matters of effectiveness and
▪ is often more difficult to define.
Get your textbook (bookstore or online)
Chapter 1: Achieving Success Through Effective Business Communication
Chapter 4: Planning Business Messages
Chapter 5: Writing Business Messages
Chapter 6: Completing Business Messages
Chapter 8: Writing Routine and Positive Business Messages
Locate the course website (URL on your syllabus)
 Bookmark it
 Pay attention to the “Class Notes”
Create your own blog
 Instructions on the web (under “Resources”)
 “Describe what you hope to gain this semester from BCM 3700”
 Email the web address to your instructor
BUS 3700

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