What is religion 2

Table of Contents

What is religion 2

read the book and follow instruction

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The Portfolio Design

This project includes four separate short reports and a Discussion Essay assembled in a presentation portfolio demonstrating your growth and ability as a writer of business communications. This document details the necessary components of the portfolio design, optional additional documents you might consider including, and my evaluation strategy for the completed artifact.

What is religion 2

You will write three different forms of short reports:

1. Routine Message

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2. Bad-News Message

3. Persuasive Message

Select one of the cases from the end of each of the three chapters (10, 11, 12) in our text on short reports and prepare the message using the three-step method outlined in our text. Note that the cases will ask you to write specific forms of short reports: letters, memos, emails, instant messages, blogs and microblogs. You must select your cases so you are writing three different forms. You may not use the same form for more than one report.

Physical Specifications:

Use an adequate binding system, such as a three-hole binder or report cover with dividers between the main sections. Do not put pages in plastic coverings. Type all entries in a 12-point font on standard 20# bond paper of an appropriate color. Include a cover page as the first sheet of the portfolio itself. As the next item, include the portfolio evaluation sheet, attached here and available as a course document on our Angel site. Use the first page of this sheet as a table of contents to organize the elements of the portfolio and as a checklist to verify the completeness of the portfolio.

You may add items to the sheet but you may not remove items or change the existing order of items. Use the web document or recreate the sheet accurately if you wish to include such modifications. Since you will include already existing documents, you will not need to include page numbers on this table of contents. Indicate where the sections begin with physical dividers appropriately labeled. Begin the content section of the portfolio with your Discussion Essay, followed in order by the electronic message, the routine message, the bad-news message, and the persuasive message. Complete the portfolio with your self-assessment.

The portfolio report will contain these elements:

· Cover (binder)

· Title page including a title

· Table of Contents

· Four messages with planning worksheets and rough and revised drafts

· Discussion Essay and self-evaluation

Discussion Essay

Strictly speaking, you will create a combination of an executive summary and an introduction. As such this needs to be a substantial and carefully planned document that tells the reader how to read your portfolio. The object of the discussion essay is to explain the important concepts that affected the way you wrote and revised the short reports in this portfolio. It should draw on the theory we are discussing in class as explicitly as possible.

Your goals in the portfolio are to demonstrate your current expertise in writing short reports and to explain the decisions you made along the way to producing the refined presentation drafts you are about to show me. In other words, given your awareness of the theory, how did you apply it in the actual writing?

Use the essay as an opportunity to reflect back on your learning process as you encountered the concepts that define these short reports and talk about what you learned. Consider the points and issues that troubled you most and use your successions of rough drafts and planning worksheets to discuss how you negotiated them. Use the discussions in our text to help you identify the key discussion points and be sure to raise any questions in class so we can discuss the concepts as needed. The essay should fully discuss the theoretical concepts we develop.

Short Reports:

In separate sections, present the evolution of each of the three short reports in this order:

· Routine message

· Bad-news message

· Persuasive message

Each section must include at least one draft of the communications planning worksheet for the report, one rough draft with my responses, and a substantially revised, final draft. You may also include multiple drafts of the evolving documents and you might include memos explaining significant decisions that you feel need to be presented at this point.

Self-Assessment (Grade Argument):

As part of your process of writing your Discussion Essay, you need to evaluate the effectiveness of your engagement with this project and your success as a business writer. As a required step, use these reflections and discussions to evaluate your performance in this project and assign yourself a letter grade for the project. To be most effective, this should be presented as a persuasive memo to me, placed as the final exhibit of the presentation portfolio. Include the second page of the Portfolio Evaluation Sheet with your self-assessments indicated. Be sure to use an AIDA structure that we will discuss under persuasive messages for your persuasive memo.


I will evaluate the portfolio holistically and assign the entire portfolio a single score. That means I do not average grades for individual pieces but rather I judge the quality of the portfolio, including the reflections and theoretical discussions, as a whole. I will take into account not only the quality of the final pieces but also the demonstrations of improvement and theoretical understanding demonstrated by your Discussion Essay and supplemental materials.

As a demonstration portfolio, I expect the final, revised documents and the new materials prepared for the portfolio to be flawless. Mechanical errors and inadequate proofreading will undermine your presentation and affect my assessment of your engagement.

A strong portfolio will contain pieces that demonstrate a firm understanding of the rhetorical principles of the four forms of reports and use language carefully and effectively to address the needs of the appropriate audience. The documents will show that the author has read the cases carefully and understood the implications and complexities of the situations. The best responses will offer imaginative and innovative solutions for the rhetorical problems. The Discussion Essay will use lively, engaging language to connect the theory of the text to the practice of the reports and fully discuss the complexity of applying that theory in practice. It will integrate reflexivity with demonstration and demonstrate continued intellectual development in the writing itself.

A weak portfolio will contain incomplete or inadequate documents or documents only superficially revised. Often, they will not address the needs of the audience or apply the rhetorical principles discussed by our text and presented in class discussions. The documents will suggest misreadings of the cases or unimaginative or mechanical responses to the issues. The Discussion Essay will do little more than summarize or catalogue the reports and will contain numerous mechanical and proofreading errors indicating a lack of engagement on the part of the writer. It will contain few if any connections between theory and practice and be only superficially reflexive.

Portfolio Grading Rubric

“A” portfolio (3.7-4.0) A portfolio that is excellent in overall quality. It includes substantial and well-developed documents that demonstrate a maturity of style and evidence of critical thinking skills. It demonstrates a strong understanding of the rhetorical concepts involved and an ability to use language creatively and effectively. The Discussion Essay firmly and convincingly connects rhetorical theory and practice and reflects productively on the writer’s growth. The portfolio contains carefully constructed and organized sentences and paragraphs oriented to a specific and appropriate audience. The pieces contain no serious errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or manuscript format.

“B” portfolio (2.7-3.7) A portfolio that is very good in overall quality. Although not as well developed as an A-portfolio, it demonstrates an understanding of the rhetorical concepts involved and experiments with language productively. The Discussion Essay connects rhetorical theory and practice and begins to integrate reflection on the writer’s growth. The portfolio contains carefully constructed and organized sentences and paragraphs although the sense of audience may not be fully developed. The pieces contain some minor errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or manuscript format.

“C” portfolio (1.7-2.7) A portfolio that is good in overall quality. It is usually more formulaic and predictable than A-portfolios and B-portfolios. Strengths and weaknesses tend to be balanced. The individual texts tend to be too brief and underdeveloped. The writer may not fully understand the rhetorical concepts involved or may lack the skill to use language creatively and effectively. The Discussion Essay responds mechanically and fails to connect rhetorical theory and practice or to reflect on the writer’s growth. The sentences and paragraphs may be weakly organized and developed. The sense of audience is not clearly demonstrated. The pieces contain few serious errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or manuscript format.

“D” portfolio (0.7-1.7) A portfolio that is below average in overall quality. Weaknesses clearly predominate over strengths. The writing is usually undeveloped or unfocused and may lack a discernible style. The writing shows little evidence of critical thinking skills. The writer ignores or misinterprets rhetorical concepts and relies on formulaic responses and untheorized reactions to situations. The Discussion Essay may be undeveloped, unreflective, and uncritical. It may not contain a discernible focus. The portfolio contains poorly constructed and organized sentences and paragraphs without a clear audience orientation. The pieces contain many serious errors in grammar, punctuation, or manuscript format.

“F” portfolio (0.0) A portfolio that is poor in overall quality. It contains major weaknesses and few, if any, strengths. Documents may be poorly developed, incomplete, or missing. It demonstrates little or no understanding of the rhetorical concepts. The Discussion Essay may be too short or missing, makes no connection between theory and practice, and does not reflect on the writer’s growth. The pieces contain numerous errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or manuscript format.

Portfolio Evaluation Sheet


· Title Page

· Discussion Essay

· Routine Message

· Communications Planning Worksheet

· Rough Draft

· Comments

· Revised Draft

( Bad-News Message

· Communications Planning Worksheet

· Rough Draft

· Comments

· Revised Draft

( Persuasive Message

· Communications Planning Worksheet

· Rough Draft

· Comments

· Revised Draft

( Grade Argument

Communications Planning Worksheet:

Define the purpose:

Collaborate Inform Persuade

Where on the continuum of collaborate-inform-persuade would you place the general purpose of this message?

What is the main specific purpose of the message? What do you want the audience to do once it has read this message?

Is this purpose realistic?


Is this the right time?

Are you the right person to deliver the message?


Is this purpose acceptable to your organization?

Define the Audience:

Who is the primary audience for the message?

Is the audience an individual or a group?

What information will the audience need to respond to you?

What reception do you expect?

How can you appeal to this audience to maximize your chance of success?

How can you enhance your credibility with this audience?


How can you establish a sympathetic relationship with this audience?

Define the appropriate Channel and Medium:

What are the needs and characteristics of the message in terms of:








Need for feedback

Need for a permanent record

Audience size

Audience expectations

Portfolio Assessments

Presentation Conventions:

The portfolio uses appropriate grammar, punctuation, spelling, and format.

Mastered ( Developing ( Improving ( Problematic (

Discussion Essay:

Shows thoughtful responses to your writing and insights into your growth as a writer.

Mastered ( Developing ( Improving ( Problematic (

Demonstrates critical thinking and analytic skills.

Mastered ( Developing ( Improving ( Problematic (

Fully explains the choices made in constructing the documents in terms of the rhetorical theory we have developed..

Mastered ( Developing ( Improving ( Problematic (

Uses an appropriate voice and addresses an identifiable audience with appropriate diction and adequate organization.

Mastered ( Developing ( Improving ( Problematic (

Identifies and explains rhetorical concepts of all forms of short reports.

Mastered ( Developing ( Improving ( Problematic (

Short Reports:

Show a clear understanding of the rhetorical theory applicable to each report and implement that theory effectively.

Mastered ( Developing ( Improving ( Problematic (

Demonstrate critical thinking and analytic skills in the interpretation of the cases.

Mastered ( Developing ( Improving ( Problematic (

Use an appropriate voice and addresses an identifiable audience with appropriate diction and adequate organization.

Mastered ( Developing ( Improving ( Problematic (


Demonstrates an understanding of the key rhetorical elements of the reports and critical self-reflexivity in evaluating the effectiveness of the portfolio.

Mastered ( Developing ( Improving ( Problematic (

Uses the AIDA format effectively.

Mastered ( Developing ( Improving ( Problematic (

Uses an appropriate voice and addresses an identifiable audience with appropriate diction and adequate organization.

Mastered ( Developing ( Improving ( Problematic (

Business Communication Today

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Courtland L. Bovée Professor of Business Communication C. Allen Paul Distinguished Chair Grossmont College

John V. Thill Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Global Communication Strategies

Boston Columbus Indianapolis New York San Francisco Upper Saddle River Amsterdam Cape Town Dubai London Madrid Milan Munich Paris Montreal Toronto Delhi Mexico City São Paulo Sydney Hong Kong Seoul Singapore Taipei Tokyo

Business Communication Today

Eleventh Edition

Credits and acknowledgments borrowed from other sources and reproduced, with permission, in this textbook appear on the appropriate page within text or on page ACK-1.

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Many of the designations by manufacturers and sellers to distinguish their products are claimed as trademarks. Where those designations appear in this book, and the publisher was aware of a trademark claim, the designations have been printed in initial caps or all caps.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Bovée, Courtland L. Business communication today / Courtland L. Bovée, John V. Thill. — 11th ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-13-253955-5 (alk. paper) 1. Business communication—United States—Case studies. 2. Communication in organizations—United States—Case studies. I. Thill, John V. II. Title. HF5718.B66 2011 658.4’5—dc23 2011022339 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

ISBN 10: 0-13-253955-1 ISBN 13: 978-0-13-253955-5

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Preface xvii Prologue xxxi

PART 1 Understanding the Foundations of Business Communication 1 1 Achieving Success Through Effective Business Communication 2 2 Mastering Team Skills and Interpersonal Communication 33 3 Communicating in a World of Diversity 60

PART 2 Applying the Three-Step Writing Process 85 4 Planning Business Messages 86 5 Writing Business Messages 114 6 Completing Business Messages 144

PART 3 Crafting Brief Messages 173 7 Crafting Messages for Electronic Media 174 8 Writing Routine and Positive Messages 214 9 Writing Negative Messages 246 10 Writing Persuasive Messages 281

PART 4 Supporting Messages with Quality Information 313 11 Finding, Evaluating, and Processing Information 314 12 Designing Visual Communication 339

PART 5 Planning, Writing, and Completing Reports and Proposals 369 13 Planning Reports and Proposals 370 14 Writing Reports and Proposals 399 15 Completing Reports and Proposals 424

PART 6 Designing and Delivering Oral and Online Presentations 467 16 Developing Oral and Online Presentations 468 17 Enhancing Presentations with Slides and Other Visuals 493

PART 7 Writing Employment Messages and Interviewing for Jobs 519 18 Building Careers and Writing Résumés 520 19 Applying and Interviewing for Employment 548

APPENDIX A Format and Layout of Business Documents A-1 APPENDIX B Documentation of Report Sources A-19 APPENDIX C Correction Symbols A-25

Handbook of Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage H-1 References R-1 Acknowledgments ACK-1 Brand, Organization, Name, and Website Index I-1 Subject Index I-5

Contents in Brief


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Preface xvii

Prologue xxxi

PART 1 Understanding the Foundations of Business Communication 1


Achieving Success Through Effective Business Communication 2 COMMUNICATION CLOSE-UP AT TOYOTA 2

Understanding Why Communication Matters 3 Communication Is Important to Your Career 3 Communication Is Important to Your Company 4 What Makes Business Communication Effective? 4

Communicating in Today’s Global Business Environment 4 Understanding the Unique Challenges of Business

Communication 5 Understanding What Employers Expect from You 7 Communicating in an Organizational Context 8 Adopting an Audience-Centered Approach 9

Exploring the Communication Process 10 The Basic Communication Model 10 The Social Communication Model 14

Using Technology to Improve Business Communication 16 Keeping Technology in Perspective 16 Guarding Against Information Overload and Information

Addiction 17 Using Technological Tools Productively 22 Reconnecting with People 22

Committing to Ethical and Legal Communication 23 Distinguishing Ethical Dilemmas from Ethical Lapses 24 Ensuring Ethical Communication 24

Ensuring Legal Communication 27 QUICK LEARNING GUIDE 28






BUSINESS COMMUNICATION 2.0 How Will You Put Your Communication Skills to Work? 17

BUSINESS COMMUNICATION 2.0 Who’s Responsible Here? 26


Mastering Team Skills and Interpersonal Communication 33 COMMUNICATION CLOSE-UP AT ROSEN LAW FIRM 33

Communicating Effectively in Teams 34 Advantages and Disadvantages of Teams 34 Characteristics of Effective Teams 35 Group Dynamics 35

Collaborating on Communication Efforts 38 Guidelines for Collaborative Writing 38 Technologies for Collaborative Writing 38 Social Networks and Virtual Communities 40 Giving—and Responding to—Constructive Feedback 41

Making Your Meetings More Productive 41 Preparing for Meetings 41 Conducting and Contributing to Efficient Meetings 43

Using Meeting Technologies 43 Improving Your Listening Skills 46

Recognizing Various Types of Listening 46 Understanding the Listening Process 46 Overcoming Barriers to Effective Listening 47

Improving Your Nonverbal Communication Skills 48 Recognizing Nonverbal Communication 48 Using Nonverbal Communication Effectively 49

Developing Your Business Etiquette 50 Business Etiquette in the Workplace 50 Business Etiquette in Social Settings 52 Business Etiquette Online 53







ETHICS DETECTIVE Solving the Case of the Missing Team 34




Communicating in a World of Diversity 60 COMMUNICATION CLOSE-UP AT IBM 60

Understanding the Opportunities and Challenges of Communication in a Diverse World 61 The Opportunities in a Global Marketplace 61 The Advantages of a Diverse Workforce 62 The Challenges of Intercultural Communication 63

Developing Cultural Competency 63 Understanding the Concept of Culture 64 Overcoming Ethnocentrism and Stereotyping 64

Recognizing Variations in a Diverse World 65 Contextual Differences 65 Legal and Ethical Differences 66 Social Differences 66 Nonverbal Differences 67 Age Differences 68 Gender Differences 68 Religious Differences 69 Ability Differences 70

Adapting to Other Business Cultures 70 Guidelines for Adapting to Any Business Culture 70 Guidelines for Adapting to U.S. Business Culture 71

Improving Intercultural Communication Skills 71 Studying Other Cultures 71 Studying Other Languages 73 Respecting Preferences for Communication Style 74 Writing Clearly 74 Speaking and Listening Carefully 77 Using Interpreters, Translators, and Translation Software 78 Helping Others Adapt to Your Culture 79







COMMUNICATING ACROSS CULTURES Us Versus Them: Generational Conflict in the Workplace 69

BUSINESS COMMUNICATION 2.0 The Web 2.0 Way to Learn a New Language 74

PART 2 Applying the Three-Step Writing Process 85


Planning Business Messages 86 COMMUNICATION CLOSE-UP AT H&R BLOCK 86

Understanding the Three-Step Writing Process 87 Optimizing Your Writing Time 88 Planning Effectively 88

Analyzing the Situation 88 Defining Your Purpose 89 Developing an Audience Profile 89

viii Contents

Gathering Information 90 Uncovering Audience Needs 91 Finding Your Focus 91 Providing Required Information 91

Selecting the Right Medium 93 Oral Media 94 Written Media 94 Visual Media 94 Electronic Media 95 Factors to Consider When Choosing Media 96

Organizing Your Information 98 Recognizing the Importance of Good Organization 98 Defining Your Main Idea 100 Limiting Your Scope 101 Choosing Between Direct and Indirect Approaches 102 Outlining Your Content 103 Building Reader Interest with Storytelling Techniques 105







ETHICS DETECTIVE Solving the Case of the Missing Safety Warning 92



Adapting to Your Audience: Being Sensitive to Audience Needs 115 Using the “You” Attitude 115 Maintaining Standards of Etiquette 116 Emphasizing the Positive 116 Using Bias-Free Language 118

Adapting to Your Audience: Building Strong Relationships 120 Establishing Your Credibility 120 Projecting Your Company’s Image 121

Adapting to Your Audience: Controlling Your Style and Tone 122 Using a Conversational Tone 122 Using Plain Language 124 Selecting the Active or Passive Voice 125

Composing Your Message: Choosing Powerful Words 126 Understanding Denotation and Connotation 127 Balancing Abstract and Concrete Words 128 Finding Words That Communicate Well 128

Composing Your Message: Creating Effective Sentences 130 Choosing from the Four Types of Sentences 130 Using Sentence Style to Emphasize Key Thoughts 131

Composing Your Message: Crafting Unified, Coherent Paragraphs 132 Creating the Elements of a Paragraph 132 Choosing the Best Way to Develop Each Paragraph 135

Using Technology to Compose and Shape Your Messages 136

Contents ix







COMMUNICATING ACROSS CULTURES Can You Connect with a Global Audience on the Web? 124



Revising Your Message: Evaluating the First Draft 145 Evaluating Your Content, Organization, and Tone 145 Evaluating, Editing, and Revising the Work of Others 147

Revising to Improve Readability 148 Varying Your Sentence Length 149 Keeping Your Paragraphs Short 149 Using Lists to Clarify and Emphasize 149 Adding Headings and Subheadings 151

Editing for Clarity and Conciseness 151 Editing for Clarity 151 Editing for Conciseness 154 Using Technology to Revise Your Message 154

Producing Your Message 157 Designing for Readability 157 Designing Multimedia Documents 160 Using Technology to Produce Your Message 162 Formatting Formal Letters and Memos 162

Proofreading Your Message 164 Distributing Your Message 165







COMMUNICATION MISCUES Missing the Message with Prescription Medications 153

PART 3 Crafting Brief Messages 173


Crafting Messages for Electronic Media 174 COMMUNICATION CLOSE-UP AT SOUTHWEST AIRLINES 174

Electronic Media for Business Communication 175 Compositional Modes for Electronic Media 177 Creating Content for Social Media 179 Managing Communication in a Social Media Environment 180

Social Networking and Community Participation Websites 180 Social Networks 181

User-Generated Content Sites 186 Community Q&A Sites 186 Community Participation Websites 186

Email 187 Planning Email Messages 188 Writing Email Messages 188 Completing Email Messages 189

Instant Messaging and Text Messaging 191 Understanding the Benefits and Risks of IM 191 Adapting the Three-Step Process for Successful IM 192

Blogging and Microblogging 193 Understanding the Business Applications of Blogging 194 Adapting the Three-Step Process for Successful Blogging 197 Microblogging 199

Podcasting 200 Understanding the Business Applications of Podcasting 200 Adapting the Three-Step Process for Successful

Podcasting 201








BUSINESS COMMUNICATION 2.0 Walking Around with the Entire Internet in Your Hands 177

BUSINESS COMMUNICATION 2.0 Help! I’m Drowning in Social Media! 196


Writing Routine and Positive Messages 214 COMMUNICATION CLOSE-UP AT GET SATISFACTION 214

Strategy for Routine Requests 215 Stating Your Request Up Front 215 Explaining and Justifying Your Request 215 Requesting Specific Action in a Courteous Close 216

Common Examples of Routine Requests 216 Asking for Information and Action 216 Asking for Recommendations 217 Making Claims and Requesting Adjustments 219

Strategy for Routine and Positive Messages 219 Starting with the Main Idea 222 Providing Necessary Details and Explanation 222 Ending with a Courteous Close 223

Common Examples of Routine and Positive Messages 223 Answering Requests for Information and Action 223 Granting Claims and Requests for Adjustment 224 Providing Recommendations 227 Sharing Routine Information 227 Announcing Good News 229 Fostering Goodwill 231




Writing Persuasive Messages 281 COMMUNICATION CLOSE-UP AT CAFEMOM 281

Using the Three-Step Writing Process for Persuasive Messages 282 Step 1: Planning a Persuasive Message 282 Step 2: Writing a Persuasive Message 285 Step 3: Completing a Persuasive Message 287

Developing Persuasive Business Messages 287 Strategies for Persuasive Business Messages 288 Common Examples of Persuasive Business Messages 292

Developing Marketing and Sales Messages 293 Assessing Audience Needs 294 Analyzing Your Competition 295 Determining Key Selling Points and Benefits 295 Anticipating Purchase Objections 295 Applying AIDA or a Similar Model 296

Writing Promotional Messages for Social Media 298 Maintaining High Standards of Ethics, Legal Compliance,

and Etiquette 300








BUSINESS COMMUNICATION 2.0 Please Find Us: Building an Audience Through Search Engine Optimization 286

ETHICS DETECTIVE Solving the Case of the Incredible Credibility 287

PART 4 Supporting Messages with Quality Information 313


Finding, Evaluating, and Processing Information 314 COMMUNICATION CLOSE-UP AT TESCO 314

Planning Your Research 315 Maintaining Ethics and Etiquette in Your Research 315 Familiarizing Yourself with the Subject 316 Identifying Information Gaps 316 Prioritizing Research Needs 316

Conducting Secondary Research 317 Evaluating Sources 317 Locating Sources 318 Documenting Your Sources 324

Conducting Primary Research 325 Gathering Information with Surveys 325 Gathering Information with Interviews 328

Processing Data and Information 329 Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing 329 Analyzing Numeric Data 330

Applying Your Findings 332 Summarizing Your Research 332





COMMUNICATION MISCUES Can You Get Sued for Writing— or Not Writing—a Recommendation Letter? 229


Writing Negative Messages 246 COMMUNICATION CLOSE-UP AT CHARGIFY 246

Using the Three-Step Writing Process for Negative Messages 247 Step 1: Planning a Negative Message 247 Step 2: Writing a Negative Message 248 Step 3: Completing a Negative Message 249

Using the Direct Approach for Negative Messages 249 Opening with a Clear Statement of the Bad News 250 Providing Reasons and Additional Information 250 Closing on a Respectful Note 251

Using the Indirect Approach for Negative Messages 251 Opening with a Buffer 251 Providing Reasons and Additional Information 252 Continuing with a Clear Statement of the Bad News 253 Closing on a Respectful Note 254

Maintaining High Standards of Ethics and Etiquette 254

Sending Negative Messages on Routine Business Matters 256 Making Negative Announcements on Routine

Business Matters 257 Rejecting Suggestions and Proposals 257 Refusing Routine Requests 257 Handling Bad News About Transactions 257 Refusing Claims and Requests for Adjustment 260

Sending Negative Organizational News 262 Communicating Under Normal Circumstances 262 Communicating in a Crisis 262

Sending Negative Employment Messages 264 Refusing Requests for Employee References

and Recommendation Letters 265 Refusing Social Networking Recommendation Requests 265 Rejecting Job Applications 266 Giving Negative Performance Reviews 267 Terminating Employment 268








ETHICS DETECTIVE Solving the Case of the Deceptive Soft Sell 255

BUSINESS COMMUNICATION 2.0 We’re Under Attack! Responding to Rumors and Criticism in a Social Media Environment 264

x Contents

Drawing Conclusions 333 Making Recommendations 333 Managing Information 333







COMMUNICATION MISCUES The Art of the Question 326

ETHICS DETECTIVE Solving the Case of the Imaginary Good News 331


Designing Visual Communication 339 COMMUNICATION CLOSE-UP AT XPLANE 339

Understanding Visual Communication 340 The Power of Images 340 The Visual Evolution in Business Communication 341 Visual Design Principles 341 The Ethics of Visual Communication 343

Identifying Points to Illustrate 346 Selecting Visuals for Presenting Data 347

Tables 347 Line and Surface Charts 350 Bar Charts, Pictograms, and Gantt Charts 350 Scatter and Bubble Diagrams 353 Pie Charts 353 Data Visualization 354

Selecting Visuals for Presenting Information, Concepts, and Ideas 356 Flowcharts and Organization Charts 356 Maps 357 Drawings, Diagrams, Infographics, and Photographs 357 Animation and Video 358

Producing and Integrating Visuals 358 Creating Visuals 358 Integrating Visuals with Text 359 Verifying the Quality of Your Visuals 361







ETHICS DETECTIVE Solving the Case of the Hidden Numbers 345

PART 5 Planning, Writing, and Completing Reports and Proposals 369


Planning Reports and Proposals 370 COMMUNICATION CLOSE-UP AT MYCITYWAY 370

Applying the Three-Step Writing Process to Reports and Proposals 371 Analyzing the Situation 371 Gathering Information 374 Selecting the Right Medium 374 Organizing Your Information 375

Planning Informational Reports 378 Organizational Strategies for Informational Reports 379 Effective Informational Reports: An Example 382

Planning Analytical Reports 382 Organizational Strategies for Analytical Reports 385 Effective Analytical Reports: An Example 387

Planning Proposals 388 Organizational Strategies for Proposals 391

Effective Proposals: An Example 393







ETHICS DETECTIVE Solving the Case of the Overblown Proposals 391


Writing Reports and Proposals 399 COMMUNICATION CLOSE-UP AT TELLABS 399

Writing Reports and Proposals: Adapting to Your Audience 400 Being Sensitive to Your Audience’s Needs 400 Building Strong Relationships with Your

Audience 402 Controlling Your Style and Tone 402

Composing Reports and Proposals: Drafting Report Content 403 Report Introduction 406 Report Body 407 Report Close 408

Composing Reports and Proposals: Drafting Proposal Content 409 Proposal Introduction 410 Proposal Body 410 Proposal Close 411

Drafting Online Content 411 Collaborating on Wikis 413

Understanding the Wiki Philosophy 414 Adapting the Three-Step Process for Successful

Wiki Writing 415








BUSINESS COMMUNICATION 2.0 Hey, You! Hands Off My Content! 414

Contents xi



Revising Reports and Proposals 425 Producing Formal Reports 425

Prefatory Parts of the Report 427 Text of the Report 445 Supplementary Parts of the Report 445

Producing Formal Proposals 446 Prefatory Parts of the Proposal 447 Text of the Proposal 448

Proofreading Reports and Proposals 448 Distributing Reports and Proposals 448 Writing Requests for Proposals 451








REPORT WRITER’S NOTEBOOK Analyzing a Formal Report 428

PART 6 Designing and Delivering Oral and Online Presentations 467



Planning a Presentation 469 Analyzing the Situation 470 Selecting the Right Medium 472 Organizing Your Presentation 473

Developing a Presentation 476 Adapting to Your Audience 477 Composing Your Presentation 478

Delivering a Presentation 481 Choosing Your Presentation Method 481 Practicing Your Delivery 482 Preparing to Speak 483 Overcoming Anxiety 483 Handling Questions Responsively 484

Incorporating Technology in Your Presentation 485 Embracing the Backchannel 485 Giving Presentations Online 486







COMMUNICATING ACROSS CULTURES Making Sure Your Message Doesn’t Get Lost in Translation 472

COMMUNICATION MISCUES Disasters Will Happen—Are You Ready? 484


Enhancing Presentations with Slides and Other Visuals 493 COMMUNICATION CLOSE-UP AT PRESENTATION ZEN 493

Planning Your Presentation Visuals 494 Selecting the Type of Visuals to Use 494 Verifying Your Design Plans 495

Choosing Structured or Free-Form Slides 496 Structured Slides 496 Free-Form Slides 498

Designing Effective Slides 498 Selecting Design Elements 499 Maintaining Design Consistency 502

Creating Effective Slide Content 502 Slide Text 503 Slide Tables and Graphics 503 Animation and Multimedia 504

Completing Slides and Support Materials 507 Creating Navigation and Support Slides 508 Creating Effective Handouts 510









Presentations Get Social 506

PART 7 Writing Employment Messages and Interviewing for Jobs 519


Building Careers and Writing Résumés 520 COMMUNICATION CLOSE-UP AT ATK 520

Finding the Ideal Opportunity in Today’s Job Market 521 Writing the Story of You 521 Learning to Think Like an Employer 521 Researching Industries and Companies of Interest 522 Translating Your General Potential into a Specific Solution for Each

Employer 523 Taking the Initiative to Find Opportunities 523 Building Your Network 524 Seeking Career Counseling 524 Avoiding Mistakes 525

Planning a Résumé 525 Analyzing Your Purpose and Audience 525 Gathering Pertinent Information 526 Selecting the Best Medium 527

xii Contents

Organizing Your Résumé Around Your Strengths 527 Addressing Areas of Concern 528

Writing a Résumé 530 Keeping Your Résumé Honest 531 Adapting Your Résumé to Your Audience 531 Composing Your Résumé 531

Completing a Résumé 535 Revising Your Résumé 536 Producing Your Résumé 537 Proofreading Your Résumé 540 Distributing Your Résumé 541










Applying and Interviewing for Employment 548 COMMUNICATION CLOSE-UP AT ZAPPOS 548

Submitting Your Résumé 549 Writing Application Letters 549 Following Up After Submitting a Résumé 553

Understanding the Interviewing Process 554 The Typical Sequence of Interviews 555 Common Types of Interviews 555 Interview Media 556 What Employers Look for in an Interview 557 Preemployment Testing and Background Checks 558

Preparing for a Job Interview 558 Learning About the Organization and Your Interviewers 559 Thinking Ahead About Questions 559 Bolstering Your Confidence 561 Polishing Your Interview Style 561 Presenting a Professional Image 564 Being Ready When You Arrive 564

Interviewing for Success 565 The Warm-Up 565 The Question-and-Answer Stage 566 The Close 568 Interview Notes 569

Following Up After the Interview 569 Thank-You Message 569 Message of Inquiry 569 Request for a Time Extension 570 Letter of Acceptance 571 Letter Declining a Job Offer 572 Letter of Resignation 572








COMMUNICATING ACROSS CULTURES Successfully Interviewing Across Borders 563

COMMUNICATION MISCUES Make Sure You Don’t Talk Yourself out of a Job 566


Format and Layout of Business Documents A-1 First Impressions A-1

Paper A-1 Customization A-1 Appearance A-1

Letters A-2 Standard Letter Parts A-2 Additional Letter Parts A-7 Letter Formats A-9

Envelopes A-10 Addressing the Envelope A-11 Folding to Fit A-12 International Mail A-14

Memos A-14 Reports A-16

Margins A-16 Headings A-17 Page Numbers A-17


Documentation of Report Sources A-19 Chicago Humanities Style A-19

In-Text Citation—Chicago Humanities Style A-19 Bibliography—Chicago Humanities Style A-20

APA Style A-22 In-Text Citation—APA Style A-22 List of References—APA Style A-22

MLA Style A-22 In-Text Citation—MLA Style A-22 List of Works Cited—MLA Style A-23


Correction Symbols A-25 Content and Style A-25 Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage A-26 Proofreading Marks A-27

Handbook of Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage H-1 Diagnostic Test of English Skills H-1 Assessment of English Skills H-3 Essentials of Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage H-3

1.0 Grammar H-3 2.0 Punctuation H-15 3.0 Mechanics H-19 4.0 Vocabulary H-22

References R-1

Acknowledgments ACK-1

Brand, Organization, Name, and Website Index I-1

Subject Index I-5

Contents xiii

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Real-Time Updates—Learn More

Real-Time Updates “Learn More” is a unique feature that you will see strategically located throughout the text, connecting them with dozens of carefully selected online media items. These elements—categorized by the icons shown below representing podcasts, PDF files, articles/websites, online videos, and PowerPoint presentations—complement the text’s coverage by providing contemporary examples and valuable insights from suc- cessful professionals.

Will your social media habits kill your career? 23 Learn how intellectual property protection promotes sustainable growth 27 Need some fresh creative inspiration? 91 Building credibility online 120 Grammar questions? Click here for help 128 Integrating social media in a global corporation 180 Tweets from the boss: CEOs on Twitter 199 Get expert tips on writing (or requesting) a letter of recommendation 227 Simple rules for writing effective thank-you notes 233 Make sure your logic can stand on solid ground 291 10 reasons you should not cite Wikipedia in your research 318 See your way into the hidden Internet 321 A practical guide to selecting the best online search tools 323 Quickly peruse dozens of data and information display techniques 347 Data visualization gateway: A comprehensive collection for business communicators 355 Understand why some visuals work and some don’t 361 Step-by-step advice for developing a successful business plan 381 Get a head start on writing great headlines 411 Get practical advice on developing research reports 426 Try these Facebook applications in your job search 523 100 Twitter tools for job searchers 524 Follow these people to a new career 525 Find the keywords that will light up your résumé 533 Watch a résumé pro rework an introductory statement 534 How much are you worth? 553

Violating ethical expectations in social media 179

Are you damaging yourself with noise? 12 Use negotiation skills to resolve conflicts 38 Are you a good listener? 47 Video guide puts culture in context 67 Overcoming culture shock 71 Step-by-step advice for recording your first podcast 202 Take some of the sting out of delivering bad news 263 Persuasion skills for every business professional 282 Is it necessary—or even smart—to spend months writing a business plan? 380 Dealing with the difficult four 469 Maximize the rewards of the backchannel and minimize the risks 486 Get a quick video tour of Garr Reynolds’s Presentation Zen 494 Way beyond bullet points: A stunning example of free-form slide design 498 Five easy tips to add a professional finish to your slides 503 Tweet your way to a sweet job 524 Learn to use LinkedIn’s résumé builder 531 Video interviewing on Skype 557 Study the classics to ace your next interview 560

Steps you can take to help reduce information overload 17 Social networks for professionals 40 International etiquette tips 66 Dig deep into audience needs with this planning tool 89 Get detailed advice on using bias-free language 120 Proofread with advice from Stanford Business School 164 The right way to ask for recommendations on LinkedIn 217 See why visual design is a lot more than just eye candy 341 Jumpstart your visual creativity 360

REAL-TIME UPDATES Learn More by Reading This Article

REAL-TIME UPDATES Learn More by Listening to This Podcast

REAL-TIME UPDATES Learn More by Watching This Video

REAL-TIME UPDATES Learn More by Reading This PDF

Wrap your mind around mind mapping 101 Get helpful tips on creating an outline for any project 103 Practical advice for thorough proofreading 164 Take a crash course in email etiquette 188 Choose the most effective emotional appeal 290 Need clarification about plagiarism? 409 Should you accept? Evaluating a job offer 568

Take a fast course in listening skills 46 Don’t let etiquette blunders derail your career 53 Essential guidelines for adapting to other business cultures 71 Smart advice for brainstorming sessions 100

REAL-TIME UPDATES Learn More by Watching This PowerPoint Presentation

xvi Real-Time Updates—Learn More


Major Changes and Improvements in This Edition

Bovée and Thill texts have long set the benchmark in this field for rigorous, high-value revisions that make sure instructors and students have the most comprehensive, realistic, and contemporary materials available. The following table identifies the major changes and improvements in the eleventh edition of Business Communication Today .


Significant Content Additions and Upgrades

In addition to numerous updates and streamlining rewrites throughout, the following sections are all new or substantially revised with new material:

• Understanding Why Communication Matters (in Chapter 1 )

• The Social Communication Model (in Chapter 1 )

• Committing to Ethical and Legal Communication (in Chapter 1 ; new coverage of transparency)

• Distinguishing Ethical Dilemmas from Ethical Lapses (in Chapter 1 ; revised and streamlined)

• Business Communication 2.0: Who’s Responsible Here? (in  Chapter 1 ; updated)

• Communicating Effectively in Teams (in Chapter 2 ; new coverage of collaboration)

• Using Meeting Technologies (in Chapter 2 ; updated)

• Communicating Across Cultures: Whose Skin Is This, Anyway? (in Chapter 2 )

• Business Etiquette Online (in Chapter 2 ; updated)

• Developing Cultural Competency (in Chapter 3 )

• Communicating Across Cultures: Us Versus Them: Generational Conflict in the Workplace (in Chapter 3 )

• Speaking and Listening Carefully (in Chapter 3 ; updated with accommodation strategies)

• Analyzing the Situation (in Chapter 4 )

• Building Reader Interest with Storytelling Techniques (in Chapter 4 )

• Emphasizing the Positive (in Chapter 5 ; new coverage of euphemisms)

• Business Communication 2.0: Walking Around with the Entire Internet in Your Hands (in Chapter 7 )

• Compositional Modes for Electronic Media (in Chapter 7 )

• Managing Communication in a Social Media Environment (in  Chapter 7 )


xviii Preface

Significant Content Additions and Upgrades (Continued)

• Social Networking and Community Participation Websites (in  Chapter 7 )

Social Networks

Business Communication Uses of Social Networks

Strategies for Business Communication on Social Networks

User-Generated Content Sites

Community Q&A Sites

Community Participation Websites

• Microblogging (in Chapter 7 )

• New two-page highlight feature: Business Communicators Innovating with Social Media (in Chapter 7 )

• Closing on a Respectful Note (in Chapter 9 )

• Making Negative Announcements on Routine Business Matters (in Chapter 9 )

• Rejecting Suggestions and Proposals (in Chapter 9 )

• Refusing Social Networking Recommendation Requests (in Chapter 9 )

• Rejecting Job Applications (in Chapter 9 )

• Giving Negative Performance Reviews (in Chapter 9 ; substantially revised)

• Business Communication 2.0: We’re Under Attack! Responding to Rumors and Criticism in a Social Media Environment (in Chapter 9 ; substantially revised)

• Writing Promotional Messages for Social Media (in Chapter 10 ; revised)

• Online Monitoring Tools (in Chapter 11 )

• Creating Successful Business Plans (in Chapter 13 ; revised)

• Business Communication 2.0: Hey You! Hands Off My Content! (in Chapter 14 )

• Presentation Close (in Chapter 16 )

• Ending with Clarity and Confidence (in Chapter 16 )

• Embracing the Backchannel (in Chapter 16 )

• Designing Effective Slides (in Chapter 17 )

• Creating Effective Slide Content (in Chapter 17 )

• Creating Effective Handouts (in Chapter 17 )

• Finding the Ideal Opportunity in Today’s Job Market (in Chapter 18 )

Writing the Story of You

Learning to Think Like an Employer

Translating Your General Potential into a Specific Solution for Each Employer

Taking the Initiative to Find Opportunities

Building Your Network

Avoiding Mistakes

• Composing Your Résumé (in Chapter 18 ; revised with the latest advice on keywords)

• Printing a Scannable Résumé (in Chapter 18 ; updated to reflect the decline of this format)

Significant Content Additions and Upgrades (Continued)

• Creating an Online Résumé (in Chapter 18 )

• Following Up After Submitting a Résumé (in Chapter 19 )

• Learning About the Organization and Your Interviewers (in  Chapter 19 )

The Social Media Revolution This edition includes up-to-date coverage of the social communication model that is redefining business communication and reshaping the relationships between companies and their stakeholders. Social media concepts and techniques are integrated throughout the book, from career planning to presentations. Here are some examples:

• Social media questions, activities, and cases appear throughout the book, using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other media that have taken the business world by storm in the past couple of years.

• Three dozen examples of business applications of social media show students how a variety of companies use these tools.

• The social communication model is now covered in Chapter 1 .

• A new two-page, magazine-style feature in Chapter 7 highlights the innovative uses of social media by a variety of companies.

• Social networking sites are now covered as a brief-message medium in Chapter 7 .

• The Twitter-enabled backchannel , which is revolutionizing electronic presentations, is covered in Chapter 16 .

• Social media tools are covered extensively in the career- planning Prologue and the two employment communication Chapters (18 and 19).

Compositional Modes for Electronic Media

For all the benefits they offer, social media and other innovations place new demands on business communicators. This edition introduces you to nine important modes of writing for electronic media.

Personal Branding As the workforce continues to evolve and with employment likely to remain unstable for some time to come, it is more important than ever for you to take control of your career. An important first step is to clarify and communicate your personal brand , a topic that is now addressed in the Prologue and carried through to the employment- message chapters.

Storytelling Techniques Some of the most effective business messages, from advertising to proposals to personal branding, rely on storytelling techniques. This edition offers hands-on advice and multiple activities to help you develop “business-class” narrative techniques.

Full Implementation of Objective-Driven Learning

Every aspect of this new edition is organized by learning objectives, from the chapter content to the student activities in the textbook and online at mybcommlab.com . This structure makes it easier for you to study, practice, check your progress, and focus on those areas where you need a little extra work.

Deeper Integration with MyBcommLab

This essential online resource now offers even more ways to test your understanding of the concepts presented in every chapter, practice vital skills, and create customized study plans.

Multimedia Resources Extend your learning experience with unique Real-Time Updates “Learn More” media elements that connect you with dozens of handpicked videos, podcasts, and other items that complement chapter content.

Preface xix


xx Preface

New Communication Close-ups (Chapter-Opening Vignette and Chapter-Ending Projects)

Chapter 1 : Toyota’s Auto-Biography user-generated content program Chapter 6 : Noted web designer Jefferson Rabb’s user-focused design principles Chapter 9 : Chargify’s communication errors regarding a price increase Chapter 13 : MyCityWay’s winning business plan Chapter 15 : Garage Technology Ventures’s advice for writing executive summaries Chapter 16 : Comedy super-agent Peter Principato’s techniques for effective presentations Chapter 17 : Garr Reynolds’s revolutionary Zen-inspired slide designs Chapter 18 : Alliant Techsystems and cutting-edge workforce analytics Chapter 19 : Zappos’s free-spirited approach to recruiting free- spirited employees

New Review and Analysis Questions and Skills- Development Projects

More than 110 new questions and activities are offered in Test Your Knowledge, Apply Your Knowledge, and Practice Your Skills categories.

New Communication Cases Communication cases give you the opportunity to solve real-world communication challenges using the media skills you’ll be expected to have in tomorrow’s workplace; one-third of the 145 cases are new in this edition.

New Figures and More Annotated Model Documents

The eleventh edition offers an unmatched portfolio of business communication exhibits. Here are the highlights:

• More than 60 new figures provide examples of the latest trends in business communication.

• More than 90 annotated model documents, ranging from printed letters and reports to websites, blogs, and social networking sites, show you in detail how successful business messages work.

• Nearly 80 exhibits feature communication examples from real companies, including Bigelow Tea, Delicious, Google, IBM, Microsoft Bing, Patagonia, Red Bull, Segway, Southwest Airlines, and Zappos.

• More than 110 illustrated examples of communication technologies help you grasp the wide range of tools and media formats you will encounter on the job.

Critique the Professionals This new activity invites you to analyze an example of professional communication using the principles learned in each chapter.

Quick Learning Guide This convenient review tool at the end of every chapter summarizes the learning objectives, lists essential terminology from the chapter, and collects the checklists in one handy place. Start here when it’s time to study for a test.

Preface xxi

1 Read messages from the authors and access special assignment materials and “Learn More” media items.

3 Scan headlines and click on any item of interest to read the article or download the media item.

Every item is personally selected by the authors to complement the text and support in-class activities.

4 Subscribe via RSS to individual chapters to get updates automatically for the chapter you’re currently studying.

5 Media items are categorized by type so you can quickly find podcasts, videos, PowerPoints, and more.

2 Click on any chapter to see the updates and media items for that chapter.

Extend the Value of Your Textbook with Free Multimedia Content Business Communication Today ’s unique Real-Time Updates system automatically provides weekly content updates, including podcasts, PowerPoint presentations, online videos, PDF files, and articles. You can subscribe to updates chapter by chapter, so you get only the material that applies to the chapter you are studying. You can access Real-Time Updates through MyBcommLab or by visiting http://real-timeupdates.com/bct11 .http://real-timeupdates.com/bct11http://real-timeupdates.com/bct11

What Is the Single Most Important Step You Can Take to Enhance Your Career Prospects? No matter what profession you want to pursue, the ability to communicate will be an es- sential skill—and a skill that employers expect you to have when you enter the workforce. This course introduces you to the fundamental principles of business communication and gives you the opportunity to develop your communication skills. You’ll discover how busi- ness communication differs from personal and social communication, and you’ll see how today’s companies are using blogs, social networks, podcasts, virtual worlds, wikis, and other technologies. You’ll learn a simple three-step writing process that works for all types of writing and speaking projects, both in college and on the job. Along the way, you’ll gain valuable insights into ethics, etiquette, listening, teamwork, and nonverbal communication. Plus, you’ll learn effective strategies for the many types of communication challenges you’ll face on the job, from routine messages about transactions to complex reports and websites.

Colleges and universities vary in the prerequisites established for the business communi- cation course, but we advise taking at least one course in English composition before enroll- ing in this class. Some coursework in business studies will also give you a better perspective on communication challenges in the workplace. However, we have taken special care not to assume any in-depth business experience, so you can use Business Communication Today successfully even if you have limited on-the-job experience or business coursework.


Few courses can offer the three-for-the-price-of-one value you get from a business com- munication class. Check out these benefits:

● In your other classes. The communication skills you learn in this class can help you in every other course you will take in college. From simple homework assignments to complicated team projects to class presentations, you’ll be able to communicate more effectively with less time and effort.

● During your job search. You can reduce the stress of searching for a job and stand out from the competition. As you’ll see in Chapters 18 and 19, every activity in the job search process relies on communication. The better you can communicate, the more successful you’ll be in landing interesting and rewarding work.

● On the job. After you get that great job, the time and energy you have invested in this course will continue to yield benefits year after year. As you tackle each project and every new challenge, influential company leaders—the people who decide how quickly you’ll get promoted and how much you’ll earn—will be paying close attention to how well you communicate. They will observe your interactions with colleagues, custom- ers, and business partners. They’ll take note of how well you can collect data, find the essential ideas buried under mountains of information, and convey those points to other people. They’ll observe your ability to adapt to different audiences and circum- stances. They’ll be watching when you encounter tough situations that require careful attention to ethics and etiquette. The good news: Every insight you gain and every skill you develop in this course will help you shine in your career.


Although this course explores a wide range of message types and appears to cover quite a lot of territory, the underlying structure of the course is actually rather simple. You’ll learn a few basic concepts, identify some key skills to use and procedures to follow—and then practice, practice, practice. Whether you’re writing a blog posting in response to one of the real-company cases or drafting your own résumé, you’ll be practicing the same skills again and again. With feedback and reinforcement from your instructor and your classmates, your confidence will grow and the work will become easier and more enjoyable.

The following sections offer advice on approaching each assignment, using your text- book, and taking advantage of some other helpful resources.

xxii Preface

Approaching Each Assignment

In the spirit of practice and improvement, you will have a number of writing (and possibly speaking) assignments throughout this course. These suggestions will help you produce better results with less effort:

● First, don’t panic! If the thought of writing a report or giving a speech sends a chill up your spine, you’re not alone. Everybody feels that way when first learning business communication skills, and even experienced professionals can feel nervous about major projects. Keeping three points in mind will help. First, every project can be bro- ken down into a series of small, manageable tasks. Don’t let a big project overwhelm you; it’s nothing more than a bunch of smaller tasks. Second, remind yourself that you have the skills you need to accomplish each task. As you move through the course, the assignments are carefully designed to match the skills you’ve developed up to that point. Third, if you feel panic creeping up on you, take a break and regain your perspective.

● Focus on one task at a time. A common mistake writers make is trying to organize and express their ideas while simultaneously worrying about audience reactions, grammar, spelling, formatting, page design, and a dozen other factors. Fight the temptation to do everything at once; otherwise, your frustration will soar and your productivity will plummet. In particular, don’t worry about grammar, spelling, and word choices during your first draft. Concentrate on the organization of your ideas first, then the way you express those ideas, and then the presentation and production of your messages. Following the three-step writing process is an ideal way to focus on one task at a time in a logical sequence.

● Give yourself plenty of time. As with every other school project, putting things off to the last minute creates unnecessary stress. Writing and speaking projects in particular are much easier if you tackle them in small stages with breaks in between, rather than trying to get everything done in one frantic blast. Moreover, there will be instances when you simply get stuck on a project, and the best thing to do is walk away and give your mind a break. If you allow room for breaks in your schedule, you’ll minimize the frustration and spend less time overall on your homework, too.

● Step back and assess each project before you start. The writing and speaking projects you’ll have in this course cover a wide range of communication scenarios, and it’s es- sential that you adapt your approach to each new challenge. Resist the urge to dive in and start writing without a plan. Ponder the assignment for a while, consider the vari- ous approaches you might take, and think carefully about your objectives before you start writing. Nothing is more frustrating than getting stuck halfway through because you’re not sure what you’re trying to say or you’ve wandered off track. Spend a little time planning, and you’ll spend a lot less time writing.

● Use the three-step writing process. Those essential planning tasks are the first step in the three-step writing process, which you’ll learn about in Chapter 4 and use through- out the course. This process has been developed and refined by professional writers with decades of experience and thousands of projects ranging from short blog posts to 500-page textbooks. It works, so take advantage of it.

● Learn from the examples and model documents. This textbook offers dozens of realistic examples of business messages, many with notes along the sides that explain strong and weak points (see the FreshBooks example on the next page). Study these and any other examples that your instructor provides. Learn what works and what doesn’t work, then apply these lessons to your own writing.

● Learn from experience. Finally, learn from the feedback you get from your instructor and from other students. Don’t take the criticism personally; your instructor and your classmates are commenting about the work, not about you. View every bit of feedback as an opportunity to improve.

Using This Textbook Package

This book and its accompanying online resources introduce you to the key concepts in business communication while helping you develop essential skills. As you read each chapter, start by studying the learning objectives. They will help you identify the most

Preface xxiii

important concepts in the chapter and give you a feel for what you’ll be learning. Following the learning objectives, the Communication Close-up vignette features a successful profes- sional role model who uses the same skills you will be learning in the chapter.

As you work your way through the chapter, compare the advice given with the various examples, both the brief in-text examples and the standalone model documents. Also, keep an eye out for the Real-Time Updates elements in each chapter. The authors have selected these videos, podcasts, presentations, and other online media to provide informative and entertaining enhancements to the text material.

At the end of each chapter, the Quick Learning Guide gives you the chance to quickly verify your grasp of important concepts. Following that, you’ll see two sets of questions that help you test and apply your knowledge, and two sets of projects that help you practice and expand your skills. Many chapters also feature communication cases, which are more involved projects that require you to plan and complete a variety of mes- sages and documents. All these activities are tagged by learning objective, so if you have any questions about the concepts you need to apply, just revisit that part of the chapter.

Several chapters have activities with downloadable media such as presentations and podcasts or the use of the Bovée-Thill wiki simulator. If your instructor assigns these ac- tivities, follow the instructions in the text to locate the correct files. And if you’d like some help getting started with Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, we have created screencasts with helpful advice on these topics.

xxiv Preface

Fast access to reader comments and a retweet button that makes it easy for readers to share this post via Twitter help FreshBooks build a sense of community.

One minor improvement would be to label (with words placed directly on the graph) the two best combinations, indicated with the green arrows, and the worst combination, indicated with the red circle, to save readers the time required to interpret the meaning of the colors and shapes.

This bold header quickly summarizes the nature of the analysis.

Bold terms in the paragraph correspond to the variables in the graph above.

Notice that even though the writer uses the word “we” (the company) in several places, this message is fundamentally about “you” (the customer).

The headline doesn’t try to be clever or cute; instead, it instantly conveys important information to readers.

The graph shows which terms generated the fastest payments (shortest blue bars) and highest percentage paid (orange dots).

The opening paragraph explains the analysis was undertaken in order to help customers make more money in less time—a vital concern for every business.

These clearly written paragraphs explain the two aspects of the analysis, and they speak the same language as business accounting professionals.

The article continues beyond here, but notice again the concise, straightforward wording of this subheading (the section explains that polite wording on invoices improves customer responsiveness).

Here is one of more than 90 annotated model documents that point out what works (and sometimes, what doesn’t work) in a variety of professional messages and documents. Used with permission of FreshBooks.

In addition to the 19 chapters of the text itself, here are some special features that will help you succeed in the course and on the job:

● Prologue: Building a Career with Your Communication Skills. This section (im- mediately following this Preface) helps you understand today’s dynamic workplace, the steps you can take to adapt to the job market, and the importance of creating an employment portfolio and building your personal brand.

● Handbook. The Handbook of Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage (see page H-1) serves as a convenient reference of essential business English.

● MyBcommLab. If your course includes MyBcommLab, you can take advantage of this unique resource to test your understanding of the concepts presented in every chapter. Each MyBcommLab chapter offers assessment resources that include study plans, videos, interactive lectures, flashcards, mini-simulations, PowerPoints, Docu- ment Makeovers, and critical thinking questions to reinforce chapter concepts.

● Real-Time Updates. You can use this unique newsfeed service to make sure you’re always kept up to date on important topics. Plus, at strategic points in every chapter, you will be directed to the Real-Time Updates website to get the latest information about specific subjects. To sign up, visit http://real-timeupdates.com/bct11 . You can also access Real-Time Updates through MyBcommLab.

● Business Communication Web Search. With our unique web search approach, you can quickly access more than 325 search engines. The tool uses a simple and intuitive interface engineered to help you find precisely what you want, whether it’s Power- Point files, Adobe Acrobat PDF files, Microsoft Word documents, Excel files, videos, or podcasts. Check it out at http://businesscommunicationblog.com/websearch .

● CourseSmart eTextbooks Online. CourseSmart is an exciting new choice for students looking to save money. As an alternative to purchasing the print textbook, you can purchase an electronic version of the same content and receive a significant discount off the suggested list price of the print text. With a CourseSmart eTextbook, you can search the text, make notes online, print out reading assignments that incorporate lec- ture notes and bookmark important passages for later review. For more information or to purchase access to the CourseSmart eTextbook, visit www.coursesmart.com .


We would appreciate hearing from you! Let us know what you think about this textbook by writing to college_marketing@prenhall.com . Please include “Feedback About Bovee/Thill BCT 11e” in the subject line. We review every comment we receive from students and use this feedback to make sure that future editions meet student needs in every way possible.

About the Authors Courtland L. Bovée and John V. Thill have been leading textbook authors for more than two decades, introducing millions of students to the fields of business and business com- munication. Their award-winning texts are distinguished by proven pedagogical features, extensive selections of contemporary case studies, hundreds of real-life examples, engaging writing, thorough research, and the unique integration of print and electronic resources. Each new edition reflects the authors’ commitment to continuous refinement and im- provement, particularly in terms of modeling the latest practices in business and the use of technology.

Professor Bovée has 22 years of teaching experience at Grossmont College in San Diego, where he has received teaching honors and was accorded that institution’s C. Allen Paul Distinguished Chair. Mr. Thill is a prominent communications consultant who has worked with organizations ranging from Fortune 500 multinationals to entrepreneurial start-ups. He formerly held positions with Pacific Bell and Texaco.

Courtland Bovée and John Thill were recently awarded proclamations from the Gover- nor of Massachusetts for their lifelong contributions to education and for their commitment to the summer youth baseball program that is sponsored by the Boston Red Sox.

Preface xxvhttp://real-timeupdates.com/bct11http://businesscommunicationblog.com/websearchwww.coursesmart.com

Acknowledgments The eleventh edition of Business Communication Today reflects the professional experi- ence of a large team of contributors and advisors. We express our thanks to the many individuals whose valuable suggestions and constructive comments influenced the success of this book.

Michelle Boucher, Southwestern College Nicole A. Buzzetto-More, University of Maryland–Eastern Shore Lana W. Carnes, Eastern Kentucky University Rebecca Cline, Middle Georgia College Steven Deeley, Santiago Canyon College Cynthia Evans, University of Northern Colorado Duane Franceschi, Canyon College Jeffrey Goddin, Indiana University Roxanne B. Hamilton, Landmark College Hal P. Kingsley, Trocaire College Lisa B. Martin, Piedmont Technical College Mabry M. O’Donnell, Marietta College Brenda Rhodes, Northeastern Junior College Sarah K. Rodgers, Owens Community College Karen J. Roush, Independence Community College Jessica Stoudenmire, El Camino College Tracy K. Tunwall, Mount Mercy College Joyce W. Twing, Vermont Technical College Kathi Vosevich, Shorter College Mark C. Zorn, Butler County Community College


We especially want to thank these reviewers, whose detailed and perceptive comments resulted in excellent refinements:

Timothy Alder, Pennsylvania State University–University Park Heather Allman, University of West Florida Patricia Boyd, Arizona State University Janice Cooke, University of New Orleans Terry Engebretsen, Idaho State University Fernando Ganivet, Florida International University Bonnie Garrity, D’Youville College Susanne Hartl, Nyack College Joyce Hicks, Valparaiso University Lynda Hodge, Guilford Technical Community College Mary Humphrys, University of Toledo Iris Johnson, Virginia Commonwealth University Sharon Kobritz, Husson University Marsha Kruger, University of Nebraska–Omaha Marianna Larsen, Utah State University Anita Leffel, University of Texas–San Antonio Paul Lewellan, Augustana College Richard Malamud, California State University–Dominguez Hills Thomas Marshall, Robert Morris University Leanne Maunu, Palomar College Michael McLane, University of Texas–San Antonio Bronna McNeely, Midwestern State University Margaret O’Connor, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

xxvi Preface

Holly Payne, University of Southern Indiana Kathy Peacock, Utah State University Folke Person, Idaho State University Betty Robbins, University of Oklahoma Drew Sabol, SUNY Institute of Technology Diza Sauers, University of Arizona Nicola Scott, George Mason University Lucinda Sinclair, Longwood University Rodney Smith, University of Dubuque Natalie Stillman-Webb, The University of Utah Bruce Strom, University of Indianapolis Dana Swensen, Utah State University Timothy Thorpe, Sterling College Dennielle True, Florida Gulf Coast University Robyn Walker, University of Arizona Rosemary Walker, University of Illinois at Chicago Judy Walton, Howard University Thomas Watkins, Solano Community College Patricia Wyatt, Bossier Parrish Community College


We sincerely thank the following reviewers for their assistance with the Document Makeovers:

Lisa Barley, Eastern Michigan University Marcia Bordman, Gallaudet University Jean Bush-Bacelis, Eastern Michigan University Bobbye Davis, Southern Louisiana University Cynthia Drexel, Western State College Kenneth Gibbs, Worcester State College Ellen Leathers, Bradley University Diana McKowen, Indiana University Bobbie Nicholson, Mars Hill College Andrew Smith, Holyoke Community College Jay Stubblefield, North Carolina Wesleyan College Dawn Wallace, Southeastern Louisiana University


The many model documents in the text and their accompanying annotations received invaluable review from

Diane Todd Bucci, Robert Morris University Dacia Charlesworth, Indiana University–Purdue University, Fort Wayne Avon Crismore, Indiana University Nancy Goehring, Monterey Peninsula College James Hatfield, Florida Community College at Jacksonville Estelle Kochis, Suffolk County Community College Sherry Robertson, Arizona State University

Preface xxvii


We wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to our many friends, acquaintances, and business associates who provided materials or agreed to be interviewed so that we could bring the real world into the classroom.

A very special acknowledgment goes to George Dovel, whose superb writing skills, distinguished background, and wealth of business experience assured this project of clar- ity and completeness. Also, recognition and thanks to Jackie Estrada for her outstanding skills and excellent attention to details. Her creation of the “Peak Performance Grammar and Mechanics” material is especially noteworthy. Jill Gardner’s professionalism and keen eye for quality were invaluable.

We also feel it is important to acknowledge and thank the Association for Business Communication, an organization whose meetings and publications provide a valuable forum for the exchange of ideas and for professional growth.

Additionally, we would like to thank the supplement authors who prepared material for this new edition. They include Gina Genova, University of California, Santa Barbara; Lori Cerreto; Myles Hassell, University of New Orleans; and Jay Stubblefield, North Caro- lina Wesleyan College.

xxviii Preface


T his book is dedicated to you and the millions of other students who have helped make Business Communication Today a market leader. We appreciate the opportunity to play a role in your education, and we wish you success and satisfaction in your

studies and in your career.

Courtland L. Bovée

John V. Thill


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Building a Career with Your Communication Skills

Using This Course to Help Launch Your Career This course will help you develop vital communication skills that you’ll use throughout your career—and those skills can help you launch an interesting and rewarding career, too. This brief prologue sets the stage by helping you understand today’s dynamic workplace, the steps you can take to adapt to the job market, and the importance of creating an em- ployment portfolio and building your personal brand. Take a few minutes to read it while you think about the career you hope to create for yourself.

Understanding Today’s Dynamic Workplace Social, political, and financial events continue to change workplace conditions from year to year, so the job market you read about this year might not be the same market you try to enter a year or two from now. However, you can count on a few forces that are likely to affect your entry into the job market and your career success in years to come: 1

● Unpredictability. Your career probably won’t be as stable as careers were in your parents’ generation. In today’s business world, your career will likely be affected by globalization, mergers and acquisitions, short-term mentality driven by the demands of stockholders, ethical upheavals, and the relentless quest for lower costs. On the plus side, new opportunities, new companies, and even entire industries can appear almost overnight. So while your career might not be as predictable as careers used to be, it could well be more of an adventure.

● Flexibility. As companies try to become more agile in a globalized economy, many employees—sometimes of their choice and sometimes not—are going solo and set- ting up shop as independent contractors. Innovations in electronic communication and social media will continue to spur the growth of virtual organizations and virtual teams , in which independent contractors and companies of various sizes join forces for long- or short-term projects, often without formal employment arrangements.

● Economic globalization. Commerce across borders has been going on for thousands of years, but the volume of international business has roughly tripled in the past 30 years. One significant result is economic globalization , the increasing integration and interdependence of national economies around the world. Just as companies now compete across borders, as an employee or independent contractor you also compete globally. This situation can be disruptive and traumatic in some instances, but it also creates opportunities.

● Growth of small business. Small businesses employ about half of the private-sector workforce in this country and create somewhere between two-thirds and three- quarters of new jobs, so chances are good that you’ll work for a small firm at some point.

What do all these forces mean to you? First, take charge of your career—and stay in charge of it. Understand your options, have a plan, and don’t count on others to watch


out for your future. Second, as you will learn throughout this course, understanding your audience is key to successful communication, so it is essential for you to understand how employers view today’s job market.


From an employer’s perspective, the employment process is always a question of balance. Maintaining a stable workforce can improve practically every aspect of business perfor- mance, yet many employers want the flexibility to shrink and expand payrolls as business conditions change. Employers obviously want to attract the best talent, but the best talent is more expensive and more vulnerable to offers from competitors, so there are always financial trade-offs to consider.

Employers also struggle with the ups and downs of the economy. When unemploy- ment is low, the balance of power shifts to employees, and employers have to compete in order to attract and keep top talent. When unemployment is high, the power shifts back to employers, who can afford to be more selective and less accommodating. In other words, pay attention to the economy; at times you can be more aggressive in your demands, but, at other times, you need to be more accommodating.

Many employers now fill some labor needs by hiring temporary workers or engaging contractors on a project-by-project basis. Many U.S. employers are now also more will- ing to move jobs to cheaper labor markets outside the country and to recruit globally to fill positions in the United States. Both trends have stirred controversy, especially in the technology sector, as U.S. firms recruit top engineers and scientists from other countries while shifting mid- and low-range jobs to India, China, Russia, the Philippines, and other countries with lower wage structures. 2

In summary, companies view employment as a complex business decision with lots of variables to consider. To make the most of your potential, regardless of the career path you pursue, you need to view employment in the same way.


Given the complex forces in the contemporary workplace and the unrelenting pressure of global competition, what are employers looking for in the candidates they hire? The short answer: a lot. Like all “buyers,” companies want to get as much as they can for the money they spend. The closer you can present yourself as the ideal candidate, the better your chances are of getting a crack at the most exciting opportunities.

Specific expectations vary by profession and position, of course, but virtually all employers look for the following general skills and attributes: 3

● Communication skills. The reason this item is listed first isn’t that you’re reading a business communication textbook. Communication is listed first because it is far and away the most commonly mentioned skill set when employers are asked about what they look for in employees. Improving your communication skills will help in every aspect of your professional life.

● Interpersonal and team skills. You will have many individual responsibilities on the job, but chances are you won’t work all alone very often. Learn to work with others— and help them succeed as you succeed.

● Intercultural and international awareness and sensitivity. Successful employers tend to be responsive to diverse workforces, markets, and communities, and they look for employees with the same outlook.

● Data collection, analysis, and decision-making skills. Employers want people who know how to identify information needs, find the necessary data, convert the data into useful knowledge, and make sound decisions.

● Computer and electronic media skills. Today’s workers need to know how to use common office software and to communicate using a wide range of electronic media.

● Time and resource management. If you’ve had to juggle multiple priorities dur- ing college, consider that great training for the business world. Your ability to plan

xxxii Prologue

Prologue xxxiii

projects and manage the time and resources available to you will make a big differ- ence on the job.

● Flexibility and adaptability. Stuff happens, as they say. Employees who can roll with the punches and adapt to changing business priorities and circumstances will go further (and be happier) than employees who resist change.

● Professionalism. Professionalism is the quality of performing at the highest possible level and conducting oneself with confidence, purpose, and pride. True professionals strive to excel, continue to hone their skills and build their knowledge, are dependable and accountable, demonstrate a sense of business etiquette, make ethical decisions, show loyalty and commitment, don’t give up when things get tough, and maintain a positive outlook.

Adapting to Today’s Job Market Adapting to the workplace is a lifelong process of seeking the best fit between what you want to do and what employers (or clients, if you work independently) are willing to pay you to do. It’s important to know what you want to do, what you have to offer, and how to make yourself more attractive to employers.


Economic necessities and the vagaries of the marketplace will influence much of what hap- pens in your career, of course; nevertheless, it’s wise to start your employment search by examining your values and interests. Identify what you want to do first, then see whether you can find a position that satisfies you at a personal level while also meeting your finan- cial needs. Consider these questions:

● What would you like to do every day? Research occupations that interest you. Find out what people really do every day. Ask friends, relatives, alumni from your school, and contacts in your social networks. Read interviews with people in various professions to get a sense of what their careers are like.

● How would you like to work? Consider how much independence you want on the job, how much variety you like, and whether you prefer to work with products, ma- chines, people, ideas, figures, or some combination thereof.

● How do your financial goals fit with your other priorities? For instance, many high-paying jobs involve a lot of stress, sacrifices of time with family and friends, and frequent travel or relocation. If location, lifestyle, intriguing work, or other factors are more important to you, you may well have to sacrifice some level of pay to achieve them.

● Have you established some general career goals? For example, do you want to pursue a career specialty such as finance or manufacturing, or do you want to gain experience in multiple areas with an eye toward upper management?

● What sort of corporate culture are you most comfortable with? Would you be happy in a formal hierarchy with clear reporting relationships? Or do you prefer less struc- ture? Teamwork or individualism? Do you like a competitive environment?

Filling out the assessment in Table 1 might help you get a clearer picture of the nature of work you would like to pursue in your career.


Knowing what you want to do is one thing. Knowing what a company is willing to pay you to do is another thing entirely. You may already have a good idea of what you can of- fer employers. If not, some brainstorming can help you identify your skills, interests, and characteristics. Start by jotting down 10 achievements you’re proud of, and think carefully about what specific skills these achievements demanded of you. For example, leadership skills, speaking ability, and artistic talent may have helped you coordinate a successful class

TABLE 1 Career Self-Assessment

Activity or Situation No Preference Strongly Agree Agree Disagree

1. I want to work independently.         2. I want variety in my work.         3. I want to work with people.         4. I want to work with technology.         5. I want physical work.         6. I want mental work.         7. I want to work for a large organization.         8. I want to work for a nonprofit organization.         9. I want to work for a small business.         10. I want to work for a service business.         11. I want to start or buy a business someday.         12. I want regular, predictable work hours.         13. I want to work in a city location.         14. I want to work in a small town or suburb.         15. I want to work in another country.         16. I want to work outdoors.         17. I want to work in a structured environment.         18. I want to avoid risk as much as possible.         19. I want to enjoy my work, even if that means making

less money.        

20. I want to become a high-level corporate manager.        

project. As you analyze your achievements, you may well begin to recognize a pattern of skills. Which of them might be valuable to potential employers?

Next, look at your educational preparation, work experience, and extracurricular ac- tivities. What do your knowledge and experience qualify you to do? What have you learned from volunteer work or class projects that could benefit you on the job? Have you held any offices, won any awards or scholarships, mastered a second language? What skills have you developed in nonbusiness situations that could transfer to a business position?

Take stock of your personal characteristics. Are you aggressive, a born leader? Or would you rather follow? Are you outgoing, articulate, great with people? Or do you prefer working alone? Make a list of what you believe are your four or five most important quali- ties. Ask a relative or friend to rate your traits as well.

If you’re having difficulty figuring out your interests, characteristics, or capabilities, consult your college career center. Many campuses administer a variety of tests that can help you identify interests, aptitudes, and personality traits. These tests won’t reveal your “perfect” job, but they’ll help you focus on the types of work best suited to your personality.


While you’re figuring out what you want from a job and what you can offer an employer, you can take positive steps now toward building your career. First, look for volunteer projects, temporary jobs, freelance work, or internships that will help expand your experi- ence base and skill set. 4 You can look for freelance projects on Craigslist ( www.craigslist .org ) and numerous other websites; some of these jobs have only nominal pay, but they do provide an opportunity for you to display your skills.

xxxiv Prologuewww.craigslist.orgwww.craigslist.org

Also consider applying your talents to crowdsourcing projects, in which companies and nonprofit organizations invite the public to contribute solutions to various challenges. For example, Fellowforce ( www.fellowforce.com ) posts projects involving advertising, business writing, photography, graphic design, programming, strategy development, and other skills. 5 Even if your contributions aren’t chosen, you still have developed solutions to real business problems that you can show to potential employers as examples of your work.

These opportunities help you gain valuable experience and relevant contacts, provide you with important references and work samples for your employment portfolio , and help you establish your personal brand (see the following sections).

Second, learn more about the industry or industries in which you want to work and stay on top of new developments. Join networks of professional colleagues and friends who can help you keep up with trends and events. Many professional societies have student chapters or offer students discounted memberships. Take courses and pursue other edu- cational or life experiences that would be difficult while working full time.

For more ideas and advice on planning your career, check out the resources listed in Table 2 .


Employers want proof that you have the skills to succeed on the job, but even if you don’t have much relevant work experience, you can use your college classes to assemble that proof. Simply create and maintain an employment portfolio , which is a collection of proj- ects that demonstrate your skills and knowledge. You can create a print portfolio and an e-portfolio ; both can help with your career effort. A print portfolio gives you something tangible to bring to interviews, and it lets you collect project results that might not be easy to show online, such as a handsomely bound report.

An e-portfolio is a multimedia presentation of your skills and experiences. 6 Think of it as a website that contains your résumé, work samples, letters of recommendation, relevant videos or podcasts you have recorded, blog posts and articles you may have written, and other information about you and your skills. If you have set up a lifestream (a real-time aggregation of your content creation, online interests, and social media interactions) that is professionally focused, consider adding that to your e-portfolio. Be creative. For exam- ple, a student who was pursuing a degree in meteorology added a video clip of himself delivering a weather forecast. 7 The portfolio can be burned on a CD or DVD for physical distribution or, more commonly, it can be posted online—whether it’s a personal web- site, your college’s site (if student pages are available), a specialized portfolio hosting site such as Behance ( www.behance.com ), or a résumé hosting site such as VisualCV ( www .visualcv.com ) that offers multimedia résumés. To see a selection of student e-portfolios from colleges around the United States, go to http://real-timeupdates.com/bct11 , click on “Student Assignments,” and then click on “Prologue” to locate the link to student e-portfolios.

TABLE 2 Career Planning Resources

Resource URL

Career Rocketeer www.careerrocketeer.com

The Creative Career http://thecreativecareer.com

Brazen Careerist www.brazencareerist.com

Daily Career Connection http://dailycareerconnection.com

The Career Key http://careerkey.blogspot.com

Rise Smart www.risesmart.com/risesmart/blog

Women’s Leadership Blog http://blog.futurewomenleaders.net/blog

The Career Doctor www.careerdoctor.org/career-doctor-blog

Prologue xxxvwww.fellowforce.comwww.behance.comwww.visualcv.comwww.visualcv.comhttp://real-timeupdates.com/bct11www.careerrocketeer.comhttp://thecreativecareer.comwww.brazencareerist.comhttp://dailycareerconnection.comhttp://careerkey.blogspot.comwww.risesmart.com/risesmart/bloghttp://blog.futurewomenleaders.net/blogwww.careerdoctor.org/career-doctor-blog

Throughout this course, pay close attention to the assignments marked “Portfolio Builder” (they start in Chapter 7 ). These items will make particularly good samples of not only your communication skills but also your ability to understand and solve business- related challenges. By combining these projects with samples from your other courses, you can create a compelling portfolio by the time you’re ready to start interviewing. Your port- folio is also a great resource for writing your résumé because it reminds you of all the great work you’ve done over the years. Moreover, you can continue to refine and expand your portfolio throughout your career; many professionals use e-portfolios to advertise their services. For example, Evan Eckard, a specialist in web design, marketing, and branding, promotes his capabilities by showing a range of successful projects in his online portfolio, which you can view at www.evaneckard.com .

As you assemble your portfolio, collect anything that shows your ability to perform, whether it’s in school, on the job, or in other venues. However, you must check with employers before including any items that you created while you were an employee and check with clients before including any work products (anything you wrote, designed, programmed, and so on) they purchased from you. Many business documents contain confidential information that companies don’t want distributed to outside audiences.

For each item you add to your portfolio, write a brief description that helps other peo- ple understand the meaning and significance of the project. Include such items as these:

● Background. Why did you undertake this project? Was it a school project, a work as- signment, or something you did on your own initiative?

● Project objectives. Explain the project’s goals, if relevant. ● Collaborators. If you worked with others, be sure to mention that and discuss team

dynamics if appropriate. For instance, if you led the team or worked with others long distance as a virtual team, point that out.

● Constraints. Sometimes the most impressive thing about a project is the time or budget constraints under which it was created. If such constraints apply to a project, consider mentioning them in a way that doesn’t sound like an excuse for poor quality. If you had only one week to create a website, for example, you might say that “One of the intriguing challenges of this project was the deadline; I had only one week to design, compose, test, and publish this material.”

● Outcomes. If the project’s goals were measurable, what was the result? For example, if you wrote a letter soliciting donations for a charitable cause, how much money did you raise?

● Learning experience. If appropriate, describe what you learned during the course of the project.

Keep in mind that the portfolio itself is a communication project too, so be sure to ap- ply everything you’ll learn in this course about effective communication and good design. Assume that every potential employer will find your e-portfolio site (even if you don’t tell them about it), so don’t include anything that could come back to haunt you. Also, if you have anything embarrassing on Facebook, MySpace, or any other social networking site, remove it immediately.

To get started, first check with the career center at your college; many schools now offer e-portfolio systems for their students. (Some schools now require e-portfolios, so you may already be building one.) You can also find plenty of advice online; search for “e-portfolio,” “student portfolio,” or “professional portfolio.” Finally, consider a book such as Portfolios for Technical and Professional Communicators , by Herb J. Smith and Kim Haimes-Korn. This book is intended for communication specialists, but it offers great advice for anyone wanting to create a compelling employment portfolio.


Products and companies have brands that represent collections of certain attributes, such as the safety emphasis of Volvo cars, the performance emphasis of BMW, or the luxury emphasis of Cadillac. Similarly, when people who know you think about you, they have a particular set of qualities in mind based on your professionalism, your priorities, and the

xxxvi Prologuewww.evaneckard.com

various skills and attributes you have developed over the years. Perhaps without even being conscious of it, you have created a personal brand for yourself (see Figure 1 ).

As you plan the next stage of your career, start managing your personal brand deliber- ately. Branding specialist Mohammed Al-Taee defines personal branding succinctly as “a way of clarifying and communicating what makes you different and special.” 8

You can learn more about personal branding from the sources listed in Table 3 , and you will have multiple opportunities to plan and refine your personal brand during this course. For example, Chapter 7 offers tips on business applications of social media, which are key to personal branding, and Chapters 18 and 19 guide you through the process of creating a résumé, building your network, and presenting yourself in interviews. To get you started, here are the basics of a successful personal branding strategy: 9

● Figure out the “story of you.” Simply put, where have you been in life, and where are you going? Every good story has dramatic tension that pulls readers in and makes them wonder what will happen next. Where is your story going next?

Figure 1 Personal Branding on LinkedIn

Prologue xxxvii

● Clarify your professional theme. Volvos, BMWs, and Cadillacs can all get you from Point A to Point B in safety, comfort, and style—but each brand emphasizes some attributes more than others to create a specific image in the minds of potential buy- ers. Similarly, you want to be seen as something more than just an accountant, a supervisor, a salesperson. What will your theme be? Brilliant strategist? Hard-nosed, get-it-done tactician? Technical guru? Problem solver? Creative genius? Inspirational leader?

● Reach out and connect. Major corporations spread the word about their brands with multimillion-dollar advertising campaigns. You can promote your brand for free or close to it. The secret is networking, which you’ll learn more about in Chapter 18 . You will build your brand by connecting with like-minded people, sharing information, demonstrating skills and knowledge, and helping others succeed.

● Deliver on your brand’s promise—every time, all the time. When you promote a brand, you make a promise—a promise that whoever buys that brand will get the benefits you are promoting. All of this planning and communication is of no value if you fail to deliver on the promises that your branding efforts make. Conversely, when you deliver quality results time after time, your talents and your professionalism will speak for you.

We wish you great success in this course and in your career!

TABLE 3 Personal Branding Resources

Resource URL

Personal Branding Blog www.personalbrandingblog.com

Mohammed Al-Taee http://altaeeblog.com

Brand Yourself http://blog.brand-yourself.com

Krishna De www.krishnade.com/blog

Cube Rules http://cuberules.com

Jibber Jobber www.jibberjobber.com/blog

The Engaging Brand http://theengagingbrand.typepad.com

Brand-Yourself http://blog.brand-yourself.com

xxxviii Prologuewww.personalbrandingblog.comhttp://altaeeblog.comhttp://blog.brand-yourself.comwww.krishnade.com/bloghttp://cuberules.comwww.jibberjobber.com/bloghttp://theengagingbrand.typepad.comhttp://blog.brand-yourself.com

CHAPTER 1 Achieving Success Through Effective Business Communication

CHAPTER 2 Mastering Team Skills and Interpersonal Communication

CHAPTER 3 Communicating in a World of Diversity

N o other skill can help your career in as many ways as

communication. Discover what business communication

is all about, why communication skills are essential to your

career, and how to adapt your communication experiences in life and

college to the business world. Improve your skills in such vital areas as

team interaction, etiquette, listening, and nonverbal communication.

Explore the advantages and the challenges of a diverse workforce and

develop the skills that every communicator needs to succeed in today’s

multicultural business environment.

Understanding the Foundations of Business Communication




Explain the importance of effective communication to

your career and to the companies where you will work

List four general guidelines for using communication

technology effectively

LEARNING OBJECTIVES After studying this chapter, you will be able to

Achieving Success Through Effective Business Communication


Imagine that you’re in the market for a new car and need to learn about the various models, options, dealers, and other factors involved in this important purchase. Fortunately, a friend has just gone through this process and can provide valuable information from a consumer’s perspective.

Now imagine that you have a hundred or a thousand or ten thousand friends who have recently purchased cars. Imagine how much information you could get from all these people—and all you need to do is jump on Facebook, Epinions, or another social media website.

Consumers have been sharing information online for as long as computers have been connected, but the rapid growth of social media has merged these isolated conversations into a global phenomenon that has permanently changed the nature of business communication. The Japanese automaker Toyota is one of the millions of companies around the world using social media to supplement or even replace traditional forms of customer communication.

Toyota was looking for some positive communication in 2010, after concerns about sticking gas pedals led to the recall of millions of vehicles and prompted the company to halt sales of eight models while it investigated the problem. The situation was potentially serious, to be sure, but Toyota executive Bob Zeinstra said loyal Toyota owners responded with an “outpouring of support and care.”



1 4



5 Describe the communication skills employers will expect you to have and the nature of communicating in an organization by using an audience-centered approach

Describe the communication process model and the

ways that social media are changing the nature of

business communication

Defi ne ethics , explain the difference between an ethical

dilemma and an ethical lapse, and list six guidelines for

making ethical communication choices

Test your mastery of this chapter and its

Learning Objectives. Visit mybcommlab.com to apply

what you’ve learned in Document Makeovers and

interactive simulation scenarios.

Toyota’s user-generated content campaign, Auto-Biography, invited owners to submit stories, photos, and videos that describe their favorite moments and memories with their Toyota vehicles.


CHAPTER 1 Achieving Success Through Effective Business Communication 3

To capitalize on this goodwill, built up through years of delivering safe, dependable vehicles, Toyota invited owners to tell their stories through a Facebook campaign it called “Auto-Biography.” The program featured a customized Facebook application that encouraged owners to “Showcase your most memorable moments [with your Toyota] and get inspired by the stories of other loyal Toyota owners.”

Thousands of Toyota owners contributed, sharing everything from the pet names they gave their cars to how they use their cars for work or play to the way their families passed down a Toyota from one generation to the next. Many listed the number of miles they had on their cars, some up to 300,000 or more, making strong statements to support the Toyota message

of reliability. Many owners also personalized their stories with photos or videos of themselves and their cars. Toyota highlighted a small number of the stories through professionally produced animated or live videos, which it then featured prominently on the Auto-Biography page and used in print and television advertising.

By inviting satisfi ed customers to the tell their own stories through user-generated content (which you’ll read more about in Chapter 7 ), the campaign helped Toyota repair its reputation among potential car buyers and respond to negative stories in the news media. Moreover, Zeinstra says the Facebook initiative also reminded current Toyota owners “why they love their cars so much.” 1

Understanding Why Communication Matters Whether it’s as simple as a smile or as ambitious as a Facebook campaign, communication is the process of transferring information and meaning between senders and receivers , using one or more written, oral, visual, or electronic media. Th e essence of communication is sharing— providing data, information, insights, and inspiration in an exchange that benefi ts both you and the people with whom you are communicating. 2

You will invest a lot of time and energy in this course to develop your communi- cation skills, so it’s fair to ask whether it will be worthwhile. Th is section outlines the many ways in which good communication skills are critical for your career and for any company you join.


Improving your communication skills may be the single most important step you can take in your career. You can have the greatest ideas in the world, but they’re no good to your company or your career if you can’t express them clearly and persuasively. Some jobs, such as sales and customer support, are primarily about communicating. In fi elds such as engi- neering or fi nance, you oft en need to share complex ideas with executives, customers, and colleagues, and your ability to connect with people outside your fi eld can be as important as your technical expertise. If you have the entrepreneurial urge, you will need to commu- nicate with a wide range of audiences, from investors, bankers, and government regulators to employees, customers, and business partners.

As you take on leadership and management roles, communication becomes even more important. Th e higher you rise in an organization, the less time you will spend using the technical skills of your particular profession and the more time you will spend communi- cating. Top executives spend most of their time communicating, and businesspeople who can’t communicate well don’t stand much chance of reaching the top.

Many employers express frustration at the poor communication skills of many employees—particularly recent college graduates who haven’t yet learned how to adapt their communication styles to a professional business environment. If you learn to write well, speak well, listen well, and recognize the appropriate way to communicate in any situ- ation, you’ll gain a major advantage that will serve you throughout your career. 3

Th is course teaches you how to send and receive information more eff ectively and helps you improve your communication skills through practice in an environment that provides honest, constructive criticism. You will discover how to collaborate in teams, listen eff ec- tively, master nonverbal communication, and participate in productive meetings. You’ll learn about communicating across cultural boundaries. You’ll learn a three-step process that helps you write eff ective business messages, and you’ll get specifi c tips for craft ing a

Explain the importance of effective communication to your career and to the companies where you will work.


Communication is the process of transferring information and meaning between senders and receivers.

Ambition and great ideas aren’t enough; you need to be able to communicate with people in order to succeed in business.

Strong communication skills give you an advantage in the job market.

• Access this chapter’s simulation entitled Successful Business Communication, located at mybcommlab.com.


4 PART 1 Understanding the Foundations of Business Communication

variety of business messages using a wide range of media, from social networks to blogs to online presentations. Develop these skills, and you’ll start your business career with a clear competitive advantage.


Aside from the personal benefi ts, communication should be important to you because it is important to your company. Eff ective communication helps businesses in numerous ways. It provides 4

● Closer ties with important communities in the marketplace ● Opportunities to infl uence conversations, perceptions, and trends ● Increased productivity and faster problem solving ● Better fi nancial results and higher return for investors ● Earlier warning of potential problems, from rising business costs to critical safety issues ● Stronger decision making based on timely, reliable information ● Clearer and more persuasive marketing messages ● Greater employee engagement with their work, leading to higher employee satisfaction

and lower employee turnover


Eff ective communication strengthens the connections between a company and all of its stakeholders , those groups aff ected in some way by the company’s actions: customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, neighbors, the community, the nation, and the world as a whole. 5 Conversely, when communication breaks down, the results can range from time wasting to tragic.

To make your communication eff orts as eff ective as possible, focus on making them practical, factual, concise, clear, and persuasive:

● Provide practical information. Give recipients useful information, whether it’s to help them perform a desired action or understand a new company policy.

● Give facts rather than vague impressions. Use concrete language, specifi c detail, and information that is clear, convincing, accurate, and ethical. Even when an opinion is called for, present compelling evidence to support your conclusion.

● Present information in a concise, effi cient manner. Concise messages show respect for people’s time, and they increase the chances of a positive response.

● Clarify expectations and responsibilities. Craft messages to generate a specifi c re- sponse from a specifi c audience. When appropriate, clearly state what you expect from audience members or what you can do for them.

● Off er compelling, persuasive arguments and recommendations. Show your readers precisely how they will benefi t from responding to your message the way you want them to.

Keep these fi ve important characteristics in mind as you review Figure 1.1 on page 5 and Figure 1.2 on page 6. At fi rst glance, both emails appear to be well constructed, but Figure 1.2 is far more eff ective, as the comments in blue explain.

Communicating in Today’s Global Business Environment You’ve been communicating your entire life, of course, but if you don’t have a lot of work experience yet, meeting the expectations of a professional environment might require some adjustment. Th is section off ers a brief look at the unique challenges of business communica- tion, the skills that employers will expect you to have, the nature of communication in an or- ganizational environment, and the importance of adopting an audience-centered approach.

Eff ective communication yields numerous business benefi ts.

Eff ective messages are practical , factual , concise , clear , and persuasive .

Describe the communication skills employers will expect you to have and the nature of communicating in an organization by using an audience-centered approach.


CHAPTER 1 Achieving Success Through Effective Business Communication 5


Although you have been communicating with some success your entire life, business com- munication is oft en more complicated and demanding than the social communication you typically engage in with family, friends, and school associates. Th is section highlights fi ve issues that illustrate why business communication requires a high level of skill and attention.

The Globalization of Business and the Increase in Workforce Diversity

Today’s businesses increasingly reach across international borders to market their products, partner with other businesses, and employ workers and executives—an eff ort known as globalization . Many U.S. companies rely on exports for a signifi cant portion of their sales, sometimes up to 50 percent or more, and managers and employees in these fi rms need to communicate with many other cultures. Moreover, thousands of companies from all around the world vie for a share of the massive U.S. market, so chances are you’ll do business with or even work for a company based in another country at some point in your career.

Businesses are paying more attention to workforce diversity —all the diff erences among people who work together, including diff erences in age, gender, sexual ori- entation, education, cultural background, religion, ability, and life experience. As Chapter 3 discusses, successful companies realize that a diverse workforce can yield a signifi cant competitive advantage, but it also requires a more conscientious approach to communication.

Doesn’t provide necessary background information for anyone who missed the meeting

Fails to clarify who needs to do what by when

Fails to provide alternative contact information or invite questions about the meeting, making it difficult for team members to clarify their assignments or raise concerns

Specifies the day but not the date, which could lead to confusion

By using a vague subject line, fails to alert people to the upcoming meeting

Opens with a cold, somewhat off-putting greeting

Assumes that people who won’t attend don’t want to, which might not be true

Puts reader on the defense with a negative, accusatory tone

Lacks a close (such as “thank you”), which contributes to the harsh, abrupt tone

You will need to adjust your communication habits to the more formal demands of business and the unique environment of your company.

Smart employers recognize the benefi ts of a more diverse workforce—and the additional challenges of ensuring smooth communication between people from diverse backgrounds.

Apply Figure 1.1’s key concepts by revising a new document. Go to Chapter 1 in mybcommlab.com and select Document Makeovers.

MyBcommLab Figure 1.1 Ineffective Business Communication At fi rst glance, this email message looks like a reasonable attempt at communicating with the members of a project team. However, review the blue annotations to see just how many problems the message really has.

6 PART 1 Understanding the Foundations of Business Communication

Fills in missing information so that everyone can grasp the importance of the message

Makes a specific request

Invites questions ahead of time so that they don’t derail the meeting

Helps people grasp key content immediately by using an informative subject line

Uses a friendly greeting without being too casual

Offers everyone a chance to participate, without making anyone feel guilty about not being able to attend in person (WebEx is an online meeting system)

Emphasizes the importance of the meeting

Closes with a warm, personal tone

Provides additional information and alternative contact options by including an email signature

Information has become one of the most important resources in business today.

Business communication today is heavily dependent on a growing array of technologies.

The Increasing Value of Business Information

As global competition for talent, customers, and resources continues to grow, the impor- tance of information continues to escalate as well. Companies in virtually every industry rely heavily on knowledge workers , employees at all levels of an organization who special- ize in acquiring, processing, and communicating information. Th ree examples help to illustrate the value of information in today’s economy:

● Competitive insights. Th e more a company knows about its competitors and their plans, the better able it will be to adjust its own business plans.

● Customer needs. Information about customer needs is analyzed and summarized in order to develop goods and services that better satisfy customer demands.

● Regulations and guidelines. Today’s businesses must understand and follow a wide range of government regulations and guidelines covering such areas as employment, environment, taxes, and accounting.

No matter what the specifi c type of information, the better you are able to understand it, use it, and communicate it to others, the more competitive you and your company will be.

The Pervasiveness of Technology

Technology infl uences virtually every aspect of business communication today. To ben- efi t from these tools, however, you need to have at least a basic level of skills. If your level of technical expertise doesn’t keep up with that of your colleagues and coworkers, the

Figure 1.2 Effective Business Communication This improved version of the email message from Figure 1.1 does a much better job of communicating the essential information these team members need in order to effectively prepare for the meeting.

CHAPTER 1 Achieving Success Through Effective Business Communication 7

imbalance can put you at a disadvantage and complicate the communication process. Th roughout this course, you’ll gain insights into using numerous tools and systems more eff ectively.

The Evolution of Organizational Structures and Leadership Styles

Every fi rm has a particular structure that defi nes the relationships among units in the company, and these relationships infl uence the nature and quality of communication throughout the organization. Tall structures have many layers of management between the lowest and highest positions, and they can suff er communication breakdowns and delays as messages are passed up and down through multiple layers. 6

To overcome such problems, many businesses have adopted fl at structures that re- duce the number of layers and promote more open and direct communication. However, with fewer formal lines of control and communication in these organizations, individual employees are expected to assume more responsibility for communication.

Specifi c types of organization structures present unique communication challenges. In a matrix structure , for example, employees report to two managers at the same time, such as a project manager and a department manager. Th e need to coordinate workloads, sched- ules, and other matters increases the communication burden on everyone involved. In a network structure , sometimes known as a virtual organization , a company supplements the talents of its employees with services from one or more external partners, such as a design lab, a manufacturing fi rm, or a sales and distribution company.

Regardless of the particular structure a company uses, your communication eff orts will also be infl uenced by the organization’s corporate culture : the mixture of values, traditions, and habits that gives a company its atmosphere and personality. Many success- ful companies encourage employee contributions by fostering open climates that promote candor and honesty, helping employees feel free enough to admit their mistakes, disagree with the boss, and share negative or unwelcome information.

A Heavy Reliance on Teamwork

Both traditional and innovative company structures can rely heavily on teamwork, and you will probably fi nd yourself on dozens of teams throughout your career. Teams are commonly used in business today, but they’re not always successful—and a key reason that teams fail to meet their objectives is poor communication. Chapter 2 off ers insights into the complex dynamics of team communication and identifi es skills you need in order to be an eff ective communicator in group settings.


Today’s employers expect you to be competent at a wide range of communication tasks. Fortunately, the skills that employers expect from you are the same skills that will help you advance in your career: 7

● Organizing ideas and information logically and completely

● Expressing ideas and information coherently and persuasively

● Actively listening to others ● Communicating eff ectively with people from

diverse backgrounds and experiences ● Using communication technologies eff ectively

and effi ciently ● Following accepted standards of grammar, spell-

ing, and other aspects of high-quality writing and speaking

Organizations with tall structures may unintentionally restrict the fl ow of information; fl atter structures can make it easier to communicate eff ectively.

Newer types of organization structures such as matrices and networks present new communication challenges.

Open corporate cultures benefi t from free-fl owing information and employee input.

Working in a team makes you even more responsible for communicating eff ectively.

The ability to work effectively in teams will help you at every stage of your career.

8 PART 1 Understanding the Foundations of Business Communication

● Communicating in a civilized manner that refl ects contemporary expectations of busi- ness etiquette, even when dealing with indiff erent or hostile audiences

● Communicating ethically, even when choices aren’t crystal clear ● Managing your time wisely and using resources effi ciently

You’ll have the opportunity to practice these skills throughout this course—but don’t stop there. Successful professionals continue to hone communication skills throughout their careers.


In addition to having the proper skills, you need to learn how to apply those skills in the business environment, which can be quite diff erent from the social and scholastic environ- ments you are accustomed to. Every organization has a formal communication network , in which ideas and information fl ow along the lines of command (the hierarchical levels) in the company’s organization structure (see Figure 1.3 ). Th roughout the formal network, information fl ows in three directions. Downward communication fl ows from executives to employees, conveying executive decisions and providing information that helps employ- ees do their jobs. Upward communication fl ows from employees to executives, providing insight into problems, trends, opportunities, grievances, and performance—thus allowing executives to solve problems and make intelligent decisions. Horizontal communication fl ows between departments to help employees share information, coordinate tasks, and solve complex problems. 8

Every organization also has an informal communication network , oft en referred to as the grapevine or the rumor mill , that encompasses all communication that occurs outside the formal network. Some of this informal communication takes place naturally as a result of employee interaction both on the job and in social settings, and some of it takes place when the formal network doesn’t provide information that employees want. In fact, the inherent limitations of formal communication networks helped spur the growth of social media in the business environment.

Line C supervisor

Line B supervisor

Line A supervisor

Director of sales

Accounting manager

Vice president of finance

Vice president of production


Vice president of research and development

Vice president of marketing

Advertising manager

Industrial sales


Examples of downward communication

Examples of upward communication

Examples of horizontal communication

E-commerce manager

Retail sales


Plant manager

Director of advertising and


Th e formal communication network mirrors the company’s organizational structure.

Social media play an increasingly important role in the informal communication network.

Figure 1.3 Formal Communication Network The formal communication network is defi ned by the relationships between the various job positions in the organization. Messages can fl ow upward (from a lower-level employee to a higher-level employee), downward (from a higher-level employee to a lower-level employee), and horizontally (across the organization, between employees at the same or similar levels).

CHAPTER 1 Achieving Success Through Effective Business Communication 9


An audience-centered approach involves understanding and respecting the members of your audience and making every eff ort to get your message across in a way that is meaning- ful to them (see Figure 1.4 ). Th is approach is also known as adopting the “you” attitude , in contrast to messages that are about “me.” Learn as much as possible about the biases, education, age, status, style, and personal and professional concerns of your receivers. If you’re addressing people you don’t know and you’re unable to fi nd out more about them, try to project yourself into their position by using common sense and imagination. Th is ability to relate to the needs of others is a key part of emotional intelligence , which is widely considered to be a vital characteristic of successful managers and leaders. 9 Th e more you know about the people you’re communicating with, the easier it will be to concentrate on

An audience-centered approach involves understanding, respecting, and meeting the needs of your audience members.

Fast access to reader comments and a retweet button that makes it easy for readers to share this post via Twitter help FreshBooks build a sense of community.

One minor improvement would be to label (with words placed directly on the graph) the two best combinations, indicated with the green arrows, and the worst combination, indicated with the red circle, to save readers the time required to interpret the meaning of the colors and shapes.

This bold header quickly summarizes the nature of the analysis.

Bold terms in the paragraph correspond to the variables in the graph above.

Notice that even though the writer uses the word “we” (the company) in several places, this message is fundamentally about “you” (the customer).

The headline doesn’t try to be clever or cute; instead, it instantly conveys important information to readers.

The graph shows which terms generated the fastest payments (shortest blue bars) and highest percentage paid (orange dots).

The opening paragraph explains the analysis was undertaken in order to help customers make more money in less time—a vital concern for every business.

These clearly written paragraphs explain the two aspects of the analysis, and they speak the same language as business accounting professionals.

The article continues beyond here, but notice again the concise, straightforward wording of this subheading (the section explains that polite wording on invoices improves customer responsiveness).

Apply Figure 1.4’s key concepts by revising a new document. Go to Chapter 1 in mybcommlab.com and select Document Makeovers.

MyBcommLab Figure 1.4 Audience-Centered Communication This blog post from the developers of the FreshBooks online business accounting system demonstrates audience focus in multiple ways, starting with the effort behind the message. Every company worries about how quickly customers will pay their bills, so FreshBooks analyzed the customer data it had on hand to see which payment terms and invoice messages generated the quickest responses. This alone is remarkable customer service; the audience- focused presentation of the information makes it that much better.

10 PART 1 Understanding the Foundations of Business Communication

their needs—which, in turn, will make it easier for them to hear your message, understand it, and respond positively.

A vital element of audience-centered communication is etiquette , the expected norms of behavior in any particular situation. In today’s hectic, competitive world, etiquette might seem a quaint and outdated notion. However, the way you conduct yourself and interact with others can have a profound infl uence on your company’s success and your career. When executives hire and promote you, they expect your behavior to protect the company’s reputation. Th e more you understand such expectations, the better chance you have of avoiding career-damaging mistakes. Th e principles of etiquette discussed in Chapter 2 will help you communicate with an audience-centered approach in a variety of business settings.

Exploring the Communication Process As you no doubt know from your personal interactions over the years, even well- intentioned communication eff orts can fail. Messages can get lost or simply ignored. Th e receiver of a message can interpret it in ways the sender never imagined. In fact, two people receiving the same information can reach diff erent conclusions about what it means.

Fortunately, by understanding communication as a process with distinct steps, you can improve the odds that your messages will reach their intended audiences and produce their intended eff ects. Th is section explores the communication process in two stages: fi rst by follow- ing a message from one sender to one receiver in the basic communication model, and then ex- panding on that with multiple messages and participants in the social communication model.


By viewing communication as a process ( Figure 1.5 ), you can identify and improve the skills you need to be more successful. Many variations on this process model exist, but these eight steps provide a practical overview:

1. Th e sender has an idea. Whether a communication eff ort will ultimately be eff ective starts right here. For example, if you have a clear idea about a procedure change that will save your company time and money, the communication process is off to a strong start. On the other hand, if all you want to do is complain about how the company is wasting time and money but don’t have any solutions, you probably won’t communi- cate anything of value to your audience.

2. Th e sender encodes the idea as a message. When someone puts an idea into a message —which you can think of as the “container” for an idea—he or she is encoding it, or expressing it in words or images. Much of the focus of this course is on developing the skills needed to successfully encode your ideas into eff ective messages.

Etiquette, the expected norms of behavior in any particular situation, can have a profound infl uence on your company’s success and your career.

Describe the communication process model and the ways that social media are changing the nature of business communication.


1. Sender has an idea

2. Sender encodes the

idea in a message

3. Sender produces the message in a medium

4. Sender transmits message through

a channel

8. Audience provides

feedback to the sender

5. Audience receives the


6. Audience decodes the


7. Audience responds to the message

Viewing communication as a process helps you identify steps you can take to improve your success as a communicator.

Figure 1.5 A Model of the Communication Process These eight steps illustrate how an idea travels from a sender to a receiver. After you explore the process in more detail in the following pages, refer to Figure 1.7 on page 15 for advice on improving your skills at each step. This diagram offers a simplifi ed view of a process that is both complex and subtle, but it provides a good foundation on which to build your understanding of communication.

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