Business Communication Essentials

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Welcome to this brief benefits tour of Business
Communication Essentials, Fourth Edition.

We’ve selected a dozen pages from the text to
illustrate some of the many unique features that
make BCE4 an ideal teaching and learning
resource for your business communication course.

To hear audio commentary on each page, click
this icon:
 Contents in Brief
 Preface xiii
 Prologue P-1

 CHAPTER 1        Understanding Business Communication in Today’s
                  Workplace 4
 CHAPTER 2        Mastering Interpersonal Communication 28

 CHAPTER 3        Planning Business Messages 48
 CHAPTER 4        Writing Business Messages 68
 CHAPTER 5        Completing Business Messages 92

[ unit 3 ]        BRIEF BUSINESS MESSAGES 115
 CHAPTER     6    Crafting Messages for Electronic Media 116
 CHAPTER     7    Writing Routine and Positive Messages 143
 CHAPTER     8    Writing Negative Messages 172
 CHAPTER     9    Writing Persuasive Messages 200

[ unit 4 ]        LONGER BUSINESS MESSAGES 231
 CHAPTER 10       Understanding and Planning Reports and
                  Proposals 232
 CHAPTER 11       Writing and Completing Reports and Proposals 260
 CHAPTER 12       Developing Oral and Online Presentations 310

[ unit 5 ]        INTERVIEWS 337
 CHAPTER 13       Building Careers and Writing Résumés 338
 CHAPTER 14       Applying and Interviewing for Employment 365

 APPENDIX A       Format and Layout of Business Documents A-1
 APPENDIX B       Documentation of Report Sources A-20
 APPENDIX C       Correction Symbols A-26

 Video Guide VG-1
 Handbook of Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage H-1
 Answer Key AK-1
 References R-1
 Acknowledgments AC-1
 Index I-1

xx                                     Preface

                                           Chapter 11                     Chapter 12                Chapter 13                        Chapter 14
 Learning objectives              More emphasis on drafting           Comparable to BCE3     More emphasis on résumé           New emphasis on the
                                  and revising online content,                               fraud, résumé formatting,         growing use of behavioral
                                  principles of graphic design,                              and media choices for             interviews
                                  verifying the quality of visuals,                          résumés
                                  and completing reports

 From the Real World              Retained: About the                 New: About removing    Retained: About poorly            Retained: About using the
                                  importance of using clear           barriers between the   designed résumés being            job interview to give
                                  language when                       speaker and the        tossed out without even           employers a good idea of
                                  communicating about                 audience               being read                        who you are and what you
                                  complex topics                                                                               offer

 Chapter content (subject areas      New section on drafting            New advice for          The first section, “Building      Reorganized information
 that were added, clarified,         online content                     anticipating and        a Career with Your                on common types of
 expanded, streamlined, or           New coverage of proposal-          responding to the       Communication Skills,” is         interviews
 updated for this edition)           writing software                   emotional state of      now in the new Prologue           Added coverage of panel
                                     Heavily revised section on         presentation            Revised coverage of               interviews
                                     illustrating reports with          audiences               employers’ approach to            Situational and behavioral
                                     effective visuals, including       New advice on           the employment process            interviews separated as
                                     visual literacy and six            using a three-act       Added information about           two distinct types
                                     principles of effective            storytelling            networking etiquette              Added coverage of
                                     visual design                      structure for           New coverage of career            working interviews
                                     New coverage of data               presentations           objectives, qualifications        Added section on
                                     visualization                                              summaries, and career             interview media, which
                                                                                                summaries                         includes e-mail and IM,
                                                                                                Revised coverage of               video, and online
                                                                                                activities and                    interviews
                                                                                                achievements                      Revised coverage of
                                                                                                Revised coverage of               what employers look for
                                                                                                personal data and                 in an interview
                                                                                                references                        Replacement of the
                                                                                                New coverage of                   “Plan to Look Good”
                                                                                                PowerPoint and video              section
                                                                                                résumés                           Revised “Discussing
                                                                                                                                  Salary” section
 Model documents and                 New: Data visualization            New: Writing            New: Effective                    New: Effective solicited
 other exhibits                      using a cloud tag (Figure          readable content        chronological résumé              application message
                                     11.9)                              (Figure 12.5)           (Figure 13.5)                     (Figure 14.1)
                                     New: Digital image                 New: Slide master       New: Combination
                                     manipulation (Figure               (Figure 12.6)           résumé (Figure 13.6)
                                     11.12)                             New: Slide sorter       New: Ineffective résumé
                                                                        view (Figure 12.7)      design (Figure 13.7)
                                                                        New: Navigation
                                                                        and support slides
                                                                        (Figure 12.8)
                                                                        New: Moving
                                                                        blueprint slides
                                                                        (Figure 12.9)

 End-of-chapter exercises         New questions on integrating New questions on              New questions on résumé           New questions on
                                  visuals and text, visual design, presentation skills,      writing, networking, plain-       situational and behavioral
                                  and wiki revision                ethical design choices,   text and HTML formats, and        interviews
                                                                   and slide show            qualifications summaries

 Cases                            2 new cases                         4 new cases            2 new cases                       Comparable to BCE3

                                       COURSE PLANNING GUIDE
                                       Although Business Communication Essentials follows a traditional sequence of topics, it is struc-
                                       tured so that you can address topics in whatever order best suits your needs. For instance, if you
                                       want to begin by reviewing grammar, you can ask students to read Chapter 5,“Completing
                                       Business Messages” and then the “Handbook of Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage.” Conversely, if
                                       you want to begin with employment-related communication, you can start with the Prologue,
                                       “Building a Career with Your Communication Skills,” followed by Chapters 13 and 14.
                                           The following table suggests a sequence and a schedule for covering the chapters in the
                                       textbook, with time allocations based on the total number of class hours available.
80                                        Unit 2: The Three-Step Writing Process

                                          Creating Effective Sentences
                                          Making every sentence count is a key step in creating effective messages. Start by selecting the
                                          optimum type of sentence and then arrange words to emphasize the most important point
                                          in each sentence.

                                          Choosing from the Four Types of Sentences
A simple sentence has one main            Sentences come in four basic varieties: simple, compound, complex, and compound-com-
                                          plex. A simple sentence has one main clause (a single subject and a single predicate),
                                          although it may be expanded by nouns and pronouns serving as objects of the action and by
                                          modifying phrases. Consider this example (with the subject underlined once and the predi-
                                          cate verb underlined twice):
                                              Profits increased in the past year.
A compound sentence has two main               A compound sentence has two main clauses that express two or more independent but
                                          related thoughts of equal importance, usually joined by and, but, or or. In effect, a compound
                                          sentence is a merger of two or more simple sentences (independent clauses) that are related.
                                          For example:
                                              Wages have declined by 5 percent, and employee turnover has been high.
                                              The independent clauses in a compound sentence are always separated by a comma or
                                          by a semicolon (in which case the conjunction—and, but, or or—is dropped).
A complex sentence has one main               A complex sentence expresses one main thought (the independent clause) and one or
clause and one subordinate clause.
                                          more subordinate thoughts (dependent clauses) related to it, often separated by a comma.
                                          The subordinate thought, which comes first in the following sentence, could not stand alone:
                                              Although you may question Gerald’s conclusions, you must admit that his research is
A compound-complex sentence has               A compound-complex sentence has two main clauses, at least one of which contains a
two main clauses and at least one
dependent clause.                         subordinate clause:
                                              Profits have increased in the past year, and although you may question Gerald’s conclu-
                                              sions, you must admit that his research is thorough.
Writing is usually most effective if it       To make your writing as effective as possible, strive for variety and balance using all
balances all four sentence types.
                                          four sentence types. If you use too many simple sentences, you won’t be able to prop-
                                          erly express the relationships among your ideas, and your writing will sound choppy
                                          and abrupt. If you use too many long, compound sentences, your writing will sound

                                          Using Sentence Style to Emphasize Key Thoughts
Emphasize specific parts of               In every message, some ideas are more important than others. You can emphasize key ideas
sentences by
                                          through your sentence style. One obvious technique is to give important points the most
  Devoting more words to them
                                          space. When you want to call attention to a thought, use extra words to describe it. Consider
  Putting them at the beginning or
  at the end of the sentence
                                          this sentence:
  Making them the subject of the              The chairperson called for a vote of the shareholders.
                                          To emphasize the importance of the chairperson, you might describe her more fully:
                                              Having considerable experience in corporate takeover battles, the chairperson called
                                              for a vote of the shareholders.

                                          You can increase the emphasis even more by adding a separate, short sentence to augment
                                          the first:
                                              The chairperson called for a vote of the shareholders. She has considerable experience
                                              in corporate takeover battles.

                                               You can also call attention to a thought by making it the subject of the sentence. In the
                                          following example, the emphasis is on the person:
                                              I can write letters much more quickly using a computer.
182                                        Unit 3: Brief Business Messages

  Planning                                   Writing                                          Completing
  Analyze the Situation                      Adapt to Your Audience                           Revise the Message
  Verify that the purpose is to refuse a     Adjust the level of formality based              Evaluate content and review readability
  warranty claim and offer alternatives;     on the degree of familiarity with the            to make sure the negative information
  the audience’s likely reaction is          audience (relatively formal is best in           won’t be misinterpreted; make sure
  disappointment and surprise.               this case); maintain a positive                  your tone stays positive without being
  Gather Information                         relationship by using the “you”                  artificial.
  Verify warranty information and            attitude, politeness, positive
                                             emphasis, and bias-free language.                Produce the Message
  research alternatives to present to
                                                                                              Emphasize a clean, professional
  the customer.
                                             Compose the Message                              appearance.
  Select the Right Medium
                                             Use a conversational but professional
  Choose the best medium to deliver                                                           Proofread the Message
                                             style and keep the message brief,
  this message; the customer submitted                                                        Review for errors in layout, spelling,
                                             clear, and as helpful as possible.
  the claim via e-mail, so a response                                                         and mechanics.
  via e-mail is appropriate.
                                                                                              Distribute the Message
  Organize the Information
                                                                                              Deliver your message via e-mail.
  Focus on the main idea, which is to
  refuse the claim; select the indirect
  approach based on the audience and
  the situation.

                         1                                         2                                                       3

 Buffers the bad news by
 starting with a point on
 which the writer and
 reader agree
 States the bad news indirectly                                                                                          Subtly lets the customer
 while emphasizing the                                                                                                   know that he made a mistake,
 appropriate uses of the                                                                                                 but doesn’t blame him directly
 Gives the customer options
 for the next step, including
 a helpful link to the
 company’s website                                                                                                       Encourages future purchasing
                                                                                                                         in a way that indicates a desire
 Closes on a positive note by                                                                                            to help the customer avoid a
 thanking the customer and                                                                                               repeat of this mistake
 looking to the future
                                                         Pointers for Refusing Claims
                                                         • Use the buffer to indicate that you received and understand the request or complaint.
                                                         • In the body, provide an accurate, objective account of the transaction.
                                                         • Make the refusal clear without being abrupt, insulting, or accusatory.
                                                         • Maintain an impersonal tone that doesn’t offend the reader.
                                                         • Don’t apologize for refusing, since your company hasn’t done anything wrong.
                                                         • If appropriate, offer an alternative solution.
                                                         • Emphasize your continued desire for a positive relationship with the customer.
                                                         • Close with resale information if appropriate.
                                                         • Make any suggested actions easy for the reader to follow.

Figure 8.4 Effectively Refusing a Claim
Vera Shoemaker diplomatically refuses this customer’s request for a new saw blade. Without blaming the
customer (even though the customer clearly made a mistake), she points out that the saw blade is not
intended to cut steel, so the warranty doesn’t cover a replacement in this instance.

                                                If you deal with enough customers over a long-enough period, chances are you’ll get a
                                           request that is particularly outrageous. You may even be convinced that the person is being
                                           dishonest. However, you must resist the temptation to call the person dishonest or incompe-
                                           tent. If you don’t, you could be sued for defamation, a false statement that damages some-
                                           one’s reputation. (Written defamation is called libel; spoken defamation is called slander.) To
                                           successfully sue for defamation, the aggrieved party must prove (1) that the statement is
                                           false, (2) that the language injures the person’s reputation, and (3) that the statement has
                                           been communicated to others.
Handbook of Grammar,
Mechanics, and Usage
The rules of grammar, mechanics, and usage provide the              answered all the questions, ask your instructor for an answer
guidance every professional needs in order to communicate suc-      sheet so that you can score the test. On the Assessment of
cessfully with colleagues, customers, and other audiences.          English Skills form (page H-3), record the number of questions
Understanding and following these rules helps you in two            you answered incorrectly in each section.
important ways. First, the rules determine how meaning is               The following choices apply to items 1–5. Write in each
encoded and decoded in the communication process. If you            blank the letter of the choice that best describes the part of
don’t encode your messages using the same rules your readers or     speech that is underlined.
listeners use to decode them, chances are your audiences will not
extract your intended meaning from your messages. Without a          A.   noun
firm grasp of the basics of grammar, mechanics, and usage, you       B.   pronoun
risk being misunderstood, damaging your company’s image, los-        C.   verb
ing money for your company, and possibly even losing your job.       D.   adjective
In other words, if you want to get your point across, you need to    E.   adverb
follow the rules of grammar, mechanics, and usage. Second,           F.   preposition
apart from transferring meaning successfully, following the rules    G.   conjunction
tells your audience that you respect the conventions and expec-      H.   article
tations of the business community.                                  ____    1. The new branch location will be decided by next
      You can think of grammar as the agreed-upon structure of a               week.
language, the way that individual words are formed and the          ____    2. We must hire only qualified, ambitious graduates.
manner in which those words are then combined to form mean-         ____    3. After their presentation, I was still undecided.
ingful sentences. Mechanics are style and formatting issues such    ____    4. See me after the meeting.
as capitalization, spelling, and the use of numbers and symbols.    ____    5. Margaret, pressed for time, turned in unusually
Usage involves the accepted and expected way in which specific                 sloppy work.
words are used by a particular community of people—in this
case, the community of businesspeople who use English. This             In the blanks for items 6–15, write the letter of the word or
handbook can help you improve your knowledge and awareness          phrase that best completes each sentence.
in all three areas. It is divided into the following sections:
                                                                    ____    6. (A. Russ’s, B. Russ’) laptop was stolen last week.
    Diagnostic Test of English Skills. Testing your current         ____    7. Speaking only for (A. me, B. myself), I think the new
    knowledge of grammar, mechanics, and usage helps you                       policy is discriminatory.
    find out where your strengths and weaknesses lie. This test     ____    8. Of the five candidates we interviewed yesterday,
    offers 50 items taken from the topics included in this hand-               (A. who, B. whom) do you believe is the best choice?
    book.                                                           ____    9. India has increased (A. it’s, B. its) imports of corn
    Assessment of English Skills. After completing the diag-                   and rice.
    nostic test, use the assessment form to highlight the areas     ____   10. Anyone who wants to be (A. their, B. his or her) own
    you most need to review.                                                   boss should think about owning a franchise.
                                                                    ____   11. If the IT department can’t (A. lie, B. lay) the fiber-
    Essentials of Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage with                           optic cable by March 1, the plant will not open on
    Practice Sessions. This section helps you quickly review                   schedule.
    the basics. You can study the things you’ve probably already    ____   12. Starbucks (A. is, B. are) opening five new stores in
    learned but may have forgotten about grammar, punctua-                     San Diego in the next year.
    tion, mechanics (including capitalization, abbreviation,        ____   13. The number of women-owned small businesses (A.
    number style, and word division), and vocabulary (includ-                  has, B. have) increased sharply in the past two
    ing frequently confused words, frequently misused words,                   decades.
    frequently misspelled words, and transitional words and         ____   14. Greg and Bernyce worked (A. good, B. well) together.
    phrases). Practice sessions throughout this section help        ____   15. They distributed the supplies (A. among, B. between)
    you test yourself and reinforce what you learn. Use this                   the six staff members.
    essential review not only to study and improve your
    English skills but also as a reference for any questions you         The following choices apply to items 16–20. Write in each
    may have during this course.                                    blank the letter of the choice that best describes the sentence
                                                                    structure problem with each item.
Diagnostic Test of English Skills                                    A. sentence fragment
Use this test to determine whether you need more practice with       B. comma splice
grammar, punctuation, mechanics, or vocabulary. When you’ve          C. misplaced modifier                                      H-1
                                                        6: Crafting Messages for Electronic Media                                    123

    For the latest information on using IM in business, visit
and click on Chapter 6.

A blog (short for web log) is an online journal that is much easier to personalize and update       Blogs have a unique ability to
than a conventional website. In a sense, a blog combines the global reach and reference value       encourage interaction with a large,
                                                                                                    geographically dispersed audience.
of a conventional website with the conversational exchanges of e-mail or IM. Good business
blogs pay close attention to several important elements:

    Communicating with personal style and an authentic voice. Most business messages
    designed for large audiences are carefully scripted and written in a “corporate voice” that
    is impersonal and objective. In contrast, successful business blogs are written by individ-
    uals and exhibit their personal style. Audiences relate to this fresh approach and often
    build closer emotional bonds with the blogger’s organization as a result. For instance,
    Microsoft’s Channel 9 video blog, or vlog (, features
    informal, personable video clips in which several of the company’s technical experts
    answer questions and criticisms from software developers.25
    Delivering new information quickly. Today’s blogging tools let you post new material
    within minutes of writing it or filming it. Not only does this feature allow you to
    respond quickly when needed—such as during a corporate crisis—it also lets your
    audiences know that an active conversation is taking place. Blogs that don’t offer a con-
    tinuous stream of new and interesting content are quickly ignored in today’s online
    Choosing topics of peak interest to audiences. Successful blogs cover topics that
    readers care about. For instance, General Motors’s popular FastLane blog (http:// features top executives writing about GM cars and respond-
    ing to questions and criticisms from car enthusiasts. The people who read the blog
    and write comments obviously care about cars and want the latest information
    from GM.26
    Encouraging audiences to join the conversation. Not all blogs invite comments,                  Most business blogs invite readers to
    although most do, and many bloggers consider comments to be an essential feature.               leave comments.
    Blog comments can be a valuable source of news, information, and insights. In addition,
    the relatively informal nature of blogging seems to make it easier for companies to let
    their guard down and converse with their audiences. To guard against comments that
    are not helpful or appropriate, many bloggers review all comments and post only the
    most helpful or interesting ones.

Understanding the Business Applications of Blogging
Blogs are a potential solution whenever you have a continuing stream of information to              The business applications of blogs
share with an online audience—and particularly when you want the audience to have the               include a wide range of internal and
                                                                                                    external communication tasks.
opportunity to respond. Here are some of the many ways businesses are using blogs:27

    Project management and team communication. Using blogs is a good way to keep pro-
    ject teams up to date, particularly when team members are geographically dispersed. For
    instance, the trip reports that employees file after visiting customers or other external
    parties can be enhanced vividly with mobile blogs, or moblogs.
    Company news. Companies can use blogs to keep employees informed about general
    business matters, from facility news to benefit updates. Blogs also serve as online commu-
    nity forums, giving everyone in the company a chance to raise questions and voice
    Customer support. Building on the tradition of online customer support forums
    that have been around since the earliest days of the Internet, customer support
                                                          6: Crafting Messages for Electronic Media                                137

some say they are getting tired of all the ads—both ads on the
site itself and pop-up ads. A few say they are switching to other
                                                                     [ BLOGGING
websites with fewer advertising intrusions. Your site traffic       5. Legitimate and Legal: Defending Technology Sales to Chinese
numbers are holding fairly steady for now, but you’re worried       Police Agencies Cisco, a leading manufacturer of computer net-
that the few visitors leaving might be the start of a      working equipment, is one of several technology companies that
significant exodus in the future.                                   have been criticized recently for selling high-tech equipment to
Your task Write an e-mail message to your manager,                  police agencies in China. After the Chinese government killed
expressing your concern about the amount of advertising con-        hundreds of protestors in Tiananmen Square in 1989, U.S. offi-
tent on Acknowledge that advertising is a vital           cials began restricting the export of products that could be used
source of revenue but share what you’re learned about site vis-     by Chinese security forces. The restrictions cover a range of low-
itors who claim to be migrating to other sites. Offer to lead a     tech devices, from helmets and handcuffs to fingerprint powder
comprehensive review effort that will compare the advertising       and teargas, but not certain high-tech products, such as the net-
presence on with that of other sports websites and         working equipment that Cisco sells, which can conceivably be
explore ways to maintain strong advertising sales without           used by security forces in ways that violate human rights. Critics
alienating readers.45                                               contend that by not restricting products such as Cisco’s, the U.S.
                                                                    government is not enforcing the full intent of the restrictions.
                                                                    Moreover, they suggest that Cisco could be enabling abuse. For
  SKILLS                                                            example, its Chinese marketing brochure promotes the equip-
3. Must Be an Opportunity in Here Somewhere: The Growing            ment’s ability to “strengthen police control.”
Market of Women Living Without Husbands For the first time in       Your task Write a brief post for the Cisco executive blog that
history (aside from special situations such as major wars), more    explains the following points: The company rigorously follows
than half—51 percent—of all U.S. adult women now live with-         all U.S. export regulations; the company’s marketing efforts in
out a spouse. (In other words, they live alone, with roommates,     China are consistent with the way it markets products to other
or as part of an unmarried couple.) Twenty-five percent have        police organizations throughout the world; the products are
never married, and 26 percent are divorced, widowed, or mar-        simply tools, and like all other tools, they can be applied in good
ried but living apart from their spouses. In the 1950s and into     or bad ways, and responsible application is the customer’s
the 1960s, only 40 percent of women lived without a spouse, but     responsibility, not Cisco’s; and if Cisco didn’t sell this equip-
every decade since, the percentage has increased. In your work      ment to the Chinese government, another company from
as a consumer trend specialist for Seymour Powell (www.             another country would.48, a product design firm based in London
that specializes in the home, personal, leisure, and transporta-
tion sectors, it’s your business to recognize and respond to
                                                                     [ IM
demographic shifts such as this.                                    6. The Very Definition of Confusion: Helping Consumers Sort
Your task With a small team of classmates, brainstorm possi-        Out High-Definition Television High-definition television can
ble product opportunities that respond to this trend. In an         be a joy to watch—but, oh, what a pain to buy. The field is lit-
e-mail message to be sent to the management team at Seymour         tered with competing technologies and arcane terminology that
Powell, list your ideas for new or modified products that might     is meaningless to most consumers. Moreover, it’s nearly impos-
sell well in a society in which more than half of all adult women   sible to define one technical term without invoking two or three
live without a spouse. For each idea, provide a one-sentence        others, leaving consumers swimming in an alphanumeric soup
explanation of why you think the product has potential.46           of confusion. The manufacturers themselves can’t even agree
                                                                    on which of the 18 different digital TV formats truly qualify as
                                                                    “high definition.” As a sales support manager for Crutchfield
  SKILLS   BUILDER                                                  (, a leading online retailer of audio and
                                                                    video systems, you understand the frustration buyers feel; your
4. Help Is on the Way: Encouraging Ford Dealers The “Big
                                                                    staff is deluged daily by their questions.
Three” U.S. automakers—General Motors, Chrysler, and
Ford—haven’t had much good news to share lately. Ford, in par-
ticular, has been going through a rough time, losing billions of    Your task To help your staff respond quickly to consumers
dollars and being overtaken in sales volume by Toyota.              who ask questions via Crutchfield’s online IM chat service, you
                                                                    are developing a set of “canned” responses to common ques-
Your task Write an e-mail message to be sent to all Ford deal-      tions. When a consumer asks one of these questions, a sales
ers in North America, describing an exciting new model about        advisor can simply click on the ready-made answer. Start by
to be introduced to the public. For this exercise, you can use      writing concise, consumer-friendly definitions of the following
either an upcoming Ford model you have researched in the            terms: resolution, HDTV, 1080p, and HDMI. (On the
automotive media or a fictitious car of your own imagination        Crutchfield website, click on “Learn,”“TVs, Blu-ray & Gaming,”
(make sure it’s something that could conceivably be introduced      and then “Televisions” to learn more about these terms.
by Ford).47                                                and are two other handy sources.)49
158   Unit 3: Brief Business Messages

      Test Your Knowledge
       1. What are three guidelines for asking a series of questions in a routine request?

       2. Should you use the direct or indirect approach for most routine messages? Why?

       3. What six pieces of information must be included in a letter of recommendation?

       4. How can you avoid sounding insincere when writing a goodwill message?

       5. What are six guidelines for writing condolence messages?

      Apply Your Knowledge
       1. Why is it good practice to explain that replying to a request could benefit the

       2. Your company’s error cost an important business customer a new client; you know it,
          and your customer knows it. Do you apologize, or do you refer to the incident in a
          positive light without admitting any responsibility? Briefly explain.

       3. You’ve been asked to write a letter of recommendation for an employee who worked
          for you some years ago. You recall that the employee did an admirable job, but you
          can’t remember any specific information at this point. Should you write the letter
          anyway? Explain.

       4. Every time you send a direct-request memo to Ted Jackson, he delays or refuses to
          comply. You’re beginning to get impatient. Should you send Jackson an e-mail message
          to ask what’s wrong? Complain to your supervisor about Jackson’s uncooperative
          attitude? Arrange a face-to-face meeting with Jackson? Bring up the problem at the
          next staff meeting? Explain.

       5. Ethical Choices You have a complaint against one of your suppliers, but you have
          no documentation to back it up. Should you request an adjustment anyway? Why or
          why not?

      Practice Your Knowledge
      Exercises for Perfecting Your Writing
      Revising Messages: Direct Approach Revise the following short e-mail messages so that
      they are more direct and concise; develop a subject line for each revised message.
       1. I’m contacting you about your recent order for a High Country backpack. You
          didn’t tell us which backpack you wanted, and you know we make a lot of different
          ones. We have the canvas models with the plastic frames and vinyl trim, and we have
136                                  Unit 3: Brief Business Messages

Expand Your Knowledge
Exploring the Best of the Web                                            Surfing Your Way to Career Success
Ready to Start Blogging? Blogging is easy to do if you have              Bovée and Thill’s Business Communication Headline News
the right information. Start with the helpful tutorials at               offers links to hundreds of online resources that can help More than 30                      you with this course, your other college courses, and your
brief articles cover everything from creating a blog to                  career. Visit and
attracting more readers to setting up RSS newsfeeds. Learn               click on “Web Directory.” The Letters, Memos, E-Mail,
the techniques for adding audio and photo files to your blog.            Instant Messages, Blogs, and Web Content section connects
Review how search engines treat blogs and how you can use                you to a variety of websites and articles on routine, positive,
search engines to help more people find your blog. Then                  and negative messages; persuasive messages; letters and
answer the following questions.                                          memos; e-mail; IM; blogging; and web writing. Identify
                                                                         three websites from this section that could be useful in your
Exercises                                                                business career. For each site, write a two-sentence summary
 1. What are five ways to attract more readers to your blog?             of what the site offers and how it could help you launch and
 2. Why are blogs good for marketing?                                    build your career.
 3. What is a newsfeed, and why is it a vital part of blogging?
Use to test your understanding of the concepts presented in this chapter and explore additional materi-
als that will bring the ideas to life in video, activities, and an online multimedia e-book. Additionally, you can improve your
skill with prepositions, conjunctions, and articles by using the “Peak Performance Grammar and Mechanics” module within
the lab. Take the Pretest to determine whether you have any weak areas. Then review those areas in the Refresher Course. Take
the Follow-Up Test to check your grasp of prepositions, conjunctions, and articles. For an extra challenge, take the Advanced
Test. Finally, for even more reinforcement, go to the “Improve Your Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage” section that follows the
cases, and complete the “Level 1: Self-Assessment” exercises.

  Apply the three-step writing process to the following cases, as assigned by your instructor.

   SKILLS                                                               [ E-MAIL

1. Come on to Comic-Con: Explaining the Benefits of Attending            2. Keeping the Fans Happy: Analyzing Advertising on
Comic-Con International is an annual convention that high-               ESPN leads the pack both online and off. Its well-known cable
lights a wide variety of pop culture and entertainment media,            television sports channels are staple fare for sports enthusiasts,
from comic books and collectibles to video games and movies.             and ( is the leader in sports
From its early start as a comic book convention that attracted           websites. Advertisers flock to because it delivers mil-
several hundred fans and publishing industry insiders, Comic-            lions of visitors in the prime 18- to 34-year-old demographic
Con has become a major international event, with more than               group. With a continually refreshed offering of sporting news,
120,000 attendees.                                                       columnists, video replays, and fantasy leagues (online competi-
                                                                         tions in which participants choose players for their teams, and
Your task Several readers of your pop culture blog have been             the outcome is based on how well the real players do in actual
asking for your recommendation about visiting Comic-Con in               live competition), has become one of the major
San Diego next summer. Write a two- or three-paragraph post-             advertising venues on the web.
ing for your blog that explains what Comic-Con is and what                    As an up-and-coming web producer for, you’re
visitors can expect to experience at the convention. Be sure to          concerned about the rumblings of discontent you’ve heard
address your posting to fans, not industry insiders. You can             from friends and read in various blogs and other sources.
learn more at                              remains popular with millions of sports fans, but

                                           1 Read messages from the
                                           authors and access over 175
                                           media items available only to
                                           (Students have access to their
                                           own messages, assignments,
                                           and media items.)

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

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

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