Effective Business Writing
Memos, E-Mail, Letters
Guidelines for Effective Business Writing
Components of effective and efficient
written business communication
Criteria of effective and efficient business
Good style in business writing
Components of Effective and
clear content Sender/receiver
Effective organization relationship
Appropriate presentation Receiver’s perception,
expectation and possible
Medium reaction to the message
Appropriate use of Environment
actions and gestures
Appropriate use and treat-
ment of time and space right place
expectation and possible
reaction to the message.
Direct Approach—The major idea is
presented first, in the place that carries
the greatest impact. The detail and
explanation follow. This approach is
often used for good news and routine
Indirect Approach—A carefully
constructed explanation in several
sentences leads inductively to the main
message, which appears close to the end.
This approach is often used for bad
news and persuasive message.
- body language
- use and treatment of time
- the presentation of a written message
- format consideration of a written
Four Guidelines For Effective
A Comparison of Three Writing Styles
Steps to craft effective writing
Put down your ideas on a piece of paper without too
much regard for mechanics or organization.
Organize your thoughts in a logical order by using an
Refine your content so that everything you want to say
is there, but nothing more.
Check your choice of words for clarity and precision.
Check the mechanics—grammar, spelling, punctuation
and presentation and format.
Use the appropriate tone
Know to whom you are writing and what purpose you
hope to achieve.
Elements of a Memo
“To” and “From” lines
Criteria for a Good Subject Line
Too general: Training Session
Better: Dates for 2004 Training Session
Wordy: Survey of Student Preferences in
Regards to Various Pizza Factors
Better: Students’ Pizza Preferences Survey
Inappropriate: Denial of Promotion
Better : Your Visit with Me on September 1
1. a. New Employee Benefit
b. Child Care Will Now Be Offered
at a Discount to Employees with
c. New Policy to Subsidize Child
Care for Employees
2. a. How to Enter Order on Computer
b. Order Entry, Instructions for
c. Entering Orders
3. a. When You Can Deduct the
Cost of a Conference Meal
b. Attendance at Conference
c. Reimbursement Procedures
for Conference Meals
4. a. Your Memo of 14 August
b. Progress on Joint Venture
Projects in Japan
c. Problems with Joint Venture
Projects in Japan
Parts of Memos
The heading information at the beginning
Your opening statements of background and
purpose of writing the memo
Your discussion paragraph
An effective and appropriate close
Memo Writing Steps
Determine your purpose and audience.
Determine what specific information
needs to be included.
Use a conversational and informal
Determine how you will emphasize
Additional Guidelines for Other
Kinds of Memos
Sometimes one sentence is all that is
needed to get your message across. If so,
just write a one-sentence memo.
When writing a memo that apologize, don’t
hide the apology and don’t convey the
When writing bad news memo, try to de-
emphasize the bad news. You can use the
“sandwiching” technique to deliver the bad
A quick way to distribute a memo or sent a
Using memo format
Using letter writing techniques
Possible Problems in Using E-
Losing the impact that other media offer
Elements of Letters
- reference initials
- enclosure notation
- copy notation
Commonly Used Letter Styles
Three Questions To Be asked
What is the message?
How will the reader react?
Which approach will work best?
The Three-Step Plan
Start with the main idea
Then provide details and explanation
Conclude with a positive closing
Effective Writing Techniques for Good
News and Routine Messages
Present the information in a logical manner,
grouping similar points in paragraphs.
Use terminology appropriate to your reader.
Use concrete and specific words and phrases to
avoid reader’s misunderstanding.
Use active verb to emphasize action.
Use “you” language to keep the reader’s
attention focused on the message.
Be concise and avoid wordy phrases and
Use simple sentences to emphasize main points
and other sentence structure to indicate
Use short, even one-sentence paragraph to
emphasize main points and longer paragraphs
for supporting details.
Use mechanical devices such as numbered lists,
bullets or asterisks to effectively highlight the
Goals to Write a Bad News Letter
Convey the bad news.
Have the reader read, understand and accept
the bad news.
Maintain as much goodwill as possible.
To reduce or eliminate future
correspondence on the same subject so the
message does not create more work for the
The Four-Step Plan
Begin with a neutral statement.
Offer an explanation.
Deliver the bad news.
Close with a positive ending.
Guidelines to Convey Bad news
Deliver the facts in a straightforward
manner, and avoid making value judgments
that might offend the reader.
Avoid a negative tone and respect your
reader’s right to be “ wrong”.
Seek to make the communication as win-
win as possible.
Effective writing and Presentation Techniques
Use a neutral beginning.
Present the bad news in two steps: first the
explanation and then the bad news.
Use a positive close for a bad news letter to help
maintain goodwill and leave the door open to do
other business in the future.
Avoid negative words, which may bring negative
Avoid “you” language, instead, use first or third
Use long and complex sentence to imply the bad
Avoid using lists and other mechanical devices to
call attention to the bad news.
Use passive voice to avoid blaming the reader.
De-emphasize the refusal by putting it in the same
paragraph as the reason, rather than in a
paragraph by itself. Sometimes you may be able
to imply the refusal rather than state it directly.
Ineffective: You have been sending your shirts to a
laundry that evidently washed them by machine.
Better: the shirts should be washed on gentle
cycle without strong bleaches.
Negative: We cannot ship our merchandise until
you send a check for $150.
Better: We will be glad to ship your
merchandise on receipt of your check of $150.
Ineffective:You should have realized that one coat
of the color, wedding-gown white, won’t cover
the forest green paint on your walls.
Better: Two coats of light colors such as wedding-
gown white should be used to cover darker
colors such as forest green.
Direct: You cannot get insurance for just one
Implied: The terms of our agreement are clear
on this point and state that the shortest term
for an insurance policy is six months.
Negative: We cannot, at present, offer you credit
Better: Although we are unable, at this time to
extend credit, we are confident that we can
work successfully around any cash-flow
problems and deliver the goods you need.
Negative: Because our main offices are now in
Chicago, we will be unable to service you
Better: Although our moving to Chicago now
keeps us from servicing you directly, we are
asking McGill Associates in New York, the
most reliable agent we know to continue your
regular service calls.
Negative: We regret to tell you that your
manuscript does not meet our editorial needs.
I’m sorry that we are presently out of stock of blue flight
bags and will be unable to fill your order at this time.
An order has been placed with the manufacturer in the
color you want, but it will be at least ten days before we
will receive shipment.
I trust this delay will not inconvenience you.
Three Types of Persuasive Message
Purposes of Writing Persuasive Message
To encourage the reader to act.
To provide enough information so that the
reader knows exactly what to do.
To overcome any objection that might
prevent or delay action.
A=Grab attention by introducing an attention-
I=Stir interest by introducing the product,
service or idea.
D=great desire by giving evidence of the
value of the product, service or idea.
A=request action and make action easy to take.
Indirect-Inductive Approach for
The opening is worded to catch the reader’s
attention or spark his interest.
Create interest and desire.
Tell the reader what action you want them
Planning for Persuasive
Know your product, service or idea
Know your reader and what type of appeal
will work best with this person.
Decide what action you want your reader to
Suppose you are Valentina Santinelli. Now it
is the end of the month and you still have
not received any payment on the the
invoice from Wilhelm Becker. Write a
second reminder to him including the
- Explain that you have received no
- Quote your terms of business: 30 days
- Mention the delay of 90 days.
- State your company’s policy on
- Request payment immediately.
- State that you enclose a copy of the