red river college university of manitoba university of winnipeg
business communication contexts and controversies
Pearson Canada Toronto
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication Hanson, Les, 1956– Business communication: contexts and controversies / Les Hanson, Darryl Hammond. — 1st ed. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-13-814498-2 1. Business communication—Textbooks. I. Hammond, Darryl, 1964– II. Title. HF5718.H35 2010
Thanks to our families for their patience and support.
Brief Contents PART 1 Foundations 1
Business Communication in the Twenty-First Century
Ideas: Planning the Writing Process
Words: Looking at Your Language
Media: Choosing Your Channel
PART 2 Routine Communications 6
Oral Presentations: The Counterintuitive Speaker
Writing Routine Letters, Memos, and Emails
Writing Persuasive Messages
Dealing with Negative Information
PART 3 Longer Documents 11
Writing Instructions, Explanations, and Definitions
Preparing to Write Proposals, Reports, and Electronic Presentations
Writing Proposals and Reports
Writing Business Plans
PART 4 Employment 15
Networking, Developing Effective References, and Succeeding in Employment Interviews 393
Interpersonal Communication: Surviving Life on the Cube Farm
Grammar, Punctuation, and Plain English
Contents Issues in Communication boxes Preface xvii About the Authors xxiii About the Contributors xxiv
THE IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING
Planning Routine Documents
Establish Your Purpose for Writing 32 Analyze the Audience 34 Obtain and Organize Your Information 35 Working with Others 36 Organizing with Outlines 41 Organization in Action: Getting Your Information in Order 43
PART 1 Foundations Business Communication in the Twenty-First Century 1
CHANGING COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY
THE WRITING PROCESS IN ACTION
Hard Skills and Soft Skills 7 How Business Communication Differs from High School English 7
Set Objectives for Yourself 45 Expect to Make Mistakes 45 Feel Free to Shift between Sections Set Your Work Aside When It Is Complete 45 Edit Your Work 45 Proofread Your Work 46
ELEMENTS OF COMMUNICATION
Issues in Communication: BlackBerry or Crackberry?
WHY STUDY COMMUNICATION?
COMMUNICATING IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY 16 Text Messaging 17 Living with PDAs 19 Multi-tasking: The New Normal
Planning 2 Ideas: the Writing Process THE COST OF POOR PLANNING Issues in Communication: Banning the Bags 29
Chapter Summary 48 Thinking and Writing Exercises 49 Writing Skills Checkup: Point of View Shift
Commercially Produced Templates The Limitations of Templates 48
Ideas 10 Words 11 Media 13
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RIGHT WORDS 26
Issues in Communication: New Words at Work: From Blogs to Bandwidth
STANDARD ENGLISH: USING DICTIONARIES AND STYLE GUIDES 56 Literal Meanings: Denotation 56 Deciding Which Words Are Appropriate Connotation: Emotional Meanings 58
USING THE APPROPRIATE STYLE AND TONE Informal Style 59 Academic Style 59 Business Style 59 The Impact of Tone
THE NEW CHANNELS
Privacy and the New Media
Chapter Summary 98 Thinking and Writing Exercises 98 Writing Skills Checkup: Apostrophes and Possessives 100
STREAMLINING YOUR WRITING
Avoid Wordiness 64 Avoid Redundant Words and Wordy Expressions 64 Avoid Outdated and Bureaucratic Expressions 64 Use Caution with Business Jargon 67 Use Simple Verbs 67 Use Specific Words 68 Use Content and Function Words Properly
SENSITIVITY 101: AVOIDING BIASED LANGUAGE Gender 70 Age 71 Race, Religion, and Ethnicity Disability 73
5 Intercultural Communication
LIVING IN THE GLOBAL VILLAGE
Issues in Communication: Men and Women as Different Cultures 68
CULTURAL BALANCING ACTS
High-Context and Low-Context Cultures 105 The Needs of the Many and the Needs of the One 106 Listening to Cultural Narratives 107 Non-verbal Aspects of Communication 109
Executive Summary 352 Overview of the Business 353 Description of the Products and Services 355 Overview of the Industry 356 Marketing Strategy 357 Description of Management and Staff Implementation Plan 360 Financial Plan 361
PART 4 Employment
Writing Process for All Proposals Issues in Communication: The Art of Misgiving, Corporate Style
15 Writing Resumés
Solicited and Unsolicited Proposals 311 The Request for Proposal (RFP) 312 Proposal Responding to an RFP 314 Unsolicited Proposals 315
FINDING YOUR CAREER WHAT EMPLOYERS WANT Issues in Communication: Surfing for a Job 368
Chapter Summary 345 Thinking and Writing Exercises 345 Writing Skills Checkup: Colons and Semicolons 346
STRUCTURE OF A BUSINESS PLAN
READY, SET, . . .
Issues in Communication: Tiny Loans Become a Huge Success
PREPARING TO USE YOUR RESEARCH: THINK VISUALLY 289
What (and What Not) to Reference Types of References 299
Informational Report and Memo Format 324 Analytical Report in Letter Format Formal Reports 329 Information Reports 338 Analytical Reports 343 Background Reports 344 Operating Documents: Policies and Procedures 344
14 Writing Business Plans
The Library 284 Online Research 284 Journal Databases 287
xiv Contents BUILDING AN EFFECTIVE RESUMÉ One Size Does Not Fit All What to Watch For 374
LETTERS THAT CAN GET YOU WORK The Prospecting Letter 386 Letters about Advertised Positions Chapter Summary 390 Thinking and Writing Exercises 391 Writing Skills Checkup: Parallel Structure
17 Interpersonal Communication: 384
Increasing Your EQ
COMMUNICATION SKILLS TO EARN THE COOPERATION OF OTHER PEOPLE 433 IN THE OFFICE
Tips for Using Office Telephones Cellphone Etiquette 439
Chapter Summary 445 Thinking and Writing Exercises 445 Writing Skills Checkup: Dangling and Misplaced Modifiers 448
THE DAY OF THE INTERVIEW
COMMUNICATING BY PHONE AT WORK
INTERVIEWS: WHAT TO PREPARE FOR
Choosing Good References
Assertiveness Rights and Responsibilities 428 Strategies for Disagreeing Assertively 428 Techniques for Being Assertive 430
Communicating with Your Boss 433 Fitting into Your Boss’s Plans 434 Communicating with Frontline Workers
Issues in Communication: Drugs and the Workplace 395
Issues in Communication: Workplace Bullying 425
NETWORKING AND THE HIDDEN JOB MARKET
Understanding the Process Interview Formats 406 Preparing for an Interview Looking Good 410
Succeeding in Employment Interviews 393
Taking Action 397 Building a Career Network
Surviving Life on the Cube Farm 423 THE OFFICE ENVIRONMENT
Developing 16 Networking, Effective References, and
FINDING THE BEST OF THE BUNCH
Arriving for the Interview 414 Performing Well in the Interview 414 Starting the Interview 414 Answering Common Interview Questions 415 Staying on Track 415 Asking Questions during the Interview 417 Discussing Paycheques 417
Appendix: Grammar, Punctuation, and Plain English 449 Endnotes 479 Credits 487 Index 489
ISSUES in Communication
BlackBerry or Crackberry?
Sorry about That
Banning the Bags
Lawsuits, Safety Warnings, and Hazardous Coffee 259
New Words at Work: From Blogs to Bandwidth
The World according to Wiki and Wikipedia 281
The Art of Misgiving, Corporate Style
Men and Women as Different Cultures
Tiny Loans Become a Huge Success CHAPTER 6
The Obama Visit
Surfing for a Job
“PowerPoint Is Evil”
Drugs and the Workplace CHAPTER 8
The Dream of the Paperless Office
Workplace Bullying CHAPTER 9
The Nag Factor
Preface We had reservations about writing a new textbook when we were first approached with the idea because there are many good business communication textbooks on the market. Before we agreed to the project, we had to assure ourselves that there was a genuine need for a new book. Having taught the subject for many years, we have read dozens of business communication textbooks. We looked again at many of these and made lists of the problems that we (and our students) had found with them. Some included profiles of business leaders or companies that we had found boring. Others included exercises that required little thought or imagination or ones that required students to “make up additional details when necessary.” Some books ignored emerging areas of communication such as the use of smart phones. In others, email seemed to be tacked on as if it were a recent innovation. We noted that students were distracted by grammar exercises that dealt with multiple kinds of problems. Some books placed too much emphasis on having students memorize obscure details rather than helping them to write clearly. We were convinced. Business Communication: Contexts and Controversies overcomes these problems by ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■
allowing students to relate information in the book to real-world situations including interesting assignments providing provocative discussion questions promoting active learning illustrating some explanations with humorous examples using simple explanations
FEATURES Business Communication: Contexts and Controversies includes a number of features that are not found in
other textbooks or that offer improvements over those found in existing books. Up-to-date Coverage of Communication Technology. Social networking, texting, cell phone etiquette, viral marketing, and multi-tasking are just some of the topics that have been included because of the influence that technology has had on communication. Issues in Communication. Each chapter includes an “issue in communication” that illustrates a real-life situation relating to the topic of the chapter. The chapter on business plans describes a unique business idea that won a Nobel Prize, for example, while the chapter on writing routine messages describes attempts to promote a paperless office. Each Issue in Communication box includes questions that are intended to promote discussion. Business Plans. Business Communication: Contexts and Controversies includes a chapter that provides an introduction to the writing of business plans—a task that will be faced by many business students before (and after) they graduate. Instruction Manuals. While guides for writing instructions are frequently found in technical communication books, an increased reliance on computers and other hi-tech devices means that more and more people in business are being called upon to explain things to other people. Most of Chapter 11 (Writing Instructions, Explanations, and Definitions) deals with different aspects of instruction manuals. Behavioural Interviews. While behaviour-based interviewing has been a key tool of human resources departments for years, most communication textbooks have ignored the topic or given it only limited coverage. Business Communication: Contexts and Controversies provides detailed advice to people on preparing for this type of employment interview. Take It Further. While many textbooks contain sidebars summarizing the key points found on each page,
xviii Preface Business Communication: Contexts and Controversies sidebars contain interesting tidbits of information that are not included in the body of the text. Each sidebar ends with a provocative question intended to promote discussion of the material found in the chapter. Thinking and Writing Exercises. The writing assignments included in the chapters dealing with letters and emails are much more detailed than those found in other textbooks. Just as real-life writing requires people to make decisions about what information to include, many of these exercises require students to sort extra information to find the details that need to be included in their final submissions. Writing Skills Checkup. Unlike the writing improvement exercises found in most textbooks, those in Business Communication: Contexts and Controversies deal with a single topic in each chapter, along with a brief explanation of the guiding principles behind it. This allows students (and instructors) to concentrate on a single language-use problem at a time without getting distracted by other types of errors.
ORGANIZATION Part 1 Foundations Foundations is made up of five chapters that provide students with the principles on which all business communications are based: Chapter 1, “Business Communication in the Twenty-First Century,” the book’s introductory chapter, looks at some of the ways that business communication has changed in recent years. It uses these to explain the book’s premise that communication involves the interaction of ideas, words, and media. Chapter 2, “Ideas: Planning the Writing Process” emphasizes the need to plan all types of business communication based on the purpose of the document and the audience for whom it is intended. It provides instruction on brainstorming and sample outlines. Chapter 3, “Words: Looking at Your Language” explores the impact of the words we use in business. It explains the need for simplicity in language and discusses how euphemisms can sometimes be used (or abused). The chapter contains detailed guidelines on the use of non-discriminatory terminology along with examples from current Canadian usage.
Chapter 4, “Media: Choosing Your Channel,” compares the features of various oral and written communication channels to help students choose the most appropriate medium for their messages. In addition to the traditional tools for business communication, it includes sections dealing with some of the newer forms of communication to emerge, such as blogs, social networking, and viral marketing. Chapter 5, “Intercultural Communication,” explores the impact that culture has on business communication. In a world that has been made smaller by cheaper and faster forms of communication, the chapter shows how the cultural background of an audience can affect how messages are received.
Part 2 Routine Communications Routine Communications consists of five chapters that concentrate on the forms of communication that take place every day in most places of business. Chapter 6, “Meetings,” explains how to plan meetings to make the most effective use of time. It explains the various duties that people can expect to perform during a meeting and shows people how they can contribute to the success of a meeting. Chapter 7, “Oral Presentations: The Counterintuitive Speaker,” provides readers with ways to give speeches and presentations that capture the attention of the audience and present them with memorable information. It also explains how to prepare visual aids that enhance a presentation instead of boring the audience. Chapter 8, “Writing Routine Letters, Memos, and Emails,” looks at the mainstay of most office communications—email—and explains how to write messages that begin with a central idea and include all necessary details. It shows how the same principles should also be applied to letters and memos. Examples of good and bad communication are provided throughout the chapter. Chapter 9, “Writing Persuasive Messages,” identifies different types of situations where persuasion is necessary and then provides a range of strategies for convincing an audience. It discusses the merits of emotional and logical appeals and provides examples of how they can be applied to business communication. Chapter 10, “Dealing with Negative Information,” provides strategies for dealing with some aspects of
communication that many people find uncomfortable: making complaints, answering complaints, and making apologies. It explains how bad news can be used effectively and shows techniques for retaining the goodwill of clients under difficult circumstances.
Part 3 Longer Documents Longer Documents includes four chapters that deal with writing detailed documents. Chapter 11, “Writing Instructions, Explanations, and Definitions,” demonstrates the need for people to write explanations that are based on the needs of their readers. It explains how to deal with technical language and to write instructions that people will actually understand. Chapter 12, “Preparing to Write Proposals, Reports, and Electronic Presentations,” examines the initial processes needed to write effective reports and proposals. It covers different types of research and search techniques, proper referencing, and the best methods for presenting results visually. Chapter 13, “Writing Proposals and Reports,” describes strategies for presenting solicited and unsolicited proposals and examines informational and analytical reports. It shows how to assemble various parts of a report including graphs, tables, and other visual aids, and includes examples of completed reports and proposals. Chapter 14, “Writing Business Plans,” deals with one of the most important (and detailed) documents that any entrepreneur will ever create. It describes the various sections that go into a typical business plan and explains how to present the information that most investors will require before approving the plan.
Part 4 Employment Employment consists of three chapters intended to help students apply for jobs and keep them. Chapter 15, “Writing Resumés,” provides guidelines for preparing several types of resumés, including online applications, as well as for writing persuasive application letters. It includes examples of all of these documents. Chapter 16, “Networking, Developing Effective References, and Succeeding in Employment Interviews,” discusses developing a career network to help
with successful job searches. It not only contains advice on obtaining interviews and answering common interview questions but also deals extensively with performing well during behavioural interviews. Chapter 17, “Interpersonal Communication: Surviving Life on the Cube Farm,” is based on the principle that students must have the interpersonal communication skills that will allow them to keep that important first position. It includes sections on office etiquette, emotional intelligence, and dealing with frontline workers.
Appendix “Grammar, Punctuation, and Plain English” teaches and reviews the basic concepts of grammar while employing humour and interesting visuals.
MyCanadianBusCommLab is a website that offers videos, sample documents, and interactive exercises to improve communication skills. Throughout the textbook, icons highlight material where related activities or samples are available on MyCanadianBusCommLab. >
Explore dozens of Writing Samples, from letters to emails to reports, that model effective communication. > Practise Interactive Document Makeovers provide practice in correcting ineffective communication; feedback guides students to understand the problems and find solutions. Explore
STUDENT SUPPLEMENTS MyCanadianBusCommLab This state-of-the-art, interactive, and instructive solution for business communication is designed to be used as a supplement to a traditional lecture course or to completely administer an online course. See the opening pages of this text for details. Visit www.mycanadianbuscommlab.ca. MyCanadianBusCommLab includes a Pearson eText, which gives students access to the text whenever and wherever they have access to the internet. eText
pages look exactly like the printed text, offering powerful new functionality for students and instructors. Users can create notes, highlight text in different colours, create bookmarks, zoom, click hyperlinked words and phrases to view definitions, and view in single-page or two-page view. Pearson eText allows for quick navigation to key parts of the eText using a table of contents and provides full-text search. The eText may also offer links to associated media files, enabling users to access videos, animations, or other activities as they read. A student access card for MyCanadianBusCommLab is packaged with every new copy of the text. Access codes can also be purchased through campus bookstores or through the website. CourseSmart for Students. CourseSmart goes beyond traditional expectations—providing instant, online access to the textbooks and course materials you need at an average savings of 50%. With instant access from any computer and the ability to search your text, you’ll find the content you need quickly, no matter where you are. And with online tools like highlighting and note-taking, you can save time and study efficiently. See all the benefits at www.coursesmart.com/ students.
INSTRUCTOR SUPPLEMENTS ■
MyTest from Pearson Canada is a powerful assessment generation program that helps instructors easily create and print quizzes, tests, and exams, as well as homework or practice handouts. Questions and tests can all be authored online, allowing instructors ultimate flexibility and the ability to efficiently manage assessments at anytime, from anywhere. To access MyTest please go to www.pearsonmytest.com. Instructor’s Manual provides chapter outlines, suggested solutions to the exercises, and formatted letters for the cases in the letter-writing chapters. PowerPoint Presentations cover the key concepts in each chapter.
These instructor supplements are available for download from a password-protected section of Pearson Canada’s online catalogue (vig.pearsoned.ca).
Navigate to your book’s catalogue page to view a list of those supplements that are available. See your local sales representative for details and access. CourseSmart for Instructors. CourseSmart goes beyond traditional expectations—providing instant, online access to the textbooks and course materials you need at a lower cost for students. And even as students save money, you can save time and hassle with a digital eTextbook that allows you to search for the most relevant content at the very moment you need it. Whether it’s evaluating textbooks or creating lecture notes to help students with difficult concepts, CourseSmart can make life a little easier. See how when you visit www.coursesmart.com/ instructors. Technology Specialists. Pearson’s Technology Specialists work with faculty and campus course designers to ensure that Pearson technology products, assessment tools, and online course materials are tailored to meet your specific needs. This highly qualified team is dedicated to helping schools take full advantage of a wide range of educational resources, by assisting in the integration of a variety of instructional materials and media formats. Your local Pearson Canada sales representative can provide you with more details on this service program. Please speak to your Pearson Canada sales representative for more information about these and other ancillary materials.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS We have many people to thank for making this book a reality. First and foremost, this project would not have been possible without the support of our families who waited patiently for the keyboard to become quiet, sometimes late into the night, and did not complain as home repairs went undone and social events were missed. Next, a thanks to our current colleagues and past students, always a source of inspiration and example. Finally, a heartfelt thank-you to our Pearson team: David Le Gallais (Acquisitions Editor), Patti
Altridge (Senior Developmental Editor), Sö˘güt Güleç (Managing Editor), Cheryl Cohen (Substantive Editor), and Dawn Hunter (Copy Editor). Thank you all. We also want to thank the following conscientious and knowledgeable reviewers, listed below in alphabetical order, whose suggestions have helped shape this first edition of Business Communication: Contexts and Controversies: Denise Blay, Fanshawe College Kathy Cocchio, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology Lyle Cruickshank, Concordia University Lyndsay Dustan, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Daniel Guo, Conestoga College Dana Hansen, Humber College Sharon Josephson, Okanagan College
Chris Legebow, St. Clair College Diana Lohnes-Mitchell, Nova Scotia Community College Peter MacDonald, Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology Marlene MacInnes, Cape Breton University Peter C. Miller, Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology Sonia Perna, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Patricia A. Post, University of New Brunswick Marion Ross, Georgian College Rhonda Sandberg, George Brown College David Thomson , University College of the Fraser Valley Katherine Woodward, Grant MacEwan University Les Hanson Darryl Hammond
About the Authors
Les Hanson has over 30 years’ experience teaching in locations ranging from the highlands of Papua New Guinea to fly-in communities in Northern Manitoba. He has a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Manitoba and a Master of Arts degree in community college education from Central Michigan University. For the last 20 years, he has taught business communication at Red River College in Winnipeg. He recently assumed the position of coordinator in the Business Administration and International Business programs. His current academic interest is in the use of laptop computers in education. His personal interests include cross-country skiing, bicycling, and in-line skating, as well as auto mechanics and home renovation. He continues to live in Winnipeg with his wife and two children.
Darryl Hammond is a communications and marketing specialist with over 20 years of business managing and post-secondary teaching experience. Having worked in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors, he has gained a unique perspective of effective business communications from many angles. After building a successful career in senior management with the provincial government, specializing in social marketing, Darryl opened Hammond Communications; a marketing and communications firm with provincial and national accounts. In addition, Darryl began teaching part time at the University of Manitoba and later at the University of Winnipeg. More recently he has turned a part-time teaching passion into a fulltime focus. Darryl now teaches business communications and management at Red River College. He also continues teaching at Manitoba’s two universities in the areas of social marketing, business administration, and economics. He is a contributing author in a number of Pearson publications in the areas of business administration and communications. Darryl’s hobbies include water-skiing, snowboarding, reading, and music, which he enjoys with his wife and their four children.
About the Contributors James Swingle worked in the financial industry in New York City for over 15 years, most recently as vice president in charge of project management for Reuters Consulting. In 2006, he moved to British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and 14-monthold son. Mr. Swingle works as a trainer and consultant for industry. He has been an adjunct professor at Pace University in New York City and at the University of British Columbia—Okanagan. He currently teaches in the MBA and undergraduate business programs at Thompson Rivers University. James Swingle authored Chapter 4, “Media: Choosing Your Channel”; Chapter 5, “Intercultural Communication”; and Chapter 9,“Writing Persuasive Messages.” Joan Flaherty is a faculty member in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at University of Guelph, where she teaches communications to both undergraduate and graduate students. With over 20 years’ teaching experience, she has been a frequent speaker at educational conferences, including The Teaching Professor Conference in the United States and The Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher
Education Conference in Canada. A profile of her research interests and publications can be found at www.htm.uoguelph.ca/joan-flaherty.shtml. Joan Flaherty authored Chapter 7, “Oral Presentations: The Counterintuitive Speaker.” Kathryn Davis works in Red River College’s Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) program and has a background in technical writing, technical editing, course development, and teaching. She teaches technical communication and facilitates MET’s co-operative education program as well as freelancing and teaching courses for continuing education, distance education, and industry. Kathy has a broad range of experience in producing technical documentation for gas turbine engines, telecommunications, hardware, software, military equipment, HVAC, electronic and industrial instrumentation, CSA applications, ISO 9000, and marketing and sales. Kathy is a senior member of the local chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (STC). Kathryn Davis authored the Appendix, “Grammar, Punctuation, and Plain English.”