There is no single “best” writing process. In fact, good writers develop their own process that suits their own ways of tackling a problem. But competent communicators typically perform the following five steps while writing:
Planning a message for your intended audience is a major part of your writing process. Planning involves making conscious decisions about the purpose, audience, content, and organization of the document.
Many business messages have more than one purpose. The purpose should be specific enough to serve as a yardstick for judging the success of the message. Start with a general purpose and then refine it into a specific one. The specific purpose should indicate the response desired from the reader.
To perform an audience analysis means that you should identify the interests, needs, and personality of your receiver.
· Who is the primary (the person whose cooperation is crucial if your message is to achieve its objectives) and the secondary audience (others who will also read and be affected by your message)?
· What is your relationship with the audience?
· How will the audience react (reaction – positive, neutral, negative)?
· What does the audience already know?
· What is unique about the audience?
The role of persuasion in communicating. Every document you write seeks to persuade – through credibility, emotion, or logic. Your ability to persuade ultimately determines the degree of success or failure that you will achieve.
In his work Rhetoric, Aristotle identified three methods by which people can be persuaded: Ethos, an appeal based on credibility; Pathos, an appeal based on emotion; and Logos, an appeal based on logic. These methods remain relevant also today.
Content. The next step is to decide what information to include. The trick is to include enough information, yet to avoid including irrelevant material. Different writers use different methods for identifying what information is needed. Useful strategies – brainstorming and mind mapping or clustering.
Organization determines in what order to discuss each topic. Base your organization on the expected reader reaction. Useful strategies:
· group related ideas,
· differentiate between the major and minor points
· choose direct or indirect approach.
Having now finished planning, you are finally ready to begin drafting a message.
Drafting presupposes composing a first draft of the message. You needn’t write the parts of a message in the order in which they will finally appear. Begin with the easiest parts.
To have creativity and concentration on the process of drafting and to increase the ability to focus on the writing process apply the following strategies:
· Choose the right environment.
· Schedule a reasonable block of time.
· State your purpose in writing.
· Engage in free writing (write continuously for five to ten minutes without stopping).
· Avoid the perfectionism syndrome.
· Think out loud.
· Write the easiest parts first.
Separate the drafting stage from the revising because they involve two separate skills.
Here you pay attention to content, style, and correctness. You modify a document to increase its effectiveness. When you get down to details you should look at the big picture first:
· Have you met your planning goals elated to audience, purpose, and organization?
· Is all the information covered?
· Is the message clear?
Then consider the “you” attitude:
· Have you put the reader first?
· Is you style appropriate for the reader?
Look at your paper personality:
· Do you use too many or wrong words?
· Does your style sound like a person?
Formatting. The document should be arranged in an appropriate format. No one format for any type of business document is universally accepted as standard. The important point is to use the format that is appropriate for each specific message – a letter, a memo, an email.
Proofreading means that the document should be revised to check for content and different errors: spelling, punctuation, agreement of subjects and verbs, nouns and pronouns.
Thus, we have considered the major items devoted to the problem of writing all business documents with style. Following the abovementioned guidelines will make your writing effective and efficient.
Now we’ll consider the style for writing business letters.
1. THE LENGTH
The length of the letter depends on the subject of the letter. The right length includes the right amount of information. Your letter should be neither too long nor too short. It is better to include too much information than too little. Your reader cannot read your mind.
2. ORDER AND SEQUENCE
Your letter should make all the necessary points in a logical sequence, with each idea or piece of information linking up with the previous one in a pattern that can be followed.
3. PLANNING YOUR LETTER
The way to get the right amount of information in your letter, and to get it in the right order, is by planning your letter in advance.
a) First paragraph
The first sentence or paragraph of a letter is an important one since it sets the tone of the letter and gives your reader his first impression of you and your company.
b) Middle paragraph
This is the main part of your letter and will concern the points that need to be made, answers you wish to give, or questions you want to ask.
c) Final paragraph
When closing the letter, you should thank the person for writing, if your letter is a reply and if you have not done so at the beginning. Encourage further enquiries or correspondence.
4. STYLE AND LANGUAGE
c) Idioms and colloquial language
Confusion in correspondence often arises through a lack of thought and care, and there are a number of ways in which it can happen.
Careless mistakes in a letter can create a bad impression on your reader. Spelling, punctuation, and grammar should all be checked carefully.
Thus we can conclude that well-written letters can go a long way to build relationships, assist others in solving problems, ease tense situations, clarify or verify important information, and motivate others to act. Topic 7. WRITING ROUTINE MESSAGES