Unformatted text preview: Chapter 7
Writing Effective Informative and Positive Messages Always an Issue Audience/reader needs Purpose (why the writing needs to happen) Writer must do reader analysis for each writing situation Why am I writing this? What do readers need from me? What do I want readers to do, think, etc. Situation The "surrounding events" of the writing--may overlap with audience issues; also assumes variables that change over time Another Key Component In addition to knowing audience, situation, purpose, writer needs to know some basic formats or modes of organization that make the writing task more effective/efficient In general, the categories are: Informative--positive or negative emphasis Persuasive--positive or negative emphasis Informative Messages Primary: Give information Information adapted so that reader can understand, use it, move on Best if information is seen positively Secondary: Build goodwill between reader and writer or writer's organization Often due to positive content of message Also due to effective message means understanding for reader and no additional work for writer Channels Positive messages can be sent via any channel By definition, readers don't resist Most common channels More complex channels Memo (inside organization) Letter (outside organization) Email Annual reports Web sites How to Organize Positive Messages
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Give the good news, first thing. Give details and clarify any background or other information if reader needs it. Present any negative elements (buffered in the middle) and only if necessary Explain reader benefits Use positive, personal, forwardlooking goodwill ending A WellOrganized Message: 7th ed: p. 154; 8th ed: p. 303 Paragraph 1: "great news" line 1 What's the great news? Paragraph 2: some background. Paragraph 3: Benefits to reader; option to Readers who don't know can read Readers who do know can skip this information cancel "buried" so not emphasized Paragraph 4: Goodwill close. Matches tone of rest of letter. In Case You're Wondering Yes, these messages can be very short No need to fill a page if your reader doesn't need additional information Emails work well for positive messages, because short email messages are good! You can use your subject line to make sure these emails are read and not deleted See examples pp. 15557 (7th ed.) or pp. 30406 (8th ed.) Reader Benefits or Not? Do give reader benefits when: Note example on (p. 156 or 304): Discussing policies Want to shape reader attitudes Want to use benefits to motivate readers They may not be obvious to readers Two paragraphs of reader benefits Why? Reader Benefits or Not? Don't use reader benefits when: See transmittal letter, p. 161 (311) Using factual information only Reader's attitude doesn't matter Stressing benefits makes reader seem selfish Benefits are so obvious that restating them could insult reader No statement of reader benefits Why? Your Information Is Great, But... Readers are overwhelmed Readers aren't sure why they should read it It sounds "canned" Find ways to let readers read selectively (see sidebar, p. 160 or 310) Tell them--in subject line, in first paragraph Use goodwill closings that mean something to reader Try for "conversation + 1" Types of Positive Messages Transmittal: Here it is, here's why, what you need to do next. Confirmation: Got it, did it, said it, etc. Summary: Who was there, when what they said, decisions made (aka "meeting minutes") Thankyou notes: If you're job hunting, learn how to write these Types of Positive Messages Congratulatory messages: "You did a great job!" Not just for managers. Responses to complaints/adjustments: Most customer really only want to hear that it's fixed and what they'll get Avoid detailing your process--readers usually don't care Use a professional but friendly tone to transmit goodwill Your Homework What's the purpose? What information does each group of readers need? What information is specific to each group? How do you organize the information? Does brochure format make any difference? How can you develop goodwill? Organization of Positive Message The good news. What detail or background might these readers need? Any negatives that need to be presented? Do you need to explain benefits to these readers? What ending will produce goodwill? Revise Check your organization against the chapter template (p. 168 or 318). Underline it. Is the message absolutely clear? Anything you need to add or delete? What components provide goodwill (these can include language/tone, benefits, etc.). Circle them. Delete or change it. Anything that might irritate or confuse this reader? ...
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- Spring '08
- Want, Writer, positive messages