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Lecture 1 - Haas School of Business ugba-100 Business...

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David Robinson ©  David Robinson, 2009 faculty.haas.berkeley.edu/robinson/ugba100 Haas School of Business Haas School of Business ugba -100 Business Communication Lecture 1: The Plain English Approach to Business Communication
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Fundamental Rules of Business Communication
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You have but one job Your job is to make it easy for the other person to do her or his job
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For Any Communication 1. Begin with the end in mind 2. If this (e-mail / speech / phone call) was surprisingly successful, what would happen? 3. What’s my worst fear ? What don’t I want to happen?
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How to Choose the Medium 1. One-way or two-way communication ? 2. Time and place shifting 3. Emotional impact 4. Permanence 5. Level of formality
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A “Plain English” Approach to Business Communication
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A “Plain English Approach” A philosophy, movement, “campaign” started in 1970s in UK Unable to understand forms for benefits Insurance coverage A very sensible approach to business writing
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Overview of Plain English Rules 1. Choose simple, common words and avoid “bureaucratese” 2. Use a simple sentence structure. 3. Avoid the passive voice
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1. Choose simple, common words Avoids words we don’t use in everyday speech: Pertaining to … Per your instruction Responsible party “Bart police are here to assist you” “Bart police are here to help you”
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Avoid bureaucratic words Examples - policyholder - wherein, heretofore - above mentioned - captioned - in regards to
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Choose the most common word that expresses your meaning “Use rare words rarely” (Edward Bailey, Writing & Speaking at Work ) Example : Dress, frock, gown, costume, outfit
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2. Use simple sentence structure Having entered into an agreement, the parties heretofore mentioned are desirous of furthering the mutually beneficial efforts of both firms to … [ the point comes here !]
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Avoid “dangling participles” Being one of the oldest firms in the business, I am confident we can meet your needs. (In general, d on’t put the subordinate clause first )
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3. Avoid the passive voice Students are responsible for grading their own work The work will be graded by each student Big hint: If you can add “…by me”, you’ve used the passive voice.
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A Plain English
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