Planning Business Messages
To get and hold an audience’s interest, your messages need to have purpose, be audience-centered, and
say it quickly yet clearly—be concise. There is a three-step process of
(chapter 5) and
the process (chapter 6). A lot of time needs to be spent in this first step. The
text argues for about 50% or half of your time charting out who you are writing to, what you want to say,
how you want to say, and what—if any—resistance you might face. While an exact number like 50% is
not critical, it is important to recognize that considerable time be spent here lest you plan on redoing
letters and memos a second or third time.
Analyzing Your Situation: Defining Your Purpose and Developing an Audience Profile
Before you start writing anything you have to first determine what it is you want to accomplish
when you’re done. This begins with assessing your
. That may be to simply to
provide information about something. It could be to persuade your colleagues or customers to
accept something, or some cases you need input from your readers via the collaboration option.
In business, however, the vast majority of your purposes will be either informative or persuasive
Once your general purpose is known, you need to establish your
want from your readers. In short, the specific purpose answers the question, “when I’m done
writing this message what do I want my readers to think, do, or feel?” Additionally, consider such
questions as our text poses like, “Will anything change as the result of this message?” “Is my
purpose realistic, can it be done?” “Is this the right time for my idea to be presented?” And “Is my
proposal or idea in sync with company policies and rules?”
—am I the right person to make this argument or deliver this message? You must be
trusted and be believed.
Developing an Audience Profile—
those who will be reading or listening to your message
Identify your key decision makers (primary)
How big is the audience? Larger audiences usually require a more formal style of writing whereas
smaller ones can be addressed in a more informal manner
Audience composition—gender, age, education, ethnic background, etc. We look for similarities or
commonalities so we can address those needs.
Level of understanding—what they know/and what they need. If they are well versed on the topic,
then don’t tell them what they already know.