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Business Communication

Completing Business Messages

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Revising Your Message: Evaluating the First Draf

 For important messages, schedule time to put your draft aside for a
day or two before you begin the revision process.
 The beginning and end of a message usually have the greatest
impact on your readers.
 When you evaluate, edit, or revise someone else’s work, remember
that your job is to help that person succeed, not to impose your
own style.

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Improving a Customer Letter
Through Careful Revision

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Revising to Improve Readability

 Varying Sentence Length

To keep readers’ interest, look for ways to combine a variety of short, medium, and
long sentences.
 Keeping Your Paragraphs Short
Short paragraphs have the major ad- vantage of being easy to read.
 Using Lists and Bullets to Clarify and Emphasize
Lists are effective tools for highlight-ing and simplifying material.
 Adding Headings and Subheadings
Use headings to grab the reader’s attention and organize material into short sections.
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Editing for Clarity

 Break up overly long sentences.

 Rewrite hedging sentences.
 Impose parallelism.
 Correct dangling modifiers.
 Reword long noun sequences.
 Replace camouflaged verbs.
 Clarify sentence structure.
 Clarify awkward references.

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Editing for Conciseness

 Delete unnecessary words and phrases. To test whether a word or phrase is essential,
try the sentence without it. If the meaning doesn’t change, leave it out.
 Replace long words and phrases. Short words and phrases are generally more vivid and
easier to read than long ones. Also, by using infinitives (the “to” form of a verb) in place
of some phrases, you can often shorten sentences while making them clearer.
 Eliminate redundancies. In some word combinations, the words say the same thing.
For instance, “visible to the eye” is redundant because visible is enough without further
clarification; “to the eye” adds nothing.
 Recast “It is/There are” starters. If you start a sentence with an indefinite pronoun such
as it or there, odds are the sentence could be shorter and more active. For instance, “We
believe . . .” is a stronger opening than “It is believed that . . .

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Using Technology to Revise Your Message

Spell checkers, grammar checkers, thesauruses,

and style checkers can all help with the revision
process, but they can’t take the place of good
writing and editing skills.

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Producing Your Message

 The quality of your document design, both on paper and on screen, affects readability
and audience perceptions.
 Designing for Readability; For effective design, pay attention to
 Consistency
 Balance
 Restraint
 Detail

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Key Design Elements

 White space; White space separates elements in a document and helps guide
the reader’s eye.
 Margins and line justification; Most business documents use a flush left margin
and a ragged right margin.
 Typefaces; Typeface refers to the physical design of letters, numbers, and other
text characters. (Font and typeface are often used interchangeably, although
strictly speaking, a font is a set of characters in a given typeface.)
 Type styles; Type style refers to any modification that lends contrast or emphasis
to type, including boldface, italic, underlining, and color

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Designing Multimedia Documents

 A multimedia document contains a combination of text, graphics, photographs,

audio, animation, video, and interactivity (such as hyperlinks that access
webpages or software
 Multimedia elements can convey large amounts of information quickly, engage
audiences, express emotions, and support personalization.
 Multimedia documents can be powerful communication vehicles, but they
require more time, tools, and skills to create.

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Proofreading Your Message

Your credibility is affected by your attention to the details

of mechanics and form.
The types of details to look for when proofreading include
language errors, missing material, design errors, and
typographical errors.

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Distributing Your Message

 Consider cost, convenience, time, security, and privacy when choosing a distribution
 Cost. Cost isn’t a concern for most messages, but for multiple copies of lengthy reports
or multimedia productions, it might well be. Weigh the cost and the benefits before
you decide. Be sure to consider the nonverbal message you send regarding cost as
well. Overnight delivery of a printed report could look responsive in one instance and
wasteful in another, for example.
 Convenience. Make sure your audience can conveniently access the material you
send. For instance, sending huge files may be fine on a fast office network, but
receiving such files can be a major headache for remote colleagues trying to
download them over slower wireless networks.

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Distributing Your Message

 Time. How soon does the message need to reach the audience? Don’t waste
money on overnight delivery if the recipient won’t read a report for a week.
 Security and privacy. The convenience offered by electronic communication
needs to be weighed against security and privacy concerns. For the most
sensitive messages, your company will probably have restrictions on
distribution (including who is allowed to receive certain messages and the
channels you can use to distribute them). In addition, most computer users
are wary of opening attachments these days, particularly word processor files
(which are vulnerable to macro viruses and other risks). As an alternative, you
can convert your documents to PDF files using Adobe Acrobat or an
equivalent product.

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Answer these questions below.

1. What are the four main tasks involved in completing a business

2. What are your responsibilities when you review and edit the work of
3. What is parallel construction, and why is it important?
4. Why is proofreading an important part of the writing process?
5. What factors should you consider when choosing a method for
distributing a message (other than for systems where you don’t
have a choice)?
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