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Structure - Business Report

Title Page/Section Terms of Reference Executive Summary Introduction Methodology Main Body Conclusion Recommendations Appendix

The seven Cs of Business Writing


Courteous Clear Concise Concrete Correct Considerate Complete

Be Courteous
Dont Lose Your Temper Preach Be Negative Discriminate

Be Courteous - Scenario
Despite earlier reminders a particular supplier always delays delivery of his goods. Your boss says, Warn him that if this continues, we will not renew our contract with him. Please note that unless this problem is rectified, we may not be in a position to renew our contract with you. Given our long-standing relationship we hope that we will not have to take this unpleasant decision OR We regret to inform you that as per our companys policies, if this problem continues, we may not be able to renew our contract with you. OR Though we would like to continue our business relationship, if this issue is not resolved we may not renew our contract with you.

Be Clear
Camouflaged words Passive Voice Long, Bureaucratic style Unfamiliar words Jargon, Acronyms

Be Clear Rewrite for clarity


The policy has been supported by our union. Our union supported this policy A gain of 30.1% was reported for hardware sales Hardware sales gained 30.1% A complete reorganization of the administration was affected by the President. The President completely reorganized the administration.

Be Concise
Remove redundancies Keep it Simple

Remove Redundancies from this para


Once the report is ready, I will forward a copy of this report for your kind perusal. Please read through and make corrections to the report if necessary. This report is unusual in nature as it challenges the basic fundamentals of our company. Going by their past history, it does seem to be a very unique case. Once the report is ready, I will forward a copy of this report for your kind perusal. Please read through and make corrections to EDIT the report if necessary. This report is unusual in nature as it challenges the basic fundamentals of our company. Going by our past history, it does seem to be a very unique case.

Be Concise Rewrite these sentences


Definitive action was effected subsequent to the reporting date. Final/Definite action was taken after the reporting date. During the preceding year, the company operated at a financial deficit. Last year, the company lost money. The decision was predicated on the assumption that an abundance of monetary funds was forthcoming. The decision was based on the belief that there would be more money.

Be Concrete
Concrete words Figures, facts, examples Holds readers interest

Abstract words Vague General meanings

Be Concrete Rewrite these sentences


This year the company suffered a significant loss. This year the company suffered a 53% loss. We will send the goods in the near future. We will send the goods by Thursday noon. Majority of employees are in favour of a 5-day week. 63% of employees are in favour of a 5-day week.

Be Correct
Be Accurate stick to facts Adapt to the readers knowledge level Error-free Grammatical errors Confusables Punctuation

Be correct Spot the Error


The route cause of the problem is the root through which data travels. The ROOT cause of the problem is the ROUTE through which data travels. I have knew my colleagues for several years. I have KNOWN my colleagues for several years.

It is the same, old routine at work.


It is the SAME OLD routine at work.

Considerate
Keep the reader in mind Concerns Objectives Probable Questions

Complete
Message Substance Structure Order of Information Tone Polite & Courteous Channel Sensitivity & Urgency Style Language and Choice of Words

Exercise 101
1. Mahesh is revising the application. 2. Though the bills are unpaid, they placed another order.

3. The policy is for preventing dishonesty.


4. Our new coats are made of a wrinkle-resistant fabric. 5. Our goal is to change the overtime pay rate.

Ex 102-A
Records were set by both the New York Stock Exchange Composite Index and Standard & Poors 500 Index. The NYSE Composite Index increased by 27.08 points, closing at 8001.4. It topped its previous high of 7986.5, set on Wednesday.

S&Ps 500 Index moved up significantly by 6.90 points and set a five-day high by finishing at 1264.03.

Ex 102-A
Records were set by both the New York Stock Exchange Composite Index and Standard & Poors 500 Index. Firstly, the NYSE Composite Index increased by 27.08 points, closing at 8001.4. It thus topped its previous high of 7986.5, set on Wednesday.

Secondly, S&Ps 500 Index too moved up significantly by 6.90 points and set a five-day high by finishing at 1264.03.

Ex 102-B
Though we have not determined the cause for the decline in sales volume for the month, there are two factors to take into consideration. One, during this period, construction on the street adjacent to the store severely limited traffic flow. Two, resignations in the advertising department, caused promotion efforts to drop well below normal.

Exercise 103
1. When you begin the meeting, you must ensure you have a clear agenda. My boss, conversely/on the other hand, often starts off without a defined plan, and ends up without a result. We had to try several new solutions with the client; finally/eventually, he was satisfied with the outcome.

2.

3.

Two reasons justify moving to another office. Firstly, the building it is located in at present, is very old. Secondly, the distance from our office to the airport makes transportation cost unusually high.
Though I cannot recommend her for promotion, I approve a 5% raise for her. Recently China ordered a large quantity of wheat from the United States. Likewise/Similarly Germany too ordered a large quantity.

4. 5.

Exercise 104
1. 2. 3. The workers were sent home early when the assembly line stopped due to a technical problem. Because your letter to us and our letter to you was posted yesterday, the letters crossed in the post. Our company has a long tradition, but our letters look old-fashioned. As we are trying to modernize the companys image, all our correspondence should be typed. Because short sentences are easy to write and understand, and long words can be confusing, a simple style of writing letters is recommended. Although a letter should have a personal touch, and people like to be treated as individuals, it is unwise to use a style that is too informal with people you dont know well.

4.

5.

Construction of Clear Sentences

A good sentence
Introduces only one topic Completes the idea Minimizes the number of ideas Does not use fluff words, adjectives or jargon Maximizes readability Contains essential (and not extra) punctuation

A good sentence must


Adapt to the reader Economize on Words
Cluttering Phrases Surplus Words Roundabout Constructions

Unnecessary repetition of words or ideas

Determine Emphasis in Sentence Design


Give Unity to itself

Examples: Cluttering Phrases


In the event that payment is not made by January, operations will cease. In the event that (IF) payment is not made by January, operations will cease. In spite of the fact that they received help, they failed to meet their targets.

In spite of the fact that (ALTHOUGH) they received help, they failed to meet their targets.

Demonstrating Emphasis
An example of EQUAL Emphasis
The company lost money last year. The loss occurred in spite of record sales.

Emphasizing the idea of LOST MONEY

Although the company enjoyed record sales last year, it lost money.

Emphasizing the idea of RECORD SALES

The company enjoyed record sales last year, although it lost money.

Giving sentences unity


When there are Multiple ideas, do one of the following:
Write them as Separate Sentences Write one idea as a subordinate of the other Add (transition) words to relate the idea

Avoid excessive detail in a single sentence

Avoid illogical constructions

Examples: Relating Multiple ideas


Mr. Mehra is our sales manager. He has a degree in law. Connecting them as two independent sentencesMr. Mehra is our sales manager, and he has a degree in law.

Making one idea a subordinate of the otherMr. Mehra, our sales manager, has a degree in law.
Our production increased in January, and our equipment is wearing out. Rewriting using transition words to establish a connectiona. Even though our equipment is wearing out, our production increased in January. b. Because our production increased in January, our equipment is wearing out.

EXERCISE: Rewrite to give these sentences unity


1. Using the cost-of-living calculator is simple, but no tool will work well unless it is explained clearly. Using the cost-of-living calculator is simple, but, like any tool, it will not work well unless it is explained clearly. 2. We concentrate on energy-saving products, and 70% of our business comes from them. As a result of our concentration on energy-saving products, 70% of our business comes from them.

Example: Excessive Detail


Our New York offices, considered plush in the 1990s, but now badly in need of renovation, as is the case with most offices that have not been maintained, have been abandoned. Considered plush in the 1990s, our New York offices have not been maintained properly. As they badly need repair, we have abandoned them.

Exercise: Excessive Detail


We have attempted to trace the Plytec insulation you ordered from us October 1, and about which you inquired in your October 10 message, but we have not yet been able to locate it, although we are sending you a rush shipment immediately. We are sending you a rush shipment of Plytec insulation immediately. Following your October 10 inquiry, we attempted to trace your October 1 order. We were unable to locate it.

Example: Illogical Constructions


First we cut prices, and then quality was reduced. First we cut prices, and then we reduced quality. Because our salespeople are inexperienced caused us to miss our quota. The inexperience of our salespeople caused us to miss our quota.

Exercise: Illogical Construction


Knowing that she objected to the price was the reason we permitted her to return the goods. Because we knew she objected to the price, we permitted her to return the goods. I never knew an executive who was interested in helping workers who had got into problems that caused them to worry. I never knew an executive who was interested in helping worried workers with their problems.

Punctuation

Which one do you prefer?


A woman, without her man, is nothing
OR

A woman: without her, man is nothing

Basic Rules of Punctuation


Incorrectly Joined
Sentence, Sentence (comma splice) Sentence Sentence (fused sentence)

Correctly joined
Sentence, AND Sentence (AND, OR, BUT, etc.) Sentence; Sentence IF-Clause, Sentence Sentence IF-Clause Sentence. Sentence

Exercise 201- I
1. It is, however, pointless to prolong the problem. 2. Everyone should benefit young and old, the strong and weak, men and women, the healthy and the sick. 3. The author grew up in the early 1960s in Delhi and heard stories of the exotic India a country of tigers and elephants, cobras and monkeys and muddy roads and rickshaws. 4. A parliamentary report from Canada, published in 2008, noted that aboriginal people in the countrys north are typically poorer than their fellow citizens. 5. It made no sense for Germany to sell Porsches for Lehman certificates, says Mr. Finn.

Exercise 201 II
6. The problem, argues Toby Cosgrove, chief executive of the Cleveland clinic, a hospital group, is that existing public schemes routinely underpay hospitals for care. 7. Rather, it is the ideal way to help leaders understand what has happened, is happening and may yet happen. 8. Sarah, how can you be so sure about this? 9. Retail, manufacturing, agriculture, government, medicine the list is long and the change is just starting; we still have along way to go. 10. A more likely explanation, though still disputed, is that the minimum wage was pushed up too much a few years ago.

CONSTRUCTION OF CLEAR PARAGRAPHS

A good paragraph must


Have unity Be short Use topic sentences First/at End/Within Leave out unnecessary details Be coherent

Making Paragraphs coherent


Use of conjunctions Adding and Listing
First, Then, Further, Finally

Saying things in other words Cause & Result


As a result

Contrasts & Alternatives


On the other hand

Concession
Nevertheless

VARIETY IN SENTENCE CONSTRUCTION