Chapter 6 : writing process phase 2



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CHAPTER 6 : WRITING PROCESS PHASE 2

  • Presented by Business students at John Molson School of Business, Concordia:
  • Nina Ansermino, Eliyah Assedou, and Stewart Sullivan

PHASE 2 of Mary Ellen Guffey’s 3-X-3 Writing Process

Three Simple Steps to Writing

  • Research data on your topic
  • Organize text elements
  • Compose a coherent article

First Step to Writing:

  • Research

First Step to Writing

  • Before writing a message, collect all the information that you will need for your message
  • This information will help shape the message that you are trying to convey to the reader

First Step to Writing

  • To avoid an inaccurate message, gather information that answers these primary questions:
    • What does the receiver need to know about this topic?
    • What is the receiver to do?
    • How is the receiver to do it?
    • When must the receiver do it?
    • What will happen if the receiver doesn’t do it?

First Step to Writing

  • When you are conducting your research, be sure to follow the right research method
    • Formal Research Method
    • Informal Research Method

First Step to Writing

  • Formal Research
    • Long reports and complex business problems

First Step to Writing

  • Ways of conducting formal research
    • Access electronically : websites, databases, CD’s, public records and organizations
    • Search manually : through the library, book, magazine, news papers
    • Investigate primary sources : interview, survey
    • Experiment scientifically

First Step to Writing

  • Informal Research
    • Used to find information for most routine tasks : emails, memos, letters and reports
  • Ways of conducing Informal Research
    • Look in files : find previous documents to help you with content and format
    • Talk with your boss
    • Interview a target audience
    • Conduct an informal survey : conduct phone surveys or questionnaires

First Step to Writing

  • Once you have gathered all the information you need through research, you can start finding other ways to generate ideas

First Step to Writing

  • Brainstorming : Creating a Cluster Diagram
    • In the centre, write your topic name and circle it
    • Around the circle record any topic ideas that come to mind
    • Circle each separate idea
    • Avoid censoring ideas, record everything
    • If ideas seem related, join them with lines

First Step to Writing

  • Example of a Cluster Diagram

First Step to Writing

  • Ideas for productive group brainstorming
    • Define problem and create an agenda that outline the topics to be covered
    • Establish time limits, short sessions are best
    • Set a quota of ideas, quantity not quality
    • Encourage “out of the box” thinking

First Step to Writing

    • Write ideas on flip charts or on sheets of paper hung around the room
    • Require each participant to contribute, accept and improve their ideas and the ideas of others
    • Organize and classify the ideas, searching for the best

Second Step to Writing:

  • Organize

Second Step to Writing

  • To ensure that your message is well organized:
    • Group similar items together
    • Ideas should follow a sequence
  • Unorganized messages can leave the reader confused and will not emphasize the important points

Second Step to Writing

  • Organizing Ideas From a Cluster Diagram
    • Analyze the previous ideas
    • Cross out irrelevant ideas
    • Add new ideas that seem appropriate
    • Study these ideas for similarities
    • Group similar ideas into classifications
    • For further visualization, make sub-cluster circles around each classification

Second Step to Writing

  • There are two other simple techniques that will also help you organize your data
    • The scratch list
    • An outline

Second Step to Writing

  • When developing your message, make a scratch list of the topic that want to cover
  • Possibly make scratch list in margins of letter or memo that you are responding to
  • Then, compose a message at you computer from your scratch list

Second Step to Writing

  • Use an outline to organize and group ideas to make a plan of what you want to write
    • Examples:
          • Alphanumeric Outline
          • Decimal Outline

Second Step to Writing

  • Format for Alphanumeric Outline
    • Title : Major Idea, Purpose
    • I. First Major Component
      • A. First subpoint
      • B. Second subpoint
        • 1. Detail, illustration, evidence
        • 2. Detail, illustration, evidence
    • II. Second Major Component
      • A. First subpoint

Second Step to Writing

        • 1. Detail, illustration, evidence
        • 2. Detail, illustration, evidence
      • B. Second subpoint
        • 1. Detail, illustration, evidence
        • 2. Detail, illustration, evidence
    • III. Third Major Component
      • A. First subpoint
        • 1. Detail, illustration, evidence
        • 2. Detail, illustration, evidence
      • B. Second subpoint
        • 1. Detail, illustration, evidence
        • 2. Detail, illustration, evidence

Second Step to Writing

  • Formal for Decimal Outline
    • Title : Major Idea, Purpose
    • 1.0 First Major Component
      • 1.1 First Subpoint
        • 1.1.1 Detail, illustration, evidence
        • 1.1.2 Detail, illustration, evidence
      • 1.2 Second Subpoint
        • 1.2.1 Detail, illustration, evidence
        • 1.2.2 Detail, illustration, evidence
    • 2.0 Second Major Component
      • 2.1 First Subpoint

Second Step to Writing

        • 2.1.1 Detail, illustration, evidence
        • 2.1.2 Detail, illustration, evidence
      • 2.2 Second subpoint
        • 2.2.1 Detail, illustration, evidence
        • 2.2.2 Detail, Illustration, evidence
    • 3.0 Third Major Component
      • 3.1 First Subpoint
        • 3.1.1 Detail, illustration, evidence
        • 3.1.2 Detail, illustration, evidence
      • 3.2 Second Subpoint
        • 3.2.1 Detail, illustration, evidence
        • 3.2.2 Detail, illustration, evidence

Second Step to Writing

  • Each major category is divided into two or more subcategories
  • Subcategories should consist of examples, details, statists, case histories and other data
  • Each sub-point should be more subdivided into more specific illustrations and details depending on the audience

Second Step to Writing

  • Tips for Making Outlines
    • define the main topic in the title
    • divide the main topic into major components of classifications (three-five)
    • break components into sub-points
    • strive to make each component exclusive
    • use details, illustrations and evidence to support sub-points

Second Step to Writing

  • Typical Major Components to Business Outlines
    • Letter or Memo
      • I. Opening
      • II. Body
      • III. Close
    • Informational Report
      • I. Introduction
      • II. Facts
      • III. Summary

Second Step to Writing

    • Procedure
      • I. Step 1
      • II. Step 2
      • II. Step 3
      • IV. Step 4
    • Analytical Report
      • I. Introductions
      • II. Facts / Findings
      • III. Conclusions
      • IV. Recommendations (if requested)

Second Step to Writing

    • Proposal
      • I. Introduction
      • II. Proposed Solution
      • III. Staffing
      • IV. Schedule, cost
      • V. Authorization

Second Step to Writing

  • Organizing Idea’s into Patterns
    • There are two organizational patterns which provide a plan of action for typical business messages
      • Direct Pattern
      • Indirect Pattern

Second Step to Writing

  • Direct Pattern for Receptive Audiences
    • When deciding on the message that you wish to convey, you need to anticipate the audiences reaction
    • Make sure you put the purpose of your message in the first or second sentence
    • Explanations and details should follow the opening

Second Step to Writing

  • Direct Method is also called “front-loading” and has some benefits
    • Saves the reader’s time : messages that take too long may lose the reader along the way
    • Sets a proper frame of mind : learning purpose upfront helps reader put details into perspective
    • Prevents frustration : poorly organized messages create negative impression of writer

Second Step to Writing

  • Works best with audiences that are likely to be receptive
  • Typical business messages that follow the direct pattern : routine requests and responses, orders and acknowledgements, non-sensitive moms, email messages, information reports and informational oral presentations
  • None have a sensitive subject matter

Second Step to Writing

  • Indirect Pattern for Unreceptive Audiences
    • A most suitable approach of writing if you wish to leave the audience displeased or even hostile
    • Only expose the message after you have delivered explanation and evidence
    • Works well with bad news, persuasion and sensitive messages

Second Step to Writing

  • Typical business messages that use this method : letters / memos that refuse requests, deny claims and disapprove credit, persuasive requests, sales letters, and sensitive messages

Second Step to Writing

  • This method also has many advantages
    • Respects the feelings of the audience : bad news is painful but this way they will be prepared for it
    • Encourages a fair hearing : if main idea is read at the beginning, reader might not listen anymore
    • Minimizes a negative reaction : negative reaction will be improved is news is delivered gently

Third Step to Writing:

  • Compose

Third Step to Writing

  • After all of the researching and organization, it is time to begin composing your message
  • Composing is made easier as you have all of your ideas organized and ready to work with
  • It is made easier if you have a quiet working environment

Third Step to Writing

  • As you begin, keep in mind that this is a first draft, not your final copy
  • Get your thoughts down on paper and go back and edit at the end
  • If you can’t think of the right word, insert a substitute or type “find word later”
  • If you handwrite, make sure to double space that you have room for change

Third Step to Writing

  • Effective Sentences : some basic sentence elements
    • Complete Sentences
      • Include subjects and verbs
      • They must make sense
      • Example - Your essay was very creative.

Third Step to Writing

    • Clauses and Phrases
      • Key building blocks to sentences
      • Clauses have subjects and verbs
      • Phrases do not
      • Example of clauses - Because she can sing, they want her to be in the choir.
      • Example of phrases - The manager of Gap Inc. sent an email to the staff.

Third Step to Writing

  • Independent and Dependent Clauses
    • Dependent clauses rely on independent clauses for their meaning to make sense
    • Independent clauses can stand on their own as they are grammatically correct
    • Example - Because you have all learned how to write well, I think you should write an essay.

Third Step to Writing

  • In order for sentences to be as effective as possible, they must be short and concise
  • Limit them to about 20 words or less
  • Break up complex sentences with periods
  • However, make sure to still have a balance between long and short sentences to keep the reader interested

Third Step to Writing

  • Emphasizing Important Ideas
    • Make use of bold, italics and underscore
    • Use vivid words : reader can picture ideas
    • Label the main idea

Third Step to Writing

    • Place the important idea first or last in the sentence : that way the ideas will have less competition with surrounding words
    • Place the important idea in a simple sentence or in an independent clause
    • Make sure the important idea is the sentence subject

Third Step to Writing

  • Active-Voice
    • Sentences with active-voice verbs has the doer of the action as the subject
    • We use active-voice for most business writing
    • Used to make a blunt announcement
    • Example : Tyler made a major error in the estimate

Third Step to Writing

  • Passive-Voice
    • In passive-voice sentences, the subject is acted upon
    • Use to emphasize an action or recipient of the action
    • Use to de-emphasize negative news
    • Use to conceal the doer of an action
    • Example : A major error was made in the estimate

Third Step to Writing

  • To tell if a verb is active or passive, identify the subject of the sentence
  • Then decide whether the subject is doing the acting or if it is being acted upon
  • Another clue to identifying passive-voice verbs is that they usually include a “to be” helping verb such as is, are, was, were, being or been

Third Step to Writing

  • Drafting Meaningful Paragraphs
    • Discuss only one topic and connect other ideas logically
    • Construct sentences and make into a paragraph
      • Main sentence : primary idea of paragraph
      • Supporting sentence : provides evidence to support main idea
      • Limiting sentence : acts as an opposition to main idea but suggesting contrasting ideas

Third Step to Writing

  • Direct Paragraph Plan
    • Most business message use this paragraph plan because it clarifies the subject immediately
    • Useful when you must define, classify, illustrate, describe
      • I. Main Sentence
      • II. Supporting Sentences

Third Step to Writing

    • Can alter direct plan by adding a limiting sentence
      • I. Main Sentence
      • II. Limiting Sentence
      • III. Supporting Sentences

Third Step to Writing

  • Pivoting Paragraph Plan
    • I. Limiting Sentence (offers a contrasting or negative idea and can be two sentences)
    • II. Main Sentence
    • II. Supporting Sentence
      • Useful for comparing and contrasting
      • Use but or how to show a turn in direction

Third Step to Writing

  • Indirect Paragraph Plan
    • I. Supporting Sentence
    • II. Main Sentence
      • Allows you to build a foundation of reasons before revealing the big idea to the audience
      • Explain your reasoning and then at the end draw your conclusion
      • Appropriate when delivering bad news
      • Works well for describing cause followed by effect

Third Step to Writing

  • Link Ideas to Build Coherence
    • Sustaining the key idea: repeating a key expression or a similar one
    • Using pronouns (we, they, she, he) to build continuity by confirming to the audience that the same thing under discussion is still being discussed

Third Step to Writing

    • Dovetailing sentence : when an idea at the end of one sentence connects with an idea at the beginning of the next sentence
      • Helpful with dense, difficult topics
      • Should NOT be over used

Third Step to Writing

  • Transitional Expressions
    • Helps reader anticipate what’s coming next, reducing uncertainty and speed comprehension
    • Non-verbal road signs to readers and listeners
    • They can add or strengthen a though, show time or order, clarify ideas, show causes and effect, contradict thoughts and contrast ideas

Third Step to Writing

  • Transitional Expressions To Build Coherence
  • To add or Strengthen
  • To show time or order
  • To Clarify
  • To show cause and effect
  • To Contradict
  • To Contrast
  • additionally
  • after
  • for example
  • accordingly
  • actually
  • as opposed to
  • again
  • before
  • for instance
  • as a result
  • but
  • at the same time
  • also
  • earlier
  • I mean
  • consequently
  • however
  • by contrast
  • besides
  • finally
  • in other words
  • for this reason
  • in fact
  • conversely
  • likewise
  • first
  • that is
  • so
  • instead
  • on the contrary
  • moreover
  • meanwhile
  • this means
  • therefore
  • rather
  • on the other hand

Third Step to Writing

  • Compose Short Paragraphs for Readability
    • Business writers recognize the vale of short paragraphs
    • Paragraphs with eight or fewer lines look inviting and readable
    • If a topic cannot be covered in eight or fewer lines, consider breaking it up into smaller segments

Links to External Information

  • http://www.zenome.com/directory/index.php?parentID=007.063.006.999


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