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Business Communication-ISBM-2

Business Communication-ISBM-2

 

SUB :  BUSINESS COMMUNICATION  

N. B. : All cases are Compulsory.

 

CASE NO. 1

How to Proofread like a Pro :

Tips for creating the Perfect Document

 

You’ve carefully revised and polished your document, and it’s been sent off to the word-processing department or a designer to be put into final form.  You can breathe a sigh of relief, but only for the moment : You’ll still be proofreading what comes out of the printer.  To ensure that any document is error-free, always proofread the final version.  Following are some hints to help make your proofreading more effective.

§  Multiple passes – Go through the document several times, focusing on a different aspect each time.  The first pass might be to look for omissions and errors in content; the second pass could be for layout, spacing, and other aesthetic features; a final pass might be to check for typographical, grammatical, and spelling errors.

§  Perceptual tricks – Your brain has been trained to ignore transposed letters, improper capitalization, and misplaced punctuation.  Try (1) reading each page from the bottom to the top (starting at the last word in each line,) (2) Placing your finger under each word and reading it silently,  (3) making a slit in a sheet of paper that reveals only one line of type at a time, and (4) reading the document aloud and pronouncing each word carefully.

§  Impartial reviews – Have a friend or colleague proofread the document for you.  Others are likely to catch mistakes that you continually fail to notice.  (All of us have blind spots when it comes to reviewing our own work)

§  Typos – Look for the most common typographical errors (typos): transposition (such as teb), substitution (such as economic), and omission (such as productivity)

§  Mechanics – When looking for errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization, if you’re unsure about something, look it up in a dictionary, a usage book, or another reference work.

§  Accuracy – Double –check the spelling of names and the accuracy of dates, addresses, and all numbers (quantities ordered, prices, and so on).  It would not do to order 500 staples when you want only 50.

§  Distance – If you have time, set the document aside and proofread it the next day.

§  Vigilance – Avoid reading large amounts of material in one sitting, and try not to proofread when you’re tired.

§  Focus – Concentrate on what you’re doing.  Try to block out distractions, and focus as completely as possible on your proofreading task.

§  Caution – Take your time.  Quick proofreading is not careful proofreading.

Proofreading may require patience, but it adds creditability to your document.

Career Applications :

1.     What qualities does a person need to be a good proofreader ? Are such qualities inborn, or can they be learned ?

2.     Proofread the following sentence :

        application of these methods in stores in San Deigo nd Cinncinati have resulted in a 30 drop in robberies an a 50 percent decling in violence there, according at the developers if the security system, Hanover brothrs, Inc.

 

 

CASE NO. 2

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS ALL AROUND

THE WORLD

“He wouldn’t look me in the eye.  I found it disconerting that he kept looking all over the room but rarely at me,” said Barbara Walters after her interview with Libya’s Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi.  Like many people in the United States, Walters was associating eye contact with trustworthiness, so when Qadhafi withheld eye contact, she felt uncomfortable.  In fact Qadhafi was paying Walters a compliment.  In Libya, not looking conveys respect, and looking straight at a woman is considered nearly as serious as physical assault.

          Nonverbal communication varies widely between cultures, even between subcultures, and the differences strongly affect communication in the workplace.  Whether you’re trying to communicate with your new Asian American assistant, the Swedish managers who recently bought out your company, the African American college student who won a summer internship with your firm, or representatives from the French company you hope will buy your firm’s new designs, your efforts will depend as much on physical cues as on verbal ones.  Most Americans aren’t usually aware of their own nonverbal behavior, so they have trouble understanding the body language of people from other cultures.  The list of differences is endless.

§  In Thailand it’s rude to place your arm over the back of a chair in which another person is sitting.

§  Finnish female students are horrified by Arab girls who want to walk hand in hand with them.

§  Canadian listeners nod to signal agreement.

§  Japanese listeners nod to indicate only that they have understood.

§  British listeners stare at the speaker, blinking their eyes to indicate understanding.

§  People in the United States are taught that it’s impolite to stare.

§  Saudis accept foreigners in Western business attire but are offended by tight – fitting clothing and by short sleeves.

§  Spaniards indicate a receptive friendly handshake by clasping the other person’s forearm to form a double handshake.

§  Canadians consider touching any part of the arm above the hand intrusive, except in intimate relationships.

It may take years to adjust your nonverbal communication to other

cultures, but you can choose from many options to help you prepare.  Books and seminars on cultural differences are readily available, as are motion pictures showing a wide range of cultures.  You can always rent videos of films and TV shows from other countries.  Examining the illustrations in news and business magazines can give you an idea of expected business dress and personal space.  Finally, remaining flexible and interacting with people from other cultures who are visiting or living in your country will go a long way toward lowering the barriers presented by nonverbal communication.

Career Applications :

1.     Explain how watching a movie from another country might help you prepare to interpret nonverbal behavior from that culture correctly.

2.     One of your co-workers is originally from Saudi Arabia. You like him, and the two of you work well together.  However, he stands so close when you speak with him that it makes you very uncomfortable. Do you tell him of your discomfort, or do you try to cover it up ?

CASE NO. 3

MASTERING THE ART OF CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM

To become better writers, people need to be evaluated, but taking criticism

from others is often difficult.  The way you tell someone  “ You did it wrong” can destroy goodwill and cooperation, or it can build the relationship and help the person learn from the mistake, improve performance, and retain self-esteem.  To criticize more constructively, follow these suggestions :

§  Get all the facts first : Don’t accept hearsay or rumors.

Find out specifically who did or said what, when, where, why, and how

§  Don’t act in haste : Never act while you’re angry.  Think things out before you write or speak, and then explain your criticism calmly, rationally, and objectively.

§  Phrase your remarks impersonally : Criticize the mistake, not the person.  Focus your remarks on the action only, and analyze it thoughtfully.

§  Never criticize in an offhand manner : Treat the situation seriously.  Take the time to state the problem in detail, explaining what was wrong and why.

§  Avoid an abusive tone : Ridiculing someone, talking down to a person, or using sarcasm prevents people from accepting what you have to say.

§  Make the offense clear : Don’t talk in generalities.  Be specific about exactly what was done wrong.

§  Preface the criticism with a kind word or a compliment : Start with a few words of praise or admiration, saying how much you value the person.  First the good news, then the bad.

§  Supply the answer : Explain how to do things right.  Don’t dwell on the mistake, emphasize how to correct it and how to avoid repeating it.

§  Ask for cooperation : Don’t demand cooperation.  Asking makes the person feel like a team member and provides an incentive to improve.

§  Limit yourself to one criticism for each offense : Don’t dredge up or rehash past mistakes.  Focus on the current problem.

§  End on a friendly note : Don’t conclude by leaving things up in the air, to be discussed again latter.  Settle them now, and make the close friendly.  Give the other person a pat on the back.  Let the last memory of the matter be a good one.

§  Forgive and forget : Once the criticism has been made, let the person start with a clean slate.  Avoid looking for more mistakes, and give the person a chance to improve.

§  Take steps to prevent a recurrence : Follow up to make sure the person is acting on your suggestions and doing things right.

If you follow these guidelines, constructive criticism can benefit you, your company, and – most important – the person you’re criticizing.

Career Applications :

1.     Think back over the lessons you’ve learned in life.  How did you benefit from some one telling you the truth about something you were doing wrong ?

2.     With a partner, role-play a situation in which one of you is the boss and the other an employee.  The boss is angry because the employee repeatedly arrives late for work, takes long lunches, and leaves 5 to 10 minutes early.  However, the employee’s work is always excellent.  After the role-play, analyze what the boss did right and what could be improved.

CASE NO. 4

WHAT YOU MAY LEGALLY SAY IN A SALES LETTER

As you prepare to write your sales letter, think carefully about your choice

of words.  False or misleading statements could land you in court, so make sure your language complies with legal and ethical standards.  To keep your sales letters within the limits of the law, review the legal considerations of these typical sales phrases :

§  “Our product is the best on the market.” – This statement is acceptable for a sales letter because the law permits you to express an opinion about your product.  In the process of merchandising a product, statements of opinion are known as “puffery,” which is perfectly legal as long as you make no deceptive or fraudulent claims.

§  “Our product will serve you well for many years to come.” This statement from a sales brochure triggered a lawsuit by a disgruntled customer who claimed the manufacturer’s product lasted only a few years.  The courts ruled that the statement was an acceptable form of puffery because the manufacturer did not promise that the product would last for a specific number of years.

§  “We’re so confident you’ll enjoy our products that we’ve enclosed a sample of our most popular line.  This sample can be yours for only $5.00!  Please send your payment in the enclosed, prepaid envelope.”  If you include a product sample with your sales letter, your readers may keep the merchandise without paying for it.  Under the law, consumers may consider unordered goods as gifts.  They are not obligated to return the items to you or submit payments for unsolicited merchandise

§  “Thousands of high school students – just like you – are already enjoying this fantastic CD collection ! Order before March 1 and save !” If your sales letter appeals to minors, you are legally obligated to honour their contracts.  At the same time, however, the law permits minors to cancel their contracts and return the merchandise to you.  Sellers are legally obligated to accept contracts voided by minors and any goods returned by them.  Legal adult status is defined differently from state to state, ranging from age 18 to age 21.

§  “You’ll find hundreds of bargains at our annual scratch and dent’ sale!  All sales are final on merchandise marked as is.”  When you use the term as is in your sales letter, you are not misleading customers about the quality of your products.  By warning consumers that the condition of sales items is less than perfect, you are not legally obligated to issue refunds to customers who complain about defects later on.

Career Applications :

1.     Review two sales letters for content.  List the “Puffery” statements in each letter.

2.     Note any statements in these sales letters that appear questionable to you.  Rewrite one of the statements, carefully choosing words that won’t be misleading to consumers. 

CASE NO. 5

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS WITH ONLINE REPORTING

Mrs. Fields uses them.  Mrs. Paul’s uses them.  However, you don’t have to be in the cookie or fish business to work with electronic reports.  More and more companies are adopting electronic reports over hard-copy reports to keep employees, managers, investors, and other stakeholders informed.

          Computerized cash registers in Mrs. Fields cookie outlets are the heart of a sophisticated reporting system for monitoring and controlling operations.  Rather than taking the time to write reports by hand, store managers enter data into the computer system by following report formats on their screen. Then they electronically transmit these reports to corporate headquarters in Park City, Utah.  The computer system also serves as a two-way communication device, allowing store and corporate personnel to send messages back and forth in seconds.  So Mrs. Fields corporate managers can quickly receive the information they need in order to track sales and productivity trends – and to spot potential problems – in more than 700 outlets around the world.

          At Mrs. Paul’s a computerized reporting system allows production managers to continuously monitor and control the yield from the company’s fish – processing operation.  The system calculates the production yield using the weight of the fish before it’s processed, the weight if abt scraosm and the weight of the finished fish meals.  If the reports show that the actual yield drops below the expected yield, the managers can immediately adjust the equipment to improve the yield.  The production managers have instant access to electronic reports at each stage of the operation, so they can find and fix problems more quickly than if they had to wait for printed reports.

          FedEx, the well-known package-shipping firm, uses extensive satellite and computer technologies to track the location of every package in the company’s system.  Customers can then access electronic reports to monitor the status of their shipments at any time. This tracking system not only helps the company serve its customers better, but it puts valuable information in the hands of customers with a click of the mouse. Like many companies, FedEx posts an electronic copy of its annual report and other corporate informational reports at its website.

          As Mrs. Fields, Mrs. Pauls, FedEx, and other companies know, keeping customers, employees, investors, and other stakeholders informed with electronic reports is the only way to do business in the global workplace.

 

Career Applications

1.     What advantages and disadvantages do you see in asking store managers at Mrs. Fields to file electronic troubleshooting reports immediately on the company’s intranet ?

2.     What kinds of electronic reports might a company want to post on its website ? 

 

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