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Principles of Business Communication

Chapter 4

Ch 4-2

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this lesson, students should be able to:

Learn to KISS Identify words that receivers will understand and that will elicit the intended response Discuss elements that create clear, concise and effective sentences Develop clear, concise, logical, coherent and effective paragraphs Use appropriate alternatives to ensure unbiased language in business messages

Ch 4-3

What is KISS?

It Short and

To KISS, you need to pay attention to the words you choose, the sentences you construct, the paragraphs you develop, and the language you use.

Ch 4-4

Choosing words

Use effective words that your receiver will understand and that will elicit the response you want.
Use a dictionary and thesaurus. Follow the 6 principles of choosing words.

Ch 4-5

Principles in Choosing Effective Words

2. 3.

Choose understandable words

Use specific, precise words Choose strong words

5. 6.

Emphasize positive words

Avoid overused words Avoid obsolete words

Ch 4-6

Choose understandable words

Analyze your receivers knowledge, interests, opinions, and emotional reactions.

Use words that are in your receivers vocabulary.

Abdicate vs Resign

Gregarious vs Outgoing

Technical words relate to a specific field; use them only with an audience from that field.

Underwriter vs Sponsor or Insurer De facto vs Actual or Real

Ch 4-7

Use specific, precise words

Use specific words with clear and precise meanings.

Avoid vague or abstract words such as many and several, which mean different things to different people.

Many vs 1,000 or 500 to 1,000

Very rich vs A millionaire

Ch 4-8

Choose strong words

A strong word creates a vivid image in the receivers mind.

A power word has a distinct meaning and creates a visual image.

The conflict is ongoing

The war rages on

The contract expires in a few years The contract expires in five years

Ch 4-9

Emphasize positive words

Positive words convey optimism and confidence.

Let us review the facts Your order will be shipped on Friday

Negative words trigger unpleasant emotions.

Your understanding was wrong Your order cannot be shipped until Friday

Avoid overused words

Ch 410

Overused words have lost effectiveness because they have been used too much in conversation or written messages.
Can you identify your own overused words?

Avoid obsolete words

Ch 411

Obsolete words are out-of-date and sound pompous, dull, and stiff.
Obsolete expressions are stilted and unnatural. Conversational language works best for business communication.

Principles in Writing Clear Sentences

2. 3.

Ch 412

Compose clear sentences

Use short sentences Prefer active voice in sentences


Give sentences appropriate emphasis

Compose clear sentences

Ch 413

Use words that are precise, understandable, strong, and positive.

Give sentences unity. Keep related words together. Use correct grammar.

Use short sentences

Ch 414

Short sentences (15 to 20 words) are generally easier to understand.

Vary the length of your sentences for interest. Use complete sentences that have a subject, a verb, and express a complete thought. Omit unnecessary words. Limit content in each sentence.

Prefer active voice

Ch 415

Active voice

the subject does the acting

The department store delivered the clothing on schedule.

Passive voice

the subject is acted upon

The clothing was delivered on schedule

Use passive voice to provide variety and interest in your messages. But active voice should be dominant.

Give sentences appropriate emphasis

Ch 416

Emphasize important ideas.

Use length. Use location. Use sentence structure. Repeat key words. Tell the receiver what is important.

Be specific or general.
Use format. Use mechanical means.

Principles in Developing Effective Paragraphs

2. 3.

Ch 417

Use short paragraphs

Give paragraphs unity Organize paragraphs logically


Give paragraphs appropriate emphasis

Provide paragraph coherence

Use short paragraphs

Ch 418

Use short paragraphs to make the message easier to read and understand.
Keep paragraphs in letters and memos to four to five lines each.

Compose business reports with paragraphs of six to seven lines.

Give paragraphs unity

Ch 419

All the sentences in a paragraph relate to one topic.

USA Today surveyed 1,732 executives to ask if they would choose a completely different field if they could start their career over. The survey population came from a variety of organizations. Slightly over half, 51 percent, said Yes. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. Thirty-four percent said Maybe, and 25 percent said No.

Organize paragraphs logically

Ch 420

Direct plan

The main idea is in the first sentence in the paragraph.

Indirect plan

The main idea comes after the details in the paragraph.

Give paragraphs appropriate emphasis

Ch 421

Location Repetition

Format Mechanics

Provide paragraph coherence

Ch 422

Make a smooth transition from one sentence or paragraph to the next.

Sequence items in a consistent order. Use transitional words. Use tie-in sentences.

Use Unbiased Language

Ch 423

Avoid gender-biased language

Avoid other biased language

Avoid gender-biased language

Ch 424

The English language implies stereotyping of males and females because of the generic use of masculine singular pronouns to represent both men and women; the generic use of the word man; and the use of certain words, phrases, and constructions that tend to stereotype a group or individual. Can you think of any example?

Avoid other biased language

Ch 425

Avoid negative stereotype.

Do not use language that belittles, offends, or embarrasses other people. Any examples?


Ch 426

To communicate effectively:
KISS Choose words that your receivers will understand and that will result in the intended response. Write clear, concise, and effective sentences. Develop clear, concise, logical, coherent, and effectively paragraphs. Use unbiased language in messages.