So, what is the secret of writing effective letters, emails, proposals and reports? The four Cs will do all the explanation for you. They are:
Be clear, considerate, concise and correct.
Whether you are in the process of writing a 1-2 line email or a big 10 page report, understand the readers’ needs and follow the four Cs. These four Cs will never let you down and you will find that you are able to send your message in a very appropriate manner.
A message that is easy to comprehend is informative. ‘Easy’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘readable’. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it is easy to read. For the past some years there has been much discussion about readability. All these discussions have stressed simple solutions to solve common problems faced in writing. This includes the use of simple and everyday words, brief paragraphs and short sentences, and avoiding usage of foreign expressions.
Using these techniques may appear simple but cannot be considered to be the solution to all the problems faced while writing. The intent of this article is to help you write clearly and concisely. It can be applied to a variety of situations that include: Memos, Reporting, Reprimands, and many other business correspondences. Informative writing can be done in a better way if words are selected with proper attention Focus should be given to the formation of sentences, and that ideas and thoughts are presented in a logical manner.
Denotation and connotation are the two ways of giving meaning to any word. Denotation is the idea or the meaning which is conveyed by the word when it is used in day-to-day language. Connotation means the thought (whether emotional or personal) that is assigned to that word. For example; the word “Democracy” denotes a type of government. On the other hand, injury connotes pain.
If we want to communicate effectively, speaking or writing, we run the risk of being misunderstood. We often assume that we know the meaning of the words that are most commonly used (denotative characteristics). But you will be surprised to know that though it may seem to be a simple task but it is not always the case. A writer should know the uniqueness of the word whenever he chooses that word when you communicate. The words must be selected very wisely and this fact has been accepted since biblical times. A short sentence with appropriate words is considered to be the best sentence.
Steps to be followed for Developing Effective Business Writing Skills:
Effective writing may seem to be a very simple and effortless task but actually it involves a lot of preparation, analysis, selection and a good organization of ideas. It is very important to follow this process as this forms the very foundation for the work that will follow. Arrange all the ideas in your thoughts in the very beginning itself. After this, try to implement the following six steps while preparing a business report, a staff paper, or an article for a publication.
1. Establish the basic objective of message:
Before starting, just divide the objectives into general and specific (special) purposes. The general or basic purpose may include informing, question, direct or persuading. If you are unable to define the purpose clearly then it will be very difficult to deliver the message clearly to the intended recipient. You must always keep in mind about the person/s that is going to read, understand or possibly answer the message.
2. Collect all the information and facts that are required:
Always collect all the possible information and facts ready at your disposal. Make sure that the information is up-to-date and correct in every sense. Make recommendations or conclusions in a line with these facts.
3. Organize and separate the matter into main topics:
Always arrange the entire matter or material into various important heads and arrange them sequentially and in a logical chain. Understand carefully the logic exhibited by the outline. Always keep a check that the topics that are related to each other are grouped logically and sequentially. Consider the outline very carefully and alter it to simple or reduced or extended as the situation demands.
4. Prepare a draft of the message in conversational style:
In the beginning, prepare a draft of the matter. While preparing the draft, always try to use a conversational format. Making it a good conversational letter will help you improve it. Keep focus on one point of the message at a time. Don’t try to improve the draft while preparing it. After preparing the draft, keep it aside for some time. Then go through the entire draft with fresh mind and critically. Reason yourself to check whether you have been logical and objective in your understanding. Are there any fall outs in your interpretation? Have you put across your ideas precisely? Is the material enough to satisfy the informational needs of the concerned receiver? Do the ideas flow systematically- in a logical and clear format? Can there be any other meaning derived from the words that have been used?
5. Consider the concerned receiver:
Always ask yourself whether you have kept the background of the receiver in mind. Will he be able to understand the message as you would like him to? Is your message complete in all sense?
Evaluate the text for the practices that are commonly accepted such as capitalizing, punctuating, numbering, and abbreviating. The most important is the words you have chosen are right or not.