Posts Tagged Reports

Electronic Communication Skills

Emails, Reports and Written Electronic Communication

Electronic CommunicationAn important side effect of the continuing explosion in digital communications is that company email correspondence and a slew of other written documents are being exhibited more and more often as evidence in legal prosecutions. These documents are used efficiently–and sometimes deviously–by prosecuting attorneys to undermine a person’s or a company’s credibility, to establish wrongdoing or to violate a defense.

We’re responsible for the quality and efficacy of these things we write and disperse. Any written medium is fair game in a court, such as instant messages, Internet mail, text messages, social networking, and sales force call notes. Email, letters, memos and faxes are permanent records which are virtually impossible to erase.

As you create, distribute and store written business communications, keep in mind that, as well as your intended viewers, your audience may become a national agency, the general public, or the participants in a legal proceeding.
Consider the sheer variety of presentations, agendas, job plans etc that all of us share and stockpile in the course of our everyday work, all which can be inspected in case of litigation. Even hand-written notes scrawled in the margins of records are fully discoverable records, even though they might be little more than 1 person’s spontaneous thoughts at a certain time, instead of real evidence of our company’s policy or doctrine, for example.

We must strive to decrease the amount of unnecessary or cloudy emails we send, because they waste time, damage credibility and may also produce a legal risk. Bear in mind that voice mails, telephone calls and face-to-face conversations aren’t records. As opposed to automatically circulating an email, first consider if the data might better be discussed in non-written form. Ask yourself: Is this email necessary, or could the data exchange be managed in a telephone call or an in-person assembly?

Communication Do’s and Don’ts

  • Don’t transcribe voice mail messages, because doing so creates a written document.
  • Discard handwritten notes, unless they’ve been put under a “legal hold.”
  • In the instance of a legal hold, don’t destroy any documents. Save all records related to expected or actual litigation.
  • Don’t modify documents, despite the best of intentions.
  • Confine your email distribution list to people who have a “need to know.” The issue with cc’ing senior executives is it’s presumed they’ve read the record, which puts an additional burden on them.
  • Delete rough drafts once a job is finished. These drafts can later be admissible as evidence, even if they bear little resemblance to the last version. Lawyers may give greater weight to monitored edits than to other parts of the document. Thus, it’s necessary to save only the last version. Go in the document to find out whether changes by different reviewers are preserved. In that case, take all changes and save the blank document.
  • Finally, remove long strings of back-and-forth emails sent to each member of a group. Do not forget that even if the tone of these exchanges is casual, the mails become part of a permanent record

How to Create Excellent Documents

When writing any business document, your aim should be to advance a legitimate company outcome. What do you want the reader to do as a result of reading your communication? What do you want the reader to think, feel or conclude? Both of these components–the actions and the response–make the reader up outcome, which you need to clearly define for each writing project.

Before you sit down to write, it’s helpful to make some notes. What are the key ideas that you need to convey to realize your reader outcome? What points encourage each of the key ideas?

Pay attention to the tone or tenor of your communications. Becoming aware of how you communicate can help prevent misinterpretation. Qualities of email correspondence to avoid include strong or inflammatory language (which suggests fault or error on someone’s part); blame; innuendo; sarcasm; exaggeration or overstatement; attributing certain comments or motives to other people; talking on a subject without having all of the facts; commenting on areas which are outside of your area of experience or domain of responsibility; participating rumor or speculation; violating individual privacy; and “grandstanding.”

Think about who wants to read the record. Have you added individuals on the supply only to impress them, or to “just in case” you have to demonstrate what you’ve accomplished at any time in the future?
Last but not least, before you hit “send,” carefully reread your document to check for ambiguous statements or inappropriate or potentially offensive language or tone. Have you kept your focus on a real business result? Work to make sure that if your record were to become a part of a legal procedure, it would give no ammunition to an adversary of our firm.

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Business Writing Tips

Writing tips for different written documents

Writing SkillsEffective business writing is important to our success on the job. Regardless of what role we play, once we communicate effectively in mails, reports, proposals, or papers, we’re more successful and more effective at work. When we write confusing or uncertain communications, it seems others do not know what to do and important information gets lost. Effective business writing is all about getting things done. When we write emails or documents that clearly state what should happen, as it must occur, and why it should happen, we create an opportunity for everyone to be more successful and productive in the workplace. Writing to get things done isn’t hard, everyone can do it, all we will need to know are the vital components for written communication on the job.

The kinds of communication that exist in the office include a simple hallway conversation or phone chat to formal written papers, presentations and meetings. You want to develop skills which will make it possible for you to get your message across to other people in addition to understand the message being presented to you.


Planning is the most vital part of the writing process, because in this period you decide the intention, contributors, audience and distribution approach. The first step in preparation is to describe the message you need to get across – its own purpose. This is true for both simple and complex projects, although you’ll typically spend more time on the latter.

The next step is to build a goal list as bullet points. From the aim statement, you can construct a summary of points to be covered in the writing stage. For more complicated jobs, you need to add detail under each outline going. Needless to say, you can revise this routine as your thoughts evolve, but the first plan should be reasonably accurate.

Before you begin writing you want to ascertain the contributors. These are the men and women who might want to get involved from the beginning or may need to assess your finished work before you distribute it to the audience. You might for instance, require technical, legal and marketing input. The final preparation step is to specify the audience.


Advanced WritingWith your outline in place, you can start the second phase on your writing project, that’s the building of your actual document. You might need to return and alter your outline, as your thoughts will most likely grow as you write. This iterative procedure is fine as long as you continue to look closely at the flow and logic for the whole project.

The writing stage is where knowledge of successful writing comes into play! The initial objective is to describe yourself and then you proceed to persuade or inspire. First of all, these goals require clarity and one key to clarity is to use concrete language instead of abstract. In exactly the same vein, you should always try to be specific instead of generic.

Try using short, declarative sentences and bullet points or lists instead of long, rambling sentences. As a rule of thumb, if a sentence is more than 30 words, then it’s too long! Whenever possible, use an active voice as opposed to a passive voice as an energetic voice is more compelling and immediate.

With these rules in mind, you may use your outline to start building in your ordered points with particular statements followed by the paragraphs which explain them. For more complicated ideas, add any images, tables, graphics, or other tools that will help to illustrate your message.


The third and last stage in a writing project is revising. You may develop your own style of writing, keeping in mind that for office communications you Want to avoid the use of:

  • Slang and jargon.
  • Long sentences.
  • Complex words.
  • Poor spelling.
  • Bad grammar.
  • Familiar or joking words or expressions.
  • Contractions (especially in formal presentations).

After the first draft is finished, you must run through a review and revision procedure. The thickness of revision will be dependent on the complexity or importance of this undertaking. By way of instance, an email regarding a team social function won’t require extensive reviewing, however a project proposal will require more scrutiny.

Collect the testimonials and ascertain the significance and accuracy of every suggestion before you make alterations.

It may also be beneficial to revisit your initial outline prior to beginning the revision procedure to check for any structural defects which may have caused confusion. This may be a repetitive process, especially in case you’ve got many reviewers to please, so use common sense concerning the amount of revisions and reviews.

A memo about a team social role should only require 1 revision, even though a proposal for a million dollar project would call for extensive reviewing.

Analyse your reader’s needs so you send a message that’s both useful and clear. Use a document attachment for correspondences such as suggestions and study. Bad grammar or spelling will reflect on you, so make certain to spell-check and proof-read your email and be very careful if you’re contemplating sending jokes or anything that’s not work related and may be considered offensive or unprofessional.

Like any written record, think before you write. Use the message header to catch attention and maintain the body text concise and short. Bear in mind that you might be held liable for anything you write, so don’t place anything in email that would be considered confidential and do not compose an email if you’re angry. In addition, don’t use all upper case in an email since this is thought of as the equivalent of raising your voice.

The design of letters is extremely specific. Always use the letterhead template provided for the first page and begin by adding the date, in the format displayed below, in the top left.

The objective of a memo is typically entered in the opening paragraphs of this Memos section, starting with the most important. Use bullet points and graphics to illustrate specific and key points.

Finally, the summary should include any motivational articles and specify what the next step is and a contact for more details.

Extra Tips for Proposals

The content, ordering and design of a professional suggestion is quite specific:

  1. Always begin with a Cover Page
  2. A Table of Contents (TOC) should be following as it enables the audience to discover specific information that’s of interest to them.
  3. You should write the Executive Overview last. It will summarise all of the segments and emphasise key points. You should insert it straight after the Table of Contents. Following the Executive Overview, the body of the presentation begins by describing the situation that’s driving the requirement and what the true need is. List key components needed to satisfy the requirement, and identify those affected and their precise requirements.

When you have given the requirement, detail how your concept, services or products service the need. List all deliverables in addition to any value choices that are available.

Use a Gantt chart or similar graphic presentation to portray key milestones in the project program, including product delivery, execution and follow up and define the investment necessary to implement the solution.

In the end, list both general and particular qualifications, including relevant experience and skills which underline the trustworthiness of your proposal.


We hope this information session on Business Writing skills is informative for you. For more information and to see more of our course please click the menu at the top and browse the different modules and options available.

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