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SOLO Activities


Prepared for students enrolled in

Dr. D. Van Horn Christopher's Mgmt 301 Course


Explain the three writing approaches and cite how they are used.

List the two fold objective of the writing process.


Answers to Self-Test Solo I


Denotative refers to the dictionary meaning of a word. Connotative refers to the emotional-laden meaning of a word. An example of a denotative word is "sorry"--a feeling of regret or pity. An example of a connotative word is "sorry"--That person is one sorry individual (sorry in this case refers to the individual as worthless).

Formal language is reserved for technical writing, dissertations, theses, oratories, and legal rhetoric and jargon. Informal language--also called colloquial language--is used for everyday conversations and general correspondence.


Formal language: The argument of writing techniques is at times superfluous and pompous and writers who endeavor to ascertain the correctness of the art can appear sophomoric.

Informal language: Writers who attempt to understand the art of writing techniques can appear as intellectually immature during debate.



Direct, indirect, and persuasive. The direct approach is used for good news, the indirect approach is used for negative news, and the persuasive is used for sales and out- of-the-ordinary appeals.

The two-fold objective of writing is as follows:

Build or create goodwill

Get the desired response





According to an article which appeared in Time, October 19, 1992, "companies still find ways of using code words to avoid job applicants on the basis of race, sex, and age." The following code words and their meanings are used by agencies to make sure companies could discriminate against prospective employees at will.


Code Intended Meaning

"Talk to Maria" Prefer Hispanics

"See me" No Minorities

"Talk to Mary" Prefer Caucasians

"No Z" No Blacks

"Talk to Adam" Prefer Male

"Young environment" No Older Workers

"Talk to MaryAnne" Prefer Blacks

"Reply to Suite 20-30" Prefer people in their 20s

"Talk to Mariko" Prefer Japanese

Some companies also specify "no accents." Companies receiving this special service include Wall Street firms, insurance companies, manufacturers, etc.




A crisis is a major, unpredictable event that has potentially negative results. The event and its aftermath may significantly damage an organization and its employees, products, services, financial condition, and reputation.

Every organization should have some type of crisis communication management plan that can be applied in a state of turmoil or chaos. Following is a list of major crises which occurred since 1983 and the impact of such events on employers, employees, consumers, stockholders, and the news media:


Perrier benzene incident (1990)

Hormel strike, razor blades found in some products (1985)

Collapse of Hyatt Regency walkway in Kansas (1985)

Proctor and Gamble: rumors about logo (satanic) (1986)

Exxon Valdez oil spill along Alaskan coast (1989)

Challenger explosion and the O-ring (1986)

Federal takeover of Charles Keating's Lincoln S & L (1990)

Tylenol pills poisoned, 7 dead (1982)

Rodney King-LAPD trial, 50 dead, $1 billion property damage (1992)

Luby's Cafeteria, Kileen, Texas, 24 massacred during lunch hour (1991)

Dow Corning, FDA breast implant probe (1992)

Cyanide-laced Sudafed capsules, 2 dead (1991)

Jack-in-the-box tainted meat, 2 dead (1993)

Una-bomber, LAX threats (1995)

Orange County bankruptcy (1994)


SOURCE: Laurence Barton. Crisis in Organizations: Managing and Communicating in the Heat of Chaos. South-Western Publishing Company: Cincinnati, 1993, 32-33.



Communication--Message, Content, and Channel



1. Letter style and format--America and abroad

2. Standard and special letter parts

3. Psychological Approaches to Writing

4. Passive vs. Active Voice

5. Vague and Ambiguous Writing

6. Abstract vs. Concrete Writing

7. Words to Sentences to Paragraphs

8. The Reader's Viewpoint--the "you" attitude

9. Technology and the Communication Process

10. Memo Writing

11. E-mail: The Rules of the Immediate Transmission



Be able to distinguish among various letter formats: block style, modified block style, and simplified.

Be able to identify the standard and special letter parts.

Be able to distinguish among the various psychological approaches to letterwriting and cite how they are used to accomplish the two-fold objective of effective business writing.

Be able to differentiate between the passive and active voice process.

Be able to rewrite sentences which are vague and ambiguous.

Be able to cite examples of abstract and concrete words.

  Be able to develop a message using correct word, sentence structure.

Be able to identify sentences which are:

negative in tone, "we" centered, and contain vague, biased words and develop a positive tone, concise language, and "You" attitude.

Be able to identify the four main components of the memo heading.



List the three basic letter formats.


List the Standard Letter part functions in the order they appear in a letter and list separately the Special Letter part functions in the order they appear in a letter.

List the three psychological approaches to letterwriting. Describe the primary functions of each one and cite how they are used to accomplish the two-fold objective of letterwriting.

Write a sentence which is negative-inferred by using the passive voice. Write a sentence which is good news by using the active voice.


Rewrite the following sentences which are vague and ambiguous. a) This is the only time Mr. Adamson gave his employees a 10 percent raise. b) There are many employment opportunities for enterprising men and women. c) It is unfortunate that affirmative action has been deemed inappropriate for life in the 1990s. d) These are not as tasty as the other ones. e) That is why John terminated his contract with ABC Company.

Rewrite the following abstract words/phrases in a concrete form:

a) newspaper b) as soon as possible

c) contact me d) order some white shirts

e) City of Angels f) the Big Apple

g) a large loan h) Microsoft's new operating system

i) dessert j) a big raise


Write a 150 word essay about the importance of writing in a clear, concise manner which is: free of abstract terminology, uses the active voice, and free of vague and ambiguous terminology. Use a grammar checker to verify your writing level, voice, and sentence structure.

Rewrite the following sentences so they reflect the following: positive tone, "you" attitude, concrete language, and unbiased attitude.

a) Didn't you bother to read the instructions?

b) We want to invite you to our fabulous open house next week.

c) We can't ship your order until our suppliers call a halt to their strike.

d) You need to work a little harder this next week because the corporate wheels are due to arrive in town and we don't want them to see people sitting around looking like there's nothing to do.

e) We just received word that a number of employees will be issued layoff notices this month unless production picks up immediately.


List the four main components of the memo heading.




1. The three basic letterwriting formats are:

1. Block style

2. Modified block style

3. AMS

The three most widely used forms of written communication in the business office are:

1. letters

2. memos

3. reports and meeting documents--agendas and minutes

2. Styles have changed over time, but the basic elements have remained intact. The letter has several standard parts (depending on format style) and can include special parts.

The typical business letter typically includes these standard elements:

1. Heading

2. Date

3. Inside Address

4. Salutation

5. body

6. complimentary close

7. typewritten name

8. reference initials

The letter can contain special parts such as:

1. attention line

2. subject line

3. reference line

4. company signature line

5. copy notation line

6. enclosure notation line

7. postscript

8. addressee notation

9. mailing notation

10. second page heading (name of addressee, page #, date)

11. bc (blind copy sent to a confidential third party)


The psychological approaches to letterwriting are:

Direct, Indirect, and Persuasive. Direct (deductive) is used for good or routine news. Indirect (inductive) is used for negative news. Persuasive news is used for sales and out-of-the-ordinary requests (contributions--money, time).

Writers are cognizant of the two-fold objective--build or create goodwill and get the desired response--when writing to elicit a favorable response from the reader.


The news of the untimely death of the company chairman created a panic on Wall Street.(negative inferred--lost profits)

Mr. Tom Marks, a corporate dynamo, agreed to serve as chairman of ABC Company. (good news)


A. Mr. Adamson gave all employees a 10 percent raise.

B. Enterprising men and women receive many employment opportunities.

C. Affirmative Action policies have been deemed inappropriate for life in the 1990s.

D. These burritos are not as tasty as the other ones we ordered last Friday.

E. John terminated his contract with ABC Company after a salary disagreement with Mr. Marion.


A. Los Angeles Times B. Friday, October 13

C. call me at 213-343-2866

    1. Order 10 white shirts, size 16 1/2, 33 length, tapered,

Order # 25866

E. Los Angeles

F. New York City

G. $1,000,000

H. Windows 95

I. Chocolate Cheesecake

J. $10,000 a year salary increase


Answers will vary


A. Please reread the instructions which came with the Wizzy Wiglet product.

B. As a valued customer, you are invited to attend our open house on Friday, October 13, 1995, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

C. Your order will be shipped within the next three weeks.

D. The CEO and CFO will be visiting our branch offices during the week of October 9-13 to congratulate you on making ABC Company the recognized leader in the transportation industry.

E. A meeting is scheduled on Friday, October 13 for all employees to discuss production issues and personnel issues.


Answers will vary

Answers will vary.


Interoffice memorandums are not distributed outside the organization. The words TO, FROM, DATE, AND SUBJECT are standard headings which appear at the top of the page.


Unlike a letter, a memo does not require a complimentary close or a signature, because the writer's name is already in a prominent place at the top.

Meeting documents--agendas and minutes aid in the preparation process by putting the meeting plans and results into permanent written form.

A written agenda helps participants prepare for the metting by telling them what will be discussed and helps keep them on trach once the meeting begins. The typical agenda format is: call to order, announcements, approval of minutes from previous meetings, committee reports, old business, new business, adjournment.

After a meeting, the secretary who attended prepares a set of minutes for distribution to all attendees and to any other interested parties. The minutes are prepared in much the same format as a memo or letter, except for the heading.


Standard and Special Letter Parts

Sample letter format: Can you identify the following standard and special parts?


ABC Company

3200 Bristol Street (1)

Costa Mesa, CA 92724


__________________ (2)






























Additional Study Helpers

Additionally, in addition to, therefore: Transitional Words

Due to the fact that, At this point in time: Wordy phrases

You can expect to hear from me sometime soon: Abstract phrase

John was fired by Mr. Erickson: Passive voice

The manager entered the wrong spreadsheet formula: Active voice

Finance students, students majoring in accounting, management students: unparallel list

A desirable length for sentences in business writing: 13-20 words

A desirable length for paragraphs in business writing: 4-7 sentences

The more formal the communication, the less acceptable first-person pronouns will be.

To de-emphasize words: place in lowercase letters

Your mood and formality or informality in writing is reflected by your tone.

A desirable reading level for most business writing is between grades 8 and 11.

Four specific techniques for achieving an appropriate tone in business writing include: being courteous, avoiding anger, being positive, and avoiding humor or sarcasm.

Three specific methods for eliminating biased gender pronouns such as he, him, or his, include: eliminating the pronouns, using plural pronouns, and using he/she or he or she.

The three common elements that exist in the opening portion of a memo are: the background surrounding the situation, the purpose for writing, and the problem or reason for writing.

Computer networks on which you can communicate and gather information worldwide: Electronic bulletin boards.

INTERNET AND BITNET: Academic bulletin boards.

Companies offering bulletin board services to their employees and customers: Private bulletin boards.

Reports: Explain, support, and justify a business decision

The organizational plan that requires you to state the main idea first and follow with details: Direct (deductive) approach.


Modified & Block Simplified

Letter Parts Optional/required/ Optional/required/

omitted omitted

Return address required required

Dateline required required

Inside address required required

Saluation required omitted

Subject line optional required

Body of letter required required

Complimentary close required omitted

Signature required required

Typed name & title required required

Reference initials optional optional

Enclosure notation optional optional

Copy notation optional optional

Post Scripts optional optional


A neutral beginning to set up a refusal in a bad news message would be: A buffer--"Thank you for your interest in employment opportunities at ABC Company."

Mechanical means such as numbering, listings, and bullets, should generally be avoided in bad news messages.


An effective persuasive message follows the AIDCA Approach: Attention, interest, desire, conviction, action. This approach appeals to the five senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching.






The seven Cs of writing

Introduction to style, tone, voice, and organization

Jargon, redundant (doublet), and trite (stereotyped) words

Biased terminology, cliches, and euphemisms

Direct, Indirect, and Persuasive approaches to letterwriting

Writing reader-oriented letters for:

readability, acceptability, and credibility using the two-fold objective

The three writing appeals: emotional, rational, and altruistic

The formulas: AIDA, AIDCA, AIDPPA, DDPC, PPPP and how they are used.



Be able to understand the importance of the seven C's in letterwriting.

Be able to write sentences that are appropriate in style, tone, voice, and organization.

Be able to identify sentences which illustrate jargon, redundant, trite, and formal expressions.

Be able to identify sentences which illustrate biased terminology, cliches, and euphemisms.

Identify reader-oriented sentences which convey direct, indirect, and persuasive news.

Be able to rewrite sentences which do not meet the following:

readability, acceptability, and credability factors.



This unit is the "writing focus" chapter for all the proceeding chapters. This unit is critical in learning the basic fundamental skills in letterwriting. The overall purpose of this unit is conveyed through various techniques such as: tone, style, organization, and psychological approaches to letterwriting (direct, indirect, and persuasive).

The basic principles of grammar and punctuation will also be reviewed as you begin your writing assignments. Upon completion of this unit, your writing will be clearer, more convincing, and better organized.



Learning Objectives:

List the seven C's of letterwriting

Given sentences, rewrite them to be positive in tone, active voice, and incorporate the "you" attitude

Given statements, identify those which are free of jargon, redundancies, formal, or trite expressions.

Given statements, identify those which are free of bias, cliche's, or euphemisms.

Given sentences, identify the psychological approaches to letterwriting and explain how they are used. Direct (D), Indirect (I), and Persuasive (P)

Given three brief responses letters, explain which letters demonstrate the following principles: acceptability, readability, credibility, and the two-fold objective.









A direct approach (request or response) states the main idea in the beginning paragraph. The middle paragraph (referred to as the "meat") section gives the details and explanations. The third paragraph (ending) ends with an action statement or pleasant close.





An indirect approach (request or response) starts with a neutral statement (something whichthe reader and writer can both agree on. The second paragraph (middle) covers the problem. First, an explanation is given to condition the reader, then a refusal follows. The last paragraph is an attempt to soften the impact of the previous paragraph. The last paragraph ends on a pleasant close or resale message.







The persuasive approach is used for sales messages--soliciting volunteer services, money (fundraising), or out-of-the-ordinary requests. The first paragraph uses an attention-getter (quote, question, proverb, etc.) to get the reader involved and create interest. The middle paragraph(s) tries to involve the reader by describing the product, service, or idea in order to develop a desire within the reader to perform the later requested action. This paragraph also tries to place the reader under conviction by using words which are laden with specials (emotional, rational, or altruistic). This paragraph attempts to involve the senses: Touch, feel, taste, sight, and hearing to obtain a positive response from the reader. The last paragraph usually consists of an easy action message so that the reader can respond with ease.



List five of the Seven C's of letterwriting:


Rewrite the following sentences to project a positive tone, active voice, and "you" attitude. Make any other corrections which are needed.

*Surely you can read the directions you received with the bicycle.

*We cannot allow you that large a discount at this time.

*We do not send catalogs to the general public because we simply cannot afford to do so; contact our reps who have access to the catalogs.

*Due to problems such as the hurricane in Hawaii, the snowstorm on the East Coast, and the Medfly in California, we cannot ship your orders for our variety fruit until later.

*Our company will hold an open house next month to showcase the new products and tour the showrooms we have added since your last visit.


Indicate which sentences, if any, are correct. Make any necessary corrections to those sentences you deem as incorrect.

"Chill out, things cannot be that bad," said Maria.

"The player was poo-pooed by his fans," announced the sportscaster.

"Sig Alert! Sig Alert! There's been a spin-out on the I-5," emphasized the newscaster.

"John is the most sincere and earnest man I know," remarked Sara.

Enclosed herewith you will find enclosed the aforementioned materials in compliance with your earlier request and I hereby relinquish the aforementioned materials to you for your perusal, however, please finish the specs ASAP and forward them to me under separate cover. Hoping to hear from you soon, I remain

I will endeavor to ascertain the response you so desire and will attempt to comply to your wishes; however, if I have not corresponded with you before the commencement period of the project, contact me immediately.


Identify whether the following expressions are: Biased (B), Jargon (J), Cliche (C), Redundant (R), Euphemism (E), Trite

(T). A few expressions may fall into more than one category.

a. military brass ____ b. Old girl ____

c. good as gold _____ d. tipsy _____

e. first and foremost _____ f. pig out ____

g. right on _____ h. RFP _____

i. under separate cover j. chill out ___

k. domestic engineer _____ l. neat as a pin __

m. enclosed herewith _____ n. VIP _____

o. round in shape ______ p. Rad ____


List the three psychological approaches to letterwriting and explain how they are used.


 Identify whether the following sentences are: Direct (D), Indirect (I), Persuasive (P). Also state another form of communication by which you could address the following sentences. For example: memo, phone call, electronic mail, fax, etc.

*A letter asking when next year's automobiles will be put on sale locally.

*A letter from a recent college graduate requesting a letter of recommendation from a former instructor.

*A letter turning down a job applicant.

*An announcement that, because of high air-conditioning costs, the plant temperature will be held at 78 degrees during the summer months and hot weather periods.

*An invitation to the annual company picnic.

*A request for a price adjustment to cover the damage done to merchandise shipped to your store.

*A request to settle a deliquent debt.

*A letter to a restaurant owner from a customer, informing owner of unusually bad service.

*A posted memo informing company employees that 30% of the current staff will be laid off with no chance of call-backs, effective in one month.


*A letter informing customers that the product they purchased this month is defective and continued use of the product could lead to human injury or death unless the product is returned immediately.


Explain which brief response letters demonstrate the following principles: Acceptability, readability, credibility, and the two-fold objective.

Here's the May issue of The Globe you asked for--and hope you enjoy it.

Thanks for using The Globe as part of your learning experience.

Salutation: Dear Sir Closing: Very truly yours


We are in receipt of the claim you made for an injury sustained last summer.

In order that we may process this claim you made for an injury sustained while employed by ABC Corporation, please advise whether injured party was covered by another company prior to this incident.

Your assistance in this matter requires your immediate attention.

Salutation: Dear Madame Closing: Sincerely yours


Please tell us on the bottom of this letter your camera model. Then we shall promptly send you suggestions for using the attachments for maximum performance.

Attached to this letter you will find enclosed a form which will assist you in processing your request for a manual for the product you purchased from us. A stamped, self-addressed enveloped is enclosed for your convenience in receiving a prompt and efficient reply.

Salutation: Dear Customer: Closing: Cordially


It has come to our attention that you may have purchased

Our product, Serial #890657123098645. This product may be defective and should be returned to the nearest distribution at once. Continued use of this product may result in human injury and death.

Quality is our motto; however, times occur when a mishap occurs even when everything within our power has been done to provide customers such as yourself the best product on the market today. Our product, Serial #126578906543, has been found to be unsafe to use. Please return the product to one of our distribution centers. You will receive a new product at no additional charge to you.

Salutation: Dear Max: Closing: Yours very truly,






























Thank you


































*Courteous and Considerate are essentially the same; however, based upon the definition of each a slight variation in interpretation is apparent.

Color Psychology:

Blue: Sincerity, harmony

Green: Life, restfulness, coolness

Buff: Conservatism, dignity

Gray: Confidence, wisdom

Pink: Femininity, daintiness

Yellow: Cheerfulness, vigor

Purple: Tradition, high rank

Brown: Strength, usefulness

Red: Excitement, danger

Colors are used in business in various ways: to select their stationery, to use in designing their logos, to use in advertising campaigns, office decor, uniforms, etc.





"You" Attitude

Tone, Style, and Voice

Psychological Approaches to Letterwriting

Language Builders and Barriers

The C's of Effective Letterwriting

Trite, Stereotyped Business Jargon

Acceptability and Readability in Writing

Basic Writing Principles



Be able to write a letter using the "you" approach

Be able to write a letter emphasizing the positive and achieving the desired response through tone, style, and voice

Be able to write letters using the correct psychological approach (direct, indirect, and persuasive)

Be able to enhance writing and speaking skills using effective language builders

Be able to write letters which emphasize the C's of Letterwriting

Be able to write letters which avoid trite, stereotyped business jargon

Be able to write letters which achieve an acceptable and readable style

Be able to write letters which utilize correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence and paragraph development






Principles of Memorandums

Special Goodwill Messages

Four Major Categories of Form Messages

Three-step Sequence for Neutral, Direct, or Inquiry Messages

B-M-E Characteristics of Messages

Unpleasant Messages

Persuasive Messages

Four Characteristics of Sales Letters

Three Stages of Collection Messages




Be able to name the four basic memorandum principles.

Be able to cite the primary purpose of special goodwill messages.

Be able to list the four major categories of form messages.

Be able to list the three-step sequence for neutral, direct, or inquiry messages.

Be able to explain the beginning (B), middle (M), and ending (E) characteristics of messages.

Be able to illustrate an effective outline for an unpleasant message.

Be able to illustrate an effective outline for a persuasive message.

Be able to list the four characteristics of sales letters, the persuasive appeals, and primary study characteristics.

Be able to write a short paragraph (50 words or less) on the primary characteristics of each collection stage and cite the two-fold purpose of collection letters.






Solicited Application Letters and Resumes

Unsolicited Application Letters and Resumes

Position-Seeking Sources and Markets

Functional Resume

Chronological Resume

Employment Interview

Employment Testing

Employment Follow-up

Legal and Ethical Considerations

Planning and Conducting Meetings and Conferences



Be able to define the term solicited

Be able to define the term unsolicited

Be able to name a minimum of two sources of prospective employers available to prospective employees in today's web-based environment.

Be able to cite the advantages and disadvantages of a functional resume.

Be able to cite the advantages and disadvantages of a chronological resume.

Be able to give a minimum of three suggestions for preparing for an interview.

Be able to name three things that are included in the employment dossier that you take to an interview.

Be able to name a minimum of ten questions that the interviewer may ask.

Be able to cite the difference between an open-ended interview and a close-ended interview.

Be able to list three different types of employment tests administered prior to employment.

Be able to cite the two purposes of a thank-you letter and the two purposes of a follow-up letter.

Be able to define the terms libel, slander and fraud.

Be able to write a brief summation of the following laws:

a. The Privacy Act of 1974

b. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy

Act of 1974

c. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, amend. 1972, 1978 (Title VII)

d. The Truth in Lending Act (1968)

e. The Federal Wage Garnishment Law (1968)

f. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (1970)

g. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (1974)

h. The Fair Credit Billing Act (1974)

i. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (1978)

j. The New Bankruptcy Act (1979)

k. U.S. Copyright Law 1978

Be able to define the terms conference, meeting, and agenda. Explain briefly the importance of conducting a meeting according to Robert's Rules of Order.




Be able to distinguish among the four basic letter formats.

Be able to briefly the differences between business letters in America and abroad.

Be able to identify the standard and special parts of a letter.



This is the completion of your review.