MBA management

Objective of Handling Business Information


The main purpose of all communication in an organization is the general welfare of the organization .Effective communication is needed to ensure the above at all stages. As the commercial structure is very complex and elaborate, communication is used for the following objectives:

i. Information: One of the most important objectives of communication is passing or receiving information about a particular fact or circumstance. It can be either verbal or written and managers need complete, precise and accurate information to carry out their functions.

ii. Advice: It involves personal opinions and is up to the receiver to accept it or not.

iii. Order: It is an authoritative & directive communication. Commanding is order.

iv. Suggestion: It is a very mild and subtle form of communication. It is an option and is up to the receiver to accept it or not.

v. Persuasion: It is defined as an effort ‘to influence the attitudes, feeling & beliefs’.

vi. Education: It is a very conscious process of communication and involves both teaching and learning over long time periods. It aims to widen knowledge.

vii. Warning: A warning is given to someone when he does not abide by or violates the rules and regulations of the organization.

viii. Motivation: It energizes and activates a person and channelizes his behavior towards the attainment of desired goals.

ix. Raising Morale: It means to help a worker develop his conduct and general well being.

Advantages of Handling Business Information


i. Business has grown in size: Any large business house has its branches spread throughout the world. Even multinationals for this matter have various branches. All this call for a central organization in order to maintain all financial and non-financial transactions and also to ensure growth. This requires a well-established network of communication.

ii. Business activity has become extremely complex: A business organization has various departments to manage various transactions such as sales, purchase etc. which requires communication between the departments. Thus an effective communication system is required.

iii. Effective communication promotes a sprit of understanding and cooperation: If there exists effective communication between the management and the employees, it helps to bring about an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence, thus enabling the employees to know what is expected of them.

iv. Government agencies and departments: Business organizations need to deal with various government agencies regarding licenses etc. Negotiation is needed in governmental agencies as there is a lot of tricky work involved and negotiation is done by communication.

v. Distributors, Retailers & Individual customers: Modern business is a highly competitive phenomenon. Thus sale is an important concept which is done through persuasion and persuasion is another aspect of communication.

Purpose of Handling Business Information


i. Large Size: modern organizations are very large in size. In a large organization, personal contact between persons is less frequent. Therefore, telecommunications become necessary to remain in touch.

ii. Globalization: Several firms operate on a world wide scale. Efficient and rapid means of communication are required to overcome the problem of distance. The head office can coordinate and control branches and subordinates through effective communication.

iii. Cut throat Competition: Due to intense competition, it has become essential for a business firm to know the latest trends in the market and environment of business. Quick decisions have become necessary. Effective communication is required for this purpose.

iv. Public Relations: big business firms must always keep in touch with share holders, financial institutions. Government, suppliers and other interested groups in order to create and maintain a good public image. Rapid and effective communication is necessary for the same.

Technical Writing Style


When you draft and edit, it is helpful if you have developed a repertoire of strategies to guide the choices you have to make. Having a sense of effective ways to present sentences, paragraphs, and tone helps you produce a document that you readers find clear and easy to grasp. The basic concept is to arrange material top-down: put the most important idea at the beginning (“the top”), and follow with the explanatory details (the “down”).

As you revise drafts, look for language that might cause confusion, making you writing harder to understand. They key is to learn to recognize these constructions as “flags,” indicators that the spot needs to be evaluated. For instance, whenever you write a there are or whenever you repeat a word, decide whether to change the sentence. The following sections help you develop an awareness of many constructions that cause imprecise, difficult-to-read sentences. Although you may produce some of these constructions in your early drafts, learn to identify and change them.

Write clear Sentences for your Reader

Following these guidelines for composing sentences will make your writing clear:

• Place the sentence’s main idea first.
• Use normal word order.
• Use the active voice.
• Employ parallelism.
• Write sentences of 12 to 25 words.
• Use ‘there are’ sparingly.
• Avoid nominalizations.
• Avoid strings of choppy sentences.
• Avoid wordiness.
• Avoid redundant phrases.
• Avoid noun clusters.
• Use ‘you’ correctly.
• Avoid sexist language.

Place the Main Idea First

To put the main idea first (at the “top”) is key principle for writing sentences that are easy to understand. Place the sentence’s main idea first. The subject makes the rest of the sentence accessible. Reader’s relate subjects to their own ideas (their schema) and thus orient themselves. After readers know the topic, they are able to interact with the complexities you develop.

Note the difference between the following two sentences. In the first, the main idea, “two types of professional writing,” comes near the end. The sentence is difficult to understand. In the second, the main idea is stated first, making the rest of the sentence easier to understand.

Use Normal Word Order

The normal word order in English is subject-verb-object. This order makes reading easier because it reveals the topic first and then develop the idea. It also usually produces the clearest, most concise sentences.

Normal        The ASTM definition describes the process by which polymers break down.
Inverted Polymers break down in a process described by the ASTM definition.

Use the Active Voice

The active voice emphasizes the performer of the action rather than the receiver. The active voice helps readers grasp ideas easily because it adheres to the subject-verb-object pattern and puts the performer of the action first. When the subject acts, the verb is in the active voice (“I wrote the memo”). When the subject is acted upon, the verb is the passive voice (“The memo was written by me”).

Change Passive to Active

To change a verb from the passive to the active voice, follow these guidelines:

• Move the person acting out of a prepositional phrase.

Passive        The memo was sent by the manager.

Active        The Manager sent the memo.

• Supply a subject (a person or an agent).

Passive        This method was ruled out.

Active        The staff ruled out this method.

Active        I ruled out this method.

• Substitute an active verb for a passive one.

Passive        The heated water is sent into the chamber.

Active        The heated water flows into the chamber.

Use the passive if it is Accurate

The passive voice is sometimes more accurate; for instance, it is properly used to show that a situation is typical or usual or to avoid an accusation.

1. Typical situation needs no agent.             Robots are used in repetitive activities.
2. Active verb requires an unnecessary

Agent (companies).     

  Companies use robots in repetitive activities.
3. Active accuses                                         You violated the ethics code by doing that.
4. Passive avoids accusing                            The ethics code was violated by that act.


The passive voice can also be used to emphasize a certain word.

1. Use passive to emphasize milk samples.                      Milk samples are preserved by the addictive.
2. Use active to emphasize additive.                                The additive preserves the milk samples.


Employee parallelism

Using parallelism means to use similar structure for similar elements. Careful writers use parallel structure for coordinate elements, elements with equal value in a sentence. Coordinate elements are connected by coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for, yet, so) or are words, phrases, or clauses that appear in a series. In the following sentence, the italicized words make up a series.

Technical writers create memos, proposals, and manuals.

If coordinate elements in a sentence are not treated in the same way, the sentence is awkward and confusing.

Faculty     Managers guarantee that they will replace the old system and to consider the new proposal.

Parallel     Managers guarantee that they will replace the old system and that they will consider the new proposal.

Faculty     Typical writing situations include proposals, the sending of electronic mail, and how to update the system.

Parallel     Typical writing situations include editing proposals, sending electronic mail, and updating the system.

Write Sentences of 12 to 25 Words

An easy-to-read sentence is 12 to 25 words long. Shorter and longer sentences are weaker because they become too simple or too complicated. However, this is only a rule of thumb. Longer sentences, especially those exhibiting parallel constructions, can be easy to grasp. The first of the following sentences is harder to understand not just because it is long, but also because it ignores the dictum of putting the main idea first. The revision is easier to read because the sentences are shorter and the main idea is introduced immediately.

Use there are Sparingly

Overuse of the indefinite phrases there are and its many related forms (there is, there will be, and so on) weakens sentences by “buying” the subject in the middle of the sentence. Most sentences are more effective if the subject is placed first.

Ineffective     There is a change in efficiency policy that could increase our profits.

Effective     Our profits will increase if we change out efficiency policy.

Use there are for emphasis or to avoid the verb exist.

Weak     Three standard methods exist.

Stronger     There are three standard methods.

Avoid Nominalizations

Avoid using too many nominalizations, verbs turned into nouns by adding s suffix such as-ion, -ity, -ment, or –ness. Nominalizations weaken sentences by presenting the action as a static noun rather than as an active verb. These sentences often eliminate a sense of agent, thus making the idea harder for a reader to grasp. Express the true action in your sentences with strong verbs. Almost all computer style checker flag nominalizations.

Static    The training policy for most personnel will have the requirement of the completion of an initial one-week seminar.

Active    The training policy will require most personnel to complete a one-week seminar.

Static    There will be costs for the installation of this machine in the vicinity of $10,000.

Active    We can install this machine for about $10,000. The machine will cost $10,000 to install.

Effective External Communication

In order to make the letters, memoranda, reports, representations and other forms of communication effective, one should follow certain scientific principles.

Writing Business Memos & Circulars


Memorandum : Introduction


The most common of written message circulated within an organization is the memorandum of memo. It is defined as a short official note that executives write to others in an organization. Thus, Memos can be used for many purposes. There are several advantages in using memos. The same memo can be addressed to many colleagues. Memos require less formal style. Since, they are the written messages, they have a definite impression, unlike oral messages.

Format of Memorandum

A typical memo contains the headings TO: FROM: and SUBJECT: Sometimes, it is used on letterhead stationery with headings printed. Organizations may use different formats but often specify the format that would be used throughout the organization.

Circular Letter

Circular letters are used when it is wished to supply the same information to a number of people to members of societies, ratepayers/ a firm’s employees and its customers, and so on. More often than not circulars are sales promotion letters. Like advertisements in newspaper and magazines they are addressed to many, but more usually they are sent only to selected readers who are likely to be interested by virtue of social class, age or some particular trade or profession.

Definition of Circular

A circular letter can be defined as a letter containing a formal message addressed to a large number of customers. Since the message to be conveyed is the same, the circulars are generally printed or cyclostyled leaving space for inside address.

Objectives of a Circular

There are four objectives of writing circular letter. They are:

1. To obtain publicity for a cause, a campaign or a product introduced.

2. To make the reader interested in their contents.

3. To impress the reader with facts and information about the firm, its policy etc.

4. To gain the confidence of the reader.

Principle of Circular

Circular letters are usually written on the following occasions:

1. Establishment of a new business.
2. Admission of a partner.
3. Change in the address of the place of business.
4. Death or retirement of a partner.
5. Purchase of a business.
6. Obtaining an agency.
7. Price reduction and clearance sales.
8. Conversion of partnership into a company.
9. Introduction or arrival of new products or new schemes.

Writing Business Letters


Standard parts of a Business Letter:


The structure of a business letter constitutes the different parts of a letter that should have a customary place in it. The arrangement of the different parts of the business letter is fixed by customs and makes a world of difference in impression it conveys.

Heading

It is also called as “head address”. A letter should announce its senders. Business letters are typed on letterheads. It provides the following information:-

• Firm’s name
• Nature of business
• Telephone number
• E-mail address
• Firm’s address

Other information may be included depending on the legal status of the business formations.

Date

When using a letterhead, you must always supply a dateline. The line on which the date is typed is based on the length of the letter. The date is typed at least two lines below the last line of the printed heading.

Reference Number

The business letters usually carry reference number. Generally this number denotes the department, category of letter and date so that this reference can be used in future correspondence in the same context for example:- if a letter is with respect to housing loan generated from the loan accounting unit in the year 2000, it reference number may be LA/HL/70/2000 where LA stands for loan amount, HL stands for house loan, 70 stands as the loan number and 2000 is the year when loan was given.

Mailing Notation

The words ‘registered’ or ‘under the postal certificate’ may be typed either on second line below the date or below the last notation.

Inside address

The person or firm to whom you send a letter is called an addressee. The name and the addressee constitute the inside address. The first line of the inside address contains the name of the person or company to who you are writing. Short social or professional title (Mr, Mrs, Dr) should be used.

Caution:

• Avoid using two titles for example: write Dr. Anand but not Dr. Anand M.D.

• Do not abbreviate the names of the cities or towns.

• Double check that you have the correct spelling of the recipient’s name.

Salutation

The salutation greets the reader. Always type it at the left margin. Observe the following salutation.

To a man
• Sir, My dear sir, or Dear Manoj
To a woman
• Madam, My dear madam, or Dear Archana

Caution:

• Never use a semicolon or dash after salutations.
• When intended paragraphs are used in the letters, salutation is ended with a comma.

Subject Line

Subject line is inserted in the letter to give an idea to the reader what the letter is about. It works as a great aid to a busy reader. This is placed after salutation like.

Dear Mr. Manoj,

Subject: Status of my loan application no. LA/HL/70/2000.

Body of the Letter

This will contain a number of paragraphs, each paragraphs dealing with one point. Clarity of the communication is the primary goal. When the letter goes beyond one page, the other page attached with the letter should not be typed or written on the letterhead – pain sheets may be used. The first page of the letter must have a making to indicate, for example: If a letter consist of 5 pages, the marking on 1st page would be 1/5, on second page will be 2/5 and so on.

Complimentary Closing

The complimentary closing which is the friendly ending of your letter, it typed below the last line of the body of the letter. For example Yours Faithfully, Yours Truly, Yours Respectfully, Yours Sincerely these words can be uses in complimentary closing.

Signature

The reader identifies the writer from the signature. Therefore it must contain pen written, signature and your typed written name. The signature should be placed a few spaces below the complimentary closing.

Enclosure

If you enclose some additional material with the letter, put “Enclosure” or “Encl:”, as appropriate, two lines below the last entry. Give the number of enclosed documents, and if the number is not very large, give description of the enclosure, like

Enclosed   1. Balance sheet for the year 2007-08
    2. Balance statement for the year 2007-08.


Postscript

A postscript is a message added in the end of a letter: It is used either to stress an important point briefly or to include an afterthought. Reminders are expressed effectively in a postscript. Postscript initials are typed as PS below the reference initials or enclosure notation.

Style and formats of a Business Letter


The standard parts of the letter discussed above must be arranged attractively so that the typed letter resembles a framed picture. A letter’s appearance is a part of a message. Since the eye is the quickest of the senses the letter must have “eye appeal” that is, it must be immediately pleasing to the eye and thus make a good impression. Few styles are listed below:

Full Block Style

This style is easy to set up. Every line of the letter begins at the left margin. Full block letter has become increasingly popular:

Semi Block Style Letter:

This style is often termed as modified block style letter: This is a modification of block style letter. You must have noted that in a block style letter every para or line, be it inside address or body of the letter or closing the letter starts from the same left margin giving a symmetrical look of the letter. In modified style this symmetry is not maintained.

Simplified Letter Style:

Although the basic two style of letter writing are full block and semi block style, other terminologies emerge out of usage. When an organization simplifies any of the norms to write a letter it is termed as simplified letter style.

Business Letter’s Essential and Advantages


Advantages of Business Letter are:

• Provides written communication.
• Visual information is included.
• Can range from one to many pages.
• Does not use any electronic means so it is a lot cheaper.
• A written record of the message will be kept.
• The message is communicated in written format and therefore should be unambiguous.
• Can contain detailed information such as figures.

Essentials of an effective Business Letter:

Promptness
As a rule, respond to the letter the day it is received. If you need time, acknowledge the letter and indicate how soon you will be sending a specific reply.

Knowledge of the subject
This includes the knowledge of the past correspondence, if any, the requirement of the sender of the letter and the knowledge of the firm’s policies.

Appropriateness
Vary the tone and the language of your letter according to the needs of the occasion as well as the psychology of the reader.

Accuracy, Completeness and Clarity
All facts, figures, statements, quotations, etc., must be accurately mentioned. It is a good practice to verify them before including them into the letter. If you are replying to an enquiry, make sure that you have touched all the points. It should be absolute, clear and unambiguous so that it accomplishes the purpose for which it is being sent.

Courtesy
Courtesy implies that we seek favour politely and express our gratitude for the favours done to us.

Tact:
A quality which goes hand in hand with courtesy. Very important in handling complaints and adjustments, and letter seeking credits. The essence of tactfulness lies in retaining goodwill of someone though his request has been turned down.

Persuasion
It means winning people to your point of view not by coercing them but by making positive suggestions and explaining that what you say is to their advantage.

Conciseness
Do not load your letters with irrelevant details and unnecessary ifs and buts. The more concise your letter, the more effective it will be, for it will be clear. But it is a letter; do not make it a telegraphic message.
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Review Questions
  • 1. What does handling business information aim at?
  • 2. Why do we handle business information?
  • 3. How is handling business information a boon to an enterprise?
  • 4. How do you think handling business information helps in the expansion and diversification of a business organization?
  • 5. What are the techniques of using languages?
  • 6. What is Memorandum?
  • 7. What is a circular letter?
  • 8. Define a circular.
  • 9. What are the objectives, of an office circular?
  • 10. What are the different parts of business letters?
  • 11. What is simplified letter style?
  • 12. Mention the advantage of business letters.
  • 13. What is essential for effective business letter?
  • 14. What is persuasion?
  • 15. Explain the styles and formate of business letters?
  • 16. What is mailing notation?
  • 17. Is essence of tactfulness required for business, explain?
  • 18. What is the major difference between full block style and semi block style letters?
  • 19. What is postscript?
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