Business Communication
Report Writing
Gurudutt R. Kamath
How We Communicate3
•
•
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•
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CVs, Resumes
Email, Web site, FAQs
Letters, Newsletters, Brochures,
Articles, Catalogs
Advertisements, Notice Board,
Pamphlets, Signs, Press Release
Presentations, multimedia, talks
Reports, Manuals, Proposals, Books
Which Reports?
Sales Reports
Inspection Reports
Annual Reports
Audit Reports
Feasibility Reports
Progress Reports
White Papers
Technical Writing Reports
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Proposals
User Manuals
Technical Manuals
White Papers
Classification of Reports
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Formal Reports and Informal Reports
Information Reports
Analytical Reports
Recommendation Reports
5 Steps to Report Writing1
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Define the problem
Gather the necessary information
Analyze the information
Organize the information
Write the report
Organizing Reports
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Comparison/contrast
Problem-solution
Elimination of alternatives
General to particular
Geographic or spatial
Functional
Chronological
Words, Words, Words
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UK English and US English
• International English and Indian English
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Denotation and Connotation
• Let me know when you’re free next week for a
meeting.
• Could you let me know what times you have
free?
Tone
• Terry is hung up on trivial details.
• Terry is meticulous and takes care of details
that others sometimes ignore.
Writing Style
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Brief writing style
•
•
•
•
Omit needless words
Combine sentences
Rewrite
Campus Jewelers’ main objective is to
increase sales. Specifically, the objective is
to double sales in the next five years by
becoming a more successful business.
• Campus Jewelers’ objective is to double
sales in the next five years.
We do IT in Style!
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Chicago Manual of Style
Elements of Style by Strunk & White
Dictionary
Microsoft Manual of Style
AMA Style Guide
Anatomy of a Report
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Cover Page
Title Page
Letter of Transmittal
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Executive Summary
Report Body
Report Body
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Introduction
• Purpose and Scope;Limitations, Assumptions,
and Methods
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Background/History of the Problem
Body
• Presents and interprets data
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Conclusions and Recommendations
References or Works Cited
Appendixes
• Interview transcripts, questionnaires, question
tallies, printouts, and previous reports
Letter of Transmittal
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Background
Summarize conclusions and
recommendations
Minor problems. Thank those who
helped.
Additional research necessary
Thank the reader. Offer to answer
questions.
Sales Proposal2
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Budget
Objectives
Strategy and Tactics
Schedule
Results
Closing
Document Design
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Use no more than 5 fonts.
Use no more than 5 colors.
Use glossy paper.
Use white space.
Use templates.
Use parallelism.
Avoid double emphasis.
Reference
1.
2.
3.
Business Communication, Kity O
Locker and Stephen Kyo
Kaczmarek, 2004
“A Decent Proposal” by John
Fellows, www.sellingpower.com,
2002
Better Business Writing, The
Sunday Times
Scientific
Communication
Gurudutt R. Kamath
Scientific Papers
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
Publish to complete research
Communicate well to be published

How to Write a Paper1
(3rd edition)
• Edited by George M Hall
(BywordViva)

Scientific Writing: Easy
when you know how
Why Publish?1

Readers can
• Assess the observations you make
• Repeat the experiment if they wish
• Determine whether the conclusions
drawn are justified by the data
IMRAD
Abstract – brief summary)
Introduction – What question was asked?
Methods – How was it studied?
Results – What was found?
And
Discussion – What do the findings mean?
(
Introduction
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Why you have undertaken the study?
Clarify what your work adds
Keep it short
Make sure you are aware of earlier
studies
Convince the reader
Don’t baffle the reader
Methods

Study Design
• Who, what, why, when, and where?
• Randomisation, blind assessment
• Inclusion and exclusion criteria

Analysis of the Data
• What hypothesis was tested?
Results
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What was found?
Organize the presentation
Avoid
• The results are presented in tables X-Z
and in figures A-C.
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Differentiate clearly between data
and results
Republishing figures (copyright)
Discussion – So What?
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Summary of the field of enquiry
• We conclude …
• This study found …
• Context of literature studied
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Finishing off
•
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•
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Perhaps …
Possibly …
More research is needed …
Here’s another problem solved
Conclusion to be backed up by data
Acknowledgements
General Points
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Instructions to Authors
Wrong length
• 400 word abstract
• 600 word length
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Audience
• Generalist
• Specialist
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Structure and Format
• Words
• Structure
Titles
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Interesting, concise, precise, not
misleading, informative, descriptive,
and appropriate for classification
Developing a title in 4 steps –
Lileyman, 1988, p441
• Nuclear reprocessing, radiation exposure,
and childhood leukaemia: an
epidemiological study
Abstracts
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200-300 words
Structured
• Context, objectives, design, setting,
participants, interventions, main
outcome measures, results, and
conclusions
References
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Foundation on which the work is built
Large number
• Read review articles
• Take Expert help

Vancouver and Harvard formats
• Numbered consecutively (1)
• Name of the author (Year)

Sloppy – reviewers will …
Uniform Requirements
• Double spacing Margins
• Sequence
(25 mm)
• Title, abstract, key words, text, acknowledgement,
references, tables, legends to figures
• IMRAD
• New page – section, table
• Permissions (previous material)
• Required number of copies
Electronic copy
Style
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Clear, Accurate, Concise
Short sentences, simple words,
simple structures
Jargon only if required.
Noun clusters
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Obstetric complication frequency
Frequency of obstetric complications
Say Who did What
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We compared the treatment group ...
More Style
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Avoid This, these, he, she, or it
• If the baby does not thrive on raw milk,
boil it.
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Make comparisons clear
(subgroup or
whole population)
• More women were alive five years after
diagnosis.
• More women [than men] were alive five
years after diagnosis.
Simple Words1
before
prior to
more than
in excess of
depends on
is dependentant upon
also
additionally
indicates
is indicative of
Say What You Mean
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After five days, the symptoms had
improved.
After five days, the symptoms had abated.
Dermatitis is less often diagnosed …
Dermatitis was less prevalent …
…symptoms are not well correlated with
clinical disease severity.
…symptoms are not related to disease
severity.
House Style
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Director General or director general
Beta-carotene or ß carotene
Moslem or Muslim
Mumbai or Bombay
Some Tips
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Instructions to authors
Study a few model papers, letters
Read it out aloud
Spell-check finally and Proof-read
(missing not, or note)
References
1.
How to Write a Paper (3rd edition)
Edited by George M Hall (BywordViva)
2.
Scientific Writing: Easy when you know
how
Jennifer Peat, Elizabeth Elliott, Louise Baur, Victoria
Keena
3.
Science & Technical Writing
General Editor Philip Rubens (Foundation)
4.
Scientific Style and Format (6th edition)
Council of Biology Editors (life sciences, physical
sciences, mathematics)
References
Gurudutt Kamath
Documenting Sources
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Convincing research
• Site sources (out of thin air)
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List of references
• Collect them as you go along
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What?
• Quotes, ideas, numbers, facts, graphics,
statistics, tables1
• Websites, webpages, documents, pamphlets,
film or video recording, CD-ROM, newspaper
articles, songs, TV or radio programs,
personal correspondence, email.
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Author-year and citation-sequence
Documentation Style
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Chicago Manual of Style
• Different situations, languages, subjects
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APA (American Psycological Assn)
• Publication Manual of the American
Pscyhological Association, 5th ed. (2001)
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CBE (Council of Science Editors)
• Scientific Style and Format: The CBE Manual
for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, 6th ed.
(1994)
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MLA (Modern Language Assn)
• MLA Handbook for Writers of Research
Papers, 6th ed. (2003)
In-text Citations (APA)
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Our study reports a significant rise in HIV
cases in south Africa in one year (Brindle,
2000).
Our study reported a 12.2% rise in HIV
cases in only one year (Brindle, 2000, p.
843)
Brindle (2000) reports a significant …
(Wu, Gyno, Young & Reims, 2003)
As reported by Wu, Gyno, Young & Reims
(2003) …
(Wu et al., 2003) or As reported by Wu et al.
(2003)
In-text Citations (APA)
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(National Science Foundation [NSF], 2004)
(NSF, 2004)
Studies have shown … (Johnson & Smith,
2001; Tamili, 2002; Hinson & Kim, 2004).
Bathers (personal communication, December
5, 2003)
References (APA)1
Houghton, J. (1997). Global warming: The
complete briefing (2nd ed). Cambridge, MA:
Cambridge UP.
Kadlecek, M. (1991). Global climate change
could threaten U.S. wildlife. Conservationist
46 (1), 54-55
Sherwood, K, & Ido, C. (2003). Is the global
warming bubble about to burst? Retrieved
March 4, 2004, from the World Wide Web:
http://www.co2science.org/edit/v6_edit/
v6n37edit.htm
Citation-Sequence (CBE) 1
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This bacteria has been shown2 to …
Several studies 3-8, 10 have …
Several studies (3-8, 10) have …
Reference List (order of citation)
Less disruptive vs refer to back for
author, source
References
1.
2.
Technical Communication Today by
Richard Johnson-Sheehan, 2005
Chicago Manual of Style
Business Communication
Letters & Email
Gurudutt R. Kamath
Correspondence Costs Money1
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Dartnell Institute, 10-minute message
• $13.60
• $20.52

Plan, compose, revise 1-page letter
• 54 minutes
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Average Proposal (engg firm)
• $500,000
• $1,000,000
Rwitgin wastes time and damages relationships.
Making Messages Effective
Clear
Complete
Correct
Save reader’s time
Build good will
PAIBOC
Purpose
Audiences
Information
Benefits
Objections
Context
Audience
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Writer
Initial audience
Gatekeeper
Primary audience
Secondary
audience
Watchdog audience
Communicate across Cultures
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Gender
Race and ethnicity
Regional and national origin
Social class
Religion
Age
Sexual orientation
Physical ability
Bias-free Communication
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Managers and their wives will…
Managers and their spouses will…
Manpower – Personnel
Manhours – Hours or working hours
Manning – Staffing
Workman – Worker, employee, writer
Chairman – Chair, chairperson
Bias-free Communication
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Plural nouns and pronouns
• Supervisors must…their departments.
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Use you.
• You must work for your deparment.
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Substitute with article or revise
sentence
• Supervisor...time sheet for the
department.
• The nurse will fill out the accident
report.
Emails
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Minutes a day - average worker?
49 minutes
Hours a day - top managers?
4 hours
Formats are still evolving
What % felt misunderstood (2000)?
51% (tone)
Subject
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Be specific, concise, and catchy.
• 28 characters
• Will Attend 3 pm Meeting EOM
• Travel Plans for Sales Meeting
• Your Funding Request Approved
Body of the Email
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Brief
Important points at the top
Bullets and numbering
Emphasize (NOT)
HTML (letterhead)
ASAP, BTW, FYI, IMHO
Smileys 
All rules of good writing
Mailing Lists
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Your boss could be reading!
Posts are archived.
Avoid using company email address.
Avoid conversations (one liners).
Do not rush to lists.
Netiquette
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Never flame.
Use FULL CAPS only to emphasize a
word or two.
Send messages on a need basis.
Recipient’s work practice (one long or
several short messages)
Quote briefly (B/A) while replying.
Attachments
References
1.
2.
3.
Business Communication, Kity O
Locker and Stephen Kyo
Kaczmarek, 2004
Better Business Writing, The
Sunday Times, 2002
Model Business Letters, E-mails &
Other Business Documents (sixth
edition), Shirley Taylor
Technical
Communication
Gurudutt R. Kamath
Importance
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Improved productivity
Improved use of product
Increased safety
Legal protection
Reduces cost of training
Reduces support
Lesser chance of rejection
Audience3
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Analysis
• Surveys, questionnaires, structured interviews,
usability tests
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Characteristics
•
•
•
•
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Educational, professional background
Knowledge, experience level
English language
Context
Objectives and Needs
Profile
Information Analysis
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Purpose and Structure
Document Type
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Marketing
Conceptual, Procedural, Tutorial, Job Aid
Referential
Frequency and Pattern of Use
Textual Features
Textual Features
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Overview, summary sections
Step-by-step instructions
Narrative explanations
Conceptual models, analogies, and/or
examples
Figures, charts, and/or tables
Cross-references and/or navigation aids
Technical terminology, language
conventions, and/or symbolic conventions
Media Characteristics
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Articles – narrative
Booklets – conversational
Brochures – catchy
Newsletters – journalistic
Correspondence – formal, informal
Manuals – action oriented
Reports – formal and objective
Help systems – action oriented
Wizards – concise and action oriented
Websites – catch and easy to use
Document Delivery
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Print
Facsimile
Network
Floppy disk
FTP (file transfer protocol)
Email attachment
Website
Technical Writing Process
Writing
Revising
Editing
Publishing
Reviewing
Writing Process
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Document Plan
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•
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•
•
•
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Audience
Objective
Media
Resources
Table of Contents
Schedule
Outlining
Template
Revising Process
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Objective
Complete
Flow
Language
Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation
Graphics
Format
Consistency
Reviewing Process
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Peer
Technical
Domain
Quality
Tools
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Microsoft Outlook – email
Microsoft Word – documents
Microsoft Excel – spreadsheets
Microsoft PaintBrush – drawings
Adobe Acrobat – PDF
Microsoft FrontPage – web pages
Adobe FrameMaker – large, complex documents
Adobe PageMaker – desktop publishing
Adobe InDesign – desktop publishing
XML editors
Macromedia RoboHelp
Macromedia Flash
Technical Writing Practices
• User Friendly
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Appealing
Step-by-step instructions
Language and Style
• Easy to Refer
 Contents
 Headings/subheadings
 Cross References
 Index
Modular
• Easy to maintain
 Modular, reusable
 Right tools and templates
Language & Style
• Language

Parallelism

Grammar

Active/Passive Voice

You
• Style Guides

Consistency

House style
User Friendly Design
• Format and Structure
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Headings, table of contents, crossreferences, index
Templates
• Consistent

Headings, language, lists, crossreferences, words
Structured Writing
• Lists
• Tables
• Graphics
• Instructions
• Tasks
• Concrete

Scenarios, Case Studies, Examples
Document Design
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Balance
White space
Maximum of 5 fonts
• Serif fonts (Times) – paper
• Sans Serif fonts (Verdana) - online

Maximum of 5 colours
Style Guides

Chicago Manual of Style
• Grammar, References, Indexing, Punctuation
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Microsoft Manual of Style
• Usages for the computer industry

Elements of Style
•
•
•
•
Strunk & White
Grammar and Punctuation
Writing tips
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Technical Communication