Writing Assignment: Determining Purpose and Adapting Messages

BCOM Chapter 3 talks about the process for planning and preparing spoken and written messages.  In this process, Step 2 is Determine the purpose  and select an appropriate  channel and medium.  Step 3 is Envision the audience, and Step 4 is Adapt the message  to the audience’s needs and concerns.  In this writing assignment, you’ll get practice doing these three steps.
Q1, A-J. Select one or more appropriate message channels for each of the following situations and give a reason for your choice.  The first one is done as an example.





Laying off an employee

Face-to-face meeting

Laying off an employee is an emotionally charged subject that requires in-person compassion by the manager.


Contacting customer for late payment



Sending RSVP for dinner invitation



Sending a customer-requested price quote



Contacting a reference for a job applicant



Notifying staff of a change in work procedures



Recommending an action to upper management



Sending selected employees’ test results performed by an outside lab/clinic to human resources



Seeking advice from a peer regarding a challenging task



Announcing upcoming professional development sessions for the next quarter



For Questions 2-11, envision the audience and adapt each message to emphasize the audience’s point of view.  Re-write each sentence with a “you” view.  ​
Example: We are changing our operating hours and dates.
​”You” view revision: You will find the new hours and days below.
​Q2. To help us expand and grow our business, we are proud to announce that videoconferencing is now available at 125 of our branches.
Q3. To prevent us from possibly losing large sums of money, our bank now requires verification of any large check presented for immediate payment.
Q4. So that we may bring our customer records up-to-date and eliminate the expense of duplicate mailings, we are asking you to complete the enclosed card.
Q5. I give my permission for you to attend the two-day workshop.
Q6. We’re requesting all employees to complete the enclosed questionnaire so that we may develop a master schedule for summer vacations.
Q7. I think my background and my education match the description of the manager trainee position you advertised.
Q8. We are presenting an in-house training program for employees who want to improve their writing skills.
Q9. We are pleased to announce an arrangement with Apple that allows us to offer discounted computers in the student bookstore.
Q10. Our safety policy forbids us from renting power equipment to anyone who cannot demonstrate proficiency in its use.
Q11. Since I took a leadership role on this project, the team’s performance has improved.
In Question 12, answer the one question of your choice from the two questions here, in a few sentences:
a) What value is gained from cultivating a “you” view in spoken and written messages?
b) Business communicators  are encouraged to envision  the audience for their messages.  How is this possible if you don’t really know the people who will receive a sales letter or will hear your business presentation?