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7: Writing Routine and Positive Messages
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Chapter 7 focuses on writing effective routine messages by applying the three-step writing
process that was introduced in Chapters 3, 4, and 5. For a typical business employee, most
communication is about routine matters: direct requests, routine replies, positive messages, and
so forth. The direct approach is usually appropriate for these routine and positive messages.
Although most routine messages share common attributes, some differences exist, depending on
purpose. This chapter provides illustrations and suggestions for writing effective messages,
whether they are requests, replies, or goodwill messages.
Strategy for Routine Requests
Stating Your Request Up Front
Explaining and Justifying Your Request
Requesting Specific Action in a Courteous Close
Common Examples of Routine Requests
Asking for Information and Action
Asking for Recommendations
Making Claims and Requesting Adjustments
Strategy for Routine Replies and Positive Messages
Starting with the Main Idea
Providing Necessary Details and Explanation
Ending with a Courteous Close
Common Examples of Routine Replies and Positive Messages
Answering Requests for Information or Action
Granting Claims and Requests for Adjustment
Providing Recommendations and References
Sharing Routine Information
Announcing Good News
Fostering Goodwill
Sending Congratulations
Sending Messages of Appreciation
Offering Condolences
Chapter Review and Activities
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Strategy for Routine Requests
Making requests is a routine part of business and in most cases your audience will be prepared to
comply. Organize routine messages by including an opening, a body, and a close.
Begin by stating the request up front (first paragraph).
Pay attention to tone so that the request is not too abrupt or tactless.
Assume that your audience will comply.
Be specific and state precisely what you want.
Use the body of your message to explain and justify your request.
Mention any benefits to the reader of complying with request.
With multiple requests/questions, start with the most important one.
If a request is unusual or complex, break it down for the reader.
Close your request by requesting a specific action in a courteous close.
Include any relevant deadlines.
Provide contact information so that you may be reached.
End with an expression of appreciation or goodwill.
Common Examples of Routine Requests
Many common examples of routine requests fit into one of the following categories:
Asking for information or action
Asking for recommendations
Making claims and requesting adjustments
When asking for information and action, make the following clear:
What you want to know or what you want readers to know
Why you’re making the request (if applicable)
Why it may be in your readers’ interest to help you (if applicable)
When asking for recommendations:
Open with a straightforward request for a recommendation.
Provide any information about yourself that the reader might use to support a
Close by expressing appreciation and including the name and contact information for the
person who will receive the recommendation.
When making claims (a formal complaint) and requesting adjustments (the settlement of a
Explain the problem and give details.
Provide backup information.
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Request specific action.
Strategy for Routine Replies and Positive Messages
Routine replies and positive messages have four specific goals:
To communicate the information or good news
To answer all questions
To provide all required details
To leave readers with a good impression of the writer and the firm
Follow the direct organizational plan for routine replies and positive messages:
Start with the main idea.
Provide necessary details and explanation in the middle section.
End with a courteous close.
Common Examples of Routine Replies and Positive Messages
Common examples of routine replies and positive messages include:
Answering requests for information and action
Granting claims and requests for adjustments
Informative messages
Good-news announcements
Goodwill messages
When answering requests for information or action:
Use a direct approach if the request is simple or straightforward.
Answer the request promptly, graciously, and thoroughly.
When granting claims and requests for an adjustment, a writer should assume the information
provided by the customer is correct.
Specific response will vary based on company policy and whether the company, customer, or a
third party is at fault. In general, take these steps:
Acknowledge receipt of the customer’s claim or complaint.
Sympathize with the customer’s inconvenience or frustration.
Take (or assign) personal responsibility for setting matters straight.
Explain precisely how you have resolved, or plan to resolve, the situation.
Take steps to repair the relationship.
Follow up to verify that your response was correct.
Maintain a professional demeanor by avoiding the following:
Don’t blame anyone in your organization by name.
Don’t make exaggerated apologies that sound insincere.
Don’t imply that the customer is at fault.
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Don’t promise more than you can deliver.
When you are asked to provide a recommendation or reference, be sure to list:
The candidate’s full name
The position or other objective the candidate is seeking
The nature of your relationship with the candidate
Facts and evidence relevant to the candidate and opportunity
A comparison of this candidate’s potential with that of peers, if available
Your overall evaluation of the candidate’s suitability for the opportunity
Companies can send effective informative messages by:
Using the opening to state the purpose and briefly mention the nature of the information
you’re providing
Providing necessary details in the body
Ending messages with a courteous close
Announcing good news is a key strategy to develop and maintain good relationships. These
announcements are often communicated in a news release (also known as a press release), which
is a specialized document used to share relevant information with the news media.
To write a successful news release, follow the customary pattern for a positive message: good
news followed by details and a positive close. However, you’re not writing directly to the
ultimate audience in a traditional news release; you’re trying to interest a reporter in that story
who will then write the material that is eventually read. But this is changing. Many companies
now create direct-to-consumer news releases, often considered social media releases because
they contain links, “Tweetables,” and other sharable content.
Business employees can enhance their relationships with customers, colleagues, and other
businesspeople by sending unexpected notes containing goodwill messages.
Send congratulations for promotions or attaining a new civic position. Immediately refer to the
good news and give reasons for expecting success.
Send messages of appreciation to document someone’s contributions (a sincere thank-you
encourages further excellence). An effective message of appreciation documents a person’s
contributions. Moreover, in today’s electronic media environment, a handwritten thank-you note
can be a particularly welcomed acknowledgment.
Send condolence messages in times of serious trouble and deep sadness. (Although these
messages are difficult to write, they often mean a great deal to the reader.) Open condolences
with a brief statement of sympathy, state what the person or business meant to you, and close by
offering your condolences and your best wishes. Keep them short, simple, and sincere.
Condolence messages should focus on the recipient, not on your own emotions, and shouldn’t
offer “life advice” or trite sayings.
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Most students will not yet be completely comfortable with the three-step writing process, so the
process won’t be automatic for them. Using electronic media for rapid communication will tempt
students to skip planning tasks. Stress the importance of completing all three steps, especially the
planning step. Post the steps in a prominent place in the room to serve as a constant reminder of
how to generate effective messages. However, remind students that the process is not always
Some class members will oppose following a pattern for organization. Remind students that the
pattern provides a starting point. The writer still has ample opportunity for including a
personalized tone, the specifics of a specific situation, and so forth. Also emphasize that
following a pattern may save both the writer and the audience time and energy. Demonstrate how
much more effective a message can be when organized using the most appropriate organizational
Although studying good examples will help many students, studying bad examples can also be
an effective teaching tool. If only good examples are reviewed, students may not be able to
appreciate just what constitutes an ineffective message. For any example discussed in class, be
sure to identify both the strengths and the weaknesses.
Students often have a difficult time getting to the main point in the first paragraph. Although
most will identify the topic in the first paragraph, they may not get to the actual main idea until
later in the message. Stress the importance of distinguishing between the general topic and main
idea. Conduct an exercise in which students write just the opening sentences of several messages.
Students tend to provide insufficient details for the reader. For any writing task you assign, stress
the importance of analyzing the audience during the planning step. Business writers need to
identify what audience members already know and what they need to know. Then stress that
writers must often find the specific information that they need to include in the details of the
Because of limited business experience, students will often use abstract words and phrases
instead of specifics in their closing paragraphs. Make it clear that they will need to make
assumptions and provide specific information when they write solutions to the cases you assign.
During an in-class writing assignment, some students will spend most of their time looking at
sample letters in the chapter to “borrow” appropriate wording. Stress the importance of following
the planning process and composing the message quickly, based on their own analysis of the
particular situation.
Claim letters and requests for adjustment also pose challenges for students. Explain that these
requests should be treated as routine business activities and thus should use the direct
organizational pattern. Stress the need to open with a courteous, specific request for what they
want done. Students’ first attempts will often include an opening that simply fails to get to the
point quickly enough. Also remind students to include sufficient details in the middle section to
allow the reader to research and verify the claim.
Share with the class some personal examples of what happens when former students contact you
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for a recommendation or reference. Explain how having insufficient information about the
person requesting the reference presents a problem for you. This insight will help students
remember to include some useful information that readers can use in their requests.
1. Analyzing messages. Provide students with examples of routine, positive, and goodwill
messages that are not organized using a direct approach. Have students critique the examples
and then rewrite them as concise messages that follow a direct pattern. Provide your own
examples or use selections from the Activities section at the end of the chapter.
2. Preparing letter openings. Getting to the point is sometimes a challenge for writers. Assign
an exercise in which students write just the opening sentence for various messages. Provide
your own scenarios or assign work in the Practice Your Skills section at the end of the
chapter. This exercise can be effective for class discussion, or you can assign students to
write on their own for a few minutes and then discuss their answers. Project suggested
rewrites for student comparison.
3. Preparing letter closings. Assign an exercise in which students write just the last paragraph
for various routine, good-news, and goodwill messages. This practice allows students to
focus on writing specific, courteous, and concise closings. Allow students to compose these
closings at the computer, if possible, to allow rewriting and editing of their paragraphs.
Project suggested rewrites during class discussion. Remind students to avoid out-of-date
4. Preparing routine, good-news, and goodwill messages. As class exercises, assign case
scenarios in which students plan, write, and complete a routine request, a routine response, a
routine claim letter, a routine response granting a claim, and a goodwill message. Students
should work at computers, if available, to facilitate writing and revising. Require students to
go through the planning tasks before composing. These exercises can often be done as a class
activity: you pose questions that require students to identify the purpose, build an audience
profile, identify an organizational pattern, and identify information to be included. While
students are working, move around the room and provide constructive comments about
organizational pattern, completeness of information, tone, and so forth. When students finish,
project both a below-average and an above-average solution for the case. Lead a discussion
that identifies the strengths and weaknesses of each.
5. Providing constructive feedback to classmates. Lead a class discussion in which you generate
a list of evaluation points that can be used to give a writer feedback about a routine, good-
news, or goodwill message. (This list will be very similar to the evaluation points you are
using when grading student writing.) Ask students to exchange printed documents of
messages they have written. Each student then critiques the message for all the evaluation
points on the list, uses proofreading marks as appropriate, and provides feedback to the
writer. (This activity is sometimes less than 100% successful the first time you try it. Your students
will need a specific list of evaluation points, and they may hesitate to tell another student that
something could be improved. Many will want to evaluate only grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
But don’t give up. Writers can benefit from seeing someone else’s approach to the same message and
from questioning their own skills related to identifying the purpose, choosing the correct
organizational approach, setting an effective message tone, and so forth.)
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7-1. When asking a series of questions in a request, the writer should (1) ask the most important
questions first, (2) ask only relevant questions, and (3) deal with no more than one topic
per question. (LO 7.1; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-2. Because your readers will be interested or neutral, you can use the direct approach for most
routine message. (LO 7.1; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-3. If your routine message is mixed and must convey mildly disappointing information, put
the negative portion of your message into as favorable a context as possible. (LO 7.3;
AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-4. When writing a goodwill message, you sound more sincere if you avoid exaggeration and
back up any compliments with specific evidence, rather than simply offering unrestrained
praise. (LO 7.4; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-5. When writing a condolence message, keep it short, simple, and sincere. (LO 7.4; AACSB
Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-6. Before risking your own job status by making a public or even a private fuss over this
problem, review the messages you’ve been sending Jackson. Do they begin with a direct
statement of the request or main idea? Do they justify, explain, and give sufficient detail
about your request? Are they worded courteously, closing with a simple explanation of the
action you want Jackson to take and making it easy for him to comply? (For instance, have
you provided your phone extension number and the time he can reach you if he has
questions?) If you’ve followed these guidelines, then you’ll want to take another look at
the body of your requests. Could you make the information clearer by numbering points, or
by eliminating unnecessary details, opinions, or observations? Do you send too many
requests too often? You might also include a time frame in which you expect Jackson to
respond, such as, “I’ll look for your report early next week” and give him your phone
number so that he can contact you if there’s any delay. Blaming Jackson for the problem
should be your last resort. First, be sure that you’ve done all you can to make it easy for
him to comply with your requests. (LO 7.2; AACSB Tag: Written and oral
7-7. It’s usually best to avoid an outright apology. Yet, you should not avoid taking responsibility
for a mistake that has been made. Word your response carefully, emphasizing the good news
about what you are doing to provide compensation and to ensure better service in the future.
(LO 7.4; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-8. Since your opinion is that the employee did an admirable job, you should write the letter
but ask the individual to provide you with a synopsis of the projects he or she completed
while working for your company. By doing so, you can maintain professionalism, and
once the employee provides you with the information, you will be able to list specific
examples in your letter. (LO 7.4; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
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Exercises for Perfecting Your Writing
7-9. Thank you for ordering a High Country backpack. To ensure the accuracy of your order,
please verify the model and size you wish to purchase. Please visit order at your convenience to enter the information required to
complete your order. (Subject line: Order specifications for your High Country backpack)
(LO 7.3; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-10. We are sorry for the inconvenience you experienced with your lost luggage. Please email
us a detailed list of the lost items and complete the following survey so that we may
compensate you as quickly as possible. (Subject line: Response to your lost luggage claim)
(LO 7.3; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-11. We’ve had the opportunity to review your résumé and would like to invite you to interview
with our company. Would you be available on June 15 at 3:00 p.m.? If so, please let us
know by the end of this workweek. If you are unable to meet at this time, please supply
other dates and times you would be able to meet. (Subject line: Company X interview
request) (LO 7.3; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-12. Please attend our special, by-invitation-only 40% off sale on November 9. (LO 7.3;
AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-13. You’ll receive a tote bag and a free MP3 player with every $100 donation to our radio
station. (LO 7.3; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-14. The director plans to attend the meeting on Monday at 10:50 a.m. (LO 7.3; AACSB Tag:
Written and oral communication)
7-15. Paul Eccelson reviewed newer types of order forms at today’s meeting. If you have
questions regarding these forms, please call Paul at his office. (LO 7.3; AACSB Tag:
Written and oral communication)
7-16. Since a face-to-face meeting would be practical in this case, that would be the best medium
for such a sensitive message. (LO 7.3; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-17. An email would be an efficient and effective medium to use, as long as your tone and
wording emphasize the positive (“to avoid layoffs”) and reflect the sensitivity of the
subject. (LO 7.3; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-18. This message is likely to elicit a negative response. Even with the explanation that the
measure will prevent layoffs, employees will be disappointed or even angry to learn that
their salaries will be reduced. (LO 7.3; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-19. It would be best to use the indirect approach. A buffer followed by a brief explanation of
the company’s financial situation would help to prepare the audience for the bad news
about salaries. (LO 7.3; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
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7-20. Please call to schedule an appointment by May 15. This will allow sufficient time to order
the parts needed to get your HVAC system ready for the summer season. (LO 7.3; AACSB
Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-21. Please send your catalog by December 1 so that I can plan my Christmas purchases. I look
forward to learning more about your products. (LO 7.3; AACSB Tag: Written and oral
7-22. To schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable local mortgage specialists,
please call our hotline at 1-800-555-8765. Our specialists can answer your questions about
mortgage rates, closing procedures, or any other aspect of the mortgage process. We want
to make your home-buying experience a pleasant one. (LO 7.3; AACSB Tag: Written and
oral communication)
7-23. The tone and wording of the message are unprofessional and negative (e.g., “I’m fed up,”
“I don’t have time”) and the focus is misplaced. Instead of dealing primarily with the
problems associated with the current accounting firm, the main idea should be the request
for information on how the prospective firm can help. An example of a revised and
improved version is below:
As the owner of a small construction company, I need an accounting firm that is
committed to excellence, accuracy, and prompt service. Your firm has an excellent
reputation, and I am interested in learning more about the services you provide. Please call
me at (888) 555-1212. I look forward to speaking with you soon.
(LO 7.2; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-24. The message is wordy and poorly organized, and the tone is condescending. Since the
customer is likely to be unhappy already because of the ongoing service problems, it would
be vital to avoid aggravating the situation by talking down to him or her. A revised and
improved version is below:
Thank you for your recent email request for technical support related to your cable
Internet service. To help us address your questions quickly and thoroughly, please visit and take a few moments to provide
some additional information.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
(LO 7.2; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-25. This letter has many weaknesses, including the following:
This letter of recommendation takes too long to get to the point. It provides very little
useful information and lacks objectivity. The message begins with a lengthy and
unnecessary explanation of why the letter was forwarded. The theme-oriented opening fails
to state the purpose of the letter.
The name of the job candidate isn’t even mentioned until the end of the paragraph.
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Furthermore, the writer’s arrogant tone is likely to annoy the reader.
The tone is offensive and egotistical, implying that the reader should have written to the
human resources director in the first place, not to the president of the company.
Nothing is said about the reader’s right to receive the information. The letter reveals
discretionary information from Nick Oshinski’s personnel file. Because of laws governing
confidential information, the writer should withhold details about performance reviews or
vacation days taken. The writer’s opinion is irrelevant and potentially libelous. The writer
obviously does not know Oshinski and should not comment on his performance, except to
report the starting and ending dates of employment.
The tone of the rewritten letter should be professional and not chatty. The rewritten letter
should end on a positive, helpful note. (Offering an alternative is a good idea.)
Here is an improved version of this letter:
April 18, 2013
Ms. Jennifer Hales
E & M Computer Systems, Inc.
1010 Clear Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0B1 Canada
Dear Ms. Hales:
Thank you for your letter requesting employment information for Mr. Nick Oshinski. We
can confirm that Mr. Oshinski was employed by us from January 5, 2004, until March 1,
We will be able to provide further information with a written request from Mr. Oshinski.
Enclosed is a disclosure agreement for your convenience. Mr. Oshinski must complete the
form requesting that his personnel file be opened, and his signature must be notarized and
If you have additional questions about this procedure, please contact me at the numbers
above or via email:
Abe Nikko
Director, Human Resources
Enclosures (LO 7.4; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-26. The tone of the letter is too informal, and the organization is poor. Since the letter is a
positive message, the main idea should appear at the beginning. The writer also blames
employees by name in explaining what caused the delay.
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Here is a revised and improved version of the message:
August 14, 2013
Mr. John Thompson
347 Cemetery Rd.
New Lebanon, NY 12125
Dear Mr. Thompson:
Thank you for your recent letter regarding your deposit refund. Our home office has mailed
you a check for $338, which should arrive within the next 10 business days. Please call me
at my direct number (860) 675-8721 if you have any additional questions.
If you’re ever looking for an apartment or condominium in the Northeast, please remember
us. We would be glad to send you information on our numerous complexes throughout
Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
(LO 7.4; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-27. Student responses will vary, depending on the product they select. Their messages should
be concise and specific.
Finally able to dock my iPhone without removing the OtterBox Defender case:
dockXtender works with iPad, as wellgreat for data transfer and keyboard dock.
(LO 7.4; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-28. In discussing questions a through d, remind students that proper planning is especially
important for messages of condolence.
a: Option 1 best reflects guidelines in the chapter on effective condolence messages.
b: Option 3 would allow you to be sincere and specific.
c: Option 2 is the most audience-centered.
d: Life is for the living, Karma, and Unbearable pain should all be avoided.
Here is a possible message:
Dear Chana,
I was so sorry to hear the news about your husband.
Although I met him only once, Surin had such a warm smile and sense of humor. He will
surely be missed by many people. From your stories, I know that he has been a wonderful
husband and father.
Chana, I’ve seen your strength in the years we’ve known each other, and I know that
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strength will serve you and your children well. If there’s anything I can do here at the
office to help lighten your workload during this time, please just slip me a note or an email.
Don’t hesitate—you would do the same for me.
My sincere condolences,
Tad Kelson
(LO 7.4; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
Critique the Professionals: Students should be able to find numerous examples of news releases
online. Sites such as are a good place to begin their search. In their
evaluations, students should discuss at least several of the points listed in the chapter. The
relevance, focus, organization, and wording of the release should all be assessed. (LO 7.1;
AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
Sharpen Your Career Skills Online: This exercise calls upon students to use Bovée and Thill’s
Business Communication Web Search to research an online source of advice for writing
goodwill messages. Students will summarize the content of this source in an email to the
instructor, or as a post for the class blog. In either case, the conventions for communicating in the
particular medium should be observed, and the summary should clearly and effectively convey
the information that was learned. (LO 7.2: AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
On the following pages are suggested solutions for this chapter’s cases.
7-29. Message Strategies: Requesting Information
Note: The requirements of this assignment will help students grasp the purpose of the opening,
body, and close of a message requesting information. Students should keep in mind that the goal
of this message is to entice readers to participate in the project and should, therefore, offer a
benefit. They should also understand the significance of confidentiality as they approach the
issue of getting permission to use real names. A possible example follows:
[post title] Here’s A Chance to Get Your Personal Anecdotes Published
I am writing a book titled Working in Virtual Collaboration SystemsAn Evaluative Study, as
those of you who have read my previous posts might already know. While academic research
forms the foundation of the book, I am looking at including real-life experiences to make the
book more relatable and practical.
Many of you use virtual collaboration tools for team projects. I am sure you have devised your
own methods for online collaboration and have unique takes on virtual collaboration tools
these would be an essential source of information for my work.
What I am looking for are short, jargon-free narratives highlighting the benefits of specific
virtual collaboration methods. If you have a flair for writing and a raconteur hidden in you,
please jot down those anecdotes and email them to me at:
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Please note, to remain on schedule, I would need to receive the stories by May 20
People from all professions are invited to send in their stories; all you need to do is explain
which online collaboration system you used, did it work well for you, and why.
As a token of my appreciation, I will mail you an autographed copy of the book. Also, you
would need to sign a release form if your anecdote is selected. While I would like to use real
namesof people, companies, and softwarethe anecdote can remain anonymous, if required.
Your contribution can help make the book a true representation of the power of collaboration
technology, which will benefit everyone in the business community.
(LO 7.2; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-30. Message Strategies: Requesting a Recommendation
Note: Students will do well to consider their approach and organize their thoughts prior to
writing this email. This is an opportunity to refresh Vander’s memory of performance, but
students may struggle with professionally stating accomplishments without sounding grandiose
or inflated. They should appeal to Vander’s need to understand how this will benefit her as well,
thereby motivating a speedy and successful response.
Subject: Recommendation for the role of lead analyst for the market research team
Dear Katina,
The role of lead analyst for the market research team, currently under consideration, is one I am
very keen on. I would be grateful if you could put in a word for me with the strategic planning
I have acquired a breadth of industry-specific knowledge during my 14 years of work experience
in the electronics industry. Likewise, I have three years work experience in the customer support
division, leading to firsthand knowledge of customer satisfaction and quality issues. Also, my
engineering background, allows me to better understand the technological aspects of product
I have always been a consistent and sincere contributor, with a rating of “Excellent” or
“Exceptional” during all annual employee evaluations. Aside from professional leadership, I
have also initiated and organized the company’s environmental programs for the past three years.
I will be able to lead the market research team well, given the chance. If you require any further
information, please let me know.
Ryan Tenney
Business Analyst (LO 7.2; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
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7-31. Message Strategies: Requesting Information
I am looking to replace my old laptop, but am considering whether to purchase a laptop, tablet,
or tablet/laptop hybrid. I will use the device to conduct online research and take notes in class, as
well as to watch films and use social media. Given my requirements, what product or products
would you recommend I consider?
(LO 7.2; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-32. Message Strategies: Making Routine Requests
Note: Short messages can be among the most difficult to write because every wordeven every
charactermust count. For this message, be sure to specify exactly what you would like the
audience to do, including what the new product is, where they can find it, and what sort of
information you hope to learn.
Have you seen Trickster’s new controller-cam in Booth 1064? Looks hot! Please listen for buzz
at the show, in hotel lobbies, etc. Are people talking about it?
(LO 7.2; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-33. Message Strategies: Granting Claims
Note: Students should focus on the end goal of this exercise: keeping the customer. This message
should be sincere, professional, and factual. Making an apology and providing specific details
on how the situation will be rectified will give the customer confidence in the business. Also,
offering a token of gratitude for the customer’s patronage will leave the customer with a positive
reaction to a situation that could have been disastrous. This is an opportunity to turn the
relationship around in a positive manner.
Subject: Re: Complaint Regarding Wrong Delivery
Dear Mr. Ellison:
Please accept my deepest apologies for the distress caused to you by the incorrect delivery of a
bereavement bouquet to your wife on Valentine’s Day. Going forward, we will review our order
processing procedures during peak seasons to prevent such mistakes in the future.
I have initiated a full refund on the credit card you used to place your order; that amount should
show up on your next statement. The Valentine’s Day bouquet you ordered will be sent to your
wife tomorrow, free of charge. In addition, when your wife’s birthday approaches, please place
an order for any floral arrangement or gift basket of your choice, and we will send that free of
charge as well.
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If you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter, please contact me. I value your
relationship with Flowers for All Occasions, and your input will be invaluable in helping us to
serve you better.
Andy Jandl
Partner, Flowers for All Occasions
(LO 7.4; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-34. Message Strategies: Granting Claims
Note: This is an opportunity for students to see that a little humor and goodwill can go a long
way toward retaining customers and even improving their perception of the company. Students
should resist the urge to negatively highlight the customer’s over-zealous behavior; no point
would be served. Instead, the message should be used as a chance to professionally remind the
customer of proper use, without being offensive or condescending.
Subject: Re: Request for replacement of Razer Anansi keyboard
Dear Mr. Hapsberg,
Thanks for writing to us about the damage to your Razer Anansi keyboard. We are passionate
about gaming at Razer and in honor of your massive win, we would like to “reward” you with a
free keyboard to replace the one you broke.
Razer products are built for serious action, but our keyboards, like the Anansi, are sensitive
machines that are designed to recognize and respond to your every move. We recommend that
users handle them with care and use them only for the purpose for which they are intended.
We love hearing from our gamers, so please keep writing in. Everyone at Razer wishes you good
times and many more gaming wins. Perhaps a hearty fist pump would be a more appropriate
victory celebration next time!
Rufus Thomas
Customer Service Representative
(LO 7.4; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
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7-35. Message Strategies: Writing Routine Messages
Note: Audio-only instructions present two major challenges. First, without the benefit of visuals,
you’ll need to take extra care to describe parts and procedures. (In many cases, a podcast would
be accompanied by some manner of graphical support.) Second, because listeners can’t skip
back and forth as easily as they can with printed instructions, every instruction needs to be clear,
and the instructions need to follow each other in logical order. The brief example here describes
the steps necessary to use a waffle iron.
The first step in making a perfect waffle is proper preparation. Open the waffle iron so both
surfaces are exposed, and generously apply non-stick cooking spray. Be especially careful to
apply the spray to the edges of the iron, so that your waffle will not stick.
Next, plug in the waffle iron and turn it on. When it is properly heated, the red light on the front
of the iron will go on.
When the iron is preheated, take a ladle and pour some of your batter onto the bottom surface, in
the center. Depending on your batter, the proper amount is between one-third to one-half cup. To
be safe, begin with the smaller amount and adjust upward if necessary for future waffles.
It is not necessary to spread the batter in the iron. Simply closing the unit will cause the batter to
spread and fill in the entire surface. Snap the clamp on the unit shut to activate the automatic
timer. When it beeps, your waffle is ready. Undo the clamp, open the unit, and use a fork to lift
the cooked waffle off the iron.
Repeat until all batter is used, then turn unit off. Allow at least 30 minutes after turning off the
unit to wash it, so it can cool down properly. Use a damp sponge to clean the iron; never
submerge it completely in water.
(LO 7.4; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-36. Message Strategies: Writing Routine Informational Messages
Note: As introduction, refer briefly to the reason for the posting without going into details, since
they’re likely to make employees defensive. Keep your message short. Use bulleted lists for easy
Listening Skills for the Workplace
This morning in our weekly staff meeting, I noticed some behaviors that weren’t conducive to
our usually supportive team environment. Most of the behaviors focused on the inability to
listen, so I’ve put together some reminders about the importance of listening, as well as some tips
we can also use to improve our listening behaviors. I know each of us wants to express our ideas;
however, we also have to be able to listen to others’ ideas as well. Please review this list and
consider how you’ll put the tips into practice at our next staff meeting.
First, take a moment to remember the benefits of effective listening:
Strengthens organizational relationships
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Enhances product delivery
Alerts the organization to opportunities for innovation
Allows the organization to manage growing diversity
Gives you a competitive edge
Enhances your performance and influence within your company and industry
Next, practice these skills to become a good listener:
Recognize and overcome potential barriers throughout the listening process.
Avoid interrupting or creating nonverbal distractions that make it hard for others to pay
Avoid selective listening, when you pay attention only to those topics in which you have
an interest.
Focus on the speaker (because people think faster than they speak, their minds tend to
Avoid prejudgment, and listen with an open mind.
Avoid misinterpreting messages because of the lack of common ground.
Take notes: don’t rely on your memory.
(LO 7.4; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-37. Message Strategies: Routine Announcements
Bacca’s Annual United Way Drive starts June 1! Contact HR to learn how to make this our most
successful year ever! Support United Way’s efforts in education, income stability, and healthy
United Way wants to halve the number of high school dropouts by 2018. Education starts early,
so it supports efforts to make sure children begin school ready, and are proficient readers by
grade 4.
United Way wants to help working families with unstable finances become financially
independent. By 2018 it is striving to help 1.9 million families do so!
United Way wants more people to enjoy healthy living. It is working to educate people about
how to avoid risky behaviors and help more people get healthcare coverage.
(LO 7.4; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-38. Message Strategies: Routine Announcements
Zenith Tutoring is now on!’s big data technology will scour the Web to find
great content that we can share on our website and blog. We can even add Zenith’s perspective to
each “scoop” to increase reader engagement. By providing relevant, quality content about
education trends, assessment news, and school admissions processes, we will be able to attract
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many potential clients.
(LO 7.4; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-39. Message strategies: Providing Recommendations
August 2, 2015
To Hiring Managers:
I am pleased to recommend Ms. Maxine Chenault (at her request) for a position in any
professional field that requires dependability, proficiency in meeting deadlines, and attention to
detail. Max worked for me as an intern at Orbitz during the summer of 2013 and provided a great
deal of valuable assistance in a number of areas.
Max is an exceptionally fast learner. She quickly became proficient with our content
management system and always used it properly. While other interns have struggled to learn and
utilize the Orbitz system, Max was so adept with it that more seasoned employees often came to
her with questions about how to perform various functions. I was also impressed with how
quickly she picked up on (and learned to apply) important principles of blogging and website
While Max was certainly a quick study, she was always willing to asking intelligent questions
about our business. Other interns and many new employees tend to avoid asking questions
because they don’t want to admit there’s something they don’t know. Max, however, didn’t
hesitate to inquire about complex procedures, best practices, and other important matters.
Another important element of Max’s character is her willingness to respond well to suggestions
for improvement. Soon after she joined me at Orbitz, I expressed concern that she was spending
too much time on the phone discussing non-business matters. That single conversation was all it
took to eliminate the problem completely. This was the only instance in which I found it
necessary to ask for improvement, and she responded promptly and professionally.
I am confident that Max would be an asset to your organization. In addition to the traits I’ve
outlined, she is mature and professional, always on time, and eager to assist with even the most
mundane tasks. Of the many (50+) interns with whom I’ve worked over the years, she certainly
ranks among the top three. If you have questions or would like more information on this
excellent candidate, please contact me at the number listed above.
Best regards,
(LO 7.1; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-40. Message Strategies: Writing Routine Information Messages; Composition Modes:
Note: This message offers the unique opportunity to give good news that doesn’t have a catch.
Customers will benefit financially while taking positive action to help the environment. Students
should include all details, making them easily understood by the average homeowner; readers
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should understand the benefits of the program and how they will receive ongoing support from
SolarCity has created SolarLease, a unique financing option that lets homeowners go solar
without any upfront cost and save money from day one. With this program, instead of buying a
solar system, you simply lease it and pay as you go. The cost of the lease plus your electricity
bill will typically be less than what you are paying for electricity now, and the price is locked in
for the duration of the lease. This means that as regular utility rates continue to increase every
year, it will be your savings that continue to grow.
What’s more, there are no unexpected repair costs to worry about because they are covered under
this program. SolarLease also includes SolarGuard, which allows you and SolarCity to
continuously monitor your system to ensure it is performing as expected. SolarCity is so sure of
its product that it guarantees performance or will pay you back. At the end of your lease, you can
upgrade to a new system, extend your lease, or have the panels taken off your home, free of
charge. To find out more about what makes SolarLease the most popular residential solar
financing option in the country, visit
(LO 7.1; AACSB Tag: Written and oral communication)
7-41. Message Strategies: Good News Messages
Note: This message should focus not only on what is being offered, but also on how they will
benefit the reader. Students should include information that makes these services appropriate for
the reader’s personal needs. Specific details of the services offered will enable readers to clearly
understand the what, how, and when of the offering.
[post title] A Hot Stix Center to Open Soon at Indian Wells Golf Resort
Hot Stix is thrilled to announced a new fitting center to open at the Indian Wells Golf Resort
within the next six months, making it the first resort in California to offer fitting facilities. Hot
Stix is a leading club fitting company and is recommended by many professional players.
Every golfer has a unique swing. Accordingly, golf clubs need to match the individual
specifications of the golfer, which is done through the process of club fitting. Club fitters use
advanced technology, such as Doppler radar and motion-capture video, to accurately evaluate
golfers’ swing and ball flight characteristics, and then they use that information to match players
with the perfect set of clubs. Club fitting helps golfers of all skill-levels play with more
consistency and confidenceand that means better scores!
The Indian Wells Hot Stix center will provide three fitting programsPerformance Fitting, Tour
Fitting, and Platinum Game Fitting.
Performance Fitting will provide you with club heads and shafts custom-built by a
select group of leading manufacturers.
Tour Fitting will provide you with clubs made to your specifications by Hot Stix, after
evaluating your existing equipment.
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