Improving the written communication ability of all students enrolled in a word processing class is what this unit is all about. Of course, written business communications covers many activities—so many that this unit cannot reasonably cover them all. Thus, I will limit coverage to those areas in which most high school students need instruction: primarily in the area of written communications, and particularly in writing letters.
Why put things in writing? One obvious reason is that it is more convenient and less costly than face-to-face communications, particularly where distance is involved. But often there is simply no substitute for a written communication—for example, describing a firm’s unique product or service to a customer, reporting the results of an organization’s study of employee turnover, or announcing an important change in company policy. And written communications provide valuable records for an organization without which it simply could not function.
Some of the most important uses of written communications are to:
1. Confirm agreements and actions.
2. Motivate sales.
3. Build goodwill and effective public relations (PR).
4. Enhance internal human relationships.
5. Keep people informed.
Those who write correspondence effectively have a definite advantage in their given professions over those who lack: this valuable skill. Most business people spend much of their work talking, reading, writing and listening.
The higher one’s position in business, the more communication one does. Because communication is so significant, business wants and needs people with good written communication abilities. To succeed in business and climb the ladder of success at a faster speed, students would be wise to work at improving their communication ability.
Laura Brill makes this point in her book
Business Writing Quick and Easy
: “Letters are the most personal of business communications. They can help build relationships particularly by using a friendly and sincere tone. Formal and stereotyped expressions, on the other hand, keep the relationship between writer and reader stagnant. Who enjoys reading letters that sound like computer printouts?”
The ability to write effective business communications reflects very favorably on an employer and gives an employee an added advantage for job promotion as well as job security.
This unit was developed especially for use in a word processing class, but could be easily adapted for a business English, Business Communication, or Office Technology class. Using the word processor will hopefully eliminate sheer labor, the biggest obstacle that seems to frustrate most students in learning how to write. Word processing will not replace the act of writing. It will only process the words quickly and more accurately that one still has to generate. Students will constantly be reminded that writing comes first; then computers process what is written.
It is my intention to show students that writing business communications using the Word processor will (1) allow them to experiment with their writing without worrying about making a final draft right away; (2) display words for them to consider and give them a chance to reconsider them; (3) free them to concentrate on content, format, revision and proofreading; (4) make corrections easier and neater; (5) eliminate, tedious rewriting.