This chapter introduces students to one of the standard organizational approaches in business writing:
the direct organizational pattern. Because this pattern is used most frequently in situations in which the
reader will react positively or neutrally, Chapter 5 discusses the direct pattern in this rhetorical context.
But many of the following suggestions for teaching Chapter 5 will also apply to teaching students to
write the other types of messages discussed in Chapters 6, 7 and 11 (e.g. negative-news messages,
persuasive messages, employment documents).
You can begin with a brief lecture that presents an overview of the direct approach and the contexts in
which it is appropriate or not appropriate. Students may be asked to assess either in an online or
face-to-face discussion their own communication style. Are they direct communicators? Indirect
communicators? Although you will discuss the indirect approach more thoroughly in Chapter 6, you may
also ask students to re/ect on a time when they received a message directly that should have been
communicated indirectly or vice versa.
Lecture notes for Chapter 5 to accompany the Chapter 5 PowerPoint presentation appear below.
Instructors should emphasize that the text suggestions are not formulas; students must use the skills
they learned in Chapter 5 to understand their writing goals and audiences and adjust their messages
accordingly. Emphasis should be given to developing logical approaches to problem solving so that
students see their communication goals as tied to their business goals.
A5er presenting the lecture, you may want to refer to the good and bad message examples in the
Chapter PowerPoint and have students analyze and articulate what happened in the writing that makes
the good message better than the bad message (e.g., the main point is at the beginning, the writing is
more complete and the language more precise). You may also want to create good/bad examples from
the problem solving cases at the end of the text as additional discussion and illustration opportunities.
Criticism of Student Messages
Students should write a direct message as an assignment for this chapter. A5er writing a dra5, students
can bring their work to class for peer editing. As a guide for peer editing, you may want to develop a
form based on your grading rubric for the assignment. Students should be reminded that a peer editor is
not a “8xer” or copy editor. The peer editor is simply to react to the format, content, and correctness.
The writer is ultimately responsible for the content. If the writer disagrees with the peer editor, the
writer is not obligated to make the editor’s changes.