Type
Solution Manual
Book Title
Business Communication: Building Critical Skills 6th Edition
ISBN 13
978-0073403267

978-0073403267 Chapter 12 Answers to Textbook Assignments

April 6, 2019
Module 12 - Persuasive Messages
Part 2: Answers to Textbook Assignments
Questions for Comprehension
12.1 How do you decide whether to use a direct request or a problem-solving persuasive
message? (LO 12-1)
Use the direct request pattern when the audience will do as you ask without any resistance, you
need a response only from the people who are willing to act, the audience is busy and may not
12.2 How do you organize a problem-solving persuasive message? (LO 12-3)
Describe the problem you both share (which your request will solve), give the details of the
problem, explain the solution to the problem, show that any negative elements are outweighed by
12.3 How can you build credibility? (LO 12-4)
12.4 How do specific varieties of persuasive messages adapt the basic patterns? (LO 12-7)
Orders: Be specific, tell the company what you want if a model number is no longer available,
double-check your arithmetic, and add sales tax and shipping charges.
Collection Letters: Send a series, a week or two apart for each letter. Early letters are gentle.
Middle letters are more assertive, negotiating for payment but reminding the reader that payment
is necessary. Late letters threaten legal action if the bill is not paid.
12.5 What do you see as advantages of positive and negative appeals? Illustrate your
answer with specific messages, advertisements, or posters. (LO 12-1)
Students’ answers will vary. Positive appeals are more appropriate for business, and business
messages should use positive emphasis. Many people claim they don’t like negative appeals—
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Module 12 - Persuasive Messages
12.6 Is it dishonest to “sneak up on the reader” by delaying the request in a
problem-solving persuasive message? (LO 12-3)
No. First, the writer must lay the groundwork for the request—how it can help the reader or the
12.7 Think of a persuasive message (or a commercial) that did not convince you to act.
Could a different message have convinced you? Why or why not? (LO 12-4, LO 12-5)
Students’ answers will vary. Where possible, ask students to bring a copy of the message to
class. Consider brainstorming with the group whether a counterexample exists (e.g.,
12.8 Asking for Information for an Awards Ceremony (LO 12-1 to LO 12-8)
A good message will use you-attitude, positive emphasis, and reader benefits to encourage the
12.9 Asking for the Right Information (LO 12-1 to LO 12-8)
Though the mistake was a simple one, writers should take care to avoid embarrassing Mr.
Bishop. Drawing attention to his misunderstanding the clerk’s request might offend him.
12.10 Getting a Raise for a Deserving Employee (LO 12-1 to 12-8)
Remind students to be specific. Students enjoy this assignment; they can actually turn it in to
their bosses. The writer should give a blind copy to the person being recommended. Putting the
12.11 Asking for a Raise or Reclassification (LO 12-1 to LO 12-8)
Before students attempt to write a solution to this problem, share with them the current state of
raises and reclassifications in the business world.
Few companies offer automatic raises any more. Getting a raise in the early 21st century depends
Taking on important projects is a good strategy. You can even ask your boss at your appraisal
Document your achievements, because your boss won’t necessarily notice them. Summarize the
most important in a memo that you send to your boss a week before your appraisal. Your boss
Check salary surveys in trade magazines and ask other people in your field about salaries. Some
jobs have pay ceilings; to get a significant increase, you’d have to move into another area of the
12.12 Writing Collection Letters (LO 12-1 to LO 12-8)
Before writing letters appropriate for these situations, students have to decide what stage of
collections is described. This problem works well as a group assignment. Have students discuss
each scenario in class, and then assign a different one to each group for actual letter writing.
Consider assigning this problem as a group exercise. If you have students who work in credit or
12.13 Urging Employees to Handle Routine Calls Courteously (LO 12-1 to LO 12-8)
Customer service can be a high-stress field, but employees need to remember that building
goodwill is vital. Because employees answering the phones represent the company, they should
12.14 Persuading an Organization to Accept Student Interns (LO 12-1 to LO 12-8)
Student internships are a vital component of education today. Not all students have access to
internships, but those who do often have an edge when applying for a job. A benefit to
12.15 Helping Students Use Credit Cards Responsibly (LO 12-1 to LO 12-8)
Discuss the role of consumer debt in our society and the large, increasing number of
© 2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. This is proprietary material solely for authorized instructor use. Not authorized for sale or distribution in any
manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
12-3
Module 12 - Persuasive Messages
bankruptcies. Discuss the controversy surrounding the underwriting practices (or lack thereof) of
credit card issuers. (Collecting unsolicited credit card offers for a few weeks—You’ve been
approved!—will help you illustrate this discussion.) You might even want to discuss how much
12.16 Asking to Work at Home (LO 12-1 to LO 12-8)
In real life, how difficult this problem is depends on the organizational culture. It will be easier
in a high-context, open culture that highly values employee well-being and satisfaction. It likely
will be easier to convince managers in such an environment that your productivity will remain
the same or increase as a result of working at home. To refute possible objections, the writer
12.17 Persuading Employees to Keep Social Networking Sites Closed (LO 12-1 to LO 12-8)
Students’ answers will vary; however, this topic makes for an interesting class discussion that
goes beyond writing e-mails to employees. Younger employees have grown up with the Internet
and social media sites as integral parts of their everyday lives, so accessing them during the
12.18 Handling a Sticky Recommendation (LO 12-1 to LO 12-8)
This is one of the more difficult problems in the book that enables students to grapple with
ethical issues. The dilemma is spelled out in the last paragraph of the problem: if one is honest
about how unsatisfactory this employee has been, it is unlikely (though not impossible) that she
will be hired away. However, it is also necessary to retain the writers own credibility: one does
Prepping students on the problem should begin with a review of what the Department of
Taxation does. John’s memo does not specify what kind of job Peggy is “the leading candidate
© 2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. This is proprietary material solely for authorized instructor use. Not authorized for sale or distribution in any
manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
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Module 12 - Persuasive Messages
wouldn’t know that in real life.
The “Hints” questions on p. 212 of BCS encourage students to consider some of the
alternatives. The fact that a person does poorly in one job does not mean that he or she is
incapable of doing any job well. You may also want to review with students the principles of
positive emphasis discussed in Module 7: it is possible to include negative information without
Good solutions can take different approaches to the situation. One response is to stay quite close
to the facts in the book but use positive emphasis. The second is to assume that Peggy is in fact
12.19 Addressing a Passenger Complaint About a Rude Flight Attendant
(LO 12-1 to LO 12-8)
In recent years, major airlines have been the target of consumer angst, with some people even
advocating a “passengers bill of rights” to deal with service and other problems. As a former
flight attendant, Mr. Antilles has additional credibility in determining professionalism. The letter
12.20 Persuading Employees That a Security Camera Is Necessary (LO 12-1 to LO 12-8)
While many employees understand the need for increased security in the workplace, most
employees object to being spied upon, especially in this age of electronic surveillance tools.
Even the solution to put a camera in plain sight may offend some employees. The key is to
12.21 Asking an Instructor for a Letter of Recommendation (LO 12-1 to LO 12-8)
Students use the discussion about this problem to help students understand the rhetorical
situation of a letter of recommendation, from the recommenders point of view. Because letters
of recommendation are universally positive (few people ask someone to write a letter unless they
think the person thinks well of them), letters must be specific to be at all effective. But
professors have fallible memories. (Kitty said she’d become an absent-minded professorshe
forgot things unless they’re written down, and then sometimes she misplaced the sheet of paper!
12.22 Recommending Investments (LO 12-1 to LO 12-8)
Some students may enjoy the opportunity to write to a real audience instead of a hypothetical
one. To do well, students will have to interview you; you might ask them to read Module 22
first. The options a student researches, and how difficult it will be to persuade you to adopt the
12.23 Retrieving Your Image (LO 12-1 to LO 12-8)
This problem may be challenging for students because (1) they may find it difficult to imagine
fully the concerns and motivations of a Director, and (2) the Director has little information about
the situation to draw on. Before you have students begin writing, you should discuss the
problem thoroughly, either in a whole class or small group discussion. You may even have
students answers the PAIBOC questions in small groups. Questions to get the discussion started,
and possible answers to the analysis questions are provided below.
Questions to Get Discussion Started
1. What do you know about this student?
Only that he/she once worked in Student Financial Aid (presumably but not necessarily at your
college), has a poor credit history, doesn’t use spell check, and writes poorly. You do not know
that the person necessarily took any writing courses at your college (maybe the person
transferred credits in) or how he or she did in them (people can pass courses that they did quite
poorly ina “D” means “poor”).
2. Why is it important to retain Davis’ goodwill?
No university wants the public to think that it graduates unqualified students—even if that
perception is unfounded, or the students in question barely passed the majority of their courses.
A public institution depends on the public trust and goodwill as well as public money. In this
case, the person who has gotten a bad impression of you as Dean and of your university, Sharon
Davis, is also a member of your college advisory board and a major donor. In both capacities she
has the ability to affect the School of Business and State University directly. She also appears to
hold a position of importance in a local bank (she says, “my bank received this letter. . . .”); a
School of Business that does not have the support of local businesses is at a clear disadvantage.
Answers to PAIBOC Questions:
1. What are your purposes in writing?
To Davis
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manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
12-6
Module 12 - Persuasive Messages
1. Inform
a. Tell her about the writing courses and support your program offers
b. tactfully remind her that you can’t guarantee future performance—even students who
To Faculty
1. Inform: tell them you have received this letter
Persuade them to work even harder to
Persuade students that these skills matter
2. Who is (are) your audience(s)? What characteristics are relevant to this particular message?
If you are writing to more than one reader, how do your readers differ from each other?
To Sharon Davis
She gives a lot of money to your school (and business schools are always trying to raise money).
To Faculty
Are likely to feel that they are already working very hard and are underpaid and
under-appreciated
3. What information must your message include?
To Davis
Information about the writing program
Information about GPAs of graduates
4. What advantages or reader benefits can you stress?
a. Talk about the effort your school does make to produce students who can write.
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manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
12-7
Module 12 - Persuasive Messages
5. What objection(s) can you anticipate from your reader(s)? What negative elements must you
deemphasize or overcome?
To Davis
May feel that if your writing programs were really strong, no one would graduate with such
poorly developed skills.
6. How does the context affect reader response? Status of the economy? Morale? Relationship
of writer and reader? Any special circumstances?
12.24 Persuading Tenants to Pay the Rent (LO 12-1 to LO 12-8)
While tenants have a legal obligation to pay their rent on time, apartment managers have a moral
obligation to treat them with respect. Clearly, this message lacks you-attitude and positive
emphasis, so any revision should include substantial reworking of the language. In addition,
good answers will develop a reader benefitperhaps not having to chase down delinquent rent
checks will free up the managers time to effect repairs.
Encourage students to use PAIBOC in their analyses.
Students who live in apartments will easily understand this situation. If they live in a medium to
large building, they may have received form letters about paying rent on time even if they have
never been late with rent themselves. Use these students as “experts” to help the others
understand how the intended audience might react to the letter. Others may have worked in
some capacity where collecting rent was part of their job. They may be able to help your
students see what problems can arise when payments are not received on time.
Different approaches will work for different audiences. The reference to tests in the next-to-last
line of the letter makes it apparent that the writer is a student. Even if all residents were students,
though, they may differ in their circumstances. Some may be of traditional college age; others
might be older and have children. Some may be working full- or part-time in addition to going
to school.
If you have a lot of nontraditional students in your class, consider allowing them to conceptualize
a different audience despite what the letter in the problem says about tests. Perhaps the writer is
a student and therefore assumes when writing that everyone else is? It seems clear that the writer
did not analyze the intended audience so this is actually plausible.
A successful message will motivate people without belittling them or threatening them. Though
tenants legally must pay their rent, a poorly written letter is likely to cause more problems than it
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manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
12-8
Module 12 - Persuasive Messages
will correct.
Following is a list of questions to use in class discussion, and answers to PAIBOC questions.
Questions to Get Discussion Started
1. Have any of you ever managed apartment complexes or collected rent?
2. Why might people pay their rent late?
3. Why dont you just evict these people?
Depending on the way the lease is written, you may not be able to.
Even if it’s legal, persuading people to pay first is much more desirable: it’s expensive to
find new tenants.
4. Why do you want to write this message just to people who have been late in the past, not to
everyone?
You don’t want to suggest that it’s “normal” to be at least five days late.
5. Is a form letter to everyone a good idea?
No. This situation is like the “middle letter” in a collection series. A form letter
encourages the reader to think that the situation isn’t serious, makes it easier for people to
disregard the message.
6. Is humor a good idea?
Only if it doesn’t insult people, especially people who may not think they were late.
Answers to the PAIBOC Questions:
1. What are your purposes in writing?
2. Who is (are) your audience(s)? What characteristics are relevant to this particular message?
If you are writing to more than one reader, how do your readers differ from each other?
People who have been late at least one month (i.e., haven’t paid by the 5th of the month
and have incurred the $25 late fee.)
3. What information must your message include?
That they have been late. A good message would say how many times in the last year.
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manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
12-9
Module 12 - Persuasive Messages
Paying on time saves $25 a month. Depending on how much the rent is, that may
represent a substantial savingsor it may not.
Perhaps you could offer an automatic withdrawal, so that the money was automatically
deducted from the account on the first. Even sending a reminder (on the first) might help.
What objection(s) can you anticipate from your reader(s)? What negative elements must you
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manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
12-10
Module 12 - Persuasive Messages
No one likes being told that they’re wrong or bad.
What aspects of the context may affect reader response? Status of the economy? Morale?
Relationship of writer and reader? Any special circumstances?
Most renters have very negative feelings about the rental agency or landlord.
12.25 Writing a Performance Appraisal for a Member of a Collaborative Group (LO 12-1 to
LO 12-8)
If your students do extensive group work, you may want them to appraise each others’
performances.
Kitty required students to list at least two but no more than three areas for improvement.
Students hate this, complaining that their groups are good and they have to be really picky to
come up with improvements. But requiring everyone to list areas for improvements removes the
onus from the writer. In some cases, students do need to improve, and their fellow group
members, eager to maintain harmony, would be reluctant to mention these areas.
Kitty graded one copy of the appraisal and returned it to the writer and kept the second copy to
see whether the student being evaluated made the recommended improvements during the
second half of the course. Working hard, performing positive group roles, and being responsive
to suggestions merits an “A” on the portion of the grade based on group process. At the end of
the course, she had students write a self-appraisal responding to her mid-term evaluation. Her
experience was that students do change their behavior—even when she hadn’t said the behavior
must be changed to raise the grade.
12.26 Asking for a Job Description (LO 12-1 to LO 12-8)
A good response recognizes that while employees are obligated to respond, the quality of their
response will vary depending on what they perceive is the purpose of the writers request. Are
they being asked to simply clarify their job description? To make up for someone else’s error or
sloth? To defend their job?
Good responses take into consideration the economic climate and health of the organization. For
instance, a request from an organization doing well will seem more or less routine to many
employees; the same request when facing cutbacks and employee layoffs, however, may be
perceived as threatening.
Context will determine whether the writer uses a direct or problem-solving approach. Either is
appropriate, but writers should be prepared to explain their choices.
Polishing Your Prose: Narrative Voice (Odd-numbered answers are in the back of the
textbook.)
Several answers are possiblehere are likely ones.
2. The voice here is bureaucratic.
4. This voice sounds immature and unprofessional for a business setting.
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12-11
Module 12 - Persuasive Messages
6. This voice is using abbreviations common in texting and instant messaging—unprofessional
for a business setting.
8. This voice is simply insulting.
10. This voice is condescending, making light of an important business situation.
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manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
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