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

978-0073403267 Chapter 21 Key Lecture Points, Teaching Tips, and In-Class Exercises

April 6, 2019
Module 21 - Proposals and Progress Reports
Module 21
Proposals and Progress Reports
LO 21-1 Define reports in the workplace.
LO 21-2 Estimate time for business proposal writing.
LO 21-3 Identify sections for business proposal organization.
LO 21-4 Identify “hot buttons” for business proposal strategies and beyond.
LO 21-5 Identify sections for progress report organization.
Module Overview
Module 21 introduces students to reports, as well as proposals, which typically precede
reports and are requests to research information or solve a problem.
Reports come in all shapes and sizes. Throughout this and other modules of Unit 6, Kitty
and Steve offer information on the kinds of reports employees are most likely to write on the
job. By learning the strategies in these modules, students can likely adapt easily to other
report types they encounter in the workplace.
Progress reports are good for getting novice writers’ “feet wet.” Progress reports are personal
—they report information about what the writer has done—and are typically shorter and less
formal than other kinds of reports. While they may have headings and subheadings, progress
reports also typically aren’t as “compartmentalized” as other kinds of reports.
Teaching Tip: For more experience with headings, have students complete
Exercises 5-10 on “Writing Subject Lines and Headings” in the Polishing Your
Prose box in Module 25 (p. 435).
We’ve also included proposals in this module. Essentially a request, a proposal must provide
adequate information to the reader before he or she can respond to the request. Proposals
usually are compartmentalized into several or more distinct sections, much like the longer
final reports that are written after a project is completed.
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21-1
Teaching Tip: Proposals may be written in response to an RFP—a request for
proposals—which gives details on the content and format of proposals that
respond to them. Chances are your department has on file examples of RFPs for
grants or programming. Ask if you can use one as an example, blocking out any
confidential information. Business newspapers also are good places to find
RFPs, which may be printed in the classified section. Lastly, local government
often issues RFPs for goods and services; you might contact your city or county
government office and ask for copies.
As PP 21-3 shows, writing any report basically has five steps:
Define the problem.
Gather the necessary information.
Analyze the information.
Organize the information.
Write the report.
Teaching Tip: Ask working students to share information about the kinds of
reports they may read or write on the job. What basic characteristics do these
reports have? Are reports more common in some fields than others? Which? If
they’ve seen particularly effective reports, what qualities or features made them
so?
What’s in This Supplement
This supplement is organized around the major questions posed in Module 21. It covers
Part 1: Key Lecture Points, Teaching Tips, and In-Class Exercises Page 342
Part 2: Answers to Textbook Assignments Page 356
Part 2: Appendixes of Handouts/Transparency Masters Page 358
PowerPoint presentations can be found at our Web page at www.mhhe.com/bcs6e.
Questions (with answers) suitable for quizzes are in the Instructors Test Bank. For
student practice quizzes with answers, see our Web page.
© 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.
21-2
Module 21 - Proposals and Progress Reports
Part 1: Key Lecture Points, Teaching Tips, and In-Class Exercises
What is a “report”? LO 21-1
Many different kinds of documents are called reports.
As PP 21-4 and PP 21-5 show, reports come in many shapes and sizes.
They can be formal or informal in nature. A good definition of a
report is “a written document designed to inform, analyze, or persuade
an audience about an issue or problem.” Common types of reports are
Information
Analytical
Recommendation (or problem-solving)
In-Class Exercise: Have students go to your college
library or their workplace or search the Internet for
examples of reports. Have them bring their findings to
class. Give the students 5-10 minutes to identify the kinds of reports these are.
How do they know? Next, have them examine the reports for language and
content. Which are most effective? Why? What qualities or features can be
used as models for their own report writing?
Figure 21.1 (p. 343) shows the three levels of reports. In particularly, students should pay
attention to problem-solving reports (also called recommendation reports), which are very
common in the workplace.
What should I do before I write a proposal? LO 21-2
Finish at least one-fourth of your research!
There’s no point in writing a report if there’s nothing important to discuss. In most cases,
reports will solve a problem the organization has—finding more efficient ways to
manufacture a product, locating a better alternative to a current practice, or purchasing a
cheaper material the organization needs. Before any of that happens, the organization
(principally, the writer) must first determine what problems exist.
Good report problems are real, important, and specific. They grow out of real problems. In
the “real world,” these problems may be brought to the writers attention by a supervisor. In
other cases, the writer may notice problems that could be solved.
© 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.
21-3
Teaching Tip: Ask students to identify common business problems. How do they
know? Where can they look in organizations to discover potential problems to
be solved? Are there any publications or websites that can help them?
When writing reports for a class, students often have difficulty finding problems to solve. As
a result, some instructors assign a problem to students. Others expect students to have
completed enough hours in their programs of study or to have worked in a business
environment before taking business communication, thus affording them some experience
out of which problems may be identified. In those cases, instructors may allow students
some creative license while writing the reportCstudents get to assume they’re actually on the
job, working for an organization they know something about.
Teaching Tip: Try to keep student reports as realistic as possible. Where you
can, have students write about something they can genuinely do. That might
mean limiting the report to solving a campus problem, perhaps for a student
organization. Even if the scope of the project is small, writing about it can teach
students skills in writing Areal world@ business reports.
Whatever the approach, students need to be able to define the problem they will write about.
As PP 21-8 suggests,
1. Narrow the problem
2 Identify the specific problem
3. Identify the specific audience that would have the power to
implement your recommendations.
Students should start out broad while defining the problem—there’s too much litter on
campus—and then narrow the problem down to something manageable—we need a
newspaper recycling program at State Community College. Problems that are too broad
often prove difficult to solve.
© 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.
21-4
Module 21 - Proposals and Progress Reports
The problem should also be solvable in a realistic time period. For your class, that might be
a matter of only several weeks. (Here, a course taught at a school on the semester system
may have an advantage, as the process can be spread out over more weeks than at a school on
the quarter system.) Even if you give students license to fictionalize the length and scope of
solving their problems, the time period must still be manageable.
In-Class Exercise: If you have students write a report for your class, have them
talk to experts about how much time solving their problem might take. This
could involve interviewing campus experts, contacting someone in local
government, or sending a questionnaire to a businessperson. (Students may want
to read or review Module 22.) Have students collect their research and write a
1- to 2-page memo report to you expressing their findings.
Teaching Tip: If you decide to emphasize reports in your class, introduce this
module early enough in the term to give students time to develop their problems.
Expect to have a detailed purpose statement before giving the student the
go-ahead to write the report. (Many instructors expect students to submit a
proposal for their problem-solving report, as well as timely progress reports.)
Once the student identifies the problem, he or she should write a good
purpose statement. As PP 21-9 shows, good purpose statements make
three things clear:
The organizational problem or conflict.
The specific technical questions that must be answered to solve
the problem.
The rhetorical purpose the report is designed to achieve.
What should go in a proposal? LO 21-3
What you’re going to do, how and when you’ll do it, and evidence that you’ll do it
well.
© 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.
21-5
Before employees are able to begin large projects, they typically must submit a proposal.
Proposals can be internal or external. Short internal proposals may be written in memo
format, but longer proposals and external proposals use a report format, often with a letter of
transmittal.
Before writing a proposal, writers must define their problems and do enough research to
understand the nature of its solution. PP 21-11 shows important questions a proposal must
answer.
What problem are you going to solve?
How are you going to solve it?
What exactly will you provide for us?
Can you deliver what you promise?
What benefits can you offer?
When will you complete the work?
How much will you charge?
In-Class Exercise: Before developing their proposals, have students spend 10-15
minutes in class brainstorming answers to the questions on PP 21-11. Then have
them get with a partner and discuss their answers for 10 minutes in peer review.
As PP 21-12 shows, a proposal for a student report usually has the
following sections:
Problem
Feasibility
Teaching Tip: Make sure students do adequate research to
determine whether their project is feasible. Many students—particularly ones
with little practical business experience—overestimate the amount of time and
resources that can be brought to bear in the business world to solve problems.
Have them use the web, library, or interviews with businesspeople for their
research.
Audience
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in any manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
21-6
Module 21 - Proposals and Progress Reports
Teaching Tip: For more information on audience, have students read or review
the information in Module 2.
Topics to Investigate
Methods/Procedure
Qualifications/ Facilities/Resources
Work Schedule
Call to Action
Teaching Tip: Have students review this module’s Building a Critical Skill box
(p. 352) for information on “hot buttons.” Before they submit their proposals,
make sure they consider what hot buttons you might have that could prevent
your approval of their proposals. Ask them how they might discover what a
person’s hot buttons are. What can they do to avoid pushing them?
In the first paragraph, writers also should summarize in a sentence or two the topic of the
report and its purposes.
Teaching Tip: Use Figure 21.4 (p. 348) to help students see the format, style,
and content of a proposal. Have them critique it—what do they find works best?
What could be improved? Why?
Sales proposals are constructed similarly to proposals for
problem-solving reports, though with more emphasis on persuading
the reader to purchase goods or services (PP 21-13). Writers should
closely follow the requisite RFP. Sales proposals use psychological
description (discussed in Module 12) and reader benefits (discussed
in Module 8).
Of special interest to most readers of a proposal will be the Budget section. While budgets
differ according to the type and scale of the proposed project, they share the common trait
that they must be realistic. Writers should develop budgets that are within the realm of
possibility for the organization and be specific with figures.
However, allowing some “cushion” with figures is common; some overage is acceptable
because market prices can fluctuate, and unforeseen expenses can sometimes occur.
Writers can always spend less than their budgets, but it may be harder to requisition more
funds after the project is underway.
© 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.
21-7
Teaching Tip: If you require Budget sections in their reports (budgets are
optional in student reports), have students research and submit separate 1-
to 2-page memos on their budgets to you prior to submitting their
proposal. Have them use real figures, obtained through research on the
web, a trip to a local store, supplier or contractor, or after an interview
with an expert.
Student proposals and reports do not always need a Budget section. For many student
reports, budgetary information may not be vital to completing the project.
Identifying “hot buttons” LO 21-4
In a proposal, as in any persuasive document, it’s crucial that writers deal with the audience’s
“hot buttons,” or issues to which the audience has a strong emotional response.
We all have hot buttons, but they can be quite different depending on the person. Politics is a
good source of hot buttons, but so are social concerns. Culture may produce different norms
and expectations for hot buttons, as might such factors as age, gender, socioeconomics, and
even marital status. Finding an audience’s hot buttons may require careful observation and
critical thinking.
As PP 21-14 and PP 21-15 suggest, a good starting point is to
understand that hot buttons
Are issues to which your audience has a strong emotional
response.
To identify them,
Study your audience’s preferences and motivations.
Be aware they may make your audience’s decisions
seem illogical.
© 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.
21-8
Module 21 - Proposals and Progress Reports
Teaching Tip: Ask students to identify hot button issues common in their
lives. They can stem from concerns about politics or society or even
about family, school, or relationships. What advice would they give to
writers hoping to craft a message to reach them about these issues? What
strategies might work? What strategies might not? How might writers be
able to predict what the hot buttons are, and more importantly, how to
address them appropriately?
What should go in a progress report? LO 21-5
What you’ve done, why it’s important, and what the next steps are.
As PP 21-16 shows, progress reports can do much more than simply report what a writer has
done. They can also
Enhance the writers image.
Float trial balloons.
Minimize potential problems.
Progress reports are common in business. Some supervisors expect
staff to submit weekly progress reports on their projects. Others expect periodic reports
while a large project is underway; for example, customers of expensive projects, such as road
construction or an extensive manufacturing process, usually expect regular progress reports.
Some government agencies may require them by law.
Teaching Tip: If you have them, bring in a copy of a typical progress report. Ask
students to do the same. Block out any confidential information but share the
reports to see the differences in style and content. Ask students what role
organizational culture or discourse community play in determining the type and
format of a progress report. Is there only one format?
Which format is best? Who decides?
As PP 21-18 through PP 21-22 illustrate, there are three basic kinds
of progress reports:
Chronological
Task
Recommendation
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in any manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
21-9
Use Figure 21.5 (p. 355) to show students an example of a student
chronological progress report. (An additional progress report example
is on Appendix 21-F through Appendix 21-G.)
While chronological progress reports are traditionally the most
common, writers should determine which type to use based on audience
needs and the type of project.
Last Word: Reports are common in the business world.
Though some can be quite extensive—covering hundreds of
pages of information—many are shorter, and even the
longer ones are constructed essentially of a series of
condensed sections. Learning to write the simplest ones
first usually teaches many of the basic concepts important to
all reports. So, start your lesson small and build up to the more extensive reports
as the term continues. It’s not the quantity of pages students write that’s
important, but as the saying goes, the quality.
© 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.
21-10

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