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

978-0073403267 Chapter 23 Key Lecture Points, Teaching Tips, and In-Class Exercises

April 6, 2019
Module 23 - Short Reports
Chapter 23 - Short Reports
Module 23
Short Reports
LO 23-1 Select patterns for short business report organization.
LO 23-2 Apply strategies for short business report organization.
LO 23-3 Apply principles for good business report style.
LO 23-4 Apply strategies for specific and polite question use.
Module Overview
Module 23 focuses on short reports, building on information offered in Module 21 (“Proposals
and Progress Reports”) and Module 22 (“Finding, Analyzing, and Documenting
Information”). If you focus on short reports in your course, have students read these three
modules sequentially.
Stress to students that short reports typically use a memo format, and whenever given the choice
between writing a short or long report on the same subject, writers should opt for the former.
Brevity without sacrificing accuracy or clarity is preferred in business; “padding” for the sake of
increasing length typically weakens a report.
Teaching Tip: Locate good “real world” examples of reports to share with your
students. These can include reports you’ve completed on the job, short reports on
file in your academic department, or reports posted on the web. Block out any
confidential information. Use these examples with the report examples in the
textbook to show students a range of possible reports and report topics.
Help students understand that “short” should not be synonymous with “skimpy.” Though short
reports have fewer pages than long reports, they must still convey information completely and
accurately. To decide when to use a short report versus a long one, students should consider
PAIBOC. In particular, the purpose of the report and audience influence the type of report
format to use.
Teaching Tip: Have students read or review the PAIBOC questions in Module 1 (pp.
12-13). These are also shown on PP 1-21 through PP 1-22.
© 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.
23-1
Module 23 - Short Reports
Chapter 23 - Short Reports
What’s in This Supplement
This supplement is organized around the major questions posed in Module 23. It covers
Part 1: Key Lecture Points, Teaching Tips, and In-Class Exercises Page 377
Part 2: Answers to Textbook Assignments Page 389
Part 3: Appendixes of Handouts/Transparency Masters Page 391
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.
Part 1: Key Lecture Points, Teaching Tips, and In-Class Exercises
Do different kinds of reports use different patterns of organization?
LO 23-1
Yes. Work with the readers expectations.
Writers should analyze their audiences carefully to determine which
pattern of organization to use. In general, though, readers expect specific
patterns of organization in three kinds of reports. As illustrated on PP 23-3
and PP 23-4, informative and closure reports use the following patterns:
Informative and Closure Reports
Summarize the problems or successes of the project in the first
paragraph.
Give a chronological account of how the problem was discovered,
what was done, and what the results were.
Suggest later actions in the concluding paragraph.
© 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.
23-2
Module 23 - Short Reports
Chapter 23 - Short Reports
Teaching Tip: Use Figure 23.1 (pp. 379-380) to show students an example of an
informative report. Have students critique it as a group. What elements of the report
work best? Which could be improved? Does the pattern of organization suit the
information contained in the report?
Feasibility Reports (PP 23-6)
Open by explaining the decision to be made, alternatives, and
criteria.
Evaluate each alternative in the body.
Put your recommendation at the end, unless your audience prefers
it at the beginning.
PP 23-7 through PP 23-9 show the patterns for justification and short
problem-solving reports. The primary difference between the two types
of reports is how they open, though each also uses a different approach
for presenting possible solutions.
Justification Reports
Indicate what you’re asking for and why it’s needed.
Briefly give the background of the problem or need.
Explain each possible solution.
Summarize the action needed.
Ask for the action you want.
Problem-Solving or Recommendation Reports (Short)
Describe the organizational problem.
Show why easier or less expensive solutions will not solve the
problem.
Present your solution impersonally.
Show that the disadvantages of your solution are outweighed by
advantages.
Summarize the action you need.
Ask for the action you want.
© 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.
23-3
Module 23 - Short Reports
Chapter 23 - Short Reports
Teaching Tip: Divide students into four groups and assign one of the types of reports
to them. Give them 10-15 minutes to confer. Then have them lead the class in a
“mini-lesson” on their report’s pattern of organization, using examples from the
textbook where appropriate.
What are the basic strategies for organizing information? LO 23-2
Try one of these seven patterns.
Information can be organized in a variety of ways. PP 23-10 lists seven
patterns common in organizing information in reports:
Comparison/contrast
Teaching Tip: Students should have learned this pattern in
composition courses. Remind them that comparison means examining a subject for
similarities, while contrast means examining it for differences.
Problem-solution
Teaching Tip: Have students review the information on defining problems in
Module 21 (p. 343). Tell students that writers should brainstorm more solutions to
problems than are necessary, then choose the best or most likely solutions to the
problems for discussion.
Elimination of alternatives
General to particular or particular to general
Teaching Tip: Also known as deductive and inductive organization, this pattern is
also common in composition.
Geographic or spatial
Functional
Chronological
© 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.
23-4
Module 23 - Short Reports
Chapter 23 - Short Reports
Teaching Tip: Assemble students in seven groups and assign one pattern to
each group. Give the students 10-15 minutes to confer, then have them give
a “mini-lesson” on each pattern to the rest of the class. Where possible, have
students use examples from the textbook.
Should I use the same style for reports as for other business documents? LO
23-3
Yes, with three exceptions.
Unless the audience expects otherwise, writers should follow the general
principles for writing described in Module 15 and Module 16. However,
three notable exceptions to the guidelines in those modules are described
on PP 23-11:
1. Use a fairly formal style, without contractions or slang.
2. Avoid the word you.
3. Include in the report all the definitions and documents needed to
understand the recommendation.
Teaching Tip: Writers can violate these principlesand basically any others in
writingif the audience(s) allows it. However, writers must keep in mind the
multiple levels of audience for documentsjust because the primary audience
approves of the violation does not mean secondary or gatekeeper audiences will. In
general, reports are more formal than other business documents; using a conservative
approach to the language in reports often is wise.
In particular, writers should pay attention to three key principles of any writing (PP 23-12):
Say what you mean.
Teaching Tip: To better understand choosing the right word,
have students read or review the information in Module 15.
Tighten your writing.
In-Class Exercise: Give students 10-15 minutes to complete the exercises in the
Polishing Your Prose lesson on being concise (pp. 390-391). Have students share
their solutions with the rest of the class. Which solutions work best? Why?
Use blueprints, transitions, topic sentences, and headings.
© 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.
23-5
Module 23 - Short Reports
Chapter 23 - Short Reports
In-Class Exercise: Use Appendix 23-A to discuss appropriate transitions, topic
sentences, and headings. Then have students identify these features in Figure 23.1
(pp. 379-380). How well are transitions, topic sentences, and headings used? What
could students do to improve these features? Which are used well?
Last Word: Don’t let the size of short reports fool studentsthey’re critical in the
business world. Students can expect to write many of them over the course of their
business careers. Some may already be writing short reports on the job. Encourage
students to learn the principles, which may help them to write long reports, too.
Asking specific and polite questions LO 23-4
Choosing the right question—and asking at the right time—can be the difference between getting
a useful answer and one that just invites more questions.
Learning to ask the right question the right way is a critical skill in business. Good business
communicators use specificity and politeness, as suggested on PP 23-16 and PP 23-17:
Specific Questions
Give simple choices.
For working extra hours, do you prefer comp time
or overtime pay?
Ask the real question.
Which is the best day for you to meet?
Start with the 5Ws and H (who, what, where, when, why,
and how) if you want longer, more qualitative answers.
What reservations do you have about my proposal?
Why do you want to work for this firm?
and
© 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.
23-6
Module 23 - Short Reports
Chapter 23 - Short Reports
Polite Questions
Use timing.
Don’t assault people with questions when they’re busy or
leaving.
Keep questions to a minimum.
Review other information sources before you have to
question someone else.
Avoid embarrassing or provocative questions.
Avoid language that implies doubt, suspicion, or criticism.
© 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.
23-7

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