Style in Written Communication - Explained
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What is Style in Written Communication?
The first major element of written communication are the two perspectives.
Structural Perspective - Words are signs that carry significance and help us to communicate. They are hung together in certain ways which, when taken together, help us to convey meanings to complicated explanations. The building blocks which work as pillars when it comes to defining written communication are nouns, verbs, articles, adjectives, adverbs and prepositions.
Objective Perspective - There are certain or implied targets, rules, regulations, and methods that are foreseen and anticipated.
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Major Styles of Writing
Every day (colloquial), easygoing (casual), and formal ways of writing are three basic styles that convey their own specific arrangements of presumption.
The way of writing or the style additionally relies upon the reason for the writing and its concerned receiver.
This way of writing that is used for conversations and unofficial purposes is known as colloquial language. It uses informal speech, jargon and language specific to certain regions and is completely different from the formal English.
The words and phrases include regular words which are used to converse with family and friends come under casual language. In casual language, the most important part is conveying the message and being able to converse freely. Less attention is given to the social structures like power relations, hierarchy of the people conversing, etc.
The style of communication that centers on formal words with focus on etiquette, and presentation is known as formal language. It is defined by its choice of words, phrases, syntax and the right application of grammar in a sentence.
Formal and Informal Style of Writing
Formal or bureaucratic forms of writing can obscure meaning, Formal styles often require more detail, adhere to rules of etiquette, and avoid shortcuts like contractions and folksy expressions. Informal styles reflect everyday speech patterns and may include contractions and colloquial expressions.
Direct and Indirect Introductions
Business documents often incorporate one of two opening strategies regardless of their organizational pattern.
The direct pattern states the main purpose directly, at the beginning, and leaves little room for misinterpretation.
The indirect pattern, where you introduce your main idea after the opening paragraph, can be useful if you need a strong opening to get the attention of what you perceive may be an uninterested audience.
Normally, if you expect a positive response from the reader you will choose a direct opening, being clear from the first sentence about your purpose and goal.
If you do not expect a positive reception, or have to deliver bad news, you may want to be less direct.
Writing can be considered good if it is able to realize the goals that form an intrinsic part of two of the more popular systems of communication.
One of these modes of communication includes the three core areas of rhetoric and the technique of presenting one's viewpoint in the form of an argument.
These component parts, first develop by the Greek philosopher Aristotle, are known as:
- logos that essentially translate to reasoning or logic,
- ethos that imply the ethics of speech and its reliability, and
- pathos that means having an emotional impact over the audience.
Charles Kotselnick and David Rogers developed a second set of objectives that are employed to enhance the ability to understand something or the cognition in the people and are identified as cognate techniques.
Similar to rhetoric, these cognate techniques can also be employed to make writing more impactful. Some of the basic techniques are as follows:
- To have a clarity in the body of the text
- The body of the text should be to the point and concise
- The arrangements or the sequence of the text should be taken care of
- Focus should be laid upon credibility of sources
- The text should meet the expectation of the people
- There needs to be well defined references
- The tone should be impactful
- Emphasis should be given on key arguments
- Engagement with the audience should be the major focus of the act
Additional Points on Good Writing
A well written business write-up is the one which abides by the rule, is simple to read and catches the readers attention.
Sensical - Common sense is a necessary entity to a well- written piece of content. However, common sense is an acquired outcome. The audiences grasp and appreciation are the key factors when looking for balance.
Efficiency - If the proper knowledge and the clear objective and outcome of the writing are unclear, then it is bound to deteriorate the effectiveness of your writing. This idea is to properly transmit all the expected data without any confusion and misconception.
Know Your Audience - A good write up will stand up to the audiences assumptions. It should be short and simple, potent and productive. In order to stand up to the audiences expectations, the author has to make sure who the target audience is.
Know Your Objective - Apart from knowing about your reader, your proper understanding of writing the article and its objective will further help you to stand up to the audiences expectations.
Short & Simple Writing - In order to get rid of mistakes in business writing, there is a rapid rise of short and simple writings. Your dual aim of simple and brief writing will take you to the chief aim across conversation, and that is devotion and loyalty. Nouns and active verbs should be used. Abstract verbs and nouns should be avoided.
Tactical Elements for Written Communications
Adding Emphasis Font, Bold, Italics are common methods. You can also vary the emphasis according to where you place information within a sentence:
- Maximum emphasis. Sales have increased across the United States because of our latest promotion efforts in our largest and most successful market.
- Medium emphasis. Because of our latest promotion efforts in our largest and most successful market, sales have increased across the United States.
- Minimum emphasis. The United States, which has experienced a sales increase, is our largest and most successful market.
The information at end of the sentence is what people often recall, and is therefore normally considered the location of maximum emphasis.
The second best position for recall is the beginning of the sentence, while the middle of the sentence is the area with the least recall.
If you want to highlight a point, place it at the beginning or end of the sentence, and if you want to deemphasize a point, the middle is your best option.
Active versus Passive Voice
Active voice is the clear choice for a variety of contexts, but not all. Active sentences tend to be shorter, more precise, and easier to understand.
Passive Voice is used when you want to deemphasize the doer of the action. The passive form does not place blame or credit, so it can be more diplomatic in some contexts. Passive voice allows the writer to avoid personal references or personal pronouns (he, she, they) to create a more objective tone.
Diverse Forms of Feedback
The final step in the communication process is feedback. Feedback is defined as a receivers response to a source, and can come in many forms.
- Indirect Feedback - The grapevine is the unofficial, informal communication network within an organization, and is often characterized by rumor, gossip, and innuendo. Indirect feedback is a response that does not directly come from the receiver or source.
- Direct Feedback - Direct feedback is a response that comes from the receiver. Direct feedback can be both verbal and nonverbal, and it may involve signs, symbols, words, or sounds that are unclear or difficult to understand.
- Internal Feedback - Internal feedback is generated by the source in response to the message created by that same source.
- External Feedback - Assessment of the feedback from the receiver is part of a writers responsibility. External feedback involves a response from the receiver. Receivers, in turn, become a source of information themselves. Attention to the channel they use (how they communicate feedback), as well as nonverbal aspects like time (when they send it), can serve you on this and future documents.
- Interviews - Interviews provide an author with the opportunity to ask questions of, and receive responses from, audience members.
- Surveys - This is an indirect inquiry of broad groups of individuals.
- Focus Groups - This is direct inquiry of a finite group.
Carl Rogers, the famous humanistic psychologist, divides feedback into five categories:
- Evaluative - Evaluative feedback often involves judgment of the writer and his or her ethos (or credibility). A behavioral evaluation assesses the action and not the actor, but the business writer lacks this context.
- Interpretive - Interpretive feedback requests confirmation or clarification of a message, and is often expressed in the form of a question. Supportive - Communicates support and meets your need in ways that transcend language and the exchange of symbolic meaning. In an interpersonal context it is easy to identify, describe, and even predict many representations of supportive feedback, but in other communication contexts it can prove a significant challenge.
- Probing - Probing feedback communicates targeted requests for specific information.
- Understanding - Rogers discussed the innate tendency for humans to desire to be understood. As we express ourselves to those we choose to share with, we seek not only information or solutions, but also acceptance and respect.
These five types of feedback vary in their frequency and effectiveness. This framework highlights aspects of feedback that serve as opportunities for the business writer, as he or she recognizes feedback as an essential part of writing and the communication process.