There are three main stages in the writing process: planning, drafting, and revising. The planning stage is when information is collected, the document is organized, and a format is chosen. During the drafting stage, the writer is focused on getting thoughts down on paper; there should be no intention of writing a finished document at this time. That is the purpose of the next stage. Once the writer has completed the draft, revising is the act of applying the finishing polish. This should be done in a top down approach by first revising the content, then analyzing sentence structure and word selection, and finally correcting for typographical and grammatical errors (Lesikar, Flatley, & Rentz, 2008).
It is important to remember that each of these phases is not an island in the writing process. At times, it will be necessary to jump from one stage to the other, rather than working chronologically through the process. For example, during the drafting stage, a writer might find it necessary to revert back to the planning stage and collect additional information. If too much emphasis is placed on adhering to a regimented progression through the stages of the writing process, the writing will suffer. Flexibility in writing is the key to success (Lesikar, et al., 2008).
Although some management experts have discouraged writing, written communication is still an important tool in today’s businesses (Galagan, 1986). Written communication is generally best used for formal communication, especially when communicating with people outside the organization. For example, a formal letter is a great tool to introduce an existing customer to a new product offering or inform a supplier of a problem in shipping. Written communication should be traditional and courteous (Lesikar, et al., 2008).
Oral communication is at its best when the speaker assumes a less formal tone and interacts with the audience on a more personal basis (Brophy, 2008). The interactive nature of oral communication is its true strength. It is best used in situations where the speaker can expect many questions such as a presentation by the Human Resources department regarding an upcoming change of benefits. It is equally effective in one-on-one situations when the speaker must relay bad news such as the termination of an employee. In all of these situations, the communicator can expect that additional interaction will be necessary beyond the initial contact. In many cases, feedback in the form of non-verbal communication such as body language is important.
In 1996, studies showed that 80% of businesses used email (“E-mail workplace”, 1996). More than 10 years later, it is difficult to imagine an organization that does not use email at some level. Email has taken the place of most other forms of internal communication; even replacing the telephone. Email is best used for quick dispersal of information such as a notification regarding an upcoming company meeting or of policy changes in the work place. Email is also an excellent medium for ongoing conversations that do not require the urgency or accuracy of verbal communication. For example, a discussion of the merits of the new copy machine down the hall (Lesikar, et al., 2008).
Despite its informality, email users should not operate under the mistaken impression that email correspondence is private. At many organizations, email is subject to company review at any time. If an email is deemed inappropriate by management, an employee may be subject to official disciplinary action or even dismissal. Employees should always remember that even though email between employees may seem private, it is still a privilege provided by the company (Lesikar, et al., 2008).
Brophy, B. (2008, February). Seeing Them With Their Clothes On: Oral Communication Myths Exploded! Accountancy Ireland, 40(1), 56-57. Retrieved June 9, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global database. (Document ID: 1438457591).
E-mail workplace norm; but security ID policies lag. (1996, May). Security, 33(5), 61. Retrieved June 9, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global database. (Document ID: 9648568).
Galagan, P. (1986, October). Write Away. Training & Development Journal, 40(10), 4. Retrieved June 9, 2008, from Academic Search Premier database.
Lesikar, R., Flatley, M., & Rentz, K. (2008). Business communication: Making connections in a digital world [Electrionic Version]. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.