Test Your Writing Acumen
Using quotation marks with other punctuation marks can be tricky. Check your knowledge by deciding if the following sentences are properly punctuated, or if they need some tweaking.
- “Don’t go in there”, Anna warned.
- Did she say, “Don’t go in there”?
- I asked him, “What do you mean”?
- She convinced me to read the article “Working Efficiently;” now I want to reorganize the office.
- I would use the word pathetic to describe our old copier.
- I like Katy Perry’s song “Roar,” released on August 12, 2013.
You can check your answers near the end of this newsletter.
Choosing Your Message Options
Back in the ’70s, the impact of new and changing media was just being felt when Marshall McLuhan made his now-famous statement, “The medium is the message.” McLuhan most likely could not have imagined the array of media we now face, but nowhere is his comment more applicable than in today’s world of business communications. The medium you choose can impact your audience as much as the message does, so choose wisely. The discussion below considers the advantages and disadvantages of various messaging options.
Casual, Spontaneous Options
Immediate media such as text messaging, phone calls, social media, and face-to-face meetings fall into this category.
Advantages: These are quick communication options and allow for back-and-forth, one-to-one conversations without delay. Use them for brainstorming or when you need an immediate response.
Disadvantages: Such speedy options may result in careless responses or decisions. They also do not easily provide a permanent record of what transpired. Avoid these methods when discussing critical issues that require deep thought or later reference.
Semiformal, Moderate Options
Email, blog posts, meeting minutes, and basic business letters fall into this category.
Advantages: These message options can be quickly generated and do leave a permanent record. They are appropriate for the general exchange of ideas among a wider audience.
Disadvantages: Even though these forms are relatively speedy, they do take thought and time and don’t deliver the immediate response and idea exchange of the more casual options.
Formal, Deliberate Options
More structured forms, including proposals, reports, instructions, presentations, and management material, comprise this category.
Advantages: These options showcase your best thought and can supply important information to a wide audience, often in the form of a permanent document.
Disadvantages: Although such forms serve a high purpose, they take a lot of time and effort to produce. They require your best writing, which will be critically reviewed by an interested audience.
Always consider your purpose and your audience when choosing the best medium for your message. No matter how much or how little time and effort is required, the goal of clearly sharing the right message is preeminent.
You can find more on workplace communication beginning on page 137 in Write for Business: A Compact Guide to Writing and Communicating in the Workplace.