Exercise Revise in a Methodical Manner

In the following first draft of an E-mail to retail sales staff, Les, the merchandising manager of a one-hour eyeglasses store chain, wants to institute a policy that the in-store sales staff shouldn't leave eyeglass frames scattered on the counter. Les explained that he struggled with how to word the E-mail. "I didn't want to issue an edict," he explained. "I wanted to position it as a sales strategy."

Read Les's first draft, answer the questions, and then revise the E-mail, addressing the issues raised.

Hi Sales Team:

Leaving eyeglass frames scattered over the counter looks chaotic and unappealing to customers entering our stores. It also creates confusion in customers who are trying on frames, making it hard for them to make a choice.

Effective immediately, please ensure that frames aren't left haphazardly on the counter. Thanks for your cooperation.

Best, Les

What do you think? Let's take an analytical approach to evaluating Les's E-mail. To do so, we'll use the step-by-step model we've discussed thus far.

1. Is Les's objective clear? Write it out.

What did you come up with? Most of us would conclude that Les's objective is clear—sort of. We know what he doesn't want: glasses left scattered on the counter. What could be clearer is what he does want. For example, maybe Les wants the frames lined up neatly on a black velvet display pillow.

2. What do you know about his audience?

It seems clear that he is writing to Producers: matter-of-fact and bottom-line oriented. Is this smart? Of course, you can't know the personalities of all members of his sales team, but what would you speculate? What personality traits would you expect successful retail sales people to possess?

Do you think he's right to focus on Producers? Many people think he is but would aim to include some words that would appeal to other personality types, too.

3. Is the E-mail written at the proper level of formality? Complete the Formality Index.

Les knows the sales team well, although he doesn't know them all personally (perhaps a score of four is appropriate); he says that he considers them as equals in rank (a three); and he is asking them to take on extra work—definitely not good news, but not terrible news either (a three, perhaps). The score totals ten, slightly more informal than a standard business communication. Does the tone of the E-mail match this standard, and thus seem appropriate, or do you think it's a bit formal?

4. Which quadrant of the Matrix of Persuasion is he targeting?

Les seems to be assuming his writing task is Easy—that people are on his side and can do what he's asking. Therefore, he is writing only the facts. But when you think about it, Les is giving the sales staff more work. They're going to have to take the initiative to keep the counters tidy. In other words, perhaps they're not on his side, and his task is, in fact, Persuasive, not Easy.

In rereading his E-mail, you notice that while Les identifies the problem (i.e., scattered frames make the counter look chaotic) and solves the problem (i.e., don't leave frames scattered about), he doesn't explain the benefit of doing what he asks (i.e., a lack of scattered frames helps create a clean look that's proven to appeal to customers). As you'll recall from our earlier discussion about the Matrix of Persuasion, when your writing task is to persuade, you need to add benefits.

5. Which organizational structure did Les choose?

Les has not written with a clear organizational structure; this lack is a weakness in the E-mail. The E-mail uses sort of a category organizational structure; it also uses sort of a PAR organizational structure; but neither organizational structure is complete. Which organizational structure do think would be best to use?

Most people would select a PAR organizational structure, although alternatives could be effectively employed.

6. What's the Empathy Index score?

In the analysis that follows, references to the sales team (them) are in boldface; references to Les and the company (us) are underlined.

0 0


  • Cesio
    What is writing in methodical manner?
    8 years ago

Post a comment