Letter of Compliment Assignment: Drafting Form
Step 2 of Guffey’s 3 x 3 Writing Process
Use the following three (3) steps in the Drafting process, and each step’s related questions, to help you fill in the compliment situation details on your graphic organizer/mental map/outline. The three steps will help you think about:
- Step 1: Research you need to do to help the reader understand your letter’s purpose
- Step 2: Organize (group your ideas) to show relationships among them
- Step 3: Compose (write/create) your first draft
- Gather Information Through Research (p. 151)
- Before collecting data, ask these questions:
- What does the receiver need to know about this topic?
- What is the receiver to do?
- How is the receiver to do it?
- When must the receiver do it?
- What will happen if the receiver doesn’t do it?
- Decide which type of research methods you need to collect your data:
- Formal Research Methods
- Access electronically (Internet, databases, CD, DVDs)
- Search manually (books, magazines, journals)
- Go to the source (consumers)
- Investigate primary sources (interviews, surveys, questionnaires, focus groups)
- Conduct scientific experiments (measure variables using control groups)
- Informal Research Methods
- Look in the organization’s files
- Talk with your boss
- Interview the target audience
- Conduct an informal survey
- Note: Collecting Information and Generating Ideas by Brainstorming (Self or in a Group)
- Establish time limits – short sessions/meetings are best
- Set a quota – such as a minimum of 100 ideas for the group
- Require every participant to contribute ideas – accept ideas of others or improve on ideas
- Encourage wild, “out of the box” thinking – don’t allow people to criticize or evaluate ideas
- Write ideas on flipcharts or on sheets of paper hung around the room, so people can see the ideas
- Organize and classify the ideas, retaining the best – consider using cluster diagrams that capture ideas generated during a brainstorming session
- Similar ideas are grouped together and sequenced to form sub-clusters
- Organize Your Ideas (p. 155)
- Writers of well-organized messages group similar ideas together, so readers can see relationships and follow arguments
- Use Lists and Outlines
- Scratch list—a quick list of topics to cover
- Outline—ideas organized into a hierarchy using the alphanumeric or decimal system
- Organize Ideas Into Patterns
- Business messages follow either:
- Direct pattern, with the main idea first
- Indirect pattern, with the main idea following explanation and evidence
- Audience response determines pattern of organization
- Direct pattern for receptive audiences
- Place main idea in the first or second sentence of your message followed by details and explanations
- Saves the reader’s time
- Sets a proper frame of mind
- Prevents frustration
- Indirect Pattern for Unreceptive Audiences
- Explanation precedes main idea
- Respects the feelings of the audience
- Facilitates a fair hearing
- Minimizes a negative reaction
III. Compose the First Draft with Effective Sentences (p. 159)
- Recognize Basic Sentence Elements
- Complete sentences must have subjects and verbs and must make sense
- Clauses have subjects and verbs, but phrases do not
- Independent clauses may stand alone; dependent clauses cannot stand alone
- Avoid Three Common Sentence Errors
- Fragment – a broken-off part of a complex sentence
- Run-on (Fused) sentence – a sentence containing two independent clauses without a conjunction or a semicolon
- Comma-splice sentence – two independent clauses joined by a comma
- Use Short Sentences
- Strive for sentences that average 20 words
- Reader comprehension drops as sentences become longer
- Emphasize Important Ideas
- Use vivid, descriptive words
- Label the main idea
- Place the important idea first or last in the sentence
- Place the important idea in a simple sentence or in an independent clause
- Make sure the important idea is the sentence subject
- Manage Active and Passive Voice
Active voice: subject is the doer of the action
Example: Staples shipped our order for office supplies today.
Passive voice: subject is acted upon
Example: The office supplies were shipped by Staples today.
- Use the active voice for most business writing
- Use the passive voice to emphasize an action or the recipient of the action
- Use the passive voice to de-emphasize negative news
- Use the passive voice to conceal the doer of an action
- Compose the First Draft Using Powerful Paragraphs (p. 165)
- A paragraph is a group of sentences that discuss only one (1) idea/topic
- Basic Paragraph Elements
- May be composed of three different types of sentences: main, supporting, and limiting
- May be organized into three plans: direct, pivoting, and indirect
- Use the Direct Paragraph Plan to Define, Classify, Illustrate, or Describe
- Most business messages use this plan because it clarifies the subject immediately
- Use the Pivoting Paragraph Plan to Compare and Contrast
- Is useful in comparing and contrasting ideas
- Notify the reader about a turn in direction of thought by using but or however
- Use the Indirect Paragraph Plan to Explain and Persuade
- Is appropriate for delivering bad news
- Starts with the supporting sentences and concludes with the main sentence
- Building Paragraph Coherence
- Sustaining the key idea (repeating a key expression or using a similar one)
- Using pronouns (using familiar pronouns such as this, that, these, and those)
- Dovetailing sentences (linking the idea at the end of one sentence to an idea at the beginning of the next)
- Showing connections with transitional expressions (using verbal road signs to help the receiver anticipate what’s coming, reduce uncertainty, and speed up comprehension)
- Compose Short Paragraphs for Readability and Comprehension
- Short paragraphs are more attractive and readable than longer ones
- Paragraphs with eight (8) or fewer lines look inviting
- Checklist for Composing Sentences and Paragraphs
For Effective Sentences
- Avoid common sentence faults.
- Control sentence length.
- Emphasize important ideas.
- Apply active- and passive-voice
- Eliminate misplaced modifiers.
For Meaningful Paragraphs
- Develop one idea.
- Use the direct plan.
- Use the pivoting plan.
- Use the indirect plan.
- Build coherence with linking techniques.
- Provide road signs with transitions.
- Limit paragraph length.