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Language Structures And Features To Suit Communicative Purposes

Completion requirements

Whether you are writing a memo to your co-worker or a report for your boss, you should be clear in what information you want to convey. The text should be appropriate to the topic and purpose and it should be well developed with regard to its purpose using clear paragraphs. The points in your written text must be logically and deliberately sequenced to build up to a convincing conclusion. The following section should assist you to write a document that is professional with a clear message.

Steps to Follow when Writing a Text
Step 1: Planning

When planning you need to decide what you wish to discuss in your memo or report. A recommended method is to use a list. Proper planning will ensure that you are able to give a clear outline of what you wish to communicate and will help you to avoid communicating any irrelevant information. The elements contained in planning are outlined in the section below.

Step 2: Organisation

A good piece of writing flows like a symphony. You need to ensure that your material is organised so that each topic flows easily and naturally into the next. Ensuring that your thoughts are properly organised enables you to communicate the information in a systematic and logical format that will help the reader understand your message. Effective organisation means that your message is easy to understand.

By proper organising you can ensure that main points will be emphasised and properly supported with evidence. You save the reader’s time by presenting information in a clear and easy-to-follow format and you can easily identify areas where you lack information.

The best way to organise your writing properly is to create an outline of the message that you wish to convey. Outlining is the perfect tool to structure your presentation of information. It affords you the opportunity to break large pieces of information into manageable parts and ensure that you cover every relevant issue. Creating an outline also allows you to make sure you present your material in a logical and parallel manner from start to finish.

One excellent method of outlining is to prepare a table of contents, including a list of any tables and graphics, before you start writing the text. This way you can use the topic headings you create while outlining the body of the document. Nevertheless, the real advantage of compiling a table of contents before writing is that you can move sections around much easier than if the paragraphs and sections were already written.

Once you have completed your organising and outlining you should move onto the next step, namely writing your draft.

Step 3: Write a Draft

In the draft document you begin to refine your thoughts so that they fall in line with the objectives of your document. It should be written quickly, and you should concentrate on noting your ideas, focusing on the simple concepts first and moving

onto the more complex points as you progress. A draft is there to be improved upon and you should not allow it to constrain you.

This will assist you to present your document in a logical and carefully sequenced format. When you need to present points in an argument to ensure that you build up to a convincing conclusion, the following tips should assist you.

Establish your personal credibility: Tell the reader how you qualified to write about the subject. This will boost their confidence in the importance and validity of your message.

Check your facts: Make sure your facts and figures are accurate. Don't simply write "off the top of your head" with emotion rather than accuracy, as you will lose credibility quickly this way.

Be sensitive: A reader who receives an insensitive message will ignore the information it contains and instead focus on how it made him or her feel, thus defeating the purpose of the message. Always avoid comments that some people might find rude.

Write without emotion: When you write with obvious anger, perhaps even stooping to name-calling, you will likely be considered extreme and uncompromising. If you write in this manner it is very likely that your writing will be ignored and other people will not wish to be associated with it. Instead of using emotion use examples and facts to present your argument. This will assist you to prove your point and/or help others see another side to a topic.

Appeal to emotions: You want to appeal to people's emotions in a manner that enables them to relate to other people or situations. Often, they will recall something similar they or a friend encountered and thus understand better what you are trying to say.

Emphasise your main points: Stating your main points at the beginning of your document grabs the reader’s attention and reinforces the purpose of the message.

Project the right image: Whether you are writing to an employee, manager, or someone outside your organisation, you need to be aware of how the reader will interpret your message. Project a positive image by writing messages that are professional and accurate.

Acknowledge the information sources used.

Use clear, short sentences: Keep your writing precise, even when using a conversational tone. While rambling pieces or scholarly writing have their place, generally you need to keep your writing simple, yet clear and concise.

Use clearly defined paragraphs: Breaking your writing up into paragraphs is important as it will make it easier for the reader to understand. The use of paragraphs not only helps your reader to follow your argument, it also ensures that you planned what you are going to write.

Use humour to make a point: Most readers are receptive to humour. One or two humorous references, even within a serious piece, will help keep your reader/listener's attention.

Use case histories and examples: Relating yours or others' experiences give credibility when writing about a cause.

Step 4: Editing and Proofreading

Editing is an important step. It will assist you with the following:

  • Correct spelling and grammar
  • Formatting (logical and readable)
  • Relevance of information

If possible when editing, allow a few days between completion and editing, it will allow you to see the material with fresh eyes.