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General Business 360 Communication Guide

Openings and Introductions

Short Routine Positive or Neutral Messages

Frontload the most important idea so there’s no possibility your reader will miss your main reason for writing. Avoid meaningless clichés like “I hope this message finds you well.”

I look forward to meeting with you on Thursday at 10 a.m.
The software upgrade will be live on Monday, May 3.
Could we discuss a composting program for the staff kitchen?


Short Negative Messages

Use an appropriate buffer; genuine appreciation for something is often the right choice.  See the page on the Negative News pattern for more information.

Thank you for your interest in our firm.
I appreciate your thoughtful analysis of the benefits of composting.
Thank you for your patience as we shift to a new web host.


Longer Routine Positive or Neutral Messages

Use a short introduction that states the purpose, scope or context, and a preview sentence that lays out the organization for the body of the message.

In the preview, provide a brief rationale for the organization—are the topics in the message organized from most to least important?  Most expensive to least expensive?  Most feasible to least?  Make your organizational choices clear to your reader.

Here are the electric service van models that would meet the requirements you outlined in our last meeting. The table below lists the pros and cons of each model, organized by driving range, from the longest range to the shortest range.


Longer Messages with the Potential for a Negative Reception

Use a buffer to begin, even if you choose not to use the complete negative news pattern, and then provide purpose, context, and preview, as outlined above.


Thank you for your thoughtful research on the benefits of switching to electric service vans.  I agree that in the long term it will be beneficial for us to make the transition. However, in the short term there are some driving range issues that make it problematic. 

The following list shows our current high-value clients.  I have organized them according to distance from our office, beginning with our closest clients.


Report Introductions

Edit to keep report introductions focused, informative, and useful to the reader. The introduction of a report should include the following:

Purpose. Why does this report exist and what does it do? Business reports get things done.

Audience. Who is it for? The information and analysis in a report is for a specific person or group of people.

Context. Why is important or useful? Did someone request it? Include any information surrounding the report’s topic or the reason it was requested that will be helpful for your reader to understand the report.

Scope/research. What topics or information does the report cover? What research or research methods does the report present? What topics might the reader expect that are not included? For example, if you’re writing a report on sales of sports cars, you would want to let your reader know if your figures don’t include electric vehicles or if they only include domestic cars.

Preview. Help your reader understand your report by listing the main topics in the order in which they will appear (mapping thesis).


Content Credit

Content on this page was created by the Business Communication team at the Wisconsin School of Business.