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with MyLab BusinessCommunication®
• Reporting Dashboard—View, analyze, and report learning outcomes clearly and easily, and get the information you need to keep your students on track throughout the course with the new Reporting Dashboard. Available via the MyLab Gradebook and fully mobile- ready, the Reporting Dashboard presents student performance data at the class, section, and program levels in an accessible, visual manner.
• Pearson eText—Keeps students engaged in learning on their own time, while helping them achieve greater conceptual understanding of course material. The worked examples bring learning to life, and algorithmic practice allows students to apply the very concepts they are reading about. Combining resources that illuminate content with accessible self- assessment, MyLab with eText provides students with a complete digital learning experience—all in one place.
• Quizzes and Tests—Pre-built quizzes and tests allow you to quiz students without having to grade the assignments yourself.
• Video Exercises—These engaging videos explore a variety of business topics related to the theory students are learning in class. Quizzes assess students’ comprehension of the concepts covered in each video.
• Learning Catalytics™—Is an interactive, student response tool that uses students’ smartphones, tablets, or laptops to engage them in more sophisticated tasks and thinking. Now included with MyLab with eText, Learning Catalytics enables you to generate classroom discussion, guide your lecture, and promote peer-to-peer learning with real-time analytics. Instructors, you can:
■ ■■ Pose a variety of open-ended questions that help your students develop critical thinking skills
■ ■■ Monitor responses to find out where students are struggling ■ ■■ Use real-time data to adjust your instructional strategy and
try other ways of engaging your students during class ■ ■■ Manage student interactions by automatically grouping
students for discussion, teamwork, and peer-to-peer learning
A L W A Y S L E A R N I N G
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Giving Students the Skills and Insights They Need to Thrive in Today’s Digital Business Environment The essential skills of writing, listening, collaborating, and public speaking are as important as ever, but they’re not enough to succeed in today’s business world. As business communication continues to get rocked by waves of innovation—first digital media, then social media, now mobile communication, and watch out for the upcoming invasion of chatbots—the nature of communication is changing. And the changes go far deeper than the tools themselves.
In this exciting but complex new world, no other textbook can match the depth and range of coverage offered by Business Communication Today.
ChaPter 1 Professional communication in a Digital, social, Mobile World 15
the soCial CommuniCation model
The basic model presented in Figure 1.5 illustrates how a single idea moves from one sender to one receiver. In a larger sense, it also helps represent the traditional nature of much business communication, which was primarily defined by a publishing or broadcasting mindset. For external communication, a company issued carefully scripted messages to a mass audience that didn’t have many options for responding to those messages or initiating messages of their own. Customers and other interested parties had few ways to connect with one another to ask questions, share information, or offer support. Internal communication tended to follow the same “we talk, you listen” model, with upper managers issuing directives to lower-level supervisors and employees.
In recent years, however, a variety of technologies have enabled and inspired a new approach to business communication. In contrast to the publishing mindset, this social communication model is interactive, conversational, and usually open to all who wish to participate. Audience members are no longer passive recipients of messages but active participants in a conversation. Social media have given customers and other stake- holders a voice they did not have in the past. And businesses are listening to that voice. In fact, one of the most common uses of social media among U.S. businesses is monitoring online discussions about a company and its brands.19
Instead of transmitting a fixed message, a sender in a social media environment initi- ates a conversation by asking a question or sharing valuable information. Information shared this way is often revised and reshaped by the web of participants as they forward it and comment on it. People can add to it or take pieces from it, depending on their needs and interests. Figure 1.7 lists some of the significant differences between the traditional and social models of business communication.
The social communication model offers many advantages, but it has a number of disadvantages as well. Potential problems include information overload, a lower level
The conversational and inter- active social communication model is revolutionizing business communication.
The social communication model can increase the speed of com- munication, reduce costs, improve access to expertise, and boost employee satisfaction.
For all their advantages, social media tools also present a number of communication challenges.
Figure 1.7 The Social Communication Model The social communication model differs from conventional communication strategies and practices in a number of significant ways. You’re probably already an accomplished user of many new-media tools, and this experience will help you on the job.
Tendencies Publication, broadcast
Unidirectinal One to many; mass audience
Control Low message frequency
Few channels Information hoarding
Static Hierarchical Structured
Isolated Planned Resistive
Conventional Promotion: “We Talk, You Listen”
The Social Model: “Let’s Have a Conversation”
Tendencies Converstion Discussion Permission
Bidirectional, multidirectional One to one; many to many
Influence High message frequency
Many channels Information sharing
Dynamic Egalitarian Amorphous
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Tools, Techniques, and Insights for Communicating Successfully in a Mobile, Digital, Social World
CHAPTER 7 Digital Media 183
aggregating the knowledge of groups ranging from individual departments to the public at large.
●● Blogging and microblogging. The ability to update content quickly and easily makes blogs and microblogs (such as Twitter) a natural medium when communicators want to get messages out in a hurry.
●● Online video. Digital and online video have transformed what used to be a fairly specialized tool into a mainstream business communication medium.
The first four of these—email, messaging, web content, and podcasting—are cov- ered in this chapter. Digital media with a strong social element, from social networks to microblogs, are addressed in Chapter 8. Online video, along with other visual media, is covered in Chapter 9.
Note that the lines between these media often get blurred as systems expand their capabilities or people use them in new ways. Moreover, the mobile variants of all these technologies add another layer of challenges and opportunities for business communica- tors. For example, the ability to scan coded labels such as barcodes or the similar Quick Response (QR) codes attached to printed materials, products, or store windows (or the ability to pick up radio signals from near-field communication tags) gives smartphone users a way to get more information—from companies themselves and from other con- sumers providing reviews on social websites.
Most of your business communication is likely to be via digital means, but don’t over- look the benefits of printed messages. (For more on formatting printed letters and memos, see Chapter 6 and Appendix A.) Here are several situations in which you should consider using a printed message rather than digital alternatives:
●● When you want to make a formal impression. For special messages, such as sending congratulations or condolences, the formality of printed documents usually makes them a much better choice than digital messages.
●● When you are legally required to provide information in printed form. Business con- tracts and government regulations sometimes require that information be provided on paper.
●● When you want to stand out from the flood of digital messages. If your audience’s computers are overflowing with Twitter updates, email messages, and messaging notifications, sometimes a printed message can stand out enough to get noticed.
●● When you need a permanent, unchangeable, or secure record. Letters and memos are reliable. Once printed, they can’t be erased with a single keystroke or surreptitiously modified the way some digital messages can be. Printed documents also require more effort to copy and forward.
COMPOSITIONAL MODES FOR DIGITAL AND SOCIAL MEDIA
As you practice using various media and channels in this course, it’s best to focus on the fundamentals of planning, writing, and completing messages, rather than on the specific details of any one medium or system.2 Fortunately, the basic communication skills required usually transfer from one system to another. You can succeed with written communication in virtually all digital media by using one of nine compositional modes:
●● Conversations. Messaging is a great example of a written medium that mimics spoken conversation. And just as you wouldn’t read a report to someone sitting in your office, you wouldn’t use conversational modes to exchange large volumes of information or to communicate with more than a few people at once.
●● Comments and critiques. One of the most powerful aspects of social media is the opportunity for interested parties to express opinions and provide feedback, whether by leaving comments on a blog post or reviewing products on an e-commerce site. Sharing helpful tips and insightful commentary is also a great way to build your
Even with the widespread use of digital media, printed memos and letters still play an important role in business communication.
Communicating successfully with digital media requires a wide range of writing approaches.
These tips will help you make the best choice in various business situations. Go to real-timeupdates.com/bct14 and select Learn More in the Students section.
LEARN MORE BY READING THIS ARTICLE
Should you email, text, or pick up the phone?
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ChaPter 16 Developing Presentations in a social Media environment 477
incorporating technology in Your presentation Like much of the rest of business communication, presentations can be high-tech affairs in many companies. Two aspects you will most likely encounter on the job are the back- channel and online presentations.
emBraCing the BaCkChannel
Many business presentations these days involve more than just the spoken conversation between the speaker and his or her audience. Using Twitter and other digital media, audi- ence members often carry on their own parallel communication during a presentation via the backchannel, which the presentation expert Cliff Atkinson defines as “a line of com- munication created by people in an audience to connect with others inside or outside the room, with or without the knowledge of the speaker.”29 Chances are you’ve participated in an informal backchannel already, such as when texting with your classmates or live- blogging during a lecture.
The backchannel presents both risks and rewards for business presenters. On the negative side, for example, listeners can research your claims the instant you make them and spread the word quickly if they think your information is shaky. The backchannel also gives contrary audience members more leverage, which can cause presentations to spin out of control. On the plus side, listeners who are excited about your message can build support for it, expand on it, and spread it to a much larger audience in a matter of seconds. You can also get valuable feedback during and after presentations.30
By embracing the backchannel, rather than trying to fight it or ignore it, presenters can use this powerful force to their advantage. Follow these tips to make the backchannel work for you:31
●● Integrate social media into the presentation process. For example, you can create a website for the presentation so that people can access relevant resources during or after the presentation, create a Twitter hashtag that everyone can use when sending tweets, or display the Twitterstream during Q&A so that everyone can see the ques- tions and comments on the backchannel.
●● Monitor and ask for feedback. Using a free service such as TweetDeck to organize tweets by hashtag and other variables, you can monitor comments from the audience. To avoid trying to monitor the backchannel while speaking, you can schedule “Twitter breaks,” during which you review comments and respond as needed.
●● Review comments to improve your presentation. After a presentation is over, review comments on audience members’ Twitter accounts and blogs to see which parts con- fused them, which parts excited them, and which parts seemed to have little effect (based on few or no comments).
●● Automatically tweet key points from your presentation while you speak. Add-ons for presentation software can send out prewritten tweets as you show specific slides during a presentation. By making your key points readily available, you make it easy for listeners to retweet and comment on your presentation.
●● Establish expectations with the audience. Explain that you welcome audience participation but that to ensure a positive experience for everyone, comments should be civil, relevant, and productive.
giving PreSentationS online
Online presentations offer many benefits, including the opportunity to communicate with a geographically dispersed audience at a fraction of the cost of travel and the ability for a project team or an entire organization to meet at a moment’s notice. However, this format also presents some challenges for the presenter, thanks to that
4 learning oBjeCtiveExplain the growing importance of the backchannel in presentations, and list six steps for giving effective presentations online.
Twitter and other social media are dramatically changing busi- ness presentations by making it easy for all audience members to participate in the backchannel.
Resist the urge to ignore or fight the backchannel; instead, learn how to use it to your advantage.
Online presentations give you a way to reach more people in less time, but they require special preparation and skills.
SlideShark lets you present and share PowerPoint slides with mobile and PC users.
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CHAPTER 9 Visual Media 251
Producing Business Videos No matter what career path you pursue, chances are you’ll have the need or opportunity to produce (or star in) a business video. For videos that require the highest production quality, companies usually hire specialists with the necessary skills and equipment. For most routine needs, however, any business communicator with modest equipment and a few basic skills can create effective videos.
The three-step process adapts easily to video; professionals refer to the three steps as preproduction, production, and postproduction (see Figure 9.15). You can refer to one of the many books available on basic video production techniques for more detail, but here are the key points to consider in all three steps. (A note on terminology: digital video- graphy has inherited a number of terms from film that don’t make strict technical sense but are in common use anyway, including footage to indicate any amount of recorded video and filming to indicate video recording.)
STEP 1: PREPRODUCTION
When you’re recording speeches, seminars, and other events, planning is crucial because you have only one opportunity to get the footage you need. And even when you have the flexibility to retake footage, thoughtful planning will save time and money and lead to bet- ter-looking results. For any video, be sure to think through the following seven elements:
●● Purpose and scope. With every communication effort, of course, it’s essential to iden- tify the purpose of your message and define the scope of what you will address before
6 LEARNING OBJECTIVEIdentify the most important considerations in the preproduction, production, and postproduction stages of producing basic business videos.
The process of creating videos is divided into preproduction, pro- duction, and postproduction.
Figure 9.15 Creating Effective Business Videos By following a methodical process in the preproduction, production, and postproduction stages, any business communicator with even basic equipment can create effective videos.
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ChaPter 8 social Media 217
adaPting the three-steP ProCess for sUCCessfUl Blogging
The three-step writing process is easy to adapt to blogging. The planning step is particularly important if you’re considering starting a blog because you’re planning an entire commu- nication channel, not just a single message. Pay close attention to your audience, your pur- pose, and your scope.
●● Audience. Except with team blogs and other efforts that have an obvious and well- defined audience, defining the target audience for a blog can be challenging. You want an audience that is large enough to justify the time you’ll be investing but nar- row enough that you can provide a clear focus. For instance, if you work for a firm that develops computer games, would you focus your blog on “hardcore” players, the types who spend thousands of dollars on super-fast PCs optimized for video games, or would you broaden the reach to include all video gamers? The decision often comes down to business strategy.
●● Purpose. A business blog needs to have a business-related purpose that is impor- tant to your company and to your chosen audience. Moreover, the purpose has to “have legs”—that is, it needs to be something that can drive the blog’s content for months or years—rather than focus on a single event or an issue of only tem- porary interest. For instance, if you’re a technical expert, you might create a blog to give the audience tips and techniques for using your company’s products more effectively—a never-ending subject that’s important to both you and your audience.
Before you launch a blog, make sure you have a clear understand- ing of your target audience, the purpose of your blog, and the scope of subjects you plan to cover.
Figure 8.2 Business Applications of Blogging This Xerox blog illustrates the content, writing style, and features that make an effective, reader-friendly company blog. Source: Courtesy of Xerox Corporation.
Like many large corporations, Xerox has a variety of blogs. This menu give quick access to all of them. The search box lets visitors quickly find posts on topics of interest. A large photo helps draw readers in.
Readers can subscribe to future posts via email or RSS newsfeed.
The post title is brief and clear, and it incorporates key terms likely to trigger hits in search engines (Internet of Everything and energy).
These links provide access to other posts by this author and other posts tagged with “innovation.” Social media share buttons make it easy for readers to share this post with their followers.
The sidebar lists recent posts and recent com- ments left by readers.
The post positions the company as an expert in an important technology field, without overtly selling Xerox products and services.
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CHAPTER 2 Collaboration, Interpersonal Communication, and Business Etiquette 45
by invitation only). Many intranets have now evolved into social networking systems that include a variety of communication and collaboration tools, from microblogging to video clip libraries. For example, the performance troupe Blue Man Group uses a social intranet to help its 500 employees plan, stage, and promote shows all over the world.30
Social Networks and Virtual Communities Social networking technologies are redefining teamwork and team communication by helping erase the constraints of geographic and organization boundaries. Some companies use social networks to form virtual communities or communities of practice that link employees with similar professional interests throughout the company and sometimes with customers and suppliers as well.
Social networks foster collaboration by identifying and connecting the best people to work on each problem or project, no matter where they are around the world or what their official roles are in the organization. Such communities are similar to teams in many respects, but one major difference is in the responsibility for accumulating organizational knowledge over the long term, beyond the duration of any specific project. For example, the pharmaceutical company Pfizer has a number of permanent product-safety commu- nities that provide specialized advice on drug safety issues to researchers throughout the organization.31
Social networking can also help a company maintain a sense of community even as it grows beyond the size that normally permits extensive daily interaction. At the online retailer Zappos, fostering a supportive work environment is the company’s top priority. To encourage the sense of community among its expanding workforce, Zappos uses social networking tools to track employee connections and encourage workers to reach out and build relationships.32
Collaboration via Mobile Devices Mobile devices add another layer of options for collaborative writing and other commu- nication projects, particularly when used with cloud computing. Today’s mobile systems can do virtually everything that fixed-web collaboration systems can do, from writing on virtual whiteboards to sharing photos, videos, and other multimedia files.33 Mobility lets workers participate in online brainstorming sessions, seminars, and other formal or infor- mal events from wherever they happen to be at the time (see Figure 2.3). This flexibility can
A community of practice links professionals with similar job interests; a key benefit is accumu- lating long-term organizational knowledge.
Internal social networks help companies assemble the best resources for a given task, regard- less of where the employees are located.
Collaboration apps for mobile devices support nearly all the features of computer-based platforms.
Figure 2.3 Collaboration on Mobile Devices Mobile connectivity is transforming collaboration activities, helping teams and work groups stay connected no matter where their work takes them. For example, this team was able to discuss and edit a press release using their tablets in different locations.
C o ur
o f C
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The Unique Demands of Mobile Business
Intriguing Glimpses into the Future of Business Communication
16 Part 1 Understanding the Foundations of business communication
of engagement with tasks and other people, fragmented attention, information secu- rity risks, reduced productivity, and the difficulty of maintaining a healthy boundary between personal and professional lives.20 All business professionals and managers need to choose and use digital tools wisely to control the flow of information they receive.
Of course, no company, no matter how enthusiastically it embraces the social com- munication model, is going to be run as a club in which everyone has a say in every business matter. Instead, a hybrid approach is emerging in which some communications (such as strategic plans and policy documents) follow the traditional approach, whereas others (such as project management updates and customer support messages) follow the social model.
You can learn more about business uses of social media in Chapter 8.
the mobile Revolution As much of a game changer as social media have been, some experts predict that mobile communication will change the nature of business and business communication even more. The venture capitalist Joe Schoendorf says that “mobile is the most disruptive technology that I have seen in 48 years in Silicon Valley.”21 The researcher Maribel Lopez calls mobile “the biggest technology shift since the Internet.”22
Companies recognize the value of integrating mobile technology, from communica- tion platforms to banking to retail. Mobile apps and communication systems can boost employee productivity, help companies form closer relationships with customers and busi- ness partners, and spur innovation in products and services (see Figure 1.8). Given the advantages and the rising expectations of employees and customers, firms on the leading edge of the mobile revolution are working to integrate mobile technology throughout their organizations.23
This section offers a high-level view of the mobile revolution, and you’ll see coverage of specific topics integrated throughout the book—everything from collaborative writing and research to presentations and job search strategies.
4 leaRninG oBJeCtiVeOutline the challenges and opportunities of mobile communication in business.
Figure 1.8 Mobile Communication Tools Mobile technologies offer multiple ways to improve communication and other key business processes. For example, note-taking apps such as Note Taker HD offer an easy and unobtrusive way to take notes during meetings, site visits, and other business functions.
S o ft w
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ChaPter 1 Professional communication in a Digital, social, Mobile World 17
the rise of moBile as a CommuniCation Platform
Whether it’s emailing, social networking, watching videos, or doing research, the percent- age of communication and media consumption performed on mobile devices continues to grow. For millions of people around the world, a mobile device is their primary way, if not their only way, to access the Internet. Globally, more than 80 percent of Internet users access the web with a mobile device at least some of the time.24
Mobile has become the primary communication tool for many business professionals, including a majority of executives under age 40.25 Email and web browsing rank first and second in terms of the most common nonvoice uses of smartphones, and more email mes- sages are now opened on mobile devices than on PCs.26 Roughly half of U.S. consumers use a mobile device exclusively for their online search needs, and many online activities that eventually migrate to a PC screen start out on a mobile screen.27 For many people, the fact that a smartphone can make phone calls is practically a secondary consideration; data traffic from mobile devices far outstrips voice traffic.28
Moreover, mobile phones—particularly smartphones—have become intensely per- sonal devices in ways that PCs never did. For many users, the connection is so close they feel a sense of panic when they don’t have frequent access to their phones.29 When people are closely attached to their phones, day and night, they are more closely tied to all the information sources, conversations, and networks that those phones can connect to. As a result, mobile connectivity can start to resemble a continuous stream of conversations that never quite end, which influences the way businesses need to interact with their stakeholders. If wearable technologies become mainstream devices, they will contribute even more to this shift in behaviors (see Figure 1.9).
The parallels between social media and mobile commu- nication are striking: Both sets of technologies change the nature of communication, alter the relationships between senders and receivers, create opportunities as well as challenges, and force business professionals to hone new skills. In fact, much of the rise in social com- munication can be attributed to the connectivity made possible by mobile devices. Com- panies that work to understand and embrace mobile, both internally and externally, stand the best chance of capitalizing on this monumental shift in the way people communicate.
hoW moBile teChnologies are Changing Business CommuniCation
The rise of mobile communication has some obvious …
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