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Exam #1 Study Guide

TCT Chapter 3: Readers and Contexts of Use

  • Profiling readers (Five W’s plus How)
  • Types of readers:
      • Primary readers (action taker)
        • Secondary readers (advisers)
          • Tertiary readers (evaluators)
            • Gatekeepers (supervisors)
          • Develop Profiles for audience based on their needs, values, and attitudes; don’t assume all readers have the same needs because they can be different.
          • Reader guidelines:
            • Readers are “raiders” for information
            • Readers are wholly responsible for interpreting your text
            • Readers want only "need-to-know" information
            • Readers prefer concise texts
            • Readers prefer documents with graphics and effective page design
          • Contexts of use:
            • Physical (the physical environment of the audience)
            • Economic (relevant economic issues)
            • Political (the current social/historical situation)
            • Ethical (the issues of right and wrong at personal and cultural levels)
          Sample question:
          Who is included within the secondary audience?
              Action takers

          TCT Chapter 8: Organizing and Drafting

          • Creating documents outside of the technical writing pattern; using different styles
          • Genre: predictable pattern for organizing information to achieve specific purposes
          • Analytical report: introduction, methods, results, discussion, conclusion
          • Procedure: introduction, list of parts/tools, safety information, sequentially ordered steps, conclusion
          • Outlining the document: headings, subheadings, bullet points, organize document by putting smaller sections within larger sections
          • Standard Organization:
            • Introduction (six possible moves)
              • Define subjects
              • State purpose
              • State main point
              • Stress the importance of subject
              • Provide background information
              • Forecast content
            • Body
              • Cause and Effect
              • Comparison and Contrast 
              • Better and Worse
              • Cost and Benefits
              • If...Then
              • Either/Or
              • Chronological order
              • Problem/Needs/Solution
              • Example
            • Conclusion (five possible closing moves)
              • Make an obvious transition
              • Restate your main point
              • Restress the importance of subject
              • Look to the future
              • Say thank you and offer contact information
          Sample question:
          In the Six Opening Moves of an Introduction what comes before stressing the importance of the subject?
              Forecast content
              State main point
              Provide the background information
              Summarize the content

          TCT Chapter 5: Ethics in the Technical Workplace
          • 3 categories of ethics:
            • Personal(values derived from family, culture, and faith)
            • Social (values derived from constitutional, legal, utilitarian, and caring sources):
              • Rights
              • Justice
              • Utility
              • Care
            • Conservation (values predicated on sustainability that protect and preserve the ecosystem)
          • Paths you can take if you disagree with your company:
            • Persuasion through costs and benefits
            • Seek legal advice
            • Mediation
            • Memos to file
            • Whistleblowing

          Sample question:

          True or false: Because something has been done over and over again means that it is ethical?


          Parsons Ethics in Public Relations: A Guide to Best Practice excerpt

          The process of PR decision-making:
          1. Research (gather and analyze available data)
          2. Plan (decide what outcomes you want)
          3. Implement (make your decision)
          4. Evaluate (figure out it was a good decision)
          The Potter Box guide to ethical decision making:
          • Problem definition
          • Analysis of values
          • Application of principles
          • Delineation of loyalties

          Luntz "The Ten Rules of Effective Language"

          1. Simplicity: Use Small Words
          2. Brevity: Use Short Sentences
          3. Credibility is as Important as Philosophy
            1. People have to believe you to buy it
            2. If your words lack sincerity they will lack impact
          4. Consistency Matters
            1. Repetition
            2. Don’t go in too many different directions at the same time
            3. Choose one or a few ideas and go with it
          5. Novelty: Offer Something New
          6. Sound and Texture Matter
            1. Not just the language but how you string it together
            2. Ex. It will be more memorable if all key words start with the same letter
            3. Sometimes catchiness is more important than grammar
              1. Ex. “i’m lovin’ it! “
          7. Speak Aspirationally
            1. Speak to people's hopes, dreams, and fears
          8. Visualize
            1. Paint a vivid picture for the audience
          9. Ask a Question
          10. Provide Context and Explain Relevance
            1. Give them the “why”

          Sample question:
          Name 4 of the ten rules of Effective Language.

          Ruff and Aziz Managing Communications in a Crisis excerpt
          • Preparing the crisis ahead of time
          • Identifying various audiences beforehand
          • Stakeholders
            • parent company
            • shareholders
            • brokers
            • suppliers
            • customers/clients
            • staff
            • banks
            • contractors
          • Non-stakeholders
            • emergency services
            • regulators
            • analysts
            • local authorities
            • communities
            • media
            • government
            • trade associations
          • How you will handle the issue
          • Some companies make it through a crisis and others do not. This depends on:
            • Nature of the crisis
            • If a plan was prepared to deal with the crisis
          • Never underestimate the impact a local event could have
          • The credibility of a message is important (is it believable?)

          Sample question:
          What is the most demanding external audience?
          The media

          Press Release Readings

          ('s information about press release formatting, Webwire's "Press Release Format Guidelines," Press Release Writing's "10 Essential Tips for Writing Press Releases")

          Press Releases should be:
          • Frontloaded (Including most important information in the first ten words)
          • Third person
          • Audience (media)
          • Formal tone
          • Newsworthy information
          • Concise Effective and to the point, is not too wordy, states just the facts
          • Format
            • For Immediate Release
            • Headline
            • City, State, Date
            • Initial paragraph
            • Body
            • Conclusion
            • Company info
            • Contact info
            • Pound Signs (###)
          Sample question:
          Which of these is not part of a Press Release?
              Written in First Person
              Includes Contact Information
              Easy for Media Personnel to replicate exactly

          TCT Chapter 17: Letters and Memos
          • Memos should be concise as possible, include only need to know information.
          • The purpose of your memo should be immediately obvious to your readers, in the first paragraph preferably in the first or second sentence.
          • Anticipate all possible readers: primary, secondary, tertiary, gatekeepers.
          • Determine the context of your memo; consider the physical, economic, political and ethical factors.
          • Use the “you” style:  put more emphasis on the readers rather than you, the author.
          • Create an appropriate tone.
          • Avoid bureaucratic phrasing.
          • Format:
            • Header
              • to
              • from
              • date
              • subject
            • Introduction
              • subject
              • purpose
              • main point
              • background information
              • importance of the subject
            • Body
              • need to know information
            • Conclusion
              • restates main point
              • thanks reader
              • looks to the future
            • Signature (for letters only)
          • Types:
            • Inquiry
            • Response
            • Transmittal
            • Claim
            • Adjustment
            • Refusal
          Sample question:
          Which is not located in a memo header?

          The Purdue Online Writing Lab's information about memo writing

          • Memos have a twofold purpose: they bring attention to problems and they solve problems
          • Memos are most effective when they connect the purpose of the writer with the interests and needs of the reader.
          • Choose the audience of the memo wisely. Ensure that all of the people that the memo is addressed to need to read the memo.
          Heading Segment
          The heading segment follows this general format:
          • TO: (readers' names and job titles)
          • FROM: (your name and job title)
          • DATE: (complete and current date)
          • SUBJECT: (what the memo is about, highlighted in some way)
          Opening Segment
          The purpose of a memo is usually found in the opening paragraph and includes: the purpose of the memo, the context and problem, and the specific assignment or task.

          The context is the event, circumstance, or background of the problem you are solving. Include only what your reader needs, but be sure it is clear.

          Task Segment
          One essential portion of a memo is the task statement where you should describe what you are doing to help solve the problem.

          Summary Segment
          If your memo is longer than a page, you may want to include a separate summary segment. However, this section not necessary for short memos and should not take up a significant amount of space.

          Discussion Segments
          The discussion segments are the longest portions of the memo, and are the parts in which you include all the details that support your ideas. Begin with the information that is most important.

          Closing Segment
          After the reader has absorbed all of your information, you want to close with a courteous ending that states what action you want your reader to take.

          Necessary Attachments
          Make sure you document your findings or provide detailed information whenever necessary. You can do this by attaching lists, graphs, tables, etc. at the end of your memo.

          Sample question:
          Who is the audience of an internal memo?
              The public
              Employees of the affected company
              Media personnel

          "Time for Your Business to Apologize on Video?"
          No matter how big or small the problem is, you should always acknowledge it and apologize. It doesn’t matter how many people are affected, even if it is just one you should still make it a point to apologize.

          A successful apology in business should demonstrate the following:
          • A sense of ownership
          • A sense of responsibility
          • Directly saying what it is you’re taking responsibility for
          • A degree of emotional sympathy
          • An actual remedy you intend to implement (or have already implemented)

          Sample question:
          A successful apology includes all of the following, except:
              Sense of ownership
              Sense of responsibility
              Not fully accepting the blame
              A degree of emotional sincerity

          "The Effective Video Apology 'DOs' and 'DON'Ts'"

          When you make the apology video, make sure you are sincere and take full responsibility.  Also, follow through with whatever remedy you propose.

          The apology "DOs":

          • Be sincere
          • Show humility
          • Show remorse
          • Acknowledge the damage done and the pain caused
          • Accept responsibility
          • Provide an explanation if you have one
          • Commit to a course of action that remedies the problem and prevents it from happening again
          • Ask for cooperation and, if appropriate, enlist help in remedying the situation
          • Keep your promises and do what you said you would do

          And the apology “DON’Ts”:

          • Don’t lie
          • Don’t shift the blame
          • Don’t say you are sorry when you are really not
          • Don’t make excuses or justify your actions
          • Don’t detract attention from real issues
          • Don’t say one thing and do the opposite
          • Don’t count on or demand forgiveness

          Sample question:
          Which of following is something that an apology video should do:
              Make excuses and try to justify your decisions
              Ask for cooperation and enlist help in remedying the situation
              Detract attention from the real issues
              Count on forgiveness

          Course Information

          Intro. to Professional Writing
          ENG 204-004
          MO 204
          TR 12:30-1:45

          Instructor Information

          Dr. Jeremy Tirrell

          Office: MO 150
          Office Hours: TR 9:00-11:00 (and by appointment)

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