Effective Presentation 1

business, expression, clearness, knowledge, simplicity, letter, simple and reader

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6

5. Clearness.—Perhaps the most important char acteristic of effective presentation is clearness. Clear writing is usually the result of clear thinking; but it does not therefore follow that the expression will be clear because the thought is clear. The ability to ex press oneself clearly preeminently requires the ability to take the reader's point of view in regard to what is written. Often a statement that is perfectly clear to the writer is not at all clear to the one to whom it is addressed, because the writer has failed to take the proper point of view—the reader's. On the other hand, inaccuracies in expression may convey the meaning which the writer desires the reader to understand. But inaccuracies involve risk.

Vagueness, ambiguity, faulty reference, and all the other violations of clearness result from failure to anticipate the thought the statements made will stir up in the reader's mind.

There are, of course, many other desirable rhetor ical qualities in language ; but this one—clearness is of first importance in business correspondence. "Have I made my meaning clear to the reader?"— that is the first question for a correspondent to ask after he has written a letter. To be sure, what is said may be clear, yet not effective. Clearness alone is not enough, by far. That is often the fault with school compositions.

6. How to gain clear impression in the writer's own mind of the facts to be presented is the first means of clear expression; the second is the knowledge of how the reader will be likely to interpret the language used; and the third, knowledge of gram mar and rhetoric as one means of more accurately an ticipating this interpretation.

There are other things to be considered, such as Arrangement which causes the reader to progress from ideas that are easily grasped by him to those which would not be so clear were it not for the preceding in formation. Sometimes this progress is from simple to complex ideas; again it may be from the complex to the simple; or it may be from concrete to general, or vice versa—according to the subject matter, and es pecially, according to the reader's knowledge of, and attitude toward, the facts presented. Few rules of ar rangement, as it affects clearness, can be laid down. An orderly arrangement is an important means of gaining clearness. But the clearest arrangement for one may not be the best for another.

7. Simplicity and impoitant characteristic of effective presentation is the use of sentence structure which is as simple as possible, while expressing the thought adequately. Sometimes the

desire for extreme simplicity leads'a correspondent to say less than he meant to say. This fault is rare, how ever, for most business messages deal with plain facts. Lack of simplicity may be due to a tendency to use long words. For example, here is the beginning of a letter written by the president of a publishing con cern: Dear Sir: Knowing that you are desirous of finding out about ex ceptional profit opportunities, I have requested our sales manager to send you a copy of our much-talked-about publi cation, "Better Business." That beginning sounds somewhat cumbersome and is not as simple and direct—and therefore not as ef fective—as this : Dear Sir: "Better Business" is what we call a new book which tells how five men in your line of business made money as the re sult of a new buying system.

This introduction reads more easily because it is more clear-cut and direct. It combines simplicity and directness. The words used are comparatively short. Such expression is in accord with the modern tendency of business letters to get down to facts. A good business man will expect simplicity and direct ness in business letters.

8. expression is a charac teristic of successful letters. Concreteness of thought and expression helps make the letter interesting. It also makes the letter clear and easy to read. It is what is usually meant by "getting down to brass tacks." It aims at the particular and specific rather than the general and abstract. An actual case is cited and enough details are given to impress the reader with the reality of what is said. If concreteness is to be gained by using quotations, the quoted matter should be direct rather than indirect. Here is a letter which lacks concreteness : Dear Sir: It is probably bad form to talk about our own merits. But we would rather do it directly and whole-heartedly, if we do it at all. Therefore, this message.

Now, all agree, and their agreement is based on common experience, that the House of Hammer has bargain-giving ability of great power. This is due not to great size so much as to knowledge of markets—a cause of size. This knowledge comes from long experience. It's age, not size, that makes this house reliable.

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6