Journal Entries

These pages numbers and topic numbers refer to Business Communication, 8th edition. Make every word count; choose precise language.

Note:. To access your journal, click the teal-colored journal name and number (for example, Journal entry 1 below). You'll then log in and can make your entries.

Journal entry 1: post a 35-to-50 word entry specifying how this course fits your education goals and your career goals.

Journal Entry 2: post a paragraph response to one of the following based on your reading of Chapter 1:

Social Media Inventory (Objs. 1.4)

The millennials, those born after 1985, do not remember a time without computer technology and cellular phones in wide use. People born in the 1990s have only known a society that depends on the Internet and mobile technology. Social media are second nature to most of these young people, who seem to be inseparably attached to their smart devices.

You too may live, learn, work, play, network, and shop in the digital world. Even if you are not crazy about the latest gadgets and gizmos, your daily life depends on technology as your cell phone, iPod, TV, DVD player, and other electronics couldn't work without it and are increasingly networked.

Your Task. In your journal, take stock of your Internet, social media, and other technology use. First establish useful criteria.for example, categories such as consumer electronics, social networking sites, preferred modes of communication with friends and family, and so forth. Within each category, list the technology you use most frequently. For instance, for social media networks, indicate your use of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Hulu, LinkedIn, and more. How do you use each? Estimate how often you access these sites per day and indicate the tools you use (smartphone, tablet, or laptop). How much do you text every day?


What, no more term papers? Students blog instead? While employers are desperate to hire job seekers with solid communica- tion skills, the debate over how best to prepare students for writing in the digital age is raging across the country. A professor at Duke University now wants to replace the old-style term paper with the blog. Cathy N. Davidson finds the academic paper requiring that the writer make a point, explain it, and defend it deeply offensive. She wants to make writing fun, practical, and relevant and believes that the blog is the ticket Professor Davidson has plenty of detractors. "Writing term papers is a dying art, but those who do write them have a dramatic leg up in terms of critical thinking, argumentation and the sort of expression required not only in college, but in the job market," says Douglas B. Reeves, a columnist for the American School Board Journal. "It doesn.t mean there aren't interesting blogs. But nobody would conflate interesting writing with premise, evidence, argument and conclusion," he says. The author of a recent survey of student engagement concurs with this criticism: "She's right," William H. Fitzhugh says of Professor Davidson. "Writing is being murdered. But the solution isn't blogs, the solution is more reading. We don't pay taxes so kids can talk about themselves and their home lives." According to the National Survey of Student Engagement, 82 percent of college freshmen and more than half of seniors weren't asked to do a single paper of 20 pages or more. Most of their writing assignments were for papers of one to five pages. Another study estimated that 80 percent of high school students were not asked to write a history term paper of more than 15 pages. How much writing have you been asked to do in high school and college?

Your Task. In your journal, reflect on your writing experience. See Appendix B for memo formats and Chapters 7 and 8 for tips on preparing a professional e-mail message. Consider the arguments in this controversy pitting what has been dubbed "old literacy" against "new literacy." Explain to your instructor how much and what kind of writing you had to do in high school and in college. How long were typical assignments? What subjects did you discuss? What is your take on the controversy? Should term papers really be replaced by blog entries?

Critical Thinking (Obj. 2)

List five behaviors you consider most important to participate actively in workplace meetings.

Journal entry 3: post a paragraph that responds to letter a or to letter b of Activity 1.12, "Oral or Written Communication." (page 35).

Oral or Written Communication: How Rich Must the Media Be? (Obj. 4)

Your Task. Choose item a or item b below, and decide whether the following messages need to be communicated orally or in writing. After consulting the media-richness diagram in Figure 1.9 on page 20, consider how rich the medium must be in each communication situation to convey the message most appropriately and reliably. You may want to choose channels such as e-mail, letter, report, texting, instant messaging, telephone call, live chat, teleconferencing, face-to-face conversation, or team meeting. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of each choice in your journal.

a. You are returning with the senior auditor from a client visit to company headquarters, where you must attend an important department meeting. It looks as though you will be at least 15 minutes late. What are your options?

b. Working at 8 a.m. in your Boston office, you need to get in touch with your counterpart at your company's West Coast office and ask a few clarifying formatting questions about a report on which the two of you are collaborating.

Journal Entry 4: in your journal, post a paragraph that addresses this question in Chapter 4, "Critical Thinking," item 3 (page 145).

Critical Thinking

In your journal, discuss why should business writers strive to use short, familiar, simple words? Does this "dumb down" business messages? (Obj. 4)

Journal Entry 5: in your journal, post a paragraph response to this question in Chapter 5, "Critical Thinking," item 2 (page 170).

Critical Thinking

In your journal, discuss why is audience analysis so important in the selection of the direct or indirect strategy of organization for a business message? (Obj. 2)

Journal Entry 6: in your journal, list and post five weaknesses you find in the memo below (Chapter 7, Activity 7.1 document, p. 234).

Document for Analysis: Wordy, Woeful E-Mail (Obj. 1)

Your Task. The following poorly organized and poorly written e-mail message needs revision. Study the message and list its specific weaknesses, and make a list of what strategies would make this message polite, concise, and readable.

To: Department Managers
From: Mellanie Mankin
Subject: New people

This is to inform you that we are, after a long period in which we were forbidden to hire at all, considering hiring new employees. The economy seems to finally be improving (Yea!), and everyone is pleased that it might actually be looking up. We have fivecandidates lined up to be interviewed, and your presence is required to avoid making some bad decisions. Mark your calendars for three upcoming interviewing sessions. The first is May 5 in the Conference Room. The second meeting is scheduled for May 9 in Office 22 (the Conference Room was already scheduled). On May 12 we can finish up in the Conference Room.

Attached are resumes of the five candidates we have scheduled. As you will note, these are very promising candidates. In view of the fact that your projects need talented new team members, I should not have to urge you to attend and be well prepared. This is our chance to work together to hire the top people you select and need. For these interviews to be successful, you must examine all the candidates. re.sume.s and send me your ranking lists. Mellanie Mankin, Manager [full contact information]

Journal Entry 7: in your journal, list and post five weaknesses you find in the message below (Chapter 8, Activity 8.3 document, p. 273). Do not revise either of these documents, yet; simply list their weaknesses.

Document for Analysis: Poor Direct Request (Obj. 2)

Your Task. Analyze the following poorly written message. List at least five weaknesses. In your journal, revise the message using the suggestions you learned in this and previous chapters. Don't worry about trying to imitate the To: From: format.

To: ExEnergy Manager List
From: Paula Parker <>>
Subject: E-Mail Problems

As ExEngine vice president, this note is being written to ask for your help and advice to address an urgent problem—the problem of excessive e-mail. If you will do me the favor of answering the questions below, I'm sure your ideas will assist us in the development of a plan that should benefit your staff, yourself, and our organization will be improved. Your replies in writing to these questions (preferably by May 5) will help me prepare for our supervisory committee meeting on May 10.

Although e-mail is a great productivity tool, I'm afraid that its use is becoming extremely excessive. For our organization it is actually cutting into work time. Did you know that one study found that the average office worker is spending 3 hours a day on e-mail? In our organization we may be spending even more than this. It's exceedingly difficult to get any work done because of writing and answering an extraordinary number of e-mails coming in each and every day. Excessive e-mail is sapping the organization's strength and productivity. I would like to have your answers to some questions before the above-referenced dates to help us focus on the problem.

Can you give a ballpark figure for how many e-mails you receive and answer on a personal basis each day? Think about how many hours the staff members in your department spend on e-mail each day. Approximately how many hours would you estimate? Do you have any ideas about how we can make a reduction in the volume of e-mails being sent and received within our own organization? Do you think that e-mail is being used by our employees in an excessive manner?

I'm wondering what you think about an e-mail-free day once a week. How about Fridays? I appreciate your suggestions and advice in developing a solution to the problem of controlling e-mail and making an improvement in productivity.

Paula Parker

Vice President, Operations

No Journal 8.

Journal Entry 9: find three main weaknesses in Activity 9.6 (p. 317); list each of the three main weaknesses and, for each weakness, provide a sentence that specifies how the weakness affects the document's purpose.

Document for Analysis: Claim Denial—No New Droid for You (Objs. 1.4)

Your Task. Analyze the following mail. In your journal, list its weaknesses.

To: Lynda Brownsmith
From: Michael Quinn
Subject: Claim Refusal

Dear Ms. Brownsmith:

This message is being sent to you to inform you that warranty repairs or replacements are not available for damage caused by operator fault. The dot inside your smartphone indicates in bright red that the device suffered prolonged exposure to liquid. The phone also shows signs of heavy external abuse—quite rightly excluded from coverage under your protection plan.

Your phone retailer, Premier Wireless, at 901 Saint Charles Avenue, forwarded your device to us. Our service technician made an inspection. That's when he made the discovery that your Droid had not been treated with proper caution and care. The inside was gunky and apparently the device had been subjected to blunt force. You are lucky that the touch screen did not crack or break and that you didn't lose all your data irretrievably since you apparently didn't bother to arrange for a backup. Today's smartphones are sophisticated high-tech devices. They must be handled with utmost respect.

Our Peace of Mind Plan gets rave reviews from users. They love the protection their expensive equipment enjoys at a low monthly cost of $5.99. However, the manufacturer's warranty on your Droid covers only this one thing: manufacturing defects. Your warranty has expired by now, but it wouldn't cover neglect and abuse anyway. Your Peace of Mind Plan is in effect but only covers you for theft, loss, and malfunction. It explicitly excludes liquid and physical damage. In any case, there is always a deductible of $89. We can.t replace the Droid at no charge. But we could sell you a remanufactured model, at a cost of $49 plus tax. Your other option is to purchase a new device at full retail cost. Furthermore, since you have a two-year contract, you will be eligible for an upgrade as you are nearing month 20.

Let us know what you want to do. We pride ourselves on our unparalleled customer service.


Journal Entry 10: in your journal, post a one-paragraph response to Chapter Review question 7 (page 71).

Review Questions (Obj. 2)

List five behaviors you consider most important to participate actively in workplace meetings.

Journal Entry 11: in your journal, post your response to "Chat About It," Topic 4 (page 416).

Critical Thinking Topic 4

Why is it important for a nonexpert on a topic to use professional journals as report sources?

Journal Entry 12: start by examining the poorly written résumé in Activity 15.1 (pages 581-582); then list and post eight weaknesses of this résumé.

Document for Analysis: Poorly Written Resume (Obj. 4)

Journal Entry 13: in your journal, post a one-paragraph response to the questions for the Activity 16.13 scenario.

Handling Inappropriate and Illegal Interview Questions (Obj. 3)

Although some questions are considered inappropriate and potentially illegal by the government, many interviewers will ask them anyway—whether intentionally or unknowingly. Being prepared is important.

Your Task. How would you respond in the following scenario? Assume you are being interviewed at one of the top companies on your list of potential employers. The interviewing committee consists of a human resources manager and the supervising manager of the department where you would work. At various times during the interview, the supervising manager asks questions that make you feel uncomfortable. For example, he asks whether you are married. You know this question is inappropriate, but you see no harm in answering it. Then, however, he asks how old you are. Because you started college early and graduated in three and a half years, you are worried that you may not be considered mature enough for this position. However, you have most of the other qualifications required, and you are convinced you could succeed on the job. How should you answer this question?

Journal Entry 14: read "Dear Senator or Representative." After carefully considering these details, write a precisely worded, one-paragraph overview/description of a local, state, or federal issue for which you could recommend an action; in your journal, post your paragraph as Journal 14.

Dear Senator or Representative. Opens in a separate browser.

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