What is the goal of this communication? Does the report meet the goal?

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Throughout this course and your career, you will likely be asked to revise, edit or proofread your colleagues’ written work. Therefore, it must provide constructive and meaningful feedback. When you do, colleagues appreciate it and gradually learn to trust your judgment, even if they disagree with you sometimes.

Written business communications succeed when they are based on clear goals and constructed with a solid understanding of the audience, situation, and legal context. Conversely, written communication in business is problematic when goals are unclear, the content or method is a mismatch for the audience, and/or the situation and legal context are misunderstood or ignored.

Too often, employees assume a colleague, customer, or supervisor is on the same page, and that is seldom the case. Everyone appreciates 1-2 sentences (or paragraphs) reviewing the key points and describing the document’s purpose. Ensure that sections are short and headings abundant for faster skimming. Few typically read carefully in the business world.

If the writing style or mechanics interfere with the reader’s ability to understand the content or undermine the writer’s credibility, the communication is unlikely to be taken seriously. Therefore, when you write your papers this quarter, be sure to complete your drafts early to leave time for editing and proofreading! Consistently submitting poor writing to your supervisor (or professor) is very career damaging.

In this assignment, use the attached written business communication that demonstrates some of these pitfalls, and follow this scenario:

You are on a team that creates written reports supporting your organization’s cyber security products and services. Your team received a request to write a white paper-type report that could be published via the organization’s website. Because the organization is well-known, the website draws multiple audiences. This report aims to reach small business owners seeking information about cyber security practices.

The request asked that the report emphasize the potential cyber security threats, including supporting research and positioning the company as an expert in the field. This is not intended to be a sales or promotion document, although, of course, it must reflect well on the company’s products and services.


Two of your teammates have drafted the attached report and are eager for your feedback. As you review, consider:

What is the goal of this communication? Does the report meet the goal?
Who is the intended audience? Does the report effectively speak to that audience?
What contextual elements are taken into account? For example, are there legal implications to the report’s contents?
What is the tone of the document? Is it clear, concise, and professional?
Put yourself in the position of the intended audience: does the report meet its goal?
Your job is to offer constructive suggestions for improvement and write a memo you would write to the colleagues who wrote this draft. Include at least two suggestions for revision and two for editing, per the descriptions below.

Revise = based on the intended audience, the situation, and the legal context, suggest changes to ensure the entirety of the document/proposal is appropriate. What needs to be done to accomplish the goal? Could the report be simplified? Are there any legal implications to the report?
Edit = ensure proper intros, headings, and backgrounds to orient all parties. Does the report use too much jargon? Note any grammar, spelling, syntax, or punctuation errors that you found.
Then, revise the introduction and conclusion, proofreading carefully to ensure proper grammar, tone, usage, and spelling. Finally, include the revised introduction and conclusion on the final page of the memo.

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