The Communications Strategy Worksheet and instructions on how to complete it are attached.
Too often people start writing without knowing where they are going. As a first step, you need to slow down and plan before you write. You should think about the results you want to achieve, the needs of the audience and the best organization for your message. The more time you spend preparing, the more time you save in the editing and proofreading stage. For the purposes of this assignment, you need to use the Communication Strategy Worksheet (attached below) for your planning. After reading the case, complete the Communications Strategy Worksheet. (Please note, you do NOT write the memo, only the Worksheet!)
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In this case, you are Jack Stack, a regional sales manager for a national logistics company. You have 12 salespeople throughout your region reporting to him. Previously, the salespeople worked from various offices that housed other administrative functions and they receive secretarial and administrative support from these offices. To reduce costs, however, the company closed the local offices and consolidated the administrative functions at the corporate offices in Kansas City. Salespeople now work out of home-based offices. Consequently, they are responsible for producing their own correspondence without help from an administrative secretary.
As copies of internal memos and letters written by your salespeople cross your desk, you are shocked at the awkward wording and lack of clarity, not to mention the numerous grammar and punctuation errors. Email is even worse. You are concerned about the impact on your company’s image.
Last week, during a meeting of the local chapter of Sales and Marketing Executives, you heard a presentation by a communication consultant, Pamela Skidmore, who specializes in coaching salespeople on writing skills. She made a strong case on how organizations pay a price in wasted time, wasted effort and lost goodwill when writing isn’t as good as it could be. Her company, Write Stuff, offers classes and individual coaching.
You arranged a meeting with Pamela and gave her some writing samples from your salespeople. You were impressed with her critique of the writing and her thoughts on how to improve it. Her process calls for a 2-day workshop followed by individual coaching by phone and e-mail. Ms. Skidmore left you some brochures that explain the features and benefits of her services. You checked her references and her clients gave her rave reviews.
The fees for a workshop are substantial. For 12 salespeople, the program would cost $4,000 with a 90-day retainer of $2,000 for follow-up coaching. The cost includes a pre- and post-training evaluation. In addition, the cost of travel, hotel stays, meals and meeting rooms for the 2-day event could easily add up to another $6,000. Finally, the company would need to bear the cost of time away from the job for the salespeople.
This type of expense is not in your budget, but you think you can make a case for the workshop to your boss based on the benefits of the training. You also assume that other Regional VPs in the country are having a similar problem. Perhaps your region can serve as a pilot for the company for this type of training.
Your first step in this process is to complete and submit a Communications Strategy Worksheet for that memorandum.
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