UNIT 3. BUSINESS COMMUNICATION
Business people devote a lot of time to various types of verbal communication. When it comes to sending business messages, speaking is more common than writing. Giving instructions, conducting interviews, working in small groups, attending meetings, and making speeches are all important activities. Even if writing may be sometimes less common, it is important too. When you want to send a complex message of lasting significance, you will probably want to put it in writing.
Intercultural business writing falls into the general categories depending on the subject and purpose of your message, the relationship between you and the reader, and the customs of the person to whom the message is addressed. The primary tools for communicating information in business include letters, fax and e-mail messages, memos, reports, phone calls, meetings, and conversations.
Letters are the most common form of intercultural business correspondence. They serve the same purposes and follow the same basic organizational plans (direct and indirect) as letters you would send within your own country. Unless you are personally fluent in the language of the intended readers, you should ordinarily write your letters in English or have them translated by a professional translator. If you and the reader speak different languages, be especially concerned with achieving clarity. The letter is now used primarily for formal correspondence with clients, customers, and others outside the company, particularly people you have not met.
Imagine, for instance, that you need to ask for advice or information from someone you do not know personally. The person will likely give a letter more attention than an e-mail message because a letter conveys an added element of formality and courtesy. Your word choice should also reflect the relationship between you and the reader. In general, be somewhat more formal than you would be in writing to people in.