Bovee and Thill: Leading Textbook Authors in Business Communication Instruction

Bovee and Thill have led the business communication instruction field for more than 30 years with innovative, high-quality textbooks that have consistently been on the leading edge. They were the first to

Textbook Support                                        

  • cover digital media
  • cover social media
  • cover mobile business communication
  • cover essential communication technologies as they went mainstream in the business world, such as email, blogs, microblogs (Twitter), data visualization, e-portfolios, infographics, text messaging, and virtual meetings
  • cover business etiquette
  • cover communication in a diverse world and recognize the importance of diversity in photographs and exhibits
  • cover developing presentations in a social media environment
  • cover enhancing presentations with slides
  • discuss and show pictures of real companies and to include a Company Index
  • write chapter-opening vignettes to help students see how real professionals use chapter concepts and skills
  • write about real companies in exercises and cases
  • include cases that involve the full range of contemporary business media, from blog posts to text messaging
  • cover digital video as a major business communication medium
  • create the name and concept for "Letters for Analysis"
  • create the name and concept for "Document Makeovers"
  • create the name and concept for “On the Job” business communication simulations
  • receive an Award for Excellence from the Textbook Authors Association for a business communication textbook

  
Instructor Support and Interaction

  • become active and widely known users of emerging digital media, developing hands-on experience that is reflected in their textbook content
  • have a business communication blog
  • offer a business communication news service, Business Communication Headline News, for adopters and their students
  • provide Real-Time Updates, a web-based service featuring the latest articles, videos, PowerPoints, infographics, websites, and podcasts to adopters and their students, categorized by the chapters in Bovee & Thill's textbooks
  • offer online magazines, 10 in all, each one dedicated to an important business communication topic along with a weekly newsletter of the most popular articles
  • offer a Business Communication Pictorial Gallery on Pinterest
  • have a business communication channel on YouTube
  • have a Teaching Business Communication group on LinkedIn and on Facebook (with a combined membership of over 4,300 instructors)
  • be on Twitter as business communication authors
  • offer dozens of business communication slide programs that they've created (available on SlideShare)
  • to email a video newsletter several times each semester
  • have a website that focuses on instruction, “Teaching Business Communication”
  • have been recognized for their contributions to the field by the Governor of Massachusetts and the Boston Red Sox.
     

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Bovee and Thill should be proud, because they’re the most imitated authors in the field. Their texts set the standard by which other textbooks in the field are judged. For outstanding business communication instruction, there simply are no other texts to be considered.

Bovee and Thill have the most extensive collection of free resources for instructors and students in the history of business communication publishing. You can see the full list at http://blog.businesscommunicationnetwork.com/resources.

Read more

27 Ways the Business Communication Course Can Help Your Students

In your class you’ll probably be emphasizing the long-term value of the business communication course to your students. Here’s our list of 27 ways communication skills can help students in their personal and professional lives.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: blog.businesscommunicationnetwork.com

Read more

Test Your Proofreading Skills

Get your proofreading game on! Three challenges await you. A hint about the number of errors, followed by the solutions, appears at the end of the tests. Test 1: The Note of Thanks Dear Krista; Thank you very much for…

Read more

How to Write When You Can’t Change Things

I led a class for a group of writers who respond to citizen complaints about airplane noise. The writers cannot make the planes quieter, and they can’t make them go away. What can they do? They can respond in ways…

Read more

Things Changed–Is Your Style Guide Up to Date?

While you have been busy working, some of the rules of writing evolved, and the University of Chicago Press released a new Chicago Manual of Style. Take a look at the changes below to determine which ones you need to adopt. Then update your company style guide to be sure everyone is writing consistent, up-to-date pieces.

For this post, I consulted The Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago), published in September, The Associated Press Stylebook 2017 (AP), Garner’s Modern English Usage (Garner’s)which was published in 2016, and Microsoft Manual of Style (Microsoft)published in 2012.

1. Words with web are no longer capitalized and are sometimes closed up: website, webmaster, webcam, and webcast, but web address and web browser. AP, Garner’s, and Microsoft recommend webpage, but Chicago still prefers the open web pageAP (effective 2016), Microsoft, and Chicago use the lower case web as a short form of World Wide Web, but Garner’s uses Web for that purpose.

2. You can stop capitalizing internet if you follow Chicago—or AP, which changed its approach in 2016. However, Garner’s and Microsoftstill capitalize it.

3. The ever-present word email should be lower case and closed up. That’s according to Chicago, AP (effective 2011), and MicrosoftGarner's lists three versions—E-mail, e-mail, and email—noting that “The unhyphenated email is unsightly, but it might prevail in the end.” (Might? It certainly will!) Other e words are generally not capitalized unless they appear at the beginning of a sentence or in a heading, and they are hyphenated: e-book, e-reader, e-commerce, e-form, e-learning.

4. The word voicemail is closed up according to AP (since 2016) and Garner's. However, Microsoft and Chicago render it open: voice mailChicago doesn’t single out voice mail for discussion, but its rules on compound words call for the word to be rendered open.

5. Using they as a singular pronoun has become acceptable in some cases. The Washington Post argued in late 2015: “Allowing they for a gender-nonconforming person is a no-brainer. And once we’ve done that, why not allow it for the most awkward of those he or shesituations that have troubled us for so many years?”

AP chimes in on the awkwardness issue. In its 2017 edition, APstates, “They/them/their is acceptable in limited cases as a singular and/or gender-neutral pronoun, when alternative wording is overly awkward or clumsy.” For example, to avoid revealing an individual’s gender, this their is acceptable: “The employee believed their safety could not be guaranteed.”

Chicago now states: “While this usage [they, them, their, andthemselves] is accepted in those spheres [speech and informal writing], it is only lately showing signs of gaining acceptance in formal writing, where Chicago recommends avoiding its use. When referring specifically to a person who does not identify with a gender-specific pronoun, however, they and its forms are often preferred.”

Garner’s recommends its careful use: “Where it can’t be avoided, resort to it cautiously because some people may doubt your literacy.” And Microsoft advises, “Although . . . they for a singular antecedent is gaining acceptance. . . . Whenever possible, write around the problem.”

Note: The singular they always takes a plural verb, just as you does.

6. Over = more than for quantities. In 2014, AP joined Chicago andGarner’s in accepting over as synonymous with more than. Example: “She has over 20 years of experience.” AP describes over as "acceptable in all uses to indicate greater numerical value.” However, Microsoft still recommends more than for quantities; it uses over “to refer to a position or location above something.”

7. One space—not two! This isn’t a recent change. As far back as 2004, virtually all style guides have dictated one space after end punctuation and colons. If you are still using two, it’s time to adapt. Remember what happened to the dinosaurs.

8. In the 21st century, there’s no reason to render a number both spelled out and in figures—not even in contracts. Consider these redundancies: “You may cancel the contract within three (3) days” and “A deposit of $250 (two hundred fifty dollars) is due upon signing.” In the very old days, numbers were repeated to prevent them from being altered, according to attorney Bryan Garner. And back in the days of fuzzy carbon copies, spelled out numbers were easier to read. Today there’s no need for them. 

I shared the changes above with a friend who wrote back: "I prefer eLearning. It still seems an unsettled question." Not to me! With so many things unsettled in the world, I'm going to defer to the style manuals and get on with my life. 

How about you and your editorial team? Do you follow the advice of a well-respected style guide? Or do you go it alone? 

Read more

Timber! (or Timbre?)

I just finished reading another excellent mystery by Louise Penny: The Beautiful Mystery. Penny's series of Inspector Gamache mysteries, which take place in Québec, gets better and better with each volume. I'm always looking forward to the next one. 

This time I read a library book. To my surprise, a previous reader wrote in the book, something I rarely see in books from the library. The individual wrote timbre over this bit of dialogue:

"Well, I have an unusual singing voice. A strange timber." 

Would you have caught the error–and annotated it? I was glad the previous reader had. It helped me recognize the correct spelling of timbre. 

Definition of timbre: the combination of qualities of a sound that distinguishes it from other sounds of the same pitch and volume.

Definition of the more familiar timber: trees or wooded land considered as a source of wood. Wood used as a building material; lumber. 

I was glad to relearn this correct spelling. And to find out at the end of the book who had killed the prior!

Read more

I’m Sorry You . . . Did It to Yourself

The other day I participated in an online chat about cats being allowed to roam free in our neighborhood. Opinions for and against piled up minute by minute, with some people expressing strong views. Reading the comments, I noticed this one: 

I'm sorry you were offended by my tone.

The passive verb "were offended" leads to a non-apology apology. It's an "It's-your-fault" apology. Compare this wording, which takes responsibility for the tone: 

I'm sorry my tone offended you.
 

A recent angry email reply from a blog reader referred to me as "impolite" and used several hostile phrases to characterize my response to her original message. This email shocked me because I had taken the time to answer the individual's question, and I always intend to communicate positively. Nevertheless, I had failed, and my conciseness had come across as brusque. 

In my reply to the angry email, politeness was essential. That's why I quickly changed the wording of the opening sentence. I changed:

I am sorry you felt my response was discourteous. 

To: 

I am sorry that my response came across as discourteous.

 

Do you recognize the problem with the original statements? Both of them say "I am sorry you . . . " In print such statements can come across as blame shifting: "I'm sorry you are overly sensitive" or "I am sorry you are a jerk." Consider these examples:

I am sorry you took my comment the wrong way. 

I am sorry you didn't let me know I needed to be on time. 

I am sorry you didn't confirm our appointment. 

I am sorry you didn't understand that I was joking. 

 

Here's how to accept blame rather than shifting it to the other person: 

I am sorry my comment came across the wrong way. 

I am sorry that I didn't realize I needed to be on time. 

I am sorry I forgot about our appointment. 

I am sorry that my joke bombed. 

 

It doesn't help to try to share the blame. These statements won't build relationships:

I am sorry but you're to blame too. 

I am sorry but you have to accept your part in this. 

 

Yes, those statements may be true, but they are not true apologies. If the situation requires an apology, give one. 

 

But what if you don't feel your behavior requires an apology? Let's say you have done nothing wrong. 

Apologize anyway. The relationship requires an apology. Although you might feel good defending your actions or pointing out the other person's role in the situation, apologizing will help you move on. It will also earn you points as a mature professional who chooses his or her battles. 

In my email exchange with the angry blog reader, I didn't think I had done anything wrong. I had simply been concise and direct. Yet my message did not come across that way–I can't argue about that. So I might as well admit that my message failed and apologize. 

Do you have more examples of non-apology apologies? Please share them. 

By the way, the non-apology in the cat-roaming chat did not end the exchange. The other person wrote back defending her feelings, and then the first person did the same. And so it goes. 

Would you like to read more about how to write successful apologies, including the four parts they need? Get my book Business Writing With Heart: How to Build Great Work Relationships One Message at a Time. It includes the chapter "Write Apologies to Mend Fences and Support Relationships." Get the book from Syntax Training (with a laminated bookmark and a personal message from me), Amazon, or your favorite bookseller (ISBN 978-0-9778679-0-5). 

Read more

Whistler’s Apostrophe Challenge

I visited beautiful Whistler, British Columbia, last week and loved everything about it–except perhaps for its free-spirited use and avoidance of apostrophes. Its businesses' signs kept my writing teacher's mind spinning.

Here's a challenge for you: See if you can determine which of the signs are punctuated according to current writing standards. When you find one that is not correct, decide how you would change it if its owner would let you. 

1. 

20171003_092952

 

2. 

20171003_090758

3. 

20171003_090646

4.

20170927_151041

5.

20171003_093051

6.

20170927_153103

7. 

20171003_093527

8. 

20171003_093640

9.

20170928_134741

10.

20170927_153300

11.

20171003_090942

12.

20170927_134925

13.20170928_134659

 

14. 

20170927_134654

15.

20171003_085911

 

Can you tell why I went sign-crazy in Whistler? Which ones would you change? See my comments below. 

 

 

 

 

1. Ingrid's–I love you! All your signs were consistent and correct. Ingrid is a singular noun, so its possessive form is Ingrid's. 

2. St. Andrews House–what happened? Why did you choose to leave out the apostrophe? The traditional rendering is St. Andrew's. 

3. Like St. Andrews, the cigar store needs an apostrophe: Castro's. 

4. I savored quite a few Rogers' chocolates, and I loved their sign. Rogers' is correct. Although some style manuals would recommend Rogers's, that form would be too fussy on a sign. 

5. Fat Tony's has great pizza and perfect punctuation. 

6. Garfinkel's punctuated this sign correctly, but their vertical signs say Garfs (not shown). If they wanted to be consistent, they would choose Garf's. 

7. and 8. These are signs for the same establishment. Buffalo Bill's wins for correctness.

9. I'd like to talk Earls into an apostrophe: Earl's. 

10. I'm going to interpret Cow's cute cone as a correct apostrophe although other Cow's signs left it out. 

11. and 12. These signs are trying hard to be correct. And they both might be depending on whether we want to think of one skier or more than one. But an easier way to handle Skiers Approach and Skiers Plaza is to think of them as forskiers rather than of skiers or belonging to skiers. That way, we can avoid the possessive forms and not worry about singular and plural. 

13. Shoppers Drug Mart has–correctly, I think–chosen to avoid the possessive form. This approach is what I suggested for Skiers in 11 and 12. 

14. Let's change this to Black's Restaurant, which would match their Black's Pub sign (not shown).  

15. The creative rendering of DAVIDsTEA inspired me to watch for signs in Whistler. DAVID'S TEA would be correct but not catchy. The more I saw DAVIDsTEA rendered that way, the more it convinced me that its distinctiveness won out over conventionalism. 

Do you prefer correct, conventional renderings or creative ones? And how did you do on the challenge?

I wasn't able to visit every establishment I photographed–a great reason to return to Whistler!

Read more

Do This 7 Times

I was in a meeting where the Chief Communications Officer was explaining to the CEO that he had to repeat his change message, again and again and again. She had a comprehensive list of strategic outlets for his message. Everything was lined up and carefully planned.

Instead of embracing such a well thought out program, the CEO groaned. “But I told them we’re changing,” he said. “What else can I say?”

Ah. This gentleman clearly didn’t understand a simple basic guide for message (especially change messages): Repeat, repeat, and repeat again. In fact, a good rule of thumb is: Message at least seven times.

Why? It’s not because the executive doesn’t communicate well, or the communications effort is lacking. It’s because you want your message to be heard. You have to cut through the noise. When employees are focused on their customers and their work, striving to achieve their goals, while bombarded with org announcements, compliance reminders, building alerts, sales metrics, HR deadlines, project notifications, industry updates — and everything else that makes up work and life — you have to put in effort to be heard.

And you have to put in a lot of effort. You need to enable the message to be both repeated and amplified.

As you strategize to communicate your organization’s next change, take a look at the document that is your communications action plan. As an exercise, count the times your key audiences are “touched” by the change message. If you hit that threshold of seven times, you know that you’re on the right track to being heard. But if you see a lower trend, take a few minutes to think about how you can repeat, repeat, and repeat again. It’s worth it.

Read more

Test Your Error-Finding Skills

Each of the three short passages below has one error in the choice of a word. Can you find all three errors? Test your skills.

Passage 1: 
Bishara's most recent position was principal designer for Barton and Bloss. In the interviews we conducted, his interviewers gave him the highest amount of positive comments compared with the other applicants. Regrettably, Dr. Su was not able to meet with him. 

Passage 2:
During our vacation in Washington, D.C., we are looking forward to seeing the sites, especially the museums. It will be fun to visit awhile and enjoy our capital and its many treasures. 

Passage 3:
Avoid ambiguity! When writing to individuals who do not speak your language fluently, use words with fewer alternate meanings, i.e., choose seminar, which has only one meaning, over class, which has many. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you made your choices? Below are explanations. 

 

 

 

 

 

Passage 1

The word principal is correct. If you thought principle might be a better choice for "principal designer," not so. The word principle (le) means only "rule" (le). 

Regrettably is also correct. Dr. Su might have had to regretfully decline, but it was regrettable that she was not there. 

The incorrect word is amount. Use number with things you can count, like comments: "the highest number of positive comments." 

 

 

Passage 2

The incorrect word is sites, which means "locations or positions." It should be sights, things to be seen. 

And capital is also correct when referring to a capital of a country, state, or province. Use capitol only when referring to the building in which the legislature meets. For the building where the U.S. Congress meets, use Capitol.  

 

 

Passage 3

The problem is i.e., which means "that is." Example: "He works the graveyard shift, i.e., 11 p.m. to 7 a.m." The test sentence required e.g., which means "for example."

Fewer is correct with countable things: "fewer meanings." Less would be wrong. 

If you thought alternate was wrong, you agree with many strict grammarians, who believe alternative should replace it in the test sentence. Alternate implies a substitution: "When a delegate is unavailable, the alternate may vote." It's also correct for "every other": "alternate Saturdays." Alternative is the right word for something nontraditional ("an alternative newspaper") or for a choice ("alternative meanings"). However, the rule is loosening, and some writers accept "alternate meanings." 

 

How did you do? If you would like more practice identifying the right word, get my 60 Quick Word Fixes, which includes a 45-item test. I also recommend Bryan Garner's HBR Guide to Better Business Writingwhich includes a 34-page appendix, "Common Usage Gaffes." Besides that, it's an excellent business writing guide. 

Which words confuse you? I can trip over some time / sometime / sometimes and palate / palette / pallet, but I just flip through 60 Quick Word Fixes and read my explanation. 

Read more
Page 6 of 10« First...45678...Last »