Message Planning QuestionsWhat are the purpose and scope of your message?What is your purpose in writing this messageâ€”that is, what do you want this message to do?What is the most important thing for your reader to understand from your report?Is your purpose realistic? (B&T 92)What is the scope of your message â€“ what do you include and what do you leave out? Why?Will this message change anything?How would you describe the situation in which youâ€™re communicating?What is the urgent problem or concern that requires a response?Who are the stakeholders of this message–who benefits and suffers in this situation?Are there questions about jurisdiction or responsibility?Are you writing or speaking as yourself or as a representative of another person or entity?By what physical, legal, and organizational constraints are you bound?Is this the appropriate time and place in which to communicate the message?What medium is most suitable for this message and situation?For which audience will you plan?Who will have access to this message? Of these people, who will read it?How long will this message be accessible?Who is your target audience â€“ those with the power to make the changes your message requires?Who is your secondary audience â€“ those who should know about your message, but may not be in aposition to do anything about it?Are there others who will â€œoverhearâ€ your writing? Will you address them and their concerns? How?Which group defines the issue or question most similarly to the way you do?Do you want to adapt to all your potential audiences, or just certain ones?What are the characteristics of each audience?What are the demographic features of this audience? Be careful of stereotypes!What are this audienceâ€™s goals, concerns, values, prejudices, interests?With whom do the members of this group identify?What is this audienceâ€™s attitude toward you?Why would this audience be interested in the message or the general topic?What is this audienceâ€™s attitude toward your argument or position?What does your audience already know about the topic?Do they already hold a position on the topic? How strongly?How receptive will they be to what you have to say?What more will they need to know to fulfill your purpose?What level of detail would meet this audienceâ€™s needs?What does the audience expect of your choice of language, level of formality, and writing style?List terms and procedures that are important to your research, but that your audience may not recognizeor fully understand. Include terms that you use in an unconventional way and terms that may havemultiple meanings.What kind of reasoning will work best with this audience? What kind of evidence will be most convincingto them? How can you use ethos (writerâ€™s/speakerâ€™s character and credibility) to advance yourposition? How can you use pathos (emotional appeals) to advance your position? How can you uselogos (logical appeals) to advance your position? What else can you do to present your argument inthe most favorable and ethical way possible?
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