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• what his "reaction” is likely to be (so you can choose an

approach designed to persuade or convince). In planning this communication

a. Decide EXACTLY what you want him to DO or to KNOW

as a result of your communication (list these points)

b. Plan to give him enough background information and explana

tion so he knows not only WHAT you want but WHY AND WHEN YOU WANT IT.

Organizing Your Writing

Organization is a communication tool

The speaker can use many tools in communicating-language, the organization of his material, gestures, facial expressions, voice inflection, and change of pace.

The writer has only two: language (word choice) and organization. His word choice is vitally important. But the way he organizes the whole communication and each of its parts (paragraphs and sentences) is equally important.

In this section, we speak only of organizing the whole communication; later sections deal with organizing paragraphs and sentences.

Organization is for the reader

Though organizing helps the writer in his thinking, all organization is for the reader. It consists principally of:

1. sorting out, from the mass of data or information, what the

reader needs

2. grouping those topics that belong together (these groups later

become paragraphs in letters-sections in longer documents)

3. arranging these groupings into an overall pattern that shows

how each relates to the others and how they add up to a conclusion.

This is the writer's job. The reader is often too unfamiliar with the subject matter (and with the way the writer is dealing with it) to do the organizing job well. Even if he can, he should not be obliged to do for himself what the writer is expected to do as part of his job in the communication process.

Techniques of organizing

When we speak of organizing, we do not mean simply coming up with a format. Nor do we mean preparing a formal outline except for the long, complex communication (which requires one).

Since paragraphs show the organization of the document, we are referring to the process by which you decide how to assemble ideas or information on a given topic into a paragraph and how to arrange these paragraphs into a pattern suitable for the type of communication and for the reader.

Sounds formidable? It need not be. You can select a method (the simpler, the better) that fits in well with your work habits. Here are some suggestions that may help:

1. List the main points your communication will cover.

Each will probably become a paragraph unless, during the organizing process, you find that the point (topic) is too heavy to be manageable and needs to be broken into sub

topics.
2. Jot down under each point key words, facts, statements, cita-

tions, etc., relating to it.
Don't try for a final arrangement at this point, especially if
you have a number of items. Just get them down under their

main headings.
3. Next, rework the items under each main heading. Put them

in proper sequence. (You can do this by simply numbering
them.)
Remember the natural emphasis points of the paragraph and
let them work for you. Put the points you want to emphasize
where the reader can't miss them—at the beginning or the
end of the paragraph.
If your reworking shows you that the topic is too heavy-
that you've included too much under one heading—come up
with headings for subtopics. Each of them will become a

paragraph.
4. Finally, decide on paragraph order—on the pattern of organi-

zation for your letter, memorandum, or report.

Patterns of paragraph order

Although you have a large variety of patterns to choose from, only the three most commonly used will be highlighted here:

the logical (problem-solving) pattern
the psychological pattern

the chronological (time-order or narrative) pattern The logical, or problem-solving, pattern gives the answer or the conclusion AT THE END of the communication as a climax to facts and discussions shown earlier.

The psychological pattern is in reverse order. It answers the question, makes a general statement, or gives the conclusion FIRST and then gives supporting facts and the reasoning that led to the conclusion.

The chronological pattern lists events in the order they have occurred or are to occur.

1. The logical pattern

13,

This pattern has become almost traditional with us. We use it not only in most of our reports but in many of our letters and memos as well. Paragraphs in this pattern would follow this kind of sequence:

Cite authority for the com- This refers to your letter of June
munication:
Identify or restate the ques- in which you ask why you are not
tion or issue:

entitled to a dependency credit for

your daughter ... Give pertinent facts: You indicate that she lives in your

home and that you pay all her expenses except those covered by the $100 which your estranged

husband sends you each month. Cite the governing section Section

of of the Code or regula- provides ... tions: Discuss application of the To be entitled to a dependency law to this case:

credit, a taxpayer must substantiate the fact that he contributed more than 50 percent of the total cost of the dependent's support during 19%,

Give conclusion or recom-
mendation:

If you have cancelled checks or other receipts which show ... please send them to us promptly so we can reconsider your claim. If you have not, please complete the enclosed waiver and return ...

This arrangement is a written documentation of the way the writer thought through the problem. He takes his reader, step by step, from the statement of the problem to the conclusion.

It is an easy pattern for the writer. In fact, he can use it as a guide for solving the problem. In countless instances it has served both us and the receiver well.

It can, however, pose a problem for the receiver who is less interested in how the writer reached the conclusion than in the conclusion itself. The reader often becomes impatient while following the writer's reasoning. He wants his answer as soon as possible and considers the suspense time-consuming.

Those who frequently receive revenue material often avoid this suspense. They're familiar with the pattern—know where to find the conclusion. They read the opening paragraphs, which give the issue. Then they skip over the intervening material to the conclusion or recommendation. Finally, they go back and check the facts and reasoning against the writer's conclusion.

When they do this, they're converting the logical pattern to the psychological one that many readers prefer.

2. The psychological pattern

A letter in this pattern might have its paragraphs in this order:

Identify the question or is- The dependency credit you claimed sue and give the answer or for your daughter was disallowed conclusion at once:

because it was also claimed by another taxpayer, who has submitted information substantiating

his claim. Give the reason or the A dependency credit is allowed governing law:

the person who is able to show that he contributed more than 50

percent of the total cost ... Show how it applies in this If you have cancelled checks or case:

other receipts which show that you

furnished more than half of the
support, please send them to us
promptly so we can reconsider
your claim.
If you have not, please complete
the enclosed waiver and return
it ...

The taxpayer who wants to know the answer to a specific question may not be interested in the law or even in the underlying philosophy. He may want only his answer. You save his time and you meet his need directly when you use this pattern. There is a fringe benefit, too; you improve the image of the Service when you answer the taxpayer's question directly instead of burying it at the end of a long dissertation.

The manager who tries to keep abreast of an increasing tide of reading matter will appreciate this pattern. He can read the opening paragraphs and know what your letter or memorandum is about, who authorized it, and what your conclusion or recommendation is. Without reading the entire document, he has the essential information.

The psychological pattern is suited to the following types of communications:

Very short letters
Very long memos or reports
Letters that say “yes”

Letters on noncontroversial subjects It is ideally suited to letters that say “yes.” If you have good news for the reader, give it as early as possible in the letter. In letters that must say “no," the traditional (logical) pattern may be better. The negative answer may be more palatable if the reader understands the reasons for the answer—reasons that he might not read if he had received the full force of the “no” in the first few lines.

3. The chronological pattern

This pattern is useful when ideas or information may be presented as a series of events. Here, the logical thing—and the easy thing for the readeris to start at the beginning and go straight through to the end.

This pattern is often used in letters which answer questions raised by the taxpayer or his Congressman about the progress we are making in auditing a return or in processing a claim for refund.

Often, however, we leave to the last paragraph the general statement about where we stand at this point. Taking the approach used in the

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