1.9 Planning Checklist

Linda Macdonald

Image of business people having a conversation while walking.

John Thill and Courtland Bovee (Thill, J. V., & Bovee, C. L., 2004), two leading authors in the field of business communication, have created a checklist for planning business messages. Use the following checklist, adapted here, to ensure you have adequately prepared to write your message:

  1. Assess the context for your message, including the timing, location, and cultural environment.
  2. Determine your general purpose: Are you trying to inform, persuade, entertain, facilitate interaction, or motivate a reader?
  3. Determine your specific purpose (the desired outcome– what you want your audience to think, feel, or do).
  4. Make sure your purpose is realistic.
  5. Determine audience size and composition.
  6. Determine audience knowledge and awareness of topic.
  7. Anticipate probable responses.
  8. Select an appropriate channel.
  9. Make sure the information provided is accurate, ethical, and pertinent.
  10. Make sure your language is inclusive.
  11. Make sure your sources are credible.
  12. Make sure the message reflects positively on you and your business.

Photo: “New York City Street Scenes – Shadows of Business People at Evening Rush Hour, Herald Square” by Steven Pisano is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Thill, J. V., & Bovee, C. L. (2004). Business communication today (8th ed.). Prentice Hall.




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