On February 25, 2020, Russian New University (RosNOU) hosted a meeting of students with one of the authors of the book “Effective Business Communication. “Magic Pills” for Business People”, doctor of philological sciences Larisa Selezneva. The book was published by EKSMO Publishing House in 2019 and nominated by readers for the “Business Book of the Year” award for business literature.
The meeting was organized by Associate Professor of the Russian Language and Publishing Business Department of RosNOU’s Institute of Technologies for Humanities Marina Antropova as part of the scientific project “World Scientists for RosNOU Students”.
Larisa Selezneva told students about what had inspired her and her co-author to write the book, as well as about the relevance of the problems raised in it.
“Together with Olga Severskaya, we created our book under the auspices of the “Total Dictation”*. The idea of the book had been hovering around us for a long time as apart from scientific work and teaching we also conduct training sessions for different companies. The business community has many questions: how to communicate correctly, how to conduct business correspondence, how to build a business reputation. We are also interested in the increasing role of interpersonal and intercultural communication in society. We decided to cover all these topics in our book.”
* Total Dictation is an annual Russian literacy test organized in hundreds of cities in Russia and around the world. The test is free and anyone can take part in it. The goal of Total Dictation is to draw attention to issues of literacy and to develop a culture of literate writing.
The book consists of two parts: the first one is devoted to oral communication in business and the second one is a guide to written language. Together with students, Larisa Selezneva analyzed the most common errors for Russian business correspondence**.
** The recommendations given below apply to business communication in Russian and may not apply to business communication in other languages.
“Errors arise due to insufficient competence of the addresser and addressee. Therefore, you need to know the basic rules applied in business written communication. Addressing someone, write “You” with a capital letter; when greeting, it is better to use “Dear Anatoly!” instead of “Hello / good afternoon / good evening, Anatoly!” – the reference to the time of the day came from spoken language. Avoid connecting paragraphs with “also” and always use the direct word order. At the end of the letter, you can add "Looking forward to further fruitful cooperation…". Try to observe the status-role nature of the correspondence, using the formula “let me (us) + performative”: “let me apply”, “let me ask.”
Among the problems that arise in the process of business correspondence, Larisa Selezneva pointed out the “clerical virus” – excessive use of clericalism.
“You should avoid hyper-politeness: instead of “Can I sit down, please?”, "Can I sit down?" will be enough. Do not use worn-out clichés: the expressions "Meaning?" or “I’ve heard you” may hurt the interlocutor’s feelings or be misunderstood by him or her. It would be more correct to say: “What did you mean?” and "Yes, I understand you, I will think about it". When you say something to your interlocutor, always complete the phrase to the end: for instance, instead of “Morning!” you should use "Good morning".
Appeal to your interlocutor correctly. If you use the word "dear", then after it comes the name. If you only know the person’s last name, then use "mister/miss or madam". Examples: “Dear Ivan”, “Dear Mr. Sidorov”. Using “Dear Ivan Sidorov” or “Mr. I. Sidorov” is unacceptable.”
Larisa Selezneva said that during communication with the interlocutor, it is necessary to remember the principle of cooperation set by English scientist and communicator Herbert Grice. According to this principle, communication should be built on four maxims. Maxim of completeness of information says that the letter should contain no more and no less information that is required. Maxim of the quality of information calls not to use unverified facts. Maxim of relevance means that during the dialogue you cannot evade the topic; the statement should concern only the essence of the matter. And the last, fourth, maxim is that you need to express your thoughts clearly, consistently and avoid ambiguity.
“Speech behavior can increase your reputation, make your professional activities more effective and useful, expand the circle of your partners,” – said Larisa Selezneva. “I wish you successful communication and achievement of your goals!”