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Activity 14.7

Outlining an Oral Presentation (Objs. 1, 2)

One of the hardest parts of preparing an oral presentation is developing the outline.

Your Task. Select an oral presentation topic from the list in Activity 14.16, or suggest an original topic. Prepare an outline for your presentation using the following format:




State your name


Gain attention and involve audience


Establish credibility


Preview main points




Main point


Illustrate, clarify, contrast





Main point


Illustrate, clarify, contrast





Main point


Illustrate, clarify, contrast






Summarize main points


Provide final focus or take-away


Encourage questions

Choosing a Topic for an Oral Presentation (Objs. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)

Activity 14.16

Your Task. Select a topic from the following list or from the report topics in the activities at the ends of Chapters 11 and 12. For an expanded list of report topics, go to the student premium site and look under “Writing Resources.” Individually or as a team, prepare a five- to ten-minute oral presentation. Consider yourself an expert or a team of experts called in to explain some aspect of the topic before a group of interested people. Because your time is limited, prepare a concise yet forceful presentation with effective visual aids.

Partner 1

Partner 2

1.  You are the personnel manager of Datatronics, Inc. Call Elizabeth Franklin, office manager at Computers Plus. Inquire about a job applicant, Chelsea Chavez, who listed Ms. Franklin as a reference. Respond to Partner 2.

2.  Call Ms. Franklin again the following day to inquire about the same job applicant, Chelsea Chavez. Ms. Franklin answers today, but she talks on and on, describing the applicant in great detail. Tactfully end the conversation.

3.  You are now the receptionist for Tom Wing, of Wing Imports. Answer a call for Mr. Wing, who is working in another office, at Extension 134, where he will accept calls.

4.  You are now Tom Wing, owner of Wing Imports. Call your attorney, Michael Murphy, about a legal problem. Leave a brief, incomplete message.

5.  Call Mr. Murphy again. Leave a message that will prevent telephone tag.

1.  You are the receptionist for Computers Plus. The caller asks for Elizabeth Franklin, who is home sick today. You don’t know when she will be able to return. Answer the call appropriately.

2.  You are now Ms. Franklin, office manager. Describe Chelsea Chavez, an imaginary employee. Think of someone with whom you have worked. Include many details, such as her ability to work with others, her appearance, her skills at computing, her schooling, her ambition, and so forth.

3.  You are now an administrative assistant for attorney Michael Murphy. Call Tom Wing to verify a meeting date Mr. Murphy has with Mr. Wing. Use your own name in identifying yourself.

4.  You are now the receptionist for attorney Michael Murphy. Mr. Murphy is skiing in Aspen and will return in two days, but he doesn’t want his clients to know where he is. Take a message.

5.  Take a message again as the receptionist for attorney Michael Murphy.

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If this is a group presentation, form a team of three or four members and conduct thorough research on one of the following topics, as directed by your instructor. Follow the tips on team presentations in this chapter. Divide the tasks fairly, meet for discussions and rehearsals, and crown your achievement with a 15- to 20-minute presentation to your class. Make your multimedia presentation interesting and dynamic.

1.  How can businesses benefit from Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook? Cite specific examples in your chosen field.

2.  Which is financially more beneficial to a business, leasing or buying company cars?

3.  Tablet computers and other devices are eroding the market share previously held by laptops and netbooks. Which brands are businesses embracing and why? Which features are a must-have for businesspeople?

4.  What kind of marketing works with students on college campuses? Word of mouth? Internet advertising? Free samples? How do students prefer to get information about goods and services?

5.  How can consumers protect themselves from becoming victims of identity theft?

6.  Companies usually do not admit shortcomings. However, some admit previous failures and use them to strategic advantage. For example, Domino’s Pizza ran a commercial in which its customers said that its pizza tasted like ketchup and cardboard. Find three or more examples of companies admitting weaknesses and draw conclusions from their strategies. Would you recommend this as a sound marketing ploy?

7.  How can students and other citizens contribute to conserving gasoline and other fossil fuel in order to save money and help slow global climate change?

8.  What is the career outlook in a field of your choice? Consider job growth, compensation, and benefits. What kind of academic or other experience is typically required in your field?

9.  What is the economic outlook for a given product, such as hybrid cars, laptop computers, digital cameras, fitness equipment, or a product of your choice?

10.What is telecommuting, and for what kinds of workers is it an appropriate work alternative?

11.What are the Webby Awards, and what criteria do the judges use to evaluate websites?

12.What franchise would offer the best investment opportunity for an entrepreneur in your area?

13.What should a guide to proper smartphone etiquette include?

14.Why should a company have a written e-mail, Web use, and social media policy?

15.Where should your organization hold its next convention?

16.What is the outlook for real estate (commercial or residential) investment in your area?

17.What do the personal assistants for celebrities do, and how does one become a personal assistant? (Investigate the Association of Celebrity Personal Assistants.)

18.What kinds of gifts are appropriate for businesses to give clients and customers during the holiday season?

19.What scams are on the Federal Trade Commission’s list of top 10 consumer scams, and how can consumers avoid falling for them?

20.How can your organization or institution improve its image?

21.What are the pros and cons of using Prezi zoom presentations? Would they be appropriate in your field?

22.How can consumers protect themselves against identity theft?

23.What franchise would offer the best investment opportunity for an entrepreneur in your area?

24.What are the differences among casual, business casual, and business formal attire?

25.What is a sustainable business? What can companies do to become sustainable?

26.What smartphone apps are available that will improve a businessperson’s productivity?

Possible Other Topics

·  Yardstick Report: Comparing Textbook Options (Obj. 5)

Play the part of the treasurer for Delta Chi Kappa, a business association at your college or university. After some members bought textbooks at the campus bookstore recently, they complained about how expensive they were. Some members said that because of the expense, they didn’t buy some of the textbooks they needed last semester, which hurt their grades. Lower grades could lead to the loss of scholarships and reduced job opportunities.

The executive committee of Delta Chi Kappa asks you to identify alternatives to buying full-priced hard-copybooks at the campus bookstore. What criteria are most important? The committee is most interested in the best price (including shipping charges) and availability. Even a low price is useless if the book is not readily available.

One option for students, of course, is to continue buying books at the campus bookstore. Some instructors and students, however, are buying books for the Chronos Player. The Chronos Player is a hardware/software device for reading a proprietary e-book file format—that is, books that play only on this device. Some publishers and bookstores are now renting books, which is a distinct possibility. Students can also buy books online, or they can download e-books as PDF files for a fee. All of these options seem like reasonable alternatives to buying full-priced hard-copy books at the campus bookstore. A few students love e-books because they are instantly accessible and cost much less up front than their print counterparts. However, some complain about the poor readability of textbooks accessed on mobile devices.

For the study, you choose a representative sample of four textbooks: Modern Perspectives on World History, Case Studies in Business Writing, Abstract Algebra: Theory and Practice, and Astronomy for Non-Majors. You check the prices and availability of the books at the campus bookstore, on websites that specialize in renting textbooks, on websites that sell hard-copy books, and on websites that sell e-books. You check the price of the Chronos Player and the prices and availability of books that play on this device. You evaluate readability by seeing how easy a textbook is to read (only a concern with e-books and the Chronos Player). Delivery times for books purchased and rented online are less important because most online vendors deliver books in three to five business days.

Price is by far the most important criterion, so you assign it a weight of 6. You assign availability a weight of 3 and readability a weight of 1.

Average Price. At the campus bookstore, the average price of each book is $130 and the average buyback price is $50, making the average net price $80. The better the condition of the book is when you return it, the more the campus bookstore pays. The average price on the Chronos Player is $148, and the average price of its books is $9, making the average price of a book $148 ÷ 4 + $9 = $46. The average price to rent the four books for one semester is $23 per book. The average price is $37 per book to buy the four books online. None of the online booksellers has a buyback option. The average price of the four books as e-books is $49 per book, which the following chart shows.

Availability. The campus bookstore has all four of the books in stock. Only one of the four books is available for the Chronos Player. A wider selection of books for the Chronos Player is available for the mass market than for the college market. Textbookheaven claims it has over 2.1 million textbooks for rent and offers prepaid return shipping. Three of the four books are available on this site, which consistently offered the lowest prices on book rentals. Two online booksellers, Dirtcheap and Slickshopper, each had three of the four books. Geniusbooks had two of the four books as e-books. Other e-booksellers had smaller selections.

Readability. You judge all hard-copy books as most readable. Formatting issues and small print on small screens, especially on smartphones and small tablets, make e-books the least readable. Although books on the Chronos Player are easier to read than typical e-books, the device is relatively hard to use.

Your Task. Write a memo report of five or fewer pages and address it to the organization’s members. Include conclusions and recommendations, a bar chart showing the availability of books, and a decision matrix.

·  12.29

Yardstick Report: Jobless Young Worker Starts a Business (Obj. 5)

Four months ago, as a recent graduate, you lost your job with Focal Lens Corporation when the contact lens manufacturer downsized. After four months of trying to find full-time employment with another company, you are running out of money.

You decide to take control of your own destiny by becoming an entrepreneur. You evaluate your interests and skills, and ponder the following four potential services:

·  A pet-sitting business (you’ll do the sitting at customers’ homes)

·  A yard work company (weeding, planting, leaf raking, snow shoveling, and possibly hanging and removing holiday decorations)

·  An errand service (including dropping off dry cleaning, paying bills, and grocery shopping)

·  An aquarium maintenance service (residential and commercial)

Next you need to decide how to evaluate each of the four options fairly, and to do that, you choose to create a decision matrix. You must select criteria to evaluate the four potential ventures. Because you need time to continue seeking full-time employment (unless the new business really takes off), the most important criterion is the time per week the business will require and the schedule flexibility it offers. Hence, you assign this criterion a weight of 8.

Because you are running out of money, start-up costs are important, and each option has relatively low start-up costs. Therefore, you assign this criterion a weight of 6. Each business you’re considering is likely to meet with at least some demand. You want a business with enough demand to make money, which is why you assign demand a weight of 4. Moreover, the degree of competition is important because you want to able to make a reasonable profit, and more competitors means more competition based on price. You give competition a weight of 3. Of course, legal and safety considerations are important with every business. However, you judge the liability and safety risks to be about equal for all options, so you omit these criteria from the evaluation.

Time per Week and Schedule Flexibility. Pet sitting requires the least amount of time and offers the greatest schedule flexibility per week. Once you get the pet(s) situated, you can use your laptop to look for other jobs. Aquarium maintenance is second best in terms of time and schedule flexibility. This business will demand less time per week than yard work would require. The third best option is yard work because you believe it offers more schedule flexibility than running an errand service would. With an errand service, you are at the mercy of your customers. You must be available whenever the customer needs you and work for as long as the customer wants.

Start-Up Costs. Compared to the other three options, pet sitting requires minimal start-up costs. The most significant outlays include pet-sitter insurance, website creation, and a pet first-aid class. An errand service generates the next lowest start-up costs because you already have a car. The only other major expenditures are gas, car maintenance, and a navigation system. As for aquarium maintenance, you would have to buy an aquarium cleaning siphon, an algae scraper, water test kits, filter media, fish medication, replacement fish (in case the meds don’t work), fish food, and a portable filter for “polishing” your customers’ aquarium water. Of the four options, yard work comes with the steepest start-up costs. Unless you want to wear yourself out in a hurry, you’ll need to buy a riding lawnmower, so that you can handle big jobs. You will also need a trimmer/edger, a trailer, and eventually a pickup truck.

Demand for the Service. Some people love to do yard work, but many hate it. Some loathe it so much that they find a way to pay for yard service even when their income is low. You judge the demand for yard work as highest of the four options. The next highest demand is for pet sitting. Boarding a pet at a kennel is very expensive, and it can be traumatic to take a pet from its home. You judge the demand for an errand service as having the next highest demand. The idea of using a personal assistant is starting to catch on, especially because the population is aging and consequently less mobile. An aquarium maintenance service has the least demand because few homes and businesses have aquariums.

Degree of Competition. The advantage of lackluster demand for acquarium maintenance is that it attracts the least competition of the four business options. Next, the errand service has relatively little competition followed by pet sitting, which draws less competition than yard service but faces more competition than the other options. Yard service is a very competitive business—the most competitive of the four.

Your Task. Write a letter report of five or fewer pages. Include conclusions, recommendations, and a two-part decision matrix with the rankings in the first matrix and the weighted rankings in the second matrix. Using the decision matrix as a basis for your conclusions and recommendations will make writing this report easier.

·  12.30

Yardstick Report: Parking Problem at Caputi’s Italian Restaurant (Obj. 5)

You have always enjoyed the great food at Caputi’s Italian Restaurant, owned by your uncle Guido. Caputi’s is a formal, upscale dining Italian restaurant in downtown Tempe, Arizona, near the campus of a major university where you are a student. Because of its steadily increasing business, Caputi’s has outgrown its small parking lot, which has only 20 parking spaces.

Frustrated over their inability to park in the restaurant’s lot, some potential customers give up and go elsewhere to eat. Some of the regulars have also disappeared. Caputi’s cannot add parking spaces because adjacent land is unavailable. However, according to Guido, “The problem is not a lack of parking spaces; it’s a lack of willingness on the part of customers to walk from where they parked to the restaurant.” To pay its debts, the restaurant needs to continue to grow. Guido says, “Relocation is out of the question—this spot is too good!”

Guido wants you to evaluate options to ease the parking problem, using criteria that he and you develop. The options are to

1.  use a valet service with attendants who park and later retrieve cars for patrons,

2.  run a free shuttle service between the restaurant and a nearby parking garage, and

3.  advertise the availability of nearby parking garages and bus routes on the restaurant’s website and in the restaurant.

The criteria are

4.  the cost to the restaurant to implement the solution,

5.  the cost to the customer to use the solution,

6.  the ease of implementation for the restaurant, and

7.  convenience to the customer


Besides talking to Guido, you interview a valet parking company about its services and fees, and you interview the managers of the nearby parking garages about availability and prices. You survey 40 of the restaurant’s customers about their willingness to use a valet service and the price they would be willing to pay for the service.

You explain what a decision matrix is to Guido, and together you decide on the weights of the criteria. The net profit (or loss) to the restaurant to implement the solution receives a weight of 10. The cost to the customer to use the solution receives a weight of 6. The ease of implementation for the restaurant receives a weight of 4. The convenience to the customer receives a weight of 8.

Cost to the Restaurant to Implement a Solution. The least expensive valet service in town sent you a quotation that pegs a patron’s charge at $7 per car, an amount that includes a $2 flat fee for parking at a nearby parking garage. The valet parking company has offered its service free of charge to the restaurant.

The major costs of operating a shuttle service are about $1,500 to buy a van and $200 per week to pay an employee to drive the van between the garage and the restaurant during dinner hours. Costs to advertise available parking options on the restaurant’s website and at the restaurant are about $200.

Cost to the Customer. The per-vehicle charge of $7 plus a customer tips for valet service of about $3 makes the valet service the costliest option. The shuttle service is free to customers. Similarly, learning about the availability of nearby parking garages and bus routes on the restaurant’s website and at the restaurant is free to customers.

Ease of Implementation. Advertising parking options is the most convenient option for the restaurant because it takes the least amount of time and effort. Offering a valet service is the second most convenient option for the restaurant. Although the valet service does most of the work, this option requires more weekly administrative work for the restaurant than advertising requires. Caputi’s may also need to provide food and beverages for valets. Operating a shuttle service is the least convenient option for the restaurant because it requires the restaurant to buy a van; pay a driver; and provide fuel, maintenance, and insurance.

Convenience to the Customer. A valet service is the most convenient option for customers because this option results in the fastest entry into the restaurant. Your survey shows that 90 percent of the customers are willing to use the service. A shuttle service is the second most convenient option for customers. It is not as convenient as driving to the restaurant entrance and leaving a car with a valet. Advertising offers information to customers but not any significant convenience, making it the least convenient option.

Your Task. Guido is relying on you to analyze the data and help him make a decision. Write a memo report of three or fewer pages. Prepare a decision matrix with the weights provided. For each criterion in the decision matrix, give the option that ranks highest a ranking of 3, the option that ranks second highest a ranking of 2, and the option that ranks lowest a ranking of 1. Multiply each weight by the ranking, repeat for the other criteria, and then sum up the results to compute a total. From your decision matrix, draw conclusions and then make recommendations. Overall, which option is best? Should you still recommend advertising the parking options?


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