4 Structuring messages
A useful four-stage structure for developing written or spoken messages is: Situation, Target, Proposal, Courtesy (STPC). This is described in Figure 3.
Activity 3 Start using STPC in Mary’s email
Some of the text from Mary’s email has been written in a more positive fashion, so now you need to arrange the sentences into a STPC structure. Click on each extract and drag it to the space where you think it belongs. You will be given feedback as you place the words and phrases.
You may have noticed that paying attention to the structure of a message such as this, and taking account of supporting your relationship with the recipient, is important in developing clarity and trust. In this case the proposed action is framed as a suggestion and gives the recipient, Shamela, some choice as to how to proceed. Also notice how the message begins and ends in an upbeat, positive tone.
Communicative features such as the clarity, positive tone and courtesy of this email strongly contribute to how the recipient will perceive the sender. A lot depends on the purpose of the written communication and in some cases a more directive message may be appropriate. However, in all messages you are creating an impression of yourself and as you will see these are important in on-going dialogue.