Seven stages are identified, each with a clear social purpose, and which broadly move through opening routines, input and action, to closing routines.
This guides the structure and accompanying content of a text, features of the style and vocabulary used, in particular in respect of agency, action and risk, and interpersonal techniques. These include differences in representation between the greeting and leave-taking stages of a communication and the central body of content.
Building Meaning Across a Text
Meaning for clients is determined by
how 'participants' are represented in relation to 'processes' (the way things are or what is happening);
via modes of interaction such as framing statements or offers and use of acknowledgement or contradiction to name a few;
pronoun and possessive usage can construct subtle but significant shifts in understanding when negotiating advice and action.
Critically, modality has a decisive and easily confusing role to play both in communicating risk and negotiating relationships.
These features of language are looked at in more detail after we examine short and long exemplars of the seven social stages of a client communication.
Open and Close stages 1, 2, 6 and 7
These stages act to reduce social distance and make the professional accessible through a range of formulaic polite language; a focus on the professional and client, and communication between them; and creating a relationship trajectory of past and future contact.
Advisory stages 3, 4 and 5
These stages act to interpret and represent specialist matters and advise the client. Comparatively short sentences aid clarity. Even arcs of meaning when communicating probability and desirability ensure clear risk assessment.