114 Letters and Memos

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Letters and Memos:

Letters and Memos Steve Wood TCCC

Formal vs. Informal Reports:

Formal vs. Informal Reports Professional reports are divided into two categories. Formal reports are reports with a specified organization; they include items such as: Title page Table of Contents Executive Summary or Abstract Distinct chapters or sections Works Cited or Sources page

Formal vs. Informal Reports:

Formal vs. Informal Reports Most professional reports, however, are informal reports. Informal reports take one of two forms: letters and memos (including e-mail). The vast majority of communication that goes on internally (within an organization) or externally (between organizations, or between organizations and individuals) takes the form of a letter, memo, or e-mail.

Effective Letters:

Effective Letters Clear content – Since you won’t be present when a letter is read to clarify any potential misunderstanding AND since business letters are written to accomplish a specific purpose (often involving money), the message conveyed by the letter must be clear.

Effective Letters:

Effective Letters A Tone of Goodwill – Effective communication doesn’t just carry a message; it also enhances or maintains the relationship between the sender and receiver. By analyzing the audience and using the “you” view, a writer can accomplish both.

Effective Letters:

Effective Letters Correct Form – The world of business is often conservative and traditional and, as such, expects letters to follow the traditional formats. Most word-processing programs have letter templates or letter wizards to guide you through the formatting.

Effective Memos and E-mails:

Effective Memos and E-mails To, From, Date, Subject Headings – Since they are usually internal documents, memos condense the details of a letter down to the four essential elements: To: From: Date: Subject:

Effective Memos and E-mails:

Effective Memos and E-mails Single topic – Good memos only deal with a single subject. The second or third subjects discussed in a memo or e-mail often get lost. If you have more than one subject, send more than one memo.

Effective Memos and E-mails:

Effective Memos and E-mails Conversational Tone – Because they are internal, a more conversational tone can be used in a memo or e-mail. Be careful, though; e-mails are easily sent, and difficult to take back. People will often say things in a e-mail that they would not say face-to-face.

Effective Memos and E-mails:

Effective Memos and E-mails Conciseness – Memos and e-mail do not need a lot of filler, background, or goodwill efforts; they should focus on the message.

Effective Memos and E-mails:

Effective Memos and E-mails Graphic highlighting – Use techniques like bulleted or numbered lists and bolding to highlight information. Be careful with e-mail; sometimes formatting is lost in the transmission of a message because the receiving program will not recognize it.

Smart E-Mail Practices:

Smart E-Mail Practices Get the address right. Avoid misleading subject lines. Be concise. Don’t send anything you wouldn’t want published. Don’t use e-mail to avoid contact. Never respond when you’re angry. Guffey, Business Communication , 3 rd ed.

Smart E-Mail Practices:

Smart E-Mail Practices Care about correctness. Resist humor and tongue-in-cheek comments. Limit any tendency to send blanket copies. Use design to improve readability of longer messages. Guffey, Business Communication , 3 rd ed.

Smart E-Mail Practices:

Smart E-Mail Practices Consider cultural differences. Double-check before hitting the Send button. Protect against e-mail break ins. Don’t CC someone a message just to make the original recipient pay more attention. Guffey, Business Communication , 3 rd ed.

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