Writing routine business correspondence - lecture 2-1

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Writing routine business correspondence:

Writing routine business correspondence Part I MEMOs

Quick, easy, effective:

Quick, easy, effective Memorandum memo = “something to be remembered” (Latin) Memo’s chief function : to record information of immediate importance and interest. Other functions : ■ making an announcement ■ providing instructions ■ clarifying a policy, procedure, or issue ■ changing a policy or procedure ■ alerting employees to a problem or issue ■ delegating responsibilities ■ making a request ■ offering suggestions or recommendations ■ providing a record of an important matter ■ confirming an outcome

Memo Protocol:

Memo Protocol Memos reflect a company’s image —its politics, policies, and organization. Most companies have their own memo protocol — accepted ways in which in-house communications are formatted, organized, written, and routed. In the corporate world, protocol determines where your memo will go (chain of command).

Memo parts:

Memo parts Memo consists of 2 parts: the identifying information at the top: To, From, Date, and Subject lines. U se a memo template in your word processing program. and the message itself (the Body ).

Identifying information at the top:

Identifying information at the top To : type the name and job title of the individual(s) who will receive your memo or a copy of it. If your memo is going to more than one reader, make sure you list your readers in the order of their status in your company or agency. Include the reader’s first and last names . If you are on a first-name basis with the reader, use just their first name .

Identifying information at the top:

Identifying information at the top From: type your name (use your first name only if that is how your reader refers to you) and your job title (unless it is unnecessary for your reader). Some writers handwrite their initials after their typed name to verify that the message comes from them.

Identifying information at the top:

Identifying information at the top Subject: key in the purpose of your memo. The subject line serves as the title of your memo; it summarizes your message . Date: Give the full calendar date —September 29, 2011.

The body of the memo:

The body of the memo Questions a memo needs to answer clearly and concisely: 1. When? When did it happen? Is it on, ahead of, or behind schedule? 2. Who? Who is involved? Who will be affected by your message? How many people are involved? 3. Where? Where did it take place or will it take place? 4. Why? Why is it an important topic? 5. Costs? How much will it cost? Will the costs be competitive? 6. Technology? What technology is involved? Why is the technology needed? 7. What’s next? What are the next steps that should be taken as a result of the issues discussed in the memo? What are the implications for the product, service, budget, staff?

Memo style and tone:

Memo style and tone Casual, conversational tone with a co-worker whom you know well. You’ll look friendly and cooperative. Polite and informal. Formal, respectful, official – with employers. Official and straightforward, yet counting peoples feelings, - employers with employees.

4 guidelines for your memo:

4 guidelines for your memo Never forget that your reader is a real person. Keep the reader in the forefront of your memo. Be courteous and tactful. Don’t sound pompous or bureaucratic. Stress the “you,” not the “I” or the “we.”

Strategies for organizing a MEMO:

Strategies for organizing a MEMO Organize your memos so that readers can find information quickly and act on it promptly . For longer communications your message might be divided into three parts: (1) introduction, (2) body or discussion, and (3) conclusion. 3 P’s for success — plan what you are going to say; polish what you wrote before you send it; and proofread everything.

Introduction :

Introduction The introduction of your memo should do the following: ■ Tell readers clearly about the issue, policy, or problem that prompted you to write. ■ Explain briefly any background information the reader needs to know. ■ Be specific about what problem you are going to solve.

Body (Discussion) :

Body (Discussion) In the body, or discussion section, help readers in these ways: ■ State why a problem, procedure, or decision is important; who will be affected by it; and what the consequences are. ■ Indicate why and what changes are necessary. ■ Give precise dates, times, locations, and costs.

Conclusion :

Conclusion State specifically how you want the reader to respond to your memo. To get readers to act appropriately, you can do one or more of the following: ■ Ask readers to call you if they have any questions. ■ Request a reply—in writing, over the telephone, via e-mail, or in person—by a specific date. ■ Provide a list of recommendations that readers are to accept, revise, or reject.

Organizational markers:

Organizational markers Use the following organizational markers, where appropriate: Headings - organize your work and make information easy for readers to follow. Numbered or bulleted lists - help readers see comparisons and contrasts readily and thereby comprehend your ideas more quickly. Underlining or boldfacing - emphasizes key points. BUT! Do not overuse this technique; draw attention only to main points and those that contain summaries or draw conclusions.

Sending memos: e-mail or hard copy? :

Sending memos: e-mail or hard copy? Increasingly as an e-mail or an e-mail attachment. As a printed hard copy if it is: - an official document (for not to be deleted or altered), - confidential (e.g., an evaluation of a co-worker or vendor, a message containing sensitive financial or medical information), it could easily be forwarded or fall victim to hackers.


Exercise Write a memo to your boss saying that you will be out of town two days next week and three days the following week for one of the following reasons: (a) to inspect some land your firm is thinking of buying, (b) to investigate some claims, (c) to look at some new office space for a branch your firm is thinking of opening in a city 500 miles away, (d) to attend a conference sponsored by a professional society, (e) to pay calls on customers. In your memo, be specific about dates, places, times, and reasons.

Exchange your skills:

Exchange your skills Evaluate your colleague’s MEMO to this checklist : ■ Used appropriate and consistent format. ■ Announced purpose of memo early and clearly. ■ Organized memo according to reader’s need for information, putting main ideas up front, providing necessary documentation, and supplying conclusion. ■ Wrote clearly and concisely. ■ Included bullets, lists, and underscoring where necessary to reflect logic and organization of memo and make it easier to read for the audience. ■ Refrained from overloading reader with unnecessary details.