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Letters and Memos. Steve Wood TCCC. 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

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letters and memos

Letters and Memos

Steve Wood


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 reports3
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 letters5
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 letters6
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 mails8
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 mails9
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 mails10
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 mails11
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, 3rd ed.

smart e mail practices13
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, 3rd ed.

smart e mail practices14
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, 3rd ed.