best practices for effective written correspondence

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This presentation discusses best practices for composing effective written correspondence. Topics discussed I this presentation are as follows: preparing correspondence; choosing technical level; level of technical expertise; elements of style; standard parts of a letter; structure of business letters, letter patterns--space pattern, changing perspective pattern; explanations, analyses, evaluations, personal disclosures, adjustments, causal pattern, proportional pattern; writing effective memos, language for correspondence, you attitude --reader awareness; memo format and parts; memo structure, memo--succeeding paragraphs, memoconclusion, memo--good news/bad news; and effective email messages.


  • 1. Effective WrittenEffective Written CorrespondenceCorrespondence For Technical & Business Writers Creating Results-Oriented Letters, Memos & Emails

2. Writing ProcessWriting Process PreparingPreparing brainstormbrainstorm researchresearch assess audienceassess audience define purposedefine purpose DraftingDrafting RevisingRevising re-read forre-read for contentcontent stylestyle structurestructure formatformat 3. Choosing TechnicalChoosing Technical LevelLevel High - expert, professional peerHigh - expert, professional peer Semi - counterpart in differentSemi - counterpart in different departmentdepartment Non - laypersonNon - layperson 4. Level of TechnicalLevel of Technical ExpertiseExpertise EqualEqual -- specialized languagespecialized language LessLess -- avoid jargonavoid jargon RequestedRequested -- avoid long introsavoid long intros Decision-Decision- -- offer clear recsoffer clear recs MakerMaker 5. Political, Ethical, LegalPolitical, Ethical, Legal ConsiderationsConsiderations Predisposition ofPredisposition of AudienceAudience PreviousPrevious CommunicationCommunication Exaggeration,Exaggeration, Understatement orUnderstatement or False PromisesFalse Promises 6. Elements of StyleElements of Style ConciseConcise OrganizedOrganized NaturalNatural Appropriately FriendlyAppropriately Friendly 7. Is it naturalIs it natural Or is it something else?Or is it something else? It is imperative thatIt is imperative that managerialmanagerial facilitation pertainingfacilitation pertaining to orientation of newto orientation of new employees beemployees be undertaken at allundertaken at all levels of authoritylevels of authority blah blah blah.blah blah blah. 8. Something else...Something else... Your presentation stunk. I told youYour presentation stunk. I told you NOT to use slides. Didnt youNOT to use slides. Didnt you attend my training sessions onattend my training sessions on public speaking??? Obviously, youpublic speaking??? Obviously, you werent paying attention!werent paying attention! 9. Standard Parts of aStandard Parts of a LetterLetter HeadingHeading InsideInside AddressAddress SalutationSalutation Letter TextLetter Text Complimentary CloseComplimentary Close SignatureSignature Identifying initialsIdentifying initials Enclosure notationEnclosure notation Copy notationCopy notation 10. Structure of BusinessStructure of Business LettersLetters IntroductionIntroduction -- Identify yourself andIdentify yourself and purposepurpose BodyBody -- Details/backgroundDetails/background ConclusionConclusion -- Sum up/encourageSum up/encourage actionaction 11. Letters - OpeningsLetters - Openings Avoid ing openers (Referring)Avoid ing openers (Referring) Avoid phrases that end with prepsAvoid phrases that end with preps (With reference to)(With reference to) Avoid redundancy/announcing (IAvoid redundancy/announcing (I am writing to inform you Theam writing to inform you The purpose of this letter)purpose of this letter) 12. Create a PatternCreate a Pattern Time Pattern - problem descriptions, briefTime Pattern - problem descriptions, brief histories, informational summaries withhistories, informational summaries with recommendations or forecastsrecommendations or forecasts Discuss what has occurredDiscuss what has occurred Discuss current situationDiscuss current situation Discuss futureDiscuss future 13. Letter - Space PatternLetter - Space Pattern Use for orientationsUse for orientations or informationalor informational descriptionsdescriptions issue at a distanceissue at a distance issue nearerissue nearer issue at handissue at hand 14. Letter - ChangingLetter - Changing Perspective PatternPerspective Pattern Explanations, analyses,Explanations, analyses, evaluations, personalevaluations, personal disclosures,disclosures, adjustmentsadjustments Explain former positionExplain former position Describe crucial eventDescribe crucial event of insightof insight Assess current viewAssess current view 15. Letter - Causal PatternLetter - Causal Pattern Personnel evaluations,Personnel evaluations, problem analyses,problem analyses, sales/marketingsales/marketing assessments, troubleassessments, trouble reportsreports Discuss surfaceDiscuss surface symptomssymptoms Describe immediateDescribe immediate causescauses Examine deeperExamine deeper causescauses 16. Letter - ProportionalLetter - Proportional PatternPattern Meeting/discussionMeeting/discussion summaries, marketsummaries, market descriptions/analyses,descriptions/analyses, personnel/attitudinalpersonnel/attitudinal evaluationsevaluations Review majorityReview majority viewview State opinion ofState opinion of smaller groupsmaller group Discuss even smallerDiscuss even smaller minorityminority 17. Writing Effective MemosWriting Effective Memos Usually an internal documentUsually an internal document Client Memo - team perspectiveClient Memo - team perspective Consistent with company specsConsistent with company specs Less formal than letterLess formal than letter One message to several partiesOne message to several parties Generally informal/less time to writeGenerally informal/less time to write Provides written record of messageProvides written record of message 18. Language forLanguage for CorrespondenceCorrespondence Simple, directSimple, direct This serves asThis serves as notification of ournotification of our agreement, asagreement, as per..per.. Say, instead:Say, instead: Beginning on May 9,Beginning on May 9, all orders will meetall orders will meet specifications.specifications. Avoid trite phrasesAvoid trite phrases attached pleaseattached please findfind in reference reference to. each and every oneeach and every one of you.of you. Say, instead:Say, instead: attachedattached regardingregarding each of youeach of you 19. You Attitude - ReaderYou Attitude - Reader AwareAware I or WeI or We I appreciate yourI appreciate your hard workhard work We need your crewWe need your crew to follow proceduresto follow procedures Our department isOur department is backlogged so yourbacklogged so your order is delayed...order is delayed... You-AttitudeYou-Attitude Your hard word onYour hard word on the manual wasthe manual was valuablevaluable Your crew will benefitYour crew will benefit from the newfrom the new proceduresprocedures Your order will beYour order will be shipped on May 1.shipped on May 1. 20. Memo - Format andMemo - Format and PartsParts Follow co. specsFollow co. specs Include allInclude all names/titlesnames/titles Omit courtesyOmit courtesy titlestitles Address largeAddress large grpsgrps Clear/limitingClear/limiting subject linesubject line Initial name onInitial name on FromFrom lineline 21. Memo - StructureMemo - Structure IntroductionIntroduction -- First paragraphFirst paragraph Orient reader - how much background?Orient reader - how much background? State purposeState purpose withoutwithout announcingannouncing Summarize key pointSummarize key point 22. Memo - SucceedingMemo - Succeeding ParagraphsParagraphs Easy to read at a glanceEasy to read at a glance Focused on one issueFocused on one issue Logically organizedLogically organized Reader-friendlyReader-friendly Include facts/details needed for reader toInclude facts/details needed for reader to make informed decisionmake informed decision Break into manageable partsBreak into manageable parts Use headings, bullets, numbers as neededUse headings, bullets, numbers as needed 23. Memo - ConclusionMemo - Conclusion Let reader knowLet reader know exactlyexactly what he orwhat he or she is required to doshe is required to do as follow-upas follow-up Include specific info toInclude specific info to help reader complyhelp reader comply 24. Memo - Good News/BadMemo - Good News/Bad NewsNews Good or Neutral NewsGood or Neutral News Direct openingDirect opening ExplanationExplanation Sales Appeal (ifSales Appeal (if appropriateappropriate Friendly closeFriendly close Bad NewsBad News Opening BufferOpening Buffer Logical ExplanationLogical Explanation NewsNews Constructive follow-Constructive follow- upup Friendly CloseFriendly Close 25. Effective E-MailEffective E-Mail MessagesMessages Try to keepTry to keep message to onemessage to one screen-fullscreen-full Copy only readersCopy only readers with a need to knowwith a need to know Headline messageHeadline message with clear subjectwith clear subject lineline Use paragraphUse paragraph divisions, bullets,divisions, bullets, indentation,indentation, headingsheadings Make clear what youMake clear what you want reader to dowant reader to do Manage your imageManage your image as a communicatoras a communicator


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