Writing correspondence

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1. Four major formats used for producing workplace correspondence: letters, memos, e-mails, and microblogs. Throughout this chapter, the word correspondence refers to all these forms. 2. Understanding the Process of Writing Correspondence The process of writing correspondence is essentially like that of writing any other kind of workplace document. The more formal the correspondence, the more time you are likely to spend on each of these steps. 3. Selecting a Type of Correspondence Letters. Because letters still use centuries-old conventions such as the salutation and complimentary close, they are the most formal of the four types of correspondence and are therefore most appropriate for communicating with people outside your organization or, in some formal situations, with people within your organization. 4. Memos. This type of correspondence is moderately formal and therefore appropriate for people in your own organization. E-mail. This type is best for quick, relatively informal communication with one or many recipients. Recipients can store and forward an e- mail easily, as well as capture the text and reuse it in other documents. In addition, the writer can attach other files to an e-mail. 5. Microblogs. Microblog posts such as Twitter tweets or Facebook status updates can be useful for quick questions addressed to a group. This is the most informal type of correspondence. 6. The process of Writing Correspondence Analyze your audience Analyze your purpose Gather Information about your subject Choose a type of correspondence Draft the correspondence Format the correspondence Revise, edit, and proofread the correspondence Send the Correspondence 7. Presenting Yourself Effectively In Correspondence When you write business correspondence, follow these five suggestions for presenting yourself as a professional: Use the appropriate level of formality. Communicate correctly. Project the you attitude. Avoid correspondence clichs. Communicate honestly. 8. 1. Use the appropriate Level of formality Too informal: Our meeting with United went south right away when they threw a hissy fit, saying that we blew off the deadline for the progress report. Moderately formal: In our meeting, the United representative expressed concern that we had missed the deadline for the progress report. 9. Cont. However, you dont want to sound like a dictionary. Too formal: It was indubitably the case that our team was successful in presenting a proposal that was characterized by quality of the highest order. My appreciation for your industriousness is herewith extended. Moderately formal: I think we put together an excellent proposal. Thank you very much for your hard work. 10. 2. Communicate Correctly One issue closely related to formality is correctness. Correct writing is free of grammar, punctuation, style, usage, and spelling errors. The most problems with correctness arise when people use e-mail and microblogs. 11. 3. Project the You Attitude Correspondence must convey a courteous, positive tone You attitude that is, looking at the situation from the readers point of view and adjusting the content, structure, and tone to meet his or her needs 12. Cont. Following are two examples of thoughtless sentences, each followed by an improved version that shows the you attitude. ACCUSING: You must have dropped the engine. The housing is badly cracked. BETTER: The badly cracked housing suggests that your engine must have fallen onto a hard surface from some height. Sarcastic: Youll need two months to deliver these parts? Who do you think you are, the post office? Better: Surely you would find a two-month delay for the delivery of parts unacceptable in your business. Thats how I feel, too. 13. 4. Avoid Correspondence Clichs Letter clichs attached please find enclosed please find pursuant to our agreement referring to your (Referring to your letter of March 19, the shipment of pianos . . .) Natural equivalents attached is enclosed is as we agreed As you wrote in your letter of March 19, the . . . (or subordinate the reference at the end of your sentence) 14. Letter clichs wish to advise (We wish to advise that . . .) the writer (The writer believes that . . .) Natural equivalents (The phrase doesnt say anything. Just say what you want to say.) I believe . . . 15. Letter containing clichs Dear Mr. Smith: Referring to your letter regarding the problem encountered with your new Trailrider Snowmobile, our Customer Service Department has just submitted its report. It is their conclusion that the malfunction is caused by water being present in the fuel line. It is our conclusion that you must have purchased some bad gasoline. We trust you are cognizant of the fact that while we guarantee our snowmobiles for a period of not less than one year against defects in workmanship and materials, responsibility cannot be assumed for inadequate care. We wish to advise, for the reason mentioned hereinabove, that we cannot grant your request to repair the snowmobile free of charge. Permit me to say, however, that the writer would be pleased to see that the fuel line is flushed at cost, $30. Your Trailrider would then give you many years of trouble-free service. Enclosed please find an authorization card. Should we receive it, we shall perform the above-mentioned repair and deliver your snowmobile forthwith. Sincerely yours, Letter in natural language Dear Mr. Smith: Thank you for writing to us about the problem with your new Trailrider Snowmobile. Our Customer Service Department has found water in the fuel line. Apparently some of the gasoline was bad. While we guarantee our snowmobiles for one year against defects in workmanship and materials, we cannot assume responsibility for problems caused by bad gasoline. We cannot, therefore, grant your request to repair the snowmobile free of charge. However, no serious harm was done to the snowmobile. We would be happy to flush the fuel line at cost, $30. Your Trailrider would then give you many years of troublefree service. If you will authorize us to do this work, we will have your snowmobile back to you within four working days. Just fill out the enclosed authorization card and drop it in the mail. Sincerely yours, 16. The letter on the right side avoids clichs and shows an understanding of the you attitude. Instead of focusing on the violation of the warranty, it presents the conclusion as good news: the snowmobile is not ruined, and it can be repaired and returned in less than a week for a small charge. 17. 5. Communicate Honestly 18. Writing Letters Letters are still a basic means of communication between organizations, with millions written each day. To write effective letters, you need to understand the elements of a letter, its format, and the common types of letters sent in the business world. 19. i. Elements of a Letter Most letters include a heading, inside address, salutation, body, complimentary close, and signature. Some letters also include one or more of the following: attention line, subject line, enclosure line, and copy line. 20. ii. Format of a Letter Two typical formats are used for letters: Modified block Full block. 21. Writing Memos Like letters, memos have a characteristic format, which consists of the elements: TO: FROM: DATE: SUBJECT: 22. Writing E-mails Before you write an e-mail in the workplace, find out your organizations e-mail policies. Most companies have written policies that discuss circumstances under which you may and may not use e- mail, principles you should use in writing e-mails, and the monitoring of employee e-mail. 23. Guidelines (E-mail) When you write e-mail in the workplace, adhere to the following netiquette guidelines. Netiquette refers to etiquette on a network. Stick to business. Dont waste bandwidth. Use appropriate formality. Write correctly. Dont flame. Make your message easy on the eyes. Dont forward a message to an online discussion forum without the writers permission. Dont send a message unless you have something to say. 24. Writing Microblogs Microblogs are different from letters, memos, and e-mail in that they are often extremely brief and quite informal in tone. Usually, you do not revise microblogs extensively. You just proofread and send them. 25. Writing Correspondence to Intercultural Readers These differences fall into three categories: Cultural practices. Language use and tone. Application choice and use.


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