Letters from the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission Transmitting, in Response I am enclosing Mr. Young's letter of October 7, suggesting the change.
We’ve previously learned that in order to choose a medium, you must consider your context, message, audience and purpose. Right now, the context is especially important because workplace communications is undergoing a shift. For the past 20 years, email has taken over many of the jobs once reserved for faxes, memos and letters. Now, instant messaging programs like Slack are taking over some of the work that email used to do. Social media has also taken over some of email’s job in the workplace. For example, many companies offer customer service over Twitter and Facebook.
Often, students want to learn the perfect way to write a memo or letter, or to have a template that they can fill out. But because the context is always changing, and because different workplaces have different practices, it’s not possible to say that there’s one correct way to write each document. Instead, we’re going to explore the different decisions that go into choosing a medium, and the different roles each medium plays in the workplace.
A memo (or memorandum, meaning “reminder”) is normally used for communicating policies, procedures, or related official business within an organization. It is often written from a one-to-all perspective (like mass communication), broadcasting a message to an audience, rather than a one-on-one, interpersonal communication. It may also be used to update a team on activities for a given project or to inform a specific group within a company of an event, action, or observance.
Memos can be tricky because they often communicate to multiple audiences who have different levels of knowledge about the context. For example, if you are communicating a new company policy, different types of employees will want to know exactly how the policy impacts them.
Memos are distinguished by a header that includes DATE, TO, FROM, and SUBJECT lines. Other lines, such as CC or BCC, may be added as needed. An RE (“Reference”) line may be used instead of SUBJECT, but this use is becoming rarer as “RE” is often mistaken as “Reply” because of its use in email.
These headings may be double- or single-spaced, and the SUBJECT line is often in all capital letters. Furthermore, the order of the items can vary. Many organizations have their own style preferences on these issues. If not, the order listed above, double-spaced, is the most common.
The text of memos typically uses block format, with single-spaced lines, an extra space between paragraphs, and no indentions for new paragraphs. However, if a report using memo format stretches to a few pages in length, double spacing may be used to improve its readability.
Professional communication forms are organized according to one of two strategies: Direct and indirect.
The direct approach is used for good news or routine communication; the indirect approach is used for persuasive, sales, or bad news messages.
A directly stated purpose is welcome in good news or routine messages but could be viewed as abrupt or insensitive in a bad news or persuasive message. When the audience is not receptive to the message, it is best to lead up to the purpose gradually.
In both types of organization, action information (such as deadlines or contact information) or a courteous closing statement is placed in the last paragraph.
|Organization Strategy||Definition||Type of Document||Content|
|Direct||Writer arrives at purpose quickly, sometimes in the first sentence.||Used for good news or routine communication (audience is receptive or neutral)||Purpose||Details||Action information or courteous close|
|Indirect||Writer gradually builds up to the purpose, which is stated in the body.||Used for negative, persuasive, or sales messages (audience is not receptive)||Relevant, attention-getting statements||Purpose statement is sandwiched by details.||Action information or courteous close|
Let’s take a look at a sample direct memo.
As you can see, this memo has a direct and concise opening that states the purpose of the memo. The body paragraph provides the award criteria, which will help managers follow through on the request. The conclusion provides action information, a deadline and a courteous closing message.
Now, let’s take a look at a sample indirect memo.
As you can see, the introduction is relevant to the subject but doesn’t directly state the bad news, which is that the popular early weekend schedule is ending. Instead, the writer lists the reasons for the change to prepare the reader mentally for it. The bad news is then clearly stated, but it’s sandwiched between two positive statements. Note that the bad news is at the end of the paragraph, since the writer doesn’t want readers to skim the memo and miss this important information. The memo then ends with action information and a forward-looking statement.
While memo reports and policy memos are examples of documents that have a more formal tone, most memos will have a conversational style—slightly informal but still professional. The audience of memos are those with whom the writer works, so the writing style usually assumes a relationship with them (and therefore a certain lack of formality); just keep in mind that the relationship is a professional one, so the writing should reflect that. Furthermore, as with all workplace documents, the audience may contain a variety of readers, and the style and tone should be appropriate for all of their technical and authority levels.
|Too Informal||Too Formal, Stuffy-Sounding, Wordy||Appropriate Balance|
|Hi, everyone. Hope you had a great weekend. You know those awards we give out every so often? It’s time for those again!||Variety Craft Supplies’ mission is to provide customers with affordable, quality supplies with superb customer service. Excellent customer service includes being knowledgeable about the supplies, but it also goes beyond that. It’s about having the right attitude about helping customers. It’s time to reward employees who have a customer-oriented outlook.|
Please submit your nominations for the quarterly Customer Service Excellence Award by April 8. Help us identify great employees!
Memos are used in a variety of workplace communication situations, from documentation of procedures and policies to simple announcements. Below are some common types of memos:
Memos may be distributed manually through print medium in organizations in which not all employees have access to email. Organizations with access to email may distribute memos as attachments to email.
In organizations in which email reaches every employee (or every employee in the memo’s audience), writers must determine whether to send a memo or an email message to convey their information. In cases such as this, writers should consider three factors: the nature of the message, the depth/number of its details, and its likelihood of being printed for easier reference. These types of messages should be written up in memo format and attached to an email message for fast (and environmentally friendly) distribution:
*Some articles are used across multiple genres and disciplines.
Email is typically quite familiar to most students and workers. While it may be used like text messaging, or synchronous chatting, and it can be delivered to a cell phone, email remains an asynchronous communication tool. In business, email has largely replaced print hard copy letters for external (outside the company) correspondence, as well as taking the place of memos for internal (within the company) communication (Guffey, 2008). Email can be very useful for messages that have slightly more content than a text message, but it is still best used for fairly brief messages.
Many businesses use automated e-mails to acknowledge communications from the public or to remind associates that periodic reports or payments are due. You may also be assigned to “populate” a form email in which standard paragraphs are used, but you choose from a menu of sentences to make the wording suitable for a particular transaction.
The rise of email management systems like MailChimp and Constant Contact have also made it easy to integrate graphic design elements into emails and to send emails to an entire mailing list without getting caught in a spam filter. Now, businesses send everything from newsletters to donations campaigns to holiday greetings through email.
Emails may be informal in personal contexts, but business communication requires attention to detail, awareness that your email reflects you and your company, and a professional tone so that it may be forwarded to any third party if needed. Email often serves to exchange information within organizations. Although email may have an informal feel, remember that when used for business, it needs to convey professionalism and respect. Never write or send anything that you wouldn’t want read in public or in front of your company president or CEO.
If you’re struggling to write an email, err on the side of not wasting the reader’s time. Many readers get hundreds of emails a day. While a reader might sit down to read a letter or a memo, they will usually spend a few seconds scanning an email for relevant information before moving on to the next one.
Unless your email is sensitive or you are breaking bad news, it’s nearly always a good idea to state the main point of the email clearly and to clearly tell the audience what you want them to do.
It may be helpful for you to think of this as building a frame around your email. In the first part of the frame, you open by telling the reader why you’re writing. Then, in the body, you give the main message. In the bottom part of the frame, you end by telling the reader what to do next. Here’s an example. The grey shaded parts represent the frame.
Frame: I’m writing to congratulate you on being named Employee of the Month.
In your nomination form, your manager noted that you’ve always had exceptional customer service skills, but last month you stood out by helping an elderly customer troubleshoot her computer issues. Your patience and dedication was inspirational to the rest of the team.
Frame: We would like to present you with a certificate and your $100 cheque at the staff meeting on Monday, June 5th. Please confirm whether or not you’ll be in attendance so we can plan accordingly.
Congratulations once again. We are lucky to have you part of our team!
First, the writers tells exactly why they’re writing. Then, they provide the supporting details. Last, they tell the reader what to do (confirm whether or not they’ll be at the meeting).
Here are some more tips for sending successful emails:
To: Harriet Adamo, Physical Plant Manager, XYZ Corporation
From: Mel Vargas, Construction Site Manager, Maxim Construction
Sent: Monday, 10/25/2019 8:14 AM
Subject: Construction Interruptions
I know employees of XYZ Corp. are looking forward to moving into the new ABC Street building in January, but recently groups of employees who do not have business here have been walking through the building. These visits create a safety hazard, interrupt the construction workers, and could put your occupancy date in jeopardy.
Would you please instruct your staff members who haven’t already been moved to ABC Street to stay out of the building? If they need to meet here with someone who has already moved, they should conduct their business and leave promptly via the nearest staircase.
We need to avoid further interruptions so our construction workers can get the building ready for occupancy on schedule. If you have any questions, please call me.
Melvin R. Vargas
Construction Site Manager, Maxim Construction Co.
1234 Main St, Big City, Canada
(111) 222-3333 ext. 4444
We create personal pages, post messages, and interact via mediated technologies as a normal part of our lives, but how we conduct ourselves can leave a lasting image, literally. The photograph you posted on your Instagram page may have been seen by your potential employer or that nasty remark in a Facebook post may come back to haunt you later. Several years ago, when the internet was a new phenomenon, Virginia Shea laid out a series of ground rules for communication online that continue to serve us today.
It is also important to remember to keep your public persona online as professional as possible and to familiarize yourself with the privacy settings of the social media platforms you use.
Letters are brief messages sent to recipients that are often outside the organization (Bovee & Thill, 2010). They are often printed on letterhead paper and represent the business or organization in one or two pages. Shorter messages may include e-mails or memos, either hard copy or electronic, while reports tend to be three or more pages in length.
While e-mail and text messages may be used more frequently today, the business letter remains a common form of written external communication. All business messages have expectations in terms of language and format. The audience or reader also may have their own idea of what constitutes a specific type of letter, and your organization may have its own format and requirements. There are many types of letters, and many adaptations in terms of form and content. In this chapter, we discuss the fifteen elements of a traditional block-style letter.
Letters may serve to introduce your skills and qualifications to prospective employers, deliver important or specific information, or serve as documentation of an event or decision. Regardless of the type of letter you need to write, it can contain up to fifteen elements in five areas. While you may not use all the elements in every case or context, they are listed in Table 4.2.1.
Table 4.2.1 Elements of a business letter
|1. Return address||This is your address where someone could send a reply. If your letter includes a letterhead with this information, either in the header (across the top of the page) or the footer (along the bottom of the page), you do not need to include it before the date.|
|2. Date||The date should be placed at the top, right or left justified, five lines from the top of the page or letterhead logo.|
|3. Reference (Re:) *optional||Like a subject line in an e-mail, this is where you indicate what the letter is in reference to, the subject or purpose of the document.|
|Sometimes you want to indicate on the letter itself how it was delivered. This can make it clear to a third party that the letter was delivered via a specific method, such as certified mail (a legal requirement for some types of documents).|
|5. Recipient note *optional||This is where you can indicate if the letter is personal or confidential.|
|6. Salutation||A common salutation may be “Dear Mr. (full name).” If you are unsure about titles (i.e., Mrs., Ms., Mr., Mx., Dr.), you may simply write the recipient’s name (e.g., “Dear Cameron Rai”) followed by a colon.A comma after the salutation is correct for personal letters, but a colon should be used in business.The salutation “To whom it may concern” is appropriate for letters of recommendation or other letters that are intended to be read by any and all individuals. If this is not the case with your letter, but you are unsure of how to address your recipient, make every effort to find out to whom the letter should be specifically addressed. For many, there is no sweeter sound than that of their name, and to spell it incorrectly runs the risk of alienating the reader before your letter has even been read. Avoid the use of impersonal salutations like “Dear Prospective Customer,” as the lack of personalization can alienate a future client.|
|7. Introduction||This is your opening paragraph, and may include an attention statement, a reference to the purpose of the document, or an introduction of the person or topic depending on the type of letter. An emphatic opening involves using the most significant or important element of the letter in the introduction. Readers tend to pay attention to openings, and it makes sense to outline the expectations for the reader up front. Just as you would preview your topic in a speech, the clear opening in your introductions establishes context and facilitates comprehension.|
|8. Body||If you have a list of points, a series of facts, or a number of questions, they belong in the body of your letter. You may choose organizational devices to draw attention, such as a bullet list, or simply number them. Readers may skip over information in the body of your letter, so make sure you emphasize the key points clearly. This is your core content, where you can outline and support several key points. Brevity is important, but so is clear support for main point(s). Specific, meaningful information needs to be clear, concise, and accurate.|
|9. Conclusion||An emphatic closing mirrors your introduction with the added element of tying the main points together, clearly demonstrating their relationship. The conclusion can serve to remind the reader, but should not introduce new information. A clear summary sentence will strengthen your writing and enhance your effectiveness. If your letter requests or implies action, the conclusion needs to make clear what you expect to happen. This paragraph reiterates the main points and their relationship to each other, reinforcing the main point or purpose.|
|10. Close||“Sincerely” or “Cordially” are standard business closing statements. Closing statements are normally placed one or two lines under the conclusion and include a hanging comma, as in Sincerely,|
|11. Signature||Five lines after the close, you should type your name (required) and, on the line below it, your title (optional).|
|12. Preparation line||If the letter was prepared or typed by someone other than the signatory (you), then inclusion of initials is common, as in MJD or abc.|
|13. Enclosures (attachments)||Just like an e-mail with an attachment, the letter sometimes has additional documents that are delivered with it. This line indicates what the reader can look for in terms of documents included with the letter, such as brochures, reports, or related business documents. Only include this line if you are in fact including additional documentation.|
|14. Courtesy copies or “CC”||The abbreviation “CC” once stood for carbon copies but now refers to courtesy copies. Just like a “CC” option in an e-mail, it indicates the relevant parties that will also receive a copy of the document.|
|15. Logo and contact information||A formal business letter normally includes a logo or contact information for the organization in the header (top of page) or footer (bottom of page).|
A sample letter, illustrating the parts of the letter, is shown in Figure 4.2.1.
Figure 4.2.1. A sample letter.
Your instructor may ask you to complete one or more of the following exercises.
Choose one of the following scenarios, then write an email, memo or letter as a response. Think about what genre would be most effective, then use the models discussed in the chapter to write your response.
Bovee, C., & Thill, J. (2010). Business communication essentials: A skills-based approach to vital business English (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Guffey, M. (2008).Essentials of business communication(7th ed.). Mason, OH: Thomson/Wadsworth.
Shea, V. (1994).Netiquette. San Francisco, CA: Albion Books.
This chapter contains material taken from Introduction to Professional Communications is (c) 2018 by Melissa Ashman and is licensed under a Creative Commons-Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.
This chapter also contains material taken from Memos, which is published on WritingCommons.org. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Before we begin, consider the following questions. Your instructor may ask you to freewrite about one or more of these questions in your learning journal.
Date: March 18, 2019
To: Department Managers
From: Safiyya Dev, Store Manager
Subject: Customer Service Excellence Nominations
Please submit your nominations for the quarterly Customer Service Excellence Award by April 8. Help us identify great employees!
Do you have an employee who you feel fortunate to have in your department? Does this employee show a positive and professional attitude when helping customers? Do you get frequent comments about this person’s friendliness and helpfulness? Now, you have an opportunity to give this employee the recognition they deserve.
According to the nomination criteria, nominees must:
The winner of the award will receive a framed certificate and a $100 check.
A nominating form is attached. Please complete and return it to me by Monday, April 8. Thank you for your help in identifying and rewarding excellent customer service representatives.
Date: Feb. 25, 2019
To: All Employees
From: Jaspreet Kaur
Subject: Change in Operating Hours
Our call centre has been experimenting with a half-day Friday work schedule over the last year, and we’ve recently conducted an evaluation to determine how well the program is working.
When a client calls to order their diabetic supplies on Friday afternoon, our messaging system directs them to complete their order on our company website. While many customers are willing and able to do this, many do not have Internet access (hence the reason for their call in the first place). Their only other option is to wait until Monday to place the order, and if a customer is already low on supplies, this may be untenable. Customers who are calling with questions or to resolve issues with an order must also wait for Monday.
We have received positive comments, especially from our West Coast customers, about the extended hours we are open in the evening. We have determined that to continue to offer quality service, we must also re-institute Friday afternoons.
However, that does not mean that we cannot continue to offer employees some scheduling perks. In fact, the addition of later hours Monday through Thursday provides us with more leeway in scheduling employees.
We will have a staff meeting on Monday, March 4 at 8:00 a.m. to discuss new scheduling procedures. To the extend possible, we wish to accommodate employees’ preferences in scheduling, so it is important to attend this meeting to have your voice heard.
matic perspective, suggesting alternative venues would have been more This letter acknowledged his grave misgivings concerning suggested change of.
I thank you for preparing and sending the contract so promptly. All items look agreeable, with the exception of one. We initially discussed the possibility that you would include in your standard installment fees the motion detectors in both the hallways and in the offices, but I think we forgot to include that in the contract. I trust we can still have those installed and include an addendum to the contract that will reflect that change.
Please let me know if that meets with your approval so we can begin the process as soon as possible.
I am returning the house repair contract that indicates that my payments will start on May 15. You may recall I requested that the first payment be due on June 1, and that each payment thereafter also be due on the first of the month. I receive my salary at the end of the month and pay my financial obligations on the next day. Please change the contract to be in harmony with this schedule starting June 1. I will sign a revised contract and return it immediately. If you have any questions, please call me at 555-5555. Thank you for your courtesy in this matter.
I have not signed the contract received from your office because I do not believe that the salary compensation as quoted is accurate.
The contract states that the applicant agrees to accept the stated hourly salary as full compensation for each hour of counseling performed at the Springfield counseling Center.
From my discussions with your personnel director, I understood that counselors would receive regular hourly payment during day time hours and an amount equal to one and a half times the regular hourly rate for services rendered during the midnight to 8 a.m. emergency room shift.
Please confirm the different hourly rate with Personnel and let me know how I should go about making the necessary changes on this contract agreement.
On the whole, the proposed contract is acceptable; however, two provisions concern me:
Please consider these changes and let me know what you think. If you are agreeable to my suggestions, I am willing to sign the contract.
A proposal letter is a type of business letter that you use to introduce someone to your ideas. It could be a sales letter promoting products or services to a prospective customer, or a letter suggesting a new company program to your boss. To access these sample letters, just click the image to download, then place your cursor anywhere in the PDF to make changes. If you need help with file, these tips may be helpful.
When you're ready to write your next product sales proposal letter, this example will help get you started. Simply change the details to match your particular offerings!Related Articles
Make sure your sales letter is addressed to a specific person (or job title if a name isn't possible). It should also include these elements:
When you are pitching a service, you will follow many of the same rules as a product letter, but there are a few key differences. Use this example letter for inspiration.
When writing a letter offering your services, be sure to:
Writing an internal proposal can seem just as intimidating as writing a sales letter to a client. Not only are you proposing something you think will be really impactful for your company, you also need to put your best foot forward for your boss. Update this example internal proposal is below your project's details.
Make sure your internal proposal includes:
For a sponsorship proposal, be sure to start from a place of gratitude. If the recipient has helped you in the past, say thank you. If not, make a general statement about how grateful you are for the community's strong support of your project to provide social proof that can help make your prospect more likely to commit. Use this sample sponsorship proposal as a guide.
A sponsorship proposal letter should include:
Getting an actual letter in the mail is a rare experience these days because social media and email marketing have taken over. A properly written proposal letter can really stand out. Still, writing an effective sales letter is not an easy task. With these example proposal letters, you'll have a head start on persuasively making your case whether you are winning customers and donors or building your career.
Find an answer to your question write a letter to your principal suggesting ways to improve spoken English in your school.
There are some situations in which writing a business letter is more appropriate than writing an email. If you need a permanent record of what you are writing, or if you are writing in a formal situation, a letter is a better choice. For example, you would probably write a letter of resignation instead of an email.
Business letters often contain the following elements:
– A standard greeting (For example: Dear Sir / Madam)
– A reference to previous contact or reason for writing
In this first paragraph, say why you are writing the letter. Use a sentence that refers to a previous contact, such as a previous letter or phone call. Or use an objective sentence to say why you are writing: to confirm, clarify or enquire about something, for example.
– (The background to the letter.)
This is an optional paragraph and gives your reader more information to become familiar with the subject of the letter.
– Main point or idea
– Additional points
– Asking for action / reference to the future
In the final paragraph, close your business letter with an offer of further help, or ask for future action.
– Standard closing (For example: Yours faithfully)
Here are some useful phrases for each section of your business letter:
“With reference to your letter, I…”
“In response to your letter, I can confirm…”
“With regard to your memo, I…”
“Following our phone conversation, I…..”
“I am writing with reference to your enquiry.”
“Thank you for your letter of…”
Replying to a request
“As you requested, I am enclosing a brochure about our adventure holidays.”
“As you suggested, I am sending you my CV.”
“In answer to your enquiry, I am enclosing information which I hope will be useful to you.”
“As promised, I am sending you the…”
“Your name was given to me by (source)”
“My colleague, Ewan Jones, suggested that I write to you concerning…”
“I have been advised to contact you regarding your policy on insurance claims.”
“I am the Marketing Manager of a search engine optimisation company, and I am writing to you to ask if your company would be interested in promoting …”
Making reference to something your reader knows
“As you may already know / have heard, the Production Division is merging with…”
Saying thank you
“Thank you for your letter in which you enquired about…”
“Thank you for your advice regarding…”
“I am writing to thank you for your assistance.”
“It has come to our notice that…”
“I am writing to inform you that…”
“Please be advised that…”
“I am writing to advise you that…”
“I am writing to confirm ….”
“I would like to confirm ….”
Asking for information or advice
“I am writing to enquire about ….”
“I would be interested to receive further details about ….”
“Please could you give me the necessary details concerning …?”
“I would be grateful for your advice concerning…”
“I would appreciate your advice on …”
Explaining and clarifying
“I am writing to explain …”
“I would like to clarify certain points regarding…”
“I would like to take this opportunity to clarify …”
Making a suggestion or giving advice
“In response to ….. may we suggest that you contact ….”
“With regard to your enquiry about … we advise you to … ”
“We would like to advise all our customers to …”
“Please find enclosed ….”
“Enclosed please find …”
“Enclosed is a …”
“Enclosed are ….”
“I am enclosing a …”
“I have pleasure in enclosing …”
“Please accept our apologies for this misunderstanding.”
“We apologise for our mistake and we would like to take this opportunity to assure you that it will not happen again.”
“We hope that this misunderstanding has not caused you too much inconvenience.”
Referring to a meeting
“I look forward to seeing you on…”
“I look forward to meeting you on…”
“I would be delighted to arrange a meeting with you.”
Asking for action
“I would be grateful if this matter could be resolved…”
“I would appreciate further information on…”
“I would be grateful for further advice.”
“I would be grateful if you could send me…”
“Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance.”
“If you would like any more information, please do not hesitate to contact me on…”
“Please feel free to contact me again if I can be of further assistance.”
“As this matter is now urgent, we would appreciate a prompt reply.”
“We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.”
“Due to the urgency of the situation, I would appreciate receiving your advice as soon as possible.”
Also check out How to Write an Email and How to Start and End a Business Letter or Email.
Level: Pre-intermediate and above
Free samples of cover letters, sales introduction letters for enquiry generation and For these and any other spellings subject to regional variation, change the . It is useful to suggest or state that your company is 'the only' company able to do.