Effective Appearance Of Business MessagesPresentation Transcript
EFFECTIVE APPEARANCE OF BUSINESS MESSAGES Chapter 8
Hsin-Ju (Wendy) Lai
OUTLINE OF CONTENT
Stationery, Letterheads and Envelopes, Parts of a letter, and Letter Formats
Other Business Message Formats
Minutes of Meetings, News Releases, Postal Cards and Reply Cards, Office Notes and Message Forms
Words are the primary tools for forming business messages
Communication also occurs without words (non-verbal)
Non-verbal communicators- FORMAT and APPEARANCE
The guides in this presentation are a part of business writing PROTOCOL
Protocol- societal system of appropriate behaviors in business.
Applies to business writing also.
Hui Pei Lin, Chantel Hill, Ladimar Villa, Wendy Lai
The appearance of a letter is a powerful nonverbal stimulus
All the below contribute to the reader’s first impression of the writer of the letter and the business:
Stationery quality and size
Letterhead and envelope design
Un-ruled, firm-texture paper is customary for business correspondence (communication by letter).
The weight of paper affects transparency and durability
20 –or 24 pound paper is commonly used in business stationery.
Standard paper size- 8.5x11 inches
Some use 8.5x5 inches for short messages
Colors of the stationery can complement the image that the firm wishes to establish
White – popular and conservative color, traditionally used
Red or green – to project an image of vigor or to attract attention
Pastel – suggest warmth or refinement
Use of familiar format of stationery - 8.5x11 inches, 24-pound paper, white paper, the absence of distracting stimuli moves the reader quickly and comfortably into the written message
Use of unfamiliar format of stationery- readers will likely react to those “touch-see” stimuli before reading the message -- reaction may be positive or negative, can influence the response to the verbal message.
LETTERHEADS AND ENVELOPES
Printed stationery is called Letterhead
It customarily shows the name, address, and telephone number of the sender’s firm at the top of the page.
Can also be at the side or bottom of the page.
Additional features may be:
firm’s trademarks or logotype
slogan or motto
cable, fax or Telex II address
branch addresses, often telephone number
LETTERHEADS AND ENVELOPES, CON’T
A Business envelope is a vital part of the communication process, should match the letterhead stationery in:
Size, quality, texture, design, and color
It is more than just a container for a letter- it can show carelessness, inaccurate addressing, inefficiency, etc.
A rating guide will help one evaluate a letterhead’s
1. Are data correct?
2. Are items clear? legible? Pleasantly arranged?
3. If a trademark or logotype appears, is it attractive? Is it relevant to the firm’s purpose?
4. Are addresses complete, including postal codes?
5. Are telephone numbers completed, including area codes?
6. If colors are use, do they enhance legibility and visual appeal?
A proper format enhances a business letter
Use of picture-frame guide ensures that the letter will be presented in a visually appealing format
The picture-frame guide applies to stationery
of standard or of unusual shape and design.
How to use the Picture-Frame Guide:
Position the message so that the margins frame it evenly
Use side and bottom margins in the same width so that the message, under its letterhead, resembles a picture placed in an attractive frame.
PARTS OF THE LETTER
The parts of the letter are: heading, letter address, greeting, body, complimentary close, signature, and reference initials.
They contribute to the writer’s information exchange and goodwill goals.
Shows the place and date of origin.
The writer’s complete mailing address and date are typed 10-13 lines from the top of the paper. (Without letterhead)
The date is commonly written as month, date and year. Eg. June 5, 20—
Avoid using format (6/5/08) because of too much misinterpretation.
The letter address includes the receiver’s name, title, company unit (if used), the name of the receiver’s company, street address, city, state, postal code and include country of destination (international bound).
All lines are blocked at the left margin, starting four lines below the date.
The greeting begins the letter and is typed at the left margin, a doubled space below the last line of the letter address.
Mr. A. B. Ross Dear Mr. Ross
Mrs. A. B. Ross Dear Mrs. Ross
Miss A. B. Ross Dear Ms. Ross
Ms. A. B. Ross Dear Ms. A.B Ross
A. B. Ross Dear A.B Ross
A. B. Ross, M.D. Dear Dr. Ross
Note* When you do not know the person’s gender use a gender-neutral greeting. Always ensure equity and respect of other’s preferences about their name and titles.
OTHER GREETING EXAMPLES:
Mr. H. G. Smith and Ms. A. B. Ross
Ms. Ann Ross and Mr. Harry Smith
Dear Mr. Smith and Ms. Ross
Dear Ms. Ross and Mr. Smith
Dear Ann and Harry
Ladies and Gentlemen – business setting
Ladies or Mesdames (if an all-female enterprise)
Gentlemen (if an all-male enterprise)
Dear Personnel Manager
Informal tone examples- Good morning, or Hello.
Note** In the simplified block letter format the Greeting is omitted.
The body contains the primary message and starts a double space below the greeting.
The lines are singled spaced with double spaces between paragraphs.
In block letter style the body is started a double space below the subject line.
The complimentary close is placed a double space below the last line of the body.
“Yours truly,” “Yours very truly,” and “Very truly yours,” are considered formal closing.
“Sincerely,” “Sincerely yours,” and “Yours Sincerely,” are most commonly used in U.S business Correspondence.
“Cordially,” Cordially yours,” and “Your Very Cordially,” are also used, especially when the letter tone is personal or friendly.
Note**- Must word our complimentary close to match the prevailing tone of our message.
The signature line may consist only of the name of the writer keyed on the forth line below the complimentary close or may also include the writer’s official title. The title may follow the typed name and a comma or it may be keyed on the next line space, blocked with the name and the complimentary close.
The initials of the typist or transcribers, reference initial, are keyed in lowercase at the left margin.
Two lines below the keyed signature or sender’s title.
Personal Style: Both greeting and complimentary close ends with a comma.
Business Letters : either of two punctuation styles is used for the greeting or the complimentary close.
Punctuation styles for business letter:
Open style: omit punctuation after both greeting and the complimentary close.
Mixed style: places a colon after the greeting and comma after the complimentary close
3 types of letter formats are: -
Modified Block format
Simplified Block format
Block format is the simplest format out of the three types of letter formats.
Every line in the letter begins at the left margin.
It tends nonverbally to suggest efficiency.
It projects a crisp, neat and orderly manner.
E.g. Persuasive and Complaint letters and thank you letter to a company.
MODIFIED BLOCK FORMAT
Modified Block format is popular and moderately conservative.
It is commonly used for personal business letters.
Paragraphs may or may not be indented and the positions of the date, complimentary close and signature lock provide visual balance.
It projects a more traditional image than the other two types of letter formats.
E.g. Application letters.
SIMPLIFIED BLOCK FORMAT
Simplified Block format has grown in popularity during the past decade.
Most lines begin at the left margin and the greeting and complimentary close are omitted.
It is well received by efficiency conscious business writers and who practices new business communication.
E.g. Friendly letter and thank you
letter to a friend.
Also called memoranda or memos.
Use primarily for internal rather than external communication.
Memos are typed or handwritten on printed letterhead, printed memo forms, or plain paper.
Efficient firms use one standardized memo format.
A memo should be written so that the corethought can easily be extracted.
A meaningful, concise SUBJECT line is helpful to preview the message and faster interpretation of message.
Encourage use: numbered items, columns, lists.
Two memo formats are standard (formal),and simplified (informal).
FIVE FEATURES OF MEMOS
Have courtesy titles (Mr., Ms., etc.)for sender and receiver are usually omitted, but job tiles or department designation are sometimes used.
Does not contain letter address, greetings, complimentary, close, or signature block. The writer can personalize a memo by using the receiver’s name.
Standard memos have 4 parts-(TO, FROM, DATE, SUBJECT)
Subject can be corethought or file reference.
Simplified memos on the other hand omit these 4 parts and the sender’s name is at the end of the message in a signature block.
Picture-frame guide is rarely used, but 1 inch top and side margins are used along with double space below the heading, paragraphs are blocked and single spaced with a double space between.
SIMPLIFIED MEMO FORMAT
SOME POSSIBLE POLICIES IN MEMO WRITING
Some firms require originator to initial or sign all memos;
In some firms the writer’s initial or signature adds a non-verbal message
If it is a routine message there is no need for signature or initialing
The moderately important ones are initialed
Those of great importance are signed
Business people place initials or signature next to their name in the “FROM” space of the memo heading.
But advised to sign or initial at the end of the message
MINUTES OF MEETINGS & NEWS RELEASES
MINUTES OF MEETINGS
These are written records of meetings or conference
They usually include:
Identification of the group that met;
Classification of the meeting;
Location, Date, and Time of meeting;
Identification of the people in attendance and presiding officers;
Identification of absentees and reason for absence;
Reference to minutes of previous meeting (except 1 st );
Reports of actions on matters previously presented to the group (old business);
Reports of action on matters currently presented to the group (new business);
Notation of when meeting end and date, time and place of next meeting;
Identification of the person responsible for preparing the minutes.
COMPONENTS OF MINUTES
The Recorder- person who records the minutes.
Their job is to record and report the business of the minute.
The recorder should not emotionalize the minutes.
No “brilliant”, “superb”, or similar terms.
Should include ONLY objective data and actions.
E.g. cannot put “Splendid work” in the minutes if it is said.
Only added unless it is authorized by the chairperson or his/her equivalent.
The group can also pass an official resolution of thanks.
Minutes can include a complimentary close, such as “Respectfully submitted”
Minutes are then signed by duly authorized officer (s)
Two formats of minutes:
Both styles should:
Help the reader to perceive corethoughts easily and accurately;
Permit the reader to make notes or corrections for a later meeting.
This is intended for mass-media transmissions by radio/TV broadcasts, newspaper stories, and magazine articles.
Effective news releases include:
Identify the Sender
Indicate when the message should be published
State the corethought as a journalist headline
Cite the information source (when applicable)
Answer: Who? What? When? Why? Where? How?
The body of the news release is organized in an “Inverted pyramid form”
This journalistic form:
Answers the basic questions first;
Supporting details of the answers comes later.
News releases are double-spaced, at times with additional spacing between paragraphs
POSTAL CARDS, REPLY CARDS, OFFICE NOTES AND MESSAGE FORMS
POSTAL CARDS AND REPLY CARDS
They save the cost and time of folding, sealing, and stamping a message; and, for postal cards, the mailing charge is less that of a letter sent first class.
Common Sizes- 5”x7” or 4”x6”
The heading and address appear on the greeting side of the postal card.
The sender’s address should appear on the stamped side of the card.
Reply Cards are inexpensive tools to get information from current or prospective customers.
REPLY CARD RATING GUIDES
1. Does the card contain clear, simple instructions?
2. Does the reply require a minimum of effort by the respondent?
3. Are the response spaces large enough for the requested
4. Is the requested information neutral and impersonal?
5. Does the card contain return postage?
OFFICE NOTES AND MESSAGE FORMS
Least formal kind of written business message, it requires no permanent record.
Office notes are informal but essential in the life of the business.
Readers use them for decisions and actions
The note must be clear, complete and accurate
Interoffice notes answer questions about administrative functions or request goods and services
Effectiveness judges on: accuracy, clarity, coherence, and conciseness.
Choose your words carefully , select concrete terms instead of vague expression.
Use jargon or special vocabulary only if reader is likely to understand
Make sure to write legibly and align the fill-in-data as much as possible for easy reading.
INTEROFFICE MESSAGE FORM
Written communication in Business is important for both external and internal users;
Both verbal and non-verbal (appearance) messages are important to convey the message
Business Letters have a heading, address, salutation, body, complimentary close, and signature.
Three formats- Simplified Block, Block, and Modified Block
Other important essentials in business communication is the use of memorandums, news releases, minutes of meetings, postal cards, informal messages, message forms, and reply cards.
Many business have set standards on how each of these are to be written by their employees.