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Chapter 5 Notes


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  • 1. Chapter 5: Electronic messages & memorandums
    BS 150
  • 2. Communicating at work
    People exchange information externally and internally
    In today’s workplace, you will be expected to collect, evaluate and exchange information in clearly written messages
    Written messages fall into 1 of two categories: paper-based and electronic
    Paper based messages include business letters and memos
    Electronic messages include email, instant messaging, text messaging, podcasts, blogs, and wikis
  • 3. Communicating with paper based messages
    Uses: business letters, interoffice memos
    Employees use memos primarily to convey confidential info, emphasize ideas, deliver lengthy documents, or lend importance to a message
  • 4. Communicating with electronic messages
    Email: involves the transmission of messges through computers and networks; users can send messages to a single recipient or broadcast them to multiple recipients
    Email is most appropriate for short messgaes that deliver routine requests and responses
    Instant messaging: More interactive than email, IM involves the exchange of text messages in real time between 2 or more people logged into an IM service
  • 5. Communicating with electronic messages
    Text messaging
    Podcasts: a podcast is a digital media file that is distributed over the Internet and downloaded on portable media players and personal computers; podcasts can be syndicated, subscribed to, or downloaded automatically when new content is added
    Blog: a web site with journal entries usually written by one person with comments added by others
    Wikis: a web site that enables multiple users to collaboratively create and edit pages
  • 6. Organizing email messages & memos
    Perform critical tasks such as informing employees, requesting data, supplying responses, confirming decisions, and giving directions
    Email is not a substitute for face-to-face conversations, telephone calls, business letters, or memorandums
  • 7. Components of email messages & memos
    4 parts: 1) an information subject line that summarizes the message, 2) an opening that reveals the main idea immediately, 3) a body that explains and justifies the main idea, and 4) an appropriate closing
    In emails and memos an informative subject line is mandatory
    It summarizes the central idea, thus providing quick identification for reading and for filing
    Messages without subject lines may be automatically deleted
  • 8. Writing the EMAIL
    Subject lines summarize the purpose of the message in abbreviated form
    Explains the purpose of the message and how it relates to the reader
    Direct emails and memos open by revealing the main idea immediately
    The body provides more info about the reason for writing; it explains and discusses the subject logically
  • 9. Writing the email(cont’d)
    Generally close an email message or a memo with 1) action information, dates and deadlines; 2) a summary of the message; or 3) a closing thought
    Email messages and hard copy memos are similar in content and development but their formats are slightly different
  • 10. Formatting emails
    Email greeting- shows friendliness and indicates the beginning of the message
    When keying the body of an email, use standard caps and lower case characters
    Email messages are most helpful when they conclude with the writer’s full contact information
  • 11. Formatting interoffice memos
    If you are preparing a memo on plain paper, set 1 inch top and bottom margins and left and right margins of 1.25 inches
    Provide a heading that includes the name of the company plus “Memo” or “Memorandum”
    Begin the guide words a triple space (2 lines) below the last line of the heading
    Key in bold the guide words: Date:, To:, From:, and Subject:
  • 12. Preparing memos as email attachments
    To deliver a long or formal document, send a cover email with an attachment
    Be sure to include identifying info, including the date, sender, receiver and subject
  • 13. Using the writing process to create effective internal messages
    Internal email and hard copy memos usually carry direct messages that are neither sensitive nor persuasive
    They require careful writing to be clearly and quickly understood
    Use the 3 phase writing process to analyze, anticipate and adapt (what am I writing and why am I writing it? How will the reader react?)
    Research, organize and compose- gather background info; put it in an outline, compose your message, and revise for clarity, correctness and feedback
    Revise, proofread, and evaluate
  • 14. Email best practices
    Compose your message offline
    Get the email address right
    Avoid misleading subject lines
    Apply the top of screen test (When readers open your message and look at the first screen, will they see what is most significant? Your subject line and first paragraph should convey your purpose)
  • 15. Content, tone and correctness
    Although email seems as casual as a telephone call, it’s not
    It produces a permanent record
    Be concise
    Don’t’ send anything you wouldn’t want published
    Don’t use email to avoid contact
    Care about correctness and tone
    Resist humor and tongue-in-cheek comments
  • 16. netiquette
    Send emails only to people who really need to see a message
    Consider using identifying lables (Action, Re, REQ)
    Use capital letters only for emphasis or for titles
    Don’t forward without permission and beware of long threads
  • 17. Reading and replying to email
    Scan all messages in your inbox before replying to each individually
    Print only when necessary
    Acknowledge receipt
    Don’t automatically return the sender’s message
    Revise the subject line if the topic changes
    Provide a clear, complete first sentence
  • 18. Personal use
    Don’t use company computers for personal matters unless your company specifically allows it
    Assume that all email is monitored
  • 19. Other smart email practices
    Design your messages to enhance readability, and double check before sending
  • 20. Using instant messaging professionally
    People like instant messaging because of its immediacy
    A user knows right away whether a message was delivered
    It avoids playing phone tag and eliminates the downtime associated with personal telephone conversations
    It saves money
  • 21. Best practices for instant messaging
    Learn about your org’s IM policies
    Make yourself unavailable when you need to complete a project or meet a deadline
    Organize your contact lists to separate business contacts from family and friends
    Keep your messages simple and to the point; avoid unnecessary chitchat
    Don’t’ use IM to send confidential or sensitive info
    Be aware that instant messages can be saved
    Show patience by not blasting multiple messages to coworkers if a response is not immediate
    Keep your present status up-to-date so that people trying to reach you don’t’ waste their time
    Beware of jargon, slang, and abbreviations which may be confusing and unprofessional
    Use proper grammar
  • 22. Writing info & procedure email messages & memos
    Information and procedure messages distribute routine information, describe procedures and deliver instructions
    They typically flow downward from mngt to employees and relate to the daily operations of an organization
    You have one function in writing these: conveying your idea so clearly that no further explanation is necessary
    Procedure and instructions are often written in numbered steps using command language (Do this, don’t do that)
    Visit for more info on how to write instructions
  • 23. Writing Requests and reply email messages and memos
    Use the direct approach in routine requests for info or action, opening with the most important question, a polite command, or a brief introductory statement
    If you are seeking answers to questions, you have 3 options for opening the message: 1) ask the most important question first, followed by an explanation and then the other questions, b) use a polite command (Please answer…) or c) introduce the questions with a brief statement (“Your answers to the following questions will help us…”)
  • 24. Replying to email and memo requests
    Much business correspondence reacts or responds to previous messages
    When replying to an email, memo, or other document, be sure to follow the three step process: Analyze your purpose and audience, collect whatever is necessary and organize your thoughts; make a brief outline of the points you plan to cover
  • 25. NEXT TIME…
    We’ll cover Chapters 6 and 7.
    Homework: Prepare for Oral Presentation 3- Group Prepare for your oral presentation (group) on the following topic:
    Health care reform.  Is our country headed in the right direction with healthcare?
    BE SURE you do enough research and discussion as a team to develop a solid 10-12 minute team presentation.  You are required to use visual aids for this presentation (Power Point, poster, or handouts).