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Memos, Letters and Email Correspondence

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  • 1. Memos, Letters, and Email Correspondence
  • 2. Planning and Researching
    • What do you want to convey?
    • What is the rhetorical situation?
      • Purpose
      • Audience
      • Writing techniques
  • 3. Purpose
    • What do you want to have happen as a result of this letter?
    • What do you need?
  • 4. Audience
    • Target specific audience
    • Target needs of audience
      • What do people want from this document?
      • What biases or special concerns might they have?
  • 5. Writing Techniques
    • What you want?
    • What the reader wants?
      • Downplay elements that conflict with audience's biases
      • Emphasize information that conforms to their wishes
  • 6. Memos vs. Letters
    • Memoranda (plural)
    • Memorandum (singular)
      • Used for internal communication
      • Already established contact; part of ongoing conversation
    • Letters
      • Used for external communication
      • More formal; initiate correspondence
  • 7. Analyzing Audience
    • Direct approach
    • Indirect approach
  • 8. Direct Approach
    • More efficient
    • Frontload information
    • Audience is friendly or neutral to message
      • Begin right upfront with main point
      • Saves reader time
  • 9. Elements of Direct Approach
    • Introductory greeting (not in memos)
    • Main point of the letter or memo
    • Details
    • Action step
    • Closing
  • 10. Indirect Approach
    • Audience likely to resist your point
    • When relaying bad or unexpected news
    • Begin with “buffer”
      • Start by showing you understand audience point of view and share its concerns
  • 11. Types of Buffers
    • Agreement
    • Appreciation
    • Cooperation
    • Fairness
    • Good news
    • Praise
    • Understanding
  • 12. Elements of Indirect Approach
    • Introductory greeting
    • Buffer
    • Proof that you have lookeda t all sides
    • Your opinion presented in reasonable manner
    • Action step
    • Closing
  • 13. Organization
    • Main ideas should be clear
    • Logic straightforward
      • (true of most Western audiences)
  • 14. Four types of messages
    • Informative
    • Requests for action
    • Inquiries
    • Appreciation messages
  • 15. Informative messages
    • Progress updates
    • Convey results
    • Get the basics in the first paragraph
    • General strategy
      • State major conclusions
      • Indicate rest of memo gives reasons for results
  • 16. Requests for action
    • These ask someone to do something
    • This is what I need.
    • This is why I need it.
    • This is when I need it.
  • 17. Inquiries
    • Ask about something
    • Emphasize
      • What
      • Why
      • Who
  • 18. Appreciation
    • Create goodwill
    • Show sensitivity to other’s actions or accomplishments
    • Timeliness is critical
  • 19. Memo design
    • Headings
      • DATE:
      • TO:
      • FROM:
      • SUBJECT:
    • Signature
    • Text
  • 20. Proposal Memo
    • What type of memo?
    • Review Proposal Content Requirements and
    • Rubric for Evaluation
  • 21. Source
    • Woolever, Kristin R. Writing for the Technical Professions. 3 rd ed. New York: Pearson, 2005.

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