Section 2: Business Letters and Memos

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Section 2:

Business Letters

and Memos




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Table of Contents


Section 2: Business Letters

and Memos


BASIC PAGE FORMATTIN
G IN MS WORD

................................
................................
...

3

S
ETTING
M
ARGINS

................................
................................
................................
..................

3

C
REATING
S
ECTION
B
REAKS

................................
................................
................................
..

4

C
REATING
H
EADERS AND
F
OOT
ERS

................................
................................
........................

5

BLOCK LETTER STYLE W
ITH OPEN PUNCTUATION

(COB STANDARD)

..........

6

GUIDELINES FOR FORMA
TTING MEMOS
................................
................................
...

7

INTERNAL LETTERHEAD
MEMO

................................
................................
..................

8

PLAIN PAPER MEMO

................................
................................
................................
..........

9

INFORMATIVE/POSITIVE

COMMUNICATION

................................
.........................

10

BAD NEWS OR NEGATIVE

COMMUNICATION

................................
........................

11

PERSUASIVE OR SALES
COMMUNICATION

................................
.............................

12

T
HE
I
NDIRECT
P
A
TTERN FOR
P
ERSUASIVE
T
ASKS

................................
................................
.

12

T
HE
D
IRECT
P
ATTERN FOR
P
ERSUASIVE
T
ASKS

................................
................................
....

13


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Basic Page Formatting in MS Word


Appropriate document format is an important component
of business writing, and different
types of documents require different formats. This
section

demonstrates some of the basic
page formatting functions available to you in MS Word.


Setting Margins

Word’s default margins are 1.0 inch for the top and bottom

and 1.25 inches for the right and
left sides of the page. To change margins, use the Margins tab of the Page Setup dialog box,
shown below.




Follow these steps to change the margins within your document:


1.

Position the cursor where you want the margin
changes to take effect.

2.

Select
File, Page Setup

to open the Page Setup dialog box.

3.

Click on the
Margins

tab.

4.

Use the
Top, Bottom, Left, and Right “spin box”

controls to set the amount of white
space on the top, bottom, left, and right of the document.

5.

If y
ou want to, use the
Header and Footer

spin box controls to adjust the size of the
header or footer from the top or bottom of the page.

6.

Set the
Apply To

option to Whole Document (default) or This Point Forward. “This
Point Forward” applies to margin settin
gs from the selected point of insertion to the end
of the document.

7.

Click
OK
to return to the document.


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4


Creating
Section Breaks

You will want to insert a section break to apply different page formatting within a document.


To insert a section break:


1.

Po
sition the cursor at the point where you want the break to begin
,

and select
Insert,
Break

to open the Break dialog box.






2.

In the
Section Break Types

area, select one of the following options to specify where
you want the new section to begin:

a.

Next Pag
e

b.

Continuous

c.

Even Page

d.

Odd Page


3.

Choose
OK

to insert the section break.



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Creating Headers and Footers

Headers and Footers are useful for including page numbers, document titles, company
letterhead, and additional pieces of information that need to
appear

on each page of a
document. They

are

also useful for including information in your document without
compromising your required margins and additional page settings.


Use the following process to create Headers and/or Footers:


1.

Select
View, Header/
Footer

from the Menu Bar to display the header (footer) toolbar
and text boxes.





2.

Make any necessary changes to the header (footer), including typing text and using the
Insert Date, Insert Page Numbers,
and

Insert Time

buttons to place field codes in the
heade
r (footer).

3.

If you need to switch from the header to the footer, or vice versa, simply click the
Switch Between Header and Footer

button on the toolbar.

4.

If you wish to include different information on another page’s header (footer), insert a
Section Break
(Next Page)

before the new page. Then turn off the
Same As Previous

button by selecting it, and type the new information into the new page’s header (footer).

5.

If you wish to view the next or previous page’s header (footer), simply select
Show Next

or
Show
Previous
.

6.

When you’re finished editing your document’s headers (footers), click the
Close

button
on the Header / Footer toolbar and return to your document.


Source:
Courter, G., & Marquis, A
.

Mastering Microsoft Office 2000, Professional Edition
,
2000.

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B
lock Letter Style with Open Punctuation

(CoB standard)



March 25, 200
3




line 13
(2”)
or 1 blank line below letterhead

2

to

10

blank lines


Mr. C. G. Everett, President

Visual Design, Inc.

2000 Coast Highway

Santa Barbara, CA 90909
-
9898








1 blank
line

Dear Mr. Everett






1 blank line

SUBJECT: BLOCK LETTER STYLE






1 blank line

This letter illustrates the block letter style, the accepted letter style for use by students in the College of
Business. All typed lines begin at the left margin. The

date is usually placed two inches from the top edge of
the paper or two lines (one blank line) below the last line of the letterhead, whichever position is lower. Please
notice that the letter is single
-
spaced with a blank line between each paragraph.






1 blank line

This letter also displays “open punctuation.” No colon follows the salutation, and no comma follows the
complimentary close. While this style is efficient and thus has been accepted by the CoB as its standard, many
people remain unfamilia
r with this punctuation style and consider it
to be
“incomplete.” The alternative style is
entitled “mixed punctuation.” Mixed punctuation includes a colon after the salutation and a comma after the
complimentary close. Take note that while a comma foll
owing the salutation is perfectly correct in informal,
personal communication, it is improper to use a comma within business communication. Open punctuation
dictates no punctuation at all following the salutation; mixed punctuation requires a colon.


If a

subject line is to be included, it appears two lines below the salutation in all capital letters. The word
“SUBJECT” is optional. Most readers will identify this statement in this position as the subject without the
label. The complimentary close appea
rs two lines below the end of the last paragraph. Three blank lines are
used to provide space for the written signature followed by the typed name of the sender with typed title
following on the next line. Both lines of this signature block are typed at t
he left margin in the block format.


Reference initials follow two lines below the title. Format of the reference initials may vary
,

but current
adaptation uses only lower case initials of the keyboardist. If writers key their own correspondence, no
refe
rence initials are used. This option is becoming more widely used as more writers key their own work.
When an enclosure or attachment accompanies a letter, a notation to that effect appears two lines below the
reference initials. This notation may be sp
elled out (Enclosure or Attachment), or it may be abbreviated (Enc.,
Att.). The number of enclosures may be indicated, and specific enclosures may be identified (Enclosure: May 5,
2001 Adjusted Invoice).


Sincerely






3 blank lines



Catherine Smart

Acc
ount Manager






1 blank line

jsr






1 blank line






Enc
losure

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Guidelines for Formatting Memos


To:


Name and title (the title also serves as a record for reference)

From:


Your name, title (sign your initials for verification)

Date:


(also serves as

a chronological record for future reference)

Subject:

Guidelines for Formatting Memos



An introduct
ory

paragraph provides the purpose of the memo and outlines the topics to be
covered.
The guidelines on this page show and tell you one professional way t
o format a
memorandum that utilizes headings. Headings are used when more than one topic is covered
in the memo.

It’s important to pay attention to

the subject line, topic headings, paragraph
spacing, second
-
page notation, and memo verification.


Subject L
ine


Utilize the subject line above to forecast
or summarize the memo's content

in the subject line.
A clear, concise subject title helps readers to focus on the subject and to gauge its
importance. A precise heading also makes filing by subject easier.


Topic Headings


When discussing a number of subtopics related to your subject, include headings (as we do
here). Headings help you organize, and help readers locate information quickly.


Paragraph Spacing


Do not indent the first line of paragraphs. Sin
gle space within paragraphs, and double space
between paragraphs.


Second
-
page Notation


When the memo exceeds one page, begin the second and all the subsequent pages with a
header. Place this information in Word’s header function. For example, when you ar
e writing
a memo to Dr. Baxter, your header might look like this:

Dr. Baxter

June 12, 20XX

Page 2

Memo Verification


Don't sign your memos.
I
nitial the "From" line after
your name
; this will verify that you are
the sender
.



A conclusion paragraph is neede
d to tie the memo topics together and, when appropriate, to
ask for action and/or create goodwill.

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Internal
Letterhead Memo


QuadCommunications, Inc.

Interoffice Memo


DATE
:

April 19, 200
3

1 blank line

TO
:


Russell B. Smart, Vice President

1 blank line

FR
OM
:

Lynne Rusley, Marketing Director

1 blank line

SUBJECT
:

SCHEDULING MANAGEMENT COUNCIL SPEAKERS


2

blank line
s

This memo illustrates a hard
-
copy style, which is a memo written using letterhead. Leave
two blank lines between SUBJECT line and first line o
f memo text. This paragraph should
announce good news directly and cordially. If a list is used, list data in columns with heading
for easy reading as follows:

1 blank line


Date



Speaker




Topic



November 14


Dr. Mary Jean Lush



Successful Performan
ce










Appraisals




January 12


Jeanette Spencer



Conducting Legal





President, Spencer &



Employment Interviews





Associates







March 13


Dr. Karen S. Powell



Avoiding Sexual





Colorado Consultants



Harassment Suits

1 blank line

One sp
ace should be used before and after the list. This paragraph uses short, active
-
voice
sentences. If options are used, highlight with (1) and (2) as follows:

1 blank line

(1)

Time Management for Today’s Managers


(2)

Effective Use of Intranets and Web Sites

1 bla
nk line

The final paragraph provides
a
deadline and
the
reason for the deadline. Additional tips for

writing a memo include: single
space

all
memos, double
space between paragraphs and use
one
-
inch

margins. If a memo requires two pages, use a second
-
page h
eading that includes the
addressee’s name, page number, and date. Instead of a signature, your initials should be
handwritten after your typed name
at the top of the memo
. Include an enclosure
line, if the
memo has an attachment.

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1 blank line

Enclosure


Pl
ain Paper Memo


MEMORANDUM

(Optional Heading)


DATE
:

April 19, 200
3

Line 13,

Two inches from top of page.

1 blank line

TO
:


Russell B. Smart, Vice President

1 blank line

FROM
:

Lynne Rusley, Marketing Director

1 blank line

SUBJECT
:

SCHEDULING

MANAGEMENT COUNCIL SPEAKERS


2

blank

line
s

This memo illustrates a plain paper style, which is a memo written on plain paper. The
memo should
have one
-
inch

margin
s
. Leave two blank lines between SUBJECT line and
first line of memo text. This paragraph
should announce good news directly and cordially. If
a list is used, list data in columns with heading
s

for easy reading as follows:

1 blank line


Date



Speaker




Topic



November 14


Dr. Mary Jean Lush



Successful Performance










Appraisals




J
anuary 12


Jeanette Spencer
, President


Conducting Legal





Spencer &

Associates



Employment Interviews





March 13


Dr. Karen S.
McDowell


Avoiding Sexual





Colorado Consultants



Harassment Suits

1 blank line

One space should be used before and afte
r the list. This paragraph uses short, active
-
voice
sentences. If options are used, highlight with (1) and (2) as follows:

1 blank line

(1) Time Management for Today’s Managers


(2) Effective Use of Intranets and Web Sites

1 blank line

The final paragrap
h provides
a
deadline and reason for the deadline. Additional tips for
writing a memo include:

single space all memos, double
space between paragraphs
,

and use
one
-
inch
margins. If a memo requires two pages, use a second
-
page heading that includes the
ad
dressee’s name, page number, and date. Instead of a signature, your initials should be
handwritten after your typed name
in the heading
. Include
an
enclosure lin
e if the memo has
an attachment.

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Informative/Positive
Communication


Definition
:

The a
nticipated response of the reader is positive; the sales task is minimal
.


Example
s:

Requests for information and/or action




Routine claim requests




Routine responses


When the Direct Pattern applies
:



Frontload the opening
.



Explain needed detail in the

body
.



Consider logical sequence
.



Group like ideas
.



Consider graphic display
.



R
emember
to include
reader benefits
.



Provide a forward
-
looking, courteous closing
.



Use end date if appropriate
.



















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Bad News or Negative Communication


The c
ontent

of the
bad news or negative
message will not b
e what the reader wants to hear.
T
he challenge is to clearly communicate the bad news while maintaining a goodwill
relationship between
the
writer and
the
reader
.


When the INDIRECT pattern applies:




Use a rel
evant, short buffer



Use a
Natural

transition to paragraph two



Be careful



don’t appear to
be
saying “yes”




Explain reasons



Present in terms of reader benefits



Avoid hiding behind company policy




Don’t apologize


explain



Avoid placing blame in t
he midst of explanation




Refuse



Use positive language

Use s
ubjective mood

and passive voice

Imply refusal by referring to what can be done

Avoid putting refusal in its own paragraph




If applicable, deflect b
y offering alternative solution


Compromise


Of
fer substitution




Close with
a
forward
-
looking thought



Don’t refer to
the
negative



Point to a

different, yet related
,

reader benefit


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P
ersuasive or Sales Communication


Prewriting steps are necessary to help identify the best choice of pattern:


1.

Anal
yze your purpose. What do you want the reader to do or think? What features or
benefits of your product/service are you selling?

2.

Anticipate the reaction of the reader. What level of persuasion is needed?

3.

Choose central theme and appeals
.

4.

Identify obstacles

and strategies to overcome th
ose obstacles
.



The Indirect Pattern for Persuasive Tasks

Gain Attention

1.

Make the first sentence interesting enough to motivate the reader to continue reading. A
rhetorical question is often effective; other effective openers include an unusual fact, an
unexpected statement, or some statement about which the

reader and writer can agree.

2.

Keep the opening paragraph short
--
often just one sentence
--
to draw

in
the reader.

3.

Make sure that the opening sentence relates to the main topic of the message. Don't mislead
the reader.

4.

When appropriate, relate the opener to
a reader benefit.

5.

Consider “devices” such as envelopes, color,
and
graphics.

Build Interest


1.

Don
't specifically make your request until you've presented some of the reasons.

2.

Devote the major part of your message to justifying your request. Give enough background
and evidence to enable the reader to make an informed decision.

3.

Use facts and statistics
, expert opinion, and examples to support your proposal. Ensure that
your evidence is accurate
,

relevant, representative, and complete. Avoid obvious flattery,
emotionalism, and exaggeration.

4.

Use an objective, logical, reasonable, and sincere tone.

5.

Prese
nt your evidence in terms of either direct or indirect reader benefits.

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Reduce Resistance

1.

Do no
t ignore obstacles to your request. Instead, show that
,

even
when

considering such
obstacles, your request is

reasonable.

2.

Subordinate the discussion of obstacles by position and amount of space devoted to the
topic.

Motivate

1.

Although implied earlier, save the specific request for late
r

in the message.

2.

Make the desired action clear and easy for the r
eader to take. Include end date if
appropriate.

3.

Ask in a confident tone. Consider restating key benefit.

4.

End on a forward
-
looking note, continuing to stress reader benefits.

The Direct Pattern for Persuasive Tasks

1.

Use a direct organizational plan when strong persuasion is not necessary (that is, when your
audience is predisposed to listen objective
ly to your request, you are writing a long or
complex proposal, or there are no obvious obstacles to your proposal).

2.

Present your recommendation, along with the criteria and brief rationale, in the first
paragraph.

3.

Continue by presenting credible evidence
and minimizing obstacles; end on a forward
-
looking note that continues to stress reader benefits.