Writing E-mail_ Memos_ and Propo

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					Writing Email, Memos,
    and Proposals
       Chapter 14
The Challenge of Managing
 Communication Overload
• The PR writer doesn’t always communicate
  with a large, impersonal audience
• In fact, PR people spend a large part of
  the working day engaging in interpersonal
• He or she also communicates on a more
  personal level through email, memos,
  letters, phone calls, and face-to-face
           Typical Day
• Email– sending,      • Writing proposals
  receiving, reading   • Attending
  and replying           meetings and later
• Leaving and            summarizing
  answering voice        meetings
  mail messages        • Preparing position
• Sending memos to       papers (aka “white”
  colleagues             papers or
   Clutter Contributor?
• In many cases, PR people add to the
  information clutter and overload
• Solution is to “write smart, simple,
  and short”
• Follow basic guidelines of clarity,
  completeness, conciseness, courtesy,
  and responsibility in all your writing
     5 Points of Smart,
   Simple, Short Writing
• Completeness- Why are you writing and what do readers
  want/need to know? Don’t use irrelevant material
• Conciseness- Less is better. Respect that people are
• Correctness- Be accurate in everything you write. Errors
  in personalized communication reflect solely on you and
  your abilities
• Courtesy- Use personal names and be polite but not
  effusive/gushy; personal but not overly familiar
• Responsibility- Think how your communication will be
  perceived by the recipient. Be careful to set the right
  tone. You don’t want to come across as flippant,
  arrogant, or defensive. Better to come across as
  helpful, sympathetic, and concerned
     The Email Monster
• Inboxes today-backed up at an astounding rate
• 2007 research- the average number of
  corporate emails sent and received per person
  on a daily basis was 142. Expected-228 by
• Workers in 2006 spent 26 percent of their
  time on email, and that was expected to grow
  to 41 percent by 2009
• Typical information worker (or communicator)
  turns to email more than 50 times and a day
  and uses instant messaging 77 times
• Constant interruptions fracture the workday
• Loss of productivity-est. $650 million annually
        “Colleague Spam”
• Traditional email spam-tamed (somewhat) by
  filtering software
• Bulging inboxes today caused more by
  “colleague spam”- friends sending you latest
  jokes, viral YouTube videos, Facebook
  messages, etc. (Cargill fired 90 workers for
  inappropriate use of company computers/time)
• Professional communicators need to recognize
  limitations of email and figure ways to use it
  efficiently to get through the forest of
  information clutter
• Maybe better way to go- voice and text
  messaging, Twitter, wikis, and RSS feeds
      Email Advantages
• Reduces cost of employee communications
• Increases the distribution of messages to
  more employees
• Flattens the corporate hierarchy
• Speeds decision making
• But there are often situations when face-
  to-face communication is better and when
  formal letters on nice stationary are
  better than informal, less permanent email
        Mind Your Email
         Manners- p. 391
• Avoid the “Reply to     • Don’t be a cyber-
  All” button               coward- say
• Skip the ALL              something critical,
  CAPITAL letters-          angry, sad in person
  don’t shout!            • Keep the large image
• Save the fancy            file to yourself
  stationery              • Fill out the subject
• Give your reply first     line
  when responding to a    • Count to 10 before
  question                  hitting the Send
• Keep forwards to a        button- a “flaming”
  minimum                   email often starts
                            more fires than you
                            can put out
   Voice Mail Pros/Cons
• A phone call is still quicker than a memo
  delivered by interoffice mail and it avoids
  the problem of unopened email in a
  crowded inbox
• It can eliminate “phone tag” if you leave a
  detailed message in someone’s voice
  mailbox, and that person leaves a response
  in yours
• Group conference calls can eliminate the
  need for meetings
   Voice Mail Negatives
• “Telephone Tree Hell”- frustrates
  people outside an organization who
  may call a general number trying to
  reach a specific person and then have
  to go through a series of prompts-
  better systems have “O out” options
  to reach a live person
   Business Letters, Memos,
 Proposals and Position Papers
• Business letters are personalized
  communication that should be well
  organized, concise. They can prevent
  misunderstandings and provide a record of
  an agreement or transaction
• Memos should be one page or less and
  state key message immediately
• Memos five components: Date, To, From,
  Subject, Message (use in email and hard
  copy memos)
    XYZ Widget Company
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
To: Public Relations Committee
From: Patrick Harwood
Subject: Meeting on Friday, April 8
   We will meet in the conference room from 3-4 p.m. to
   discuss how to publicize and promote the company’s annual
   employee picnic. The president wants to encourage the
   families of all employees to attend, so please come prepared
   to offer your ideas and suggestions on activities and
• PR firms usually get new business through the
  preparation of a proposal offering services to an
• In many cases, a potential client will issue a
  Request for Proposal (RFP) and circulate it to
  various public relations firms to recommend a
  course of action
• In most situations, the PR firm will prepare a
  written proposal that will be part of a
  presentation to the prospective client
• Proposals must follow a logical, well-organized
  Typical PR Proposal Sections
• Background and
  capabilities of the firm   • Proposed budget
• The client’s situation     • How success will be
• Goals and objectives of      measured
  the proposed program       • Description of the team
• Key messages                 that will handle the
• Basic strategies and
  tactics                    • Summary of the why the
                               firm should be selected to
• General timeline of          implement the program

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