Introduction to Correspondence Memos, E-mails, and Basic Letters By Jennifer L. Bowie Memos • Memorandum shortened to memo, either is fine • Brief internal correspondence • Sent up and down corporate ladder • Short, clear, and organized • Has a specific form Emails • Most common workplace communication (and increasingly so) • Can substitute for paper memos • Often contains similar layout and info to paper memos • Informal and casual, book compares to a telephone call, but should still be professional – Edit it and make it clear and concise • Make sure subject line is clear, concise, specific, and written to pass through spam filters – Limit length to a short phrase • Do include a signature block, especially for work emails • Has an ideal form Letters • Official and traditional method of correspondence • Constitutes a legal record and represents your company’s image • More permanent and less forgiving • Confidential • Has a recognizable form More on Letters • Whenever possible specifically name recipient and include job title • Attention/Subject line: for when you don’t know the name or want to draw attention to something • What names and title to use when: – Include the person’s personal title (Dr./Ms./Mr. …), full name, and job title in the inside address – Only include the last name and personal title (Dr./Ms./Mr. …) in the salutation (along with “Dear”, of course) Letter Formats: Block and Modified Block • Only difference is the placement of date, closing and signature, and your address • Modified block: indented 1/2 to 2/3 of the way and aligned to each other • Full Block: Aligned left with the rest of the letter • Block looks more modern and clean Correspondence Matrix Type Internal or Power Formality Ideal Length Subject line Signed External levels Memo Internal All moderate ~1 page (try Yes Initialed at rarely to keep top, nothing external under 4 at bottom (usually pages) clients) Email Both All Informal < 1 page Yes Name (depends on provided but situation) no “signature” Letter Both, more Usually Formal Longer, but Not usually Yes in ink likely above or ~1 page external outside ideal And that’s all for now folks Have fun corresponding!
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