Writing Routine and Positive Messages
Making Routine Requests
Types of Routine requests—placing orders, requesting information and action (like the Metro Power letter
you will write), making claims and requesting adjustments, etc.
Strategy for Routine Requests
State Your Request Up Front:
Use the direct approach as you are requesting information and action (page 205) This is applicable for
your assignment: “Temper, Temper: E-mail to Metro Power employees about technology failures.”
Start with the first paragraph which is a clear statement (the main idea p. 205) that explains why you
1. Pay attention to tone—very easy to misinterpret, especially if motions are running hot. Give careful
thought to the words you choose.
2. Work under the assumption that the audience will comply. Be sure to be clear with your reasoning to
make this happen.
3. Draws distinctions when needed between true questions and polite requests.
4. Be specific; what do you want and be sure the audience knows it.
The middle paragraph provides a clear explanation of what you need and often justification for your
request (p. 206).
1. Ask the most important questions first. Or note the key points to remember or comply with. The body
can be used pose the questions you need answered or the points you need remembered.
2. Ask only relevant questions; make only relevant points.
3. Focus on one key issue at a time. Don’t cram too much into the body and keep the focus on one
basic theme. Make it easy for your audience to comply.
End with a closing paragraph that is courteous and often serves as a reminder of what is needed
1. Be specific as to what you need
2. Tell your audience how to reach you if necessary
3. Let audience you know you appreciate their effort; a closing expression of goodwill.
Memorandum format (not in text—see handout for details and specific information on construction)
Letters of recommendation—p. 219.
Oddly, the hardest letters to write are for those employees who are truly outstanding; seemingly
without flaw or weakness.
Be careful about libel issues, and say something untrue simply because you may dislike someone.
But always be honest in your assessment since your reputation is on the line.
Goodwill messages (congratulations)—p. 225-26.
The letter sent to someone who achieved a significant step in life and your acknowledgement
helps solidify the business relationship
Effective letters of congratulations are sincere, not overly gushing in language, gets to the point
up front in the first paragraph, keeps the focus on the person earning the praise, not the writer.
Messages of Appreciation (p. 226-28).
Letters sent as a means of saying “thank you” for the help you received from another. Not only is
this the right thing to do when we are helped, but it makes very good business sense as well. It
can help build and maintain business relationships. Often overlooked since we are all busy. But
the time it takes to say “thank you” when the reason exists is time well spent.
Letters of Condolence and the guidelines for using (p. 228).
A necessary part of a manager’s responsibilities
Expressing sorrow and condolences when an employee or business associate experiences a loss
of some kind.
1. Keep the comments brief
2. Don’t use a form letter; express your own thoughts
3. Be tactful; bluntness is not a wise idea
4. Be careful to get names right and review the facts
5. If there is a deceased person, talk about their qualities