Chapter 16: Writing Letters and Memos

16

161

Writing Letters and Memos

Good communication is good business. This has been true throughout history. Well-written letters and memos help your business serve its clients well—to everyone’s benefit.

When sending letters or distributing memos, your goal is for your reader to understand and respond to your message as planned. You also want to initiate or maintain a good working relationship. In other words, you want results. If you write messages that are clear, complete, and focused on your reader, you will get results.

In this chapter

162

Guidelines Writing Letters

In a letter, your goal is to communicate your message and give a positive impression of yourself and your organization.

  1. Plan: (Ideas and Organization)

    • Ask yourself what you want the letter to accomplish.

    • Consider the reader’s concerns about, knowledge of, and history with your organization.

    Gather information.

    • Gather files and other necessary resources.

    • Jot down your main points in a logical order.

    • Use the letter format (full-block, semiblock, or simplified) that your company prefers.

  2. Draft: (Ideas, Organization, and Voice)

    Opening State the situation (reason for writing, background).

    Middle Give the full explanation, supporting points, and details. If your message is informative, make your key point early. For a bad-news or persuasive message, build up to the main point.

    Closing End with a call to action (who should do what, when), and, if appropriate, mention future contact.

  3. Revise: (Ideas, Organization, Voice, Words, and Sentences)

    • Are all names, dates, and details accurate?

    • Is information presented in a logical order?

    • Do you use a conversational but professional tone?

    • Do you emphasize the reader’s perspective?

    • Have you used precise wording?

    • Have you used personal pronouns in a positive way?

    • Do you have smooth sentences that pass the “read aloud” test?

  4. Edit: (Conventions and Design)

    • Have you checked spelling (especially double-checked names)?

    • Have you checked grammar, punctuation, and mechanics?

    • Have you checked format and design?

“Be yourself when you write. You will stand out as a real person among robots.”

—William Zinsser

163

Professional Appearance of Letters

Before your readers catch a word of your message, they’ve already read your letter’s overall appearance. What does it say to them? Use the guidelines on this page to ensure a good impression.

First Impressions

Choose your look.

Do you want your letter format to look traditional and conservative or friendly and contemporary?

Frame your letter in white space.

Make your margins 1 to 1.5 inches left and right, top and bottom. Create a balanced, open look by centering the message vertically and adjusting the space between the parts of the letter.

Make reading easy.

Use sensible type sizes and styles.

  • Keep type size at 10–12 points.

  • Choose a user-friendly font. Serif type has fine lines finishing off the main strokes of the letter. (This is serif type.) Sans serif type has a block-letter look. (This is sans serif type.) Serif typefaces are easier to read and understand; sans serif typefaces work well for headings.

  • Avoid flashy and frequent type changes, as well as overuse of italics or boldface.

Print for quality.

Use a quality printer and avoid any handwritten editing changes. Always print a clean final copy.

Letter Perfect

Use 20- to 24-pound bond paper.

The 20- to 24-pound bond paper folds cleanly, takes ink crisply, and works well in most printers.

Use 8.5- by 11-inch paper.

It’s standard and files easily. Other sizes may be used for personal correspondence, executive letters, or mass mailings.

Use white or off-white paper.

Be careful with other colors. Light, subtle colors mean business. Bold colors scream, “I’m an ad!”

Match, don’t mix.

Letterhead pages, continuation sheets, and envelopes should match in paper weight, size, color, and design.

Letterhead Design

If you are asked to design or redesign your company’s letterhead stationery—or if you want to design a letterhead specific to your position—be sure to include the following:

  • the company’s complete legal name;

  • the company logo or slogan;

  • complete contact information—full mailing address, phone number (including area code), a fax number, and website address.

  • names of key people (perhaps in the left-margin sidebar).

Note: Make sure your design reflects your company’s mission and character.

164

Parts of a Basic Letter

All letters should include a clear message and information about the writer and the reader. Details for basic and expanded formats follow.

Basic Letter Tips

  • Do not indent paragraphs.

  • Single-space within paragraphs.

  • Double-space between paragraphs.

  • Leave the right margin ragged (uneven).

  • Set margins from 1 to 1.5 inches.

  1. The heading provides the reader a return address. Type the address (minus the writer’s name) at the top of the letter. Spell out words like Road, Street, West. Omit the address if you are using a letterhead.

  2. The date shows when the letter was drafted or dictated. Write the date as month, day, year for U.S. correspondence (August 5, 2019); write day, month, year for international or military correspondence (5 August 2019).

  3. The inside address gives the reader’s name and complete mailing address. Type it flush left and include as many details as necessary, in this order:

    • reader’s courtesy title, name, and job title (if the job title is one word)

    • reader’s job title (if two or more words)

    • office or department

    • organization name

    • street address/p.o. box/suite/room (comma precedes NE, SE, etc.)

    • city, state, zip code (or city, country, postal code)

  4. The salutation personalizes the message. Capitalize all first letters and place a colon after the name. (See “Forms of Address.”)

  5. The body contains the message, usually organized into three parts:

    • an opening that states why you are writing,

    • a middle that gives readers the details they need, and

    • a closing that focuses on what should happen next.

  6. The complimentary closing provides a polite word or phrase to end the message. Capitalize the first word only and add a comma after the closing.

  7. The signature block makes the letter official. Align the writer’s name with the complimentary closing. Place a one-word job title on the same line as the typed name or below the name; place a longer title below the typed name.

  8. Use an enclosure note whenever you enclose something. Type Enclosure(s) or Enc(s). and the number of enclosures. To list enclosures by name, type Enclosure(s) or Enc(s)., a colon, and the names stacked vertically.

  9. A postscript contains a personal or final note. Type P.S. (with periods but no colon) followed by the message.

165

Writing Basic Letters

1

R & J Law Office

105 East Bay Road

Bar Harbor, ME 04609-6327

2

August 5, 2019

Two to Eight Spaces

3

Ms. Abigail Bruins, Manager

Rena’s Restaurant

3706 Chamberlain Avenue, SE

Bar Harbor, ME 04609-3427

Double Space

4

Dear Ms. Bruins:

Double Space

5

Early last week, we received your letter, along with a drawing of the deck that you want to add to the east side of your restaurant. Opening In that letter, you described your building plan and asked that one of our attorneys advise you on how to proceed.

Middle I studied the plan and found it attractive. However, the drawing shows that the east edge of the proposed deck would extend within six feet of your side property line, thereby violating Article X in the city’s building code. That article requires ten feet between a building and a side property line. (I have enclosed a copy of Article X.)

Closing Given this restriction, you could proceed with your building plan in one of two ways: (1) present your plan to the Planning and Zoning Commission and ask for a variance to Article X, or (2) adapt the plan so that it conforms to the code. Please call me at 217-555-0654 to discuss this matter.

Double Space

6

Yours sincerely,

Signature Sydney George

Four Spaces

7

Sydney George

Attorney-at-Law

Double Space

8

Enclosures:

1. Drawing

2. Article

166

Parts of an Expanded Letter

Adding Information

When you, your reader, a typist, a filing clerk, or future readers need additional information, include one or more of the items from this list.

  1. A method of transmission note indicates how a letter should be or has been sent: via facsimile, via registered mail, via overnight courier.

  2. A reference line begins with a guide word and a colon (Reference:, In reply to:) followed by a file, an account, an invoice, or a database number.

  3. When appropriate, use a confidential notation on both the letter and the envelope. CAPITALIZE or underline the word confidential for emphasis.

  4. In the inside address, stack names by alphabet or position for two or more readers. For two readers at separate addresses, stack the addresses (including names) with a line between.

  5. The attention line designates a reader or department but encourages others to read the letter. Place it two lines below the inside address, flush left or centered. CAPITALIZE or underline for emphasis.

  6. The subject line announces the topic and is placed flush left two lines below the salutation. CAPITALIZE or underline for emphasis.

  7. The signature block may include the writer’s courtesy title typed in front of the name to clarify his or her gender or a preferred form of address. If two people must sign the letter, place the second name beside the first starting at the center of the page—or place it four spaces below the first name.

  8. In the identification line, type the writer’s initials in capitals and the typist’s in lowercase, separated by a slash (but no spaces).

  9. Use the copies notation by typing c or cc, followed by a colon and a vertical list of people (with job titles in parentheses). To send a copy to someone else without the reader knowing it, type bc or bcc (blind copy), but only on the copy sent to the person listed.

  10. Continuation pages follow a letter’s first page. On blank stationery, carry over at least two lines and use a heading in one of the formats below:

Continuation Pages
167

Writing Expanded Letters

August 5, 2019

Two to Eight Spaces

1

Via facsimile

Double Space

2

Reference: Article X

Double Space

3

CONFIDENTIAL

Double Space

4

Ms. Abigail Bruins

Mr. Paul Meyer

Rena’s Restaurant

3706 Chamberlain Avenue, SE

Bar Harbor, ME 04609-3427

Double Space

Dear Ms. Bruins and Mr. Meyer:

Double Space

6

BUILDING PERMIT

Double Space

Early last week we received your letter, along with a drawing of the deck that you want to add to the east side of your restaurant. I studied the plan and found it attractive. However, the drawing shows that the proposed deck would extend within six feet of your property line, thereby violating Article X in the city’s building code. That article requires ten feet between a building and a side property line.

Given this restriction, you could proceed with your building plan in one of two ways: (1) present your plan to the Planning and Zoning Commission and ask for a variance to Article X, or (2) adapt the plan so that it conforms to the code. Please call me at 555-0654 to discuss this matter.

Double Space

Yours sincerely,

7

Signature Ms. Sydney George

Four Spaces

Ms. Sydney George

Attorney-at-Law

Double Space

8

SG/mb

Enclosures 2

cc: Leah Theodore (Senior Partner)

9

168

Letter Formats

You can arrange a letter in a full-block, semiblock, or simplified format. Choose the letter format that best fits the situation and your organization’s guidelines. Note: For quick formatting, use the letter templates in your word-processing program.

Full-Block Format

Rules:

  • All parts flush left

Character:

  • Professional, clean, contemporary

Plus:

  • Easy to set up and follow

Minus:

  • May appear unbalanced to the left of the page

Best Uses:

  • Routine letters, not social and executive letters

Note:

  • More traditional and international readers may not prefer this format.

Semiblock Format

Rules:

  • Date line, method of transmission line, reference line, complimentary close, and signature block align with a vertical line at the center of the page; all other parts of the letter are flush left.

Character:

  • Professional, traditional

Plus:

  • Balanced appearance on the page

Minus:

  • More difficult setup than full block or simplified

Best Uses:

  • International and traditional letters, as well as executive and social letters

Note:

  • You may indent the subject line and all paragraphs to further soften the form. In addition, you may drop the space between paragraphs.

Simplified Format

Rules:

  • All parts flush left

  • No salutation or complimentary close

  • Subject line and writer’s name in caps; dash between the writer’s name and title

Character:

  • Bare-bones, functional

Plus:

  • Easy setup

Minus:

  • Impersonal format due to lack of courtesy elements

Best Uses:

  • Routine letters—regular reminders, notices, bulletins, orders, mass mailings

  • Not appropriate for high-level or persuasive letters

Note:

  • You may drop courtesy titles from the inside address.

169

Full Block

Full Block

Semiblock

Semiblock

Simplified

Simplified
170

Letters and Envelopes

Folding Letters

A Standard Fold: To put a letter in its matching envelope, place the letter face-up and follow these steps:

Standard FoldStandard FoldStandard Fold
  1. Fold the bottom edge up so that the paper is divided into thirds. Use your thumbnail to create a clean crease.

  2. Fold the top third down over the bottom third, leaving 1/4 inch for easy unfolding, and crease firmly.

  3. Insert the letter (with the open end at the top) into the envelope.

A Large Sheet in a Small Envelope: If you must place a letter in a small envelope, follow these steps:

Large Sheet in a Small EnvelopeLarge Sheet in a Small EnvelopeLarge Sheet in a Small EnvelopeLarge Sheet in a Small Envelope
  1. Fold the bottom edge up so that the paper is divided in half, and create a clean crease.

  2. Fold the right side to the left so that the sheet is divided into thirds; crease firmly.

  3. Fold the left third over the right third and crease firmly.

  4. Turn the letter sideways and insert it (with the open end at the top) into the envelope.

A Window Envelope: Position the inside address on the letter so that it will show through the window. Then place the letter face up and fold it as follows:

Window EnvelopeWindow EnvelopeWindow Envelope
  1. Fold the bottom edge up so that the paper is divided into thirds, and create a clean crease.

  2. Turn the letter face-down with the top edge toward you and fold the top third of the letter back.

  3. Insert the letter in the envelope and make sure that the whole address shows through the window.

171

U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Envelope Guidelines

To be sure that your letters are delivered quickly and correctly, follow all United States Postal Service (USPS) guidelines when you address an envelope. See the envelope and helpful guidelines below.

Addressed Envelope
  1. Type the receiver’s name and address in black ink on a light-colored envelope. Use an all-cap style for everything in the address. Make sure all lines are horizontal and lined up flush left. Leave out all punctuation except the hyphen in the zip code.

  2. Type the receiver’s address—including the type of street (ST, AVE), compass points (NE, SW), and full ZIP code—in the order pictured. Place the suite, room, or apartment number on the address line, after the street address.

  3. Use USPS abbreviations for states and other words in the address. Use numerals rather than words for numbered streets (9TH AVE). Add ZIP+4 codes. (Go to www.usps.com to get the ZIP code for any street address in the country.)

Tips for International Mail

When sending international mail, print the country name alone on the last line. As long as the country, city, and state or province are in English, the name and address may be in the language of the country listed.

Pattern:

Name of Receiver

Street Address or PO Box

City, State/Province, Code

Country (Caps, English)

Examples:

MR BRUCE WARNER

2431 EDEN WAY

LONDON W1P 4HQ

ENGLAND

MS TAMARA BEALS

56 METCALFE CRES

MONTREAL QC J7V 8P2

CANADA

172

Standard Postal Abbreviations

States, Provinces, and Territories

U.S. States

Alabama

AL

Alaska

AK

Arizona

AZ

Arkansas

AR

California

CA

Colorado

CO

Connecticut

CT

Delaware

DE

District of Columbia

DC

Florida

FL

Georgia

GA

Guam

GU

Hawaii

HI

Idaho

ID

Illinois

IL

Indiana

IN

Iowa

IA

Kansas

KS

Kentucky

KY

Louisiana

LA

Maine

ME

Maryland

MD

Massachusetts

MA

Michigan

MI

Minnesota

MN

Mississippi

MS

Missouri

MO

Montana

MT

Nebraska

NE

Nevada

NV

New Hampshire

NH

New Jersey

NJ

New Mexico

NM

New York

NY

North Carolina

NC

North Dakota

ND

Ohio

OH

Oklahoma

OK

Oregon

OR

Pennsylvania

PA

Puerto Rico

PR

Rhode Island

RI

South Carolina

SC

South Dakota

SD

Tennessee

TN

Texas

TX

Utah

UT

Vermont

VT

Virginia

VA

Virgin Islands

VI

Washington

WA

West Virginia

WV

Wisconsin

WI

Wyoming

WY

Canadian Provinces, Territories

Alberta

AB

British Columbia

BC

Manitoba

MB

New Brunswick

NB

Newfoundland and Labrador

NL

Northwest Territories

NT

Nova Scotia

NS

Nunavut

NU

Ontario

ON

Prince Edward Island

PE

Quebec

QC

Saskatchewan

SK

Yukon Territory

YT

Abbreviations for Use on Envelopes

Annex

ANX

Apartment

APT

Avenue

AVE

Boulevard

BLVD

Building

BLDG

Causeway

CSWY

Circle

CIR

Court

CT

Drive

DR

East

E

Expressway

EXPY

Floor

FL

Fort

FT

Freeway

FWY

Harbor

HBR

Heights

HTS

Highway

HWY

Hospital

HOSP

Junction

JCT

Lake

LK

Lakes

LKS

Lane

LN

Meadows

MDWS

North

N

Northeast

NE

Northwest

NW

Office

OFC

Palms

PLMS

Park

PARK

Parkway

PKWY

Place

PL

Plaza

PLZ

Port

PRT

Post Office Box

PO BOX

Ridge

RDG

River

RIV

Road

RD

Room

RM

Route

RTE

Rural

R

Rural Route

RR

Shore

SH

South

S

Southeast

SE

Southwest

SW

Square

SQ

Station

STA

Street

ST

Suite

STE

Terrace

TER

Throughway

TRWY

Turnpike

TPKE

Union

UN

Viaduct

VIA

View

VW

Village

VLG

West

W

For mass mailings and other specialized business services, go to www.usps.com.

173

Faxing Documents

Faxing may still play a key role when official signatures are needed on paper documents, for example with legal, medical, or government communications. When sending a fax, use your organization’s cover sheet. If no cover sheet is available, create your own using some or all of the items below. (Most word-processing programs include templates for cover sheets.)

The receiver’s name, title, company, phone number, and fax number To

Mr. Vincent Malloy

Meridian Management Consultants

Phone: 702-555-3815

Fax: 702-555-3818

Your name, telephone number, and fax number From

Elizabeth Hills

Phone: 702-555-8100, ext. 3

Fax: 702-555-8155

The date Date

February 12, 2019

Message: a subject line or brief direction Message

Please review the following documents concerning your real estate transaction and call me.

The number of pages sent Pages

11 (including cover sheet)

A trouble-shooting statement asking the receiver to call if a transmission problem occurs If you encounter any problems during transmission, please call 702-555-8100.

Important: This message is intended for the use of only the individual or entity to which it is addressed. The message is confidential and protected under applicable law, and any distribution or copying of this document is prohibited. If you receive this document by mistake, please notify us by telephone and return the document to the above address through the U.S. Postal Service. Thank you.

174

Forms of Address

Usually, you can rely on common sense to tell you how to address your reader with respect. When you’re unsure, use the guidelines below and on the following pages to find a fitting title, salutation, and complimentary closing.

Professional Titles

Professional Titles

  • Avoid writing to positions, titles, or departments. Call the organization (or visit its website) for names.

  • Spell out all professional titles except Dr.

  • Avoid using two professional titles that mean the same thing: Dr. Paula Felch, M.D.

Business

Titles in Address

Salutations

CEO

Ms. Sarah Falwell, Chief Executive Officer

Dear Ms. Falwell:

Vice President

Dr. David Levengood, Vice President

Dear Dr. Levengood:

Company Official

Ms. Susan Cook, Comptroller

Dear Ms. Cook:

Education

Titles in Address

Salutations

President or Chancellor of University (Ph.D.)

Dr. Joe Smith, President

Dear Dr. Smith: (or) Dear President Smith:

Dean of a School or College (Ph.D.)

Dr. Marjorie Stone, Dean School of Life Sciences

Dear Dr. Stone: (or) Dear Dean Stone:

Professor (Ph.D.)

Dr. Patricia Monk, Professor of Psychology

Dear Dr. Monk: (or) Dear Professor Monk:

Instructor (no Ph.D.)

Mr. Art Linkman, Instructor of Physics

Dear Mr. Linkman:

Legal

Titles in Address

Salutations

Lawyer

Mr. Daniel Walker, Attorney-at-Law

Dear Mr. Walker:

Daniel Walker, Esq.

Dear Daniel Walker, Esq.:

Medical

Titles in Address

Salutations

Physician

Dr. Sarah McDonald

Sarah McDonald, M.D.

Dear Dr. McDonald:

Registered Nurse

Nurse John Seguin

John Seguin, R.N.

Dear Nurse Seguin:

Dentist

Dr. Leslie Matheson

Leslie Matheson, D.D.S.

Dear Dr. Matheson:

Veterinarian

Dr. Manuel Ortega

Manuel Ortega, D.V.M.

Dear Dr. Ortega:

175

Courtesy Titles

  • Choose “standard” or “formal” titles and salutations based on your relationship with the reader and the seriousness of the message.

  • Abbreviate all courtesy titles: Mr., Ms., Mrs.

  • Never guess your reader’s gender (Robin, Pat, Chris).

  • Use a woman’s preferred courtesy title: Ms., Miss, or Mrs.

  • Use a woman’s preferred name: original, married, or combined (Smith-Olsen).

One Woman (avoid showing marital status)

Titles in Address

Salutations

Preferred

Ms. Barbara Jordan

Dear Ms. Jordan:

Married or Widowed

Mrs. Lorene Frost

Dear Mrs. Frost:

Single

Ms. Adriana Langille

Dear Ms. Langille:

Two or More Women (alphabetical)

Titles in Address

Salutations

Standard

Ms. Bethany Jergens

Ms. Shavonn Mitchell

Dear Ms. Jergens and

Ms. Mitchell:

Formal

Mmes. Bethany Jergens and

Shavonn Mitchell

Dear Mmes. Jergens

and Mitchell:

One Man

Titles in Address

Salutations

Standard

Mr. Hugh Knight

Dear Mr. Knight:

With Jr., Sr., or Roman Numeral

Mr. Brian Boswell, Jr.

Mr. Brian Boswell III

Dear Mr. Boswell:

Two or More Men (alphabetical)

Titles in Address

Salutations

Standard

Mr. Alex Fernandez

Mr. Nate Shaw

Dear Mr. Fernandez

and Mr. Shaw:

Formal

Messrs. Alex Fernandez

and Nate Shaw

Dear Messrs. Fernandez

and Shaw:

One Man and One Woman (alphabetical)

Titles in Address

Salutations

Ms. Paula Trunhope

Mr. Joe Williams

Dear Ms. Trunhope and

Mr. Williams:

Married Couple

Titles in Address

Salutations

Same Last Name

Mr. William and

Mrs. Susan Lui

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Lui:

Different Last Names

Mr. William Bentley

Ms. Sinead Sweeney

Dear Mr. Bentley and

Ms. Sweeney:

One Reader (gender unknown)

Titles in Address

Salutations

M. Robin Leeds

Robin Leeds

Dear M. Leeds:

Dear Robin Leeds:

Mixed Group

Titles in Address

Salutations

Company, Department, Job Title, or Unknown Reader

Acme Corporation

Human Resources Dept.

Formal

Dear Sir or Madam:

Informal

Dear Manager:

176

Government Officials and Representatives

To properly address government officials (national, state, local, judicial, and so on), follow this pattern:

Title in Inside Address:

The Honorable (full name)
(full title on second line)

Formal Salutation:

Dear Sir/Madam: or
Dear Mr./Madam (position):

Informal Salutation:

Dear Mr./Ms. (last name): or
Dear (position) (last name):

Official Titles

  • Use a formal title (Senator, General) rather than a standard courtesy title (Mr., Ms.).

  • Avoid outdated courtesy forms (Gentlemen, To Whom It May Concern).

National

Titles in Address

Salutations

President

The President

Dear Mr./Madam President:

Vice President

The Vice President

Dear Mr./Madam Vice President:

Speaker of the House

The Honorable Steven Kudo

Dear Mr. Speaker:

Cabinet Members, Undersecretaries, etc.

The Honorable Jane Doe

Dear Madam:

Dear Attorney General Doe:

Senators (U.S. or State)

The Honorable Bill Johnson

Dear Senator Johnson:

Representatives (U.S. or State)

The Honorable Joan Walker

Dear Ms. Walker:

Dear Representative Walker:

Heads of Offices and Agencies

The Honorable John Hillman

Postmaster General

Dear Mr. Postmaster General:

Dear Mr. Hillman:

Chief Justice (U.S. or State)

The Honorable Shelby Woo

Chief Justice of California

Dear Madam Chief Justice:

U.S. Ambassador

The Honorable Francis

del Verda

Dear Mr. Ambassador:

Dear Ambassador del Verda:

State/Local

Titles in Address

Salutations

Governor

The Honorable Mary Lee

Dear Governor Lee:

Mayor

The Honorable Mark Barne

Dear Mayor Barne:

Council Member

The Honorable Corey Springs

Dear Mr. Springs:

Judge

The Honorable Grace Kim

Dear Judge Kim:

Military

Titles in Address

Salutations

General

Major General Karl P.

Bastion, USAF

Sir: (formal)

Dear General Bastion:

Lieutenant

Lieutenant Jane Evans, USMC

Dear Ms. Evans:

Religious Titles

To address religious leaders from any faith with titles that fit their positions, follow these guidelines.

Religious Titles

  • The use of The before Reverend differs from church to church. Follow the organization’s preference.

  • In some religious orders, the title in the salutation is followed by the reader’s first name. Other orders prefer the last name.

  • If the person has a Doctor of Divinity degree, add a comma and D.D. after his or her name in the address (not the salutation).

Roman Catholic Clergy

Titles in Address

Salutations

Cardinal

His Eminence, Edward Cardinal Romero

Your Eminence:

Dear Cardinal Romero:

Archbishop and Bishop

The Most Reverend Henri Crétien

Your Excellency:

Dear Bishop/Archbishop Crétien:

Priest

The Reverend Morris Franklin

Reverend Sir:

Dear Father Franklin:

Nun

Sister Mary Jennsen

Dear Sister Mary:

Dear Sister Jennsen:

Monk

Brother Atticus Bartholemew

Dear Brother Atticus:

Dear Brother Bartholemew:

Protestant Clergy

Titles in Address

Salutations

Bishop (Anglican, Episcopal, Methodist)

The Right Reverend Samuel Wolfe

Right Reverend Sir:

Reverend Sir:

Dear Bishop Wolfe:

Dean (Head of Cathedral or Seminary)

The Very Reverend Nicholas Cameron

Very Reverend Sir:

Dear Dean Cameron:

Minister or Priest

The Reverend Susan Edwards

Dear Reverend Edwards:

Pastor Edwards

Dear Pastor Edwards:

Chaplain

Chaplain Adam Carp

Captain, USMC

Dear Chaplain Carp:

Jewish Clergy

Titles in Address

Salutations

Rabbi

Rabbi Joshua Gould

Dear Rabbi Gould:

Rabbi with Doctor of Divinity Degree

Rabbi Joshua Gould, D.D.

Dear Dr. Gould:

178

Guidelines Writing Memos

Your goal is to make your point quickly, clearly, and effectively. If possible, keep your memo to a single page.

  1. Plan: (Ideas and Organization)

  2. Ask yourself why you are writing. What outcome do you want?

  3. Consider your readers. Who needs this memo? Why? How should the memo be sent?

  4. Prepare to draft. Gather necessary facts, figures, and attachments. Brainstorm for more details and make a list of your main points.

  1. Draft: (Ideas, Organization, and Voice)

    Opening Type “memo” or “memorandum” at the top of the page and complete the memo heading (name only one subject on the subject line).

    Middle Provide details that answer readers’ questions: What is this memo about? What does it mean to me? Why is it important?

    Closing Clarify any action needed, especially who is responsible for what.

    Note: If your message is informative, put your key point in the subject line and introduction. For bad-news or persuasive memos, use a neutral subject line and then build to your main point.

  2. Revise: (Ideas, Organization, Voice, Words, and Sentences)

    • Have you given clear, accurate information?

    • Have you arranged your points logically?

    • Have you used a team attitude, focusing on company goals?

    • Have you used a polite, professional voice?

    • Have you used precise word choice, smooth sentences, and effective transitions?

  3. Edit: (Conventions and Design)

    • Have you checked punctuation, capitalization, usage, and grammar?

    • Have you checked for a reader-friendly format and design that uses lists, headings, tables, boxes, and white space effectively?

“I have received memos so swollen with managerial babble that they struck me as the literary equivalent of assault with a deadly weapon.”

—Peter Baida

179

Writing Basic Memos

Center “Memorandum,” or company name. Memo

Complete and align all four items in the heading. Initial or sign paper memos. Date:

August 9, 2019

To:

Josie James

Single- or double-space the heading.

From:

Ike HarrisIH

Type “Subject” or “Re” and state your subject as a summary of your message. Subject:

Promotion of Mona Veal to Full-Time Graphic Artist

Triple Space

Opening: Expand on the subject line. For the past 18 months, Mona Veal has done outstanding work as a part-time graphic artist in our Marketing Department. I recommend that she be promoted to full-time status and be given the necessary $5.50 per hour wage increase and full benefits.

Double Space

The promotion is warranted for two reasons:

  1. Middle: Where appropriate, use lists for easy reading. Throughout the past 18 months, Mona has demonstrated those traits that Slenk Manufacturing most values in its graphic artists: creativity, dependability, and the ability to work well with others.

  1. Double-space between paragraphs and items in a list. Presently we have four full-time and two part-time graphic artists. While this group was able to complete its projects on time last year, Allison Christian in Accounting tells me that the full-time employees averaged 3.5 hours of overtime per week throughout the year. Given that fact, our new contract with LEE-MAR Industries will soon put a strain on both the group and our budget.

Closing: Focus on action. Please let me know by August 16 whether you approve this promotion. I’d like Mona to begin full-time work on September 1.

Use 1" to 1.5" margins and a block style.

180

Parts of an Expanded Memo

While each memo includes the basic elements, sometimes you may need to add more elements. The guidelines and models below show your options.

Heading

  1. You can type “Memo,” “Memorandum,” or the company name at the top, but do not include the company’s address or phone number.

  2. For sensitive messages, label your memo confidential and seal it in an envelope that is also marked confidential.

  3. Complete your heading with job titles, phone numbers, email addresses, or a checklist showing the memo’s purpose. In a paper memo, handwrite your initials after your name in the heading or after your job title, if one is used. If you have more than one reader, use one of these options:

    • List the names after To: and highlight a different one on each copy of the memo.

    • Put See distribution after To: and list all the readers at the end of the memo.

    • Type a department’s name after To:

Closing

  1. Use quick-response options such as checklists, fill-in-the-blanks, or boxes.

  2. Add an identification line showing the writer’s initials (in caps) and the typist’s initials (in lowercase) separated by a slash.

  3. If you’re sending documents with the memo, type Attachment(s) or Enclosure(s), followed by either (a) the number of documents or (b) a colon and the document titles listed vertically.

  4. If you want to send copies to secondary readers, type c (copy) or cc (courtesy copy) and a colon; then list the names and job titles stacked vertically (when job titles are included). To send a copy to someone without the main reader knowing it, add bc (blind copy) ONLY on the copy sent to the person listed after the bc notation.

If your memo is longer than one page, carry over at least two lines of the message onto a plain sheet of stationery. Use one of the heading formats shown.

Memo pages
181

Writing Expanded Memos

1

Slenk Manufacturing

2

C O N F I D E N T I A L

Date:

August 9, 2019

3

To:

Josie James, Director of Personnel

Rebecca Tash, LAHW Representative

From:

Ike Harris, Graphic Arts Director IH

Subject:

Promotion of Mona Veal to Full-Time Graphic Artist

For the past 18 months, Mona Veal has done outstanding work as a part-time graphic artist in our Marketing Department. I recommend that she be promoted to full-time statusand be given the necessary $5.50 per hour wage increase and full benefits. The promotion is warranted for two reasons:

  • Throughout the past 18 months, Mona has demonstrated those traits that Slenk Manufacturing most values in its graphic artists: creativity, dependability, and the ability to work well with others.

  • Presently we have four full-time and two part-time graphic artists. While this group was able to complete its projects on time last year, Allison Christian in Accounting tells me that the full-time employees averaged 3.5 hours of overtime per week throughout the year. Given that fact, our new contract with LEE-MAR Industries will soon put a strain on both the group and our budget.

If you approve the promotion, please initial below and return this memo.

4

Yes, proceed with Mona Veal’s promotion to full-time graphic artist. ____

5

IH/gm

6

Attachment: Evaluation report of Mona Veal

7

c: Elizabeth Henry

Mark Zoe

182

Checklist Writing Letters, Faxes, and Memos

Your goal is to create a letter, fax, or memo that clearly communicates your message.

My writing . . .

  • Ideas

    • is strong, clear, and accurate.

    • has answered the reader’s questions: Why are you writing me? What needs to be done?

  • Organization

    • is appropriately direct or indirect, based on the reader’s likely response.

    • contains an informative subject line (if needed).

    • follows a fitting opening, middle, and closing structure.

  • Voice

    • is courteous throughout, from salutation to complimentary closing.

    • uses an appropriate voice and focuses on the reader’s needs.

  • Words

    • uses plain English—precise, clear, and simple words.

    • uses names and personal pronouns, especially “you,” effectively.

  • Sentences

    • has short- to medium-length sentences that pass the “read aloud” test.

    • uses transition words to link ideas.

  • Correctness

    • follows all punctuation and capitalization rules for memos and letters.

    • uses correct abbreviations, titles, and spelling throughout.

    • contains no errors in grammar or keyboarding.

  • Design

    • follows all the rules of the format—spacing, margins, alignment, and so on.

    • contains short paragraphs.

    • uses headings and bulleted or numbered lists wherever helpful.

    • has a polished look—white space, clean typography, and good stationery.

    • includes initials, signatures, and attachments, if appropriate.

“I have made this [letter] longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.”

—Blaise Pascal

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