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CMN 124 (26)
Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Memorandums, E-Mail, and Routine Messages

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Department
Communication
Course
CMN 124
Professor
Susan Cody
Semester
Fall

Description
Ch 5: Memorandums, E-mail, and Routine Messages Definitions: Memos: a specially formatted document that is sent to readers within an organization. E-mail (electronic mail): messages distributed by a computerized mail service. Header: A block of text appearing at the top of the document Headings: Visual markers consisting of words or short phrases that indicate the parts of a document and signpost it’s organization Boldface: A think, black typeface used for emphasis Bullets: Visual cues, usually large round dots or squares, that set off items in a vertical list or emphasize lines Italics: Sloping letters used for emphasis or to distinguish foreign words Memo Common Traits: - Single-topic focus - Brevity - Two-part structure: header (to, from, subject, date) and message (opening, body and closing) Opening: - Don’t waste time restating the subject - Answer the who, what, where, when and how - Get to the point - One to three sentences Body: - Particulars and more detailed information - Expand or discuss the problem, assignment, request or action - Give details readers absolutely require - Sequence of actions or several requests should be in list format - Ensure sufficient background information - Clearly define deadlines and people involved List: - Chronologically, sequenced from start to finish - Order of specificity, most to least or vice versa - Order of importance, most to least or vice versa Closing: - Summarize request - Indicate responsibilities (who should do what, by when, and for how long) - Invite feedback, contact information, state what happens next - Avoid canned / mechanical phrases that do not fit - Show courtesy and appreciation Formatting Lists for Memos and E-mail List: a group of three or more logically related items presented consecutively to form a record or aid to memory Purpose to give order and emphasis to important information - Lead-in introducing, explaining and putting items to follow in context - minimum three and max eight items - parallel phrasing (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/623/1/) - semantic and grammatical continuity - adequate transition to sentences that follow after list Formatted two ways: - horizontally (in-sentence) -- gives minimal emphasis and less intrusive -- colon required if lead-in forms a complete sentence -- additional impact, items can be introduced with a bracketed letter or number -- i.e. Please bring the following items with you on retreat: (1) walking shoes, (2) a raincoat, and (3) sunblock. - vertically (tabulated) -- can be either bulleted or numbered -- most frequently used -- high visual impact -- breakup imposing blocks of text -- strong explanatory lead-in (logically and grammatically sound) -- Punctuate lead-in with colon if lead-in can be read as a complete sentence -- no punctuation at the end of lead-in if it depends o the point that follows to complete it’s meaning i.e. Our company has three key business segments: - investing, - mortgage operations, and - leasing operations. - numbers or letters indicate chronological sequence or importance - bullets suggest all items are of equal importance Chunking: The grouping of items of information together to be remembered as a unit Flash Review: - Begin with a strong lead-in summing up purpose or context - Make sure lead-in makes sense with each item - Don’t overload lists. Limit the number of items. If necessary, subdivide or consolidate points - Use parallel phrasing. Keep verb forms and tenses consistent. - Punctuate in a consistent way - Choose the type of list – horizontal or vertical – based on the emphasis or sequencing you need to show - Use similar types of lists for similar purposes throughout a document - Don’t use lists so much that they lose their effectiveness - Average person’s short term memory can store seven pieces of data, plus or minus two, depending on the complexity Hard-copy memo is preferable when legality, confidentiality or document integrity are primary concerns. Sample Memo: Figure 5.1 P.122 Quick Reference Guidelines for Memos: - Fill in appropriate information, including a strong subject line, after headers. - Be as brief as your message allows you to be. - Follow the style guidelines of your organization - Be direct and being with your most important point when relaying routine news or information - Provide only as much background or evidence as your reader needs to act on your instructions or information - Itemize supporting details, related questions, and additional requests in bulleted or numbered lists in parallel form. - End courteously with a request for specific action, reason for the request, and deadline. Netiquette: The information code of conduct governing polite, efficient, and effective use of the Internet. Spa
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