Chapter 8 Positive Letters and Messages

Report
Chapter 8
Positive Letters and
Messages
Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Mary Ellen Guffey
Copyright © 2008
Positive Letters and Messages
The Writing
Process
Letter Structure
and Format
Typical Direct,
Positive Letters
The Five Ss of
Goodwill Messages
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 2
Understanding the Power of Business Letters
Business letters are powerful and
effective because they
 Produce a permanent record
 Maintain confidentiality
 Convey formality and
sensitivity
 Deliver a persuasive, wellconsidered message.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 3
Applying the Writing Process


Prewriting 
Analyze

Anticipate
Adapt
Identify your purpose.
Visualize the receiver.
Predict the receiver’s reaction.
Consider ways to adapt your
message to achieve your goal.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 4
Applying the Writing Process
Writing
Research
Organize
Compose
 Collect information
 Choose the most effective
pattern of organization.
 Compose the first draft.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 5
Applying the Writing Process
Revising
Edit
Proofread
Evaluate
 Revise for clarity and
conciseness.
 Proofread for correctness.
 Decide whether this
message will achieve its
purpose.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 6
Analyzing the Structure of Positive Letters
Anaconda Trading Co.
4340 Anaconda Drive
Victorville, CA 92392
760.222.3525
Opening
Body
Closing
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 7
Structure of Positive Letters: Opening
Anaconda Trading Co.
4340 Anaconda Drive
Victorville, CA 92392
760.222.3525
Frontload in the opening.
 Begin with the main idea.
 Tell immediately why you
are writing.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 8
Structure of Positive Letters: Body
Anaconda Trading Co.
4340 Anaconda Drive
Victorville, CA 92392
760.222.3525
Explain in the body.
 Present details that explain the
request or response.
 Group similar ideas together.
 Include graphic highlighting to
spotlight main points.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 9
Structure of Positive Letters: Closing
Anaconda Trading Co.
4340 Anaconda Drive
Victorville, CA 92392
760.222.3525
Be specific and courteous
in the closing.
 For requests, tell specifically what
action you want taken and provide an
end date (deadline) if appropriate.
 For other routine letters, provide a
courteous, concluding thought.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 10
Formatting Business Letters
CYPRESS ASSOCIATES, INC.
Letterhead
Dateline
5090 Katella Avenue
Anaheim, CA 92642
May 18, 2008
WEB: [email protected]
PHONE: (310) 329-4330
FAX:
(310) 329-4259
2 inches from top of page
2 to 7 blank lines
Inside
Address
Ms. LaTonja Williams
Health Care Specialists
2608 Fairview Road
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
1 blank line
Salutation
Dear Ms. Williams:
1 blank line
Subject
Line
Subject: Formatting Business Letters
1 blank line
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 11
At your request, this letter illustrates and explains
business letter formatting in a nutshell. The most
important points to remember are these:
1. Set margins between 1 and 1½ inches; most word
processing programs automatically set margins at 1
inch.
Numbered
list for
improved
readability
One blank
line between
paragraphs
2. Start the date 2 inches from the top edge of the
paper or 1 blank line below the letterhead,
whichever position is lower.
3. Allow about 5 lines after the date—more lines for
shorter letters and fewer lines for longer ones.
The two most popular letter styles are block and modified
block. Block style, with all lines beginning at the left,
causes the least trouble. In modified block-style letters,
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 12
the date and closing lines start at the center. For both
styles the complimentary close is followed by three blank
lines before the writer’s signature. Reference initials and
enclosure notations, if used, appear in the lower left
corner, as shown below.
So that you can see additional styles, I’m sending our
office style guide. I certainly hope this material is helpful
to you and your assistants, Ms. Williams.
Complimentary
Closing
Sincerely,
Sharon Montoya
Printed Name
and Title
Reference
Initials
Sharon Montoya
Executive Director
SM: lef
Enclosure
3-4 blank lines
1 blank line
1 blank line
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 13
Direct Requests for Information or Action
Opening
 Ask a question or issue a polite
command (Will you please answer the
following questions…).
 Avoid long explanations preceding the
main idea.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 14
Direct Requests for Information or Action
Body
 Explain your purpose and provide detail.
 Express questions in parallel form. Number
or bullet them.
 To elicit the most information, use openended questions (What training programs do
you recommend?) rather than yes-or-no
questions (Are training programs available?).
 Suggest reader benefits, if possible.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 15
Direct Requests for Information or Action
Closing
 State specifically, but courteously, what
action is to be taken.
 Set an end date, if one is significant. Explain.
 Avoid cliché endings (Thank you for your
cooperation.) Show appreciation, but use a
fresh expression.
 Make it easy for receiver to respond.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 16
Dear Sir:
“Before”—Ineffective Routine Request
Because we are one of the largest banking systems in the country, we receive
hundreds of résumés from job candidates every day. We need help in sorting
and ranking candidates by categories, such as job classification, education,
work history, skills, and experience.
Recently, I was reading a Workforce magazine article, and the March issue has
a story about your new software program called ResumePro. It sounds
fascinating and may be the answer to our problem. We would like more
information about this program, which is supposed to read and sort résumés.
In addition to learning if the program can sort candidates into the categories
mentioned earlier, I am wondering if the program can read all the different
type fonts and formats that candidates use on their résumés. Another
important consideration for us is training and troubleshooting. If we need
help with the program, would you supply it?
Thank you for your cooperation.
Sincerely,
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 17
Letter Revision: Critical Thinking Questions
1. What is the purpose of the routine request?
2. What do you think the receiver’s reaction will be to
this letter?
3. Should the letter be developed directly or indirectly?
How is it currently developed?
4. What information should be included in the body?
How could it be organized for improved readability?
5. How could the closing be worded to ensure that you
get a response by a specific date?
6. How will you know whether the sender has
communicated successfully?
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 18
Dear ResumePro Product Manager:
“After”—Improved Request
Please send me information about your ResumePro software program, which
I read about in the March issue of Workforce magazine.
My company receives hundreds of résumés daily, and, frankly, we need help in
processing them. Answers to the following questions would help us
determine whether ResumePro could solve our problem.
1. In terms of fonts and formats, what kinds of résumés can your software
program read?
2. Can the program help us sort and rank candidates by categories such
as job classification, education, work history, skills, and experience?
3. How does your company provide training and trouble-shooting service
for your software?
Thanks for answering these questions and for providing any other
information about ResumePro. I would appreciate your response by April 1
so that we can study the program before the rush of job applications in June.
Sincerely,
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 19
Direct Claim Letters
Opening
 Immediately describe what you want done.
 When the remedy is obvious, state it briefly
(Please send 12 copies of Model Business Plans
to replace the 12 copies of Business Proposals
sent in error.)
 When the remedy is less obvious, explain
your goal (Please clarify your policy regarding
reservations and late arrivals.)
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 20
Direct Claim Letters
Body
 Explain the problem and justify your request.
 Provide details objectively and concisely.
 Don’t ramble. Be organized and coherent.
 Avoid becoming angry or trying to fix blame.
 Include names of individuals and dates of
previous actions.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 21
Direct Claim Letters
Closing
 End courteously with a tone that promotes
goodwill.
 Request specific action, including end date, if
appropriate.
Note: Act promptly in making claims, and
always keep a copy of your message.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 22
Direct Reply Letters
Subject Line
 Consider including a subject line to identify
the topic and any previous correspondence.
 Use abbreviated style, omitting articles (a, an,
the).
Opening
 Deliver the information the reader wants.
 When announcing good news, do so promptly.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 23
Direct Reply Letters
Body
 Explain the subject logically.
 Use lists, tables, headings, boldface,
italics, or other graphic devices to
improve readability.
 In letters to customers, promote
your products and your
organization.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 24
Direct Reply Letters
Closing
 Offer concluding thought, perhaps
referring to the information or action
requested.
 Avoid cliché endings (If you have any other
questions, don’t hesitate to call).
 Be cordial.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 25
Adjustment Letters
Opening
 When approving a
customer’s claim,
announce the good
news (adjustment)
immediately.
 Avoid sounding
grudging or reluctant.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 26
Adjustment Letters
Body
 Strive to win back the customer’s confidence;
explain what went wrong (if you know).
 Apologize if it seems appropriate, but be careful
about admitting responsibility. Check with your
boss or legal counsel first.
 Concentrate on how diligently your
organization works to avoid disappointing
customers.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 27
Adjustment Letters
Body (continued)
 Avoid negative language (trouble, regret, fault).
 Don’t blame the customers—even if they
are at fault.
 Don’t blame individuals or departments in
your organization. It sounds unprofessional.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 28
Adjustment Letters
Closing
 Show appreciation that the customer
wrote to you.
 Consider expressing confidence that the
problem has been resolved.
 Thank the customer for past business.
 Refer to your desire to be of service.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 29
The Five Ss of Goodwill Messages
Selfless
Short
Specific
Five Ss
of Goodwill
Messages
Spontaneous
Sincere
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 30
The Five Ss of Goodwill Messages
In expressing thanks, recognition, or
sympathy:
s
Be
elfless
Discuss the receiver,
not the sender.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 31
The Five Ss of Goodwill Messages
In expressing thanks, recognition, or
sympathy:
s
Be
pecific
Cite specifics
rather than generalities.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 32
The Five Ss of Goodwill Messages
In expressing thanks, recognition, or
sympathy:
S
Be
incere
Show your honest feelings
with unpretentious language.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 33
The Five Ss of Goodwill Messages
In expressing thanks, recognition, or
sympathy:
S
Be
pontaneous
Make the message sound
natural, fresh, and direct.
Avoid canned phrases.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 34
The Five Ss of Goodwill Messages
In expressing thanks, recognition, or
sympathy:
Keep it
Short
Although goodwill messages
may be as long as needed,
they generally are fairly short.
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 35
Answering Congratulatory Messages
 Send a brief note expressing your appreciation.
 Tell how good the message made you feel.
 Accept praise gracefully. Don’t make belittling
statements (I’m not really that good.)
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 36
End
Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 6e
Ch. 8, Slide 37

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