Memos have a twofold purpose: they bring attention to problems and they solve problems. They accomplish their goals by informing the reader about new information like policy changes, price increases, or by persuading the reader to take an action, such as attend a meeting, or change a current production procedure. Regardless of the specific goal, memos are most effective when they connect the purpose of the writer with the interests and needs of the reader.
Writing Effective E-Mail: Top 10 Tips
Write better business emails
Memo and Letters
Guidelines for Technical Writing
How to Write a Business Memo
Six Steps to a Blockbuster Resume for Job Market
Work at HOME
Video: Social Networking
ABC''s of the Writing Process
The Writing Process
The Writing Process
General Writing Concerns (Planning/Writing/Revising/Genres)
Planning/Starting to Write
Planning (Invention): When you start to write
Planning (Invention): Thought Starters (Asking the Right Question)
top of the page
Argument/Persuasion: Logic in Argumentative Writing
Conciseness: Methods of Eliminating Wordiness
Coping with Writing Anxiety
Developing an Outline
Overcoming Writers Block
Paragraph (length consistency)
Strategies for Improving Sentence Clarity
Transitional Devices (Connecting Words)
Using Metaphors in Creative Writing
Writing A Thesis Statement
Writing with Computers
top of the page
Editing and Proofreading Strategies for Revision
Higher Order Concerns (HOCs) and Lower Order Concerns (LOCs)
Proofreading for Commas
Proofreading Your Paper
Steps in Editing Your Papers
top of the page
Types/Genres of Writing
Argumentation/Persuasion: Logic in Argumentative Writing
Image in Poetry
Pattern and Variation in Poetry
Sound and Meter in Poetry
Using Metaphors in Creative Writing
Visual Rhetoric for Student Writers
Writing A Thesis Statement
Writing about Fiction
Writing about Poetry
Writing Essay Exams
Writing about Literature
The research group Formal Methods
Research in Formal Methods is a systematic and scientific study of issues in computer science, based on solid mathematical principles. The area of Formal Methods concerns fundamental research and considers systems and constructions used in computer science. These constructions are described exactly in a formal syntax and are supplied with a formal semantics whenever appropriate.
Why Formal Methods?
Formal Methods increase understanding of systems, increase clarity of description and help solve problems and remove errors. Use of Formal Methods increases dependability and usability of constructions and systems in computer science.
Application of Formal Methods
We study and use Formal Methods in order to apply them. Thus, our choice of research topics is inspired by the practice of computer science. To support application, we use existing tools and develop new tools. We are not studying methods in isolation, but intend to have them used in practice.
Choice of topics
Based on our expertise and the benefits expected in application, we focus on the following specific areas:
Idea Generation as Process
When a staffer wants to pitch an idea, the following five-stage process kicks in:
1. Ideation. The person who comes up with the idea describes it in an informal memorandum for management''s review. No longer than one page, the memo describes the potential offering, likely markets, possible formats, and any known competitors. The fact that these documents are informal and based on the presenter''s own knowledge (as opposed to formal research) encourages staff to submit ideas. Management''s primary goal at this initial stage is to ensure that the proposal supports the association''s strategic goals.
Our director of treasury services, for example, recently came up with the idea to create an accreditation program for a service code system that AFP has been encouraging banks to use. If the banks meet certain requirements in implementing the system, they would be able to use their accreditation for marketing purposes. Our management team liked the idea enough to push it through to the next stage.
2. Investigation. Next, a product champion--either the idea''s originator or an assigned staff member or volunteer--fleshes out the proposal and conducts the necessary market research. Such research ranges from none at all to formal quantitative surveys, depending on the nature of the product, the depth of market knowledge that staff already has, and the level of risk associated with the proposal (e.g., the financial implications).
This process allows staff to refine the proposed offering. Initially, for example, staff believed that the previously mentioned accreditation program should be targeted toward treasurers and assistant treasurers; however, market research revealed a need to target the program at the financial-analyst level. Consequently, staff refined the proposal before moving it along to the next stage.
3. Evaluation and business case. The product champion and I then evaluate the proposal, asking the following questions:
Does the market research favor the proposal?
Does the project still look like a good strategic fit?
What is the likely impact on operations and other association products?
What resources are required to support the project?
What risks (e.g., legal) would the proposal involve?
For lower-risk initiatives, such questions may be answered informally, through discussion and careful thought. For projects that reach a certain financial threshold, the process requires that we prepare a formal business case, including multiyear financial forecasts. For the accreditation initiative, for instance, counsel reviewed the program to assess potential legal risks.
4. Financial analysis. For larger initiatives, the chief financial officer and product champion prepare a financial analysis detailing the program''s costs and projected revenues. This analysis examines the longer-term financial implications: Will the investment result in revenue growth across time? Would the funds spent on the program achieve a better rate of return if spent elsewhere? AFP uses as its discount rate the expected investment return on its endowment.
5. Launch decision. The association''s senior management team then uses the evaluation or business case to make a final decision on the initiative. That team includes heads of each of the functional areas that have a stake in the launch: marketing, finance, membership, and any other relevant department (e.g, education).
Idea Generation Techniques among Creative Professionals
Organizational knowledge creation and the generation of new product ideas
Keywords: Idea generation; Innovation; Organizational knowledge creation
2.1. Novelty of product ideas
2.2. Organizational knowledge creation
2.3.1. Socialization and the generation of novel product ideas
2.3.2. Externalization and the generation of novel product ideas
2.3.3. Combination and the generation of novel product ideas
2.3.4. Internalization and the generation of novel product ideas
3.1. Sample and data collection
3.2.1. Dependent variable: novelty of product ideas
3.2.2. Independent variables: knowledge creation modes.
3.2.3. Control variables
5.1. Theoretical implications
5.2. Managerial implications
6. Limitations and outlook
Appendix A. Appendix
21 Ways of Generating Research Ideas from Previous Research
Find gaping omissions.
Do a study suggested by the journal article''s author(s).
Repeat the study with a different group of participants.
Look for situational factors that may moderate the effect.
Look for factors that were not controlled.
Reduce the effects of expectancies.
Use more realistic amounts of the treatment factor.
Uncover the functional relationship.
Use more realistic stimulus materials.
See if another factor would have the same effect.
Bridge fields and try to find a practical implication of the research.
Look at the studies from a different level of analysis.
Look for patterns in conflicting studies.
Look for a factor''s immediate relationship to other variables.
Look at long term effects.
Look for "down the road" effects.
Repeat the study using a different measure of the same construct.
Repeat the study with a more sensitive way of detecting the effect.
Take advantage of "component" measures.
Take advantage of measures of entirely new concepts.
Mary Ellen Guffey Business Communication: Research, Organixe> Compoze
Mary Ellen Guffey: Organising and writing Busness Message
Category Archives:what is an idea?
What is an idea, anyway? Whats the unit of thought that constitutes an idea?
According to BIF-2 speaker Rick Borovoy of nTag Interactive, a single idea is the one thing it has to be in order not to be anything else.
IDEA GENERATION DURING MATHEMATICAL WRITING
Building a Digital Portfolio that Supports Informal Learning,
BASIC OUTLINE FORM
Below is a synopsis of the outline form. The main ideas take roman numerals. Sub-points under each main idea take capital letters and are indented. Sub-points under the capital letters, if any, take italic numbers and are further indented.
I. MAIN IDEA
A. Subsidiary idea or supporting idea to I
B. Subsidiary idea or supporting idea to I
1. Subsidiary idea to B
2. Subsidiary idea to B
a) Subsidiary idea to 2
b) Subsidiary idea to 2
II. MAIN IDEA
A. Subsidiary or supporting idea to II
B. Subsidiary idea to II
C. Subsidiary idea to II
III. MAIN IDEA
It is up to the writer to decide on how many main ideas and supporting ideas adequately describe the subject. However, if there is a I in the outline, there has to be a II; if there is an A, there has to be a B; if there is a 1, there has to be a 2, and so forth.
Developing an Outline
Developing an Outline
What is an academic paper?
Advice on Academic Writing + Online Resources and Grammer
Planning and Organizing
Some General Advice on Academic Essay Writing
Understanding Essay Topics: A Checklist
Organizing an Essay
Using Thesis Statements
new Introductions and Conclusions
Developing Coherent Paragraphs
Using Topic Sentences
Arts and Science Statement on What Grades Mean
Reading and Researching
Critical Reading Toward Critical Writing
How to Get the Most out of Reading
Taking Notes from Research Reading
Content Analysis as a Research Method (Colorado State University)
Research Using the Internet
A System for Dealing with New Words while Reading
How to Read a Philosophy Paper (Princeton Universtity)
How Not to Plagiarize
Standard Documentation Formats
Documenting Electronic Sources
How to Paraphrase and Summarize
Specific Types of Writing
The Book Review and Article Critique
Writing an Annotated Bibliography
The Literature Review
The Academic Proposal
The Lab Report
The Short Report
The Exam Essay (University of Victoria)
Writing about History
Writing about Physics
Some tips on Writing about Poetry (East Carolina University)
Analysis of Literature: Interpretation through Close Reading
Writing about Art History (Dartmouth College)
Writing an Effective Admissions Letter
Application Letters and Rйsumйs
Style and Editing
Hit Parade of Errors in Style, Grammar, and Punctuation
Revising and Editing
Using the Computer to Improve your Writing
Wordiness: Danger Signals and Ways to React
Spelling Correctly (University of Ottawa)
Fixing Comma Splices
Passive Voice: When to Use It and When to Avoid It
Guide to Grammar and Style By Jack Lynch
Academic writing -WIKI
Free Online Information on Academic Writing Skills
Academic Writing SkillsWriters seeking to improve their academic writing skills should focus their efforts on three key areas:
1. Strong writing: Thinking precedes writing. Good writers spend time distilling information from their sources and reviewing major points before creating their work. Writing detailed outlines helps many authors organize their thoughts. Strong academic writing begins with solid planning.
2. Excellent grammar: Learn the major and minor points of grammar. Spend time practicing writing and seek detailed feedback from teachers, professors or writers you respect. English grammar can be detailed and complex, but strong writers command the major points after many years of study and practice. Investing in a good writing reference, such as Strunk and Whites book, The Elements of Style, or referring to YourDictionary can provide advice on the more troublesome points of grammar. Proper punctuation use and good proofreading skills improve academic writing as well.
3. Consistent stylistic approach: Whether your school or employer requires use of the MLA, APA or Chicago Manual of Style, choose one style and stick to it. Each of these style sheets provide guidance on how to write out numbers, references, citations, and more. All are available at your local bookseller in hard copy or online. The MLA is commonly used in English classes, while APA is for psychology and science. Chicago Manual of Style is often the choice in the workplace.
What Is Academic Writing?
How to Write Effective Sentences
WRITING EFFECTIVE SENTENCES
Employ Conventional Sentence Structure/Standart American English
Employ Conventional Sentence Structure
Use a Variety of Sentence Patterns
A well-written passage will employ a variety of sentence structures. Recognizing different types of sentences and learning to use them is a valuable skill for any writer. The most common types of sentence structures are shown below.
A simple sentence contains a subject and verb in a single independent clause.
The concert kept my attention throughout the evening.
A compound sentence contains two independent clauses joined by a conjunction. The punctuation preceding the conjunction may be a comma or a semicolon.
The music played was my favorite, and the orchestra was the largest in Florida.
A complex sentence contains an independent clause and a dependent clause.
Complex sentence (dependent clause last):
I had studied the symphony notes before I went to the concert.
Complex sentence (dependent clause first):
Even though I knew little classical music, I appreciated Bachs compositions very much
WRITING EFFECTIVE SENTENCES/Instruction, Correction symbols
WRITING EFFECTIVE PARAGRAPHS
"Writing Effective Sentences" Tool - Easily Write Like a Pro!
Writing Skills, improwing writing techniques
Four Tips to Improve Your Writing Skills/ How to Avoid Common Mistakes
1. Be Consistent
Sequence of Tenses After he broke his arm, he is home for two weeks.
Shift of Pronoun If one is tense, they should try to relax.
Parallelism She skis, plays tennis, and flying hang gliders.
Noun Agreement Eric and James want to be a pilot.
Pronoun Reference Several people wanted the job, and he or she filled out the required applications.
Subject-Verb Agreement There is eight people on the shore.
2. Express Ideas Logically
Coordination and Subordination Jen has a rash, and she is probably allergic to something.
Logical Comparison Joey grew more vegetables than his neighbor''s garden.
Modification and Word Order Barking loudly, the tree had the dog''s leash wrapped around it.
3. Be Clear and Precise
Ambiguous and Vague Pronouns In the newspaper they say that few people voted.
Diction He circumvented the globe on his trip.
Wordiness There are many problems in the contemporary world in which we live.
Improper Modification If your car is parked here while not eating in the restaurant, it will be towed away.
4. Follow Conventions
Pronoun Case He sat between you and I at the stadium.
Idiom Jack had a different opinion towards him.
Comparison of Modifiers Of the sixteen executives, Gretchen makes more money.
Sentence Fragment Abby having to go home early.
Double Negative Andie has scarcely no free time.
Developing Your Writing Style
Professional Writing Techniques
Punctuation Marks for Achieving Emphasis
Some punctuation marks prompt the reader to give a word or sentence more than usual emphasis. For example, a command with a period does not evoke the same emphatic response as the same command with an exclamation mark.
A dash or colon has more emphatic force than a comma.
The employees were surprised by the decision, which was not to change company policy.
The employees were surprised by the decisionno change in company policy.
The employees were surprised by the decision: no change in company policy.
EMPHASIS is achieved by managing the flow of ideas thusly:
1. Begin sentence by consistently organizing your subject/topics around
a few central characters or concepts
2. Quickly close that subject with a precise verb expressing action.
3. By default important new information is at the end of the sentence.
A charge of gross violation of academic responsibility is required for a Board
of Trustees to dismiss a tenured faculty member for cause, and an elaborate
hearing procedure with a prior statement of charges is provided for before a
tenured faculty member may be dismissed for cause, in most States.
[The next two examples build a climatic rhythm.]
In most States, before a Board of Trustees may dismiss a tenured faculty
member for cause, it must charge him [!] with a gross violation of academic
responsibility and provide him [!] with a startment of charges and an
In most States, established procedures restrict how a Board of Trustees
may dismiss a tenured faculty member for gross violation of academic
responsibility. That faculty member must be (1) provided with a
statement of charge and (2) judged in an elaborate procedure.
Putting emphasis at the end where the stess is.
1. Trim the ending
Sociobiologists are making the provocative claim that our genes largely
determine our social behavior in the way we act in situations we find
around us every day.
Sociobiologists are making the provocative claim that our genes largely
determine our social behavior.
2. Shift less important information to the left.
No one can explain why the first primeval superatom exploded and thereby
created the universe in a few words.
No one can explain in a few words why that first primeval superatom
exploded and thereby created the universe.
3. Shift important information to the right.
Moving the important information to the end of the sentence is another
way to manage the flow of ideas.
Another way you can manage the flow of ideas is to move the most
important information to the end of the sentence.
A discovery that will change the very foundation of our understandings of
ourselves and our place in the scheme of things is imminent.
A discovery is imminent that will change the very foundation of our
understandings of ourselves and our place in the scheme of things.
Devices -- which, if used sparingly, spice up your prose.
A few grammatical patterns add weight to the end of the sentence.
*There* are a few grammatical patterns that add weight to the end of the
This country needs a monetary policy that will end the violent
fluctuations in the money supply, unemployment, and inflation.
*What* this country needs is a monetary policy that will end the violent
fluctuations in the money supply, unemployment, and inflation.
That domestic oil prices must eventually rise to the level set by OPEC
once seemed inevitable.
*It* once seem inevitable that domestic oil prices must eventually rise
to the level set by OPEC
In 1933 this country experienced a depression that almost wrecked our
democratic system of government.
*It was in 1933 that this country experienced a depression that almost
wrecked our democratic system of government.
Achieving Parallelism in Your Writing
Writing Effective Paragraphs
The three qualities by which a paragraph is evaluated are unity, development, and coherence. We have already discussed unity and development, leaving only coherence. However, coherence is a quality which many writers have trouble achieving in their paragraphs. In fact, coherence may be the most difficult quality for most students to achieve in their writing.
Coherence refers to how well the contents of a paragraph "hang together." Achieving unity in your paragraphs is a good start on coherence as is having the substantive supporting detail that helps you to achieve paragraph development. However, coherence goes beyond achieving unity or avoiding digressions. Coherence refers to how the individual sentences--their order within the paragraph and their individual structures--relate to one another in shaping the paragraph.
In order to achieve paragraph coherence, you must look at a number of different elements in your paragraph:
the organizational pattern
the use of transitional devices
the repetition of key words or related terms, including pronouns
the occurrence of parallel syntactic structures
Writing Effective Paragraphs
The Topic Sentence
Paragraph Development: Coordination and Subordination of Details
Developing Unified and Coherent Paragraphs
Paragraph Development: Coherence
Paragraph Development: Support
Connections Between Sentences
Effectively Incorporating Quotations
STEPS IN THE WRITING PROCESS
Composing a first draft
Composing a first draft
Revising and Proofreading Messages, Evaluate
Edit and rewrite messages for vividness, clarity, and conciseness.
Identify factors affecting readability and revise messages to improve readability.
Revise and proofread a message for organization, content, style, mechanics, format, and layout.
To add energy and impact to your writing, paint vivid mental images that receivers will find exciting and will remember.
When are general words preferred?
In getting along with others, writers find general statements useful; they can keep negative ideas from getting more emphasis than they deserve. In addition, writers who dont have specific information or for some reason dont want to divulge it use general words.
For vivid business communication, use specific words.
What is a clichй? How do clichй affect the effectiveness of a message?
Phrases that have become overused are called cliches.
Clichйs can make reading monotonous and can make the writer or speaker seem like a copier.
Less frequent used words capture the readers attention because they are original, fresh, and interesting.
What hidden message (metacommunication) might clichй convey?
A worn expression can convey such messages as "you are not special"; I wont bother to think; the phrases I u8sed in talking with others are surely good enough for you.
Using overly strong adjectives and adverbs may damage your credibility.
What is a superlative?
Messages are sometimes influenced negatively by another form of adjective or adverb-the superlative.
The superlative is the form of the adjective or adverb that compares the thing modified with 2 or more other things.
When are superlatives appropriate?
Superlatives are very useful words. The extreme unit in a series needs to be identified-the highest or lowest score, the latest news, and the most qualified applicant.
When superlative are totally unsupported or unsupportable, their use is questionable.
The objective of business writing is to express, not to impress. Why?
The degree of formality in writing is indicated by the nature of the message and the backgrounds of the receivers.
The writing in dissertations, these, legal documents, and high-level government documents is expected to be formal.
Business memorandums, email messages letters and reports are expected to be informal.
Business writers prefer the informal words from the left column rather than the formal words from the right column.
Using difficult, formal language may confuse and intimidate the receiver.
Can you clarify this message: "Management has become cognizant of the necessity for the elimination of undesirable vegetation surrounding the periphery of our facility?
Why build a good vocabulary?
You should build your vocabulary so that you can use just the right word for expressing an idea and can understand what others have written.
Just remember the purpose of business messages is not to advertise knowledge of infrequently used words but to transmit a clear and tactful message.
For the informal writing practiced in business, use simple words instead of more complicated words that have the same meaning.
Place words, phrases, or clauses near the words they modify.
To "dangle" is to "hang loosely." A phrase dangles if it is not clearly attached to the appropriate noun or pronoun.
Dangling modifiers do not convey the true meaning the writer intends. The meaning may be illogical and perhaps even humorous (e.g. children rather than a monkey hanging from a tree in the sentence in the Self-check).
What is an expletive? Why should you avoid using expletives?
An expletive is a meaningless word. Expletive beginnings are not considered grammatical errors but are seldom advisable. Usually any sentence that begin with there is, or it is can be improved.
What is parallel construction and why is it important?
When ideas appear together for a certain purpose, they should have commonality in grammar. If one of the ideas is presented in a different way grammatically, it appears to be out of place.
Commonality in grammatical presentation is called parallel construction.
The principle of parallel construction applies not only to elements in a series that appear in a sentence but also to major units in an outline, to subunits that appear under a major unit, and to headings that appear in documents. If one major heading is a complete sentence, all other major headings should be complete sentences. If one subheading is a question, all other sub-headings under that division should be question.
A concise message is not necessarily short but is written in as few words as possible.
Does use of a certain word three times in a paragraph constitute redundancy?
A redundancy is a phrase in which one word unnecessarily repeats an idea contained in an accompanying word.
Concise messages save time and money for both the writer and the receiver.
The receivers attention is directed toward the important details and is not distracted by excessive words and details.
To prepare a concise message, include only that details that the receiver needs, and state these details in the fewest possible words.
Redundancy is unacceptable, but repetition can be very helpful.
What 2 factors affect the readability of a message?
Two factors contribute to the readability of a message:
Length of the sentence.
Difficulty of the words.
The Fog Index score is the approximate grade level needed to understand written material.
What Fog Index score is recommended for most business writing?
The desirable score for most business writing is in the 8 to 11 grade range.
What purpose does calculating a readability index serve?
It provides the writer valuable feedback about the average length of the sentences and the difficulty of the words. For quick easy reading (and listening), use small words and short sentences.
How can writing analysis software improve your writing?
They can help you locate grammatical errors as well as improve your style-the way you express ideas.
These programs required writers to:
Compose the document at the keyboard.
Instruct the program to analyze the writing.
Study the writing analysis (includes readability index).
Revise the text incorporating valid suggestions only.
If you have not used writing analysis software, determine if this software is available in your computer lab and begin learning to use the software to analyze your writing.
You must understand basic-writing principles to benefit from computer generated writing critiques.
A spellchecker does not free you from the responsibility of careful proofreading each document.
Take a few minutes to review the standard proofreaders marks listed in Appendix A. then use them consistently so you can quickly mark revisions and others can understand your revisions easily.
Is proofreading one time adequate if your goal is to prepare error-free message?
Proofread a second time to locate the following mechanical errors:
Typographical, grammatical, capitalization, and punctuation errors.
Omitted and repeated words.
Word substitutions (yours and you) and words that sound alike (there for their).
Assume that you have been asked to explain to a coworker a systematic way for proofreading company correspondence. What steps would you describe?
Study the conventional business format in Appendix A. compare with Appendix A.
Proofread letter parts, including the date line, letter address, and salutation, subject line and closing line.
Be sure that all necessary special letter parts (mailing notation, attention line, subject line, enclosure, copy and mailing notations, second-page heading and the writers address for a personal business letter) are included.
Check to be sure that number items are in correct order; inserting and deleting text may have change the order of these items.
Consider whether the text has the visual impact you desire.
Mary Ellen Guffey:Revising Business Messages
Seven stages of
Seven stages of
Develop your topic
Identify your audience
Organize and prewrite
Conciseness: Methods of Eliminating Wordiness
Wordy Propositional Phrases
Editing and Proofreading
Some tips that apply to both editing and proofreading
Get some distance from the text! It''s hard to edit or proofread a paper that you''ve just finished writingit''s still to familiar, and you tend to skip over a lot of errors. Put the paper aside for a few hours, days, or weeks. Go for a run. Take a trip to Aruba. Clear your head of what you''ve written so you can take a fresh look at the paper and see what is really on the page. Better yet, give the paper to a friendyou can''t get much more distance than that. Someone who is reading the paper for the first time, comes to it with completely fresh eyes.
Decide what medium lets you proofread most carefully. Some people like to work right at the computer, while others like to sit back with a printed copy that they can mark up as they read.
Try changing the look of your document. Altering the size, spacing, color, or style of the text may trick your brain into thinking it''s seeing an unfamiliar document, and that can help you get a different perspective on what you''ve written.
Find a quiet place to work. Don''t try to do your proofreading in front of the TV or while you''re chugging away on the treadmill. Find a place where you can concentrate and avoid distractions.
If possible, do your editing and proofreading in several short blocks of time, rather than all at onceotherwise, your concentration is likely to wane.
If you''re short on time, you may wish to prioritize your editing and proofreading tasks to be sure that the most important ones are completed.
From essey to Dissertations
Editing and Proofreading Services
Mary Ellen Guffey:letters and goodwill messages
Routine Letters and Goodwill Messages
Direct letters and goodwill mesages
Mary Ellen Guffey:positive letters and messages
Memos, Letters, and Emails, Brian W. Gastle
Writing Routine, Good-News, and Goodwill Messages
Tips For Writing
Following are a number of tips and guidelines that I have compiled while reading and writing many hundreds of business letters over the past 25+ years.
Limit Them To One Page
By definition, business letters should be short and to the point, preferably one page in length. Studies have found that busy business people do not like to read beyond the first page, and will actually delay reading longer letters. So, if you don''t want your letter to gather dust in an in-basket, keep it as short as possible.
Always try to focus on the needs of the reader and make an effort to see things from their perspective. Put yourself in their position and imagine what it would be like for you to be receiving your letter. Anyone can do this, since we are all "customers" of some other business in some part of our lives.
Keep The Tone Formal And Factual
Generally speaking, the tone and content of business letters should be formal and factual. Feelings and emotions do not have a place in business letters. So, avoid phrases like "we feel" and use "we believe" or "we think" instead. A cordial, friendly approach is fine. Just keep it businesslike, but avoid overly formal terms like "heretofor", "as per", "herewith", etc.
Carefully Plan Your Letter
Before writing the letter, take a few minutes to list all of the specific points you need to cover. Sometimes it may even mean a phone call to the recipient or his/her company to confirm a specific point. Remember, the purpose of the letter is to tie up all of the details on the subject at hand, so that more letters won''t have to be written back and forth.
Make It Clear, Concise And Logical
Use a clear and direct writing style that uses simple words and straightforward phrases. Make sure that your flow follows a logical progression, first identifying the main subject, elaborating on it, and then drawing the logical conclusion.
Accuracy And Timeliness Are Key
By their very nature, business letters need to be accurate and timely. They almost always have financial implications and related impacts on other businesses and/or people. Double-check all of the facts stated in the letter, and make sure that any future dates specified give others enough time to realistically complete what is expected of them.
Relegate Technical Details To Attachments
Often it is necessary to include detailed technical information as part of a business letter package. In such cases, use the main letter as a cover letter that lists and briefly explains and references the attached (or enclosed) documents.
Use Non-Discriminatory Language
Make sure that you avoid language that is specific to gender, race, or religion in all business letters, either to other businesses, or to customers. For example, use "workforce" instead of "manpower", or "chairperson" rather than "chairman". Most style guides contain detailed lists of the offensive terms and some suggested substitutes.
Eliminate Redundant Words And Phrases
There are certain words and phrases that one often sees in business correspondence that tend to make the language more complicated and cumbersome than necessary. For example, instead of the phrase "in spite of the fact that" use "although", or instead of "in the normal course of events" use "normally". There are many such redundant phrases, so review your letter and eliminate them.
Effective Persuasive Messages for Business Communications
Research and analyze information on a given topic, form an opinion, and construct a research-based persuasive message to convince others of the validity of the position chosen.
Reading: Generate relevant questions about readings on issues that can be researched. Extend ideas presented in primary or secondary sources through original analysis, evaluation, and elaboration.
Writing: Structure ideas and arguments in a sustained, persuasive, and sophisticated way and support them with precise and relevant examples. Presentations: Use organization, graphics, and verbal strategies appropriate to persuade the audience.
How to write an effective sales letter
How to Write the Perfect Sales Letter
Business Letter Writing: Sales Letters
WHAT IS A SALES LETTER?
Instant Sales Letters: Create Business Letters Guaranteed to Sell ...
Sample Sales Letter
2. Presenting the negative message
3. Polite close
Using these 3 techniques will help you establish and deliver a message successfully; it will also present you with positive responses from your employees. Apply them to your message and your goal will be met!
What is the importance of a negative message?
Negative messages should not necessarily be considered bad. Negative messages, if expressed correctly could do positive changes in a business. For example, you are aware that production in the past month was decreasing due to uncommon mistakes; obviously you want to pick up production toward the increasing direction, so you must notify the employees of the bad news of the previous month.
If expressed correctly the body of employees will be more aware of the situation and start paying close attention to these uncommon mistakes and soon enough you have production going right back up! Always remember that a negative message is a key to success, you need negative messages to show the employees where they stand, if you do not use this key, how can your employees improve in their weaknesses? Think of it as a mirror, a mirror is a handy tool because it shows you a reflection of an image.
Imagine if you are trying to fix your hair for a special occasion without one, it would be very difficult to do so. In the same way you have a negative message to show how well your employees as a company are doing, just like a mirror. Now you want to improve your company, but in order to do so you need a reflection and this is where negative messages come in place.
Expressing the Negative Message
How can I express a negative message? In one hand you have positive messages and in the other, you have the negative messages and it turns out that the negative messages are the most difficult ones to express. Why? The reason being is no one really likes to be informed of a negative message. No matter how drastic this factor is you can still express a negative message and maintain the person in goodwill. The question that now appears is how? How can I express a negative message? Though challenging you can still express a negative message with these useful techniques.
HOW TO WRITE THE NEGATIVE (OR NO) MESSAGE
Alanis Morissetteґs song, "Perfect," depicts the irrational thoughts of perfectionists.
Sometimes is never quite enough
If youґre flawless, then youґll win my love
Donґt forget to win first place
Donґt forget to keep that smile on your face
Be a good boy
Try a little harder
Youґve got to measure up
And make me prouder
How long before you screw it up
How many times do I have to tell you to hurry up
With everything I do for you
The least you can do is keep quiet
Be a good girl
Youґve gotta try a little harder
That simply wasnґt good enough
To make us proud
Iґll live through you
Iґll make you what I never was
If youґre the best, then maybe so am I
Compared to him compared to her
Iґm doing this for your own damn good
Youґll make up for what I blew
Whatґs the problem... why are you crying
Be a good boy
Push a little farther now
That wasnґt fast enough
To make us happy
Weґll love you just the way you are if youґre perfect
Breaking Bad News to Customers
Here are five strategies for delivering the message with compassion:
1. Tell the truth. People tend to fear what they do not understand. Put the situation into perspective for your customer. Give as much information as you can about the who, what, when, where and why.
2. Put yourself in the customers shoes. Its useless and naпve to tell customers not to worry or expect them not to get frustrated. They ARE worried, and maybe even angry at how the events will affect them (or their companies) personally. Dont leave them guessing. Give them all the facts.
. Acknowledge their feelings. Dont invalidate their feelings by suggesting the situation is not that bad. This is also not a time for humor. Let them vent. Negative emotions must be dealt with before they can be replaced with a positive plan of action.
4. Take charge. Outline a specific plan of action that you and your company will take. Assume ownership for the customers situation.
5. Follow through. Make it your priority to track the progress on the customers problem within your company. Make frequent status reports to the customer until the situation is resolved to his or her satisfaction.
Breaking Bad News to Employees
Breaking the bad news - informing employees that they are fired
Technical Writing - Informal reports
Technical Communication: Strategies for College and the Workplace by Dan Jones & Karen Lane. Common Types of. Informal Reports
Writing Informal Reports
To: (name and title of target audience)
From: (name and title of writer: remember to sign or initial if it isnt an electronic submission)
CC: (distribution list when necessary)
Introduction [No heading necessary]
Discussion sections [Use headings provided in the outline attachment of the syllabus]
Conclusion [Reflection is the content]
Parts of an informal report
Reports are written for many different reasons and use two basic formats. One is the long or formal
report and the short or informal report. But EVERY report, like every letter, essay, or article has 3
main parts: Introduction, Discussion sections, Conclusion. These reports follow the same format as the
memo but are longer and more comprehensive. Because they are longer than one or two pages, reports
also include such formatting elements as headings, bulleted or numbered lists, and graphs and charts
The introductory section includes 3 parts:
1. a statement of the problem or situation,
2. the task assigned to the writer and the scope of the project.
3. purpose of the report and forecasts for the reader the topics of the report.
(PLEASE REFER TO OUTLINE SECTION I. INTRODUCTION)
Finally, when appropriate, the introduction ends with the conclusion or recommendation reached by
Another aspect of report writing that is somewhat different from other business communications is the
reading patterns of various audiences. Remember that most memos and reports have a target
audience, but a number of secondary audiences who must be accommodated. Some of the readers will
skim the report. In other words, the report, particularly the discussion sections, may not be read in a
linear wayfrom the first word progressing to the last. Therefore, the writer must be certain the
report is comprehensible when read in that manner. Each section must work together as part of the
whole report, but a reader should be able to read one section and understand the context.
Anytime you use a list, or graphic or visual representation, you should introduce that list or visual and
explain its purpose to the audience.
(PLEASE REFER TO OUTLINE SECTIONS II-VI)
Finally, the conclusion of a report, depending on its purpose, should remind the reader of any action
needed, ask for a response, or indicate a willingness to answer questions. This section may also provide
contact information for future communications. The Internship Experience Report conclusion should
contain a final reflection of your internship experience.
(PLEASE REFER TO OUTLINE SECTION VII. REFLECTION)
Caution: Please note that the format of business and professional reports includes short paragraphs of
text. So, do not use a heading as a paragraph marker. In other words, a heading may be followed by
LABORATORY AND INFORMAL REPORTS
A few examples of informal reports are listed below:
1. Inspection or Trip Report. These reports describe the inspection of a site,
facility, or property; summarize a business trip; or report on an accident,
describing the problem, discussing the causes and effects, and explaining how
it can be avoided.
2. Laboratory Report. These reports discuss an experiment, test, or survey;
present the data collected, discuss the research theory, method, or procedure;
discuss conclusions, and possibly, explore applications of the findings or
possibilities for further research.
3. Progress Report. These reports summarize how a project is going, what has
been accomplished, what work lies ahead, what resources have been used, and
what problems have arisen.
4. Proposal. A proposal seeks a contract, approval, or funding to do a project;
functions as a competitive bid to get hired to do a project; promotes an
organization as a candidate for a project; or promotes the project itself,
showing why it is needed, methodology to complete the work, personnel
requirements, and time and funds needed for the project.
Types of Informal Reports
Trip and Conference Reports
highlights of conference
and so on
Write A Business Report
7 Tips For Writing Better Business Reports
Confirm Exactly What the Client Wants
This is a very important initial step. Whether the client is you, or someone else, be sure that everyone is talking about the same thing in terms of final outcome and expectations. When determining this, always think specifically in terms of the final deliverable (usually the final report). What issues must it address? What direction/guidance is it expected to give? What exactly will it contain? What bottom line are they looking for?
Determine What Type of Report Is Required
This is another very important initial matter to clarify. There are a number of different types of business reports. Although there is usually overlap between the different types, there are also important differences. For example, do they want: a business plan, a business proposal, a strategic plan, a corporate information management plan, a strategic business plan, a marketing plan, a financial plan, or what? Know exactly what type of final report is expected from the outset.
Conduct the Initial Research
Once you know exactly what the client (or you) wants, and the specific type of report they are looking for, you are ready to conduct your initial pre-report research. This stage may be as simple as collecting and reading a few background documents supplied by the client, or it could involve developing questionnaires and conducting detailed interviews with the appropriate people. It will vary with each situation. The Internet of course, can really simplify and shorten the research process, but don''t forget to double and triple check your sources.
Write the Table of Contents First
In my experience, drafting the Table of Contents (TOC), before you start writing the actual report is the single most important key to developing a successful business report. This document can normally be done before, or in parallel with, the first phase of project information gathering. This should be more than just a rough draft TOC. It should be a carefully thought out breakdown of exactly what you imagine the TOC will look like in the final report. Although this takes a certain amount of time and brain power up-front, it really streamlines the rest of the process. What I do is to actually visualize the final report in my mind''s eye and write the contents down. This really works! This TOC then becomes a step-by-step template for the rest of the process.
If you''re writing the report for an external client, it''s a good idea to present the draft Table of Contents to them at this point in the process and get their approval. This will force them to think it through and confirm what they really want at this point. Once they have agreed to a TOC you will have their "buy-in" for the rest of the process, therefore significantly reducing chances of any major changes or reversals at the final report phase.
Do Any Additional Research
After thinking through the TOC in detail, you will know if any additional research is required. If yes, do this extra information gathering before you sit down and start to actually write the report. That way, once you begin the writing process you will have all of the information needed at hand and you will not have to interrupt the writing process to conduct any further research.
Create the Skeleton Document
A trick I always use when working with MS-Word is to create a skeleton document first. That is, before you actually write any of the text, enter the entire Table of Contents that you have already developed into MS-Word (see Point 4), heading by heading, including sub-headings. At this point, the document is essentially a sequential series of headings and sub-headings with blank space between them. Then, have MS-Word generate an automatic Table of Contents that exactly matches your planned TOC. You''re then ready to start filling in the blank spaces after each heading and sub-heading in the body of the document, with text.
Write the Report By Filling In The Blanks
That''s right, by filling in the blanks. Once the TOC skeleton framework is in-place as per the previous step, writing the actual report becomes almost like filling in the blanks. Just start at the beginning and work your way sequentially through the headings and sub-headings, one at a time, until you get to the end. Really. At that point, with all of the preparation done, it should be a relatively straightforward process.
Report Writing Resources
Business Plan Writing
I''ve developed a lot of business plans for clients over the years. These critical business documents are typically time-consuming and difficult to research, structure and write. To help with this, I have begun the process of de-identifying and re-formatting some of my more exemplary business plan documents so that they can be downloaded and used as "real-life templates". I''ve always found that working with an actual business plan as an example is the quickest and most effective way to develop another business plan for a new venture. If you are interested in working from the real thing, check out the following link.
Sample Business Plan
Business Proposal Writing
In addition to business plans, I''ve also developed a lot of business proposals for clients over the years. As anyone in business knows, a well structured and well written business proposal is critical if you hope to win that next big project or contract. So, to help you with this I have begun the process of de-identifying and re-formatting some of my the more exemplary business proposals that I''ve developed so that they can be downloaded and used as "real-life templates". I''ve always found that working with an actual business proposal as a model is the quickest and most effective way to develop another business proposal, even in response to a completely different request-for-proposal. So, if you are interested in working from the real thing, check out the following business proposal link.
Sample Business Proposal
Business Letters, Forms, and Templates
My own writing toolkit, Instant Business Letter Kit focuses on business letters, forms, and templates. It''s a comprehensive business writing toolkit that combines "how-to" tips, tricks, advice, and pointers with over 100 fully-formatted real-life templates for writing any type of business letter that you can download into your word processor and use as you choose. The Kit includes a Bonus Chapter on how to write Business Reports, as well as a Special Bonus Book containing Business Forms and Templates ranging from, invoices and purchase orders, to minutes of meetings, and trip reports. Whether you''re involved in small business, home-based business, or large business, if you need help writing business letters, you could easily make this Kit your business writing style guide.
Business Report Writing
How to write a business letter
A questionnaire is a research instrument consisting of a series of questions and other prompts for the purpose of gathering information from respondents.
12 tips for creating better documents
Clearly Communicate Your Information
Grab the Reader''s Attention
Stay in Control of Your Documents
Take a training course on creating outlines
Create a table of contents
Take a training course on creating a table of contents
Example Design Document
JUSTIFICATION/RECOMMENDATION REPORT and communicating at work
Use Times New Roman font, type size 12
Use the 4 standard memo headings: (TO/FROM/DATE/SUBJECT).
Single space between headings and triple space between the headings and report text.
Align all the text following the 4 headings.
Write the memo from you to me; supply appropriate subject line and the date (date due).
Write an opening paragraph for the justification/recommendation report.
Single space paragraph text and double space between paragraphs.
Double space before and after centered and side headings.
After the opening paragraph, enter the heading Introduction centered and underlined.
Write an introductory paragraph for the report section of the memo, stating the purpose of
your research and report, etc.
Enter the next centered heading (the title of your body/text); underline the heading and
capitalize each major word and/or proper noun.
Briefly introduce your text section before you enter the first 2nd order heading. The majority of your report is in the 2nd order heading section.
Have at least two 2nd order headings; use underlining and proper capitalization.
Write in YOUR OWN WORDS; cite your source only when necessary.
Use APA style when you cite; you should have no more than 3 citations.
Do not produce a paper that is little more than connected quotes from other peoples writings.
***IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO FILTER YOUR INFORMATION
TO REDUCE THE IMPORTANT TEXT TO NO MORE THAN
2 ½ -3 PAGES TOTAL.
After writing the text of the report, enter the final 1st order heading Summary centered,
Write a good, concise summary of your main points; be careful not to use any
NEW information (information not actually covered by the report).
Write a brief closing paragraph for the report.
REMEMBER TO: Use a correct 2nd and 3rd page heading.
Use 1-inch margins at top, bottom and sides.
Use a minimum of 5 sources to gather your information (at least 1 book, 1 professional journal, 1 legitimate web source,
1 business magazine, and 1 newspaper article).
DATE: (insert due date)
TO: Instructors name
FROM: Students name (initial after your name, in script, blue/black ink)
SUBJECT: (keep it short, concise)
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Opening paragraph denotes origin of report; 3-5 sentences)
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Introduction must contain purpose and significance of report)
Title for Body/Text of Report
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (a brief explanation of the issue) [ds]
First 2nd Order Heading
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Text may be 1 or more paragraphs; ds betw. paragraphs)
Second 2nd Order Heading
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Text may be 1 or more paragraphs; ds betw. paragraphs)
Third 2nd Order Heading
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Text may be 1 or more paragraphs; ds betw. paragraphs)
(Write summary paragraph; 4-8 sentences)
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Brief closing paragraph for memo report; 1-3 sentences)
SCENARIO and NOTES
As the Senior Vice President for Cutting Edge Corporation in Silicon Valley, I am asking you (my Executive Assistant) to address one of the following issues (see next page) for our organization. Your justification/recommendation report will be read by me and forwarded to the Executive Board where a decision will be made regarding your recommendation.
Background on Cutting Edge Corporation:
Established in 1990
Produces & markets computer software
You are to produce a Justification/Recommendation Report with the following characteristics:
- Provide data, analyses, and recommendations.
Indirect Pattern (See page titled Memorandum)
- Make a general reference to the issue in the subject line.
- Begin with the opening paragraph denoting origin of report.
- Follow with introduction containing purpose and significance of the report.
- In the opening paragraph following the title of the report, provide a brief explanation of the issue the report will address.
- The 2nd order headings will be the possible solutions to the issue.
- Alternate solutions will be based on facts (research findings, specific examples, supporting statistics, authoritative quotes) and interpretation.
- Discuss alternate solutions, beginning with the least likely to succeed.
- Present your recommendation (the most promising alternate) last.
- Show how the advantages of your recommendation(s) outweigh its(their) disadvantages.
o Avoid conditional words such as maybe and perhaps.
o Present each suggestion separately as a command beginning with a verb.
o Suggestions should be numbered or bulleted to improve readability.
- Summarize your recommendation. If appropriate, specify the action it requires.
- Write a brief closing paragraph.
TOPICS AND TIME FRAME
Develop a company policy outlining factors to be considered/steps to be taken to control the display and/or distribution of religious and political material at Cutting Edge Corp.
Discuss steps that the company should take to address the recent problems with employee morale.
Discuss the pros and cons of outsourcing responsibility for the marketing of Cutting Edge Corp. products.
Feb. 19/20 Minimum of 5 sources (at least 1 book, 1 professional journal,
1 legitimate web source, 1 business magazine, and
1 newspaper article). Xerox/print the citation material plus the abstract, summary, or overview for each source submitted for my review.
Mar. 25/26 Outline for Justification/Recommendation Report submitted for my
Be specific; include enough information that I can tell what the
report will be covering.
Avoid generic headings such as Introduction, Recommendations,
Apr. 15/16 Final Report Due
____________ FORMAT25 Points
______ Use Times New Roman font, type size 12; use 1-inch margins at top,
bottom, and sides.
______ Use 4 standard memo headings: (TO/FROM/DATE/SUBJECT); align
text 2 spaces after the colons. Write memo from you to me; initial memo.
______ Single space between memo headings; triple space between memo
headings and opening paragraph; single space paragraph text and double
space between paragraphs.
______ Double space before and after centered and side headings; underline
centered and side headings and capitalize major words.
______ Use correct 2nd and 3rd page headings
Online Technical Writing: Recommendation and Feasibility Reports
The structural principle fundamental to this type of report is this: you provide not only your recommendation, choice, or judgment, but also the data and the conclusions leading up to it. That way, readers can check your findings, your logic, and your conclusions and come up with a completely different view. But, more likely, they will be convinced by all your careful research and documentation.
Introduction. In the introduction, indicate that the document that follows is a feasibility report (or whatever it is called). Instead of calling the report by name (which might not mean anything to most readers), you can indicate its purpose. Also, provide an overview of the contents of the report.
For some feasibility reports, you''ll also be able to discuss the situation and the requirements in the introductions. If there is little to say about them, you can merge them with the introduction, or make the introduction two paragraphs long.
Technical Background. Some feasibility reports may require some technical discussion in order to make the rest of the report meaningful to readers. The dilemma with this kind of information is whether to put it in a section of its own or to fit it into the comparison sections where it is relevant. For example, a discussion of power and speed of laptop computers is going to necessitate some discussion of RAM, megahertz, and processors. Should you put that in a section that compares the laptops according to power and speed? Should you keep the comparison neat and clean, limited strictly to the comparison and the conclusion? Maybe all the technical background can be pitched in its own sectioneither toward the front of the report or in an appendix.
Schematic view of recommendation and feasibility reportscontinued. Remember also that these sections need not all be included; they can be combined; and they can appear in varying orders.
Background on the Situation. For many feasibility reports, you''ll need to discuss the problem, need, or opportunity that has brought about this report. If there is little that needs to be said about it, this information can go in the introduction.
Requirements and Criteria. A critical part of feasibility and recommendation reports is the discussion of the requirements you''ll use to reach the final decision or recommendation. If you''re trying to recommend a laptop computer for use by employees, there are likely to be requirements concerning size, cost, hard-disk storage, display quality, durability, and battery function. If you''re looking into the feasibility of providing every ACC student with an ID on the ACC computer network, you''d need define the basic requirements of such a programwhat it would be expected to accomplish, problems that it would have to avoid, and so on. If you''re evaluating the recent program of free bus transportation in Austin, you''d need to know what was expected of the program and then compare its actual results to those requirements.
Requirements can be defined in several basic ways:
Numerical values: Many requirements are stated as maximum or minimum numerical values. For example, there may be a cost requirementthe laptop should cost no more than $900.
Yes/no values: Some requirements are simply a yes-no question. Does the laptop come equipped with a modem? Is the car equipped with air conditioning?
Ratings values: In some cases, key considerations cannot be handled either with numerical values or yes/no values. For example, we might want a laptop that has an ease-of-use rating of at least "good" by some nationally accepted ratings group. Or we may have to assign a rating ourselves.
The term "requirements" is used here instead of "criteria." A certain amount of ambiguity hangs around this word; plus most people are not sure whether it is singular or plural. (Technically, it is plural; "criterion" is singular, although "criteria" is commonly used for both the singular and plural. Try using "criterion" in publicyou''ll get weird looks. "Criterias" is not a word and should never be used.)
The requirements section should also discuss how important the individual requirements are in relation to each other. Picture the typical situation where no one option is best in all categories of comparison. One option is cheaper; another has more functions; one has better ease-of-use ratings; another is known to be more durable. Devise a method by which you can pick a "winner" from situation where there is no clear winner.
Discussion of the Options. In certain kinds of feasibility or recommendation reports, you''ll need to explain how you narrowed the field of choices down to the ones your report focuses on. Often, this follows right after the discussion of the requirements. Your basic requirements may well narrow the field down for you. But there may be other considerations that disqualify other optionsexplain these as well.
Additionally, you may need to provide brief descriptions of the options themselves. Don''t get this mixed up with the comparison that comes up in the next section. In this description section, you provide a general discussion of the options so that readers will know something about them. The discussion at this stage is not comparative. It''s just a general orientation to the options. In the laptops example, you might want to give some brief, general specifications on each model about to be compared.
Category-by-Category Comparisons. One of the most important parts of a feasibility or recommendation report is the comparison of the options. Remember that you include this section so that readers can check your thinking and come up with different conclusions if they desire. This should be handled category by category, rather than option by option. If you were comparing laptops, you''d have a section that compared them on cost, another section that compared them on battery function, and so on. You wouldn''t have a section that discussed everything about option A, another that discussed everything about option B, and so on. That would not be effective at all, because the comparisons must still be made somewhere. (See below for a schematic illustration of these two approaches to comparisons.)
Each of these comparative sections should end with a conclusion that states which option is the best choice in that particular category of comparison. Of course, it won''t always be easy to state a clear winneryou may have to qualify the conclusions in various ways, providing multiple conclusions for different conditions.
If you were doing an evaluation report, you obviously wouldn''t be comparing options. Instead, you''d be comparing the thing being evaluated against the requirements placed upon it, the expectations people had of it. For example, Capital Metro had a program of more than a year of free bus transportationwhat was expected of that program? did the program meet those expectations?
Conclusions. The conclusions section of a feasibility or recommendation report is in part a summary or restatement of the conclusions you have already reached in the comparison sections. In this section, you restate the individual conclusions, for example, which model had the best price, which had the best battery function, and so on.
But this section has to go further. It must untangle all the conflicting conclusions and somehow reach the final conclusion, which is the one that states which is the best choice. Thus, the conclusion section first lists the primary conclusionsthe simple, single-category ones. But then it must state secondary conclusionsthe ones that balance conflicting primary conclusions. For example, if one laptop is very inexpensive and has poor battery function, but another is rather expensive but has good or even excellent battery function, which do you choose, and why? The secondary conclusion would state the answer to this dilemma.
And of course as already mentioned, the conclusions section ends with the final conclusionthe one that states which option is the best choice.
Recommendation or Final Opinion. The final section of feasibility and recommendation reports states the recommendation. You''d think that that ought to be obvious by now. Ordinarily it is, but remember that some readers may skip right to the recommendation section and bypass all your hard work! Also, there will be some cases where there may be a best choice but you wouldn''t want to recommend it. Early in their history, laptops were heavy and unreliablethere may have been one model that was better than the rest, but even it was not worth having.
The recommendation section should echo the most important conclusions leading to the recommendation and then state the recommendation emphatically. Ordinarily, you may need to recommend several options based on different possibilities. This can be handled, as shown in the examples, with bulleted lists.
In an evaluation report, this final section would state a final opinion or judgement. Yes, the free-bus-transportation program was successful, or at least it was, based on its initial expectations. No, it was a miserable flopit lived up to none of its minimal requirements. Or, it was both a success and a flopit did live up to some of its requirements, but did not do so in others. But in this case you''re still on the hookwhat''s your overall evaluation? Once again, the basis for that judgment has to be stated somewhere in the requirements section.
Organizational Plans for Feasibility and Recommendation Reports
This is a good point to discuss the two basic organizational plans for this type of report:
Traditional plan: This one corresponds to the order that the sections have just been presented in this chapter. You start with background and criteria, then move to comparison, and end with conclusions and recommendations.
Executive plan: This one moves the conclusions and recommendations to the front of the report and pitches the full discussion of background, criteria, and the comparisons into appendixes. That way, the "busy executive" can see the most important information right away, and turn to the detailed discussion only if there are questions.
Sample Template for a Meeting-Minutes Report
Developing Communication Skills
Writing a scientific paper