Writing Memos and
Letters that Achieve Your
The goal of Part III is to apply the principles of reader-based communication to a variety of typical writing situations that managers and employees face every day in business and government. Chapter 11 concerns the basic purpose, organization, and expression common to both memos and letters. Chapter 12 will demonstrate ways to organize, write, and revise a variety of memos that have either good news or simple routine information to convey. These are called frontloaded, or direct, messages. In Chapter 13 we will organize, write, and revise a group of memos that have negative news. These are termed backloaded, deferred load, or indirect messages. The same steps will be followed for letters in Chapters 14 and 15.
Memos, whether hard copy or e-mail, are the primary form of internal communication within corporate and governmental offices. They are used for vertical and horizontal communication whenever face-to-face communication is impractical or a permanent record is desirable. Vertically memos go up and down the corporate ladder: from managers down to employees and upward from employees up to management. Horizontally they flow back and forth among fellow employees. They can even be used for external communications with customers, suppliers, or other interested outsiders.
Memos are informal, versatile, and infinitely adaptable for senders and receivers. They can run for several pages but are usually just one to two pages. With today's workplace pressures the shorter or more concise the better. Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, cited as a model of