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Writing Email, Memos, and Proposals

Writing Email, Memos, and Proposals

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Writing Email, Memos, and Proposals

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  1. Writing Email, Memos, and Proposals Chapter 14

  2. The Challenge of Managing Communication Overload • The PR writer doesn’t always communicate with a large, impersonal audience • In fact, PR people spend a large part of the working day engaging in interpersonal communications • He or she also communicates on a more personal level through email, memos, letters, phone calls, and face-to-face communications

  3. Email– sending, receiving, reading and replying Leaving and answering voice mail messages Sending memos to colleagues Writing proposals Attending meetings and later summarizing meetings Preparing position papers (aka “white” papers or briefings) Typical Day

  4. Clutter Contributor? • In many cases, PR people add to the information clutter and overload • Solution is to “write smart, simple, and short” • Follow basic guidelines of clarity, completeness, conciseness, courtesy, and responsibility in all your writing

  5. 5 Points of Smart, Simple, Short Writing • Completeness- Why are you writing and what do readers want/need to know? Don’t use irrelevant material • Conciseness- Less is better. Respect that people are busy • Correctness- Be accurate in everything you write. Errors in personalized communication reflect solely on you and your abilities • Courtesy- Use personal names and be polite but not effusive/gushy; personal but not overly familiar • Responsibility- Think how your communication will be perceived by the recipient. Be careful to set the right tone. You don’t want to come across as flippant, arrogant, or defensive. Better to come across as helpful, sympathetic, and concerned

  6. The Email Monster • Inboxes today-backed up at an astounding rate • 2007 research- the average number of corporate emails sent and received per person on a daily basis was 142. Expected-228 by 2012 • Workers in 2006 spent 26 percent of their time on email, and that was expected to grow to 41 percent by 2009 • Typical information worker (or communicator) turns to email more than 50 times and a day and uses instant messaging 77 times • Constant interruptions fracture the workday • Loss of productivity-est. $650 million annually

  7. “Colleague Spam” • Traditional email spam-tamed (somewhat) by filtering software • Bulging inboxes today caused more by “colleague spam”- friends sending you latest jokes, viral YouTube videos, Facebook messages, etc. (Cargill fired 90 workers for inappropriate use of company computers/time) • Professional communicators need to recognize limitations of email and figure ways to use it efficiently to get through the forest of information clutter • Maybe better way to go- voice and text messaging, Twitter, wikis, and RSS feeds

  8. Email Advantages • Reduces cost of employee communications • Increases the distribution of messages to more employees • Flattens the corporate hierarchy • Speeds decision making • But there are often situations when face-to-face communication is better and when formal letters on nice stationary are better than informal, less permanent email

  9. Avoid the “Reply to All” button Skip the ALL CAPITAL letters- don’t shout! Save the fancy stationery Give your reply first when responding to a question Keep forwards to a minimum Don’t be a cyber-coward- say something critical, angry, sad in person Keep the large image file to yourself Fill out the subject line Count to 10 before hitting the Send button- a “flaming” email often starts more fires than you can put out Mind Your Email Manners- p. 391

  10. Voice Mail Pros/Cons • A phone call is still quicker than a memo delivered by interoffice mail and it avoids the problem of unopened email in a crowded inbox • It can eliminate “phone tag” if you leave a detailed message in someone’s voice mailbox, and that person leaves a response in yours • Group conference calls can eliminate the need for meetings

  11. Voice Mail Negatives • “Telephone Tree Hell”- frustrates people outside an organization who may call a general number trying to reach a specific person and then have to go through a series of prompts- better systems have “O out” options to reach a live person

  12. Business Letters, Memos, Proposals and Position Papers • Business letters are personalized communication that should be well organized, concise. They can prevent misunderstandings and provide a record of an agreement or transaction • Memos should be one page or less and state key message immediately • Memos five components: Date, To, From, Subject, Message (use in email and hard copy memos)

  13. XYZ Widget CompanyMemo Wednesday, April 6, 2011 To: Public Relations Committee From: Patrick Harwood Subject: Meeting on Friday, April 8 We will meet in the conference room from 3-4 p.m. to discuss how to publicize and promote the company’s annual employee picnic. The president wants to encourage the families of all employees to attend, so please come prepared to offer your ideas and suggestions on activities and organization.

  14. Proposals • PR firms usually get new business through the preparation of a proposal offering services to an organization • In many cases, a potential client will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) and circulate it to various public relations firms to recommend a course of action • In most situations, the PR firm will prepare a written proposal that will be part of a presentation to the prospective client • Proposals must follow a logical, well-organized format

  15. Background and capabilities of the firm The client’s situation Goals and objectives of the proposed program Key messages Basic strategies and tactics General timeline of activities Proposed budget How success will be measured Description of the team that will handle the account Summary of the why the firm should be selected to implement the program ### Typical PR Proposal Sections