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BES1100 FOUNDATIONS OF BUSINESS KNOWLEDGE

Business documentation

Writing a business email

Most of us have used email for informal communications with friends and family. In this case we are writing a business email, so it is important to remember your audience and to use appropriate language for business communication.

Your email should at least show the following fields:

• From:The email will automatically contain your email address (if set up as a contact, it will have your name), hence the importance of signing off with your name and business title (if you have one). In this case your student number may be helpful.

• To:
Address the email to your lecturer, in his/her professional capacity, who will pass the document on to the recruitment consultant.• Subject:
It is important to remember that in a busy environment the lecturer or recruitment consultant receive many emails. They may also have someone who screens the mail to make sure only important messages get through. So your subject should make clear the topic and purpose of the email to ensure that it is read.

• Date:
The email date appears automatically as part of theemail and should be in the appropriate format: day/month/year (and generally has the time sent).

The body of the email contains the following sections:

• Salutation
You should address the Lecturer appropriately: Dear … - eg Dear Sir, Dear Dr/Mr/Mrs Kazungu, Dear Daniel/Debbie (if you happen to know his/her first name and usually address them by their first name). It is not appropriateto start the message without a salutation, and it is not appropriate to use only the name or surname or the Chairman (without the Dear …).

• Message
Your message should start by stating the purpose of the email. The message should inform the reader that there is a memo attached (with a basic outline of what is in the memo).

• Closing
Use a closing appropriate for a businessdocument, eg Regards, Yours sincerely, etc, and your name and student number (or business title).

Remember to proofread your email to make sure it is free of typing and spelling errors.

Writing a memorandum

Memoranda (or memos) are business documents designed for distribution within the business, and are an area of communication that tends to be neglected.

Memos can be used as a coveringnote, or can solve problems either by informing the reader about new information (like policy changes, price increases, etc.), or reporting on progress in a commissioned project. In this case you are putting forward an overview of your current skills levels, which will be passed on to an internal recruitment consultant.

Regardless of the specific goal, memos are most effective when they connectthe purpose of the writer with the interests and needs of the reader.

The following Framework for writing a memorandum contains more information than you will require, so you need not follow the specific instructions in the framework. You should read it because it contains basic principles of business communication that will be useful when writing your memorandum.

General principles ofeffective memos

The normal principles of good business communication apply to memos, including the use of a professional level of language and no typing or spelling errors. In addition, the following points are worth noting:

• Do not overuse memos. Email has probably overtaken the use of memos, but memos still have a use in terms of creating a trail of communications.

• Try to keep thememo as short as possible by eliminating unnecessary material and padding.

• Memos should be as simple as possible. Do not include the background graphics that the Word memo template provides.

• The best way is to create your own memo form, using the table feature to set it out.

• Make sure you address the reader by his or her correct name and job title. You might call the Chief...
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