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Writing Email, Memos, and Proposals


Writing Email, Memos, and Proposals Chapter 14 The Challenge of Managing Communication Overload The PR writer doesn t always communicate with a large, impersonal ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Writing Email, Memos, and Proposals

Writing Email, Memos, and Proposals
  • Chapter 14

The Challenge of Managing Communication Overload
  • The PR writer doesnt always communicate with a
    large, impersonal audience
  • In fact, PR people spend a large part of the
    working day engaging in interpersonal
  • He or she also communicates on a more personal
    level through email, memos, letters, phone calls,
    and face-to-face communications

Typical Day
  • 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

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 Points of Smart, Simple, Short Writing
  • Completeness- Why are you writing and what do
    readers want/need to know? Dont use irrelevant
  • 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
  • Responsibility- Think how your communication will
    be perceived by the recipient. Be careful to set
    the right tone. You dont want to come across as
    flippant, arrogant, or defensive. Better to come
    across as helpful, sympathetic, and concerned

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

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
  • 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

Email Advantages
  • Reduces cost of employee communications
  • Increases the distribution of messages to more
  • 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

Mind Your Email Manners- p. 391
  • Avoid the Reply to All button
  • Skip the ALL CAPITAL letters- dont shout!
  • Save the fancy stationery
  • Give your reply first when responding to a
  • Keep forwards to a minimum
  • Dont 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

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 someones voice mailbox, and
    that person leaves a response in yours
  • Group conference calls can eliminate the need for

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

Business Letters, Memos, Proposals and Position
  • 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)

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
    companys 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

  • PR firms usually get new business through the
    preparation of a proposal offering services to an
  • 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

Typical PR Proposal Sections
  • Background and capabilities of the firm
  • The clients 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
  • Summary of the why the firm should be selected to
    implement the program
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