The author of the book Technical Writing Guidelines is Meryl Natchez. It was published in 2004 by the Natchez Group Inc. Chapter 4 includes the rules of writing emails, memoranda, correspondence, and meeting agendas and minutes.
The author highlights that correspondence should be accurate and clear. It is crucial that emails and letters neither criticize nor offend the recipient and conform to the company’s policy. Correspondence should not go beyond the scope of the project, the company’s policies, and the topic of the feedback that was requested. Otherwise, it can tarnish the company’s reputation or worsen its relationships with the other organizations. Corporate correspondence should not involve personal opinions or feelings. If the emotional feedback is unavoidable, an employee should not use the company’s name. Letters have a specific structure: the first paragraph contains its purpose, the body contains supporting information, and the last paragraph contains its summary.
The significance of emails is increasing. The standards of writing emails do not differ from the ones of general correspondence. An employee should always fill in subject line and be very specific. It is significant to remember that new topics require new subject lines. An employee should consider the audience and its possible action, if there is any. The first several sentences of an email predetermine whether an employee will receive a reply, because employees from the other organizations can receive up to 200 emails per day. Therefore, these sentences should be informative. In general, an email should be clear, brief, and polite. Emails should not contain grammar or punctuation mistakes. Angry emails do not require a kind reply, because they are unprofessional. Common acronyms, such as BTW, EOD, and IMHO, are acceptable as long as they are not used excessively. It is advisable for an employee not to delete much content from the thread in case someone needs to join the conversation.
The documentation of meeting agendas includes the meeting’s purpose and people who were invited. To inform the participants about the content, purpose, and duration of the meeting, it is advisable to distribute agendas beforehand.
Meeting minutes documents events during the meeting and its participants. Meeting minutes contains discussions and decisions. They are free from personal opinion or any additions. The company may need to address meeting minutes in a while. Therefore, all distributed materials should be attached to them.
Technical memos documents are a part of design and engineering procedures. Their purpose is to evaluate and discuss issues, aims, design, and selection. They should be formal, concise, and clear.
Memos contain various kinds of information that need to be recorded formally. Governmental and corporate projects require quality records, which involve documenting memos.
I have chosen to write about this chapter, because it contains the information which a person needs in order to learn to work in almost any kind of organization. For example, all organizations use correspondence and emails. Moreover, knowing how to write a formal letter or email can be useful in everyday life when a person needs to obtain some information from an organization or give feedback to its activities. The most important point that I have learnt from this chapter is that formal documents have a particular structure and they have one thing in common: all of them are clear and concise so that no time is wasted reading them.
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The content of this chapter can also help me to become a better student. While studying, correspondence is also important, and like in the other organizations, it is formal as well. A letter or an email is like a business card. If I use the knowledge obtained from this chapter to write emails to my professors, they can notice that I am a responsible and serious student. On the contrary, an informal letter can create a bad impression of me. The information from this chapter can also help me to improve my future professional career, because when I use it, my colleagues will consider me to be a well-educated worker.
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