Professional & E-Business Writing

Professional & E-Business Writing
Business Letter and Memo

Because you will need to write for different audiences in a variety of settings, it is important to be able to change the tone of your writing to suit the situation. The assignment requires you to adapt your tone, content, and emphasis for a different audiences and business formats.

Tone is about attitude and feeling, including the extent of friendliness or warmth and formality or informality that the reader can perceive in your communication. In face-to-face conversation tone is evident from your facial expression, amount and nature of eye contact, pitch and rate of speech and other such factors. In writing, tone is conveyed by the words you use that have pleasant or unpleasant connotations or by any indication that you are angry, bored or indifferent to the reader’s needs. Your message may be perceived as discourteous if you have not taken the time to ensure that the tone is appropriate. Words such as insist, mistaken, failed, neglected, and compulsory have unfavourable connotations, sound judgmental, and annoy the reader.

Write a letter and a memo for different scenarios provided below. In real life, you would never fabricate details for your business communications, but for the purpose of this assignment, please invent any relevant details needed (such as names, actions and circumstances) to complete the writing activities.

Task 1: Business letter

You are the marketing communications manager at Blaze, a national newspaper that is published once per week. The latest edition had a half-page advertisement in it from Major Makeovers, an expensive beauty clinic. The advertisement included a picture of Jesus descending from the clouds. The text claimed: “He’s coming soon! Are you cleansed, prinked and looking good enough?” and offered a discounted, weekend, top-to-toe beauty treatment.

Major Makeovers often places advertisements in Blaze and the same is true of Saints Alive, a powerful, charismatic, country-wide church. The day after the makeover advertisement was published, you received an angry letter from Pastor Matthew Sykes. “The second coming of our Lord is not a joke,” he wrote. “Moreover, God does not judge people by their appearance. This advertisement insults our beliefs and the things we hold holy. You would not have published an advertisement mocking Mohammed, because Muslims would rise against you. Well, our response is to withdraw our advertisements from your paper. We also demand a public apology.”

The newspaper received five letters of complaint from other Christians and also, ironically, one from the Atheist Society. The latter complained that Blaze was pushing Jesus down their throats.

Write in your own name, as the marketing communications manager. Produce a full block or block modified 400-word letter, using open punctuation, addressed to Pastor Matthew Sykes. The letter should show that the newspaper is taking his complaint seriously, but should not compromise the paper’s commitment to freedom of opinion and speech. However, you must try to regain Saints Alive’s goodwill towards the paper and retain its advertising business for future editions.

Task 2:  Memo
You are the branch manager of the Albany office of Property Plus, an estate agency which has offices in 12 North Island cities. A major problem has arisen with one of the properties under your care. The tenants used their rented house as a “P” lab and have apparently been cooking methamphetamine there for the last 18 months. This is grim news for the house owner and Property Plus.

The property manager, Ms Jinny Downs, who is your subordinate, did attempt to make two routine property checks during the tenancy, but she felt intimidated on the first occasion and was told not to enter the rear section of the house on her second visit “Because the baby is sleeping”. However, an anonymous tip-off by a member of the public to police led to a raid last night, the lab was discovered and the tenants arrested.

The property is seriously contaminated by the chemicals and cannot be lived in without substantial renovation and detoxification. The elderly property owner, Mrs Amanda Tonkin, whom you informed this morning, is devastated because this house was an investment for her retirement. She is also angry, because she entrusted her property to your agency. She is threatening to speak to the press, or better still, to air the matter on Fair Go or Close Up.

Write in your own name as the branch manager. Produce a confidential, 400-word memorandum to your boss, Mr John Volker, Property Plus National Director. Briefly describe the incident and your immediate response to it. Communicate your own responsibility, ethics, and efficiency in dealing with this problem and make some sensible suggestions about how the situation could be managed from now on. Various issues may be addressed: health and safety of Property Plus staff and future tenants; the potential for bad publicity and financial losses for the company as a whole if the matter is made public; damage control; how to avoid a repetition of this problem in other rented properties and so on.

219.202 Assignment 1 marking schedule

Poor    Satisfactory    Good    Excellent
Specific subject line
BLUF and appropriate directness
Structure of content
Quality of information/comments in body
Tone appropriate to audience
“You” attitude
Positive close

Specific subject line
Appropriate opening paragraph
Appropriate directness
Visual design/readability
Structure of content
Quality of information in body
Comprehensive summary of actions
Analysis of own decisions/actions
Sensible suggestions
Focus on action, not blame
Tone appropriate to audience
Positive close

Spelling, pun

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