Construction Skills Fundamentals

Basics of Memos, Email, and
Business Letters
Writing and Speaking for Engineers-Honors
Basic Forms of Paper Communication
 In the business setting, two basic forms of paper
communication are used:
 Memoranda
 Business Letters
 A memo is a less formal type of document used within a
company or organization
 A memo is used primarily to advise people of procedures,
procedural changes, or disciplinary issues
 A memo contains a title (the company name and the word
‘Memorandum’) at the top, centered
 A memo contains lines for the following:
Subject Lines
 The subject line in a memo (and an email) should be concise
but specific. The following is a poor subject line:
Subject: Update
A more specific subject line might read:
Subject: Update on Project UF – 332, Technology
Design for Weil Computer Labs
Business Letters
 A business letter is used between individuals who work for
different companies (the engineering firm and the client or
two engineering firms collaborating on a project, for
 A business letter is more formal in its structure and is
printed on company letterhead (with sender’s address)
 A business letter contains the date, the recipient’s name and
address, a salutation, the body of the letter, a complimentary
closing, a signature and typed name of the sender, and the
names of those receiving copies of the letter
Effectively Organizing Letters, Memo,
and Email
Organizational Pattern
 Introduction
 Body of Message
 Conclusion
 All written correspondence should have an
introduction that
 Makes the purpose of the communication
 Gives the reader the most important
Body of the Message
 The supporting details are included in body
 Elaborate on the main idea(s) contained in the
 Use short paragraphs with topic sentences for
each paragraph
 Use short sentences
 Use headings and bullets where appropriate
Conclusion (Goodwill closing)
 Convey “next step” information
 Offer contact information
 Thank recipient for attention, consideration, etc.
Bad News Message: Use an alternate
 When conveying “bad news” (disciplining an
employee or explaining a negative action) use a
buffer paragraph at the beginning of the message.
The pattern used for bad news is as follows:
 Buffer paragraph
 Introduction
 Body of the Message
 Conclusion