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Chapter 14: E-mail, Memos, Letters, Proposals, and Reports

April. 24. 2010.

Public Relations: Writing and Media Techniques

by Dennis L. Wilcox

The Challenge of Information Overload

  • The solution is to follow these rules:
  1. Completeness: make sure it contains the information needed to serve its purpose
  2. Conciseness: less is better
  3. Correctness: be accurate in everything you write
    courtesy: the writing should be polite but not effusive, personal but not overly familiar
  4. Responsibility: make sure you come across how you want to sound Think about how your communication will be perceived by the recipient



  • Purpose: reduces cost of employee communication, increases the distribution of messages to more employees, flattens the corporate hierarchy, and speeds up decision-making
  • Advantages: good for keeping up with events, making arrangements and appointments, and reviewing or editing documents



  • memo for short – a brief written message
  • can serve almost any purpose
  1. ask for information
  2. supply information
  3. ask for a meeting
  4. confirm a verbal exchange
  5. remind
  6. state a policy
  7. or any other function that requires a written message


Every memo should contain

  1. Date
  2. To
  3. From
  4. Subject
  5. Message


Letter: a more formal document than an e-mail or even a memo

  • personal letter to a specific individual
  • less personal but often a form letter about a specific situation sent to a large number of people



  • Section: the background of the firm, the client’s situation, goals, and objects of the proposed program, key messages, basic strategies and tactics, general timeline of activities, proposed budget, how success will be measured, and a description of the team that will handle the account
  • Purpose: to get something accomplished, to persuade management to approve and authorize some important action that will have long-lasting effect on the organization or its people


Annual Report

  • most expensive and time-consuming report prepared by an organization
  • fairly extensive printed document complete with photos, chats, text, and color that resembles an elaborate brochure
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