Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Topic: Memo Writing and Audience

10-Second Review: Practicing writing memos in difficult situations.

Title: “Writing with Carbon Copy Audience in Mind.” HJ Schwartz. College Composition and Communication (February 1988), 63-65. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary: Writing a memo with completeness, objectivity and tact. Students must write a memo on difficult professional choices:

“1. A negative evaluation of your subordinate employee (addressed to your supervisor, but with a carbon copy available to the person evaluated).”

“2. A request for more space for your department with a carbon to the department the new space will come from.”

3. “An explanation of a new policy or procedure in your department or club which some people will welcome and some will oppose.”

4. “4. A complaint letter with a carbon copy to the person you’re complaining about. (Don’t just blow off steam; try to change the policy, procedure or behavior you’re complaining about).”

A lesson in how to write for complex audiences. The author goes on to caution:

“The information you include should be relevant and complete for all audiences.”

“You should be honest and clear.”

“Your language should be objective and neutral (not biased, hostile or subjective).”

“Your tone should be tactful and appropriate.”

“Your argument should be logical (to explain and persuade as well as to inform).”

Comment: One of the few articles I have read that actually presents a challenging assignment involving concern with audience. RayS.

The purpose of this blog is to share interesting ideas I have found in recent American professional publications dealing with the teaching of English at all levels, elementary, secondary and college.

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