How to Write Good Correspondences with Samples

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A correspondence is a communication activity that involves a minimum of two parties one supplying, to the other, information needed for the promotion of the interests of both and other parties that may be involved.

All correspondences are documented; even television network correspondents have their reports documented, even though they are often transmitted verbally on air.

In this article, we shall first identify the two basic two types of correspondence and then, present two methods of correspondence: letters and memoranda.

Types of correspondence

A correspondence could take place within or outside an organization. This means there are two different types of correspondence: Internal and External.

Internal correspondence

Internal correspondence is intended for consumption within an organization or an establishment. It is therefore addressed to a member (or members) of the organization or establishment.

Sometimes, organizational secrets may be involved. In such cases, a greater burden is placed on anyone receiving or sending an internal correspondence.

Nevertheless, internal correspondence may be secret (i. e. restricted to the parties directly involved) or open (i. e. to all members of the organization).

External correspondence

External correspondence, on the other hand, is destined for consumption outside the organization or establishment.

It may also be ‘secret’ or ‘open’. In either case, every organization endeavor endeavors to closely monitor all its correspondence with persons or bodies outside its borders.

This is a kind of quality-control measure to ensure that any outgoing information would not eventually damage the image or operations of the organization. Information that is already in the public domain is usually difficult to control.

Sample

The following press release serves two purposes: it dissociates the company from its former employee and reassures the public of its commitment to rendering excellent services.

Apart from fulfilling legal obligations, the press release is used as an image-maker for the company.

Press Release

This is to inform the general public that Mr. XZ, whose photograph appears below, is no longer an employee of Adex Sons Group.

Any member of the public, who transacts any business with the said Mr. XZ, on behalf of Adex Sons Group, does so at his or her own risk. We continue to provide you with excellent import and export services.

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Signed

Management

Methods of correspondence

As an information resource, correspondence needs a channel, through which it is conveyed. Letters and memoranda are two reputable methods of correspondence.

Letters

A letter is a piece of writing directed in absentia at an individual as if there were face-to-face contact. Letters come in different shapes and sizes.

Long or short, letters distinguish themselves from other texts through their well-defined structure: the address of the writer and the date are indicated at the top of the page;

The addressee is identified by name or title; the body of the letter contains the message, which is intended to be delivered, and finally, the sender signs off.

It should be noted, at this juncture, that a letter could be formal (adhering strictly to structural and grammatical rules) or informal. However, a more categorical distinction is made between personal and official letters.

Personal letters

A personal letter is one written by an individual in his or her capacity as a being. Personal letters offer us the opportunity to express our feelings, worries, anxieties, emotions, needs, desires, etc. to our relations, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, neighbors etc. They are usually informal.

Sample

This letter cited below illustrates the general features of a personal letter absence of a formal structure (note: absence of letterhead); use of informal form of address (note: use of first names); sharing of ‘great’ information (shared by writer and addressee) and use of informal language.

Dear Moji,

 How are you? I arrived safety in Abuja about two hours ago. The journey was very smooth and the scenery was great. Have you heard from Mohammed yet? I hope he keeps his promise. Anyway, you understand him better than the rest of us do.

 I don’t hope to belong here – just want to have a look around town, visit a few friends and arrive in Jos before the weekend, so take long rest before the conference begins next Monday.

 Let’s know what you’d appreciate most to have from Jos. Meanwhile, take good care of yourself. Cheers!                                                                                                                                         

Yours sincerely,

Fagge.

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                                                                                      Official letters

Official letters are usually formal, devoid of personal feelings or emotions, and are written to convey an official position on an issue. An official letter is usually written on the headed paper of a company or an establishment.

The company’s name, address (postal and electronic), telephone numbers as well as the name of the Chief Executive are regular features of the top (or bottom) of the headed paper.

An official letter may bear a reference number, which is usually indicated just below the address at the top of the page.

Below this is the area (i.e. the left-hand side of the paper); reserved for the name and address of the addresses.

The next line is the official take-off point of the letter since this is where the addressee’s attention is drawn by ‘calling out’ his or her name, using a title (e. g. Dear Mr.s Black).

Still moving downloads; we arrive at the next line, which houses the title of the subject at hand. A single line is usually sufficient. Then, we come to the body of the letter (laid out in form of introduction, body, and conclusion).

Finally, there is a signing-off or closing of the letter through the use of such a phrase as ‘Yours faithfully’, followed by a signature, which is in turn followed by the title (and function) of the person signing the letter.

(In some instances, when copies of the letter are sent to other addressees, their names or initials are indicated at the bottom of the page)

Applications for employment as well as responses to such matters fall within this category of letters.

Sample

ASSOCIATION OF ACCOUNTING BODIES OF WEST AFRICA

AABWA House

21-27, Accountancy Layout

Abuja, Nige

Tel.  +23466482177717                                                                                                              E-mail: registrar@aabwa.

Registrar: Goki O. Kugba, FCAA

Your Ref.

Our Ref.: R/App/39. Vo.II                                                                                  March 22, 2005

Mr. Abdullahi Kureto,

33, Freetown Street, New Town. 4001

 Dear Mr Kureto,

Appointment as Manager-in-Training (Finance)

 SeIn sequelo your application dated January 21, 200,5 and your successful performance at the just-concluded interview, the President, acting on behalf of the Council, has approved your appointment as Manager-in-Training (Finance) with effect from June 1, 2005. Your appointment shall be due for confirmation after two years, subject to satisfactory performance.

 As a Manager-n-Training (Finance), you are directly responsible to the Director, Finance, who will give you assignments from time to time in addition to your regular duties.

 Please, let me know in writing the 30 April, 2005 if this offer is acceptable to you.

 Meanwhile, seize this opportunity to congratulate you.

 Yours faithfully,

Kogi O. Kugba

Registrar

Memoranda

Memoranda are terms that may be used in different contexts and it usually appears in their shortened form: Memo, which is derived from memorandum (the singular).

When used in the context of an agreement (e.g. Memoranda of Understanding, MOU), it involves a multi-party arrangement through which responsibilities, privileges and other matters.

In this sense, it is a document that prepares the grounds for a contractual agreement. In another sense, the term, memo, is used for a special type of correspondence that takes place within an organization.

In this sense then, the memo needs to do is to fulfill all the relevant sections of the document.  A memo has a rigid format (made up of headings): sender, receiver, susubjectt and date ,– all stated at the ‘head’ of the paper.

The memo has for long been the conventional means of corresponding quickly and efficiently in an office primarily because of the simplicity of its ready-made format.

Consider the example given below, in which a Junior Partner (assigned the identity A) is corresponding with the Principal Partner in an Accounting firm.

Sample

FROM:  A (SIGNED                                                                         TO: Chief

SUBJECT: Lateness                                                                         DATE: 3rd June, 1986

 As directed at the breakfast meeting, CSS has been informed of the decision to

turn back all LCWs at the gate with effect from tomorrow morning.

Nowadays, electronic mail (popularly referred to as e-mail) and other internet-based

means of text messaging have greatly borrowed from the traditional format of

the memo.

 

 

 

 

 

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