Writing an effective business letter:
prepare a letter in either block or modified block format, addressed to your employer or supervisor and copied to your marker, detailing the progress you have made so far in completing your report. If you do not have an employer, use the made-up name and position you used for Assignment. (Although you would be unlikely to address a business letter to your employer in the “real world,” this assignment gives you a necessary opportunity to practise using the letter format.) Your letter should be between 650 and 850 words (not counting the outline). Follow the Work Completed strategy outlined on page 436 of the text, and be sure to answer all the problems listed on page 434. Provide a proposed formal outline for the report (use either the alphanumeric or the decimal outline format) and paste this into your assignment, following the last page of your letter. A letter without an outline will receive a grade of 0.
In the Work Completed section of your letter, provide some preliminary findings about the cause of the problem. These preliminary findings will transfer over into the Causes section of your report, so it is to your benefit to give clear information here.
See the sample Progress Report on pages 439-443 of Technical Communication for a good ex (not a template) of such an interim report. Note that any recommendations you include in this section of your letter must be suggestions for what should be done next in the investigation — not the recommendations you will give in your report. Do not give your report’s recommendations here.
However, if you wish to provide preliminary final recommendations in the appropriate section of your outline, so that you can receive feedback on them from your marker, you may do so.
Include the following information in the body of your letter, using the headings below for Sections 2 through 5. The Background section is optional.
1) Purpose Statement
3) Work Completed (includes Preliminary Findings and Unexpected Problems)
4) Work Yet to Be Completed
5) Cost Analysis
In your Work Completed section, be sure to indicate whether or not you have encountered any unexpected findings or problems, and, if so, what you did about them. When preparing your letter, keep in mind that your marker will look for the following things:
Checklist for letter:
• Does the letter clearly outline the progress of your research?
• Does the letter adequately answer all of the problems on page 434?
• Does the progress report correctly follow the Work Completed arrangement outlined on page 436 of the text (and above)?
• Does the letter provide an interim report on findings to date and work that still needs to be done?
• Is a proposed outline for the formal report attached?
• Are standard letter-writing format conventions followed correctly?
• Are all the required elements present?
• Does the outline follow either the alphanumeric or the decimal outline format?
• Does the letter use language that is clear and concise?
• Are all sentences written in clear English, and are most sentences in the active voice?
• Are the conventions of English spelling and grammar followed correctly?
• Is the tone appropriate to the target audience?
Your marker will also provide feedback on your outline, if necessary, showing you how to arrange the ideas in the way most likely to lead to a well-organized report.
The topics for the assignment could be:
- Improving the current filing system or file process.
- Investigate a software issue.
- Work place safety.
- Problems with outstanding accounts; late invoices, late payments, etc.
- Lack of office parking; high parking costs for staff.
- Low morale in the workplace.
- Improve the management of client workload.
- Reduce the time it currently takes to complete month end.