I don’t understand this Business question and need help to study.

Read the example of the short memo below and respond to the following checklist items:

Checklist:

  • Who is the sender?
  • Who is the receiver?
  • What is the intent?
  • How might you clarify this memo?
  • Is it persuasive in getting the recipient to act? Why or why not?

Memo:

You will need to send a confirmation as to what the outside limits are in line with the budget parameters delineated in the meeting last week. Send it on to production afterwards. This is priority so please expedite.

Just do response each posted # 1 to 3 only

Posted 1

Critique of a bad memo:

  • Who is the sender?

The sender seems to be someone in a supervisory role. It is not clearly stated who specifically the sender is as no name or title is included in the memo. There is no “From” line included in the memo.

  • Who is the receiver?

The most one can surmise of who the reader could be would be an attendee of a meeting that occurred a week prior to the memo being sent. Clearly whoever is receiving the memo is a direct report to the sender however there are no names or titles included. There is no “To” line included in the memo.

  • What is the intent?

The intent of the memo is to make sure the receiver completes a certain task. The sender expresses the importance that certain budgetary information be clearly conveyed to multiple departments or entities.

  • How might you clarify this memo?

I would include a date and a “To” and “From” line so that it is clear when this memo was written and to whom it was intended for. I would consider including a subject line, so the receiver of the memo knew quickly what the memo was referring to. I would also include a date that the tasks must be completed by so there is no chance of misunderstanding when the information must be passed along.

  • Is it persuasive in getting the recipient to act? Why or why not?

It is persuasive only in the sense that it is harsh and demanding and whoever is responsible for carrying these tasks out probably feels under pressure to not get in trouble and so will get the tasks done. It would be more persuasive if the tone were lighter and the demands were asked, not told to the recipient. The recipient would be more persuaded to complete the tasks efficiently if the writer personalized the memo and took time to thank the receiver for his or her help with completing the tasks in a timely fashion.

Posted 2

This example memo reminds me of when I first joined the military, 20 years ago. I feel like it could have been written by one of my junior officer colleagues, or even myself. The tone is too directive, it fails to set the stage and lacks essential information that will ensure value in the response. I think the sender is a junior manager and receiver might be either a member of a finance team or a subordinate project coordinator. The sender fails to identify both themselves and the intended receiver. Without details, which should have been included in a properly formatted memo head, we are lacking the information needed for the memo to meet the objective of the sender.

As we learned from the Unit 1 video, Thomas (date unknown), we must also consider the perspective of the reader, put ourselves in their shoes. In my opinion, the memo author failed to do that, this memo is not persuasive and lacks purpose. While there is a direct request, the intent is not clear. My assumption is that the author will need the response data to be used by the production team for an audience that is not identified, such information might be critical. It is very likely that the data prepared will fail to meet the sender’s intent and could easily go forward with errors. Rather than asking the receiver to read the sender’s mind, it would be necessary for the sender to craft the memo to include information about why the data is needed.

In order to clarify this memo, it needs to be properly formatted, organized, contain purpose, and be something the recipient can act on with a due date. According to Flood (2008) it is important to consider the word choice, mechanics, tone, organization, layout and design as it will impact effectiveness (p. 49). A well-designed memo should include an introduction, body, and conclusion (p. 123). The sender needs to be thoughtful of these concepts to motivate and encourage the receiver to conduct the request and provide verification that all required actions are completed. These actions by the sender would have properly conveyed the intent and enabled the sender to achieve the desired outcome.

Posted 3

Thomas (n.d.) described effective communication as “Clearly and Simply” (02:22-02:23). The memo is not clear not does it provide instructions or Flood’s nine key concepts of business writing (Flood, 2008). It would have been a different story if there was a point of reference other than the aforementioned meeting to provide guidance on where all the source data was to come from to uphold the guidelines of the budget parameters. The sender is clearly in a leadership or managerial position and also attended the meeting last week. Initial response depicts a hostile work environment where employees are not valued or respected by their leadership or executives. The receiver is a member of the team who was most likely cornerstone employee of the department.

Clearly the intent of the memorandum is to figure out the high and low limits of the budget. There is no further guidance to a specific point targeting budget effects on production. Failure to follow up on the numbers submitted to production by the author of the memorandum will most likely end with an incorrect submission to the production office causing delays. Far too often an oversimplification of a process is more dangerous than having far to many details or directions in project oversight. Business writing is only effective if it is “unusually simple, unambiguous, and literal” (Wiess, 2005, pg. 3). The writer of the memorandum managed to get one element correct, it is plain and simple. To begin with a restructure of the format using three sections would add a lot of clarity to what the recipient needs to accomplish for the department.

First, define where the information for the budget comes from and a point of contact in the finance department to collect and analyze data to establish outside budget parameters. Secondly, collect the required information from production to ensure a clear concise vector exist between budgeting and production. Lastly, place a deadline for follow-up, review and feedback prior to submission to ensure all the divisional goals have been met. Simply put, inspect what you expect from your employees. A memorandum of this poor quality is never going to get a positive reaction from an employee. With the exception of a team that has worked together for years and is a well-oiled machine just waiting for the go-a-head from the department head in a simplistic written form. More likely is from a disconnected leader who relays on their staff to perform all their required task for them. Without a direction, time line and review there is little motivation for the employee to take immediate action to prioritize getting the memorandum to production. Requiring more questions than actions is the key concept of this particular memorandum.

 

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