Chapter 4: Review

Chapter Review

Below is an abbreviated summary of the key takeaways for each section of this chapter.

Key Takeaway

  • Key IconEmails are used to quickly deliver a message that doesn’t need an immediate response
  • Emails are used to send a message and receive a response in writing as evidence for future review (lay down a paper trail)
  • Emails are used when confidentiality isn’t necessary
  • Emails are used to send the same message to several people at once, including perhaps people whose email address you need to hide from the others (using BCC) to respect their confidentiality
  • Follow standard conventions for writing each part of a professional or academic email, making strategic choices about the content and level of formality appropriate for the audience and occasion.
  • Memos communicate policies, procedures, short reports, or related official business within an organization.
  • Memos broadcast a message to a group audience rather than to individuals, like email or letters often do.
  • Memos are objective in tone and avoid all personal bias or subjective preference, especially because they may have legal standing when reflecting policies or procedures.
  • Memos lack the opening salutation provided in emails and letters but are otherwise structured similarly to emails (opening, body, closing).
  • Letters are used for providing a formal, permanent, confidential written message to a single important person or organization
  • Letters are Ideal for job applications (cover letter), persuasive messages (e.g., fundraising campaigns), bad-news messages, matters with possible legal implications (e.g., claims), and responses to letters
  • Letters are used for non-urgent matters
  • If you need to send a highly formal message to show respect to your recipient and ensure confidentiality, follow standard business letter conventions.


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Chapter 4: Review Copyright © 2021 by Melissa Ashman; Arley Cruthers; eCampusOntario; Ontario Business Faculty; and University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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