Friday, August 14, 2009

Surveys of top executives made by the American Management Association have repeatedly found the most important expectation of memos, reports, and advertisements is -- Why are they written, and what result is expected?
How many times have you received a memo that does not reveal its purpose until the last paragraph, or even the last line? Or ever? Nothing is more disconcerting or irritating, than to read a memo that has a nasty surprise sprung: at the end. Or to scan though advertising copy, then not be able to figure out what response is expected as a result? It seems a rule that the more reluctant the writer is to state has/her purpose, the lengthier the document gets. State your intent and expectations right up front. Say them first - in direct declarative English.
Don't waste everyone's time by "throat-clearing" before you get to the point. In the case of memos or reports, it helps readers to know right off the bat whether it is for information only, requests the reply of an opinion, or expects some other action as a result. All advertising copy should not only present product features and advantages, it should offer persuasive reasons to buy, and how to do so. If you adopt this straight-forward style, people will start reading your memos/reports with better understanding, and your advertising copy will pull better results. Best of all, you demonstrate respect for the reader's time.

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