Types of Business CommunicationWriter's Web
by Sally Hu, Writing Consultant
(printable version here)


In an increasingly technologically dependent world, emails are becoming a more important part of everyday business transactions, so it is imperative that business professionals and students learn the conventions of effective email writing.

A Few Tips to Keep in Mind:

  • The Subject Line
    • Always include a subject line (some spam filters automatically delete emails that lack subject lines).
    • Very briefly explain the purpose of the email and how it affects the reader.
      • ex. "Need You to Approve Office Guidelines"
  • The Opening
    • Most emails are not used to deliver bad news, so use the direct method. Email is generally a quick form of communication so readers want to know why they are receiving an email right away.
  • The Body
    • Keep it short.
    • Discuss and explain the subject logically.
    • Use headings, tables, bulleted and numbered lists when possible to make emails less text heavy and to improve readability.
  • The Closing
    • This is the last thing the reader will remember so leave the reader with a clear understanding of the main point of the email.
    • End with a summary of the message, concluding thoughts, deadlines, or calls to action to motivate the reader's response.

A Word of Caution: Emails can easily be forwarded to anyone, so be sure that whatever is written is appropriate for all audiences.

The Writer's Web page on Basics of Electronic Writing also provides a few helpful pointers!


"Memo" is short for memorandum and is used by companies for internal communication purposes. While many companies prefer the convenience of emails over memorandums, hard copies are usually more difficult to ignore and thus still have a place in the office. Memos typically take the form of response messages, request messages, confirmation messages, and procedural messages (Guffey, 184-192) and include a heading and body.

The heading includes the date, who the memo is being sent to, who the memo is being sent from, and a subject line. Because the "To:" and "From:" are included in the heading there is no need to being the memo with "Dear ___," or conclude it with a signature of any sort.

The body of the memo includes a clear and concise statement of the main idea/purpose of the memo, an explanation of details involved, and a positive closing that either reminds the reader of any benefits, provides a source for further information, or offers another concluding remark.

To see an example of what a typical, well-written office memo looks like, check out a few of the examples provided by savy-business-correspondence.com.


A report addresses an issue or problem. It will require in-depth research into the given issue, and will probably require that you support your findings with business principles and other material. Your report may propose a possible solution to the problem or investigate the root of the issue. Therefore, the quality of your supports is especially important in enhancing your credibility and persuasiveness. ("Writing in Accounting")

Works Cited

Guffey, Mary Ellen. Business Communication: Process & Product. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning, 2008. Print.
"Writing in Accounting." George Mason University Classweb. George Mason University, Web. 28 Apr. 2013.

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