Week 6: Cover Letter, Executive Summary, and Peer Review
Executive summary: In Week 6, you will create an executive summary that accurately describes the entire report in a condensed one-page version. See pages 318–320 for a discussion and sample reports for examples.
Peer review: You should submit the first draft of your report to the Peer Review Discussion Forum by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday for peer review. You will be completing a review of another classmate’s report by 11:59 p.m. Sunday. Your grade for your peer review is given in your discussion grade this week. NOTE: You must use the Peer Review feedback form in Doc Sharing for this assignment.
Cover Letter Info
rts of formal documents are as follows:
1. Cover/title page
2. Letter or memo of transmittal
3. Table of contents
4. List of illustrations
5. Executive summary
7. Discussion sections
8. Conclusions and recommendations
9. End material
See Model 10–3 (pp. 334–349) for an example of these navigational elements and for an example of guidelines that follow.
Formal documents are usually bound, often with a standard cover used for all documents in the writer’s organization. (Reports prepared for college courses, however, are often placed in a simple report cover.) Because the cover is the first item seen by the reader, it should be attractive and informative. It usually contains the same four pieces of information mentioned in the following list with regard to the title page; sometimes it has only one or two of these items.
Inside the cover is the title page, which should include the following four pieces of information:
■ Project title (exactly as it appears on the letter/memo of transmittal)
■ Your client’s or recipient’s name (“Prepared for …”)
■ Your name and/or the name of your organization (“Prepared by …”)
■ Date of submission
To make your title page or cover distinctive, you might want to place a simple illustration on it; however, do not clutter the page. Use a visual only if it reinforces a main point and if it can be done simply and tastefully. For example, assume that M-Global, Inc., submitted a formal report to a city in Georgia, reporting the results of a study of water pollution. The report writer decided to place the picture of a creek on the title page, punctuating the report’s point about the water quality, as in Model 10–3 on page 334–349.
Letter/Memo of Transmittal
Letters or memos of transmittal are like an appetizer—they give the readers a taste of what is ahead. If your formal document is to readers outside your own organization, write a letter of transmittal. If it is to readers inside your organization, write a memo of transmittal. Figures 10–1 and 10–2 show examples of both. Use the following guidelines for constructing this part of your document:
Transmittal Guideline 1: Place the Letter/Memo Immediately after the Title Page
Figure 10–1 Memo of transmittal
This placement means that the letter/memo is bound with the document, to keep it from becoming separated. Some organizations paper-clip this letter or memo to the front of the document or simply include it in the envelope with the document, making 314315it a cover letter or memo. In so doing, however, they risk having it become separated from the document.
Figure 10–2 Letter of transmittal
Transmittal Guideline 2: Include a Major Point from Document
Remember that readers are heavily influenced by what they read first in documents. Therefore, take advantage of the position of this section by including a major finding, conclusion, or recommendation from the document—besides supplying necessary transmittal information.
Transmittal Guideline 3: Acknowledge Those Who Helped You
Recognizing those who have been particularly helpful with your project gives them recognition and identifies you as a team player. It reflects well on you and on your organization. Figure 10–2 includes a thank you to members of the client’s organization.
Transmittal Guideline 4: Follow Letter and Memo Conventions
Like other letters and memos, letters and memos of transmittal should be easy to read, inviting readers into the rest of the document. Keep introductory and concluding paragraphs relatively short—no more than three to five lines each. Also, write in a conversational style, free of technical jargon and stuffy phrases such as “per your request” or “enclosed herewith.” See the models at the end of Chapter 6 for more details concerning letter/memo format. For now, here are some highlights about the mechanics of format:
Letters and Memos
■ Use single spacing and ragged-right-edge copy, even if the rest of the document is double-spaced and fully justified.
■ Use only one page.
■ Include company project number with the letter date.
■ Spell the reader’s name correctly.
■ Be sure the inside address includes the mailing address to appear on the envelope.
■ Use the reader’s last name (“Dear Mr. Jamison:”) in the salutation or attention line because of the formality of the document—unless your close association with the reader would make it more appropriate to use first names (“Dear Bill:”).
■ Usually include a project title. It is treated like a main heading. Use concise wording that matches wording on the title page.
■ Use “Sincerely” as your closing.
■ Include a line to indicate those who will receive copies of the document (“cc” or just “c” or “copy” for copy, “pc” for photocopy).
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