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How to Write a Million Dollar Memo

by Reimold, Cheryl A

  • ISBN: 9780440537823
  • ISBN10: 0440537827

How to Write a Million Dollar Memo

by Reimold, Cheryl A

  • List Price: $15.00
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Dell Publishing Company
  • Publish date: 03/01/1984
  • ISBN: 9780440537823
  • ISBN10: 0440537827
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Description: A million-dollar memo is a memo that gets you what you want. It does so by filling your reader''s need for readable, understandable communication. The core of the million-dollar memo is willingness-willingness to extend yourself, to give something of yourself. If you''ve got the willingness inside and this book in your hand, you can write a million-dollar memo. First, let''s look at those million dollars. You may not realize how close they already are. If you''ve got a $25,000-a-year job and can expect annual raises of ten percent, you''ll make your million in less than 17 years. If you''re making $20,000, you''ll have made a million in less than 19 years. A million dollars is not just a dream. But-maybe you don''t feel like waiting so long for it. Maybe you''d like to get on the fast track. An executive making $65,000 a year will make his million in less than ten years. That''s with a ten percent yearly increase, and it doesn''t include benefits. So a million dollars is not out of your reach. It''s real, it''s there, and you can make it faster than you thought possible by learning to write well. Why? Because if you write well, people will read, hear, and listen to you. Because you''ll be one of those very few people in business whose memos, letters, and reports will be a pleasure to receive. Because you will be answering the crying need for clear, simple communication. Think of the hours you spend every day trying to decipher the verbose pieces of "information" that cross your desk. Now imagine your boss''s reading load! The more people reporting to you, the more memos you get. The more memos you get, the less time you have to read each one. And you will commend only the ones that tell you clearly and simply what you want to know, the ones that fill your needs. You bought this book because you hoped it would fill your need to get closer to a million dollars-or whatever other goal it is that motivates you. The only reason we read anything is to fill a specific need, whether it''s aesthetic or practical. And the people we value most highly are those who fill our most important needs. Good communication is one of the most important needs of all businesses. Indeed, it is the lifeblood of a corporation. Without it, all the financial geniuses in the world couldn''t bring a company success. If you look carefully at the top managers in your company, you''ll see that they didn''t get where they are on technical expertise alone. To make the kind of decisions that will help yield hefty profits, top management has to know and understand exactly what is going on in all the company''s departments, from accounting to research and development. Similarly, every department head needs to know his staff''s ideas, proposals, ambitions, and problems, if the department is to be productive and well run. And each manager must be able to communicate well with his staff. Otherwise, they might misunderstand directions, take offense, or not function well in general. So-the million-dollar memo is the one that gets you what you want by filling your readers'' needs. It''s clear and simple. And this book will show you how to write it. All you have to provide is the willingness to try. HOW TO COMMUNICATE-NOT JUST INFORM Now let''s look at that word communication. It stems from the Latin word communis, which means "common." It has to do with what is common to all of us-our humanity, if you will. To communicate means far more than to inform. Yet too often in business we confuse the two. We inform people of the facts as we know them, and consider that we have communicated with them-and wonder why we don''t get more response. The informer provides data, period. The word has even acquired sinister overtones, as we think of police "informers," foreign agent "informers." Perhaps the word became apt for such officers precisely because it suggests a lack of humanity. An encyclopedia can inform, a data sheet can inform, a computer can inform. But only a human being can communicate. And the great communicators are those who reach out into the common ground of humanity and seek to touch as many human needs as possible. Not just the need to know, or "be informed," but other equally powerful needs that propel us to work, to play, to make decisions, to choose one method over another-to promote one person over another. Communication touches all those needs. HOW TO FIND-AND FILL-YOUR READER''S NEEDS The good communicator determines to answer as many of these human needs as possible. And people respond, rewarding the communicator with an effort to meet his needs. What are these needs? I''ll give you my list in a minute, and you will no doubt unearth more yourself. Think about yourself for a moment. Why do you work? Yes, for money, that famous million dollars that''ll be yours sooner than you think. But is that all? Are you in business only for money? Or is there something in your job, in the profession you''ve chosen, that you really enjoy, for its own sake? Something that fills a need, makes your day exciting, worthwhile, something to think about and talk about when the workday is over? Something that''s maybe worth even more than a million dollars? Suppose you had that million dollars right now. What would you do-after you''d returned from your cruise to the Bahamas? After you''d invested the money, with a 30 percent return? After you''d ensured that you''d never have to work again, for money? Would you just take another cruise ... and then another ... and then another? Probably not. If you''re reading this book, chances are you''re someone who is highly motivated, who loves to learn to do things well... effectively ... profitably-even just for their own sake. What else do you like to do? What are your needs? Stop a minute and take out a sheet of paper. Write down all the things you would do if you had that million dollars. Then, next to each one, write down why. Those are some of my needs, honestly stated. You may share some and add others. Together, our list probably comprises most of the needs we have as human beings, needs whose fulfillment helps make our life complete and enjoyable. Remember: the million-dollar memo is the memo that gets you what you want. The secret of the million-dollar memo is to fill the needs of your readers. Then they will try to give you what you want. Now, how do you go about answering all these deep human needs in a simple, practical business memo? You start by being aware of the needs and trying hard to fill them. Most people never even get that far; they''re too focused on informing to think about communicating. Then you consider each need on your list. Companionship. You will write a friendly, personal memo that suggests a smile and a handshake, not a computational buzz. You''ll use the language and the tone you would use when speaking to a friend. You will let your personality show through and share it with your readers. Approval. You will approach your readers with respect, making them feel that you honestly care about their response and value their opinion. The pleasure of a job well done. You will write a memo that is complete, understandable, and reasonable. If you have a suggestion to make, show your readers that it will indeed help them in their work (not just you in yours). Mental stimulation. Assume your readers want to be stimulated. Share the excitement of your findings or proposals with them. If you''re writing about something that interests them-as you should be-assume they''re willing to put some effort into thinking about and understanding it, and give them the information they need to do so. Discovery and broadening of your knowledge. Like you, your readers want to know more, especially about things that affect them and their work. Tell them-but in clear, simple language that they don''t have to decipher. Give them the background knowledge they need to understand what you''re about to tell them. Write coherently and logically. Don''t worry-you''ll learn how to do all this in the following chapters! Aesthetic satisfaction. Make your memo a pleasure to read. Use words with care. Don''t keep hammering away at the same sentence structure. Don''t overfill your page or your paragraphs. Read it over to hear if it sounds good to you. The way you will go about filling these and other needs is the subject of this book. For now, just concentrate on remembering that you will try to fill them every time you write anything to anyone. That''s your million-dollar memo secret. WHAT''S SO IMPORTANT ABOUT A MEMO? If communication is the lifeblood of a corporation, memos are the circulation. They are the means by which people all over the company speak to each other, on paper. Every time you write a memo you have the unique chance to make a number of significant people in the company think well of you. Indeed, your memos may be the only exposure you get to certain members of top management, for a while at least. In your memos, you show your superiors your character, your professional strengths, your creative solutions, and your ability to express your ideas clearly and effectively. The memo is your daily million-dollar tool. Also, if you can write a good memo, you can write anythin
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