Methods of Drafting Correspondence
There is a need of careful drafting of office correspondence to maintain the efficiency of office functioning. Goodwill of the organization will be increased through qualitative correspondence. The responsibility of drafting a correspondence is based on the types of correspondence. Generally, routine correspondence is drafted the clerk, corrected by superintendent and approved by top executives. Even though, the following methods of correspondence are used for drafting correspondence.
- Dictating Letters.
- Form Letters.
- Use of Standard Paragraphs.
- Outline Letters.
- Self Drafting of Correspondence.
A brief explanation of methods of drafting of correspondence is as follows.
1. Drafting Letters
Dictating letters is an important and generally accepted method of producing correspondence. The following methods of dictation may be adopted.
1. Dictating to a Stenographer
This is the popular and well accepted form of dictating a letter. An executive dictates the contents of letter to the steno typist. Then, the stenographer can convert the dictation into a specific business letter. Thus drafted letter can be checked and signed by the executive immediately.
The main advantages of this method are that there is no loss of time and a high degree of accuracy of letter. The reason is that there is a face to face contact between the executive and the stenographer. The main disadvantages of this method are that both the executive and stenographer should be present at the time of dictation.
2. Dictating to Dictating Machine
An executive dictates the letter including the particulars of addressee with reference number to a machine which is called Dictaphone. The message is recorded in the machine with the help of tape or disc. Then, the typist can transcribe and type the letter. The executive can dictate the letter according to her/his convenience and the typists also type the letter according to his/her convenience. There is no physical presence of both the executive and the typist simultaneously. Hence, this method is mostly economical and convenient method.
3. Drafting Correspondence
The confidential letters are written by the executive personally. Sometimes, an executive can give broad outline of the letter. Then, the stenographer prepares the letter in full form and the typist type the letter latter.
2. Form Letters
Some letters are sent by the organization which bears stereotyped answers and/or sentences. Sometimes, the same type of information may be supplied to many persons everyday. Hence, the organization can follow printed forms or cards instead of drafting the letter separately every time. These are known as form letters.
According to J.C. Denyer,
A form letter is a standardized letter used by an enterprise to answer all correspondences of a similar and recurring nature and which is used to give the same information to a number of correspondences.
The body of the letter is printed already on these forms and only the name, date and addressee particulars have to be filled up while sending letters. This type of task is assigned to specified clerk. Form letter can be conveniently used for acknowledgment letters, debt collection letters, price enquiries, and requests for delivery dates, reminder letters and the like.
Advantages of Form Letter
Several advantages are derived from the use of form letters. They are briefly explained below:
1. They save time by avoiding drafting a separate letter to everybody.
2. Form letter can be easily handled by the junior clerks. This saves the cost of supervisory and senior clerical staff.
3. Incoming letters requiring routine replies can be easily answered with the help of form letters.
4. There is uniformity and no personal difference in dealing with correspondence.
5. Form letter can reduce the cost of production of correspondence.
6. The quick dissemination of letters and uniformity in correspondence will certainly improve the goodwill of the organization.
Disadvantages of Form letters
The main drawbacks of form letters are as follows
1. There is no personal touch in the form letters. Hence, the feelings of customers may be neglected.
2. Form letters are prepared in a specified format and style. Hence, there is no possibility of creating an impact on the recipient.
3. All the customers are treated equally in business. Sometimes, there is a need of discrimination among customers.
4. Form letters cannot be used to cater to the needs of individual customer.
5. There is no possibility of devoting sympathetic consideration on the needy customers.
Despite the disadvantages discussed above, the advantages of form letters have over weight than disadvantages. It is, therefore, desirable that the form letters should be drafted with much attention.
3. Use of Standard Paragraph
A number of subject matters are dealt with sometimes. Similarly, in other words, same type of treatment is given to several subjects for which, standard paragraphs may be devised and used. Proper care should be devoted to feel personal touch through standard paragraphs. Idioms and phrases used at minimum level. The dictator should create an impression of careful and committed way of disposing of every letter through standard paragraphs.
Advantages of Standard Paragraphs
The use of well devised standard paragraph offers the following advantages.
1. There is a savings of time and labor in repeatedly drafting letters.
2. Better work can be done by an ordinary employee.
3. The speed of work leads to getting greater output.
4. Better results achieved by the use of carefully selected words, sentences and paragraphs.
5. The work may be interesting one to correspondence clerk since the entire letter is not standardized.
6. Improper, faulty or inadequate language is avoided through standardized paragraphs.
7. The work of checking carbon copies is reduced and leading to efficiency.
8. There is a need of less supervision and incurred minimum supervision cost.
9. There is no personal bias and equal and same treatment is given to every customer.
10. New correspondents can be easily trained in dictation.
Disadvantages of Standard Paragraphs
The disadvantages of standard paragraphs are listed below.
1. Standard paragraphs may be used indiscriminately. In this way, the personal touch may be lost.
2. Improper and faulty standard paragraphs create poor impression in the minds of customer and affect the goodwill of the organization.
Suggestion for Standard Paragraph
The following steps may be taken to increase the utility of standard paragraphs and reputation of the organization.
1. Each paragraph should be carefully drafted by a person who has thorough knowledge with the work.
2. Standard paragraphs should be tested and revised at regular intervals to suit the changing circumferences.
3. Each paragraph dealt with only one matter.
4. Non standard oral dictation may be used if there is any need arise.
5. These paragraphs should form part of the correspondence manual of the office.
4. Outline Letters
The top executives of an organization have no time to draft a letter. Sometimes, time is not available to dictate a letter also. Therefore, busy executives merely note down the outline or points to be covered in a letter, circulars and the like. The actual drafting of a letter is done by the secretary or a correspondent clerk.
5. Self Drafting of Correspondence
Drafting of correspondence in writing is also one of the method. This is usually done by the top executives of an organization. This method is followed whenever an important, complicated or confidential correspondence drafted.