Training Correspondents 1

manual, business, letters, foreign, information, mail, correspondence and correspondent

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And Part One, which is not prefaced by any in troduction or foreword, contains also this important advice: Use every-day words, plain thoughts, plain illustrations— But what you say must hit straight from the shoulder. . . . Don't grind out letters like a school boy reciting his lesson. Talk humanly to your customer, not at her. Talk as you would if she were sitting beside your desk. You know what you would say if she were there. WThy not say it? . . .

Use your heart as well as your head. Be humanly Your self—be natural. . . .

People you write to arc living, doubting, considering hu man beings like yourself. . . .

Make it plain to the customer that your goods are the kind she needs. Make her say, "That seems reasonable— that's so.". . .

Leave nothing to be taken for granted. Simple little matter-of-fact points may seem commonplace to you, but may be just what your customers want to know.

Thus much of the information is definitely designed to enable the correspondent to understand the cus tomer's point of view better.

One of the most significant sentences is this: "Grammar and rhetoric can be learned—so can sales This manual contains, besides the other valuable information, numerous general statements concern ing traits of human nature. Its most striking char acteristic is concreteness. A generous number of il lustrations serve to make clear and forceful the ideas that are presented.

14. Contents of a manual for manual just mentioned takes up all essential re quirements, including knowledge of words, gram mar and rhetoric, the "National" business in gen eral, and how mail is received, assorted and dis tributed. The classification of mail is explained in detail, and the methods of handling each class is made clear. But even this technical information is given in such a way that true salesmanship receives strong emphasis; for example, in the treatment of "inquiry" mail, the fact is emphasized that this mail is an im portant source of new business if the proper skill is used in handling it. And the following sentence em phasizes an important point in regard to adjustment correspondence: A complaint always means that we are dealing with a real customer, not a prospect. It is better and easier to keep our present customers satisfied than to get new ones.

That part of the manual which deals with correct ness of expression includes a list of phrases, sev eral pages long, which are not to be used. In each case the reason why the expression is undesirable is stated. These pages are arranged as follows: This valuable list of "what not to say," as the illustration indicates, consists of actual errors in ex pression which are frequently found in letters written by careless correspondents. It is usually possible for

a correspondence critic to accumulate in a compara tively short time a long list of errors of this sort. A tabulation of errors in thought also serves a valuable purpose very often,, especially if it is made out in the form given above.

This manual also includes many examples of good opening and closing sentences, and an extended dis cussion of adjustment correspondence with many illus trations. In short, it contains all the information that a good correspondent in this particular business ought to possess. Its purpose is not only to impart in formation, but also to inspire enthusiasm, zeal for im provement, concentration, and a sincere interest in the work.

In general, it may be said that the manual of cor respondence in almost any business is so important an influence in the training of correspondents, that even the considerable expense necessary to make it as complete and efficient as possible is a good invest ment. This means that the manual may well include an explanation of all the main principles upon the observance of which the success of all business letters depends, and that it should be shown how these prin ciples, with slight variations, apply in the writing of all the different types of letters.

The preparation of an effective correspondence manual, like the construction of a folio of effective form paragraphs, is an evolution. It would be well if everybody in the organization could have a hand in its composition, especially the correspondents for whom it is prepared. The complete manual of cor respondence includes: instruction concerning the mechanical form and appearance of all letters, includ ing inter-organization communications; information concerning what constitutes a good letter, with illus trations; and the general policies that govern the writ ing of various classes of letters.

15. Training in foreign correspondence.—Corre spondence with business firms in foreign countries is becoming more and more important. It no longer suffices that the correspondent know well the foreign language in which he must write his letter, it is also necessary that lie be thoroly acquainted with the fundamental principles of selling. Careful adapta tion to the customs that prevail in the addressee's country is necessary. The foreign correspondent should be a real salesman, whose salesmanship is based on universal principles of success. The reader's point of view—based on a thoro knowledge of the business customs of the foreign country—is one such principle.

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