- On a sheet of paper sketch the format for a full-block standard business letter (uses lines instead of text). Label the ten parts of the letter. When you have completed your labeled sketch, check your results with the image on the full-block letter page. How did you do? If your sketch was similar to the one presented on the full-block page, great! Otherwise, review the information presented and check the additional links before trying the other formats.
- Try the above exercise for the block format. Check your results. Did you get the items in the right places with the right labels? Good! If not, you know what to do. Check here first, then try again.
- For the semi-block letter format, after you have applied the same exercise as above to it, think about each of the formats, their similarities and differences. Which of the formats do you prefer. Why do you prefer it? Clearly the formats range from the most functional (full-block) to the more aesthetically pleasing (semi-block). Do you think one format for all letters is best, or would you adopt a different format for different types of letters? (Don't include informal, personal letters in your considerations--The best format for those is clearly an individual matter.)
- For memos, if you work for a company with their own forms, compare the basic elements presented on the memos page of this site with that of your company. Same? Different? When in Rome, do as the Romans do--follow your company's preferences here and elsewhere. It's good to know the standards, but it's best to follow local conventions. If you have examples of your own memos, did you follow the guidelines presented here and/or in your company? If not, review the preferred patterns and develop an example for your own reference.
- Reports and resumes tend to vary with the context of use. Consider the general guidelines of format and apply as needed to the specifics of your targets. You could develop a portfolio of your best examples of these and other necessary business communications for ready review and adaptation as needed. Good luck and good writing!