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Correspondence Tutorial for Secretaries
|* Date stamp it with the current date|
* Put the action stamp on it and mark the appropriate officer to action it (this will depend on the size of your office as in most cases it is done by registry.)
* Pass all inward correspondence on to your boss so as he knows what has come in for the day.
* Then when he has finished with it, he will give it to you (depending on size of office) and you would then file it on the appropriate file and refer to him to action. If in a bigger office, he would pass inward correspondence on to the Registry/Records for them to put file number and action officer. They would then forward to officers for actioning.
Once you understand how the office runs, you will find that you will be able to reply to all the routine correspondence without being told. Things like database updates for office details, subscriptions etc.
Outward correspondence is always done on company letterhead. There are certain references you need to type on every letterhead as part of your reply. A shortcut is to set yourself up a template to include this information as it would be the same information you type every time you do an outward letter - this will save you endless time. Your template can include prompts so that everywhere you need to insert information, it will prompt you - very easy to set up. These references are:
|* Current Date|
* Author's Initials
* Wordprocessor's Initials
* The Contact Officer (usually the author)
* His Secretary's Telephone No. (or his direct line)
* Your Company's File No.
* The File No. of the Company you're replying to
* Footer with file location on computer
The layout of your letter will be predetermined by your company. Most businesses use BLOCK format - that's everything down the left margin. No indentation.
Prepare a template for your outward letters to save you time.
Never use punctuation in the address, opening and closing salutation (Dear and Yours faithfully).
Do not use RE: in a heading. Just go straight to the subject reference of the letter.
Always use a footer to record the location of the letter on your computer
Post Office's prefer no punctuation in addresses.
Always use a footer to record the location of the letter on your computer in case you need to make amendments at a later date. Someone else may need to amend it if you are not around. This happens a lot. Always insert the file, pathname from the autotext insert so that no typing errors can be made, and if the file gets moved from one directory to the other, it automatically updates the location. The autotext insert for the date is not recommended. This is because some letters may refer to a phone call made 'today' (for example being 12th April so you really do need your letter to have this date on the top) and if you get your letter back to amend something, because the date is an automatic insert date, it will also update your letter to the current date.
Remember to do a file copy as well unless you have electronic record filing, which I might add is absolutely fantastic. Did you know you can actually call up inward and outward correspondence and have the whole electronic file sitting in front of you while you may be on the phone to someone enquiring about some aspect of the file. Its absolutely fantastic. Will keep you posted about this one.
Always use the first paragraph to say WHY you're writing to someone. Keep the content of the letter direct and to the point. Always use a gentle friendly closing sentence so as not to have an abrupt ending. See some book titles on how to get your point across.
Now whether you justify the letter is up to you. Some people say a letter with no justification is much easier to read, although justification does neaten the presentation. You need to make the choice.
Remember, e-mail is equivalent to an official letter coming from your company. Always be very wary of what you say in your e-mail. This means your e-mail should not be written in an informal manner.
Use your e-mail to send outward correspondence wherever possible, as the letter will be received immediately.
Always include the following information on your outgoing e-mails:
* Your Name
With some of the e-mail software, such as Outlook Express, you can set up the autosignature to automatically insert this information for you. It will save you heaps of time.
You may also consider putting a disclaimer on it should it land in the hands of a wrong person. This is the same message as faxes usually have on them.
Don't use your company e-mail address for personal reasons unless company policy allows it.
If responding to correspondence by e-mail, ensure a copy is put on your hard file so you have a record of it.
Get some great e-mail writing advice in the book below - received great reviews by customers who purchased it.
You need to protect your computer from viruses being sent in e-mail messages by using an anti-virus scanner. It only takes one e-mail with a virus to slip through and it could mean costly expenses for repairs, or worse still, put you out of action for days or kill your hard drive.....And if you are being bombarded with junk e-mail, you can use the anti-spam component included. It does seem to be increasing by the day. When you receive e-mail you did not ask for or from an unknown author, this is called spam. There is now a solution to stopping it.
Faxes play a big part in any office. Most companies use it instead of postage. Originally it was used only for urgent matters but now that's not the case. Some firms receive more inward correspondence by fax and e-mail than they do by postage.
You need to set up what they call a fax header sheet and it should include such details as follows:
* Company Name
Usually a disclaimer is also put on it should the information be used for the wrong reasons. If you need to learn more about fax technology or how to set up your fax modem to start sending and receiving faxes, have a look at the book below.
As a Secretary you may find you'll have to transcribe tapes that contain, letters, memos etc. You will use a dictaphone to do this. This is a very common practice in offices. If you are not familiar with dictaphones, see one here.
There's not too much to say here as most units function much the same. It allows settings to be used to earmark urgent recordings on the tape that your boss may need typed straight away. You can also regulate the tape playing speed so that you can keep up with the recording when you type back the information. It also allows you to use a foot control for playing and reversing the tape. The good part is you can usually set the recall distance so that when you have to stop transcribing the tape, when it starts again it will repeat some of what you have already typed. You could also use this type of dictaphone for recording meeting proceedings.
It's a good habit to get into to remove the tape from your boss' dictaphone every morning and process its contents. Also after typing the work up, always run the tape through the tape eraser so it is ready for the next session of recording.
You'll also need to have enough extra tapes in stock so that there are a couple on hand extra to the on you are transcribing.
If you're interested in medical transcription, enroll in this course:
Learn more with Transcription Skills for Business (5th Edition)