September 4, 2018
Business and Professional Communications Class
SUBJECT: Assignment Sheet for Career-Issue Memo Project
For this project, you will be writing a memo to Howard Wagner, your supervisor at Keystone Holdings,
Inc., regarding an article you have selected and reviewed. (Keystone Holdings, Inc., can be any type of
company you would like it to be—as it relates to your career and interests.)
After locating three top journals (in the RMU stacks or RMU online database) in your major field of
study, select and photocopy or download an article from one of them. The article should treat a topic in
detail (2,000-3,000 words or so). Because you will be using this article for two assignments—a written
memo and a brief oral presentation—you will want to select an article that truly interests you and
relates to issues of the workplace.
For your written article summary, please do the following:
Critically read and then summarize the article: Determine the article’s main points and briefly
summarize these in the memo, showing how these points are important for your company.
Enhance readability: Present information clearly in both content and form. In other words, in
addition to looking at language issues, consider how you can visually present the information to
make it easy to read by using sound principles of memorandum layout.
Role play: Begin and conclude with role-playing moves to make this memo sound more natural.
For instance, you should start by setting the context for the memo by reminding Mr. Wagner
why you are writing it and how you think the information you have researched relates to
Keystone. Here is the scenario:
Howard Wagner, your supervisor at work, has recognized you as a motivated individual with
special knowledge and interest in [article topic of your choice]. Mr. Wagner believes that this
topic will be critical for Keystone Holdings, Inc., in the 21st century. He has asked you to uncover
the latest information on your topic with hopes that the information can be used to the
company’s benefit. He may ask you eventually to research the topic further, but currently he has
asked you simply to consult one of the leading journals. (This implies that you might want to
offer to research the topic further as you conclude your memo.)
Here is how you might structure the content of your memo:
• First, as stated above, set the context—that you are responding to the CEO's request. This may
include that you are addressing a problem or concern or need at the business.
• Then, state that in your research you came across a helpful article that can help meet that
problem, concern or need; provide the title of the article, the author’s name, and a brief (1-2
sentence) summary of the article.
• Next, point out the highlights of the article and how the information, again, more specifically
can benefit the company or meet some business need.
• In closing the memo, you may make a formal recommendation or propose a change in
procedure and/or some new way of doing business. Also, tell the boss that you are available to
do more research and would be glad to discuss the matter with him further.
When submitting this assignment, include only up to five pages of the article with your memo—
DO NOT HAND IN MORE THAN FIVE PAGES.
For your brief (up to 5 minutes) oral presentation of the article’s key points and the connections to the
company, you will create a PowerPoint presentation (5-10 slides). The slides may contain an outline of
your discussion. Be sure and use images and make the presentation visually appealing.
– The first memo draft is due in class on _______(hard copy). We will have a peer review. Then, I
will collect it and make further edits/comments.
– The final memo draft is due in class on the day of your oral presentation/PP (TBA).
– Memo should be two pages—NOT LONGER.
– All papers must follow official memo format.
– They must be typed and on white paper.
– Single-space every line but double-space between paragraphs.
– Use one-inch margins and 12-pt. type, with clear fonts (i.e., Calibri, Arial, Times Roman).
– Thoroughly proofread your writing for spelling and grammatical errors.
– Late papers will not be accepted.
THE ORAL PRESENTATION
The oral presentation (approximately five minutes) should include the following:
• how you did your research
• what article you used
• what your main findings were
• how you applied these findings to the benefit of your company
• how you put the memo content together (content structure)
• how you put the memo design together (design structure)
• what you learned about business writing and/or writing in general
THE POWERPOINT PRESENTATION
The PowerPoint can be from five to ten slides based on what you feel is necessary. I recommend that
you show your memo on a slide or slides. When talking about the main points of your memo (the
information you gleaned from your article), you could do some sort of bulleted list on a slide or two. An
important quotation (or two) could go on a slide. Just remember not to put too much copy on one slide.
And every slide should have an image of some sort.
Keep in mind that the PowerPoint is a visual complement to what you are saying—it is not the speech
All oral presentations must be done on the assigned due date.
– Memo First Draft:
– Memo Final Draft:
– Memo Oral Presentation and PowerPoint:
Attached: Memo Project Rubric and Oral Presentation/PP Rubric
RMU/Business and Professional Communication
Career-Issue Memo Rubric
Properly formatted and
two pages long
Mostly follows memo
format and length
Some formatting errors/
memo too long or short
errors/memo too long
Audience focus lacks
Audience focus is
research; content is well
content is summarized
and fairly simplified
content and not well
Poor research/ content
and not well
Clear, concise writing,
using plain language
Chiefly clear, concise
writing, using plain
language; mostly brief
Writing is unclear and
vague in places;
paragraphs too long
Writing is unclear/
paragraphs too long
Uses bolding, bulleting,
underscoring to get
biggest points across
Uses some bolding,
Uses little bolding,
Uses no bolding,
Mostly positive tone
More neutral tone
Has one example of
Has several examples of
Has many examples of
More than three
Accomplishes few, if
any, assignment goals
RMU/Business and Professional Communication
Career-Issue Memo Oral Presentation/PP Rubric
Memo Research and Application
Discusses the source of the research (article) and
explains main findings; information should be
specific and clear (watch jargon, and be sure and
simplify technicalities). Then, explains how
information applies to/benefits Keystone.
Summarizes structure of memo content.
Discusses how memo is designed, including the
use of formatting techniques—e.g., headings,
bolding, bullets, numbers, spacing, paragraph
Explains the challenge and process of condensing
the article/research to a two-page memo. Shares
what was learned about business writing, along
with writing and editing in general.
Speech is not read and obviously practiced; eye
contact, volume and pace are good; speech is
audience-centered and no more than 5 minutes.
Attitude and demeanor are enthusiastic, positive
and upbeat (start with a smile!).
Slides compliment speech and do not distract
from it; speaker uses slides appropriately; slides
are visually appealing with clear images—and not
copy heavy. Slide of article title/front page and a
slide of the memo are included.
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