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How to write a Corporate letter

corporate communications writing sample and how is business writing different and also how to write corporate board meeting minutes
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Dr.AshleyBurciaga,France,Researcher
Published Date:05-07-2017
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Corporate Writing Style Guide Updated April 2014Express Scripts Writing Style Guide Contents Abbreviations and Acronyms ..........................................................................................3 Academic Degrees ...................................................................................................3 Addresses ...............................................................................................................3 a.m. and p.m. .........................................................................................................4 e.g. ........................................................................................................................4 Express Scripts, ES, ESI ..........................................................................................4 Units of Measure .....................................................................................................5 Capitalization ...............................................................................................................6 Departments, Divisions and Programs ........................................................................6 Drug and Disease Names ..........................................................................................7 Headings and Subheadings ......................................................................................7 Job Titles ................................................................................................................8 Formatting ...................................................................................................................9 Boldface .................................................................................................................9 Bulleted Lists ..........................................................................................................9 Copyright Line .......................................................................................................10 Dates ...................................................................................................................10 Fractions ..............................................................................................................11 Headings ..............................................................................................................11 HIPAA statement for PBM communications ..............................................................12 HIPAA statement for pharmacy communications .......................................................12 Italics ...................................................................................................................12 Numbers ...............................................................................................................13 Numerical Ranges .................................................................................................13 Return Address......................................................................................................14 Telephone Numbers ...............................................................................................14 Times ...................................................................................................................14 Time Ranges .........................................................................................................14 Time Zones ...........................................................................................................15 Underlining ...........................................................................................................15 URLs ....................................................................................................................15 Revised April 2014 1 Word Wrap – for print materials only ........................................................................15 Punctuation ...............................................................................................................17 Colon ...................................................................................................................17 Comma .................................................................................................................17 Em Dash ...............................................................................................................17 En Dash............................................................................. ...................................18 Exclamation Mark ..................................................................................................18 Hyphen .................................................................................................................18 Periods .................................................................................................................18 Semicolons ...........................................................................................................19 Quotation Marks ....................................................................................................19 Symbols.....................................................................................................................20 Ampersand ...........................................................................................................20 Asterisk ................................................................................................................20 (“at”) ................................................................................................................20 Emoticons.............................................................................................................20 Money ..................................................................................................................20 Number (Pound) Sign ............................................................................................21 Percent and Percentages ........................................................................................21 Registered Mark, Service Mark and Trademark Symbols .............................................21 Words and Wording Express Scripts Approved Terms and Spellings ..................................22 Appendix: Client Proposals Exceptions ..........................................................................32 Bulleted Lists ........................................................................................................32 Comma .................................................................................................................32 Dates ...................................................................................................................32 Express Scripts’ .....................................................................................................32 Express Scripts, ES, ESI ........................................................................................32 Numbers ...............................................................................................................32 Pricing Supplement ...............................................................................................32 Revised April 2014 2Abbreviations and Acronyms • Don’t use abbreviations and acronyms that readers won’t quickly recognize. In most cases, identify the full name on the first reference and then place the acronym in parentheses if the term is repeated in the same document. Example: Express Scripts has an industry-leading generic fill rate (GFR). Increasing your GFR will save you millions of dollars each year. • It’ s not necessary to capitalize the first letters of a phrase just because it will be used as an acronym; for example, generic fill rate (GFR) NOT Generic Fill Rate (GFR). • Don’t begin a sentence with an abbreviation or acronym. • Avoid abbreviations and acronyms in titles and headings. • Always abbreviate (and use periods in): Dr., Mr., Mrs., Ms., Jr., Sr., a.m., p.m. Academic Degrees • Use an apostrophe when referring informally to an academic degree, (for example, bachelor’s degree, a master’s). Exception: Don’t use an apostrophe when referring informally to the associate degree. • Don’t use apostrophes in formal degree titles (for example, Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science). • Initial-capitalize specific degrees such as Master of Arts, Master of Science, etc. • If abbreviations must be used, capitalize each letter without periods for the following degrees: – Associate of Arts AA – Master of Arts MA – Associate of Science AS – Master of Education ME – Bachelor of Arts BA – Master of Science MS – Bachelor of Science BS • Don’t use periods in MD, MBA, PharmD, PhD, RN, RPh Example: Dan is pursuing a master’s degree and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1998. George has a Master of Science from Cornell. Addresses • Abbreviate Ave., Blvd., and St. when used with a street number; otherwise, spell out. Spell out all other street designations at all times. • Place a comma between the city and the state name; use another comma after the state name, unless ending a sentence. Example: We will drive from Lexington, Kentucky, to Austin, Texas. Revised April 2014 3• Spell out the name of the 50 U.S. states in nearly all cases. The exceptions are street addresses and cases where space is limited. • Use the two-letter postal code abbreviations (for example, MO) only with full addresses that include the ZIP code or in a dateline. • In running text, use the following U.S. city names without the state abbreviation or name: – Atlanta – Houston – Philadelphia – Baltimore – Indianapolis – Phoenix – Boston – Las Vegas – Pittsburgh – Chicago – Los Angeles – St. Louis – Cincinnati – Miami – Salt Lake City – Cleveland – Milwaukee – San Antonio – Dallas – Minneapolis – San Diego – Denver – New Orleans – San Francisco – Detroit – New York – Seattle – Honolulu – Oklahoma City – Washington D.C. Example: Your account management team is located in Bloomington, Minnesota. Our headquarters building is located at the following address: One Express Way St. Louis, MO 63121 a.m. and p.m. When using a.m. or p.m. to denote time, always use lowercase followed by periods. See Times for more on denoting the time of day. e.g. • This is an abbreviation for the Latin exempli gratia, meaning “for example.” T o avoid confusion, use “for example” instead of “e.g.” in all member and business communications. Exception: The abbreviation “e.g.” may be used in footnotes and tables in member and business communications as needed; the Drug Trend Report is an example. The term is always lowercase and followed by a comma. Express Scripts, ES, ESI Use Express Scripts instead of the abbreviations “ES” or “ESI” in nearly all cases. NOTE: For proposals, see Client Proposals Exceptions. Revised April 2014 4Units of Measure • When preceded by a numeral, abbreviate metric forms for weights and measures at first mention, without spelling them out (cm, g, kg, L, m, mg, mL and mm). There is no space between the amount and the abbreviated metric unit of measure. Example: Take 10mL in the morning. The medicine is prescribed in milliliters. • Don’t abbreviate non-metric measurements such as inch, foot, yard, pound, ounce, quart, mile, minute, hour, second, day, week, month, year, or units of weight (pounds, ounces, etc.), except in tables. • When stating millions or billions in general terms, always use a numeral followed by the word million or billion. Use numerals only when stating a specific number. Don’t use abbreviations for millions (“M”) or billions (“B”) except in tables. Example: Express Scripts serves more than 4 million members. We shipped 381,235,200 prescriptions in 2013. • T o denote a range, repeat the unit of measure and use “to.” Don’t use a hyphen or en dash to represent a range. Example: 8cm to 10cm Back to Style Guide Contents Revised April 2014 5Capitalization • Avoid using all uppercase in text. • Capitalize the first word of each entry in lists (including bulleted lists) and outlines. • When spelling out an abbreviated term, don’t capitalize the words from which the abbreviation is derived. Example: Our maximum reimbursement amount (MRA) list is proprietary. • When using the word “web” as part of a compound, use lowercase. Examples: website, webpage, webcam, web-enabled • When using the word “Web” as a stand-alone term, use an initial capital (“W”). Example: You can find numerous references on the Web. • Capitalize geographic regions: Midwest, Midwestern, Middle East, Southeast Asia, etc. • Lowercase compass directions: north, east, southwest, etc. • Lowercase seasons: winter, spring, summer, fall. Departments, Divisions and Programs • Capitalize the names of all Express Scripts departments, divisions and programs. Examples: Human Resources, Legal, Corporate Communications, Sales & Marketing • Use lowercase for names of departments at other companies or names in general use. • Don’t use department or division as part of the name unless needed for clarity; in these cases, don’t capitalize the name. • In general, don’t capitalize the term board of directors. However, capitalize on the first reference to the Express Scripts Board of Directors. In subsequent references, lowercase and use only board. Example: The Express Scripts Board of Directors met last night. The board filed this report. • Don’t use program as part of a name unless needed for clarity; in these cases, don’t capitalize program. • Capitalize terms that refer to specific Express Scripts programs. Do not capitalize terms that refer to general concepts. Example: Express Scripts Prior Authorization ensures appropriate drug coverage while maintaining member and physician satisfaction. Physicians can request prior authorizations from Express Scripts electronically or via phone. Revised April 2014 6 NOTE: To help decide whether to capitalize a term, try adding “program” after the word or phrase. If it works in the sentence, the term should generally be capitalized. If it does not, use lowercase. Examples: Express Scripts Prior Authorization program monitors the dispensing of high- cost medications and those with the potential for misuse. Our team reviews most prior authorizations within 48 hours of receipt. Drug and Disease Names • Use initial capitals for drug brand names; use lowercase for generic names. – In materials concerning a specific patented drug for which there is only one brand name, use the brand name followed by the generic name in parentheses at first mention. Thereafter, use only the brand name. – In materials concerning a medication that is sold under several brand names, use the generic name followed by the brand name (or names) in parentheses at first mention. Thereafter, use only the generic name. ® ™ – In body text, include the registered ( ) or trademark ( ) symbol on the first mention of a brand-name drug. Most brand-name drugs are followed by a registered trademark ® symbol ( ); search the Internet to find the correct symbol for a drug. Don’t use these symbols in headings. – If boldface, italic or similar type treatment is used, treat brand-name and generic drug names the same as surrounding text. • Don’t capitalize disease names unless they are known by a proper name; in these cases, capitalize only the proper name. Examples: arthritis, leukemia, cancer Parkinson’s disease, Down syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease Headings and Subheadings • Avoid abbreviations and acronyms in titles and headings. • If the document style uses capitalization in headings, capitalize all words except: – Articles (the, a, an) – Conjunctions (and, but, nor, or, yet) – The word to in an infinitive – Prepositions of fewer than four letters (at, by, for, in, of, on, out, to) Exceptions: Capitalize the word “If.” Forms of the verb “to be” are capitalized (for example, Is and Are). Revised April 2014 7• In hyphenated compounds, capitalize both elements. Example: Self-Care Job Titles • Capitalize formal titles when used immediately before a name or in a signature block. Example: Vice President Kenneth Jones • Lowercase formal titles when used alone or set off from a name by commas. Examples: Jones served as vice president for eight years. George Paz, chairman & CEO • Always use lowercase for terms that are job descriptions rather than formal titles. Example: Several vice presidents of Human Resources were recognized for excellence. • Express Scripts Leadership Team – George Paz ........................... chairman & CEO – Tim Wentworth ..................... president – Keith Ebling ......................... executive vice president & general counsel – Chris Houston ...................... senior vice president, Operations – Ed Ignaczak ......................... executive vice president, Sales & Marketing – Steve Miller, MD ................... senior vice president & chief medical officer – David Norton ........................ senior vice president, Supply Chain Management – Cathy Smith ......................... executive vice president & chief financial officer – Glen Stettin, MD .................. senior vice president, Clinical, Research & New Solutions – Sara Wade ........................... senior vice president & chief human resources officer – Gary Wimberly ...................... senior vice president & chief information officer Back to Style Guide Contents Revised April 2014 8Formatting Use block formatting for all body text. Don’t indent the first line of a paragraph. In business communications, justify left with ragged right; don’t use full justification. Allow an extra line space between paragraphs. Boldface • Use bold sparingly for important headings, words or phrases. • When appropriate, use boldface at the beginning of list items so text can be scanned more easily. Example: Order New Prescriptions: Fill your new prescriptions through the Express Scripts Pharmacy. Refill Prescriptions: Order refills for prescriptions previously filled by the Express Scripts Pharmacy. Bulleted Lists • List items alphabetically unless there is a specific reason to do otherwise. • Don’t use a bullet symbol if there is only one list item (or sub-bullet) point. In these cases, sentences should be recast to avoid the single-item list. • Begin each item in a bulleted list with an uppercase letter. • Don’t use semicolons or conjunctions after bulleted items; end items with periods only if they are complete sentences. • Bulleted list items should be grammatically consistent (all phrases or all complete sentences) with consistent end punctuation. Example: The benefit plan includes: – Step therapy – Prior authorization – Home delivery • When writing instructions, use numbered lists. Example: To change your user name: 1. Log into the website. 2. Click the Profile button. 3. Select Change User Name. Revised April 2014 9• Use the hanging indent style (allowing space between bullet symbol and text). NOTE: For proposals, see Client Proposals Exceptions. • Use a colon at the end of a phrase that introduces a list. Example: The formulary included: – Generics – Preferred brands – Nonpreferred brands Copyright Line • Place the copyright line at the bottom of letters or other materials meant for mass mailings to members. Don’t insert the copyright line in a letter or email going to an individual. • Use the copyright line in marketing materials, publications, etc. • The copyright symbol is followed by the year, with a space between the two. • There is a period and one space between Company and All, as well as between Reserved and the job number. (There is no period after the job number.) • T ext in a copyright line should be no smaller than five points should be run horizontally. If space is limited, stack the lines to create a vertical format, as shown below. Horizontal Format: © 2014 Express Scripts Holding Company. All Rights Reserved. 14-12345 Vertical Format: © 2014 Express Scripts Holding Company. All Rights Reserved. 14-12345 Dates • For times, dates and places of events, state the time of day first, the date (omit the year unless it is not the current year), and then the place. Add the day of the week only if necessary for clarification. Example: The meeting is at 9 a.m., Mon., April 30, in Room A. – When using a month with a specific date, abbreviate only these months: – January (Jan.) – October (Oct.) – February (Feb.) – November (Nov.) – August (Aug.) – December (Dec.) – September (Sept.) Revised April 2014 10• Spell out the month when using it alone or with only the year . Don’t use a comma between the month and year. Example: The 2014 report will appear in May. The last report is dated November 2013. • When stating a span of years, use the word to, not an en dash. Example: 2012 to 2013 • When stating a span of days, use the word to. Exception: In display copy, use an en dash with a space on either side. Example: In text: Nov. 8 to Dec. 12 In display copy: Nov. 8 ¬ Dec.12 • Don’t use numbers to express ordinals (for example, 1st, 11th). • Don’t include the day of the week unless needed for clarity. • When abbreviating calendar quarters, use Q1 2014, Q2 2014, and so forth. NOTE: For proposals, see Client Proposals Exceptions. Fractions • In text, spell out fractions less than 1. For fractions larger than 1 or in tables, convert fractions to decimals or percentages. Examples: one-third; 1.02 • If precision is not required, use phrases like a half or a third. • For Units of Measure standards, see Abbreviations and Acronyms. Headings • Use headings, subheadings, section breaks and bulleted lists where appropriate to help readers scan text. • Headings normally are left-aligned. They usually are not justified. • Do not break words in a heading over two lines. • When using subheadings under a main heading, try to include at least two. If you have only one subheading, you may need to rethink your main heading or the overall organization of the section. • Regardless of the heading level, separate headings from body text. Don’t run heading text into the paragraph that follows it. Example: Generics Generics are safe and effective … Revised April 2014 11• Use colons, not dashes, before subtitles within a heading. Example: Product of the Month: Select Home Delivery • In general, avoid abbreviations in headings unless the unabbreviated form is too long. Never introduce an abbreviation in a heading. See also Headings and Subheadings in Capitalization. HIPAA statement for PBM communications • Use either of two variable options or the umbrella option, as appropriate. Examples: Express Scripts manages your prescription benefit for your employer , plan sponsor or health plan. Express Scripts manages your prescription benefit for Client Name. Express Scripts manages your prescription benefit for your employer, plan sponsor, health plan or benefit fund. NOTE: If a client has a custom HIP AA statement, the statement should be revised to accommodate current branding. HIPAA statement for pharmacy communications Use the approved line. Example: Express Scripts is your provider of home delivery pharmacy services. Italics • Don’t italicize entire copy blocks. • Don’t italicize names of websites, Web addresses, email addresses or links. • Follow current AP style and do not use italics for the names of: – Books – Magazines – Plays – Movies – Newsletters – Television shows – Journals – Newspapers – Works of art (paintings, drawings, sculptures) Revised April 2014 12• Don’t italicize foreign words and phrases. • In general, don’t use italics for the titles and names of Express Scripts product offerings, unless part of the proper name. Examples: The Express Way Values EGWP Plus Numbers • Rule of Nines: Numbers one through nine should be written out; numbers 10 and above should appear as numerals. Exception: Measures of time given in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or years are among the exceptions to the general guideline to spell out zero through nine. Examples: 4-minute mile 8 hours 5 business days 1 calendar year • Use hyphens with numbers to form compound modifiers (for example, 11-year-old; 10-foot pole; 30-day supply). • If two numbers are adjacent, spell out the first (for example, eleven 50-year-olds). • Write out dimensions (2 feet by 4 feet, not 2’ x 4’). • Don’t begin sentences with numerals. For example, instead of “995 clients used the Express Advantage Network in 2013,” you could say, “During 2013, 995 clients used the Express Advantage Network.” Exception: You can begin a sentence with a year. For example: ”2013 was a great year for Express Scripts.” NOTE: For proposals, see Client Proposals Exceptions. Numerical Ranges • When stating a range, include the symbol or unit of measure with both numerals. Example: 6% to 10% • When stating a range in text, use the word to, not an en dash. Examples: Nov. 8 to Nov. 12, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. 12 million to 14 million • When stating a range in display copy, use an en dash with a space on either side. Exception: Always use to in a range of years. Example: The treatment should be maintained for two to three years. Revised April 2014 13Return Address • Use “Express Scripts” on the first (addressee) line (not “Express Scripts Holding Company,” as in the copyright line or notice). Telephone Numbers • Use area codes with all phone numbers; do not use a 1 before the number. • Use periods, not hyphens, as separators in telephone numbers. T o state an extension number, use a comma to separate the main number from the extension. NOTE: Use a lowercase e in ext. The format for an Express Scripts six-digit extension is 12.3456. Example: 314.781.9774, ext. 36.1204 • When stating a toll-free number , indicate that it is toll free on first use. Don’t hyphenate “toll free” unless it modifies “number.” Examples: Call us toll free at 866.234.2001. Call the toll-free number on your member ID card. Times • Always state times as numerals. • Use lowercase and periods for a.m. and p.m.; leave a space between the number and a.m. or p.m. • Avoid redundancies like “10 a.m. this morning.” • When stating a time that falls on the hour, don’t use “:00” or “o’clock.” • Use midnight and noon instead of 12 a.m. and 12 p.m., respectively. Time Ranges When stating time ranges in paragraph text, use to between the times. If the range appears in a table and is not part of a sentence, use the en dash. Example: Your account management team is available from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to handle your calls. The table below lists the hours of operation of the Express Scripts Pharmacy: Express Scripts Pharmacy Hours of Operation 7 a.m. – midnight Eastern 3684 Marshall Lane Mon. through Fri., Philadelphia, PA 18940 7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Eastern 800.955.4879 Sat. and Sun. Revised April 2014 14• Use a.m. and p.m. after both times in a range, even if both times are in the same half of the day. Example: The training session will run from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Time Zones Capitalize and spell out time zones (Central, Eastern, Mountain, Pacific ). Don’t use “standard” or “daylight.” Example: Our paper claims facilities’ hours of operation are 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Mon. through Fri., Central. Underlining • Don’t underline to emphasize a word in text; if emphasis is necessary , use bold and/or italics. • Don’t underline copy blocks. • Don’t underline Web addresses in print. URLs • In most cases, Web addresses should be lowercase. Exception: The Express Scripts website should always appear with initial caps as Express-Scripts.com. • Don’t use http:// before www. • If possible, avoid line breaks in a Web address. • In most cases, don’t style Web addresses in boldface for printed publications. Exception: The Express Scripts website may be styled in boldface for emphasis in printed copy that calls readers to visit the site. Word Wrap – for print materials only • Avoid breaking the following on separate lines: – Proper nouns (company names, personal names) – Numbers and abbreviations or symbols used with them – Lines ending in articles such as the, and, of – Phrase or clause (home delivery, specialty drugs, step therapy) – Infinitive verbs (to go, to purchase, etc.) – Web addresses – Words across multiple lines in headings Revised April 2014 15• Insert soft returns (SHIFT+ENTER) to neaten ragged edges. Tip: T o insert a non-breaking space to keep words or the periods in an ellipsis together on the same line, use the Insert option in the Microsoft Word menu bar to select Symbol. Choose Special Characters, and then choose Nonbreaking space. The keyboard shortcut for a non-breaking space is to simultaneously press the Control and Shift buttons and the space bar (Ctrl+Shift+space). Back to Style Guide Contents Revised April 2014 16Punctuation Use only one space after punctuation at the end of a sentence (periods, exclamation points, question marks), commas, colons and semicolons. Colon • Use a colon to introduce lists of items (for example: bulleted lists, tables, figures). Use only one space after a colon. • Capitalize the first word after a colon only if the word is in a heading, starts a complete sentence or is a proper noun. Comma • In a series, use a comma to separate the elements; do not use a comma before a conjunction (serial comma). Example: The flag is red, white and blue. • Use a comma in numbers with four or more digits (for example, 1,000). • Use commas between two units of similar dimension. Example: The baby weighed 7 pounds, 5 ounces; he was 1 foot, 8 inches long. • Always place commas inside quotation marks. Example: “Our study has found that patient adherence continues to be an issue,” said Dr. Smith. NOTE: For proposals, see Client Proposals Exceptions. Em Dash Use em dashes (not double hyphens) to interrupt the sequence of a sentence or to show dramatic contrast or emphasis. Em dashes are especially helpful if there is a series of commas in the sentence. Example: All these factors – age, weight and sex – determine the health risk. • In body text, leave one space both before and after the em dash (see the example above). • Avoid em dashes in headlines and subheadings. Use colons instead. • T o add an em dash in Microsoft Word, use Ctrl+Alt+-(hyphen). As an alternative, use Insert Symbol More Symbols Special Characters tab Em Dash. You can also use custom settings to designate a particular keyboard command to insert em dashes. Revised April 2014 17En Dash See Numerical Ranges. Exclamation Mark Don’t use the exclamation mark in business writing. Hyphen When using a compound modifier (two or more words that express a single concept) before a noun, use a hyphen to link the words in the compound, unless one of the modifiers is an adverb ending in “ly.” A compound modifier can also come after the verb when the verb is a form of “to be.” Examples: better-qualified applicant, highly qualified applicant Exception: Do NOT hyphenate “home delivery” • Don’t hyphenate compound modifiers that are not used before nouns. Examples: She is a full-time worker. She works full time. He is a well-known man. The man is well known. She is a two-week-old baby. The baby is two weeks old. Call the toll-free number. The phone number is toll free. • If two or more hyphenated compounds have a common base, include the base in all compounds. Example: second-degree and third-degree burns (not second- and third-degree burns) Retain the hyphen when using the prefix “co-“ to form words that indicate occupation or status, or when omitting it would result in an ambiguous reading. Omit the hyphen in all other cases. Examples: co-worker, co-star, co-pilot Examples: coexist, copayment • Use the word to instead of the hyphen in number ranges. NOTE: To avoid confusion, use the unit of measure with both elements in a range. Examples: 10mg to 20mg; 3 million to 45 million (differentiate from three to 45 million) Periods Use a period to end a complete sentence. Use only a single space between sentences. • Don’t end list items with periods unless they are complete sentences. • Always place periods inside quotation marks. Example: “We’re searching for ways to improve adherence without causing a disruption.” Revised April 2014 18Semicolons Use semicolons to separate list items when there are commas within each list item itself. Example: Bob Jones, 84; Jane Jones, 89; and Sam Roberts, 90 Quotation Marks Always place periods and commas inside quotation marks. Place semicolons and question marks outside quotation marks unless they are part of the quote. Examples: “Our study has found that patient adherence continues to be an issue,” said Dr. Smith. “We’re searching for ways to improve adherence without causing a disruption.” People might say that “prescriptions are too complicated”; this problem affects us all. When they say “I can’t take them,” it drives me crazy. Back to Style Guide Contents Revised April 2014 19