Communications at CSI

College of Southern Idaho Human Resources Department Website

Communications at CSI

Communications at CSI


WRITTEN COMMUNICATIONS
CSI Stationery & Publications Guidelines
Memorandums
Letters
Written Confirmations
Envelopes and Mailing Procedures

FAX Cover Sheets
Meeting Agenda and Minutes
Creating an Informational Brochure
Proofreading!

CAMPUS FORMS
Forms by department
Forms specific to the HR department

CUSTOMER SERVICE TIPS
Telephone Etiquette
Using Campus Voice Mail in a Professional and Polite Way
E-Mail Etiquette & CyberSpeak Glossary

CAMPUS SERVICES & RESOURCES
Mail Services
Copying Services on Campus
Paper Recycling

INTRODUCTION

This site is intended to provide helpful guidelines for written and oral communication and a selection of sample documents especially for use by new support staff at the College.

WRITTEN COMMUNICATIONS

There are a variety of means to communication with coworkers and the general public at CSI. While all may be acceptable in various cases, you will soon find that each individual responds differently and more quickly to certain forms of communication. You will learn which is most effective in each case and also be willing to use a variety of means of communication to reach larger audiences, including mass mailings to the entire campus. The rule of thumb is that three different forms of contact insure the best response. These forms of contact may include, but are not limited to: email, eNotes article, memo or flier, telephone call and/or one-to-one contact.

Remember to repeat all essential information with each form of correspondence, including:

  • Who your audience is
  • What the event is about
  • Day of the week, date and time
  • Where the event is to be held -- building and room number included
  • Why and how this event is important to attend
  • Sponsoring department, contact name and phone number

CSI Stationery & Publications Guidelines
Generic CSI watermark letterhead, eagle note cards, a variety of envelopes, and form to order standard CSI business cards are available in the CSI Bookstore. Please contact the Assistant Dean of Finance with questions about custom printing and duplication. Custom mailings must also be proofed by the Information Office to insure compliance with mailing regulations. You may also wish to see the CSI Policies and Procedures Manual for current publication information.

Memorandums
Most memos are now distributed as e-mail. A hard copy memo may be required where a form of written documentation is needed, however. It is standard practice at CSI to use a template provided by our word processing software. These templates may also be modified to create an original format. The heading of the memo should include the words MEMORANDUM, DATE:, TO:, FROM:, and SUBJECT: or RE:, plus any others you wish to add. You may also wish to insert COPIES TO: in the heading or at the end of the memo. An enclosure notation, if needed, may also be added at the end of the memo. These words should be typed in capital letters or in boldface and should be followed with a colon.

If a memo is of a confidential nature, type the word CONFIDENTIAL below the heading in all capitals letters and using boldface. Confidential memos should be placed in a sealed, addressed envelope and labeled as such.

If the memo is addressed to a large group of people, a separate distribution list with campus addresses may be used. For purposes of distribution, you may either check or highlight the name of the recipient and simply place it in the interoffice mailbox at the Information Desk.

Letters
There is currently no preferred style for letters used across campus. A consistent writing style is often established by a support staff and/or supervisor that is appropriate to that particular workplace. Word processing programs typically provide templates and formatting tools that can be helpful in establishing attractive letters, memos and other documents. The Gregg Reference Manual also offers helpful guidelines for creating formats for these documents.

Written Confirmations
When sending backup information to confirm a conversation either in writing or by email, remember to cover:

  • The entire contents of your previous conversation by summarizing your discussion
  • Advising what you are going to be doing next
  • An apology for an inconvenience, if you're writing to clear up a problem
  • Attachments or enclosed literature to support your department or program, including a Consultant/Contractor
  • Agreement form if the party is being retained for that purpose
  • An invitation or request for the recipient to act in response to your message as needed

Envelopes and Mailing Procedures
The Information Office has issued clear guidelines to follow in addressing envelopes and packages. The College has a post office box for US mail and a street address to be used for deliveries such as UPS, FED Ex, etc. Appropriate return address labels for each service are available at the Information Desk.

Your address for mail is:
YOUR NAME
DEPT NAME & #
COLLEGE OF SOUTHERN IDAHO
PO BOX 1238
TWIN FALLS ID 83303

Your address for parcel delivery is:
YOUR NAME
DEPT NAME & #
BUILDING NAME
COLLEGE OF SOUTHERN IDAHO
315 FALLS AVE
TWIN FALLS ID 83301

The attention line is always the first line of the address. Use N, S, E, and W rather than writing the words out. Use the two-letter code for the state. Do not use punctuation except between the blocks of numbers in a nine-digit zip code.

Please contact the mailroom when designing a mass mailing or envelopes. They will proof your mailing and offer assistance in making needed corrections before the items are printed. They can also advise about postage costs.

FAX Cover Sheets
Cover sheets are provided for use and located at many of the Fax machines on campus and small stick-on labels are also available for purpose in the CSI Bookstore. You may also provide your own by using a template available on your word processing software or by creating an original format. A Fax cover sheet should commonly include a date; the name, telephone and Fax number of the person receiving the Fax; the name, telephone Extension and Fax number of the person sending the Fax; and the number of pages being sent including the cover sheet. The cover sheet may also include a space for a reference and notes.

Meeting Agenda and Minutes
An Agenda is essential to establishing a well-run meeting. An agenda should be drafted by the committee chair and communicated by either the chair or the recorder, if one is assigned. A rotating recorder is also an option, as is a timekeeper to insure discussions are on target and follow the timetable, if one is established. There is no single correct way to set up an agenda. The format you use should be tailored to fit the needs of the meeting or program being planned. An agenda may be formatted as a simple memo and routed by e-mail to all members with a hard copy to follow by interoffice mail. An agenda should generally contain:

  1. Committee member names and campus or email addresses for routing purposes
  2. Meeting day, starting and ending time and location
  3. Unfinished Business or topics to be discussed with presenter names
  4. New Business or topics to be discussed with presenter names

Meeting Minutes provide a record of a committee's discussions and actions and to keep members who may have missed a meeting up to date on current projects. Minutes should be recorded accurately and completely, and should be routed in a timely manner to all members, with attachments as needed. The recorder should always have at every meeting an agenda for the use of the presiding officer. Meeting minutes may contain:

  1. Committee member names and campus addresses for routing purposes -or-
  2. Members present and absent at the last meeting with campus addresses for routing
  3. Date of meeting
  4. Approval, with or without amendment, of the last minutes
  5. Reports of Special (Select) Committees
  6. Unfinished Business discussed and decisions that were made, including key facts on which those decisions were made
  7. New Business discussed and decisions made including key facts of those decisions
  8. Day, date and location of next meeting
  9. Name and signature of the recorder

Creating an Informational Brochure
You don't have to be a pro to create a good brochure for your department or program. You'll simply need research, good writing skills and the ability to organize your text and graphics into an attractive format. Here are some good brochure basics:

  • Remember your brochure will probably reach people unfamiliar with your department/program or with CSI, so it must represent all the information they need to know and to understand what we offer and who we are. Do include the CSI logo and program logo, contact names, addresses, phone and FAX numbers, email and Web address information.
  • Plan - what is the purpose, audience, form of distribution and information to be covered? Brainstorm with coworkers and share draft documents to generate more ideas. Don't be afraid to borrow from other departments and brochures already in use on campus.
  • Leave out material that must be frequently updated of consider including it as a separate insert.
  • Grab your reader's attention using striking phrases and supporting visuals. Use pleasant colors and font styles that are easy to read along with appealing graphics. Remember to keep both the language and format simple - too many font styles become visually confusing.
  • Summarize your message at the end and always include contact information.
  • Don't forget to check with the Copy Center staff for best paper choices and options in stock and with the Information Office for mailing restrictions before you go to print!

Proofreading!
Don't forgot to proofread your work, even though you've used the spell check feature on your word processing or email program. Spell check won't catch letter transpositions, typing errors that result in actual words or grammar errors. Proof your work twice and don't be afraid to ask an office mate to help.

Besides overall proofing, don't forget to double-check the proper spelling of names; dates, times and places, techinical names and terms; spelling out acronyms the first time they are referenced and changes and corrections to an original draft -- making certain to send the final and correct draft.

CUSTOMER SERVICE TIPS

Telephone Etiquette

  1. Answer promptly and professionally. Identify your department or program and give your name.
  2. Take notes and/or keep a log of calls. Note any action you've promised to take and check it off as you accomplish it.
  3. Ask permission before placing people on hold.
  4. Always place a caller on hold before telling someone else in the office that you're making the transfer. This saves the caller from overhearing comments not intended for them.
  5. Ask if a caller wants to leave a message on voice mail.
  6. Commit to only what you know you can deliver. For instance, you cannot promise that another party will return their call. You can, however, promise that you will deliver the message.
  7. If you get a phone message asking for information you are uncertain of and must research before answering, do call the party in a timely way to confirm you received the inquiry and give an idea of when you can call them back with the information they requested.
  8. Don't transfer a caller who is already frustrated with having been transferred several times across campus before reaching you. Offer personally to gather the information they are seeking or to contact the person they need to talk to for a return call and follow through quickly.
  9. Customize your voice mail message and update it if you'll be out of the office. Let callers know to dial O to return to an operator or coworker in your department for more immediate assistance.
  10. Be friendly and willing to help!
  11. Smile when you talk on the telephone. People can hear the smile in your voice and will respond much more positively to your cheerful greeting.

Using Campus Voice Mail in a Professional and Polite Way
Employees of the College are encouraged to have voice mail messages that always gives the caller the option of pressing zero to talk to a person. Pressing zero will transfer the call to another assigned person in the office. If the caller gets a second voice mail box for that person, they may press zero again to be transferred to the switchboard. Callers also have the option of just staying on the line and they will be transferred to the switchboard.

The basic format for your voice mail message might be as follows:

"Hi, this is (First/Last Name), (Job Title or Department Name). I am away from my desk or on another line. If you want to talk to a person, press zero now. If you would like to leave me a voice mail message, please stay on the line."

Some people customize their message by thanking the caller, letting them know the call is important or telling them when they will return to the office or next check their voice mail. Please also consider the following tips when creating your personal message or leaving a message for others on campus:

  • Keep messages brief. Speak clearly and slowly and leave your complete name and telephone number. Indicating the time of your call will also help eliminate confusion when messages cross or you have also made personal contact with the individual.
  • Be prepared to leave a voice mail when you don't reach the party you're calling. Think ahead so you can leave an appropriate and helpful message.
  • Smile and be positive and pleasant, even when talking to a machine.

E-Mail Etiquette
It is as important to follow proper etiquette, as it is to know proper procedures for creating and responding to e-mail messages on campus. Please remember these important suggestions:

  1. Neatness counts! Follow the standard rules of capitalization. One long-running paragraphmay be difficult to read, so please break your message into appropriate paragraphs. There is no need to indent the opening line of each paragraph, but leave 1 blank line between paragraphs.
  2. Check for messages often and respond promptly. That's what email was designed for - timely responses.
  3. Be careful to reply to the sender or to all, as may be appropriate, and be aware of whom those persons may be.
  4. Make your subject line specific and appropriate to the message. If you're responding to an earlier message with a new topic, do change the subject line to match.
  5. Keep your messages short. Try to hold the overall length to 25 lines (the number of lines that will fit on one screen.)
  6. Restrict each message to one subject. It is better to send two messages to cover separate subjects.
  7. Do include the pertinent portions of the text of a message you're responding to so the recipient is reminded of any question or comments they made that you may now be responding to.
  8. Do include your message text in emails where possible rather than sending as an attachment. Not everyone has the same word processing program or version that you have. They also may not be able to open attachments with the same ease or skill.
  9. Indicate if a response or action must meet a deadline.
  10. Review your message before pressing the send button. Did you check your facts? Are dates correct? Did you verify information forwarded by another before forwarding again?
  11. Always sign notes and replies. In-house replies may simply include your name, job title, basic contact information and a favorite quote, if you like. All out-of-house email should include your complete name, title, company name (College of Southern Idaho), building/street and PO address, telephone, FAX and Internet address information.
  12. Clean up forwarded messages.
  13. If you'll be away from your desk more than a day, please leave an auto-message to that effect including the name, phone number, and email of a coworker who can assist your customers as needed.
  14. Never put into writing by email anything you wouldn't want printed and shared. At the same time, respect the privacy of the messages you receive. Do no pass messages on to others unless you are certain the sender would not object.
  15. Do not send "flaming" email. Allow a long break before sending an angry message. Go to lunch or wait until tomorrow when you cool down. Review and soften any language to tone down the emotional parts and to create a business-like message. Moreover, if you receive an angry message, it is wiser to ignore it than to respond in kind.
  16. Do not forward chain letters or other junk mail on campus. If you receive a virus warning from someone other than the IT Services Office, check its validity with the Help Desk at x6311 or with the IT Office rather than forward it to other employees.
  17. Limit personal messages from work. Remember that every message leaves a trail - even after you delete it.
  18. Know when a personal contact is best for a touchy or timely subject and choose that instead.
  19. Acronyms may be used to abbreviate when possible, however messages that are filled with acronyms can be confusing and annoying to the reader.
  20. Be aware of the CSI Computer Systems Acceptable Use Policy and comply with its standards.

CAMPUS SERVICES & RESOURCES

Mail Services

CSI mail is divided into On-Campus and Off-Campus mail. Interoffice envelopes in various sizes are available in the Taylor Information Desk. Interoffice envelopes do not ask for the name of the sender, so please be certain to always include that helpful information with the enclosures, whether you're using the mail services or dropping information off at a work site in person. Please see Mail & Information Center Services in the CSI Policies and Procedures Manual for interoffice mailing procedures.

Your department number must be written on every piece of out-going mail for billing purposes. Labels appropriate for US mail or UPS are available at the Information Desk. Information about regulations regarding the mailing of parcels, UPS and other special delivery services is available by asking the Information Office staff, as are stamps and assistance with personal mailings.

Copying Services on Campus
Each building and many departments ares equipped with a high-speed copiers. All large duplicating requests may be made to the GRM Copy & Design Center. All instructions should be as complete as possible. A two-day allowance for copying is appreciated. Completed copies will be returned by interoffice mail to the building as indicated on the job request. Special duplicating services offered include colored paper, three hole-punched white paper, stapling, special covers, binding nad graphic design. Also see the CSI Policies and Procedures Manual for current copying information.

Paper Recycling
The College is able to recycle all paper types but the color goldenrod. Recycle containers are located under each desk and beside copy machines. Additionally, secured recycle bins are available for disposal of sensitive materials. Please contact the Maintenance Department for additional containers or with your recycling questions.


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