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Lesson 3. Framing Your Thinking > Complex Recommendations - Pg. 12

Framing Your Thinking 12 · Finally, the Next Steps section describes what the Acme brand manager will do, and when he'll do it, if the recommendation is approved. Caution Try to avoid putting too much detail in the Background section. You need to include enough so that your reader can understand the situation; additional detail will bog down the reader before he ever gets to the "meat" of the memo (the recommendation or conclusion). If the background information doesn't apply directly to the recommendation or conclusion being made, leave it out. Complex Recommendations Some recommendation memos are more complex. To keep these memos easy for your reader to understand and agree to, it's best to add the detailed information on how the action plan works in a later section, and keep the recommendation section at a summary level. In these cases, the standard memo framework may be expanded to include How It Works and Risks sections as follows: · · · · · · · Overview Background Recommendations Rationale How It Works Risks Next Steps Tip If your Recommendation section is more than two or three paragraphs of four to six sen- tences each, consider adding a How It Works section, and summarizing the recommenda- tion in the Recommendation section. The two sections added enable you to easily outline in detail how the plan you're recommending will work and how you have addressed the associated risks. Note that these sections may be added as appropriate, and are not necessarily required to be added together. · How It Works:Several paragraphs that outline in logical detail how a recommendation will be implemented. Specifically, this section details who will do what, when, and how for the entire plan. This section is optional and is needed only for complex recommendations. · Risks:Two to three paragraphs describing what risks may be associated with implementing your recommendation. This section should usually be accompanied by a brief explanation of why the risks are small, or how the risks can be mitigated. This section is optional and should be used only for high-risk recommendations. Plain English A risk important enough to be included in a Risks section is a threat to the success of the plan that is unique to this situation or significant in some way. The "usual" risks, such as possible competitive response or unforeseeable disasters, wouldn't generally qualify, since those risks are assumed to be there in all cases, and needn't be pointed out each time you write a recommendation.