Attachments Signal Substance

Attachments add length. Adding length helps the document seem more complete or significant. Even if no one refers to the attachments or reads them, it might make sense to include them because of the perception of substance they convey.

Components to add to a proposal or report might include:

• a copy of your organization's warranty or guarantee

• your company's mission statement

• the executive team or principals' résumés or CVs

• the data or statistics on which your recommendations are based

• several testimonials, references, or endorsements

• bibliography and endnotes

If you add attachments to supplement the body of your work, be certain to include a table of contents so readers can find those sections of interest to them and skip the rest. Even if all the attachments are skipped, simply including them adds weight—literally and figuratively—to your communications.

Attaching documents to E-mails, on the other hand, needs to be carefully considered. Many companies have security programs that flag E-mails with attachments. Worries about viruses and policies prohibiting the circulation of jokes and cartoons have resulted in many organizations stopping E-mails with attachments from reaching the intended party without first going to a security administrator. Make sure your readers know the attachment is relevant and expected.

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