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13: Professional Conversations

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    Writing in the Workplace

    You probably know someone who has said, “I’m a lousy writer, but it doesn’t matter since I don’t write for a living and I’m not an English teacher.” You might have even made such a comment yourself. In reality, good writing can help you from the moment you apply for a job and throughout your time in the workforce. And regardless of whether you are writing in academic or professional settings, good writing involves an awareness of voice, audience, and message.

    You will find that many of the skills you have learned in this class will serve you well in the workplace. Presenting a well researched and reasoned argument in your writing can be pivotal to achieving goals.

    One of this week's assignments is to write a persuasive email in the workplace. I have pulled a few sections from a writing text (linked in citation) to guide you. This first section discusses etiquette for writing a workplace email. However, there is a lot of good information on professional writing in this chapter that may come in handy in other classes or as you search for employment, so you might want to bookmark it for future use.

    Using Email in the Workplace

    Emailing started small in the 1960s and became more widespread by the 1990s. Today the idea of going a day without emails is incomprehensible to many people, both professionally and personally.

    Even though most working people in the United States have both personal and work email, workplace email guidelines make the two quite different. Failing to follow these guidelines for workplace emails can have a range of ramifications from mild embarrassment to termination from your job.

    The following guidelines are general and most of them will apply in most workplaces. You are likely to find, however, that your workplace has its own guidelines that you will need to learn and follow.

    Here are some general workplace email guidelines:

    • Make sure your writing has no grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors and no typos. Any email, whether it is sent internally or externally, reflects not only on the person sending it, but also on the organization employing that person.
    • Use standard wording, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Do not use any of the abbreviated, casual text that is common in personal online communications and texting.
    • Use a subject line that targets the key point of the email so that the subject line can be a helpful sorting or searching tool. Adjust the subject line if you're replying to an email and your reply is on a completely different topic.
    • Be concise.
    • Be courteous.
    • Use jokes sparingly since they are often misunderstood.

    Effective Workplace Writing

    You'll find that writing in the workplace often mimics academic writing. You should be aware of your voice, audience, and message, and which appeal will work best (ethos, logos, pathos). Avoid fallacies and use solid evidence to back up your arguments.

    If you need a refresher on persuasive appeals, reasoning, or fallacies, I would recommend reviewing Chapter 6: Persuasive Appeals.

    The article linked in this week's reading is about writing a workplace memo, but the steps outlined could just as easily be used in other forms of workplace writing, including a persuasive email, which is one of your assignments this week.

    There is one misstep in the article in which the author links to the website of a historian to guide you in writing a thesis statement. Though the website could be valuable (it does have a lot of information on doing historical research and writing), it doesn't really go into writing thesis statements. If you need some guidance in that area, I suggest checking out the Purdue Online Writing Lab section on developing a thesis statement.

    Reading: From Forbes Website: How To Write A Memo That Pep People Will Actually People Will Actually Read by David Teten


    CC BY-NC logoThis chapter was compiled, reworked, and/or written by Andi Adkins Pogue and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

    Original sources used to create content (also licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0 unless otherwise noted):

    Joining the conversation. (2012). The writer's handbook, v.1. NOTE: This title is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

    13: Professional Conversations is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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