Communication for Engineers

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M1.2 Readings

Ch. 12 Email

This chapter discusses the role of email in the workplace.  Topics include format, style, and email etiquette.

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Ch. 12 Letters

This chapter discusses the role of letters in the workplace. Topics include uses, format, and style.

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Ch. 14 Memos

This chapter discusses the role of memos in the workplace. Topics include format, style, and effective organization.

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Correspondence Analysis

EXERCISE

Below are three examples of professional correspondence, a letter, and email, and a memo:

  • Example Letter Attached
  • Example Email Attached
  • Example Memo Attached

 

  • All of these correspondences have strengths and weaknesses. Review the the correspondence, then address the following for each example:

Describe the letter’s/email’s/memo’s strengths and weaknesses in terms of the following:

  • Format
  • Organization
  • Style
  • Identify the most effective and least effective correspondence, and explain why you picked the ones you picked.
  • Choose one correspondence and rewrite it so that it more effectively accomplished its goals.

Document Series Project Instructions

PROJECT

Learning Objectives

  • Practice writing various forms of business correspondence and documents (i.e., email, letters, memos)
  • Address purpose and audience in business correspondence
  • Practice selecting the appropriate correspondence genre (i.e., email, letters, memos) for a specific rhetorical situation
  • Develop a professional writing style, paying particular attention to concision (i.e., avoiding wordiness), paragraph construction, and tone

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Overview

Choose one of the following scenarios, and produce the requested documents for one scenario only. Each scenario asks you to prepare a range of documents. Students are responsible for determining the appropriate genre (email, memo, business letter, etc.) as well as the content of those documents.

Assignment Details

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EXERCISE

The exercise helps you get started on drafting professional correspondence by giving you the opportunity to work as a group to write a practice document that will prepare you for work on Project 1.

Your instructor will place you in groups of about three people.

Once you are in groups, read the scenario below. As a group, discuss what genre you think the correspondence should be (i.e., email, memo, letter). Then use the questions below to do a PAD Analysis of the scenario. After you have completed the analysis, draft your correspondence as a group.

Here is the scenario with which you are working. Read the following and, as a group, draft the requested correspondence:

You are the CEO of Health Nut, Inc., a small health food manufacturer that specializes in snack foods, like trail mix and granola. Recently, the company developed a new product, Nuts About Berries, a trail mix with mixed nuts, dried berries, and carob pieces. All 80 employees at the company worked hard to develop, test, market, and distribute Nuts About Berries, but, unfortunately, the product has not performed well with consumers.

The profits have not been able to cover the cost of research and development. You have been tasked with looking at the company’s finances to figure out a way to help defer the cost of developing Nuts About Berries, and you have concluded that the least disruptive, most effective way to do that is to cancel the corporate gym membership program. However, this gym membership program has been included in the company’s benefit package going back almost to the beginning of the company, and it is very popular with employees.

Your job is to compose a correspondence to the employees explaining the decision to end the gym membership program.

After you have all read the scenario, select which genre of correspondence you will write (i.e., email, memo, letter). For that correspondence, in your groups, you will complete and submit the following two things:

PART I

Pre-Writing: Perform a PAD analysis (Purpose, Audience, and Design) of your chosen correspondence by answering the following questions:

  • What’s your purpose? More than just the stated purpose? What’s the goal, the desired outcome?
  • Who’s your audience? More than just a name, what’s their stake in the situation? How are they disposed toward your correspondence? Are they an internal or external audience? What’s the power dynamic between you? What level of formality do they expect? What tone is appropriate?
  • What design will be most effective? Think about genre (i.e., letter or memo) and why you think this genre is appropriate. Think about style and format and length. Think about structure and organization.

PART II

Drafting: After you have done your PAD analysis, draft the correspondence as a team.

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