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#WednesdayWorkshop: Email Tips for the Workplace

#WednesdayWorkshop: Email Tips for the Workplace published on

In our last #WednesdayWorkshop, I am sharing some additional help for your workplace email messages.

First, I have a collection of 27 email templates, broken into the categories of networking, management, in the office, and the job search. Additionally, I found a list of templates for 8 Sticky Situations You’ll Come Across in Your Career. There is some overlap between the two pieces, but that just gives you more options.

As you use these great collections, keep these things in mind:

  • Read through all of the titles to find the best one for your situation. Some of the templates could apply to other categories.
  • Be careful with templates. Readers can frequently tell when you use a template, so use the tempates as a guide for what to write. Don’t just copy, paste, and send.
  • Make changes to the template you want to use by personalizing the message for your situation and reader.

As a bonus, I also have some tips on how to sign your email messages. You’re bound to find something useful in this list of 70 Different Email Sign-offs (for When You’re Sick of Saying "Best"). If you don’t have time to read through the whole list right now, the 60-second video below provides some quick, general options:


#WednesdayWorkshop: Characteristics of Memos

#WednesdayWorkshop: Characteristics of Memos published on Login Help videos are free to Virginia Tech students with your VT.EDU login. Start at the VT.EDU login page to access these resources.

When you are not writing letters (the topic of yesterday’s post) or email messages, you will often find yourself writing memos. Today’s #WednesdayWorkshop reviews the characteristics of memos, which are typically internal messages sent to colleagues within your organization.

Like all correspondence, memos should be clear and well-organized with document design features that help readers find the information that is important to them. You can use headings, bulleted lists, and numbered lists to make details stand out.

In addition to general memos, you may find that you use specific memos in the workplace. For instance, you might use a memorandum of understanding (MoU) as a kind of contract, where you and other parties agree to specific terms. MoUs are often created by a lawyer or the organization’s legal department. If you write such a memo yourself, it will probably need to go through a legal review before it is sent to the recipient.

For details on the basic memos you are likely to write, watch the video Special Considerations for Memos (3m52s) to learn more:

Special Considerations for Memos, on


#WednesdayWorkshop: Citing Your Sources

#WednesdayWorkshop: Citing Your Sources published on

You will need to provide in-text citations and bibliographic citations in your Genre Analysis Report, so this week’s #WednesdayWorkshop focuses on How to identify and credit sources (6m 32s).

Screenshot of session, How to identify and credit sources

In your Genre Analysis Report, you can use whatever bibliographical format you are most familiar with. Here are some tools if you are unsure how to make correct citations:

You can also watch the information on Citing Sources in research papers for more specific examples of citations.


#WednesdayWorkshop: What to Include in Your Proposal

#WednesdayWorkshop: What to Include in Your Proposal published on Login Help videos are free to Virginia Tech students with your VT.EDU login. Start at the VT.EDU login page to access these resources.

Better late than never, right? For your #WednesdayWorkshop, I wanted to recommend a series of videos on that goes over the different parts that go into a proposal. Altogether, the videos will take 28m53s of your time. The videos includes all of the following:

  • Overview of proposal parts (4m40s)
  • Prefatory parts (5m28s)
  • Body parts (5m7s)
  • Ending parts (4m31s)
  • Appended parts (4m22s)
  • Visuals (4m45s)

Log in to see the video. A preview is below:

Writing a Proposal
by Judy Steiner-Williams



#WednesdayWorkshop: Simplifying and Varying Sentences

#WednesdayWorkshop: Simplifying and Varying Sentences published on

Every Wednesday, I will share resources that demonstrate how to improve your writing. This week, I focus on how to simplify and vary your sentences to make your ideas stronger, clearer, and easier to read.

The first resource is a short video from the American Chemical Society titled, “Technical Writing: How to Simplify Sentences” (3m45s). While the video focuses on only one sentence, it shows a complete revision process that takes the sentence from a wordy 35 words to a slim and clear 15 words.

My second resource, “Revising for Sentence Fluency” (7m8s), demonstrates how to analyze a draft for sentence variety, by counting the words in each sentence and noting how each sentence begins. While the video uses what is probably a first-year composition essay, the strategy still applies to technical writing. If you want a better idea of the variety required in writing in your field, apply the strategy to some example documents from your field.



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