Most people don’t want to receive bad news. Likewise, unless we’re talking about the Wicked Witch of the West, Voldemort, or Darth Vader, most people are uncomfortable when they have to give someone bad news. Continuing our focus on correspondence this week, today’s #FridayFact explains how to write a bad new message that gets the point across without alienating the reader.
Typically, bad news messages begin with some kind of “buffer” that cushions the negative information. This indirect approach allows you to break the news gently to your reader. There are times, however, when a more direct approach is appropriate, such as in an emergency situation or when the bad news is expected.
How to Organize a Paper: The Indirect Method (for Writing Bad News) includes a chart that outlines when to use an indirect approach to giving your readers bad news and when to use a more direct approach. The chart on the webpage tells you what to include in your message, whether it is direct or indirect. You’ll also find explanations of the information to provide in the different sections of your bad news message.
We’ve been spending time this week on correspondence, and I am continuing that trend with today’s #InfographicInspiration. From the website The Visual Communication Guy, our infographic provides an annotated explanation of what goes into a letter and how to format letters that you write. The information here reinforces and adds to the #TuesdayTutorial on formal letters.
Note that the image on this page is minimized. Click on it to see the enlarged (and more readable) version.
Lynda.com 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.
In the workplace, you will find that a lot of your daily writing is some kind of correspondence (letters, memos, or email messages). This week’s #TuesdayTutorial focuses on one of these kinds of correspondence: letters.
Most of the time, the letters you write will be formal letters. You will use letters for things such as job applications, official requests to someone inside or outside your organization, documentation of complaints and reprimands, and recognition of special achievements. Here are some more specific examples that you are likely to see early in your career:
cover letters that are part of a job application packet.
thank you letters to those who are part of your job search (e.g., interviewers, HR staff, those who write recommendations).
recommendation letters for those you work with.
cover letters (or transmittal letters) that accompany reports and proposals.
In all these cases, you will want a formal letter. You may occasionally write informal letters in the workplace, but it’s typical for informal correspondence to be handled in email messages.
Last week’s #WednesdayWorkshop focused on What to Include in Your Proposal. For our #WeekendWatch, I’m returning to the discussion of sections of a report with this University of Minnesota video on Analytical Reports: Front and Back Matter.
The video explains in 4m35s the information you need to include in your Genre Analysis Report:
Admittedly, I am guilty of using too many exclamation points in my emails and texts, but I do try to avoid them in what I write in the workplace. It turns out that is the right choice, according to the Business Insider article Stop Using Exclamation Points At Work!
The article ends with the flowchart shown below, which suggests that most of the time, you should not use exclamation points. It’s a fun flowchart, so be sure to read it.
Earlier this term, I shared a #FridayFact about email in the workplace. For our #infographicInspiration this week, I’m returning to email by sharing a simple image that identifies key characteristics of effective email messages.
The website’s name is a little off-color, but the information clearly and concisely outlines specific ways to improve your email messages. Read more information about the infographic in the article 10 tips for effective email.
I want to share a short policy update. If you watch Canvas carefully, you may notice that some of the dates for Major Projects have (and will) change. If you don’t pay lots of attention to the minor details (which is fine), you can skip this info. Here’s what I’m doing to make the revision system work:
When we start a major assignment, it has a due date and it is open until the end of the grace period (3 days after the due date).
When I start grading a major assignment, I change the due date to the date that was the end of the grace period. I set the assignment as open until the end of the course (to allow you to submit revisions).
Why? By changing the dates, I have an easy way to know if someone who did not submit the project at all turns it in after the grace period ends.