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Written Professional Communication

E-mail Assignment

This assignment will consist of three (3) e-mail messages.

For message 1, imagine that you are in charge of a large philanthropic organization that awards grants annually to support work being done in a particular field. (The exact field is up to you, as are details regarding the amount of money being granted.)

After reviewing thousands of applications for just 10 available grants, it is time to delicately break the bad news to an applicant that he or she has not been awarded a grant. For this message, use the “Indirect Pattern” described on pages 281–282 of the textbook.

Rather than begin with the bad news, (1) provide a context (or “buffer”); (2) give an explanation or other details (of just one to two sentences); (3) deliver the bad news; and (4) end with an appropriate goodwill closing.

For message 2, revisit the example of an unclear e-mail message covered on pages 273–274 of the textbook, and shown in Figure 8-1. Put yourself in the place of the law firm that received this message and write Mr. Ralph Madison a polite, diplomatic reply message seeking clarification. Feel free to use the details included in the textbook (“Staff members exchanged messages and even phone calls with Ralph Madison and others at his company to try to clarify the request but without success.”), or you may wish to write a reply e-mail as if there had been no additional communications between your office and Mr. Madison’s. Consider your purpose in writing, but also your audience and your desire to maintain an ongoing working relationship with Mr. Madison’s firm.

For message 3, gently remind someone that you are waiting for something that he or she promised.

Again, the exact details are up to you. You may wish to imagine you are the head of fundraising for a nonprofit organization that depends on donations, writing to ask a person who pledged $200 during your last pledge drive to please submit his or her check. Or imagine that you are applying to graduate school and have learned that your professor, who promised to write you a letter of recommendation, has yet to do so and the application deadline is now just a week away. The point is that the person you are writing to has generously volunteered his or her time, energy, and/or money. While you are immensely grateful, that donation/letter/favor is now overdue, and you must tactfully request that the person follow through.

Formatting Requirements:

Grading considerations include your use of an appropriate tone for each message, your demonstrated use of “strategy” in communicating with the recipient, and your professionalism as you carry out your appointed task.