Learning By Doing

A nice aspect of a course in business communication is that you can learn by doing. In business communication, you can actually create real communications (such as emails, letters, memos, etc.) and see how they work out in real life. In the TUI tradition of creating Session Long Projects that actually apply to your life and work, we ask you to create a communication for the organization you are in.

Read the following case study excerpt (derived from Dr. Guffey’s Business Communication Newsletter):

Like many colleges and universities, we are facing severe budget cutbacks. Our division, along with all other campus departments, faces a 25 percent budget reduction this year. Although we have less income to work with, we are reluctant to cut services that might diminish our instructional goals.

One place where the division can save money and not disturb your relationship with your students is close to your office desk. Organizations around the country are saving money and improving their recycling efforts by having employees empty their own trash baskets. By walking with your trash to the recycling bins in the basement, you will gain a bit of exercise, reduce departmental custodial costs, and help the environment with efficient recycling.


Write one routine email and one goodwill email for the organization you are in, using the contents of the case study above. The routine email should explain the budget cutbacks and the policies adopted to deal with them. The goodwill email, presumably sent a few days after the routine email, should thank those who are complying with the new policies, and encourage the others to begin doing so.

Both messages should follow standard narrative format, and include introductions and conclusions. Do not use sentence fragments, bullets, or lists.

Following the messages, write an essay explaining the principles and good practices you followed while creating them.

Hanson, L & Hammond, D. (2010). Business communication: Contexts and controversies (chap. 8) Retrieved on 2 Oct 2013 from https://www.pearsoned.ca/highered/showcase/hanson/pdf/9780138002688_08.pdf

These articles are great background reading on creating good emails.

Accessed from https://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/effective-email-communication/

Boothby, K. (2012, Nov 17). Writing skills have declined in the era of email. Leader Post. Retrieved on 2 Oct 2013 from https://www.canada.com/Business+communication+skills+have+declined+email/7392043/story.html

The below articles are used in the Case Assignment.

Some of these articles help to explain some of the bad outcomes that email can lead to. The articles also help you to see how to avoid these outcomes.

Peele, T. (2012, Jan 29). It’s time to get tough on officials’ texts, emails. Contra Costa Times. Retrieved from Proquest.

Petraeus shocked to hear of emails, associates say. (2012, Nov 13). Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from Proquest.

Don’t hide behind your emails. (2012, Oct 25). The Daily Post. Retrieved from Proquest.

The IStudio (2013).101 email etiquette tips. Retrieved on 2 Oct 2013 from https://www.101emailetiquettetips.com/index.html

Cottee, P. (2004, Sep 21). Reviving the art of conversation; workers today face a barrage of emails and texts and risk losing the vital skill of face-to-face communication PROFESSIONAL SECRETARY. Evening Standard. Retrieved from Proquest.

And then read these two articles (see embedded video also) in the ProQuest and Internet data base:

R, S. G. (2008). Tame the email beast! A baker’s dozen. Performance Improvement, 47(4), 5-6. Retrieved from Proquest.

Manktelow, J. & Carlson, A.Writing Effective Emails: Making Sure Your Messages Get Read and Acted Upon https://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/EmailCommunication.htm

Other articles on writing:

Campanizzi, Jane (2005). The Write Stuff for Quality. Accessed from https://qpc.co.la.ca.us/cms1_035856.pdf.

Jerz, D.G. (2000). email: Ten Tips for Writing It Effectively. Accessed from jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/e-text/email.htm

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