Portfolio: Reflection #2 (Informative Email)

The course: Writing with Style (now called Writing Well: Style)

This course was dedicated to improving the style of our business writing. I had never considered style when writing work emails or documents. I usually just wrote whatever I thought sounded formal and professional. It was eye-opening to see the way I could improve the style of my writing with a few small tweaks.

Many of the techniques we learned were ones I was already familiar with in the context of creative writing. For example, we learned about using the active voice and cutting dead wood from our sentences. However, I had never tried applying these techniques to my business writing. I was amazed to see how many extra words and passive constructions I was including in my emails.

One of the most interesting tips I learned in this class was the strategy of opening a sentence with known information before flowing into something new. I had never thought of writing sentences that way. I still find it a useful strategy when I am revising my writing and notice that the transitions feel awkward.

The assignment

For this assignment, we were asked to use the principles we had learned to revise an older piece of our own writing. I chose an email I actually sent to coworkers advertising a fundraiser by my choir.

I used humour and conversational language to connect with my coworkers and build goodwill. Because the focus of the class was on style, I varied my sentence structure and length, and made many of my verbs active. I used the old-new construction discussed above to make the information easier for readers to process.

I made extensive revisions to my original draft. One of my first steps was to break the information into shorter paragraphs with more cohesive themes. That reduced the risk that readers would be overwhelmed by a block of text and choose to ignore the email.

I  also provided more information about my choir and the benefits that the fundraiser would provide. I even added a link to my choir’s website so those who were interested could learn more. Because I was trying to convince colleagues to spend money, it was crucial to show them why they should care.

In addition, I emphasized how easy it would be to order online. By emphasizing the ease, I removed one of the possible roadblocks that would prevent people from engaging with the offer.

Finally, I made the deadline more obvious by placing it in a shorter paragraph and bolding the text. The bold text catches the reader’s eye and reminds them that they should take action.


Portfolio: Revised Sample #2 (Informative Email)

Dear colleagues,

Got chocoholics on your holiday shopping list this year? I’ve got you covered. The Avalon Singers, a local not-for-profit women’s choir, is holding a fundraiser sponsored by Purdy’s Chocolates. For every order you place, our choir gets 25% of the profits. Money raised goes toward rehearsal and performance space, professional accompaniment, the purchase of new music, and more.

Check out the attached brochure and start planning your order. If you miss the good old days of flipping through the Sears Wishbook, stop by the General Office. I have a few paper brochures available.

What’s the best news? Ordering is easy! You don’t even have to leave your desk. Order and pay online using your credit card. If you are interested, please let me know and I will send you an email invitation to the group purchase site.

You can also fill out the paper order form found in the brochure and return it, along with cash or a cheque, to the General Office.

Please order by November 20, 2015. I will distribute your orders during the first week of December.

If you have any questions, please reply to this email.

Best Regards,

Heather Fraser

Portfolio: Draft #2 (Informative Email)

Want to start your holiday shopping early and skip the lineups at the mall? My choir, The Avalon Singers, is holding a fundraiser sponsored by Purdy’s Chocolates. If you’re feeling high-tech, click through the electronic brochure attached to this email. I also have a few paper copies of the brochure in the General Office for those who cherished flipping through a Sears Wish Book—or Scholastic book order– in bygone days.

The easiest way to order is online using a credit card. If you’d like to do so, reply to this message and I will send you an email invite to our site. You can also fill out the paper order form in the catalog and bring the form, along with cash or a cheque, to the General Office. Whichever method you choose, please order by November 20th so I can distribute your chocolates by the first week of December.