Putting It Together: Writing in Business

Let’s look back at Dennis’s email from the beginning on this module. How could things have gone better for Dennis and for Diversity Day if he had actively followed the writing process steps we just learned?


Dennis should have prepared for this direct message to confirm the speaker and get the title for the talk. Rennata, the receiver, will either be pleased or neutral about the details for her talk and the request for the title of the talk. If Dennis could do it over, here is the outline he might create:

Components Notes
News Need talk title and confirm diversity day arrangements. Thanks.
Reasons April 23 the day. Be here at 8:30. Done by 3:30. Need title of your talk for brochure publ on April 16.
Goodwill and Action Benefit she’ll bring to event. Date to confirm April 15.


Dennis’s preparation would help him see that his original message included too much irrelevant detail that hid his full message.  He should focus on accomplishing the task he was asked to do and not put in all that other information.


After he wrote it, then he would revise the message with attention to the layout, white space, you-view, and proofreading to say the least. Here is what he could have produced, if only he had taken just a little more time to focus on his message.

Date: April 1, 2018

To: Rennata Johnson, CEO of Diversity NOW <rjohnson@diversitynow.com>

From: Dennis Hoffman <shoffman@qcom.com>

Re: Diversity Day

The details you requested for your much anticipated April 23 talk follow. To promote your talk, could you please provide the title?

Your expertise in corporate diversity training makes this a great day. Here is your schedule for the day:

  1. Opening coffee, 8:30 a.m., West Conference room. Leadership team.
  2. First session, 9 a.m., Theater room. All associates
  3. Lunch and message time, 11 a.m. On your own
  4. Second session, 1:30 p.m., Theater room. All associates
  5. Debrief, 2:30 p.m. West Conference room. Leadership team.

The details for the day’s brochure must go to the printer a week ahead. Could you please provide the title to include? If there is any other information you think important, please let me know.

Your reputation and experience mean so much to the employees of QCom. Please send me the title by April 15. I look forward to meeting you personally.




Some of the improvements Dennis made

  • Spell out the date to make it easy for the reader. April 1, 2018
  • Respect the speaker by spelling her organization’s name right. Diversity NOW
  • Provide a subject line that helps the speaker with a bit more detail: QCom Diversity Day Details and Confirmation Request
  • Start with the main idea and focus on the receiver: The details you requested for your much anticipated talk follow. To promote your talk, could you please provide the title?
  • Create a visual layout for the message that makes the detail easier to find. Use of paragraphs. Use of lists.
  • Continue focusing on the reader with a you view. Starting more of the sentences with “you” or the topics Rennata cares about.
  • Use parallel structure to help detail stand out. In bullet list.
  • Create focus and action in the closing paragraph. Specific speaker compliment and specific reminder date.