The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

MLDP Recap: Writing in Workplace

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Read a student's account of our most recent session in our Management Leadership and Development program below. For more information, about MLDP, click here.

During this past Tuesday’s MLDP session, Professor Julie Kalish spoke with us about the importance of workplace writing.  While the word “writing” usually elicits a shudder from Dartmouth students, Professor Kalish immediately engaged us with a sample of professional writing accessible to everyone assembled—President Kim’s “Message on hazing and student safety.”  We had each received the email during spring break, and a few of us had taken the time out of our post-final slump to actually read it.  Professor Kalish prompted us to discuss the email and assess it from angles we might never have considered.  Who was this email targeting?  Was the timing of the email significant?  What was President Kim trying to accomplish in each paragraph?  We identified and annotated our hardcopy handouts of the email, and had a through discussion of each question.   The exercise gave us a clearer understanding of professional writing, and also helped us understand its capacity to convey purpose. 

Later in the program, we had an opportunity to put into practice what we learned.  We broke into small groups to discuss response strategies in different workplace scenarios.  This was, perhaps, the most rewarding part of the session.  Each member of my group had a different idea of what to say, and we discussed at length how to turn each phrase.  We began to realize how involved writing even one short email could be.  As we finished the final draft, we had gained a deeper understanding of the ways in which the wording of an email can craft our assumptions about its author, and had broadened our understanding of the power and importance of words in the workplace.
-Molly Hassell '13

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