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

Professor Julie Kalish '91 Leads "Writing in the Workplace" Session for MLDP

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Winter 2011 Management and Leadership Development Program Participants

Professor Julie Kalish ’91 joined the 53 MLDP participants for a session about “Writing in the Workplace.“ As a Vermont attorney and lecturer in both Dartmouth's Institute for Writing and Rhetoric and Vermont Law School's Legal Writing Department, Professor Kalish has encountered a considerable amount of deficient workplace and student writing and shared many of her personal experiences with the session attendees. Professor Kalish began her session by reviewing the fundamental elements of good writing, which can be summarized by 3 C’s—“clarity, correctness, and concision.”  She illustrated these tenets empirically, explaining the deficiencies of several “bad sentences” drawn from government and academic documents, and offering ways to better the “disasters.”

Kalish then turned to the topic of email communication in the workplace. She highlighted the fact that although email is an incredibly prevalent form of workplace communication, many employees are still utterly unaware of email etiquette and conventions. Kalish had the group erupting in laughter as they discussed various email styles such as the “all-caps writer,” the “exclamation point” user, the “crazy font color” fan.

Professor Kalish charged the MLDP participants with putting their newfound understanding of workplace email writing to use. They were given handouts of real life workplace emails, and were asked to write appropriate responses and to send them to Professor Kalish. Professor Kalish reviewed a few of the responses she received in the session, asking students to explain their rationale in what they wrote, and pointing out what could be improved upon.  It was a very comprehensive and enjoyable session for all, as attendees commented on how essential email-writing skills are professionally.

-- Kristen Clifford '13

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