Recap: "Writing in the Workplace" with Sara Chaney

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.

This week’s MLDP session titled “Writing in the Workplace” was led by Professor Sara Chaney. I took Writing 5 with Professor Chaney, so I expected some practical insight on writing in today’s age of technology and alternative forms of communication. I was glad to see that she addressed this right off the bat with an activity that had us decide which medium (e-mail, phone, or in-person) was most appropriate for various scenarios. I’m sure that nearly every Dartmouth student can relate to this situation. Whether it’s contacting a professor about a recommendation, reaching out to an old acquaintance, or trying to forge a new relationship, it’s always a little tricky to decide how to go about doing so.

Our next step was to learn how to construct the best e-mail possible. We went over all the potential crises and awkwardness that could arise when drafting an email. What do I put in the subject line? How do I address the recipient? What do I do if they don’t respond? And, most importantly, how do I effectively get my point across? I could definitely relate to poor Jennifer, the subject of our fake email chain, in the scenario we discussed. But, after brainstorming in groups, I had a much better idea of how to address these issues and will hopefully put them to use in future correspondences.

For our final activity, the class was split into groups in order to respond to two different cases. While some groups drafted an email to Darnell Moore, requesting him to be a speaker for an event, my group worked on drafting a blog post for the organization, Falling Bells. We had a lot of fun looking at the group’s website and using that to set the tone of our own post. Overall, this session really highlighted the importance of writing effectively outside of the typical college paper-writing atmosphere and Professor Chaney did a good job of addressing issues that might arise in the use of the new forms of communication that are becoming increasingly common in today’s world.

--Suman Mathur '15, MLDP Winter 2014 Participant