I remember the first internship I ever had was working for a music school doing clerical and front desk work. My job duties required me to send a multitude of emails. I had gotten in trouble because my emails were just awful. They were riddled with slang, had no structure and the majority of the time, the recipient had no idea what information I was trying to relay. If I ever wanted to be successful in any modern business operation, I knew I would have to seriously step up my emailing game. Two concepts that really changed the way I write my emails are rhetorical awareness and user-centered design. I will offer some advice on how to utilize these tools in your own emails and other professional writing ventures.
I find the use of rhetorical awareness to be very beneficial in all forms of writing. According to study.com, they say rhetorical awareness is “understanding that successfully fulfilling the purpose of your writing is dependent on your ability to anticipate and address the needs of your audience”. The use of persuasion is the major theme in rhetoric writing. You are trying to persuade your reader to take some type of action. Rhetorical awareness can be divided into three categories:
- The Purpose-Why are you writing? What is it that you are inquiring?
- The Audience-Who are you writing to? How will they respond?
- The Context-What is it that you are writing about? What information needs to be relayed?
Understanding these factors and using them as guidelines will help you center and specify what it is you are trying to relay. The main point of rhetorical awareness is persuasion. This method will help build your persuasive skills, and with the ability to persuade people, you can assemble and write very effective emails while in the workplace. If you would like to learn more about rhetorical awareness, there is a short video you can watch here.
Center the User
The other tool that I find to be essential to my own writing ventures is the application of user centered design. User centered design is really understanding and knowing your audience so you can tailor your letter in the way that the reader is going to get as much knowledge and information out of your short, sweet and to the point email. Building and structuring your information around your reader is an incredibly effective tool to use in your writing. Its all about knowing your audience and utilizing persuasion. Forbes
says that “the better you know your audience, the more effectively you can create appealing content ideas, make formats decisions, handle positioning and placement, and promote the content”. By using user centered design, you are building your authority and establishing your credibility. Not only will you establish a solid relationship with your peers, they will look forward to working with you, because you are making their job easier, and that comes around to make your job easier. If you take the time to center your email messages around the recipient, your life at work will be much more enjoyable.
I hope that the tool of rhetorical awareness combined with user centered design will help you in your writing in the office, as well as, outside of it. Since I started using these tools, I find that it is hard to write a good email without them. It is a good way to build relationships in the office and people will enjoy working with you more often. Just try to build a good habit and see how it works out on your own writing ventures!