Business Communication Assignment
Writing E-mail Guidelines
Case Study: You are managers of WidPing, Inc. and have noticed lately that employees at
your company are not sending appropriate e-mails. The e-mails lack proper subject lines,
have spelling, punctuation, grammatical errors, and are not correctly formatted. You are
going to write simple guidelines for all employees to follow when sending e-mail messages.
1. Write a set of guidelines (instructions) with approximately 10 steps (giving examples for
clarity) that can be distributed to all company employees.
2. Read chapter 5 in your text, use the “Grammar Checklist,” and the “Before You Start
Keying” documents to help with writing the guidelines. In addition, read the brief
section about “procedural messages” beginning on p. 211 of the textbook. You will also
find a short PowerPoint in Canvas to review that has some good information you can use
in your guidelines.
a. When writing a set of guidelines, start at the beginning of the process (e.g.,
writing an appropriate subject line) and design each step to move the reader
through the process of writing an e-mail.
b. Think, for example, about how you would write instructions for someone to
assemble a piece of furniture. Start at the beginning and navigate the reader
through the process by providing logical steps, in order.
c. Use numbers for the e-mail guidelines because the order of the steps is
d. Be sure to add a heading to the guidelines page and strive to create a one-page
document that employees can print and post near their computers.
e. Instruct readers to write a comprehensive subject line that covers the elements of
the questions who, what, why, when, and where. Using the 5 Ws in the subject
line can save the reader time organizing his/her messages. For example, a proper
subject line for a meeting would be as follows.
Subject line: Finance Staff, Budget Meeting; Quarterly Report Discussion; Tuesday,
March 17, 2020; Conference Room 209, 3 p.m.
f. Repeat the subject line in the first sentence of the e-mail message and add any
details the employees might need to know such as, “The meeting should last
approximately one hour.”
3. Include the following information at the bottom of the assignment (guidelines) in a
a. APA citation(s) to cite sources you used to write guidelines
b. Readability level of the document > File > Options > Proofing > Check mark beside
“readability statistics” > Review > Spelling & Grammar
c. Names of team members (or individual), class, section number
4. Proofread the document and revise as needed. Hints—
a. Use two spaces after colons (e.g. Good Example:## ) and periods.
b. Address use of clichés, jargon, contractions, abbreviations, etc.
c. Include response time for answering e-mails.
d. Give example of the information needed for a signature card.
e. Give employees contact information for individual(s) if more, comprehensive
information is needed.
5. Open and complete the “Checklist for Writing E-mail Guidelines” in Canvas as well. Put a
checkmark beside each requirement you completed. Add your name, class, and section
6. Submit the checklist via Canvas.
7. Submit the completed guidelines as a Word document in Canvas.
Dr. Lajuan Davis
The University of Tennessee at Martin
Business Communication 16e, Lehman & Dufrene; Chapter 5
▪ Cost effective
▪ Provide an appropriate subject line.
▪ Repeat subject line in the first sentence of the message.
▪ Limit message to 1 – 2 major points.
▪ Limit use of jargon, technical terms, clichés.
▪ Proofread! Proofread! Proofread!
▪ If delivering good news, put the good news in the subject
▪ Start the e-mail message with the good news.
▪ If delivering bad news, do not put the bad news in the
▪ Start the e-mail with explanation or neutral information.
▪ Use proper grammar and punctuation.
▪ Do not use abbreviations.
▪ Answer messages within 24 hours.
▪ Follow company policy.
▪ Do not use company e-mail for personal messages.
▪ Do not just “forward” messages.
▪ Do not send messages when you are angry.
▪ End each e-mail message with contact information.
✓E.g., “If you have any questions, please contact [name] at [phone
number or e-mail address].”
▪ Also have a signature card at the end of each e-mail that states the
sender’s name, title, company name, address, phone number, etc.
✓Check Dr. Lajuan Davis’
e-mail signature card to
▪ “U. S. courts have established the right of companies to monitor
the electronic mail of an employee because they (companies) own
the facilities and intend them to be used for job-related
communication only” (p. 163).
▪ ECPA: Employers must provide a legitimate reason for monitoring
employees’ electronic communications.
▪ Employee handbook policies; employees’ signatures
▪ Employees’ (written) notification (p. 164)
▪ Ultimately, “you” are responsible . . . .
▪ E-mail, text messages, etc. can be used
against you in a court of law.
▪ Employers use E-mail 95% of the time in daily business communication.
▪ “Sending e-mails to clients with errors in them: This is my biggest complaint.”
▪ “You’re not texting with your friends, you’re speaking with customers and
professionals and your e-mail has to represent that [fact].”
▪ “They (new hires) use a lot of slang [in e-mail].”
▪ “I think they (new hires) rely too much on technology . . . when we say to call,
they will e-mail them [clients].”
1. Read “Procedural Messages,” p.
2. Read chapter 5.
3. Read instruction sheet provided
4. Use checklist provided for writing
5. Upload finished documents
(guidelines and checklist) to
Student’s Name: _________________________
Checklist for Writing E-mail Guidelines
1. Check your content. Be sure that elements for writing electronically (Chapter 5) are
included as well as following the guidelines for writing procedural messages (p. 211).
2. Do your guidelines start at the “beginning” of writing an e-mail and then progress to
“ending” an e-mail message properly?
3. Do your guidelines provide clear examples/illustrations on how to write appropriate
subject lines [include addressing the 5 Ws, etc.], signature cards, and other elements
of message writing?
4. Have you addressed using e-mail etiquette in the guidelines?
5. Have you provided resources so that readers can obtain lists of clichés, technical
terms, abbreviations, or contractions that should not be used in writing messages?
Have you defined clichés, technical terms, and contractions for readers?
6. Have you given instructions for writers who want to create a message in MS Word so
that they have access to proofreading features?
7. Have you included the information that each writer should end an e-mail with contact
8. Have you given instructions on how to create a signature card the end of the e-mail
messages (e.g., in the e-mail program, click Settings > Options > E-mail Signature).
9. Did you include an APA citation, readability level, and team members’ names,
class/section number in a footer?
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