Thursday Writing Prompt No. 75


Email is both a blessing and a curse, isn’t it? You can communicate quickly without having to walk to the post office to mail a letter or even lick a stamp (yuck). I used to wonder why the post office didn’t flavor the glue on stamps, so one time I asked a postal employee at my local post office. He told me that they had experimented with flavored glues, but that the cockroaches ate the glue off the stamps. I wasn’t the only one standing at the counter who was grossed out by that thought!

Ahem. Well, with email there’s no bug-infested glue to deal with, either. But unlike a nice hand-written letter, or even a typed one, email has one detriment: it’s impersonal. Especially business email, where you really should refrain from LOLs and smiley emoticons unless you really don’t want that promotion. The lack of context for email means that it’s possible to take offense at the most trivial of things because you don’t actually know what the sender meant by the comment that he or she just made. It’s at that point you realize just how personal handwriting is or how much you are clued in by someone’s tone of voice or facial expression when they speak.

Now, for a writing prompt. You have to write an email. (You knew that was coming, didn’t you?) Here’s the scenario: you’re the supervisor of a small group of delivery service people. Lately your schedulers haven’t been following department procedures in routing deliveries, and that’s resulted in some deliveries going astray. Now you have your boss angry at you.

Your Thursday writing prompt is to compose an email to your schedulers reminding them to follow the proper procedures. How you word the email will affect how your staff respond to you. You don’t want them to get so angry that they quit or become resentful, but you want to make sure they understand how important their jobs are. The rules are basic: use standard business English, but avoid emoticons, slang, or swearing. Write a short email, because you need to write two of them: one that you know will make the employees angry, and one that will make them think you’re a wuss. Your challenge is to figure out how to alter the wording between the two emails to give them those impressions.