Mini-course in Business Correspondence – WSET Lac 1

16/09/2019 By

Wall Street English Tunisia had a great time with the Business correspondence workshops! Here’s a summary of what we did, plus some email tips we learned along the way!

Business correspondence is a means for businesses to exchange clear and precise information, express views and thoughts, and ensure a smooth flow of company communication both internally and externally. It is very important to master this tool in order to strengthen the business as well as maintain proper relationships. That’s why we had the workshops!

During day 1, our students reviewed the use of contractions, sentence structure, and the different types of e-mails. They also practiced converting formal e-mails into informal ones. By the way, informal emails are generally much shorter!

Our students also reviewed e-mails of invitation, sympathy, acceptance, rejection, complaint. The students even sent each other e-mails on their phones to practice what they learned!

Always remember: Do not invent anything when writing formal e-mails. The structure for them is very standardized, so it would be better to just copy them and adjust them to your needs. On the other hand, informal e-mails are flexible and don’t have to follow a certain structure. In addition, the more you know the person, the less formal your e-mail should be.

We worked hard on grammar on day 2! The students tried to figure out the correct order of sentences and rewrite them, all while trying to figure out the order of adverbs (How? Where? When?). At the end of the workshop, they were given e-mails that they had to correct and reply to.

On that note, the basic sentence structure is SVO (subject, verb, and object). Full stops (.) are used at the end of a sentence, commas (,) are used to separate words in a list and after linking words at the end of a sentence, capital letters are used at the beginning of a sentence, for names of people, places and organizations, job titles, and calendar information and colons ( : ) are used to introduce items in a list.

On day 3, the students talked about the components of a complaint e-mail and how they should address the problem using a neutral tone. They also discussed the difference between excuses and apologies. They also talked about the importance of building rapport in order to ensure a correct transfer of communication.

Always remember: Describe what happened in a neutral way and what you expect the reader to do so they can help you. Do not give a plethora of problems or reasons. Give the reader the impression that you are a reasonable person.

On day 4, students played some email games! They played matching games, writing games, and other contests because competition makes learning fun!

On day 5, students learned the language of discussing and asking for payment, and of various reminders (polite, insistent, exigent… etc). They also studied negotiation. Sometimes you should try to sound firm, and other times you should sound flexible! The right language is key!

All of these activities were very beneficial for professional development. At the same time, they were also entertaining as students had to compete against each other and work in groups. And what would a workshop be without good food? We had a great time chatting around the coffee machine with refreshments. Be sure to check out our next series of workshops!

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