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GB512 Business Communications Unit 1 Discussion

Topic: Bad Email

Based on your reading, key concepts, and the learning activity, along with the Evan Thomas video, apply what you learned to critique a bad business email.

Read the example of the short email below and respond to the following bulleted items:

  • Who is the sender?
  • Who is the receiver?
  • What is the intent?
  • How might you clarify this email?
  • Is it persuasive in getting the recipient to act? Why or why not?


TO: Brandenburg Team

FROM: Budget Dept.

Subject: Priority

You will need to send a confirmation as to what the outside limits are consistent with the budget parameters delineated in the meeting last week. Send it on to production afterwards. This is a priority so please expedite.

After reading On Writing Well, watching videos from Evan Thomas, and utilizing the learning activity, it is apparent that the sample email provided was not crafted well. In order to unpack the contents of the message, it is important to visit the individuals involved in the act of sending and receiving. The sender is the Budget Department. However, it is unclear what business this Budget Department works for. The recipient of the email is the Brandenburg Team. This team is most likely part of the same business that the Budget Department works for. Understanding this relationship between the two parties emphasizes the importance of the communication.


While the sample email provides brevity, it is not successful in offering clarity.

It appears that the intent of the email is to follow-up on a meeting from the previous week regarding limitations to a budget that was set by the company. However, the intent of the sender is not made clear in the message. Zinsser (2016, p. 6) states, “We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills, and meaningless jargon.” The message presented contains phrases that are unnecessarily complicated. The sender includes phrases such as, “parameters delineated,” which could easily have been changed to, “guidelines described,” in order to make the intent of the message more transparent to the receiver.


In addition to the email lacking clear language, it is also unsuccessful in its attempt to persuade the recipient to act. Communication is a powerful tool. However, the Budget Department’s unsuccessful summary of the meeting prevents the Brandenburg Team from having the information needed to provide a list of outside limitations to the production team (Zinsser, 2016, p.166). If one department cannot communicate a need to another department, then business cannot run as it should.


Finally, additional edits to format should be made in order to make the email more professional in nature. The learning activity practice sessions emphasized the importance of a salutation and closing statement. This email is lacking in both. Additionally, the email’s subject is not entirely clear and should have included something regarding the budget being discussed. Overall, the email is not a good example of what business communication should look like.


Zinsser, W. (2016). On writing well (7th ed.). Harper Perennial.

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