Before we begin, let’s review the CMAPP model we learned about in Chapter 3.
This model tells us that before you choose a medium (or genre), you must consider your context, message, audience and purpose. Right now, the context is especially important because workplace communications is undergoing a shift. For the past 20 years, email has taken over many of the jobs once reserved for faxes, memos and letters. Now, instant messaging programs like Slack are taking over some of the work that email used to do. Social media has also taken over some of email’s job in the workplace. For example, many companies offer customer service over Twitter and Facebook.
Often, students want to learn the perfect way to write a memo or letter, or to have a template that they can fill out. But because the context is always changing, and because different workplaces have different practices, it’s not possible to say that there’s one correct way to write each document. Instead, we’re going to explore the different decisions that go into choosing a medium, and the different roles each medium plays in the workplace.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself before you choose a genre:
- How quickly does my audience need this information?
- How does my audience expect to receive this information?
- How will my audience use this information? For example, if I’m informing my audience about new fitness classes at a gym, would it be better to create a printed schedule that participants could put on their fridge? Or would they prefer to access the information through a website, on an app?
- What way is this information normally sent in my organization?
- Will I be expected to use a template or build off someone else’s work?
- Does my audience have any accessibility requirements?