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Fri Sep 14, 2012, 08:37 PM

Project 1 for my business writing class: A persuasive business letter.

This is my first draft. It was due tonight. I'll be working on it all semester.

Tobin S.
123 Trucker St.
Richmond, IN 47374
September 14, 2012



Tobin S.
123 Trucker St.
Richmond, IN 47374

Dear Mr. S.,

It has come to our attention that you have been seriously considering dropping out of college. While we do acknowledge that the draw of life on the open road as a trucker can be strong and the lifestyle may seem appealing at times, we would like you to consider an alternative lifestyle; one that may be more rewarding both professionally and financially. We would also like to point out what the alternative is to college for you as well as your loved ones. We know your time is valuable, but please take a moment to hear us out on this issue. It would be greatly appreciated and we will try to make it worth your while.

We see from our records that the thought of dropping out occurred to you quickly and that you acted within a day to try to do so. Fortunately for us, and we think you, the automated system at IU East was down last night and you were unable to drop your classes for this semester. This set off a series of internal conversations that have led us to be able to speak to you at this time, and we are thankful for the opportunity.

We acknowledge that the workload is heavy when you are working fifty hours a week and going to school half time, and the thought that it is going to be that way for three years can be discouraging. But, as your wife has said, that time is going to go by whether you are in school or not. It is our opinion that if you put the time in now and get the degree while you are still relatively young, the quality of life for you and your family will be greatly improved. We have seen your potential in the classroom and we know you can succeed.

The lure of trucking life can be difficult to resist. We know that you have a lot of experience in that field and that a $50,000 annual income is within your grasp right now without ever setting foot inside of a university again. But is it fulfilling? If you recall, one of the reasons you returned to school was to realize unfulfilled potential. Trucking is hard work and we do not slight those who safely and efficiently perform the job every day. But you thought that you might be able to do more and have more success in life using your mind rather than your back. We think so, too.

Of course, we know that you have more to think about than your own well being. The main reason you stated for returning to school was to make a better life for your family. Your earning potential as a trucker is limited. It is difficult to eat right as a trucker and the job is hard your body. You may be extending your life many years by continuing your education, and the quality of your life will be better for a longer period of time. That will enable you to have a happier life for yourself and for your family. Also, as you know, even though you work fifty hours a week right now, that is considered a moderate amount of hours for a trucker. Many truckers put in seventy or more hours a week and that could potentially happen to you. We know you have done it before. With a white collar career you may be able to reduce the amount of hours you put in at work and you will likely have an agreeable, set schedule that you will find complementary to family life.

We have noticed that you have dropped out of college in the past on two occasions. We know the first time was due to personal issues beyond your control, but the second time could have been avoided. We would like to remind you now that the fact that you do not have a college degree is something that has made you feel bad about yourself in the past. You have often had the idea that with your level of intelligence you should have completed college. You have sometimes thought that your life could be more rewarding and you sometimes envy those who have completed school. Well, this is your chance. Everything with your work life, family life, and finances has worked out in such a way that at this time you have the opportunity to obtain the one thing that has eluded you for so long: A college degree.

In closing, we would like to thank you for your time and attention to this matter. The decision is ultimately up to you, but we feel that if you should continue down the path of higher education you will create a better life for yourself and your family. It may take some work and sacrifice in the short term, but in the long run you will likely be greatly rewarded.

Sincerely,

Tobin S.

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Reply Project 1 for my business writing class: A persuasive business letter. (Original post)
Tobin S. Sep 2012 OP
NYC_SKP Sep 2012 #1
Tobin S. Sep 2012 #2
NYC_SKP Sep 2012 #3
Tobin S. Sep 2012 #4
Major Nikon Sep 2012 #6
HeiressofBickworth Sep 2012 #5

Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 08:55 PM

1. "Line by line" editing of drafts

I just spent the day helping refine grant applications, so not (sorry) feeling up to help you except to advise looking for redundancy, making sure that your main points are made clearly and early on, and not to include anything gratuitous.

With "line by line" editing, we hit return for each sentence for readability and easy cut/paste reordering or deletion.

On a glance, you're writing skills are strong and grammar and syntax spot on. However, the piece looks long, too long to hold the attention of the target reader.

I've broken it down sentence by sentence and I would ask a friend or roommate or other person to look at it and tell me where the reader will lose interest, are any statements a turn off, and are there any sentences or phrases that just aren't vital.

Tobin S.
123 Trucker St.
Richmond, IN 47374

Dear Mr. S.,

It has come to our attention that you have been seriously considering dropping out of college.
While we do acknowledge that the draw of life on the open road as a trucker can be strong and the lifestyle may seem appealing at times, we would like you to consider an alternative lifestyle; one that may be more rewarding both professionally and financially.
We would also like to point out what the alternative is to college for you as well as your loved ones.
We know your time is valuable, but please take a moment to hear us out on this issue.
It would be greatly appreciated and we will try to make it worth your while.

We see from our records that the thought of dropping out occurred to you quickly and that you acted within a day to try to do so.
Fortunately for us, and we think you, the automated system at IU East was down last night and you were unable to drop your classes for this semester.
This set off a series of internal conversations that have led us to be able to speak to you at this time, and we are thankful for the opportunity.

We acknowledge that the workload is heavy when you are working fifty hours a week and going to school half time, and the thought that it is going to be that way for three years can be discouraging.
But, as your wife has said, that time is going to go by whether you are in school or not.
It is our opinion that if you put the time in now and get the degree while you are still relatively young, the quality of life for you and your family will be greatly improved.
We have seen your potential in the classroom and we know you can succeed.

The lure of trucking life can be difficult to resist.
We know that you have a lot of experience in that field and that a $50,000 annual income is within your grasp right now without ever setting foot inside of a university again.
But is it fulfilling?
If you recall, one of the reasons you returned to school was to realize unfulfilled potential.
Trucking is hard work and we do not slight those who safely and efficiently perform the job every day.
But you thought that you might be able to do more and have more success in life using your mind rather than your back. We think so, too.

Of course, we know that you have more to think about than your own well being.
The main reason you stated for returning to school was to make a better life for your family.
Your earning potential as a trucker is limited.
It is difficult to eat right as a trucker and the job is hard your body.
You may be extending your life many years by continuing your education, and the quality of your life will be better for a longer period of time.
That will enable you to have a happier life for yourself and for your family.
Also, as you know, even though you work fifty hours a week right now, that is considered a moderate amount of hours for a trucker.
Many truckers put in seventy or more hours a week and that could potentially happen to you. We know you have done it before.
With a white collar career you may be able to reduce the amount of hours you put in at work and you will likely have an agreeable, set schedule that you will find complementary to family life.

We have noticed that you have dropped out of college in the past on two occasions.
We know the first time was due to personal issues beyond your control, but the second time could have been avoided.
We would like to remind you now that the fact that you do not have a college degree is something that has made you feel bad about yourself in the past.
You have often had the idea that with your level of intelligence you should have completed college.
You have sometimes thought that your life could be more rewarding and you sometimes envy those who have completed school.
Well, this is your chance.
Everything with your work life, family life, and finances has worked out in such a way that at this time you have the opportunity to obtain the one thing that has eluded you for so long: A college degree.

In closing, we would like to thank you for your time and attention to this matter.
The decision is ultimately up to you, but we feel that if you should continue down the path of higher education you will create a better life for yourself and your family.
It may take some work and sacrifice in the short term, but in the long run you will likely be greatly rewarded.

Sincerely,

Tobin S.



Good luck with the course!

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 09:01 PM

2. "The target reader" Ha!

No need to edit, my friend. I'm sure my professor will pick it apart. I was posting the letter more for entertainment purposes.

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Response to Tobin S. (Reply #2)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 09:07 PM

3. It's funny, the "target reader" part.

One of the grants was written by a teacher, with a nonprofit as the funder, and a group of grant readers as the audience.

I've read grants for the same nonprofit, I know what they look for.

However, she was also presenting the grant to her grant writing professor in grad school, who had all manner of advice, mostly bad, so we had a good laugh.

In your case, you're writing a letter to a disengaged student.

I can't think of a better case for keeping it short and to the point, yet I can easily imagine a professor expecting a multitude of points made, a certain body of work, rather than really understanding that the target of the letter might have a real short attention span!

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 09:17 PM

4. Yep, I had to inflate

The professor advised that the letter be 3 pages long originally, then said, "it should be as long as it takes to be persuasive." I guess she'll be the judge of that. It worked pretty well on the target audience.

I guess I could have rambled on some more, but I got to about a page and half and thought it looked good enough for now.

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Response to Tobin S. (Reply #4)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 10:13 PM

6. That's the difference between academia and the real world

I author both internal and external business letters and shorter is generally always better. In school they want it to be longer so the instructor has more substance to work with while grading, but in practice you want to be short and to the point. My advice is to do whatever your instructor wants because that's who is grading you.

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Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 09:48 PM

5. Many years ago

I worked for a lawyer who wrote very strong letters. He used one phrase that I have never been able to work into any of my legal writings, maybe you can.

"If we do not hear from you within ten (10) days of the date of this letter, we will be forced to take legal measures which will positively astound you."

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