Dance Home Page Dance Curriculum Dance Articles

Ballroom Dance

J M (Mike) Nelson
Phone: 612-810-0157

Necessary and Sufficient
If you ever send, or even forward, email of announcements for special events,
this article might be worth your consideration.

This article is to suggest some minimum standards for email announcements and to delineate why such standards would be appropriate even for "insiders."

Most people who use email receive numerous email announcements of special events that friends think might interest us or that come from some formal or informal email list. Occasionally some of these emails are forwarded to a third party the initial recipient thinks might be interested. Thus any email announcement might well end up in the mailbox of an "outsider" or someone new to the group, area, venue, or genre.

Unfortunately, many of these informal announcements are meaningful only to a core group of recipients who already know all they need to know save a few details related to the new event or schedule. Even so, there might be members on the email list who are not yet fully aware of all the "inside" information, or the email might be forwarded to a third party, perhaps a potential member. These "new" recipients likely know very little of the information that writer might seem to presume that everyone knows, and even those "in the know" might have to refer to previous email or other sources to find related information. Consider the following announcement, fabricated, but based on reality.

Typical,. Thoughtless, Presumptuous, Confusing Version

Hey everyone! Be sure to go to Charlie's next Sunday night to hear the Tiny Bigg's Band. They are in town for a big weekend concert at the festival, and Charlie was lucky enough to get them to stay and play at his place Sunday night. The cover charge will be an extra $1, but well worth it, and they will start a half hour earlier than usual and quit an hour early. See ya there!

If the above were received by a new member of the list, or forwarded to someone who a recipient thought might be interested, they would not be faulted to think that the sender was totally incompetent. The sender presumes that the recipient:
1. Knows the location and perhaps other details about Charlie's
2. Is familiar with the Tiny Bigg's Band and perhaps the "festival"
3. Knows the regular cover charge
4. Knows the normal begin and end time for live music on Sundays at Charlie's

Essentially, the sender presumes that the recipient knows everything they need to know about the venue except that the Tiny Bigg's Band will begin a half hour and end an hour earlier than usual and charge $1 more than the regular cover.

A bit of journalism basics would be helpful here: Who, What, Where, When, Why.

Atypical, Thoughtful, Informative Version

Charlie's Bar, 1234 5th St, City, State.
Sunday, Month, Day, Year, Start Time - End Time
Tiny Bigg's Band, one of the state's premier blues bands will be in town for a music festival Saturday, and they agreed to stay over an extra day to play at Charlie's. The cover charge for this special event will be $6, and reservations are recommended. Call 123-456-7890.

Charlie's is a favorite blues/jazz bar for the entire metro area, modest dance floor, friendly crowd, safe parking lot, and one of the best places for Sunday night dancing in the region. The atmosphere is good, no smoking, only beer and wine on Sundays, and singles are always welcomed. The music can be a bit loud, so ear plugs might be a good accessory. Dress is always very casual; just about anything goes at Charlie's.

It only takes a few more keystrokes to avoid seeming "closed" or "presumptuous." Compose your memo so that any recipient, even an "outsider," will have enough information to make an informed decision. The latter version could be forwarded without explanation, for the author is intelligent, informative, thoughtful, and considerate rather than stupid, presumptuous, thoughtless, and confusing.

For informal announcements, especially if the writer is astute, thoughtful, and caring, proof reading might not be necessary; however, for major announcements or for a portion of a web site, proof reading is recommended, and, considering the importance and scope of dissemination, proof reading by a disinterested person might be worthwhile. Remember, your purpose is to inform, and one of the best ways to do that succinctly is to compose with the title of this article in mind, Necessary and Sufficient. Dance Home Page Dance Curriculum Dance Articles

Copyright (c) 2006, J. M. Nelson. All rights reserved. Reproduction of contents prohibited without prior permission from the author.