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Business Writing I: Fundamentals of Workplace Communication

The ability to write clear, concise, informative, and engaging prose is key to both academic and professional success.  This course introduces participants to fundamental features and conventions of business writing that virtually all employees should know, both those seeking to enter and those seeking to advance in today's increasingly competitive labour market.

"Fundamentals of Workplace Communication" provides both an introduction to forms of written communication common to the modern workplace and, through regular practice, an opportunity for participants to develop the writing skills necessary for a successful career in business.  You will learn about the distinctive elements of business writing by reading, analyzing, and critiquing sample texts, and by designing, revising, and polishing a variety of documents for specific audiences. Special emphasis will be placed on shorter forms of written communication such as memos, email, and letters.  In addition, you will engage in several in-class activities that focus on realistic business communication situations and allow for discussion and debate with your peers.  Techniques  for reviewing and improving grammar, style, and mechanics will also be covered.

Participants who complete this course will have a solid foundation for Business Writing II:  Professional Writing in Business, which focuses on genres of writing common to supervisory, management, and executive-level positions.

Start Date: Monday, February 2, 2015
End Date: Monday, April 20, 2015*
Duration: 10 weeks
Time: Mondays, 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Location: TBA (please check back before the course start date)
Fee: $475.00** (plus applicable government taxes)

*Please note that there will be no class on March 23 or April 6.
**McGill students, staff, and alumni are entitled to a 20% discount.

Click here to register.


  • write professional messages tailored to specific purposes, audiences, and contexts
  • prepare memos, letters, and emails, using appropriate headings, layout, and format
  • improve the readability of documents and messages by writing clearly and concisely
  • through careful planning, revising, and proofreading, produce documents and messages that can be easily understood by others
  • collaborate productively with others to critique, revise, and edit  draft documents and messages
  • provide rational support for your claims or arguments, and judiciously evaluate the persuasive techniques used in communications written by others
  • use correct grammar and punctuation

Who Should Attend

  • Employees in all sectors who wish to develop or improve their business writing skills
  • College or university students seeking a course that will give them an edge in the increasingly competitive labour market


Heather Pengelley has taught Business Communication courses at the McGill Writing Centre and in Concordia University’s Journalism Department. A Montreal-based freelance writer/editor, Heather specializes in transforming complex concepts into readily accessible terms. Heather has written newspaper and magazine articles, press releases, and health-related communications, including multimedia slide kits, videos, CDs and DVDs, corporate presentations, corporate training manuals, Web sites, conference reports and proceedings, and consumer brochures. She is a past president of the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) and recipient of PWAC’s prestigious Lawrence Jackson Memorial Award of Achievement. 

Cancellation Policy

All cancellation requests must be made in writing on-line: click here to cancel. Please note that you will be required to quote your registration reference number.

If you cannot attend the course but wish to send someone in your place you must make a request for the substitution in writing to mwc [at] mcgill [dot] ca.

The following cancellation policy applies:

Up to 14 days prior to the start date: Full refund
Up to 7 days prior to the start date: Refund minus $100 cancellation fee
Within 7 days prior to the start date: No refund

If no notice is given prior to the start of the course and you fail to attend, you will be liable for the full course fee.

The MWC reserves the right to cancel this course up to 5 days prior to the event.

Contact Information

Telephone: 514-398-7109
E-mail: mwc [at] mcgill [dot] ca