I'm Lynn Gaertner-Johnston, founder of Syntax Training in Seattle, Washington, and a fan of business writing.
I’ve been interested in words and writing all my life.
In grade school, I won blue ribbons for spelling.
In high school, while other teens developed muscles on track teams and in glee club, I corrected spelling tests and made book displays for Mrs. Postlewait, my beloved, tough English teacher.
In college, I majored in English, thriving on British and American poets, fiction writers, essayists, and dramatists. The simple language and structure of Ernest Hemingway’s "In Our Time" inspired my honors thesis. But it was the complex vocabulary and rich voices in James Joyce’s "Ulysses" that showed me the amazing power of words on a page.
In graduate school, I honed my own writing—fiction, features, book reviews, and—with an eye to practicality—business documents. I also taught my first workshop in business writing.
Over many years of writing, revising, editing, and learning, I have discovered that I am much more successful at crisp, clean, efficient business writing than I am at nuanced characters and mind-blowing plots. Also, I like business writing. A well-written message or document makes my day, whether it was I or someone else who put the right words in simple, perfect order. A report that’s efficient and elegant (those aren’t exclusive terms) inspires me to give thanks, read on, and do my own job better.
For the past 20 years, I’ve taught business writing and practiced the skill myself. I’ve taught engineers, administrative assistants, insurance professionals, post-doctoral fellows, accountants, retail sales experts, airport managers, travel agents, hazardous waste handlers, attorneys, and others. I have written or edited e-zines, procedures, handbooks, training programs, medical updates, newsletters, resumes, management guides, and much more.
Right now, my profession and passion are one and the same: teaching business writing, and teaching it well.
• To share ideas, resources, and tips on business writing
• To write regularly on the delights and heights of business communication
• To quash bad writing habits that linger in the cubicles of 21st-century organizations
• To have fun