Business Writing

Talk, tips, and best picks for writers on the job.

Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

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November 14, 2017

Comments

Tina Christiansen

Great tips, Lynn! I spent all of today responding to feedback on boundary changes and used all of these techniques.

Miranda Allen

I have a hard time with advising others to offer alternatives to corporate policies, unless they're within the boundaries of such policy. Offering to help someone print something that is only available via e-mail may not be within your job function to do.

By using words like "unfortunately," you could inadvertently cause a customer to feel that the company rep wishes their corporate policies were different, which can actually work against that person delivering the message to the customer. A bit more caution is advised on situations like these.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Tina,

I am guessing the boundary changes had to do with the Seattle School District. A very touchy issue. Thank you for letting me know you used the techniques.

Lynn

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Miranda,

Excellent points! Thank you for the caution about using the word "unfortunately." It's important that the word not be used in the context of one's own corporate policy. I noticed that I used it in an insurance context: "Unfortunately, the boat is not listed in your policy." I believe that use is effective--unless it is the insurance agent's fault for not covering the boat in the policy.

I agree with your point about not suggesting something that is outside corporate policy. If someone were to print a manual and send it to the customer, that would no doubt be against corporate policy. After all, the company does not want to provide printed manuals. I believe that's different from emailing a customer a file to print, along with advice on how to have it printed.

I had the experience recently of a visually impaired person wanting a special file of my book. It was against our own policy to offer such a file (and we had to take steps to acquire the file ourselves), but providing it for a person who is visually impaired made sense.

Thanks for the chance to think more about the tips!

Lynn

Kim

This is excellent information, Lynn! I especially love this statement:
"An apology does not make you responsible for a situation; it means you are sorry that the situation exists."

Thank you!

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