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13 Little Words

I just got a quick 13-word email that made me smile and made my work life easier. The pleasing message was simply this:

“I don’t know–but I’ll find out and get back to you ASAP.”

No, it’s no subtle pun that amused me. It’s that the writer, Ken Dehn, took the time to let me know  he had received my email and would find out the answer to my question.

By typing those 13 words, he saved me from wondering whether my email had reached him and from writing a follow-up message. That’s efficient.

By the way, I have never met Ken, but already I have a positive impression of him. It’s the little things that make the difference.

Thanks, Ken.

Posted by Lynn Gaertner Johnson
By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English. She grew up in suburban Chicago, Illinois.