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Email-Free Wednesdays

If you’re on the police force in Essex, England, get ready for tomorrow. It’s your day to phone or meet in person. That’s because the chief constable has banned emailing on Wednesdays.

According to the online Telegraph, Chief Constable Roger Baker posted a notice on the police force’s intranet declaring that Wednesdays “will be email free days . . . as far as possible.” (He posted the notice on a Monday.)

A spokesperson for the Essex Police stated, according to the Telegraph, “The chief constable believes that emails do have their place in the modern world but it is likely that many of them are unnecessary and could be better actioned either face to face or with a phone call.”

Brilliant! I’m joining in. Although I’m a business writing specialist who emails as much as the next person, I agree with the chief constable’s plan. We do email too much, too often. Let’s take a day off each week. Starting tomorrow, I’m going to pick up the phone! Yes, we could even meet in person. Please join me!

Let’s see . . . four voicemail messages bouncing between us. . . the cost of gas to drive to meet you . . . parking . . . our packed schedules. . . .

Maybe we should wait until next Wednesday. Or maybe the one after that? I’ll check my calendar and . . . email you.

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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.