Skip to content

What Is Your Reader Looking For?

I recently wrote a post entitled “Can ‘And’ or ‘But’ Start a Sentence?”  The post isn’t getting a high listing on Google, which most of my posts do. And I just found out why. Visitors are using a search string that is different from my wording. They are searching this way: Can you start a sentence with and?

I relearned a lesson I know well: Know your readers. Give your readers what they need.

If you’re not getting the response you expect from a message or document, try looking at the situation from your reader’s perspective. In some situations–like mine with Google–data can point you in the right direction. But if you don’t have data, talk to your readers. Find out what they are looking for. Then give it to them.

As you can see, I have included the search string Can you start a sentence with and? twice in this message. Now I hope my readers find me!

Posted by Avatar photo
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.