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Thoughtful or Thoughtless?

Yesterday I received a very thoughtful email from a stranger named Patrick. These are his opening paragraphs:

With this email, I want to let you know that I appreciate your business writing blog so much. Regularly, I visit your blog to educate myself on writing appropriate English. Your site is my favorite resource for improving my English writing skills. Your site is also bookmarked on my computer.

I am writing you this letter to let you know that you have a big fan walking around on this wonderful planet that encourages you to continue with all the good work you deliver.

Patrick went on to tell me that he is Dutch and immigrated to the U.S. six years ago. He lives with his “sweet, lovely wife” in New Hampshire.

Of course, Patrick is no longer a stranger. I emailed to thank him and ask his permission to publish parts of his letter here. He responded, giving his permission and sharing encouragement and appreciation. He is a friend.

Complimenting. Thanking. Saying yes. Sharing. That is what life is all about!

Thoughtful or thoughtless? Which camp do you want to join?

Of course, being thoughtful requires more than just the thought. It takes action. Right now: Why not write and send a complimentary email, a note of thanks, a letter of encouragement, or a response that says “Yes!”

You have heard of the power of positive thinking. This is the power of positive action: Because of Patrick’s kind remarks, I was inspired to write this blog post, even though I spent the day teaching business writing and driving two hours in heavy traffic–and I’ll do it again tomorrow. But I had to write because of my “big fan.”

Imagine the power of your thoughtfulness. What hard work, wild enthusiasm, continued commitment, special effort, or brilliant ideas will it inspire in others?

Thoughtful or thoughtless? You choose.


Other search spellings: writting, emial, buisness, psotive

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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.

2 comments on “Thoughtful or Thoughtless?”

  • I love this blog posting! Wouldn’t the world be so much better if each of us acted on our thoughts of gratitude or appreciation by putting them in writing? I appreciate you, Lynn, and how practical and passionate you are about better business writing.

  • Cindy, thank you for responding so positively. You did exactly what I hope everyone else does. That is, to express appreciation to someone somewhere (not necessarily me!).

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