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See You on the 80th!

I recently read an auto-response from a client, which announced that he would return to work on Tuesday, the 80th. Of course, this was a typing error. Unfortunately, though, it was impossible to tell when he would actually return. Did he mean Tuesday, the 28th of November? Thursday, the 30th?

This short post is just a reminder to proofread your out-of-office response very carefully. Thousands of people may read it in your absence.  It would be a shame to confuse that many people.

By the way, I am out of the office visiting relatives in New Jersey and Florida. Back on the 80th–I mean the 18th!


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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 “See You on the 80th!”

  • One of my favorite email replies of all time read, in the final line, “I apologize for any incontinence.” The poor fellow had blindly clicked ‘Next’ when his spell-checking software had attempted to correct his typo in the word ‘inconvenience’. We all had a good laugh about it.

  • Lucas, I love it! I also received the “incontinence message” in an apology for missing one of my workshops. When I shared this anecdote in class, others told me that THEY have received it. I guess one of the risks of email is increased incontinence!

    On another topic, I was sure I had written a response to your post weeks ago, but it seems to have disappeared. So I have written again now.

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