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An Easy Win for Relationships

Yesterday someone in my professional network, whom I may see once a year, ordered 20 booklets from me. In my emailed thank-you for her order, I said I hoped she and her young daughter were having a beautiful summer. I used her daughter’s name.

She wrote back, "Thanks! I am so impressed you remembered my daughter’s name :-)."

Confession: I did not remember her daughter’s name. I had recorded it, along with her date of birth, in the notes in my Outlook contacts.

Having recorded it rather than remembering it doesn’t make the gesture any less meaningful. After all, I want to remember her daughter. I want to have warm relationships with customers and others in my professional network.

It’s an easy win–keeping track of the personal milestones in people’s lives and mentioning them in the natural flow of business communication. It just takes the discipline of recording those events when they happen.

Syntax Training

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.

3 comments on “An Easy Win for Relationships”

  • I had a girlfriend about 20 years ago who chastised me for pulling out my address book and deciding on who I might want to call rather than just KNOW who I wanted to call. I thought it was important to keep up with people I hadn’t been in touch with. Her irritation with my methodology baffled me; still does. Those people getting the call were pleased by the call; how I got to calling them “out of the blue” should not have mattered. No, we’re not still together…
    Not really on topic of your post, but your post most certainly did trigger it.

  • Roger, thanks for that great illustration. Your method works well for you, and it keeps relationships alive. Nice work!

    I am wondering whether you are still in touch with the old girlfriend. Is she in your address book?

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