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Resolutions for 2009, Simple and Sublime

Happy 2009! With the new year, it's the time of making resolutions, commitments to change our behavior. I have made three that apply to my work as a business communicator.

Here are my two simple resolutions:

  • I resolve to spell the word website consistently. No more bouncing between Web site and website. Because several of my clients prefer the term Web site, I developed the bad habit of inconsistency. No more–for me, it's website. (Both forms are correct.)
    The payoff for my new behavior is that I won't be tripping over my inconsistency, and my readers won't either.  
  • I resolve to file email immediately rather than reading and writing it and then going on to the next message or task. Mail that's worth saving I will drag to the appropriate folders. Mail with no future I'll delete. 
    The payoff: I will be able to find what I need in a flash. My new efficiency will have me smiling all day.

My sublime resolution is to read more poetry. As an avid mystery reader, I resolve to read at least one book of poetry between mysteries. Reading poetry opens my eyes to new ways of seeing the world and using language. The payoff: I'll be a better writer and a richer, kinder human being. 

On Christmas Eve I read Maya Angelou's poem "Amazing Peace." I loved the images in these lines:

Hope spreads around the earth, brightening all things,
Even hate, which crouches breeding in dark corners.

The poem ends this way:

And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation:
Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.

Peace to you. I wish you a new year filled with hope brightening all things.

Syntax Training


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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.

One comment on “Resolutions for 2009, Simple and Sublime”

  • Hi Lynn, simple resolutions are easy to keep. With simple and practical resolutions, one just maximizes the chance of keeping them.

    Wish you a great year 2009!


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