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A Fine Example of Meeting Readers’ Needs

I am away on a writing retreat on Bainbridge Island, Washington, and I took myself to Doc's Marina Grill for dinner tonight. The menu included something I have never seen on a menu before, yet it makes perfect sense for this restaurant.

Can you imagine what it was?

Hint: Doc's is just a few blocks from the passenger ferry terminal.

Have you guessed it?

Directly below the list of soft drinks, the schedule for the Bainbridge Island-to-Seattle ferry appears. 

What do you think is the most common question asked at Doc's? Yep, and they have answered it right on the menu.

That's giving reader-customers what they need, while making the servers' lives easier.

Does this example make you think of anything you could put in writing to improve communication and efficiency? 

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.

2 comments on “A Fine Example of Meeting Readers’ Needs”

  • Several of my “own time” projects recently have involved putting links to things that I get the most requests for on the page that comes up when people search for me internally. Another is to get data I receive numerous requests for out on a site where anyone can find it (and then put links to it on my internal page.) I try to pay attention to what people want the most from me and then figure out how to get it to them in a way that is as easy as asking me for it. I figure if I put it on the page they use to find my phone number, I may be able to cut a step out for them. I’m not sure this is exactly writing, but it is the same idea.

    I love that the restaurant took something that was (I assume) an annoyance and used it in a positive way. It can be hard to get the spark that allows you to take that leap.

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