Business Writing

Talk, tips, and best picks for writers on the job.

Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

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March 22, 2017


Taryn Vian

I liked the one example given. I'd need more examples to see if I can recognize "lazy" emails.


I agree with Taryn; some examples of the types of lazy emails you've received would be helpful to compare and contrast.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Thanks for your feedback, Taryn and Emily. Below is an example, whose details I have disguised. It is from a stranger.

Dear Lynn,

My name is _____ ______.

I'll make it really quick as I know you are probably busy.
I think that you do some great content on your website and would like to offer you an article "Grammar mistakes that . . . . " [She finished that sentence.]
Please let me know if you like this post idea or would like me to write about something else.

Looking forward to receiving a reply from you.

Thanks in advance.


_____ ______

This lazy message makes me do the work of figuring out who the individual is, what her credentials are, how well she writes, and which grammar mistakes she would probably cover. (I wouldn't want an article on mistakes I had already addressed.)

I'm not willing to do that work for the writer. If she doesn't give me what I need in an email, it's not likely she will give readers what they need in an article.


Marcia Yudkin

Here's another example of a lazy email, also from a stranger and also disguised.

Hi Marcia,
I saw your courses listed on [website] and they look quite exciting!
Have you thought about coaching online? I'd like to offer you a free 3 month trial of our online coaching service. We handle all the logistics of online coaching (scheduling, video sessions, and payments) so you can focus on coaching your clients.
Let me know and I will set you up as a beta tester on our new online coaching website.
Regards, _____

I wrote back that I was doing quite fine managing coaching on my own, and at that point the person replied with a bunch of arguments on why his service was better than whatever I was doing by myself.

The original email was lazy because it assumed that the process of offering coaching was obviously onerous, but that was not obvious to me. From the second email I did see a few advantages, but the marketer had already gotten off on the wrong foot with me.

A lazy email is one that makes the other person wonder why they should bother with your request.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Interesting, Marcia. That is a good example of what you mentioned in your original newsletter. The writer was so focused on the benefits of his program that he didn't see the obvious need to connect those benefits with you. Also, if he wanted you as a beta tester of a new service, he was probably looking for something from you without spelling it out.

Thanks for taking the time to share that example.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Today I got another lazy email from a stranger. It appears in its entirety below.

Subject: How are things?

What's going on?

I visited your website yesterday..
I'm currently looking for work either full time or as a intern to get experience in the field.
Please review my Resume and let me know what you think.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter,

First-Name Last-Name

What do you think my response was? Yes, to delete it.

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