Business Writing

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

Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

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June 13, 2017


Marie-Claude Simard

Hello Lynn,

I totally agree with your post and the utmost importance of preparation. For a one hour presentation, it could take me more than 15 hours to prepare: plan, find the content, prepare the charts, get the slide's title right, rearrange the order of the slides to find the right flow, find the take away and then rehearse out-loud to refine all the bridges between the slides. You can't waste the time of your audience.


Thank you! Such a timely reminder!!

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Marie-Claude,

I admire your high standards. Your extensive preparation no doubt pays off in an excellent experience for your audience.

Thanks for stopping by to comment.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Laura,

I love your enthusiasm!



Thanks a lot.. can you please share few business writing tips


Lynn, one of the problems I see here is as much an ability to deliver a speech as anything else. Before joining Toastmasters I would often give speeches that would end up uninspiring and out of tune with the needs of the audience. I would be caught out by seemingly being unprepared, because I didn't know how to put my experience into a speech. Today I am more confident giving speeches because of what I learned in Toastmasters.


This is excellent. I will be passing around this article's link!

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hello Hatish,

Thanks for commenting. I hope that every piece on this blog includes business writing tips. I suggest that you work your way through all the articles.

From your comment, one blog post I recommend is on the difference between "few" and "a few":


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hello Pgiblett,

Toastmasters has changed people's lives. Thank you for sharing your helpful perspective.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Frank, thanks for spreading the word.



Unfortunately, even speakers who are prepared with Powerpoint and handouts sometimes rely too much on their experiences with other audiences and fail to put themselves in the shoes of those they are addressing.

At the opening meeting for a past academic year at our college, a very pleasant professional was contracted to speak to us about teamwork. Evidently, she was not informed about the fact that everyone from janitor to faculty to secretary to administrator was required to attend. Her focus was directed strictly to a business setting, rather than an academic setting, and it was obvious that she was trying to fill in the time--two 1.5-hour segments. The repetition was almost unbearable, the slides were wordy, and we were a captive audience, struggling to find portions of the presentation to which we could relate our work experience. The speaker, however, seemed oblivious to our woes and continued to stretch out the speech. Years later, we still talk about "the worst opening presentation in our history."

I learned from this that I should always seek information about my audience, rather than assuming that my presentation would interest any given group, and broaden my presentation to reach their worlds.

Keri Schlecht

Am I correct in recalling that you had almost decided to stop this blog a little while back? Either I made that up and have nothing to fear OR I'm really glad that you didn't stop. You offer great advice, clear instruction and useful topics. Thanks for another great post!

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Fran,

I am sorry you and the entire college staff were forced to endure the eternal presentation from hell. Thanks for taking the time to share that important example.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Keri,

Thanks for your kind words. You are probably remembering that I stopped writing my monthly newsletter late last summer. I'm going to relaunch it as a quarterly newsletter later this summer.


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