Business Writing

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Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

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March 20, 2018


Casey Decker

Helpful hints! I would add to #8 (proofreading before hitting send)—read the text message out loud. I often catch mistakes like duplicate words when I do so, especially if the words are on separate lines.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Casey,

Good suggestion! For longer pieces, people can use your services at


Cathy Miller

I wish AT&T would read this, Lynn. I am not one who likes receiving text for business or personal accounts. Every month AT&T sends a text saying my auto-payment has been made. Then I receive an email with the same message. I'll take the email. Trash the text.

When I researched how to opt-out of the texts, I discovered there is no opt-out. Doesn't matter if you want them or not. You get them.

They think it's okay because no fee applies to the text. Who cares if it drives your customer crazy? ☺

Can you tell you hit a nerve, Lynn. ☺

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Cathy, I hear you! That is strange behavior from AT&T. If the customer doesn't want a text, she doesn't want a text.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Adam W. sent this good suggestion to me through LinkedIn:

"I find it helpful to have the device read the text (or email) back to me. I do this both on the phone, and on the computer.

"It's like a secretary reading back a letter. Computer voices are getting better all the time, and you can often select an accent that you like.

"This practice helps immensely, as I catch countless errors by ear that I missed by eye. It also helps with composition, word choice, rhythm, etc."


Helpful tips, learnt so many from this post.


Excellent tips! My Dentist is a serial abuser of tech based communication. I get a text day prior, email 2 hours after the text and a phone call end of day, whether or not I have confirmed the appointment. So annoying, but he's a great Dentist.

I have asked him to limit communications, but he said he cant because others are not so responsive as I am. Gee thanks... I get the prize for being dedicated patient.

JD Gershbein

Superb post, Lynn.

Gaining permission - from a client or colleague - to enter the text realm is pivotal to setting the stage for effective business messaging.

I also try to mirror the patterns of my texting partner as the dialog moves forward. If they are terse, I'll be terse. If they like more detailed messages, I'll match their sentence length. (However, if they text with typos, I won't follow suit.)

Another device that has become convention is the "thumbs up" icon, which functions as both a "Roger that" and a natural, comfortable finish to a text thread.


Great Tips! One that drives me crazy is “reply all”! Sometimes a group text will go out congratulating a coworker or whatever the case may be, and a few people will respond with "reply all" oh this drives me crazy...



As usual, you provide great information. I agree with you, texting to confirm an appointment, then calling is not necessary. My dentist asks which method we prefer and they only use that message for contacting you. I prefer text, so that is all I get as a reminder.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Thank you for commenting, Shya, Miri, JD, Brenda, and Lisa. I love your input!

Miri, your dentist is like mine. Maybe the office could put a note in your chart saying "Do not call"?

JD, I just noticed the thumbs up icon in texts I received in the past few weeks. It IS helpful. Also, I like your idea of mirroring the style of others. I try to be courteous, though, even when others are abrupt.

Brenda, a group text for congratulations sets everybody up for replying to all. That behavior would drive me crazy too.

Lisa, we want your dentist!



Helpful tips! Thanks Lynn.
I'm not a native English speaker, it really bother me how to end the text every time. According to your tips, now I know it.

Thanks again!
Wan Ping

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

I'm glad to be helpful.


Roger Schulman

Great article. I've noticed that "You're welcome" has gone out of style and I wish it hadn't. It's the correct way to respond to "Thank you" without prompting the long tail of back-and-forthing that you describe. To me, it also feels like a subtle attempt at one-upmanship!
Roger Schulman,

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Roger, thanks for stopping by with a comment. I'm someone who often does not use "You're welcome," but then later I wish I had ended the exchange more politely. I guess you are right.



Hello, I like to definitively conclude a text back and forth with a "goodbye" type phrase.

A. OK, the meeting is set for 10:45, I will bring the projector, and you bring the coffee?

B. That sounds good, will bring the coffee.

A. Perfect! Signing off now, I'll see you tomorrow at 10:45. Good night!

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Zubin,

Good idea! I think you can probably cut "Signing off now" since you say "Good night." But your message IS definitive.


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