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August 08, 2018


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George Raymond

Thanks, Lynn. Writing "why" is tricky but doable. For example, some passengers might worry that the severe weather will make their flight bumpy, even if it departs 90 minutes later. So in this case the "where" and "when" of the problem are also important.

Another helpful statement can be "what we are doing about it". On July 27, a substation fire cut power to the overhead wires for trains at a Paris station, forcing several days of cancellations and re-routes. An email from the railway company told me from what station and when my train would depart; the power company published videos of technicians making repairs as their boss explained the work. These communication efforts enhanced the companies' credibility and passenger acceptance of the incident.


Hello, Lynn! It truly is a tricky subject. Sometimes changes in plans, procedure, policy or prices can be taken negatively no matter what the reason for it was. Especially if the reason wasn't that unquestionable like weather condition, it can be taken as a lame excuse which could only make situation even worse. Just my thoughts.

My name is Ksenia, I am Russian, started to read your blog not so long ago which helps me a lot to improve my English. Thank you for your work.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi George,

Thank you for your good points and for the excellent examples of effective communication in Paris. I can imagine how the information about the repairs helped increase riders' patience and understanding.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Ksenia,

You are right that sometimes explaining the reason will not help people accept a situation.

I'm glad you are a reader, and I'm glad that you find this blog helpful.


Sanjay Patil

Hi Lynn,
I read all your articles with great interest. these business writings helps me to understand, communicate efficiently. inturn gives positive effect on my career. Thank you very much.

Marcia Yudkin


I understand that in the case of your flight delay, you wanted to know the reason. And the reason you wanted to know is, apparently, so you could know whether or not to be angry at the airline. But does it really lessen your discomfort or change the perceived reality to know the reason? If so, is that a good thing for one's mental health?

In one case, you might have been sitting around for hours steaming at the airlines, because you felt the reason was an unforgivable one (such as, perhaps, a pilot not showing up for work). In another case, you might have decided to simply make the best of it because, oh well, no one can control the weather.

To me, this seems like a significant waste of energy. Whatever the reason for the delay, you were going to have extra hours at the Denver airport and get home very late. Whether the reason for the delay was acceptable or unacceptable, it was up to you to decide how to respond.

My apologies if this is "too Zen." But I disagree with the advice in most of your bulleted examples as well. It would require a much longer and equally philosophical post to explain why.

Marcia Yudkin


Lynn -

Marcia Yudkin's points are irrelevant to the purpose of your blog. They may or may not apply to how YOU felt, but they are not why you write your blog. Your blog correctly explains to communicators a better way to communicate -- and your bullets are completely on point. Thank you for your advice.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Sanjay, you are very welcome. Good luck with your career.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Marcia,

I'm sorry for the delay in responding. Strangely, I did not get a notice from my blog host that a new comment had been posted. I only saw your comment, and Laura's, when I got ready to post a new article.

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I wanted to know the reason for the delay because I wanted to understand it better. I have been at airports when a flight has been delayed, have been given a new departure time, and then suddenly been given a new EARLIER departure time. I have never missed a flight for this reason, but I have caught myself running for a gate if I make myself comfortable someplace and then have to hurry to board at an earlier time.

On the trip I wrote about, my flight was delayed even longer on the outbound flight. I spent more than three additional hours in Chicago. I was more relaxed there though and was able to go to a restaurant and have a meal, because the same airline explained the delay (weather) and how it affected their plane schedule.

I like the airline, and I always try to fly with them. I was irritated with them only for not communicating about the delay.

I guess we do have differences on this topic. I appreciated hearing your views.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Laura,

Thanks for your comment! I appreciate having you as a loyal reader.

I also appreciate Marcia, who has been teaching me important things for many years.


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