On Friday I donated blood at a popup blood center. In the process I had to share information—about my sex partners, pregnancies, travel history, and illnesses. I had to repeatedly give my full name and birthdate. A personal exchange? Nope. It was completely impersonal. I felt like a commodity. No...
Yesterday I posted advice on giving constructive feedback in writing. That advice took the form of a list of Don'ts. Why not test yourself today on tips for giving constructive feedback? The list of 20 Don'ts below contains some fake Don’ts that should actually be Dos. Can you identify...
In my survey of 686 people working in the United States, 77 percent indicated that they have felt extremely hurt when receiving negative written feedback on the job. That hurt shouldn’t be happening. Feedback should be constructive—not destructive. To give feedback that helps rather than hurts, avoid these Don’ts. 1....
A reader named Kris sent this question: "I notice that people are no longer writing or speaking pronouns at the beginning of sentences. Is this acceptable now? I was taught that an implicit 'You' did not need to be written/spoken, but I’m noticing 'I' and 'We' not spoken or...
I had an experience recently where an individual sent me an email reply with no message--just an attachment. I felt let down, disappointed that my gracious communication had prompted what appeared to be a hasty, minimal reply. I wonder: Am I overreacting? Please share your opinion in the comments. Here's...
With business communication evolving into shorter, quicker messages, people wonder about long-standing formalities like complimentary closes (for example, Sincerely and Best wishes). Do we still use them? If so, which ones belong where? Here are answers to frequently asked questions about complimentary closes for letters, notes, emails, and texts.    Question:...
Time to act! Your Canadian clients and customers will celebrate Thanksgiving Day (Jour de l'Action de grâce) on Monday, October 14. Your U.S. contacts will do the same on Thursday, November 28. Be wise and thoughtful, and take this opportunity to remember them before the holiday (c)rush. Consider how...
Do you know how to say no? Are you comfortable writing a message that says no to someone's request? Or do you ignore requests hoping they will go away? Read this post to learn the easy way to say no--and why to say it.  Background: In the past year I...
On Saturday The New York Times ran a humorous column "I Hope You're Well," by Kerry Elson. In case you are unable to access The New York Times online, here are two opening exchanges from the piece: ********************* Hi, Robin, I hope you’re well. I can’t seem to find the attachment. Please re-send. All the best, Laura   Dear Laura, I...
Rob wrote:  I thought you might be a helpful sounding board from something I'm experiencing at work.  Recently, one of our female executive leaders has been using the word Ladies as a salutation in her emails that include men in the To and/or the Cc of the email.  I'm indifferent to people...