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...
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...
UPDATE: Yesterday I shared an example of a time that I did not open an untitled attachment when I should have. Since then several readers have commented strongly that one should NEVER open untitled attachments. I stand corrected. Please read the original post (it’s brief)—and their important comments. Here's the...
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...
Sometimes we bang out a message to get it done quickly. But if we take just another minute or two to make the message clearer before clicking Enter or Send, we save time for readers. That time savings often leads to getting a faster, better response. Here is an...
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:...
My husband is on a mailing list for information about upcoming stamp shows. This week he got an email announcement and saw his email address in a clump of at least a hundred others. All were there in a long list, a gold mine for people wanting to sell...
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...