I have been writing lately about how to compose a condolence message and how and why to write thank you notes. This post combines the two: how to write a thank you for a condolence message. I'm inspired to write on this topic because of the search strings people...
Writing a thank you is one of the easiest tasks in business writing. It's a short, happy message that makes both writer and reader feel great. Some recipients even post thank you notes on their bulletin boards and in scrap books, so the good feelings live on. To communicate...
When you have a choice, do you prefer being with people who are positive--or negative? When you read business letters, reports, email, and other documents, which tone--positive or negative--makes the message more enjoyable to read? Which inspires you? Unless you are a negative person (in which case you must keep...
Some of us think writing sales letters, cover letters, or requests for donations is the hardest work imaginable. But this week I wrote the most challenging kind of delicate message: condolences to someone who had lost a coworker through suicide. Because I knew very little about the situation (very...
In early September I posted a blog on writing condolences, inspired by the need to send messages to people affected by Hurricane Katrina. Since then I have been amazed at the number of people who have visited this blog in search of examples of condolence letters. The earlier blog...
Dear Reader: I'm not sure whether it's gender-based or not, but it certainly seems that more men than women have trouble opening a business letter with the salutation "Dear _____." In a recent writing class in Bellevue, Washington, several men admitted they couldn't force themselves to use "Dear" to...
I just got a quick 13-word email that made me smile and made my work life easier. The pleasing message was simply this: "I don't know--but I'll find out and get back to you ASAP." No, it's no subtle pun that amused me. It's that the writer, Ken Dehn, took the...
Today at a business lunch I heard a tale of bad manners in business writing. Here's the story: A job candidate, who had been searching for a position for quite a while, had four interviews with a prestigious Seattle firm. Naturally, he was getting excited. And he should be: his...
The "royal we" has a questionable reputation. According to The American Heritage College Dictionary, it means "the pronoun used by a sovereign . . . to refer to himself or herself." I'd like to present a new definition of the self-absorbed we. I propose that it means, in contrast,...
In our office and home, we just changed Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Going through the grueling process of understanding the new screen and procedures, I am reminded of three ways to frustrate readers: Avoid telling readers how to do the essential tasks of their lives. For example, don't tell them...