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...