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....
For many of us, it’s difficult to write about ourselves without feeling uncomfortable. Maybe that’s because of childhood messages we heard about being modest. I, for one, had an imposing old aunt who announced, whenever I was happily bragging, “Self-praise stinks.” Yet even my twenty-something daughter, raised in a...
It's easy to fall into bad writing habits at work. Sometimes it's because we are racing. Sometimes it's because we have read enough swollen sentences, obscure acronyms, and endless messages to lower our standards. And sometimes we write on autopilot.   Let's find out if your writing passes a test. Before you...
Scenario: Imagine that you run a classy beachside hotel. Many of the hotel rooms have balconies that face the beach. Everyone walking from the beach toward the hotel can see the balconies.  When guests hang wet bathing suits, towels, and other items over the balcony railings, the view is tacky--not...
I led a class for a group of writers who respond to citizen complaints about airplane noise. The writers cannot make the planes quieter, and they can't make them go away. What can they do? They can respond in ways that help citizens feel heard and helped. When you can't give...
Last week I went with two friends to visit an assisted living facility they were considering for their mother. A warm, welcoming man shook hands with us and led us into his office. As we entered, I noticed the door plate. It said Sales and Marketing.  We were not there...
The other day I met my friend Barb for lunch. She arrived at the restaurant first, and the server asked, “Just one?” Barb often eats out alone, and she frowns when she hears that question. This time she replied, “Here is where I should have a snappy comeback, but I...
I received a delightful note when I found my seat at the Arena Stage Theater in Washington, D.C., last week. I was on vacation and visiting the theater for the first time.  An envelope addressed to Ms. Lynn Gaertner-Johnston lay propped on my upturned seat. Inside it were two small...
If you are human, you face situations during your workday that require you to write under pressure. Maybe you have to respond to an angry employee's email. Maybe you seriously disagree with a coworker and need to put your reasons in writing. Or you may have to share constructive...