Many people seem to have adopted the expression "Not a problem" in place of "You're welcome." For example, if I thank someone in email, by phone, or in person for doing a favor for me, the response is often "Not a problem." I am guessing you too have read or heard "Not...
Last Thursday I published a blog post in which I had missed a silly error. I typed reader's instead of readers. Of course, I know where apostrophes belong, but I typed the apostrophe and then overlooked it during several rounds of proofreading. You will not find that error in last...
The other day I was talking to a friend about his professional bio. I wondered why he did not include his experience as a web designer in the bio. To me, designing effective websites requires genius and artistry.  He said, "It was too long ago. I'm a dinosaur." I said, "You were in the...
On a recent Sunday I went out with my family for breakfast at a pancake house. We were seated at a table next to a family made up of a mother, a father, a young boy in a booster chair, and an infant in the mother’s lap.  Before we had...
Yesterday I wrote about the effective personalized email I received from IX Web Hosting. But the personalization was not the only strong point of the message. The email was a fine example of leading the customer-reader to think positively by using positive language.   First, the subject of the email was "Upgrades...
The other day I sent out a reminder to people who would attend the public Better Business Writing class yesterday. In it, I wrote: Class begins at 8:30 sharp. The sentence felt too schoolmarmish--as though I would give a detention to anyone who arrived late, and maybe whack them with a ruler. At...
I received a survey request for my feedback on a restaurant, and I noticed the categories I could pick from regarding the noise level: Quiet . . . Moderate . . .  Energetic Did you notice the absence of the word noisy? I spotted it right away because I had found...
This week I taught two groups of sophisticated writers who communicate with clients. One of the business writing topics we agreed to disagree about was the language we use to show customers we care. I like statements like "You have been a valued customer for many years" and "Thank...
Lately I have been thinking about messages from insurance companies, who often encourage us to think of them as our families. My thoughts go in this direction because I wrote a training proposal for an insurance company in Minnesota this week, and I am looking forward to teaching "Writing Tune-Up for...
In a business communications class last night, we discussed a closing sentence in a cover letter--that is, a letter of application for a job. Here is the sentence: I look forward to being interviewed for the position. We argued about whether that sentence is positive and confident or pushy and...