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...
Yesterday someone in my professional network, whom I may see once a year, ordered 20 booklets from me. In my emailed thank-you for her order, I said I hoped she and her young daughter were having a beautiful summer. I used her daughter's name. She wrote back, "Thanks! I...
As a fan of positive language, I am intrigued by a positive word that has not caught on with ordinary business people. That word is talent, used to describe employees. Talent management, talent acquisition, and talent retention are phrases popping up constantly in my email inbox. Consultants, recruiters, training companies,...
Always on the lookout for positive language, I was rewarded this week at one of the Starbucks stores in the San Diego Convention Center. Waiting in line, I heard one of the counter staff (known as "partners") ask, "May I help the next guest?" Not the next person, not...