Yesterday I received a very thoughtful email from a stranger named Patrick. These are his opening paragraphs:With this email, I want to let you know that I appreciate your business writing blog so much. Regularly, I visit your blog to educate myself on writing appropriate English. Your site is...
A good speech or presentation starts out as a good piece of writing. Speakers who rouse us to action and thought do not just pour forth brilliant, well-spoken sentences. They write them first--or they have someone else write them. Sometimes when I have spoken briefly at a meeting of...
Every so often I hear the expression "lean and mean" applied to United States industries. This week I heard it again, in an ASTD webcast called "Closing the Skills Gap," which focused on the challenge of filling U.S. jobs that require certain skills. The expression was used by Stacy...
Today is a national holiday in the United States: Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  Dr. King was a peace activist and a passionate advocate for social justice and racial equality. He was born on January 15, 1929, and assassinated on April 4, 1968. The holiday in celebration of Dr....
Lately people have been visiting this site in search of "idiot's" advice. Yesterday someone was looking for "condolences for idiots." Earlier in the week there were searches for "proofreading for idiots" and "an idiot's guide to business writing and reports." I do write about condolences, proofreading, and business writing--but not...
You've probably experienced this awkward situation: a person makes a request to you in writing, and you have to say no--in writing. On the telephone or in person, you could respond earnestly, "I'm sorry! I wish I could!" or "Unfortunately, I have to say no." But it's a bit...
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...
Lately I've been thinking about courteous business writing. That topic always reminds me of a message I got from my friend and longtime colleague Cindy Clay, for whom I used to do a lot of writing. I had emailed a book review to Cindy, and she really didn't like...