Carrie wrote to me this week with a complaint about the writing at her accounting firm. She said: "I proofread most of the mailings that the firm sends out. I often point out run-on sentences, only to be told 'It's industry standard language' or 'That's business writing.' My point of...
I was teaching a business writing course, when an attendee I'll call Lucy showed me an email she had sent to a vendor. In the message, Lucy explained that she had not replied sooner because her company's computer system had been down. Her message was clear and concise, and...
My friend Susan Daffron of Logical Expressions sent me an email telling me that today is "Make Your Dreams Come True" day. It was a marketing email in which Susan wrote about the dream of writing a book and how one might use her services to make it come true. Finishing...
Over the past 1.5 days, I taught a business writing course for internal auditors. Throughout the program the vice president of internal auditing participated wholeheartedly in every learning activity. He shared his knowledge, admitted his knowledge gaps, and communicated his hopes and expectations for his team's audit reports and other written pieces. That...
Before I specialized in business writing, I wanted to be a fiction writer, and I spent many years trying. One of the books I read to help me develop as a writer was Brenda Ueland's classic If You Want to Write. No doubt other writers have learned lessons from...
Susan Daffron of Logical Expressions gave me a link to an excellent article-blog post "How to Measure the Value of Editors," by James Mathewson. Mr. Mathewson is editor in chief at IBM.com. IBM conducted a study in which they measured the difference in response rates to an unedited and an...
Having returned from a 15-day vacation in Guatemala, I have been thinking about what I experienced that relates to this blog and business writing. Here is what I realized: Throughout the trip, I prided myself on speaking Spanish, with no lapses into English just because the hotel clerk or driver spoke...
Today I ordered a prescription refill from my health plan through the automated telephone refill line. The line is normally easy and efficient. For nearly every choice, the user has to press the # (pound) key. This is a breeze, just a touch of a key, on a normal digital phone....
Last week I wrote the flyer for a business writing class I am offering online for the first time: Writing Tune-Up for Peak Performance. In the flyer, I included brief examples of typical business writing that needs tuning up. Thinking you might enjoy testing yourself on the items, I have included them below. What...
My friend Cindy, who runs a training company, told me about an apparent negotiating technique I was not aware of: letting them sweat. Cindy had prepared a proposal for a prospective client. Shortly after the client received the proposal, all communication stopped. Emails from Cindy's staff received no reply. Phone calls...