UPDATED: 3 OCTOBER 2021 In email, letters, and memos that include a request, writers often end with one of these statements: "Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter." "Thank you in advance for any help you can provide." In comments on another blog post this week, one writer said she...
What do you think of this email I received? **************************From: DavBlake@aol.com To: Undisclosed Recipients Subject: Writing Skills training I was referred to you by a colleague at Boeing. I conduct business communication workshops and am looking for partnering opportunities in the Seattle area. Please let me know if you are taking on...
Yesterday when I was presenting at a national insurance conference, we talked about this sentence, taken from a letter to customers: Believing that a specialized approach and focus for recovering from uninsured individuals is most effective, we use a professional collection agency whose expertise has proven successful in the recovery process. What is...
At the close of a recent Better Business Writing workshop, a participant who works for a consulting firm asked a question I had never heard before. It went something like this: If my employer bills $150 an hour for my work, should I take the time to edit and proofread what I write?...
I  was just writing a comment on a discussion board when I noticed the evolution of one of my sentences: First version:  I find your progress inspiring.Second version:  Your progress is inspiring.Third version: Your progress inspires me. The first version focuses on me rather than the person I was...
Many supervisors and managers ask me for help when their employees can't organize information. Of course, organization depends on the document. But here are five solutions I offer supervisors and managers to help employees organize their messages. Insist that every document get to the point within 50 words. Tell employees...
Elizabeth, who works for a nonprofit agency, phoned the other day for help on a report. She was writing the report to explain how her program had used a financial grant to partner with another agency to provide services. Elizabeth was stumbling over we in the document. The pronoun...
This afternoon on KUOW radio station in Seattle, Washington, I listened to a story about Seattle police who do their work on horseback. The officer who works in the equine division described a situation in which the officers and horses are in the street taking a break. He said...
Today the state of Oregon's lawmakers are discussing a bill that would mandate plain English in official state communications. If they pass a bill requiring plain English, Oregon will join the U.S. federal government and Florida and Washington state governments in outlawing obfuscation. Oops--I mean outlawing confusing, dense language...
Today I received an interesting comment from Matthew, who expressed concern about writing for the reader. He wrote, in part: If I continue to write a more conversational tone and interject more "slang" type language in my writing and speech, I then begin to manage down my communication skills...