Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tell Them What You're Going to Tell Them


Tell them what you're going to tell them.  Remember to put the main points of your letter or email in the "subject" line.  Do not assume that folks are waiting breathlessly to read your every word; they want to know up-.front why you are writing.


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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Jokes in e-mail

When to tell a joke in an email?  The chances are, you should not. As much as we think of email as an informal way of communicating, you should assume that everything you write will be read by people other than those you have addressed, possibly including human resources personnel or lawyers.  It is better to be ‘short and sweet,’ and save the jokes for later.

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"You" in a Memo

When should you use “you” in a memo?  When written in conversational memos, the overuse of “you” sounds like the writer is giving orders to the reader.   Relying on “you” suggests that the writer is giving directions, as in traffic directions or recipes.

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Exasperating or exacerbating?

During the recent NBA finals, an announcer said that a player interfering in an argument between two other players was “exasperating the situation.” No, he wasn’t. What was probably meant was “exacerbating” the situation, which means “making it worse.” The player received a technical foul from the referee, most likely exasperating his coach. Likewise, he aggravated the situation, rather than his coach, as “aggravate” also means “to make worse,” not “annoy,” which is how it is often misused.
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