Business writing tips – is courtesy still relevant?
I was out on my morning run yesterday when a cyclist came tearing down at me on the pavement.
I jumped out of the way and let her pass.
It happened too fast for me to ask her what she was doing riding on the pavement.
We all know, don’t we, that the pavement is for pedestrians and not cyclists.
I’ve never seen a sign that says the pavement is a cycle trail.
Perhaps she thought she couldn’t cut onto the grass side where she could avoid hogging the pavement.
Maybe she was cycling in terror way from someone or a fierce dog.
She could have been in such a hurry because she had some private toilet business.
Or she could be so wrapped up in her private world, that she doesn’t notice anyone around her.
Then again, perhaps she just doesn’t care where she rides. To her she owns the pavement.
My last and final plea, doesn’t age count for anything anymore?
She couldn’t have been past thirty thundering past a “ahem” more “mature” person.
This cyclist is probably the person you receive an email from with the following greeting:
“ABC Pty Ltd works with EPDM synthetic rubber products to provide our clients with commercial and residential waterproofing solutions with unbeatable quality and lifespan.”
No niceties, just straight in with something she wants, wham bam thank you man.
No warm up or polite greeting.
On one of her feeling good days, she may write:
“I hope this finds you well”.
Isn’t it about time to kill off that email greeting?
Even something warmer such as the following may crack a smile:
“Did you see the news about [XYZ]? How crazy is that!”
Courtesy in business writing involves the respect we show to others. It means writing in terms of the reader’s interest or viewpoint with a positive tone, being polite, sincere and enthusiastic.
A business writing coach who used to come to the university on foot every day arrives one day on a fancy new bicycle. “Where did you get the bike from?” his friends want to know. “It’s a thank you present”, he explains, “from that young student I’ve been tutoring. But the story is kind of weird…” “Tell us!” “Well”, he starts, “yesterday she called me on the phone and told me that she had passed her business writing final and that she wanted to drop by to thank me in person. As usual, she arrived at my place riding her bicycle. But when I had let her in, she suddenly took all her clothes off, lay down on my bed, smiled at me, and said: You can get from me whatever you desire!”One of his friends remarks: “You made a really smart choice when you took the bicycle.” “Yes, another learned friend adds, “just imagine how silly you would have looked in a young woman’s clothes – and they wouldn’t have fit you anyway!”