Really Rad Writing Resource

May 5th, 2010

“Business communications” is a big topic. Some folks are focused on the macro level – being more strategic about communications to employees, stakeholders and business customers (have them call me).

But many smart people struggle to make their business communications spot-on at the micro level: business writing. Whether it’s (finally) mastering punctuation, writing a great presentation, or crafting concise e-mails to colleagues, otherwise successful professionals are being held back because of writing fundamentals.

And in an increasingly online world, where the written word reigns supreme, subpar writing skills ain’t gonna cut it.

I had lunch recently with my friend and colleague Lynn Gaertner-Johnston, founder of Syntax Training here in Seattle. She was telling me about her newest online class, Meeting Notes Made Easy, and I was reminded of something obvious that I’d briefly lost track of (I’m working with a lot of PR folks at the moment, all of whom know how to wield a perfect passive participle): writing well is not intuitive for everyone.

And it doesn’t become more intuitive over time. And it has nothing to do with intelligence. A very dear friend and client who is a brilliant and creative business leader sometimes struggles to express herself in writing.

Just try to deny that you’ve ever cringed, squinted, wrinkled your nose, sighed, scratched your head or downright cursed out loud at some convoluted communication written by a colleague. Now, try to deny that you’ve ever sat and thought, and sat and thought, and sat and thought about exactly how to convey an idea, a request, important information, etc.

Now release yourself from that state of denial! And what do you conclude?

Like most things in life, if you want to get better at something, you have to work at it. If you manage people who could increase their effectiveness by improving their writing (read: make your life easier while making their job more rewarding), have them work at it.

And get professional help. It’s out there, and it’s invaluable.

Writing instructors like Lynn, who are passionate about helping people be more effective and successful on the job, provide an incredibly important service for both companies and individuals. Hire one!

I happen to think Lynn is super rad – a talented and caring teacher who’s funny and down-to-earth – and I’m not alone. This intrepid business woman just celebrated the 10,000th subscriber to her e-mail newsletter, Better Writing at Work. I’m a faithful reader.

Go forth and improve your writing – and improve the writing of others. The business world will be a better place.

    • Lynn Gaertner-Johnston said:
    • Deb, I thought it might be self-serving to comment, but finally I couldn’t help it: You have beautifully expressed the reasons people should consider a refresher in business writing.

      Thank you for your sassy, smart, spot-on writing and ideas. And thanks for including me among all this wisdom.



    • Write a Comment*

      • *Deb Arnold, Ink reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business.


Learning Program and Team Awards 2009-2014


ASTD Excellence in Practice

Technical Training Award
Training Management Citation (for new programs)
Learning Technology Citation
Workplace Learning & Collaboration–Leadership Development (x2) Award, Citation
Workplace Learning & Collaboration–Onboarding Citation
Sales Enablement Citation

Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning

Best Custom Content Gold
Best in Learning Strategy and Governance Gold
Best Leadership Development Program Gold
Best Innovation in Learning Technology Silver
Best Leadership Sales Training Silver
Best Integration of Learning and Talent Management Bronze
Best Use of Games for Learning Bronze

Brandon Hall Technology Excellence

Best Advance in Social Learning Technology Gold

CLO Magazine Learning in Practice

Technology Innovation Gold, Division 1
Innovation Gold, Division 1
Business Impact Gold, Division 2
Business Impact Bronze, Division 2


Learning Organization Ranking Awards


American Society for Training & Development

ASTD BEST #1 (up from #32 in one year)
#2 (up from #37 in two years)

ELearning! Media Group

Learning! 100 #1 (first year on list)

Chief Learning Officer Magazine

LearningElite #1, #4

Training Magazine

 Training Top 125 #1, #2 (up from #41 in one year)