36 years ago, my sister taught me this…

If you’re not into touchy-feely stuff, skip down to the bullet points. 

As long as you *like* my post, I’m not going to know you ignored the first half of it.

My sister graduated with the typical “Liberal Arts” degree.  Her first job was at a private middle school, teaching Biblical Studies (not the best fit for an atheist), and Grammar/English stuff.

She hated it so much that she pursued a master’s degree in Linguistics.

While she traveled the world, I had two children.  And when she finally settled down in Houston, Texas, she worked for a business that taught executives in large companies how to write letters.

Yes.  You read that right.  There is money in teaching people how to write letters.   

Who knew?

Her boss was horrible, so she did what any independent woman would have done — she started her own business.

She made enough money to purchase a 3-bedroom home with a large office, and made a living teaching Effective Business Writing to people in high places who worked in huge international companies.

When I was 41, she had 5 people working for her.  I moved to Houston and worked as her secretary for a year.  That’s when I learned how to write a letter people might want to read.

These are not her words, they’re mine, but I get the point across.  After all, this is my blog and I strive to be funny.

  • A busy executive will spend 7 seconds reading your swill.  If you don’t summarize your point by then, you’re screwed.
  • You have to capture his or her attention by that time, or your letter will find its way to an underling who will, most likely, search and replace your name into a generic letter.
  • If you like 30 line paragraphs, you’re screwed.  No one wants to read that Cr@p plow through an avalanche of words. 
  • See all the “white space” on this post? That’s what makes it easier to speed-read.
  • highlight the important points for the same reason you use white space.

That’s about it — with the exception of one last piece of advice.  Use caution when writing a memo to your supervisor:

  • If you can get past your his/her 7 second tolerance level, congratulations!
  • Here’s hoping you don’t get fired for writing better that s/he does. 




©Joelle (been there, got fired for that) LeGendre