Announcing Marilynne’s New Blog: WebOver50

When Leslie and I started E-WRITE in 1996 “the e-mail” was a very new tool and Al Gore was inventing the Internet. We knew that e-mail and the web would change how we communicate. But who could have envisioned Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or blogs?  I’ve noticed that many of my over 50 friends and colleagues have been […]


Thirteen Overused and Abused Expressions I’d Like to Outlaw

I recently came across an article about 115 forbidden words and expressions compiled by Randy Michaels, CEO of the Tribune Co.  The company owns the Chicago radio station WGN, and Michaels forbid radio anchors and reporters from using these words.  Among forbidden words and expressions are some that make me cringe as well. 5 a.m. in […]


E-Mail’s Five Golden Rules

We now average 7.2 hours a week—almost a full work day—on e-mail. Would you like to decrease the time you spend on e-mail and improve the quality? You could, if everyone followed these five golden rules. Just think what you could do with the time saved!  1. Write helpful subject lines. A good subject line tells you […]


The Award for Worst Tone in a Business E-mail Goes to. . .

As a collector of poorly written e-mails, I thought I’d seen everything: egregious spelling and grammar errors, poor organization, bloated language, and unprofessional tone. So I have to admit that I was shocked by the e-mail my friend “Chris” sent me quoting e-mails that an accountant in her financial services firm sent to a client. […]


Lessons From the Insurance Industry: You Don’t Need a Gecko to Set the Right Tone

We recently evaluated the correspondence of a major insurance company and its competitors. Using a benchmarking tool we developed, we rated their e-mails and letters to customers on seven Standards. One Standard that we carefully looked at was tone:  “Correspondence is written in a personal, professional tone.” While the topic of the correspondence frequently involved […]