Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry in our Revise the “Office Plants” E-Mail Contest.
You bold people took one of the most tortured samples of workplace e-mail and reworked it into a direct, practical piece. You fixed the oblique subject line Individual Office Plants and even smoothed out lumpy sentences such as During a recent Office of Environmental Safety courtesy walk through,
plants located in several individual offices are apparently not being
well cared for or properly maintained. I am impressed!
But, a contest can only have one winner or, in this case, two. So, without further ado, I hereby announce the winners of our Revise the “Office Plants” E-Mail Contest.
- First Place goes to David Kay for his excellent rewrite. David made the e-mail shorter, used lots of personal pronouns, and linked to an About.com list of acceptable plants. He wrote in a friendly, plain language style, but his e-mail didn’t abandon the task of enforcing the rules. Great writing, David.
- Second Place goes to Margaret Elwood for her rewrite. About her limerick, she says “I just had to get it out of my system.”
Please heed these official rants:
Take better care of your plants!
You shouldn’t ought ‘ter
And we’re sick of those bugs, pests and ants.
Each winner will receive a copy of our Clear, Correct, Concise E-Mail workbook.
Many thanks to all who entered. If you read each contest entry, as I did, you’ll get a handy tutorial on how to do e-mail right:
- Brinda Moody wrote no-nonsense instructions but kept the writing friendly.
- Missy Curry engaged in a bit of word play and wrote clear instructions on plant care.
- Colleen Blessing used bullets to keep her e-mail short and sweet but was still able to work in the word ambience.
- Genie Smith demonstrated that she’s no pushover when she wrote: “If you do not or cannot move your sick, infested, or dead plants, we will.”
- Claudia Cooper revised sentences deeply, looking for plain language substitutes for confusing or bureaucratic language.
- Connie Raab cut every bit of fat. Her version = 74 words. The original e-mail = 267 words.
- EInspiration gave it to plant owners straight: keep those plants healthy or they’re outta here.
- Bonnie Wahiba used a direct tone and exactly three exclamation points to drive the point home.
- Anonymous trimmed wordiness, cut verbiage, and trimmed some more.
- Naomi Allen streamlined the original and made the message much clearer.
— Leslie O’Flahavan