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The way you ask

Reading my old correspondence pains me. If I wondered why I didn't get over-enthusiastic responses to my requests, all I had to do was to read what I wrote, or rather, how I asked.

No "please" or "thank you in advance," but a mere "As I will be leaving Houston shortly, send all documents to the following address."

Nowadays, I would rewrite with "As you know, I will be leaving Houston in a few weeks. I would be most grateful if you could send those documents to the following address. I have enjoyed our meetings."

or better,

"Would you be so kind to send me my documents?"

My friend Yasmin once complained about my short e-mails. I was too busy to be polite and wordy then. I never embellished the greetings with "Hi" or "Dear." Just the name of the recipient would do. Recipients of short emails can easily feel unimportant in the busy sender's list of priorities.

Over the years I learned that you can be kind without the wordiness.

One editor I worked with always signed himself, "All the best." Another introduced me to the English-ism, "Cheers." Yet another gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling with "Warmest regards."

So if you question why you're not getting the results you want, ask yourself how you are asking.

Dear readers,
Thank you for your positive feedback about Bon Journal. To improve the contents of this journal, I would like to hear from you about what is lacking, specifically, journal entries you dislike. Negative criticism is just as important as positive ones. Please don't be shy. Your e-mails will be treated in the strictest confidence. Simply use the Contact Editor form linked from every web page of Bon
I look forward to hearing from you.
Warmest regards,

15 January 2004 Thursday

The joys and pains of writing and editing, Le Bon Journal issue
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Anne Ku at Ilp in May 2001
Anne Ku

writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.
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