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Training Bulletin
issue 49

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Training Bulletin Issue 49

Letter to Santa

Dear Satan, [Santa1: Isn’t it amazing the difference one wrong letter can make? You do need to proofread.]

Pls can u [Santa2: Avoid text speak – most people don’t find it acceptable in business writing.] send an end to the economic crisis because our sales has [Santa3: Sales have, not has.] been appalling lately and we really need to see an improvement next year.

[Santa4: You know, I’m just as willing as the next mythical, overweight elf to help you, but you need to help yourself first. If you want people to do things for you, then here are a few pointers that might increase your chances of success in future.
Are you being realistic in what you’re requesting? This economic crisis: if the combined clout of Angela, Nick and Dave hasn’t been able to sort it, what do you think I can do?]

Also, it wood [Santa5: This is what happens if you rely too much on the spell checker!] be really good if you could sort out the problem with the network printer [Santa6: You’ve gone from telling me about the printer to telling me what effect it has on you. A bit of punctuation is going to help if you change gear like this halfway through a sentence – start a new one or put in a semi-colon.] its [Santa7: Ho, ho, ho! Wrong version of it’s!] diving [Santa8: Oh dear, check your spelling!] us all batty.

[Santa9: Now, the printer. Better chance of help there but you’ll need to be a bit more specific about the problem rather just than saying you’re going batty. You’ll get things done faster if you tell people what you need, why you need it and when you need it. Talk to the person you’re asking and find out what they need from you to get the job done.
So: what is the problem with the printer? Do you just want a new one? Would you be happy with a repair? I’m more in the business of supplying new things rather than repairing them so be aware that I’ll have a bias in the advice I give you.]

We could do with a bit of a rocket [Santa10: I know we’re just having a friendly little chat here, but make sure this kind of wording doesn’t creep into your work as it’s a hard for foreign speakers to understand.] under some of our sales staff, actually. The economy is one thing but half of them aren’t anywhere near their target’s [Santa11: I suppose I should be happy with two correct apostrophes out of three in one paragraph.] this quarter. Don’t suppose you can suggest anything?

[Santa12: Given the date, I think you’ve left it a bit late to be asking for this. When you set objectives, make sure you consider how you’re going to assess progress along the way. There’s a handy acronym for this, SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-framed. Let me know if you want any help with it for next year. This letter might have flowed a bit better if you had put this after your earlier reference to appalling sales – part of a logical structure is grouping related subjects together.]

Anyway, can’t think of anything else, unless you’ve got a Ferrari or two up your sleeve. TTFN, [Santa 13: What did I say about text speak?]


[Santa14: As I'm sure you know, Bob, it's hard to get a Ferrari down a chimney, or up a sleeve for that matter. I do have something you might find useful, though, if the preceding is any indication of what your writing is usually like: Grammar Rules: Writing with military precision by Craig Shrives.]

Do you or your staff write like that?

You need to be careful not only with what you say, but how you say it. A customer in the same grumpy mood as Santa will pick on every little thing in your writing. If you think your documents could be more professional, we can help. Contact us by emailing

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Happy Christmas from The Plain Words Training Team!

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