If you create newsletter articles, HR policies, forms, reports, or other pieces that touch on current topics and data, you may catch yourself wondering about word choice: transgender or transgendered? Eskimo or Inuit? Survivor or victim? The latest AP Stylebook (The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law 2018), which came out last month, features...
A man recently contacted me about wanting to be successful in his new job. He realized his writing was not what it needed to be.  If you have a new job, congratulations! Being successful in a new position requires learning and doing new things and accomplishing old things new ways....
In my survey on business writing and relationships of 686 adults, 81 percent of respondents said that a thank-you note they received had a definite positive influence on their decision to do business with a company or an individual again.  In an informal survey of blog commenters last week, all...
I expect a book on communication—which is what storytelling is—to teach me something new or remind me of truths I had better not forget. Rob Biesenbach’s Unleash the Power of Storytelling: Win Hearts, Change Minds, Get Results surpassed my expectations, and I am happy to recommend it to you. As...
I traveled (travelled?) around the Big Island of Hawaii the last two weeks and found that--even at Volcanoes National Park--I could not escape thinking about writing. This text grabbed my attention on the Sulphur Banks trail: It appeared on this large, instructive sign:   Why deal with spelling in a national park?...
Each of the three short passages below has one error in the choice of a word. Can you find all three errors? Test your skills. Passage 1: Bishara's most recent position was principal designer for Barton and Bloss. In the interviews we conducted, his interviewers gave him the highest amount...
You work against deadlines. Often you have to write quickly, even when the message is complex and somewhat delicate. It’s not surprising that you occasionally come across as abrupt when you thought you were being efficient. This problem is especially true in email. For the past few weeks, I've been...
When I talked about the rules of writing to a group of professional communicators, the first question they raised was this: Is it acceptable to use both who and that to refer to people, or is only who correct? Before I share my response, consider the question. Which word would...
I love it when a book on language teaches me a lesson. The African Svelte: Ingenious Misspellings That Make Surprising Sense, a guide by Daniel Menaker filled with humorous, elegant word errors, taught me that I’d better slow down and think if I want to catch errors that have...
College instructors sometimes ask me to recommend a text to use in their business writing classes. Until now, I haven't had a satisfactory answer. But I am pleased to recommend Business Writing Scenarios: Writing From the Inside, by Jon R. Ramsey, published in February by Bedford/St. Martin's (who sent me a...