Lately I have been invited by several professional groups to present to them on business writing. I have also traveled across the country to present to important people in large companies (we are all important: sales managers, engineers, customer service reps, etc.). For me, one of the challenges of...
I am glad that Raymond Ward of The (New) Legal Writer wrote about an Office Team survey on typos (typographical errors). The survey showed that typos do affect our job prospects. When 150 executives were asked, "How many typos in a resume does it take for you to not...
People who attend writing classes often say they want their writing to sound more professional. Sometimes they believe that big words are more impressive, and they are looking for ways to choose bigger and better words. But big words are simply bigger--not better. Here are five simple ways to...
A reader wrote to ask for help on writing a thank you to her coworkers, who were extremely supportive when her son died tragically in an accident. I am very sorry for her and her family's terrible loss, and I know that writing such a thank you can be...
Policies, procedures, processes--these are three distinct types of documents. Unfortunately, their apparent similarities tempt many writers to lump policy, process, and procedure together in one document. When they do, the reader who wants to follow the procedure gets stuck in the policy. The reader who needs to know the...
I just received an email with a sentence long enough to reach from Seattle to Sydney. It's 139 words--a stringy list of job requirements that test the reader's endurance. If the writer had formatted the content clearly and simply, this excerpt from a job announcement would have been easy...
My daughter, who is nearly 12, received a notice about a summer camp. It said:Become immersed in a week of adventure, peer bonding, and community building. Challenges include orienteering, rock climbing, sea kayaking, and camping. Mobile camps--every day is a field day! Small group sizes--14 campers max! Ages 11-14....
Let's talk about what to focus on in proposals. Should the focus be on your products and services? Should it be on your reasonable fees? On your client satisfaction rates? On your expertise in the industry? On your uniqueness? The answer to all the questions above is NO. Your focus...
In a recent Keys to Error-Free Writing class, participants wanted to know how to render clock time. A.M. or a.m.? PM or pm? 24-hour clock? 12-hour clock? Mention time zones or leave them out? Refer to GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)? These questions rarely came up a few years ago....
A good speech or presentation starts out as a good piece of writing. Speakers who rouse us to action and thought do not just pour forth brilliant, well-spoken sentences. They write them first--or they have someone else write them. Sometimes when I have spoken briefly at a meeting of...