If you are an expert in your field or industry, you have probably learned a lot of jargon--and you've earned the right to use it. But you don't want runaway jargon to get in the way of successful communication. Here are ways to get control of your language. 1. Understand...
At a park in beautiful Florida this week, I found a great play structure in the shape of a ship. A safety brochure covered the rules (below). Challenge: Can you revise the rules so they make safety sound cool, with a focus on safe fun rather than on regulations? After...
The other day I attended a Christmas pageant put on by amateur actors. Before the pageant started, the emcee said, "This is such a wonderful pageant. You are going to love it!" Last month I decided to patronize a business whose slogan calls it the "world's greatest" of its kind.  A couple...
Many people seem to have adopted the expression "Not a problem" in place of "You're welcome." For example, if I thank someone in email, by phone, or in person for doing a favor for me, the response is often "Not a problem." I am guessing you too have read or heard "Not...
Last Thursday I published a blog post in which I had missed a silly error. I typed reader's instead of readers. Of course, I know where apostrophes belong, but I typed the apostrophe and then overlooked it during several rounds of proofreading. You will not find that error in last...
The other day I was talking to a friend about his professional bio. I wondered why he did not include his experience as a web designer in the bio. To me, designing effective websites requires genius and artistry.  He said, "It was too long ago. I'm a dinosaur." I said, "You were in the...
On a recent Sunday I went out with my family for breakfast at a pancake house. We were seated at a table next to a family made up of a mother, a father, a young boy in a booster chair, and an infant in the mother’s lap.  Before we had...
Yesterday I wrote about the effective personalized email I received from IX Web Hosting. But the personalization was not the only strong point of the message. The email was a fine example of leading the customer-reader to think positively by using positive language.   First, the subject of the email was "Upgrades...
The other day I sent out a reminder to people who would attend the public Better Business Writing class yesterday. In it, I wrote: Class begins at 8:30 sharp. The sentence felt too schoolmarmish--as though I would give a detention to anyone who arrived late, and maybe whack them with a ruler. At...
I received a survey request for my feedback on a restaurant, and I noticed the categories I could pick from regarding the noise level: Quiet . . . Moderate . . .  Energetic Did you notice the absence of the word noisy? I spotted it right away because I had found...