It's easy to fall into bad writing habits at work. Sometimes it's because we are racing. Sometimes it's because we have read enough swollen sentences, obscure acronyms, and endless messages to lower our standards. And sometimes we write on autopilot.   Let's find out if your writing passes a test. Before you...
Scenario: Imagine that you run a classy beachside hotel. Many of the hotel rooms have balconies that face the beach. Everyone walking from the beach toward the hotel can see the balconies.  When guests hang wet bathing suits, towels, and other items over the balcony railings, the view is tacky--not...
I led a class for a group of writers who respond to citizen complaints about airplane noise. The writers cannot make the planes quieter, and they can't make them go away. What can they do? They can respond in ways that help citizens feel heard and helped. When you can't give...
Last week I went with two friends to visit an assisted living facility they were considering for their mother. A warm, welcoming man shook hands with us and led us into his office. As we entered, I noticed the door plate. It said Sales and Marketing.  We were not there...
The other day I met my friend Barb for lunch. She arrived at the restaurant first, and the server asked, “Just one?” Barb often eats out alone, and she frowns when she hears that question. This time she replied, “Here is where I should have a snappy comeback, but I...
I received a delightful note when I found my seat at the Arena Stage Theater in Washington, D.C., last week. I was on vacation and visiting the theater for the first time.  An envelope addressed to Ms. Lynn Gaertner-Johnston lay propped on my upturned seat. Inside it were two small...
If you are human, you face situations during your workday that require you to write under pressure. Maybe you have to respond to an angry employee's email. Maybe you seriously disagree with a coworker and need to put your reasons in writing. Or you may have to share constructive...
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...