When you and I don’t work efficiently, we may waste time, money, supplies, and opportunities. But imagine the waste involved when the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and other executives at “C-level” work inefficiently. Beyond the cost of their time, executive inefficiency can rock an entire organization. Forgotten commitments, delayed decisions,...
I began reading an article by a university president about the school he leads. In the first paragraph, this is what I learned about the university:  Most of you know and appreciate what a great university this is, with a great faculty, great programs, great traditions, and a great reputation....
In an earlier post, I promised to review Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style "in a few days." That was more than three weeks ago. I've been savoring the book, making notes on every chapter. I am now ready to tell you that--as a reader...
Sometimes you simply have a lot to say. But you know that people often don't read long documents, and you are looking for ways to shorten yours. After you cut a few extra words and one or two unnecessary sentences, what can you do to make a long document...
Most bad paragraphing involves big walls of text. Readers see those walls and turn away. They move around the wall to shorter paragraphs and bullet points, things that appear to be easier to comprehend. Those big walls of text may contain important information, but the audience never reads it.  The...
As an online subscriber and recipient of Sunday delivery, I enjoy the excellent writing in The New York Times. The paper often uses a powerful technique to meet readers' needs: listing and answering the readers' questions.  For decades I've been recommending the answering-the-readers' questions approach for business writers--and not just for use...
Today I was reading an article online in Forbes. I expect Forbes to produce error-free articles, but an error popped out in this sentence: When you stop to think about it, the sheer amount of websites can also confuse and perplex us. Did you recognize the error?        It's the same error I made on...
My friend Eric W., a great sign spotter, sent me this photo for your enjoyment. He asks, "What does it hum?"  I ask you, "What is the problem with the heading below?"    It's an easy problem for a snowy Monday in Seattle--and an opportunity to remind you of my Punctuation for...
Tim wrote today with an acronym situation he would like to resolve. What do you think about his desire to spell out acronyms and initialisms, even when writing for SMEs (subject-matter experts)?  Here is his message: I read your blog on acronyms this morning and agreed with all the points. After...
Marcia Yudkin's excellent "Marketing Minute" arrived in my inbox today. It included an important reminder about jargon. Marcia gave me permission to share this guest post with you.  ********************************************************* Over Their Heads and Far From Their Comprehension By Marcia Yudkin Are you overestimating the public's familiarity with your jargon and underestimating their curiosity...