In a recent post, I referred to CEO as an acronym, but it's not. Now that I have been corrected, I'll share my learning with you. CEO (for Chief Executive Officer) is an initialism--not an acronym. We pronounce each letter, just as we do with ATM, LCD, and FDA. NOW...
Acronyms deserve their bad reputation. Those TLAs (three-letter acronyms) are guilty of excluding, confusing, and delaying readers. And what's worse--many times we can't agree on what they stand for. Nevertheless, like carbohydrates, snowmobiles, and pigeons, there's a place for them. For example, CEO is just right in the title...
Podcasting, adware, RSS feeds, firewall--these terms are all commonly found in blogs, on high-tech web sites, in consumer-focused articles, and in PowerPoint presentations across the globe. But do readers know what these words mean? According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, many do not. Here are some...
Many communication and marketing experts talk about having an elevator speech. It's the mini-speech you give someone to promote yourself, your idea, or your business. The connection with elevators is the idea that you have only 30 seconds or less--the time it would take to get to the top...
Yesterday I received Robert Middleton's weekly e-newsletter, "More Clients." The newsletter has a subscriber list of more than 40,000, and Robert is a top marketing resource for small service businesses. This week's "More Clients" focused on repackaging one's products and services. Although it wasn't about writing, it reminded me that...
Mistakes. Mistakes. Mistakes. We all make them, even when we think we have proofread our documents. Some mistakes are worse than others:   Written: The rent will be $200 per month.  Intended: The rent increase will be $200 per month.   Written: You have a credit of $2,500.  Intended: You have...
Lately I've been thinking about courteous business writing. That topic always reminds me of a message I got from my friend and longtime colleague Cindy Clay, for whom I used to do a lot of writing. I had emailed a book review to Cindy, and she really didn't like...
Never accept a grammar- and spell-check as foolproof. Last week I was once again reminded of the limits of proofreading software. In a business writing class, participants were sharing the documents they had just written, when we discovered these grammar- and spell-check misses:      "between you and I"  (change...
While others comment about U.S. independence from British rule on this American holiday, I'm thinking about another rule: the rule of numbers in dates. These numbers are rendered correctly:     July 4 is a U.S. holiday.     The Fourth of July is a U.S. holiday.     The 4th of...
When I started yesterday’s post, I dithered around for a while, typing in a few pompous sentences about the importance of ground rules. After a couple of minutes, I found my subject and got comfortably into it. Once there, I cut those first dull comments. Some people aptly call...