When writing is fuzzy, perfectly clear ideas come across as vague, illogical, or ambiguous. Don’t let fuzzy writing undermine your brilliant ideas! Great ideas deserve clear expression. Avoid the five don’ts below to communicate clearly with your audience. 1. Don’t use this alone. When the word this stands alone, readers...
My daughter enjoyed an attraction called Enchant Christmas, which is currently in Seattle. I thought I'd like to go too, so I checked out the website on my phone.   I was surprised that Enchant was also being offered in Arlington, a city just 47 miles north of Seattle. I scrolled...
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...
As a business writing expert, I should have known that I'd get the wrong response. I had written the email in a way that was easy for me but misleading for my reader, a woman named Lea.  Requesting a tour of a retirement home for my elderly friend, I wrote: Please...
A man recently contacted me about wanting to be successful in his new job. He realized his writing was not what it needed to be.  If you have a new job, congratulations! Being successful in a new position requires learning and doing new things and accomplishing old things new ways....
I got an email yesterday from the organizers of a literary festival I'm going to attend. It shared reminders about parking and registration. I knew where to park, but I needed to know where registration was. So I went directly to this paragraph: REGISTRATIONAttendees are required to check in at...
Do people tell you that your writing is choppy or difficult to follow? Do they say it doesn't flow? Or maybe you've noticed that your team's writing doesn't flow.  Good flow in writing is method, not magic. When writing doesn't flow, it's missing certain elements that help to guide and focus...
The other day I was reading a movie review, and a character in the film was described twice as redoubtable. Before you read on, answer this question: What does redoubtable mean?        Need some help? So did I. I had no idea what redoubtable meant. And I'm an English major, business writing expert, and...
Imagine this scenario: You got approval and budget to attend a four-day work-related conference. You're back now, and your boss says, in passing, "I'd like a report on the conference. Can you get it to me by tomorrow at 2? I want to share highlights with our VP."  Your mind...
While you have been busy working, some of the rules of writing evolved, and the University of Chicago Press released a new Chicago Manual of Style. Take a look at the changes below to determine which ones you need to adopt. Then update your company style guide to be...