I'm copyediting a book this week, so I have immersed myself in rules and rule-breaking for nonfiction writing. The project is a church history. To work quickly, I have been using my grammar and spelling checker to make obvious errors and inconsistencies pop. One that keeps popping is passive...
A friend of mine who works at a large, urban university on the West Coast shared an example of a business person who did NOT think about their audience. And the person's choice led to the loss of a customer order. The university's Department of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion wanted...
I'm helping two friends who have just completed a book manuscript. They work beautifully together and will have a wonderful book when it's finished. But right now, tiny inconsistencies appear everywhere. In one chapter, all numbers are in words; in another, most numbers are in figures. Sometimes the names of...
A business plan is a roadmap that serves as a profit generation guide for your business. Creating a good one means providing all the details required for your company’s effective operation and management, discussing every possibility and the steps to be taken to achieve it, and explaining why you...
At job interviews it's easy to stumble over at least one question, especially if it's unexpected. Interview blunders can cause you to dread following up on your application. But don't lose heart! A thank-you note can remedy the situation.  When you feel that you have blown an interview question, address...
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....
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...
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...