Someone who was starting a new business asked me to review a marketing piece he had written. It was approximately 350 words long, yet not one of those words was you. Although it kept the writer's attention--after all, it was all about him--his readers would have stopped reading after the first few lines.   Here are five...
Time clicks by on your phone and wristwatch. Your article, letter, report, email reply, or blog post is due at noon. How do you get around the obstacles that block your writing flow? Try these techniques. 1. Imagine you are talking with your reader. Think about the things your reader...
Yesterday I updated a collection of articles I had written years ago. I made the examples fresher, changing dates like 2009 to 2017 and updating acronyms like TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program), which no one thinks about anymore.  I also did a grammar and spelling check to make sure I had not introduced any...
I wasted time and money recently when I went to a talk by an expert whose topic interested me. She had over 20 years of experience. But other than scribbling down a few phrases before she got up to speak, she appeared completely unprepared.  She didn't seem to have a...
Awhile back, I taught a friend all about passive verbs. I thought she understood. But her thank-you email said, "Much appreciated!" I hope she was teasing me.  How about you? Do you understand the difference between passive and active verbs and know when to use each type? If you do,...
Try your hand at improving the list of bullet points below. Here are the details: Last night I bought a terrific emergency kit at the REI store. It's a huge yellow backpack filled with the essentials for surviving an emergency. (My photo shows some of the items.) After I brought...
I've been away from this blog while I traveled Greece for five weeks. As a business-writing way to tell you about my trip and Greece, here are seven reminders about bullet points with my travel details as examples.  Reminder 1: Have a blend of paragraphs and bullets. Bullets make sense for lists of items, but...
As a careful writer and professional, I have sometimes spent too much time fussing with a piece of writing when I didn't need to. Recently I spent several hours on a proposal, when a brief conversation would have told me the client wasn't serious about moving forward. In classes, I...
For the 25 years I have taught business writing classes, I have heard and rejected a few myths. And I have learned and applied some important truths.  Is each of the five statements below a truth, a myth, or a mix of both depending on the situation? You decide. 1. Jargon...
I bought an "all natural" frozen burrito made with an organic tortilla, black beans, and basmati rice. Eager for lunch, I followed these heating instructions: MICROWAVE OVENPuncture the plastic lid seal covering the tray several times with a fork. Place tray in microwave oven and set on HIGH for approximately 5...