Because today is the birthday of our fabulous desktop publisher, Debbie Esposito, I have been thinking happily of what Debbie has brought to our printed materials: Class, professionalism, and visual appeal When I walk into a room to give a marketing presentation or… continue reading
When Good Writing Goes Bad
In my business writing classes, I see a lot of very good work: beautifully written sentences, attractive formats, positive language, well-organized information, flawless punctuation. Nevertheless, when we sit together in small groups to discuss participants’ drafts, the reaction of readers isn’t always what writers had… continue reading
One Space or Two?
How many spaces should be included after end punctuation such as a period (full stop), exclamation point, and question mark? One. It’s true. Believe me. Despite what your teachers taught and typewriters required in decades past, the number of spaces after end punctuation–and after a… continue reading
Improve Your Grammar & Spelling Checker
As we rapidly generate documents and email, we rely more and more on Microsoft’s grammar and spelling checker. But you may not be getting as much as you could from that tool. For example: Does your grammar checker catch passive-verb sentences, such as “The meter… continue reading
Compliment or Complement?
In a writing class last week, a participant was surprised to learn of the existence of the word complement. Like many professionals, she had thought compliment was the only form. But often the word we want is complement. Details: Complement and complementary relate to completing.… continue reading
In early September I posted a blog on writing condolences, inspired by the need to send messages to people affected by Hurricane Katrina. Since then I have been amazed at the number of people who have visited this blog in search of examples of condolence… continue reading
Should Business Documents Be Interesting?
A business associate wrote to me today about a disagreement she is having with a colleague. He believes that his extensive vocabulary (with words such as erroneous and ameliorate), complex sentence structures, folksy cliches, and rambling style make his business writing more interesting. She disagrees.… continue reading
A Word to Forget–Please!
Minutes ago I picked up my home phone. The "caller" was a recorded message. The unheeding voice said, "We hope you are enjoying our holiday catazine you received in the mail." Catazine? Of course! It must be a combination catalog-magazine. And here I had thought… continue reading
Writing for the World
The business section of today’s Seattle Times features an article about Free & Clear, a company that provides stop-smoking programs. CEO Tim Kilgallon is quoted as saying “Tobacco treatment is the low-hanging fruit in health-care cost savings.” The same quote appears under Mr. Kilgallon’s photo… continue reading
How to Be More Efficient: A Consultant’s Confession
Last week I received a detailed, well-written email from a new client. She had laid out a series of questions for me about an upcoming workshop. I responded to each question within the body of her original email. That way, she would instantly know which… continue reading