Cut your writing down to size

October 1, 2008 Categorized in: Writing/Editing

You may think you’ve just penned the most brilliant correspondence of the year, but if it takes the recipient too long to wade through lengthy paragraphs, he’ll never know how bright you are. Take a tip from writing guru William Strunk: “Vigorous writing is concise.” Follow these steps to trim your prose:
The words “very” and “so” are kosher intensifiers during casual conversations (as in, “It’s so hot today!”). But when writing, it’s best to avoid both. Why? They can weaken your writing.

Cater your writing to ‘skimmers’

September 5, 2008 Categorized in: InternetWriting/Editing

The Internet is changing the way we read and think, asserts a recent article in The Atlantic Monthly titled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” So what does that mean for you? Cater your writing to skimmers.
When you seek input from others, whether you’re speaking or writing, be clear in your request. People will appreciate your directness and the time it saves them.
As any writer can tell you, a first draft is seldom perfect. The best writers put their words through rigorous rewrites and revisions before they even bother to run the spell-checker. Doing the same for memos, e-mail correspondence and letters could take your business writing to a whole new level.
Think before you click.That’s the in-a-nutshell advice of Will Schwalbe, co-author of Send, a book about how to write the perfect e-mail. Here are three of his best practices.
Save time doing web research with these five powerfully helpful sites: Ask a Librarian; OWL, the Online Writing Lab; the Phrase Finder; Refdesk.com; and LibrarySpot.com.  
When you need to send a message to a group of customers, board members or an entire department, you don’t want your message to become lost in the hundred other messages they receive that day.
Whether or not you’re actively looking for a job, it pays to ratchet up your professional image outside your office. (After all, you never know who might google your name.) For that, the e-portfolio can be your most powerful tool.
Sticking to outdated grammar rules could be getting in the way of your business writing, says trainer Fred Kniggendorf. For starters, Kniggendorf says ignore these four grammar rules:

Add aphorisms to your bag of tricks

November 1, 2007 Categorized in: SpeakingWriting/Editing

Aphorisms are reams of wisdom packed into little sayings. They come in handy during meetings and speeches. Heres a sampling.
Your big conference went off without a hitch. In fact, it went so smoothly, your boss might not realize how well you handled everything.

Is it raise or rise?

July 1, 2007 Categorized in: Writing/Editing

“Is it ‘Crop input prices have been raising rapidly’ or ‘Crop input prices have been rising rapidly’?”