Business Writing: Change to Active Voice and Clean Up the Clutter

Business Writing: Change to Active Voice and Clean Up the Clutter

Originally Published July 2018. Updated February 2024. Have you been told to use active not passive voice in your business writing? Probably. And if not, you’re hearing it now. I came across a useful example of the passive voice and edited it below to illustrate the difference. Read through the before version and see where you would make changes, not only to use the active voice but to the clutter caused by so many additional (and unnecessary) words. Then you can check out my edits, and see how the version with the edits...
Business Writing Advice: Pay Attention to the Details! (AKA Don’t Look Stupid)

Business Writing Advice: Pay Attention to the Details! (AKA Don’t Look Stupid)

Originally published May 2018. Updated February 2024. Something has been lost in our hurry-up world: attention to detail. And some of the most important business writing advice we need to learn by heart is that details do matter! Details matter because paying attention to details saves time for the writer and the reader, and protects the credibility of the businessperson and the brand. Paying Attention to Details Takes Time but Saves Time Details, shmetails, right? We’re in a hurry! Maybe, but the time we save by going so fast can...
Why I Don’t Want to Talk About ChatGPT

Why I Don’t Want to Talk About ChatGPT

Someone suggested I should go beyond helping people be better writers at work to teach them how to use ChatGPT. But I don’t want to talk about ChatGPT let alone teach how to use it. Why? In large part, because this is so reminiscent of the early days of content marketing and the effect that had on writing. Quality plummeted in many cases, as did pay. What clients wanted and what they were willing to pay for it both took nose dives. Suddenly quality didn’t matter, only quantity. Me when someone says I should teach ChatGPT skills, via...
Professional Business Writing Tips: Why “I Feel” Weakens Your Writing

Professional Business Writing Tips: Why “I Feel” Weakens Your Writing

Originally published April 2018, Updated February 2024. Professional business writing tips should include “be wary of trends” because every few years it seems we have some kind of odd language trend that dumbs down our communications. In the recent past, we’ve experienced the persistent “you know” inserted into almost every sentence and now we have the annoying “no worries” that’s currently used in place of “you’re welcome.” Sometimes these phrasings are used in verbal speech only, and are not crossing over into business writing, so...
Bad Copywriting Is All Over, Even in My Kitchen!

Bad Copywriting Is All Over, Even in My Kitchen!

You don’t have to search for famous examples of bad copywriting when it’s all around us…even in my kitchen!  Since I’m in a mood and I’ve recently picked apart another piece of bad copywriting, let’s do another.   This is copy from food packaging that was in my kitchen. I changed it a bit to keep it anonymous (and it was juice, not cereal), but the gist of it is the same:    What’s wrong with this copywriting? Spend some time with this. Read it a couple of times.   What jumps out at you?   First, there’s the headline: Put Good...