Writing at Work: Cut the Clutter. Keep the Kindness

Writing at Work: Cut the Clutter. Keep the Kindness

How you say something is as important as what you say, so learn to cut the clutter but keep the kindness when writing at work. Writing clearly at work is not simply a matter of stripping your message down to the bare bones. It’s learning to identify the clutter that gets in the way of communication. We must remember that a human being is on the receiving end. And therefore we must write with respect and consideration…which means removing the bullshit or clutter. But if you strip away too much, you go too far. You’ve removed the...
How to Write Fast: 5 Ways to Write Faster, not Sloppier

How to Write Fast: 5 Ways to Write Faster, not Sloppier

Looking for tips on how to write fast? Read on for five suggestions for writing faster without making more mistakes. As someone teaching workplace writing skills, I see again and again the impact of our hurry-up work world on the quality of writing. And although I will continue to preach slowing down, for all kinds of reasons, the truth is that many people still prefer to hurry through tasks. On the surface, this rushing through the workday might seem to equal productivity when it often has the opposite result. As an article at...
Cluttered, Concise, Curt…Why We Can’t Get Clear Writing Right

Cluttered, Concise, Curt…Why We Can’t Get Clear Writing Right

Clear writing is sadly lacking in both marketing and business content these days. Here’s why… No matter how many decades I spend working with words, I continue to be shocked by the lack of writing for clarity all around me. I see cluttered and clunky writing everywhere, in marketing content and in business writing. Sometimes I wonder if people are getting paid by the word, for goodness sake! But, no, I realize that’s not the case. So what is? Why this propensity for clutter instead of clear writing? Not that I think people choose...
Are You Making These Costly Proofreading Mistakes?

Are You Making These Costly Proofreading Mistakes?

We’re celebrating the launch of a free proofreading course with proof proofreading matters! Proofreading shmoofreading, blah, blah, blah… If that’s your attitude toward this critical communication tool, read on to learn how typos can cost businesses millions of dollars—and even damage careers. How Proofreading Protects Your Brand…and Bottom Line Proofreading is important to you as an individual and to your company, for several reasons (some quite costly!). For an individual, proofreading protects (or even builds) your credibility....
The Secret of Semicolons…or How to Use This Sexy Piece of Punctuation Correctly

The Secret of Semicolons…or How to Use This Sexy Piece of Punctuation Correctly

(Originally Published September 2017) This week’s blog post is brought to you by one of my kids—because I just found out I didn’t teach her how to use semicolons. OK, maybe it was the school’s job when she was younger, but really, I work with words for a living. I teach business writing skills. I know my punctuation. And somehow I didn’t pass along this valuable information. Parenting fail! So I’m passing it along now, in a very public way. (Emma, are you paying attention?) I heart semicolons It’s too bad people misuse them....
Readers Come Before Rules

Readers Come Before Rules

(Originally published September 2017) Watching two people argue about serial commas is like watching two people argue about politics: Neither can listen to the other, but neither is necessarily right nor wrong. As a refresher, the serial comma—sometimes called the Oxford comma—is used in a series as in ham, eggs, and toast. It’s the comma after the word “eggs.” Without the serial comma, it looks like ham, eggs and toast. Will it make you a better, faster writer if you have to stop and think about whether or not to include a comma,...