Tag Archives: Workplace Writing Best Practices

Long Live Word Power! Always Break the Rules

Strike out against oppression – there are some rules of grammar you can and should consider break if you want to enhance your routine workplace writing and write free!

I hated traditional grammar in school like most people … and most writers. So, I routinely break some time-honored practices today just to have fun, flaunt my sense of independence and creativity and get back at Professor Gwendolyn Apostrophe-Dingleberry for all her abuses in 11th grade English class. If only she could know that I earn some of my living as a professional freelance writer and executive writing coach, she’d turn over in her grave in Grammar Hell. Read More »

And You Can Quote Me!

I love using quotes in my writing and presentations – I really do.They can add sizzle, credibility or perspective to the message. However, I’m adamant about including author details.

Few people are so well known that they don’t need any reference, like Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For the rest, we need to answer the question readers or listeners often have – ‘So … who is that person?’

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Does Good Workplace Writing Really Matter?

(A business reporter recently ask me for my thoughts on the impact of poor workplace writing skills. Here’s a summary of our conversation.)


1) How do poor writing skills hurt businesses?

Poor writing skills can make you and your organization look lazy, sloppy or incompetent. This is especially true with people who place a high priority on precision, accuracy and quality. Read More »

Lose Lame Lines

An often-overlooked element in any workplace email or memo is the simple little Subject Line. Depending on their content, they can add to the message or detract from the workplace writer’s image of competency. So … here are a few tips to Lose Lame Lines:

  • No Subject’ – the absence of a subject line is really lame. That says the writer was too lazy to think of something or too unimaginative. While either could be true, neither reader assumption helps the writer’s credibility. So … anything is better than nothing.
  • ‘Meeting’ – at least better than ‘no subject’, but not much. It does tell the reader something about the message. Less helpful if the reader attends lots of meetings, however. Read More »

Energize Your Email

Every time you send an email or text to a customer, colleague or manager, it can project your image of professionalism, competency and courtesy. That image should be positive whenever possible, or at least neutral, but never negative.

The often painful reality is that everything you write at work projects you. The following simple suggestions will help you project your best possible positive image.

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Once Is Never Enough – the Power of Editing

The good news about sending emails and texts in the workplace is that you can transmit your messages instantly, saving you time and extra effort. The bad news about those  texts and emails is that you can transmit your message instantly – often omitting reviewing, editing and rewriting. Bad idea.

So, let’s take a moment to review the Power of Editing or re-writing and recommitting to this powerful step in the written communication process in your workplace.

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Always Break the Rules!

This ‘WordPower’ feature deals with some rules of grammar and which ones you should consider breaking if you want to enhance your routine workplace writing.

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Give Your Readers a Break

A very effective Reader-Centric strategy for your workplace writing is to make it very easy for your readers to read, understand and act on your messages. Read More »

Clarity & Brevity Both Rule!

Some of you have begun thinking more about the words you use in routine workplace writing.  If you identified lots of word choice habits, also good. If you asked yourself why you used a particular word or phrase and weren’t happy with your answers, then get ready to rock & roll. Many of you will benefit from some lessons learned on the journey towards more reader-centric word choices. Read More »

Resistance is Futile

(A reader favorite from my archive of the COSE ‘Mind Your Business’ eLetter.)

In his still frightening classic dystopian novel, ‘1984’, George Orwell invented ‘NewSpeak’, the official language of Oceania, used to control communication and thought. Read More »