Tag Archives: Workplace Writing Best Practices

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 »

Harness the Power of Words

Content Always Rules in workplace writing … and the words you use deliver that content. To help you Harness the Power of Words, let’s discuss some of my favorite ‘Worst Practices’ – the poor word choices we often make and why we make them. Typically, my executive coaching clients fall victim to three flaws affecting the words they use … and don’t use. Read More »

Why I Hate ‘two (2)’

I recently got a document from a client asking me to review and comment. It included the phrase ‘… schedule two (2) planning meetings … ‘. I’m not making this up.  I don’t get it – people still think they need to tell readers that the word ‘two’ means 2. Most workplace readers know that and reminding them can be insulting or annoying. It is to me.

Here’s a simple solution. With numerical references ‘zero’ – ‘nine’, write out the words, as in ‘three weeks’ or ‘eight revisions’. For references to ten or greater, use numbers, as in ’20 team members’ or ’11 percent’. But there’s never a good reason to do it two (2) times. Make sense?

Brief Quote-ables

Now let’s take a brief look a brevity through the ages …

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. Thomas Jefferson, (1743 – 1826), Founding Father and third President.

The fewer the words, the better the prayer.’ Martin Luther, (1483 – 1546), German monk and founder of the Protestant Reformation.

“… brevity is the soul of wit … ‘, William Shakespeare, (1564 – 1616), English poet, playwright and actor.

It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.‘, Friedrich Nietzsche, (1844 – 1900), German philosopher, poet and scholar.