Tag Archives: Workplace Writing Best Practices

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.

 

Resistance is Futile

(For your reading pleasure … my most recent piece from 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.

So, let me pay homage to Orwell by inventing ‘CuSpeak’ in his honor, the official language we should always use when speaking to customers and prospects and not nearly as creepy as ‘NewSpeak’. While it’s much harder to learn than ‘SAE’ (Standard American English), it’s much more effective in influencing how they understand and view us. Read More »

Phil’s Faves on Workplace Writing

If I had to condense my workplace writing feature articles down to one page … here’s what that could look like: Read More »