Recently, I participated in an online group discussion with fellow tech communicators expressing their views about the topic of using the word “please” at the beginning of procedural steps. You probably read procedures when you install software or use a product for the first time: Rotate the left housing as illustrated. Push the OPEN button… Continue Reading

Engage your webinar audience with compelling interaction

Engage your webinar audience

We have all sat through webinars that were basically an excuse for the presenter to push information at us with no opportunity or enticement for us to engage. We all recognize these events as a multitasking opportunity for us. I don’t know if these presenters actually choose not to interact with their audience or just… Continue Reading

How to make your words clear

How to make your words clear

Which would you rather read, and why? Entities are satisfactory that terminate satisfactorily. OR All’s well that ends well. I thought so! I’d rather read the second version, too. It’s easier and faster to process a shorter word than a longer word. And that’s especially true for those who read English as their second language.… Continue Reading

Getting feedback: Number your lines

Getting feedback: Number your lines

In my last blog post, I discussed some emotional difficulties of accepting feedback on your writing. This post will share a practical suggestion to help you improve the review process, whether you are the reviewer or the author. For our discussion, let’s assume that you are seeking feedback on a Microsoft® Word document and want… Continue Reading

Left-branching doesn’t work!

Please read this sentence: ******************** A group representing Washington County residents affected by the city’s plans for a city energy utility, a major mining concern, the University of Washington, and the city’s Chamber of Commerce are among the entities seeking to formally intervene in the city’s municipalization case before the Washington Public Utilities Commission. [I… Continue Reading

Questions, questions everywhere–I hope they make me think!

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” Albert Einstein, physicist, 1879-1955 I have serious doubts about Einstein’s not having special talent, but I do believe the second sentence and try to apply passionate curiosity to all facets of my life. I have been especially thinking about curiosity recently after publishing a 3-page… Continue Reading

Left-branching example of the week

A left-branching sentence is one in which the subject and verb do not appear until the sentence has wandered around for quite some time: “Only offering height modifications in certain areas, explicitly describing what the city wants buildings to look like in [City] Junction and charging non-residential developments a fee to pay for affordable housing… Continue Reading

Why bother with a style guide?

If you write or edit more than one document a day or work with other writers and editors, you need a style guide to provide guidance on style (language conventions with respect to spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and typographic arrangement and display). You can create a style guide at the personal, department, or corporate level (depending… Continue Reading