Why you should tighten your writing

Why you should tighten your writing

We all know people who talk too much, rambling on and on and repeating themselves until we could scream. They probably write the same way, using way too many words to get their point across. Don’t be them when you write. Instead, practice cutting out words that will slow your readers down and may even… Continue Reading

How to learn more about Making Data Meaningful

How to learn more about Making Data Meaningful

Are you great at making data meaningful? I am certainly no expert in this field; I have a t-shirt that says: “English major–You do the math.” But I (and you) have a great resource in four practical guides (for free) from UNECE (https://unece.org/statistics/making-data-meaningful). You can download PDFs of all four guides or request printed versions… Continue Reading

Do I need a writing coach or an editor?

Do I need a writing coach or an editor?

Well, it depends…let’s define the two activities and you can decide! What a writing coach does A coach (who also may be called a tutor) assesses your skill level in a certain type of activity and helps you raise your performance to another level. For example, I have a business coach, Michael Sunnarborg, who helps… Continue Reading

Just say “No” to jargon?

Just say “No” to jargon?

Are you drowning in jargon? My son’s voicemail said: “Hi, Mom. I’m in Minnie, on my way to Indy. I passed my FO. Call me after 7 when I’ll be out of the box.” Hello??? One short message, four examples of airline jargon. This message certainly was concise, but it wasn’t clear to me and… Continue Reading

Left-branching doesn’t work!

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

Please

Please

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

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