Say ‘No’ to Goobledygook

At the end of 2016 I was invited by the European Commission to kick-off their annual Clear Writing Week in Brussels.  This was in recognition of my book on Business Writing Tips, which they bought, found useful and stock copies of in their library. The title of my talk was Say ‘No’ to Gobbledygook – Writing Traps, Tips and Techniques. Here we are before the event started: 100+ people attended my 90-minute long talk, and I gave...

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Books I have enjoyed in 2016-17

One way to improve your writing skills is to read quality, well written books.  Here are a few books that I read and enjoyed in 2016.  They come with my recommendation (I ditched about half as many again).  Let me know what you think of them. The books marked * are relatively new (the Burnet book was on the Booker Prize shortlist in 2016); the others are older … but they are all worth reading. I know why the caged bird sings – Maya...

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Effective Editing – My 5 A’s for better editing

Here are my 5 A’s of how to edit more effectively: Accept that editing is a normal and necessary part of the writing process.  Quality writing takes time – not even great writers get it right straight away.  I often tell people they should be prepared (and it is normal) for editing to take 20-30% of the total time for getting a text written and completed. Antennae – To heighten you awareness, read your text aloud, read it...

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Writing is like PAINTING

When preparing a few things to say for a talk recently, I realised that writers need to be able to switch from reviewing an overall document to checking its micro details – and to be good at both. Then I realised it was a quality also needed by painters … and then I realised there are a few other parallels between writers and painters, such as being willing to experiment, having perseverance, etc.  And THEN … guess what; I...

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Effective headings, titles and openings

Here are some ideas for engaging, enticing and impactful headings to your articles, posts and Social Media updates.   MUST-DOs Summarise the article in a way that draws the reader in Give them what they want to hear – use emotions Keep to a maximum of 4 – 8 words Cut out as many adjectives and prepositions as you can (e.g. and, the, a, of) Be clear and precise Be specific Use numbers, especially non-round and large ones Use...

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Email Challenges and Dangers – 7 issues, with solutions

The ease and speed with which we can use email (and the internet) is both a massive benefit as well as creating email challenges and dangers – with potential negative consequences.  So, what are the main challenges and how do we minimise the dangers? 1)  Email Danger – Email enables us to work too fast We can do things so fast on a computer that sometimes we do them too fast – forgetting or not doing what we normally do when we...

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