Business Writing — An Opportunity, Not A Chore

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” E.L. Doctorow, novelist

For nearly three years, I’ve been traveling around the country teaching a course called “Clear Writing Through Critical Thinking.” So it was gratifying to pick up a USA Today article that cited a survey by the Social Science Research Council concluding a liberal arts education can “provide a leg up in a down economy.” It turns out that recent college grads who  scored highest on a standardized test to measure skills most associated with a liberal arts education, were much more likely to be better off financially than those who scored lowest. [Read more…]

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There’s Money To Be Made Via Productive Business Communications

Experts in the dismal science of economics can argue about the timing, but the rest of us know one thing: This economy is on the mend. Still, I’m not sure that companies are falling all over themselves to hire at a rate that will get us back to pre-Great Recession levels. It seems that what I said in this blog more than four years ago still holds true: Many businesses emerging from the severe downturn have gotten leaner in order to survive.

How can they make that happen? There are, of course, economies in shop floor scheduling, parts ordering, distribution, and all the other factors that go into being competitive. But for my part, as a communications trainer, there’s another way to view productivity, particularly in white-collar office work. It’s about writing so efficiently that — internal or external — it goes out with a minimum of fuss (editing). Here are three crucial writing guidelines: [Read more…]

Presentations and Practice: The Way to Carnegie Hall

You know that old exchange: “Excuse me. How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” The answer? “Practice, practice, practice.”

Everyone who communicates formally with others knows they need to practice before ‘game day’. “Practice”, however, doesn’t include a cursory read-through of the material to yourself. You’re going to present out loud, right? Then practice that way! [Read more…]