People usually don’t expect to do things perfectly the first time. That’s why we invest in lessons for everything from violin to dance to cake-decorating to golf. We know we have to practice, whether that means going to the batting cage three times a week or rehearsing a sales presentation over and over. Writing is no different. It is a skill that can be mastered with practice. If you struggle with writing,...

 

How can a corporate communications manager prepare for what may or may never happen? The possibilities are unbounded, yet a manager has a duty to anticipate the unexpected and be as prepared as possible. This column looks at some ways corporate communications execs tune-in to the future. This column is spurred by a conference where veteran corporate communications managers will share how they handled major unanticipated...

 

Popular expectations for “good” writing by scientists tend to be clear-cut and limited to the expository. I learned this the hard way, via my very first research report. My florid analysis returned to me deeply lined in red, topped off with a tart admonition from my mentor against “gilding the lily.” Stick to facts, I learned. Support conclusions with data and weigh the words in your conclusions...

 

With industry mega-deals and micro-analysis of cents-per-share in the limelight from boardrooms to cubicles, the impact of human relations on business can be underestimated. "Soft stuff" some people call it. Yet, research shows that soft skills in the workplace - intangibles such as effective communications, goodwill, and relationships account for half of companies' financial measure. Hard numbers come...

 

For most professionals, writing is a primary part of their job, even though it’s a painful task for many. The good news is that spending more time planning will enable you to streamline the process, reduce writing time, and will result in more effective documents. While planning may seem like an extra step in the process, it’s necessary to help you streamline the writing process and write more cogent,...

 

“How many of you enjoy writing and write daily?” Our eyes pan across the room. Not a single hand is raised. Not one. This scene plays out again and again during our writing training classes for scientists and engineers. Yet if you’re a scientist or engineer, chances are you actually spend a tremendous amount of time writing. Researchers find that many engineers spend more than 40% of their...

 

When we recently read an ERC article on rising trends in employee training and development, we couldn’t help but think that something was “wrong” about this ranking of learning content by content area in the Association for Talent Development’s State of the Industry Report: Managerial and Supervisory 13.0% Profession or Industry Specific 10.6% Mandatory and Compliance 10.3% Processes, Procedures,...

 

US organizations with 100 or more employees spend more than $70 billion per year on training, according to Training magazine’s 2016 Training Industry Report. Yet industry analysts find that many organizations waste that money on training that is ineffective or doesn’t stick. Is the same true of writing training? After all, isn’t it more likely to be ineffective than other training because people...

 

Our favorite business writing tips for 2017 are all about achieving one goal: reaching readers more effectively. Reaching readers more effectively—getting them to consume, understand, and be persuaded by our content—is how we as writers achieve what we want. Two factors make reaching readers more challenging today: Readers face an ongoing, ever-increasing barrage of written content. They’re forced...

 

How much does poor writing cost? A lot. Well-known writing expert Josh Bernoff has quantified the cost of poor writing for US businesses at $396 billion. Yes, billion. To be frank, however, the cost of poor writing may not be quantifiable to that level of precision. As Bernoff notes, “Poor writing creates a drag on everything you do”; some of the drags—consequences—are both very real and impossible...

 

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