Informational Interviews

So, you think you want to work for a certain company or in a particular profession in a specific position or department. How do you know for sure? How do you find out? Conducting informational interviews is a good place to start. What’s an informational interview? It’s a meeting with someone in a position, department, … Read more

How to Identify Email Spam

I received the following email message recently. Actually, it went to my spam folder, but other recipients may not be so fortunate — or so discerning about its deceptive nature. But if you read carefully, you’ll find plenty of clues that the writer is not a native speaker of English, much less an FBI agent. … Read more

Missing Words Change Everything

Empires, fortunes, and people rise and fall and fall on the insertion or omission of a word or two. OK, so the stakes are usually not so high, but misunderstandings and embarrassment are bad enough. Here are sentences that suffer (in increasing order of significance) because they are each missing one or more words. 1. … Read more

Every Company Is a Publishing Company

A recent Wall Street Journal article that beamed a spotlight on sophomoric speaking and grammar gaffes in the workplace covered the issue fairly thoroughly but left unsaid some pertinent points. The article discussed the epidemic of informality in critical corporate settings such as staff meetings and in-person communication with clients: What do you do when … Read more

Technology and Typos

Just a week after a typographical error in campaign materials for Mitt Romney prompted newspaper headlines, more spelling mistakes by the Romney campaign and the Obama administration alike made the news. A misspelling of America in Romney’s iPhone “With Mitt” app was followed by a reference to Ronald Reagan spelled “Ronald Regan” in a slide … Read more

10 Tips for Constructive Correspondence

Business writing, or any communication for other than personal reasons, requires a higher standard of compositional conduct. Whether you are requesting service or complaining about it, or applying for a job or responding to an applicant, correspondents have certain expectations about how you approach them. Keep the following suggestions in mind the next time you … Read more

Word Origin Influences Your Writing Voice

When it comes to writing, are you the Anglo-Saxon type, or do you go for French flair? You probably realize that Modern English derives from a wide variety of sources, and perhaps are aware that words derived from French are just as common in our language as those that are descended directly from Old English, … Read more

8 Steps to More Concise Writing

You know you must streamline your writing, but the devil’s in the details. Here are some specifics about what to look for: 1. Remove Redundancy Avoid double-teaming terms like “a period of one week,” “end result,” “free gift,” and “personal opinion.” Watch for phrases that echo the quality in question: “oval in shape,” “larger in … Read more

10 Tips on How to Write the Perfect Blog Post

You have a story that everybody wants to hear, but how do you get people to your blog? The perfect blog post is about more than just great content. In fact, the way you format your post is almost paramount to the actual content itself. Readers may not even realize that they like these formatting … Read more

3 Types of Essays Are Models for Professional Writing Forms

The three types of essay most commonly assigned in school — the narrative essay, the persuasive essay, and the expository essay — conveniently correspond to those writing forms most frequently published online and in print. Your experience with these prose forms is ideal preparation for writing for publication. 1. The Narrative Essay This form, employed … Read more

10 Writing Tips for a Winning Web Site

Some time ago, I posted some general guidelines for writing for an online audience. Here are some specific time-tested tips for attracting and keeping site visitors with clean, clear writing: 1. Keyword Top Labels Use keywords for window titles and taglines, and keep them sharp and succinct. These labels are for helping Internet users get … Read more

Five Tips for Writing a Great Speech

As the founder of a speech writing firm, Inkwell Strategies, I’ve gotten used to drawing a certain amount of interest from new friends and acquaintances when asked what Ido for a living. After working in this somewhat niche profession for a number of years, I have come to expect questions about what the job entails, … Read more