I find people often have trouble using apostrophes in the right way. Here are three examples of incorrect usage – Microsoft Windows was launched in the 1980’s More people expect to be working into their 70’s He went to the…
Last week I took part in a webinar given by Steve Mills, a business results coach. During the webinar he described the ten keys to growing your business. In order to achieve better results, he said, we need to do…
I’ve been a member of The Oxfordshire Project (TOP), a collaborative networking group that extends across Oxfordshire, for a little over a year now, and rate it as one of the best networking groups I’ve become involved with. It certainly…
Badly worded signs are misleading. There are plenty of examples of such signs. But, mostly, the errors are all too obvious to the reader. You can look at pictures of these badly worded signs on the internet – they often make us laugh. After all, a sign that has obvious errors in it can still be understood – it won’t do any harm other than raise the occasional eyebrow.
But sometimes a sign can be perfectly spelt and still be completely misleading. The author of the sign knew what he or she meant to convey but failed to make that meaning clear.
It’s time to start composing that important document! But once you start, it’s tempting to ‘go for it’ and write as much as you possibly can. The thoughts are coming thick and fast, and you’re intent on capturing them all before they vanish again! Then it’s done, and a weight is lifted from your shoulders! Your document’s finished – or is it?
No, in most cases it isn’t. This first draft is a long way from being the finished version.
Most of us try to do our best when we’re asked to carry out a task or respond to an enquiry – whether this is from customers, clients, colleagues or our nearest and dearest. But how do we know when we’ve done our best? Were we given any constructive feedback? Could we have performed better? Were there aspects we could have improved if we’d been aware they were required?
There’s usually some learning to be taken on board, no matter how experienced we think we are. The only way we can really improve is by receiving feedback. But this is mostly not given unless specifically requested.
Overcoming fear of blank paper is something most of us have wondered how to do at some stage. We have sat in front of that blank sheet or screen, wondering what on earth to write and where to begin.
Some people find it easier to handwrite initially, others prefer the keyboard or tablet. It doesn’t matter which medium you use, just choose the one you feel most comfortable with.
Switch on the light!
Perhaps you’ve been asked to write a job description or a difficult letter, a marketing strategy or business proposal, or simply summarise outcomes from brief (and now difficult to make sense of!) notes you made at a meeting? Time ticks by and you still haven’t written a thing!
But there’s no need to feel defeated by the blank paper (or screen) in front of you. Just start somewhere.
I love reading articles by many different writers because every one of them has his or her own style and vocabulary. Each writer has their own way of engaging with readers. No-one writes in the same style as the next person, which to me is part of what makes us unique as human beings.
Sometimes a writer will use a word I’ve not come across. Being a wordsmith, I usually do a Google search to find out what it means! The writers I’m talking about write for newspapers and magazines. Their aim is to entertain as well as stimulate interest, engaging with the reader and capturing their attention. Good writers succeed in doing this. The best writers are those whose articles provide a pleasurable reading experience. They write well about things that interest us.
I expect you, like me, have received unpleasant or disagreeable emails. These emails were often sent on the spur of the moment, without thought of the hurt they might cause when the recipient read them. If only the senders of badly worded emails had thought twice about how to avoid email misery at the receiving end before pressing ‘send’.
Email messages are a great way to communicate quickly, but the speed and ease with which they can be sent means they are also easily abused. When you’re writing a report or proposal, it’s going to be checked before it gets sent anywhere. But emails are exchanges of dialogue between two or more parties. They’re like having a live conversation with someone, but it’s silent.
I was half-listening to a programme on BBC Radio 4 recently, during which the reporter remarked, ‘…ripping open envelopes feels like such an old-fashioned thing to do’. This comment struck me as bizarre. I half-wondered if the reporter had removed his letterbox on the grounds that he no longer received post – whether impersonal direct mail or personalised handwritten letters. However, I feel sure he won’t have done so. Any more than he employs a private letter-opening assistant so that he doesn’t have to undertake such a menial task.
While it’s true that we receive much less personalised handwritten mail these days – birthday cards and Christmas cards are major exceptions – business mail isn’t in decline with the rise of the internet, contrary to what some may believe.