Clear, persuasive communications… not more clutter

Wyeth Citizenship Report 2008

Any business, organization, or individual MUST communicate effectively to succeed. These days, customers, investors, employees, suppliers and the community at large yearn for language that communicates clearly, simply and persuasively. As a writer, consultant and creative strategist, I help corporations, innovative niche businesses and non-profit organizations achieve these goals with distinct messages that rise above the clutter and confusion. I can help you achieve your goals.

Don’s Blog

Prisoners of the Metaphor

Metaphors matter. In a study of women who were about to give birth, the mothers-to-be were told to expect a local anesthesia before receiving an epidural. Nurses told one group they were going to get “a local anesthetic that will numb the area so you will be comfortable during the procedure.” Another group was told, […]

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The Fine Art of Baloney Detection

With social and traditional media burning up with all kinds of questionable information and messages, it’s a good time to make sure you’re targeting your communications to the people you want to reach. Can you visualize that person, understand his or her needs and frustrations, and address them? If so, you’ll have a much better chance to connect and they’ll be willing to listen.

But in today’s hyped-up media world, you also have to address and overcome the fine art of baloney detection, a term coined by the late, great public scientist Carl Sagan, who shared his thoughts about upholding reason in the face of shameless untruths and propaganda.

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Word Inflation:
 Amazing, epic, disruptive innovation

If every product change or new idea is amazing, epic, and disruptive, what happens when something really significant takes place? Yes, iTunes truly disrupted the music business… but how often do these kinds of revolutions really come along?

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Verbal Hide & Seek: Come Out, Come Out, Whoever You Are!

I feel the same way about the F words “facilitate” and “foster.” Could there be any two words that are more convoluted and vague? Why are these words so commonly used today when just 10 years ago, they were hardly used at all?

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Occupy: From Housewives to Wall Street

If you’ve ever thought about how fast our language – and therefore our culture – is changing, you only need a handful of random examples to prove the point. Writers, especially, must be keenly sensitive to these changes to remain relevant, or risk being dismissed outright. A clear example is “housewife.” Commonly used not long […]

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Get ’Em On Your Side: Framing Part Deux

The marketers of processed food and beverages, as well as alcohol and tobacco, have understood the framing challenge very well. Minimizing the health threats of their products, they reframed the issue as a defense of the public’s “right” to smoke and drink…and to feed junk food to their kids. “Don’t tell me what I can’t do,” is the common refrain. It’s a matter of choice, freedom and responsibility.

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2014 Resolution: Lose ten pounds… of unwanted words

Each new year brings resolutions. But instead of the familiar ones (you know, more exercise, better eating), how about a commitment to lose clichés and unnecessary words, so your writing and speaking are as smooth and clear as a mountain stream? In nearly all cases, we make a first impression with words, whether you’re on […]

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Word Theft Means Getting Framed.

According to common wisdom in neuroscience, about 98 percent of our thoughts are unconscious and automatic, carried out by the neural system. We believe we think freely, but we actually don’t very much. The linguist Charles Fillmore said that all words are cognitively defined according to conceptual “frames” — structures we use to think and […]

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Change a Word. Change the Mood.

In a music blog I stumbled on, the blogger commented on the tunes and vibes of a particular music festival, but he also noticed something else – a subtle word choice that turned out to be very profound for concertgoers. Apparently, the officers at the festival were called “Safety,” not “Security.”  As the writer noted, […]

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Sometimes It Just Takes Time

Sometimes it takes time and perspective before the true impact of an idea or an action is fully realized, especially in our dizzying culture. The Greek philosopher Socrates was charged with “corrupting youth,” and he was sentenced to death by hemlock. But today he’s regarded as one of the giants in Western philosophy and a forefather of the scientific method. We’re probably not willing to wait that long for a payoff, but you get the idea.

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