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

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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Selling Through Storytelling and The 4th Earl of Sandwich

The British politician and aristocrat John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, liked to play cards. But he also enjoyed eating a snack at the same time, and that tied up his hands and involved utensils. So, in 1748, he came up with a solution: he put beef between slices of toast, so he could eat with one hand and still play the game.

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10 Reasons to Avoid Writing Top 10 Lists

Basically, enough already. We’re saturated with top 10 (or top 5) reasons to do something. I don’t know about you, but I’m inundated, and I hardly bother to look at them anymore, unless the headline is unavoidably compelling, which is rare.

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The Potency of Words: Size Matters.

Did you ever notice that the most famous quotations use only small words?
“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
“A government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

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The Power of Words: Are we like sheep or just community minded?

Behaviorist Jen Shang, who specializes in the psychology of giving, has shown in recent studies that words – especially words of kindness – can be very persuasive. From her studies, she says that when some combination of nine adjectives – kind, caring, compassionate, helpful, friendly, fair, hard-working, generous and honest – are included in fundraising […]

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