Keeping it real: Writing that’s trustworthy and credible

Here are seven easy tips to make sure you’re communicating authentically,

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Seattle’s International Exchanges Spur Growth, Citizen Diplomacy and Friendships

World Learning is a respected non-profit that has, for decades, coordinated international exchanges and educational programs for students and entrepreneurs around the world. They asked me to write a series of articles, like the one here, to promote the benefits of these exchanges to Americans. From economic growth and business partnerships to cultural understanding, citizen diplomacy and lasting friendships –participating communities like Cleveland, Detroit, Seattle, and Tulsa are becoming welcoming centers of opportunity.

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Frank Bruni Asks a Good Question

I’ve been thinking about writing a column on this subject for a long time. Then I saw that Frank Bruni of the Times beat me to it, and did so beautifully. I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I won’t try.

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Lessons from a Sunday Obituary

An obituary got me thinking. The obituary announced the death of renowned Arkansas poet Miller Williams, who was celebrated for using everyday language in his verse. The short poem cited in the piece – titled “Compassion” – moved me, as it did Miller’s daughter, the country singer Lucinda Williams, who used her father’s spare lines […]

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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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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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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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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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I’m like, ya know, and he’s sort of like, I don’t know.

Do you have trouble understanding what people are saying these days? Do you know what they really mean? And do you find people in business using vague words with little meaning, without mentioning real people, actions or thoughts?

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