Getting your team to be better writers. It’s essential.

  Item: A brilliant process engineer at a major chemical company is trying to tell representatives from a personal care products giant about the cost-savings and performance benefits of a new hair-care ingredient. But she’s getting tangled up in minutiae and arcane data; she’s lost them before she even gets to the good stuff. Item: […]

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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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Tech Can Stifle Language Skills? Duh!

It’s becoming abundantly clear that our technology does not necessarily help us increase our language (and writing) skills or our ability to learn. My fellow writers and communication professionals – and especially parents – should take heed. Here’s some of the evidence: Tech Toys A recent online article in JAMA Pediatrics reported that electronic toys […]

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I REALLY Want You to Read This VERY Important Post THAT Will Improve Your Writing

Mark Twain is supposed to have said, “Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” The words “very” or “really” are supposed to increase the impact of a word but you’re not adding anything descriptive or insightful for the […]

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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 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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Forget The Google Ranking; Write Web Content For The Nobel Prize

Still striving for search engine optimization? If you’re a writer, fuhgetaboutit. It turns out the page rankings based on keywords won’t be enough anymore.

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Obama in Cairo: Finding Our Common Humanity

President Obama waded into the treacherous waters of Middle East politics last week with his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo. In so doing, he gave us a simple lesson in bridge-building leadership that we can learn from.  What made it a success were words and ideas that valued honesty, fairness and respect in […]

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