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  • feedwordpress 16:08:02 on 2019/09/13 Permalink
    Tags: , Writing and Grammar   

    Give Your Readers a Break—Pick One! 


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    In wanting to cover many aspects of a topic, business writers sometimes throw down so many variables that readers have no way to gauge the importance of each. They feel weighed down trying! Look at these examples:

    1. The professor included and provided a methodology for continuing the effort.
    2. The state and local leaders developed and drafted numerous statutes.
    3. We need to appreciate and understand the factors affecting the time and place.

    The “Pick One” Principle

    You can lighten your readers’ load by applying the “pick one” principle. You’ll find it works for all kinds of writing—emails, reports, manuscripts, and more.

    The “pick one” principle asks: “Which word better describes what you want to say—the word before or after the and?” Then pick the one that adds more emphasis to your meaning.

    In Example 1, which word better conveys the meaning—included or provided? In this context, provided can cover the meaning for both—that is, if something is provided, we can assume it’s included. Pick one: provided.

    The professor provided a methodology for continuing the effort.

    Example 2 has the word and in two places, making the sentence long-winded. For developed and drafted, the more apt word is drafted because something can’t be drafted without being developed first. Pick one: drafted.

    “Pick one” also applies to making a single-word substitution. For example, state and local could be changed to government without altering the meaning in this context.

    The government leaders drafted numerous statutes.

    In Example 3, because appreciate and understand are so close in meaning, using both is like saying it twice. “Pick one” to streamline the writing. For time and place, we could substitute a single word: situation.  

    We need to understand the factors affecting the situation.

    Good Rule of Thumb to Follow

    When you reread anything you’ve written, find all the places you’ve used and, then apply the “pick one” principle wherever possible. That way, you won’t dilute the meaning of your message or needlessly weigh down your readers.

    Give them a break. Pick one!

    Barbara McNichol is passionate about helping administrative professionals add power to their pen. To assist in this mission, she has created a Word Trippers Tips resource to quickly find the right word when it matters most. It allows you to improve your writing through excellent resources in your inbox, including a webinar, crossword puzzles, and a Word Tripper of the Week for 52 weeks. Enjoy a $30 discount at checkout with the code ODI at www.wordtrippers.com/odi.

    wordtrippers_grammer_course

    The post Give Your Readers a Break—Pick One! appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

     
  • feedwordpress 15:48:20 on 2019/07/12 Permalink
    Tags: Writing and Grammar   

    Five Questions to Ask Before Saying “I’m Done” (Writing Tips) 


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    Suppose you’re writing a sensitive email, article, or letter—one that’s extremely important in your world. The message must be as clear and concise as possible.

    Ask these five questions and follow the examples to make changes that will immediately improve your prose.

    1. Have you put in filler words that don’t add meaning to your sentence? E.g., Starting a sentence with “there are” or “here is” or a variation of that. “Here are excellent points to consider” becomes “Consider these points.” More direct!

    2. Can you spot and eliminate extraneous phrases? Omit “the fact of the matter is…” or “it’s important to remember that…” or “it’s all about…” Like filler words, they take up space without adding meaning.

    3. Where can you use noun modifiers to be more concise? E.g., “Tips on writing” becomes “Writing tips” and “Details regarding the conference” becomes “Conference details.”

    4. How can you streamline sentences without changing the meaning? Look for “who” and “which” phrases. E.g., “Dee, who is our new manager, just had surgery” becomes “Our new manager, Dee, just had surgery.” “Our report, which we finished, is on your desk” becomes “We put our finished report on your desk.” Bonus: we’ve changed it to an active verb!

    5. How can you use commas sparingly but when needed to clarify the meaning of your sentences? E.g., “You can overlook punctuation rules and people will have trouble reading your writing and your ideas will get lost.” Without a comma after rules, this can be misread to say: “You can overlook punctuation rules and people…” That’s why you need the comma after rules. Even better would be: “If you overlook punctuation rules, people will have trouble reading your words, and your ideas will get lost.”

    What questions would you add to these five to help you hone your writing to perfection before saying, “I’m done”?

    wordtrippers_grammer_course

    Want more writing tips to hone your skills and advance your career? Subscribe to Word Trippers Tips, a 52-week program focused on clear, concise, and correct business writing. It includes a webinar, crossword puzzles, Word Tripper of the Week for 52 weeks, and more.

    Enjoy a $30 discount at checkout with the code ODI at www.wordtrippers.com/odi

    Barbara McNichol is passionate about helping administrative professionals add power to their pen. To assist in this mission, she has created resources that include Word Trippers E-Book, 18 Days to Better Writing, and Word Trippers Tips.

    The post Five Questions to Ask Before Saying “I’m Done” (Writing Tips) appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

     
  • feedwordpress 14:45:50 on 2019/05/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , Writing and Grammar   

    If I Were (Was?) Rich… 


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    writing_skills_for_administrative_assistants

    The play Fiddler on the Roof recently came through my city, and my friend kept singing her dad’s favorite song from that hit: “If I Were a Rich Man.”

    My comment? “I’m glad the lyricist got the grammar right!”

    Why is the use of “were” (not “was”) correct in this song title and similar phrases? Consider the conditional meaning associated with using an “if” clause. In this case, the lyrics “if I were a rich man” reflect a wishful condition, not a true statement.

    You may recall how Tevye, the character who sang this song, lamented his lowly position as a milkman and wondered what wealth would bring to his life. If at one time he had been rich, he could factually say, “When I was a rich man.” But in this context, he could only hope to be rich.

    What about the song “If I Were a Carpenter”? Here, the lyricist correctly uses “were” to depict a hope or dream, not a current fact.  

    When “Was” is Correct

    So when would you use “was” (not “were”) in an “if” clause? When it introduces an indirect question or statement of fact. Examples:

    • The boss asked if I was (not “were”) finished with the report. This factual statement is based on what’s true or possible, not something hypothetical.
    • If he was (not “were”) guilty, he would have remained silent. This states a fact that’s likely true, not something conditional.

    In the statements you make, remember to use “were” when the situation calls for being conditional, hypothetical, or wishful. And like Tevye, it’s how you can make a plea for the wealth you wish for!

    Want more tips like this to hone your writing skills and advance your career? You’ll find 18 Days to Become a Better Writer an easy-to-use e-guide. Start today by clicking here.

    writing_tips

    Barbara McNichol is passionate about helping administrative professionals add power to their pen. To assist in this mission, she has created a Word Trippers Tips resource to quickly find the right word when it matters most. It allows you to improve your writing through excellent weekly resources in your inbox, including a webinar, crossword puzzles, and a Word Tripper of the Week for 52 weeks. Enjoy a $30 discount at checkout with the code ODI at www.wordtrippers.com/odi.

    The post If I Were (Was?) Rich… appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

     
  • feedwordpress 19:00:04 on 2019/03/19 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Writing and Grammar   

    18 Books Every Administrative Assistant and Executive Assistant Should Read 


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    Office Dynamics has put together a list of books for administrative assistants and executive assistants that will help you with your professional development and personal life.

    Because we had so many great choices we decided to make it a little easier for you to find what you are looking for by breaking the blog into two sections. The first half of the blog contains titles that are dedicated towards the administrative assistant and executive assistant while the second half of the blog contains titles that are general to career and business but very applicable to the administrative profession.

    joans_greatest_administrative_secrets_revealed

    Joan’s Greatest Administrative Secrets Revealed by Joan Burge

    In Joan’s 5th book for administrative assistants and executive assistants, the red-lipstick-wearing Rock Star, and pioneer of administrative excellence exposes the game-changing truths and unwritten rules you need to know in order to maximize your potential. In an unapologetic, uncompromising, no-holds-barred style, Joan shares never before revealed career stories and life lessons in a tell-all book that will challenge your perspective and teach you how to master your craft and triumph in today’s business environment. What are you waiting for? The world is waiting for you.

    This is Joan’s newest book for administrative assistants and is great for all levels.

    Click here to purchase Joan’s Greatest Administrative Secrets Revealed.

    who_took_my_pen_again_joan_burge

    Why Took My Pen…Again? By Joan Burge, Nancy Fraze, and Jasmine Freeman

    Amazon Best Seller

    This book is for executive assistants written by executive assistants! Overflowing with secrets, tips, and tools of the profession, this book is a ready resource created by those who “walk the walk and talk the talk” of the complex administrative professional role. They really “get it.”  Inspired by the Office Dynamics 18th Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence, themed The Path Forward: Adding Value Every Day, the authors drew on the attendees’ knowledge as well as their own years of experience to develop the content for this book.

    Who Took My Pen … Again? offers practical, creative strategies for achieving success and building leadership attributes, compiled from the diverse experiences of high-achieving administrative professionals in a wide variety of businesses and industries, representing four generations of experienced and highly-seasoned executive assistants. It will change your life.

    Click here to purchase Who Took My Pen…Again?

    become_an_inner_circle_assistant_joan_burge

    Become An Inner Circle Assistant by Joan Burge

    Earn Inner Circle status, thrive in your profession, be visible and recognized as a star performer. Joan Burge brings almost 35 years of experience in the administrative field to this groundbreaking book! The words Inner Circle conjure up visions of an exclusive group of people whose achievements are admired and rewarded. The Inner Circle Assistant title doesn’t show up on any organizational chart but she’s the woman or, the man, of the hour. The people who support company movers and shakers have the opportunity to move into an Inner Circle and this book outlines the steps to get there as well as thrive in the position. It is a book of strategy and workplace philosophy that will help administrative professionals become top performers in work and in their careers. This book for administrative and executive assistants is filled with road maps for success, scoring quizzes, real-life stories and examples.

    Click here to purchase Become An Inner Circle Assistant.

    underneath_it_all_joan_burge

    Underneath It All by Joan Burge

    In this cutting-edge book, Joan Burge intimately shares with administrative professionals the bottom line to achieving success and maintaining your edge in a worthwhile career. Joan Burge gets to the core of what’s ‘Underneath It All’ when it comes to living a life of significance as an administrative professional and individual. In a chaotic world where everything seems urgent and important, Joan has learned through the difficult journey of helping her husband battle pancreatic cancer, what matters most. She intimately shares with administrative professionals the bottom line to achieving success and maintaining your edge in a worthwhile career. You’ll read why it’s essential to maintain your competitive advantage and how continual improvement makes it possible. You will explore key points with Joan that lead to success in the administrative profession and you’re likely to wonder who switched on the lights?

    Click here to purchase Underneath it All.

    innovative_admin_julie_perrine

    The Innovative Admin by Julie Perrine

    If you want to be the admin every executive wants by their side, The Innovative ADMIN is for you! You’ll learn how to embrace innovative thinking that makes you invaluable to your boss, your co-workers and your company. The Innovative ADMIN empowers you to become the best you can be by enhancing your capacity for innovation! Innovation isn’t just for technology – it’s the key to your career future.

    Click here to purchase The Innovative ADMIN.

    become_a_procedures_pro_julie_perrine

    Become A Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures

    Does taking time off lead to more stress than relaxation because you’re worried what will (or won’t) happen at the office while you’re gone? Are you looking for a way to demonstrate the skills and value you contribute to your organization and team? Do you want to be ready to act if your dream job suddenly becomes available? If the answer is “yes,” then you need to create your administrative procedures, and this book can help!

    Click here to order Become A Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures.

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    The Organized Admin by Julie Perrine

    Are you struggling to create order in the disorganized chaos that is your workspace? Do you want more effective systems for keeping yourself and your executive organized? Do you want to better understand your unique organizing style?

    If you answered, “yes” to these questions, The Organized Admin is for you!

    Click here to purchase The Organized Admin.

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    Not “ An Admin!” by Peggy Vasquez

    In this book, Peggy will empower you by sharing her knowledge and experience, entertain you with humor, and inspire you through passion. Peggy’s objective is to help administrative assistants feel valued and know their contribution makes a difference. It is her desire to eliminate the saying, “I’m just an admin.”

    Click here to purchase Not “Just An Admin!”

    the_proactive_professional_chrissy_scivicque

    The Proactive Professional: How to Stop Playing Catch Up and Start Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life!) by Chrissy Scivicque

    In business, the advice to “be proactive” is repeated like a sacred mantra. And yet, no one ever bothers to explain exactly what that means or how to do it…until now. 

    The Proactive Professional reveals all the missing pieces of the proactivity puzzle and offers a step-by-step actionable framework for becoming proactive at work and in life. 

    Click here to order The Proactive Professional: How to Stop Playing Catch Up and Start Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life!).

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    Build Your Professional Development Plan Workbook – The Ultimate Career Planning Tool by Chrissy Scivicque

    **Also includes bonus material: Build Your Professional Portfolio Guide**
    Created by career coach, Chrissy Scivicque, this step-by-step guide helps you create and implement an effective, personalized professional development plan. This workbook offers detailed training on specific, proven techniques and strategies that will help you grow your professional skills and achieve your career goals. It includes comprehensive instruction on how to create and implement an effective career plan, along with tools, templates and resources so you’ll have everything you need to achieve the professional success you long for now and in the future. 

    With this workbook, you won’t just LEARN IT, you’ll DO IT.

    Click here to order Build Your Professional Development Plan Workbook – The Ultimate Career Planning Tool.


    This is the second half of the blog that has books for administrative assistants and executive assistants but is a bit more generalized in consideration to professional and personal development. These titles come highly recommended from the Office Dynamics team.


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    18 Days to Become a Better Writer by Barbara McNichol (eBook)

    Absorb these 18 solid writing techniques—one a day for 18 days—and you’ll gain skills toward your next career step. The techniques come together in this 18-day mini-program; you simply pick the start and end time.

    Click here to purchase 18 Days to Become a Better Writer.

    word_trippers

    Word Trippers E-Book by Barbara McNichol

    This easy-to-use word choice guide features almost 400 pesky pairings that commonly get confused. You’ll find answers to questions such as:

    • Do you use “fewer” or “less” when counting things?
    • When is “that” used instead of “which” in a sentence?
    • Can “famous” and “notorious” be interchanged?
    • Do “convince” and “persuade” mean the same thing?

    With Word Trippers at your fingertips, you won’t embarrass yourself or confuse your readers. Don’t waste (or is it waist?) time wondering which word is right. Quickly choose the perfect word when it really matters!

    Click here to order Word Trippers E-Book.

    how_to_be_like_walt

    How to be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life by Pat Williams and Jim Denney

    While many recent biographies of Walt Disney have reveled in the negative, this book takes an honest but positive look at the man behind the myth. For the first time, the book pulls together all the various strands of Disney’s life into one straightforward, easy-to-read tale of imagination, perseverance, and optimism. Far from a preachy or oppressive tome, this book scrapes away the minutiae to capture the true magic of a brilliant maverick.

    Click here to purchase How to be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life.

    the_compound_effect_darren_hardy

    The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

    No gimmicks. No Hyperbole. No Magic Bullet. The Compound Effect is a distillation of the fundamental principles that have guided the most phenomenal achievements in business, relationships, and beyond. This easy-to-use, step-by-step operating system allows you to multiply your success, chart your progress, and achieve any desire. If you’re serious about living an extraordinary life, use the power of The Compound Effect to create the success you want.

    Click here to order The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy.

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    13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do: Own Your Power, Channel Your Confidence, and Find Your Authentic Voice for a Life of Meaning and Joy by Amy Morin

    Amy reveals that healthy, mentally tough women don’t insist on perfection; they don’t compare themselves to other people; they don’t see vulnerability as a weakness; they don’t let self-doubt stop them from reaching their goals. Wise, grounded, and essential, 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do can help every woman flourish—and ultimately improve our society as well.

    Click here to order 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do.

    disrupt_aging

    Disrupt Aging: A Bold New Path to Living Your Best Life at Every Age by Jo Ann Jenkins

    In Disrupt Aging, Jenkins focuses on three core areas–health, wealth, and self–to show us how to embrace opportunities and change the way we look at getting older. Here, she chronicles her own journey and that of others who are making their mark as disrupters to show readers how we can be active, healthy, and happy as we get older. Through this powerful and engaging narrative, she touches on all the important issues facing people 50+ today, from caregiving and mindful living to building age-friendly communities and making our money last.

    Click here to order Disrupt Aging: A Bold New Path to Living Your Best Life at Every Age.

    successful_women_speak_differently

    Successful Women Speak Differently: 9 Habits That Build Confidence, Courage, and Influence by Valorie Burton

    The most successful women are often not the most talented, the most gifted, or even the most experienced. What these women have is a knack for communicating that opens doors and gives them influence. 

    Gleaning from powerful research, bestselling author and life strategist Valorie Burton unearths practical insights you can put to work in your life immediately.

    Click here to order Successful Women Speak Differently: 9 Habits That Build Confidence, Courage, and Influence.

    successful women_think_differently

    Popular author and professional certified coach Valorie Burton knows that successful women think differently. They make decisions differently. They set goals differently and bounce back from failure differently. Valorie is dedicated to help women create new thought processes that empower them to succeed in their relationships, finances, work, health, and spiritual life.

    Click here to order Successful Women Think Differently: 9 Habits to Make You Happier, Healthier, and More Resilient.

    Please share this article with anyone that you may think it could help. If you have any books that you think should have made this list,  please post it in the comments below and tell us why you love that book so much!

    The post 18 Books Every Administrative Assistant and Executive Assistant Should Read appeared first on Executive And Administrative Assistant Training - Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 17:15:31 on 2019/03/02 Permalink
    Tags: Writing and Grammar   

    How Do You Choose the Right Punctuation? Emphasis Is Your Clue 


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    choose_the_right_punctuation

    A subscriber to my ezine Add Power to Your Pen asked, “Should I put spaces before/after a dash?” Getting on a roll, I answered a different question: when to use a dash vs. commas vs. parentheses to offset phrases in your sentences? The answer will be useful to professional administrators or anyone who writes.

    Of these punctuation choices—dashes, commas, or parentheses—how do you select the one to use?

    Degree of Emphasis Is Your Clue

    First, consider the degree of emphasis you want to create with the phase as part of your sentence. Dashes set off a phrase in a highly visible way. For greatest emphasis—when you want the phrase to stand out—use long or “em” dashes (not the shorter “n” dashes). To imply the phase is an aside (something that’s helpful but doesn’t beg for special emphasis), use parentheses. For a phrase that doesn’t need to stand out, requiring less emphasis, use commas to set it off. (Notice how these sentences demonstrate exactly that!)

    So the hierarchy of emphasis is:

    1) dashes

    2) parentheses

    3) commas

    Space or No Space Question

    For clear explanations of all things punctuation, a good reference is The Best Punctuation Book, Period by June Casagrande. To the question about dashes requiring a space before/after them, Casagrande’s answer would be “it depends.”

    I like Casagrande’s book because it guides correct usage depending on its application. Her guide applies to books, journalism, and business, as well as science and academic publications. On the subject of “em” dash spacing, for books, scientific, and academic applications, she says no space before/after the dash. For news media and business, she says one space before/after the dash. My own preference for all of these is no space.

    Given the proliferation of texting and other shortcuts, is it any surprise that punctuation errors are more common than ever? As a conscientious admin, how do you know what’s right? I offer a free 3-page summary of “what to use when” as a handy guide. To request it, email me with “Punctuation Guide” in the subject line.

    writing_tips

    With the right references at your fingertips, you won’t go wrong! Barbara McNichol is passionate about helping administrative professionals add power to their pen. To assist in this mission, she has created a Word Trippers Tips resource to quickly find the right word when it matters most. It allows you to improve your writing through excellent weekly resources in your inbox, including a webinar, crossword puzzles, and a Word Tripper of the Week for 52 weeks. Enjoy a $30 discount at checkout with the code ODI at www.wordtrippers.com/odi.

    The post How Do You Choose the Right Punctuation? Emphasis Is Your Clue appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
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