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  • feedwordpress 23:56:30 on 2020/08/31 Permalink
    Tags: Writing and Grammar   

    Word Choice: When to Use “Like” vs. “Such As” 


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    “I’m not expecting Shakespeare.” Your boss or colleague has probably said something along these lines after asking for a memo or briefing on a tight timeline. Business communication should be quick, precise, and easily digestible. Deadlines aren’t negotiable and accuracy is vital. But that doesn’t mean you should throw out grammar norms or ignore subtlety…
     
  • feedwordpress 14:30:00 on 2020/06/12 Permalink
    Tags: Writing and Grammar   

    Do You Find Yourself Rambling? 


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    More words don’t always translate into more meaning. That’s why it’s important to avoid wordiness in your writing, especially in a business setting. Your colleagues’ and customers’ time is precious. They need to know what you offer, need, or suggest quickly and concisely. If you find yourself rambling, it might be due to a lack…
     
  • feedwordpress 15:30:00 on 2020/05/18 Permalink
    Tags: Writing and Grammar   

    Common Grammar Mistakes that Undermine Your Credibility 


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    Now more than ever, clarity in communication is important.

    We’re all adapting to more virtual meetings and a great deal more email communication. Documents that were discussed around a meeting table and then edited by a single person now make their way to multiple colleagues via email.

    We’ve become accustomed to common abbreviations in text messages, such as, “C U @ 8pm @ Rogers, bring appie.” The text gets the point across that your friend will show up at Roger’s house at 8:00 pm and bring an appetizer.

    But what about in business writing? Is correct grammar still relevant? It most certainly is!

    We’re not going for Shakespeare, but don’t discount the possibility that your colleague, manager, or potential employer has a solid grounding in the rules of English grammar. When you break those rules, you lose (not loose) credibility.

    Let’s take a look at three of the most common mistakes. I call them Word Trippers…

    1. Who and That.

    Who refers to a person. That refers to an object.

    Incorrect:
    “The person that sent you the proposal is an authority on the subject.”

    Correct:
    “The person who sent you the proposal is an authority on the subject.”

    Correct:
    “That proposal is worth considering. The person who wrote it is an authority on the subject.”

    2. Me, Myself and I.

    This one is counter-intuitive. People often use “self” in a sentence because they think it sounds more academic and authoritative. It pads a sentence but rarely adds meaning. So you’ll read phrases like this…

    Incorrect:
    “Please contact myself if you have any questions.”

    Correct:
    “Please contact me if you have any questions.”

    Incorrect:
    “Myself and Jim will be there at 4:00 pm to discuss the proposal with yourself in person.”

    Correct:
    “Jim and I will be there at 4:00 pm to discuss your proposal.”

    Yourself is your self…no one can contact yourself. It’s a reflexive pronoun. You can talk to yourself, but nobody else can talk to yourself. He or she can only talk to you.

    Consider these examples:

    Incorrect:
    “Jim and me attended the informative meeting yesterday.”

    “Myself and Jim attended the informative meeting yesterday.”

    Correct:
    “Jim and I attended the informative meeting yesterday.”

    Here’s a great way to avoid tripping on this: Test your grammar by removing the second person from the sentence. For example, say this awkward – and grammatically incorrect – sentence:

    “Me went to the meeting yesterday.” Or “Myself went to the meeting yesterday.” You know that’s not correct!

    3. Further or Farther?

    Have you ever wondered about the difference between further and farther? Because English is an ever-evolving language, you’ll find a debate about this and variations in different countries. However, most experts agree that “further” is figurative and “farther” is literal, while typically referring to a measurable distance.

    Incorrect:
    “Jan has traveled further than anyone else in the company to meet with clients.”

    Correct:
    “Jan has traveled farther than anyone else in the company to meet with clients.”

    Incorrect:
    Farther to the point Jan was making, I’d like to send you this report regarding our costs.”

    Correct:
    Further to the point Jan was making, I’d like to send you this report regarding our costs.”

    Pay attention to these common missteps in your written communication, these Word Trippers. And never let poor grammar prevent you from gaining credibility in your workplace.

    Barbara McNichol is passionate about helping administrative professionals add power to their pen. To assist them, she has created Word Trippers Tips to quickly find the right word when it matters most. Word Trippers Tips is a subscription program that includes a webinar, crossword puzzles, “cheat sheets,” and a Word Tripper of the Week for 52 weeks.

    For the month of May, you can purchase Word Trippers Tips for 60% off. Go to www.wordtrippers.com/odi

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  • feedwordpress 15:45:00 on 2020/04/09 Permalink
    Tags: Writing and Grammar   

    Whacking Word Clutter in Your Writing 


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    writing_tips

    In The Elements of Style, iconic authors William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White called word clutter “the leeches that infest the pond of prose, sucking the blood out of words.”

    Yes, the same E.B. White who gave us beloved children’s stories like Stuart Little, The Trumpet of the Swan and Charlotte’s Web also gave us that visceral description.

    What is word clutter?

    Word clutter refers to unnecessary words in a sentence. Why – and how – do you eliminate them? If Strunk and White’s metaphor doesn’t make a believer out of you, then read on, because voiding word clutter in your writing will help you become a better, more effective communicator.

    To clutter or not to clutter – that is the question.

    When writing poetry, descriptive words are acceptable – even expected – because you’re trying to paint a picture with words. The art is in the rhyme, the imagery, the emotions you want to invoke in your audience.

    But in business communication, it’s imperative that you trim the excess fat. Your readers are busy like you – they don’t need to wade through extra words to get the meaning of your message. No one in business wants to think of themselves as a “cog in the wheel,” but Strunk Jr. summed up the importance of brevity beautifully:

    A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.

    Your business is like a piece of machinery, and efficiency matters. So, do your reader a favor: Fine-tune your writing and whack out the extra phrases.

    “Word clutter” refers to unnecessary words that don’t add meaning to a sentence. When you’re writing a non-fiction book or an email, whack them out. This often means choosing an active, rather than the passive verb.

    Consider the most common examples.

    Take time to fine-tune your message by whacking phrases like these:

    “is intended to” or “is meant to” or “is designed to”

    • Example: “He gives a workshop that is designed to teach writing skills.”
    • Fine-tune it: “He gives a workshop that teaches writing skills.”

    “it is all about” or “the fact of the matter is” or “it’s important to remember that”

    • Example: “It’s important to remember that it’s unwise to drive during a blizzard.”
    • Fine-tune it:  “It’s unwise to drive during a blizzard.”

    “is going to”

    • Example: “She is going to be a key contributor.”
    • Fine-tune it: “She will be a key contributor.”

    “in order to…”

    • Example: “Add keywords in order to describe the new position.”
    • Fine-tune it: “Add keywords to describe the new position.”

    “there is” or “there will be”

    • Example: “There will be several managers attending the meeting.”
    • Fine-tune it: “Several managers will attend the meeting.”

    Everyone’s time is valuable!

    More words don’t necessarily give more meaning, especially in business communication. Your time is valuable. Show respect to your colleagues by trimming your emails, memos, and reports – whack wordiness! You’ll be doing your colleagues a favor.

    Now, do yourself a favor: Get a red pen and take time to read over a recent email or letter you wrote. Ask, “Did I really need that word/phrase?” Circle all the unnecessary words. Then think about the time you could have saved yourself and your reader if you’d left them out!

    A little investment in time at the beginning of your writing project will save you and your readers time in the long run.

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    Word Trippers Tips

    Among the fabulous ODI offerings is an interactive subscription program that will improve your writing skills without absorbing a lot of time. The benefits to you? You’ll boost your professionalism by being more precise in everything you writing—and feel more confident about it! Word Trippers Tips includes Word Tripper of the Week for 52 weeks, a webinar, “cheat sheets” on better writing, crossword puzzles, and more.

    For this month only, you can take advantage of 60% off pricing in honor of Admin Professionals Month—but only for April. Go to www.WordTrippers.com/odi,  click on Invest In Word Trippers HERE, and at checkout, type in the code APRIL to receive your 60% discount. Yes, only $39.60 to become a better writer!

    The post Whacking Word Clutter in Your Writing appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

     
  • feedwordpress 15:34:00 on 2020/02/04 Permalink
    Tags: , Writing and Grammar   

    5 Ways Better Writing Can Boost Your Credibility at Work 


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    Writing_Can_Boost_Your_Credibility_at_Work

    Because your writing reflects your credibility, you want to craft your messages as effectively as possible. You can immediately improve it by applying these five points.

    1. Make your opening sentence compelling. 

    It starts with knowing your reader—a boss, a coworker, a customer. Rambling thoughts about the weather won’t interest them. Stick to directly addressing issues your recipients care about so they keep on reading.

    2. Think through your message thoroughly before writing the first word.

    Warm up by completing an outline that details answers to these questions: Who, What, Why, When, Where, and How. This will help you think through all aspects of your message and make it easier and faster to write. By taking this outline method to heart, you’ve already done the hard work before you write the first word.

    3. Use “you” in your messages to make them more personal.

    Successful salespeople use “you” more than “I” and so should you. Scan your message for variations of the word “I” before sending it and rework every “I,” “my,” and “me” to emphasize “you,” “your,” and “you’re.”

    Instead of: When I create my schedule, I set up time with myself. Write: When you create your schedule, you set up time with yourself.

    4. Don’t make your reader work hard to understand your message.

    That means eliminating run-on sentences and overwritten (wordy) paragraphs. How? Remove select words (e.g., some, really, much) and see it the sentence still makes sense. Limit the number to 21 words per sentence—no more. Fewer words get the job done better!

    Instead of: If you have some coworkers who are well-organized, their productivity levels can really go through the roof when they work remotely. Write: Well-organized coworkers can be more productive by working remotely. (See! You’ve turned a 21-word sentence into a 9-word sentence without changing the meaning.)

    5. Write correctly so readers don’t get tripped up on your intended meaning.

    How often do you see or hear words used incorrectly? A lot! But your reputation suffers if you don’t get them right.

    For example: “Everyday” means common or normal while “every day” means today, tomorrow, next day, etc. Or “stationary” (something that stands still) versus “stationery” (something you write on). I call these Word Trippers because they keep tripping us up! Want a quick reference so you can be correct every time? Go to www.wordtrippers.com/odi

    Why? Because your credibility is at stake.

    wordtrippers_grammer_course

    Barbara McNichol is passionate about helping administrative professionals add power to their pen. To assist them, she has created Word Trippers Tips to quickly find the right word when it matters most. It allows you to improve your writing through excellent resources arriving weekly in your inbox.

    Word Trippers Tips, includes a webinar, crossword puzzles, and a Word Tripper of the Week for 52 weeks. Enjoy a $30 discount at checkout by using the code ODI at www.wordtrippers.com/odi.

    The post 5 Ways Better Writing Can Boost Your Credibility at Work appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

     
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