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10 Tips to Be a Better Business Writer

On April 13, 2011, Jeff Haden published the following article on BNET.com. His points are well taken, so I am sharing them here with the author’s permission.

I’ve received a number of emails recently from readers asking how they can improve their writing skills.

Here are 10 tips:

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How Do You Use Metaphors?

On April 11, 2011, the following article by David Brooks appeared in the New York Times.  Brooks comments on the ubiquity and importance of metaphorical thinking, even outside the realms of literature and poetry.

More than we might realize, we think and speak in metaphors, and whether we realize it or not, the metaphors we create tinge our emotional reactions to the words we see and use. When a victim of financial fraud says he feels “raped”, how do actual rape victims feel? Trivialized, I think.  Losing money is not the same as being physically assaulted, but using the metaphor of assault dramatizes the experience.

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Clarifying perplexing word pairs: affect/effect, advise/advice

At a corporate training I taught last week, participants asked me to clarify the meaning of the above word pairs.  Since these words seem to perplex many people, here are simple definitions.

Affect (verb) This word has many meanings in the dictionary. It can refer, as a noun, to one’s emotional state. As a verb, it also has multiple meanings.  However, if you want to keep your life simple and always use it correctly, I advise you to use it exclusively as a VERB, meaning something like “to have an influence on”.

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Quotations About Writing: "I try to leave out the parts that people skip."

Great thinkers and writers often have pithy things to say about the writing process.  Here are a few quotations to make your writing day go more smoothly.

  • Don’t write merely to be understood.  Write so that you cannot possibly be misunderstood.        – Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
  • The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.        – Thomas Jefferson

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Why choose WorkTalk trainings?

  • Taught by a professional writer. +

    These courses are not taught by a general skills trainer who happens to teach writing. Elizabeth Danziger has been published by major publishing houses such as Random House and Harcourt Brace. Her work has appeared in many national magazines. She is an expert writer and editor who brings her knowledge as a resource to participants.
  • Customized. +

    Every Worktalk training is customized to the client's needs. We meet with you, analyze writing samples from your organization, and customize our training to target the specific challenges that employees in your organization face.
  • Energetic and entertaining. +

    With plenty of exercises and opportunities for interaction, the Worktalk trainings move quickly. Subjects that were terrifying in grammar school become fun and interesting in these outstanding programs.
  • Proven results. +

    In trainings all over the country, Ms. Danziger has enabled participants to streamline their organizing process, eliminate persistent errors, and drastically cut their revision time. Clients spend less time on key communications while producing better relationships and results. Sales people get more positive responses from prospects.
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