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Embarrassing Mistakes in Business Writing

Many people were kind enough to send me examples of errors they or others had made in business writing.  Here are a few examples.

Unconscious Slips

Embarrassment awaits those who blithely type the contents of their unconscious mind – and don’t catch themselves before they hit “send.”

Someone wrote:

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"I Just Miswrote It." Life-Changing Writing Mistakes

What a difference a prefix makes.  In the highly publicized divorce case of Frank and Jamie McCourt, owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers, a high-priced attorney has admitted to changing the word “exclusive” to “inclusive” in a post nuptial agreement about the division of the couple’s assets.  Did the lawyer really “miswrite”, as he stated in his testimony?  Or was something more nefarious at play?  I don’t know.  That’s for the judge to decide.

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times described the testimony. The article, by staff writer Bill Shaikin, said,

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How is business writing like feeding a baby?

My infant grandson is visiting; he has reminded me of a basic truth about business writing.  He just started eating solids, so we’ve been spooning baby food into a hungry little mouth.

Imagine yourself feeding sweet potatoes to a babe.  You put the food on the spoon, put the spoon in the mouth and, like magic, the sweet potatoes disappear.  Now imagine that you start to feel impatient and think, “How long is it going to take to feed this kid his food?”  Then you make the fateful decision: You dig the spoon into the jar and pile it high with sweet potatoes. You pry open the little mouth and shove in the orange goo.  Those of you who have fed babies know already what happens.  The extra mush comes dribbling out, all over the chin, the bib, the fingers, and possibly onto the clothing of the baby and the person who is feeding him.  You have not saved any time at all.  You’ve made a mess and you still have a hungry baby.

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How to Avoid Negative Images When You Write

“I’m anxious to get on with this project.”

“I’m just dying to see you!”

“That dinner was to die for!”

“What a killer presentation!”

Why do people talk and write like this? What’s all this about anxiety and dying?

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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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