10-Point Checklist For Headline Writing

Looking for headline writing tips that will capture attention immediately and force readers to stop in their tracks? Who doesn’t? What exactly are headlines? What purpose do they serve? Headlines are the ‘ad’ for what’s about to follow. Its purpose is to tease the reader into clicking or reading more. If your headline fails, no one […]

How To Increase the Number of Words You Can Type Per Minute

My friend PM wants to go into freelance writing. I think it can work for him. He’s determined, has a nice writing style, and knows how to hustle for work. But typing is a problem. It’s that simple. He pecks and pecks at the keyboard. Last weekend, his house he showed me some gizmos, ‘hacks’, […]

Why grammar is (probably) not your problem

Know the difference between affect and effect? Or where to use that but not which? Or when to use which but not with a comma before it? I know. MS Word forbids it. But can expect from a bot? Anyway… You could fill several multi-story car parks with people who — or is it that? […]

Em Dash v En Dash

Noreen Malone, senior editor at New York magazine, admits what everyone else thinks about those pesky em-dashes. “The problem with the dash—as you may have noticed!—is that it discourages truly efficient writing. It also—and this might be its worst sin—disrupts the flow of a sentence. Don’t you find it annoying—and you can tell me if […]

Report Writing: How to write the Conclusions section

The conclusion section to this strategy report, eGovernment Strategies, The Case of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), from Dr. Ali M. Al-Khouri, United Arab Emirates, provides an excellent template on how to summarize the main points in a strategy document. This conclusion section is divided into five paragraphs: Problem statement: need to develop new capabilities […]

White Paper – Document Review Checklist

When writing white papers, the document review phase helps you identify gaps, improve the organization, correct flaws in the narrative, and iron out other weaknesses. White Paper – peer review checklist The document review phase is often overlooked or dismissed as an irritating editing task. But if it’s rushed through, to close to the publication […]

How can I improve my business writing skills?

Your ability to communicate effectively, persuade others, and motivate teams are influenced by your writing skills. While some people appear to be born great writers, others get there by practice. Let’s look at how you can improve your business writing skills. Set a writing goal Be specific. Decide to improve one area of your business […]

How to Develop a Natural ‘Business’ Writing Style

You know when you’re reading something and you find yourself nodding along, agreeing with the writer, and wish you could write like that? It’s mostly because the writer has tapped into something that resonates with you. Maybe you don’t agree with every word he or she says, but as you enjoy their company, you tend […]

Jane Austen on Persuasion in business writing

Jane Austen “How quick come the reasons for approving what we like.” Want to be a more persuasive writer? A few suggestions: Tap into the reader’s values. Be decisive. Don’t sit on the fence. Force the reader to take sides, hopefully with you Ask the reader a question, often framed as a dilemma. Help them […]

How to improve your business writing in 15 minutes or less

‘I’d love to be a better business writer but don’t have the time.’ Ever hear yourself saying something like this? We’d all like to be better writers, but… How about if you could sharpen up your writing skills in fifteen minutes a day? Sound like a plan? Here’s how to do it. Getting started: create […]

Is Trying Too Hard Counterproductive?

I finally have my first running injury. I overdid it and now cannot run for a few weeks. And while this is a bummer, I also feel slightly proud that I’ve managed to acquire a running injury, which is surely a sign that I’m trying hard, right? Maybe. Well, not really. The injury occurred because […]

When to use ‘You’ in business documents… and when not to

Proposal writing might be easier if English had the equivalent of ‘usted’ in Spanish. Many languages have a formal and informal way of addressing people that’s not available in English. Maybe in the past, in olde English, ye served this purpose. I’m not sure. If you know, drop me a line. So, is there a […]

How to edit that report when pressed for time

In this tutorial we look at how to edit any document. Before we start: what does it mean to edit a business document? Most people think an edit means: Spellchecking for typos How it looks and feels Grammar (sometimes) Creating a checklist  Instead, create a checklist and review different aspects of the document one by […]

How to move from (Amateur) Blogging to (Professional) Writing

It seems snobbish, doesn’t it? Dividing people into different categories. On one side, formally-educated writers; on the other, dynamic bloggers breaking down the old rules. So, which one is best? Writer v Bloggers: Which One Are You? Let’s flip this around. In reality, neither are ‘best.’ They both offer different types of services. However, I […]

4 Business Writing Tips for Non-Native English Speakers

One of the differences between what they teach kids in high school these days and what I was taught is… business writing skills. When I went to school we studied Macbeth, Lord of the Flies, John Donne and Yeats. Wonderful stuff but not much use when you got into the real world. Most of us […]