Great Presenters Know Their Audience

Sometimes, we can be our own worst enemies. Case in point: I’ve been working with a highly accomplished IT manager, who’s an expert in her field. She’s smart! She manages large, highly technical complex projects. When she makes presentations to colleagues, with similar technical backgrounds, she tells me they have no trouble understanding her. Yet,…


Why Improve Workplace Writing Skills

It’s easy to assume that smart, educated people know how to write well. But that assumption isn’t always correct. I was reminded of this recently when I met with a client who was interested in improving the email writing skills of her employees, all of whom are university educated professionals. In order for me to…


What is Business Writing?

Maybe an even better question to ask is: What isn’t business writing? It isn’t what you may have learned in school: that sentences must paint pictures using many descriptive adjectives. It isn’t the essay you wrote in university where, in order to meet the word count, you “padded” it with unnecessary words or quotes. It…

A word cloud of computer security related tags and terms

How Plain Language Can Improve Cybersecurity

The recent cyber attack on Twitter, Paypal, Netflix, the New York Times and other major businesses — all on the same day — demonstrated how incredibly vulnerable we are to cyber exploitation. These are businesses that I tend to think of as very secure. Of course, what online business is totally secure, really? I learned this…


The Power of the Unspoken Word: Three Top Tips

Sometimes, what goes unsaid is as important as what is said. I was struck by this truth following Donald Trump’s comment about Ghazala Khan, the mother of an American Muslim soldier killed in Iraq. She chose to remain silent during her husband’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.  Trump suggested it was because she wasn’t…

A Venn diagram that shows the intersection of customers, staff and shareholders

Why You Need Plain Language

Harvard Business School professor Robert Simons asks: “How Do Your Core Values Prioritize Shareholders, Employees, And Customers? Along with identifying a primary customer, you must also define your core values in a way that ranks the priority of shareholders, employees, and customers. Value statements that are lists of aspirational behaviors aren’t good enough. Real core…