Talking Chairs
delete

What your writing style says about your ...

What does your writing style reveal about your personality? How about your client’s personality? Find out with IBM’s Watson Personality Insights Service. Input any text — a set of tweets, an email, a blog post, an article — and Watson will analyze the characteristics of the person who wrote it. Try it. Watson, the cognitive computer system that can help diagnose disease, generate recipes, and win at Jeopardy — is being put to use to “help businesses better understand their clients and improve customer satisfaction by anticipating customer needs and...
delete

31 ways to complicate your writing

Want to confuse your readers or have them stumble over unfamiliar and complex terms? If you don’t want them to understand a word of your message, try using the phrases in the right column. After all, why choose simple words when complex words can make you sound smarter? (Forgive the sarcasm, but years spent editing articles written by attorneys, whose writing is purposefully vague, and physicians, whose writing is full of jargon, has made me cross.) Instead of: Use:  after or later  subsequently  arms  upper...
delete

4 examples of bad email manners

Whether it’s the neighbor who mows the lawn at 7 a.m. on a Saturday or the woman who cuts in front of you in the elementary school drop-off line, bad manners are everywhere. The online world is no exception. Last year, I wrote a post about social media etiquette, matching social media errors to Jane Austen characters. As a follow up, here are a few email faux pas. Communicators with plenty of corporate experience have likely experienced these and cringed accordingly. 1. Solicitation emails with huge attachments. In my day job, I often receive calls from publishers asking...
delete

41 alternatives to the word “cool&...

Now that I’ve started paying attention to it, it’s appalling how many times I use the word “cool.” I don’t use it in any formal, written communication, but I do most assuredly use it too often in conversation and and in text messages. We’re all writers here, so let’s see if we can’t come up with a few alternatives to the word “cool.” (“Cool” as an adjective meaning good or excellent: “That Tesla is cool.”) Here are a few to get started, though not all of these will apply in every...
delete

29 words that look misspelled

Writers and editors often find it difficult to take off their editing hats when they leave work. It seems that grammar, spelling and punctuation errors are everywhere, and we can’t help but notice them. It’s a gift and a curse. I was recently reading an article with the word pancreas in it. And I just knew pancreas was spelled wrong, but it wasn’t. Pancreas is spelled pancreas. Here are 28 other words that look misspelled but...
delete

How do you handle a colleague who misses...

A little help here, please. I need advice regarding a problem that persists for communication professionals everywhere. How do you deal with a co-worker who simply cannot meet a deadline? Most of us know how to solve deadline problems with those we supervise or with contractors that we work with. Many of us even know what to do when executives don’t meet their deadlines. The advice I am seeking is what to do when a colleague constantly misses deadlines. In my particular case, this person works in another department, but has writing responsibilities that affect my...
delete

7 entrancing style guide rules

It’s like Christmas in February. Recently, a colleague and I were talking about style guides and about the differences among all the style guides we’ve used in our careers. A few days later, he brought in a copy of an in-house style guide he’d used at a previous job. It’s entrancing to read what’s included in the style guide and why—entrancing to think about the stories behind the entries. (There’s a section in this style guide titled “Pet Peeves.”) Of course, it’s also reaffirming to realize that others have the same style issues that we do—serial...
delete

8 (more) commonly misunderstood words

In a previous post, I shared eight words with unclear meanings. On the list were: “averse,” “poisonous” and “comprise,” among other. At the end of the post, I asked PR Daily readers to share their commonly misunderstood words. Here are some of those responses, plus a few more confusing terms: 1. “Jealousy: Worry someone is taking what you have. Envy: Wanting what someone else has.” 2. “The trick for less or fewer: You have less coffee, but fewer cups of coffee.” 3. “People often misuse ‘presently’ when they mean...