Talking Chairs
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21 alternatives to “opportunity...

Do you ever feel that you’re so acculturated in marketing and PR-speak that you use it in your non-work life? I recently attended a wedding in which the couple wrote their own vows. The groom began his recitation with this sentence: “I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to marry you today.” To put this in perspective, the groom is an entrepreneur who lives and breathes marketing and client relations. So although that statement not surprising, it does speak to the pervasiveness of phrases such as, “I appreciate the opportunity to meet with you,” and,...
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11 ways to say it politely

As an unabashed word nerd visiting the United Kingdom, I was instantaneously struck by the differences between British English and American English (“luggage enquiries” versus “luggage inquiries” at the airport), but also by the general politeness of the country’s public signs. Whether by poetry, pun, or understated word play, these communicators know how to get their message across firmly and politely. Below are a few examples: “Please queue here.” “I’m a bin. Drop your liter in.” “Be a mate. Don’t block the gate.” “We have a selection of...
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Enough with the fluff

We know it when we see it: A writer’s attempt to sound smarter or make an article longer by adding fluff phrases. I estimate that these phrases make up at least 30 percent of the content I edit. The problem with all this fluff? It drives our readers away because many of them strive to read as little as possible of the messages we publish. Unnecessary phrases add to the noise readers are trying to filter out. Below are a few fluff phrases that — in most cases — can be eliminated from your content: As a matter of fact As you may already know At the present time/At...
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11 quotes to share in your email signatu...

Though they’re necessary for professional communications, long email signatures can be annoying. They’re even more annoying when attached to personal emails. I’ve seen personal email signatures with made-up titles, homages to alma maters, tributes to sports teams and, inevitably, quotes. The problem with quotes is that they can be hit or miss — meaningful to some, contrived to others. Here are a few interesting, off-the-wall and thought-provoking quotes to consider for your email signature. 1. “The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.” — Neil...
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Improve your writing with story prompts

Played any writing games lately? One of my favorites is Storymatic, a game that uses a series of cards to generate story ideas. With each turn, players draw two character cards, such as “a butcher” and “the object of a secret crush,” along with two object cards, such as “a flat tire” and “a secret hiding place.” The goal is to combine all four elements into one story. The person with the most creative story wins. Playing these types of games helps me think creatively and stretches my storytelling skills. So I thought it might be fun to play a few rounds of...
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Fun with corporate jargon

Corporate communicators spend countless hours dealing with jargon. We delete it. We replace it. We enforce style guide rules related to it. We argue about it. Managing jargon is a staple in many careers. Sometimes it’s fun to embrace jargon. Below are 20 outlandish examples of corporate jargon that could be used when speaking with co-workers, or with your boss, or at just the right moment during a meeting. (Terms come from the Urban Dictionary and The Ridiculous Business Jargon Dictionary.) 1. Anecgloat—a story that makes the speaker look good. Before every department...