Talking Chairs
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10 nouns I wish were verbs

As writers and editors, we are the experts and enforcers of style and grammar at our organizations and for our clients. We are often the first ones people call when they have a language question. And more than once, we’ve been asked to settle disagreements about corporate style. But sometimes even the enforcers like to break the rules. And that brings me to this week’s post. Using nouns as verbs is usually frowned upon in formal writing. In fact, it’s one of corporate communicators’ biggest writing pet peeves. (As in, “Send me a detailed outline and I’ll...
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A corporate communicators guide to busin...

In corporate communications, TLAs (three-letter acronyms) are everywhere. Not only do we use our own department acronyms (NFP), but also acronyms from accounting, human resources, legal, and IT. Of course, we use acronyms to save time. It’s much faster to say (or write) CPC than “cost per click.” Unfortunately, not everyone knows what CPC means, and if an acronym is not initially defined, its meaning can get lost. Below is a list of common business acronyms and their definitions. Please note that this list is not comprehensive, but it’s a good place to start. ABC...
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Thought-provoking quotes from “Str...

Always a little behind in my TV watching, I recently finished the Netflix series “Stranger Things.” Perhaps the best way to describe it is as a cross between the “The X-Files” and “Freaks and Geeks,” with a smattering of “Red Dawn,” “E.T. the Extra Terrestrial,” “It” and “The Thing.” The dialogue, foreshadowing and pacing make the show a writer’s dream. The ‘80s references, the soundtrack and the atmosphere make it pure fun. Here are a few of my favorite quotations from characters in the series: 1. “Mornings are for coffee and...
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How to rein in your runaway projects

April marks the beginning of “presentation season” for our marketing department. It’s a two-month period when we focus on a mammoth project that once sucked up time and resources all year long. At my company, we produce an array of presentations for staffers to use when meeting with their various clients. There is a new business presentation (for prospects), an account services presentation (for standard clients) and several line-of-business presentations for specialized clients. We work with different departments and different sets of stakeholders for each...
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How to begin a difficult conversation

Despite having read “Crucial Conversations” (McGraw-Hill) more than once and attending countless presentations on delivering bad news and managing conflict, I’ve never been very skilled in this area. I dread these types of personal interactions, and I’m ashamed to admit that I do what I can to get out of them — at home and at work. But recently I was in a situation where I could no longer avoid a difficult conversation. So I did what many other writers, PR pros and corporate communicators would do: I treated the conversation as a writing assignment. What started...
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5 reasons to eliminate jargon

Jargon is a beast that many writers battle regularly. I made the following edits to the first paragraph of an article for my company’s website. The article was written by one of our in-house cyber security experts. Original sentence: “Cyber criminals are using a spectrum of attack vectors—ransomware, phishing attacks and other malware infections—to obtain illicit access to electronic protected health information (ePHI).” Revised sentence: “Cyber criminals are using a spectrum of techniques —ransomware, phishing attacks and other malware infections—to obtain...