Do You Run, or Leap? Crawl, or Creep?

Let’s talk about that old workhorse, that four-letter word, that indispensable element in every sentence: the verb.

So what is a verb, and how do you use it? Perhaps you remember your English teacher telling you, “A verb is a word that expresses action (throw, run, examine, read, write), or state of being (is, are, was, seem).”

In a typical sentence (not always the most useful, but certainly the most common), the verb comes between the subject and the object, e.g., Mary (subject) throws (verb) the ball (object). You can also think of it as who (subject) does what (verb) to what (object). This of course, is for an active sentence. More about that later.

While we could talk about the differences between types of verbs (there are about a dozen types), Let’s concentrate today on how to use verbs for effect.

  1. To add spice, and enhance your writing with greater clarity, use specific verbs, verbs that go a long way to creating the picture you want your reader to “see.” Paint a picture for your reader.

You could, for example, say,

“Jerry went down the hill.”

To be a bit more specific, you could say,

“Jerry ran down the hill.”

A bit better, but let’s be even more specific,

“Jerry raced down the hill.”

  1. You can paint an even clearer picture with a step-by-step description, adding additional “picture verbs,”

“Jerry raced down the hill, tripped, stumbled, caught himself, and kept running as if the devil himself were about to devour him.”

In this case, we’ve used a couple of words with verbs to help paint the picture – “himself” with caught, and “kept” with running, and then the “as if” phrase to complete our picture.

You’ll note that in the above example, we’ve added words as we paint the whole picture for the reader.

  1. Frequently, just exchanging one verb for another (“ran” for “went,” and then “raced” for “ran” in the above example) works well, and is all that is needed to paint a sufficient picture for more concise business writing. For example, you could say:

George sat at his desk.

Or

George slumped at his desk.

For tighter writing, you may want to avoid verbs like is, was, are, were…. E.g.,

MaryAnne is a person who plans for unexpected events.

Or

MaryAnne plans for unexpected events.

  1. You could use a verb that “shows”:

Barbara is taller than her co-workers.

Or

Barbara towers over her co-workers.

  1. Finally, that familiar grammar checker item: passive verbs. An active sentence is one where someone/something is, will, or has done something – an actor and an action, e.g., “Alex grasps the situation.” A passive sentence is one where someone/something is being done to, e.g., “The situation was grasped by Alex.”

Note that the active sentence in the above example contains four words, while the passive sentence must contain six words to provide the same information.

Passive sentences tend to be longer, slower moving, and impersonal. For better comprehension, easier reading, and fewer words, use active verbs to create active sentences.

 

 

Gail Tycer offers business writing workshops and presentations; executive coaching, consulting, writing, and editing services. Call Gail at 503/292-9681, or email gail@gailtycer.com to learn more.

If this blog post would be useful to your team, please forward it, or drop us an email, and we’ll send them next week’s post for you automatically.

We appreciate your inquiries and referrals.

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Love a Mystery? Here are Some Clues

I’ve always thought of those magic bits – prefixes – the beginnings of many words, as clues to the mystery of what in the world that word could mean.

For one example: You go to the doctor. Your doctor says you are suffering from hypothyroidism. Does that mean you will get a prescription and be taking thyroid pills for it?

For another: If someone tells you, “That was an atypical result.” What should you expect the next time?

Let’s look at a few common prefixes:

  • Hypo – as in hypodermic, or hypothyroidism. The prefix “hypo” means “under.” So it’s easy to figure out that, for example, hypodermic means under the skin (“hypo”=under, and “derm”=skin).

In similar fashion, hypothyroidism must mean that you have under (or less than) the required amount of thyroid. Your doctor could decide to write you a prescription.

  • Under is also a prefix that means beneath. For example, underground, or underlayment.
  • Hyper – as in hyperactive. The prefix “hyper” means “over or above.”
  • A (as well as “an”) means not, or without. So, if you got an atypical result, you would not necessarily assume you would get the same result next time. In fact, it would be “atypical” if you did!

(Note that il, ir, in, and im also mean “not.” For examples, illegal, irregular, incorrect, and immoral.)

  • Ante means “before,” as in antedate, or anteroom. But note that:
  • Anti means “against” as in anticommunist. “Ant” also means “against,” as in antacid.
  • Multi and Poly both mean “many,” as in multiply, or multiform; or polygon (a figure with many sides.)
  • Extra and Extro mean “beyond, or “outside.” Examples are extraordinary, extrovert, and extracurricular.

Numbers also come into play. For example:

  • Deca means “ten,” e.g., decade.
  • Di means “two, or twice,” e.g., divide, dioxide, ditto.
  • Hex means “six,” e.g., hexagon, a six-sided figure.

Words can be fun to investigate – to put the clues together to solve the mystery. First, of course, comes the prefix. “Pre” meaning “before.” The prefix, depending on its meaning, has the power to change the intent, or the sense of the root, or base word.

Next comes the root – the base on which to build other words. We’ve mentioned a few of the root words in the examples above. Finding the root of the word is a major clue to solving the word meaning mystery. We’ll save that for another discussion.

The final clues come with the suffix. This final bit at the end of the word (e.g., “ly,” “ology,” “al”), can be very helpful in telling what kind of a word it is – a noun, adverb, adjective, and so forth – as well as adding to the reader’s understanding of the meaning of the word.

There you have the clues to solve the mystery. Happy sleuthing!

 

Gail Tycer offers business writing workshops and presentations; executive coaching, consulting, writing, and editing services. Call Gail at 503/292-9681, or email gail@gailtycer.com to learn more.

If this blog post would be useful to your team, please forward it, or drop us an email, and we’ll send them next week’s post for you automatically.

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Do You Write the Way You Want to Write – Or the Way They Want to Read?

In a worlwide culture where today and every day in 2017 an estimated 269 billion emails will be sent by some 3.7 billion email users; where an estimated 54% of the entire planet currently uses email; and where the number of email users is projected to increase from 3.7 billion today to 4.1 billion by the year 2021, it is truly mind-boggling to consider how in the world it could be possible to break through all this Internet “noise” to communicate anything to anyone!

A good question indeed. To get started, here are a few things to consider:

1. Decide on your purpose. Why are you writing? Do you want a specific reader, or readers to read what you have written? Or is just writing it enough? Who are you writing it for?

2. While it seems obvious, your best chance of getting your writing read is to write about something your reader wants to read. Second-best is to write something he or she has to read. In the second case, don’t count on that much of it getting through.

3. Now that you have decided what to write about, ask yourself how your reader prefers to read: Online – in a letter, memo, instructions, report? Or in a blog, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn? On paper? Where are you most likely to find your reader?

4. Next step: assuming you want your writing read, what is the appropriate tone to use? What is the tone your reader will expect? What is the tone that will best connect with your reader? Should you use a formal, or academic tone? Will your reader be more likely to read and comprehend a less formal tone? Is that appropriate? Does your reader speak a specialized language – “legalese,” “medicalese,” “computerese”?

5. Much of the business writing done for higher-level co-workers tends to sound almost like a vocabulary test, as staff tends to “write up” for the higher-level reader. And yet, if that higher echelon reader were asked, he or she most likely would prefer to spend less time with a more comfortable, more readable, more easily-understood writing style. After all, that reader probably prefers having a family dinner, and maybe watching a little football, to staying late at work, trying to figure out what that piece of business writing says.

6. So if you want your writing to be read, write about something your reader wants to read – or present the information in such a way that he or she will want to read it. Use the writing medium your reader prefers, when you can appropriately do so. Write with a comfortable style, and an appropriate tone and language. And by all means, if you do nothing else, make it easy for the reader to get your point quickly, clearly, and concisely.

That last guideline is, and will continue to be, your most essential, most critical tool for cutting through all the “noise” your reader deals with on a day-to-day basis. The one tool you can totally control: Make your point quickly, clearly, and concisely.

 

 

Gail Tycer offers business writing workshops and presentations; executive coaching, consulting, writing, and editing services. Call Gail at 503/292-9681, or email gail@gailtycer.com to learn more.

If this blog post would be useful to your team, please forward it, or drop us an email, and we’ll send them next week’s post for you automatically.

We appreciate your inquiries and referrals.

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Eight Critical Checkpoints for Successful Business Writing

We’ve hit grammar and usage – the mechanical aspects of business writing – pretty hard over the last few weeks. This week, let’s talk about eight critical checkpoints to increase the effectiveness of your writing:

  1. Even before you begin to write, ask yourself, “Should this information be passed along at all?” And if so, should it be passed along in writing?
  1. When? And who should sign it?
  1. Should I use a straightforward, to-the-point-immediately approach? Are emotions involved? Should I build in reading time?
  1. Considering the reader from demographic, psychographic, and “problem” points of view, what approach should be most effective?
  1. Using this approach, do the thoughts flow smoothly from one to the next – all the while building the point I intended to make? What content can be eliminated? What holes need to be filled in?
  1. Are my lead paragraph, and my final paragraph (if I used one) consistent with each other? Do they support the content in between? Should my reader reasonably be expected to take the meaning I intended?
  1. How hard will my reader have to work to understand what I have written? Is that appropriate?
  1. Have I given this piece both a spellchecker and an eyes-on visual check before it goes out, to find those old goblins – grammar, punctuation, and spelling problems?

Let’s talk a bit more about some of these checkpoints:

Probably the number one rule of communication is whether or not a specific piece of information should be passed along at all. Some of the participants in my workshops tell me that this can save up to 50% of their writing activity!

Should this information be passed along in writing? While there are many reasons you might want to write, the most common reasons for writing are to create some sort of record or proof, such as documenting an agreement; to provide a reference – instructions are one good example; because there is a mandate to put this information in writing; or to get the same information to a large number of people at relatively the same time.

Timing is always a critical strategic element, as is the decision as to who should sign the piece. Tone, the relationship the writer establishes or reinforces with the reader, is also critical, and may well tie in with the signer decision. The writer has the opportunity to set the tone with the reader to be what he or she wants that relationship to be. For example, it could be friendly, professional, authoritarian, technical, collegial, helpful – or even warm and fuzzy! What is the word you choose to describe that relationship?

The purpose of most of these posts is to talk about clear, concise, easily-understood business writing.  Business writing that can be read and the meaning grasped at a glance. One thing we have not yet discussed is when you might want to build in time for the reader. This does not mean to make the writing confusing, or your content hard to follow. You need to be clear at all times in the business writing situation.

There are times you will want to include more information, and times you will want to keep it as brief as appropriate. The effect of providing more information is that it takes the reader longer to read. Sometimes you can assume the reader has the background and the information to understand a brief message on the topic. At other times that’s just not the case. On rare occasions you might be writing about a serious emotional issue, and you might want to provide a bit of additional background or information to the reader, which will give him or her a bit of extra reading time to come to grips with his or her emotions.

Now, considering the reader from the demographic (what are the facts I know about, or can find out about this reader); the psychographic (what drives this reader, how he or she sees himself or herself, how the reader wants you to see him or her); and the “problem” (what is the issue you can solve for your reader) points of view, what tone will be most effective? What content will best serve your purpose?

From this perspective, do your thoughts flow smoothly from one to the next, building to the point you need to make? What information needs to be added? What information could result in “overload,” and could be easily deleted?

How hard are you making the reader work to “get it”? Can you reasonably expect that the reader will understand your intended meaning?

Finally, of course you will use the spellchecker and the grammar checker, but have you also put your own eyes on that piece of writing to give it a final proofing? Watch for words that are correctly spelled, but are in the wrong place, e.g., to-two-too; or there-they’re-their. Also look for words that are correctly spelled, but not the words you meant, e.g., “an” when you mean “at,” “on” for “of,” and so on.

At the very end, look for consistency, particularly in issues of style; then check, and revise as necessary, your word choice and syntax.

 

Gail Tycer offers business writing workshops and presentations; executive coaching, consulting, writing, and editing services. Call Gail at 503/292-9681, or email gail@gailtycer.com to learn more.

If this blog post would be useful to your team, please forward it, or drop us an email, and we’ll send them next week’s post for you automatically.

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Six Easy Steps to Organize Your Writing – Fast!

Is there a quick and easy way to organize your business writing? Of course! Here’s how to do it.

Where to start. Where should the most important information go? Should it be in the first paragraph, or in the last.

The answer: The most important piece of information, the point of the piece, should always be in the first paragraph. Let the reader know up front what the piece is about, so that if the first paragraph is all he or she reads, the reader will know, at least in general terms, what the piece is about, and, more importantly, whether, or what he or she is supposed to do with this information.

So even if the reader does not read the last paragraph with 100% attention – if at all – it can be helpful to reinforce the message from paragraph 1 in the final paragraph. That gives us our “book ends.” The first paragraph and the last paragraph will both contain the most important information. And then you just fill in the space in between.

While it may be about that easy, there is a bit more to it than that:

  1. To write and organize the first paragraph, decide (a) what you want to tell your reader in that first paragraph; and then (b) include who (who did the action); what (what the action was); when; where; why; and how. This usually will be about a sentence, sometimes two. Example:

We have outgrown our Center City facilities, and need your help to find a new location that will support our current production standards.

Note that the who-what-when-where-why-how information in your first paragraph can be organized in any order. Experiment with variations, and notice how this technique – called syntax – can strengthen your writing. The “why” is frequently a good place to start, although you will find that the majority of the sentences you read frequently start with the “who-what.”

2.  Also note that if you can say it all in that first paragraph – not more than five lines – quit. If you have included the who-what-when-where-why-how in sufficient detail in that five lines or  less, that’s all you need. You can write less, and say more, saving both your and your reader’s time this way.

3. Next, list – on a separate piece of paper – in any random order as the thoughts occur to you, a word or two to remind you what you want to talk about in this piece.

4. Now, to organize your content, put the same number (“1,” “2,” “3,” and so on) in front of each of the listed items on the same subject, so that all of the items with a “1” in front of them will be on the same subject, all those marked “2,” will be on the same subject, and so on. This organizes your information so that you know what information will go in each paragraph.

5. To organize your paragraphs, now that you know what information will go in each, select an organizational pattern, such as procedural, most important first, time sequence, or natural flow from the first paragraph. Number each “paragraph group” to put them in order.

6. You are organized! You’ve already written your lead paragraph, you know what content will go into each of the following paragraphs. And you know what order the paragraphs will be in. All you have to do now is just put it together.

 

Gail Tycer offers business writing workshops and presentations; executive coaching, consulting, writing, and editing services. Call Gail at 503/292-9681, or email gail@gailtycer.com to learn more.

If this blog post would be useful to your team, please forward it, or drop us an email, and we’ll send them next week’s post for you automatically.

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Plurals and Hyphens: Exceptional Differences

Some time back we talked about the rules for forming plurals, which are actually pretty straightforward:

  • Generally, to form a plural, add “s” to the singular word.

The most common exceptions are:

  • If the word ends in a consonant (any letter other than a, e, i, o, u) plus “y,” drop the “y” and add “ies.” For example: company = companies; bakery = bakeries.
  • If the word ends in a consonant plus “o,” add “es.” For example: tomato = tomatoes; potato = potatoes.
  • If the word ends in “x,” “s,” “z,” “ch,” or “sh,” add “es.” For example: box = boxes; Jones = Joneses; buzz = buzzes; peach = peaches; bush = bushes; bulrush = bulrushes.

We also noted that there are words that change in the plural form: woman = women; man = men; child = children, and so on.

And there are a few words that are both singular and plural: “deer,” for one example.

Let’s add another: For abbreviations, we generally follow the same rule: Add “s” to make an abbreviation plural if you can do it without adding confusion. For example, CPU = CPUs; 1980 = 1980s.

Then we said that plural words – not plural possessive words, but plural words – never use apostrophes. To paraphrase that wonderful line from The Pirates of Penzance song: “What, never?” “No never!” “What never?” “Well, hardly ever…”

And here is an exception: Note that the following are not possessive words, but plural words, even though they have an apostrophe:

  • The exception is: When needed for clarity, “ ‘s” is used to form plurals, but only for lowercase letters, or abbreviations with periods. For example: p’s and q’s; f.o.b.’s.

Changing the Subject: Now Let’s Talk About Using Hyphens

So now you’ve had a chance to assimilate last week’s tips on how and when to use hyphens and dashes – not all authorities agree on all points, and the whole discussion can become quite complicated. The dictionary is your final authority, and last week’s guidelines should help with the most common uses when you don’t have a dictionary handy.

Here comes yet another consideration: Arguably, in addition to dividing words at the end of a line, hyphens are perhaps most often used between two or more words to create a compound idea that describes the following word.

For example: a better-than-average hamburger; a first-rate pitcher. But if these words come after the word they are describing, they are very often individual words. For example: The hamburger tasted better than average. The pitcher seemed first rate.

Another, less-frequently-seen guideline for not using hyphens:

  • Do not use a hyphen to link a group of words that includes “very,” or a word ending in “ly.” For example: “Everyone was there for a very specific reason.” Or, “This is an easily remembered quotation.”

In your reading this week, (1) watch for plurals correctly formed, and (2) see if you can pick up hyphens correctly used – either where they should be used, or not used where they should not be used.

 

Gail Tycer offers business writing workshops and presentations; executive coaching, consulting, writing, and editing services. Call Gail at 503/292-9681, or email gail@gailtycer.com to learn more.

If this blog post would be useful to your team, please forward it, or drop us an email, and we’ll send them next week’s post for you automatically.

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Gotta Dash – or Split? – Dashes and Hyphens

Yep. It’s true. Writers may, unfortunately, use a dash when they are in a rush, and don’t have, or don’t take, the time to complete a thought. In fact, one dictionary definition for “dash” is “move with haste; rush….” While the writer may suppose that the reader will complete his or her thought, or will “know what I mean,” this supposition can be dangerous territory.

The reader may very well complete the writer’s thought – with thoughts of his or her own – and totally negate whatever point the writer had hoped to make. Or maybe, and probably more likely, skip along, giving that incomplete or unsupported nascent idea no recognition or thought at all.

The dash is an interruption of your sentence’s smooth flow. That’s why it’s often used for emphasis – because its interruption causes your reader to stop and think, even for that split millisecond. But use dashes economically; too many interruptions can be confusing, and defeat your purpose for using them.

The dash can work in two areas: clarity, and style. As you saw above, not all sources agree on what the dash should look like, and not all keyboards are the same. Writing is a visual art. I prefer the space-hyphen-space (the final one above), but you may choose whichever “looks right” to you. Just remember (1) to be consistent; and (2) to avoid over-use in your writing – more like pepper than salt!

Now: As for the hyphen. Here’s where we have some definite grammar rules, along with some indefinite authoritative differences of opinion.

The dash and the hyphen each have a different job. The dash is often used to “split” or separate, or to emphasize large pieces of a sentence. The hyphen is more of a connector, or disconnector of individual words, or word parts.

Most students learn that when a word must be broken at the end of a line, a hyphen goes at the end of the nearest syllable, or “word bit.” We probably learned that some words are always hyphenated, some never, and with some, it depends. “Look it up,” we may have been told. Here are a few guidelines to make it a bit easier, and if you’re not sure… Well, you know: “Look it up!”

You will want to use hyphens:

  • When two words come before the word they are describing, and one or the other is not a stand-alone word, e.g.,

My red-haired sister and I went swimming.

Don’t miss this last-chance opportunity.

  • But generally not when those words come after, e.g.,

My sister has red hair.

This opportunity provides your last chance.

  • And not when each of the two words is a stand-alone word, e.g.

Augusta was a cranky old lady.

He is a pleasant young man.

  • For some terms describing members of a family, e.g.,

mother-in-law; son-in-law

  • For fractions, e.g.,

two-thirds; three-quarters

  • When the dictionary always spells it with a hyphen
  • When using self or quasi, e.g.,

self-awareness; quasi-legal

You must use a hyphen:

  • With ex (meaning former), e.g.,

ex-president; ex-representative

  • When you add a beginning or an ending to a word that is capitalized, e.g.,

Whitman-like; anti-American

All in the family:

  • Use hyphens for ex-spouse; sister-in-law; and great-uncle.
  • Do not use a hyphen for stepdaughter; half sister; or grandfather

 

Gail Tycer offers business writing workshops and presentations; executive coaching, consulting, writing, and editing services. Call Gail at 503/292-9681, or email gail@gailtycer.com to learn more.

If this blog post would be useful to your team, please forward it, or drop us an email, and we’ll send them next week’s post for you automatically.

We appreciate your inquiries and referrals.

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Thank Your Favorite English Teacher!

I hope everyone reading today’s entry will take a moment to drop a note or call to thank your favorite English teacher. Without him or her none of us would be where we are today. So bless that English teacher for giving us the sound, solid basic writing skills that have helped us so very much so far. The skills that allow us to build from them to move forward and take the next step. The skills that allow us to prove our professionalism and demonstrate our credibility.

In my business writing workshops, I often hear stories about a participant’s favorite English teacher. For example:

We were discussing prepositions one day, and how the last word of a prepositional phrase may cause confusion, resulting in a plural verb with a singular subject. This can happen because the last word of the prepositional phrase, often located next to the subject it describes, was plural, while the subject of the sentence was actually singular.

For example:

A choice of three entrees is available for the dinner. (Correct – why? Because the subject of the sentence is choice (singular). The prepositional phrase that describes the choice is of three entrees (entrees is plural).

To test whether you have written correctly, cover up the prepositional phrase, and read what you have written (in this case, “…choice…is available…”)

What is a prepositional phrase? A group of words that begins with a preposition, and most often describes something. So how do you recognize a preposition?

One of the class members said, “My English teacher told us that ‘a preposition is a word that describes any way a bird can fly.’”

While this is not always strictly true, it is fairly accurate, and is somewhat easier than memorizing the entire list of prepositions in the English language, which is not a bad idea either. (If you would like to take a look at the list of prepositions, visit my BusinessWritingZone.com website.)

It’s amazing how much can be learned from class members! I hope you will share your favorite teacher story, too. Just comment, or e-mail me. Thanks, I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

 

Gail Tycer offers business writing workshops and presentations; executive coaching, consulting, writing, and editing services. Call Gail at 503/292-9681, or email gail@gailtycer.com to learn more.

If this blog post would be useful to your team, please forward it, or drop us an email, and we’ll send them next week’s post for you automatically.

We appreciate your inquiries and referrals.

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Even Before You Think About Writing

If I could give you an easy way to be more productive in your working life, would it be worth a try?

Recently-published research from Stanford University (Ophir, Wagner and Nass) indicates that people who identified themselves as high multitaskers did not do as well at filtering irrelevant information, organizing memories, or switching from one thing to another as low multitaskers did.

UCLA researcher Russell Poldrack found that students focused on learning a specific task out-performed those multitaskers who were distracted.  Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI) testing further indicated that different brain systems were involved for each group, and that “there was a cost to switching back and forth” for the actively multitasking group involved in learning new information while distracted.  University of Michigan researcher David E. Meyer notes that switching the brain from one task to another can be incredibly time consuming.

Recently-published research from Stanford University (Ophir, Wagner and Nass) indicates that people who identified themselves as high multitaskers did not do as well at filtering irrelevant information, organizing memories, or switching from one thing to another as low multitaskers did.

UCLA researcher Russell Poldrack found that students focused on learning a specific task out-performed those multitaskers who were distracted.  Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI) testing further indicated that different brain systems were involved for each group, and that “there was a cost to switching back and forth” for the actively multitasking group involved in learning new information while distracted.  University of Michigan researcher David E. Meyer notes that switching the brain from one task to another can be incredibly time consuming.

From the historical point of view as far back as the 1890s, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education article, researchers found that while some are better able to concentrate while distracted than others, “Beyond a fairly low level of multitasking, everyone’s performance breaks down.”

Paradoxically, while most of the plethora of current research strongly concludes that, for a variety of reasons, multitaskers do not perform as well as their more focused counterparts, “Heavy multitaskers are often extremely confident in their abilities,” Stanford’s Nass said.  Yet, “they’re suckers for irrelevancy,” and “Everything distracts them.”

“They’re not able to filter out what’s not relevant to their current goal,” Stanford’s Wagner continued, and “That failure to filter means they’re slowed down by that irrelevant information.”

What does this mean in the business situation?  Two things:  (1) It’s possible that by focusing; and (2) by cutting distraction around you, you could actually be more productive, while seemingly doing less.

At a practical level, a single focus, and lack of distraction may be very close to the impossible dream, given today’s rapid-fire, multitasking work environment.

Try dedicating your workspace only to focused work – saving personal email, face book, Twitter, and LinkedIn – for personal time and space at home.

If you are a home office worker, establish and observe definite work hours, and dedicate a definite space used only for work.

 

 

Gail Tycer offers business writing workshops and presentations; executive coaching, consulting, writing, and editing services. Call Gail at 503/292-9681, or email gail@gailtycer.com to learn more.

If this blog post would be useful to your team, please forward it, or drop us an email, and we’ll send them next week’s post for you automatically.

We appreciate your inquiries and referrals.

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Advice for Bloggers – Rule #4: Take it Seriously

This week, we’re welcoming back blogger Marilyn Tycer. Marilyn is a graphic designer and blogger, and we’ve asked her to share some of her tips for bloggers. (Click for Rule #1, Rule #2 and Rule #3).

Advice for Bloggers: Rule #4

Take it seriously (but don’t let it take over your life).

Blogging is a commitment. Even casual bloggers need to devote some quality time and quality thought to their blog if they want to build a following.

 

  • Decide how much time you have to commit to your blog. I recommend blogging once a week at the very least. Two to three times per week is better though, and daily is ideal. When considering how much time you have for blogging, you should include time spent taking pictures, or finding clip art, or creating graphics; responding to comments on your blog; reading similar blogs and commenting; etc.
  • Keep a little notebook handy for blog post ideas, or bookmark them on your computer. You never know when inspiration will come! Having the notebook will also help with those moments that you’re stuck at the computer, with a blank blog post form staring you in the face.

 

Gail Tycer offers business writing workshops and presentations; executive coaching, consulting, writing, and editing services. Call Gail at 503/292-9681, or email gail@gailtycer.com to learn more.

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