Where should I practice writing? (Ask Dr. Wobs)

Dear Dr. Wobs: I just finished Writing Without Bullshit and I’m looking for some material to help me get started in putting these new techniques to practice. I’m graduating college this spring, so I don’t have much required writing at the moment and I’d like to start developing strong writing habits before I enter the … Continued

Writing a company profile that’s not awful (Ask Dr. Wobs)

Dear Dr. Wobs Company profiles are some of the most boring pieces of content. How can they be improved?  — Alessandra Dear Alessandra: A typical company profile — often shown on the “About us” section of a Web site — is a political exercise that makes everyone at the company unhappy, even as it mystifies customers. … Continued

How do you create great infographics? (Ask Dr. Wobs)

To create effective infographics, you need to have something to say, and then you need to tell the story graphically. Today’s Ask Dr. Wobs answer explains how to do that. Dear Dr. Wobs I’m inspired by your infographics that illustrate how to write without bullshit. I’d like to create some of my own for my audience. How do … Continued

Restraining exuberant engineers (Ask Dr. Wobs)

Collaboration — especially with those who are not professional writers — creates challenges for clear communication. Today we explain how to collaborate with overenthusiastic engineers. This question reflects a common challenge for product descriptions and engineers: Dear Dr. Wobs: How can I write good product datasheets? Technical people write datasheets as a very long list of features with … Continued

Answers to your questions on social media, empathy, and more (Ask Dr. Wobs)

From southern courtesy to corporate bullshit, you had lots of questions after last week’s webinar for Higher Logic. I’ve answered them here. (Questions edited for length and clarity; some questions are from multiple listeners.) Q. Isn’t this all things that we should have learned from “Elements of Style” by Strunk & White?  How is this different? Strunk … Continued

Tips for an effective executive summary (Ask Dr. Wobs)

Executive summaries are crucial for long documents. Keep them spicy and write them early, late, and often. Dear Dr. Wobs: I suspect Executive Summaries became a thing mainly to compensate for bad writing. Do you prefer to write the Summary first, or after writing the rest of the document? And if the Executive Summary is good, … Continued

Sophisticated writing with simple words (Ask Dr. Wobs)

One key to writing success is to use words that connect with your audience. The secret is not to rein in your vocabulary, but to keep the bullshit density under control. Dear Dr. Wobs: Is there a formula for figuring out exactly how much the vocabulary level in business writing needs to be “dumbed-down” depending … Continued

How to fight vacuous superlatives (ask Dr. Wobs)

In today’s “Ask Dr. Wobs” question, I address what’s wrong with meaningless-but-true superlatives and how to talk people out of them. Dear Dr. Wobs: My boss wants to promote in a news release that one of our products is the fastest-growing product in its category in our industry. I really think it’s empty corporate speak … Continued