Tone matters. Yours should be authoritative, but not boring.

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I read and edit a lot of nonfiction content — business books, blog posts, advice, and so on. Poor choices in tone often undermine authors’ credibility. Your tone should be expert and authoritative, but not dull. What is tone? Tone is the way in which an author’s prose choices communicate the author’s relationship with the … Continued

New research: what that emoji in your email communicates

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New research from Ben-Gurion University shows why you should never use an emoji in business communication. Researchers Ella Glikson, Arik Cheshin, Gerben A. van Kleef tested emojis with 549 people from 29 countries. Here’s what they found: Participants who received emails with smiley-face icons rated the sender as less competent. While smileys are supposed to make … Continued

Never use an exclamation point! (And other rhetorical no-nos)

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If you want to sound like an immature, unprofessional idiot, fill your prose with exclamation points, emojis, superlatives, adverbs, and profanity. Today I’ll explain why people use these rhetorical techniques and how they undermine your meaning. There are no absolute rules about business writing. You are welcome to use any of the elements I describe here. … Continued

A graphical journey of terror

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Tumblr user bisexual-legislature posted an emoji each few moments about their emotions on a flight from Toronto — one that had plenty of turbulence. Text and graphics are no longer distinct. You can “read” this just as easily as any other story — and it transcends language differences. It’s the natural extension of Edward Tufte’s … Continued