A hard-working glossary can cure jargon overload

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A great business book will be full of magic words that reflect new and crucial concepts. What’s the best way to explain those? Here’s how to make a glossary that works without drowning in jargon. If you’re writing a business book, you’ll inevitably face a difficult problem with language. Some of the unfamiliar words you’ll … Continued

Airline pilots who hate the shutdown must be more direct

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The head of the Air Line Pilots Association sent a letter to President Trump warning of the government shutdown’s impact on safety. It’s sobering, especially when you strip out the passive, military-jargon-laden language and clarify what they’re really saying. The ALPA is a union that represents 61,000 pilots including those flying for Delta and American. … Continued

Buzzword bingo (and you can play)

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I’m starting a new project for 2019 and, with just a tiny bit of awareness on your part, you can fuel my efforts. Here’s a list of buzzwords you’ll see in technology and marketing press releases and announcements. Robust Seamless Omnichannel Analytics Cloud-based Comprehensive Secure Encrypted Engagement Scalable Saas Disruption/disruptive Your contribution? First, tell me … Continued

10 ways to make your corporate description (boilerplate) less dreadful

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It’s there. At the bottom of your press releases, on the “Who we are” section of your website, at the end of your whitepapers. It’s the “boilerplate” description of your company. And it’s terrible. You’ve got 50 to 60 words to tell the world who you are, but if you’re like most companies, what you’re … Continued

When to break my writing rules

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My most popular post ever included ten writing tips and the psychology behind them. On social media, I see people reading these tips with no context and objecting. “Passive voice is perfectly fine,” they say, or, “You wouldn’t get very far if you only used short sentences.” You want to break my rules? I’m here … Continued

Airline jargon explained

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In any industry, there are words that industry insiders use to make everyone else feel confused and inferior. The difference is, with airlines, the insiders are flying the plane and serving you in the cabin, and you’re literally strapped in and powerless to escape. So here’s an airline-jargon-to-English dictionary, with help from Ask the Pilot … Continued

Creative agency jargon at J. Walter Thomson

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People leave companies and executives have to write statements. These statements must say everything and nothing at the same time. This is not the place for creativity, but try telling that to J. Walter Thomson. Matt Eastwood, Chief Creative Officer of the agency J. Walter Thomson, is out. They’re not replacing him. This creates a … Continued

How to write a short bio that’s not awful (Ask Dr. Wobs)

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Everybody needs a short bio, whether its at the top of your LinkedIn page or on the bookflap of your first book. But it’s hard to write about yourself succinctly and objectively. That’s why people writing their own bios so often end up sounding like an idiot. Dear Dr. Wobs Why are bios so bad? … Continued