business writing ideas from Word Constructions      

 

 

welcome to the Word Constructions business ideas newsletter

Hello {name}! Welcome to the September edition of business writing ideas from Word Constructions!

It's a beautiful spring afternoon - I can hear birds singing as I look out a window onto blossoming fruit trees and sunshine. I hope you're getting to enjoy the weather wherever you are, too.

Spring cleaning may not be quite the process it once was (I think most of us now manage to wash bedding and so on over winter for starters!) but there is something about the growth and freshness of spring that does inspire many of us to reorganise and refresh things. I have been slowly starting to refresh my website and am motivated to do more now it is spring - let me know if you have any suggestions for me, too!

With the carbon tax coming and continued investment upheaval, now also seems like a good time to spring clean other aspects of business. I'm asking myself questions such as what can I outsource? can I expand my market? is there anything old I can renew? do I want to adjust the services I offer? Actually I am increasing the communications services I offer - meaning as well as advising as I write materials for businesses, I will formally offer advice and coaching services for businesses wanting to communicate clearly and effectively but happy to write it themselves.

Until next time, use your words wisely,

Tash

PS To help you spring clean your website, reply to this newsletter before 30 September for a review of your website content* or a rewrite of two web pages for only $100 - or both for $190.

* Based on 5 standard web pages - I may review more pages at my discretion if your pages are short or in good shape.

Recent blog posts you may find useful:

Expanding your marketWord Constructions eBooks
Shifting Demographics
Getting blog content ideas
When a date doesn't date
Improving your writing

Plus there is a series of posts about setting up a new website which includes ideas on choosing a web designer, initial website content and why a website is important for businesses. You are welcome to pass that link onto any businesses currently without a website (or needing an update).


I'm a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they're interested in
~ Bill Gates


business communications article by Tash Hughes

Procedures are a back up
By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

Many businesses understand the importance of backing up their business, especially after all the natural disasters we've seen this year, so they have back up copies of software, emails and files.

However, have you thought about backing up the knowledge and expertise of the people in your business - even if that is only you!

Think about what would happen if the person responsible for your blog suddenly gets ill and can't access your blog for six months. Not only will your blog suffer for lack of posts over such a period of time, it may mean loosing some relationships when no one replies to comments any more or updates the blogging platform and plugins.

Likewise for the person who manages your social media, accounts, building management (tried getting company keys cut without the right signatures?) and generic email address - not to mention the person who has access to your bank account...

There are two main ways to maintain this information within the company beyond what's in an individual's head. First, make sure each person teaches the critical skills and information to someone else in the business. For example, I run blogs for some clients but ensure that the CEO or someone similar has the login details and procedures so they could get in there if need be. The idea is that nothing is totally dependant on one person; if you are the business, you may laugh at the idea that things wouldn't be dependant on you but having someone able to take over for you if you get sick or take a holiday makes good business sense.

The other option is to have written procedures for those critical processes so someone else could at least follow the procedure to get something done. In reality, a procedure is a good idea even if you share skills between people as it is easy to forget how to do something if you are taught but don't actually do it before an emergency crops up.

Many people get nervous about procedures, either producing them or having them in a business, but they don't have to be imposing, officious documents. They are simply a set of notes explaining how something is done and can be built up over time.



Writing procedures has many advantages for your business so this eBook makes it easy to understand their value and write procedures yourself

 


don't forget the basics

Ensure examples support your point
By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

Yesterday I read an excerpt from a business book I was considering buying and I actually found it really hard to stay focussed on the 10 page. One particular issues was the poor use of examples in the text.

A couple of times the author gave an idea that I didn't fully grasp so I was pleased to see an example as providing examples can be a very effective way to show how something works. However, in every instance the example didn't answer my queries and didn't really add value to what I was reading. Some examples started well with giving the necessary background information while others were generic "this site could help by a, b or c"; none followed through to support the author's point. I was left dissatisfied because I didn't grasp her point AND I only got half a story in the examples.

So if you are writing to teach or explain, here are some tips:

  1. using examples is a great way to explain a point in a different way that readers can relate to
  2. only use examples where they are relevant to the surrounding text
  3. make sure the examples you give are complete - don't leave readers wondering or confused
  4. each example must be detailed enough to illustrate the point being made
  5. keep examples as short as possible - that is, don't give more information than is necessary as is distracts from what the readers are trying to understand. It's like me telling you there are three CEOs, five managers and four lawyers in a meeting when all you needed to know was how many people to provide lunch for.

Online Backup: Easy, Complete Automatic. Secure. Carbonite
An offline back up is great for accidental deletions, not just for computer failure or fire!
 


poor examples

Sometimes, the easiest way to learn the correct way to do something is to see it done poorly so in this section of my newsletter, I show you some real-life examples of writing that need a little help.

As mentioned above, yesterday I read an excerpt of a book I am no longer interested in buying. While the example below didn't stop my interest by itself, many such details contributed to my decision.

Example:

Since Fall of 2010, over 240 residents were participating in the project, submitting and voting on ideas.

Issues with this example:

From the second word it is obvious the author is from North America as no one else calls autumn 'Fall'; personally I think it is narrow-minded to use a localised term when a more widely used term is available and would make the reading easier for non-Americans. She is doing some international marketing so writing the book for an international audience just makes sense to me.

However, there are a number of other issues with this sentence. Seasons do not get a capital letter by default - they only do so if they are part of a title (eg the Autumn Colours Company) or are personified (eg "I think Summer is so good to us") - so Fall should have been fall in the example. Especially as two sentences further on she refers to spring (lower case).

In most places, correct expression would also be 'the autumn' but this word is dropped in a number of instances in the USA - again, the author used 'the spring' so there is no consistency.

The word since literally means what has happened after so "since Christmas" is referring to the 26 December until now and "since I started Word Constructions" refers to everything after February 2003. Therefore, I expected the sentence above to refer to events from the start of winter 2010.

Yet the author continues with "were participating". Does she mean that many people have joined in since that date or were they already registered at that time?

An improved version would be: (depending on her intended meaning)

Since the autumn of 2010, over 240 residents have participated in the project, submitting and voting on ideas.

OR

As at the end of autumn 2010, over 240 residents were participating in the project, submitting and voting on ideas.


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2011, Tash Hughes