A Newsletter Dedicated to Helping Businesspeople Write Smarter and Faster in Plain Language
On-the-Job Writing in the 21st Century (Part 2)
Last month’s Writing Tips covered the first five of the writing skills outlined in Julie Ellis’s article, “The 10 Most Important Business Writing Skills.” Here are the remaining five:
People are inundated with so much content these days that they become very fickle. The more creative you can be with what you write, the less fickle your audience will be. You will need to find unique ways to say the same things that others are saying—ways that are really engaging for your reader. This is especially true if you will be marketing products or services on the web.
7. Article and Blog Writing
While these venues for grabbing audiences will certainly evolve over the next five years, they are here to stay, for this is how company brands are spread and customer loyalty is achieved. Your business blog will have to be chock full of wonderfully entertaining content that educates as well. You will need to use those techniques for people with short attention spans and, in this case, the reading level should be at about age 13-14.
8. Writing for Social Media
Here is another writing venue that is not going away! In the future, you can expect many more social media sites that are just as popular as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Individuals who do not have the skill to grab attention with a few short phrases, with a couple of stunning facts, or with a great story will be losers on these platforms.
9. Writing as Video
Just as writing will continue to morph into graphics, it will also evolve into videos. Showing rather than telling will be the new “writing,” and those who are skilled in creating compelling short videos that inform and educate will continue to expand their audiences.
10. Business writing will not be dead
Yes, there will still be a need for reports, strategic plans, employee policy manuals and e-guides; people will still write memorandum (although these will obviously be distributed electronically). But the trend toward simplicity and the use of graphics and videos will continue, and the skilled “writer” will be able to weave text, graphics, and media into coherent pieces that readers/viewers can absorb quickly and completely.
- It’s estimated that 13 million pints of Guinness will be consumed worldwide on St. Patrick’s Day, and in America, overall beer sales will be up 174 percent.
- Although St. Patrick made his mark by introducing Christianity to Ireland in the year 432, he himself wasn’t Irish. He was born to Roman parents in Scotland or Wales in the late 4th century.
- In Irish lore, St. Patrick gets credit for driving all the snakes out of Ireland. Modern scientists suggest that the job might not have been too hard—according to the fossil record, Ireland has never been home to any snakes.
- Traditionally, the green stripe in the Irish flag represents the Catholics of Ireland, the orange stripe represents the Protestant population, and the white stripe in the middle symbolizes the peace between the two religions.
- New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the world’s largest parades. Since 1762, roughly 250,000 marchers have traipsed up 5th Avenue on foot—the parade still doesn’t allow floats, cars, or other modern trappings.
- The world’s first recorded Saint Patrick’s Day Parade took place in Boston on March 18, 1737, followed by the New York Parade, which first took place in 1762. Ireland didn’t have a St Patrick’s Day Parade until 1931, and it was held in Dublin.
- Corned beef, which has become a St. Patrick’s Day staple for Irish Americans, doesn’t have anything to do with the grain corn. Instead, it’s a nod to the large grains of salt that were historically used to cure meats, which were also known as “corns.”
- Up until the 1960s, pubs were closed on St. Patrick’s Day because the saint’s feast day was considered a solemn, strictly religious occasion. However, on that day you could still order a beer, but only in one place in the entire country. That place was: St. Patrick’s Pub, The Royal Dublin Dog Show, Jameson Distillery, Dublin Writers Museum?
(Fun Facts Answer: Scroll to the bottom.)
Word of the Month
esoteric | ess-uh-TAIR-ik | adjective
• intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest
“Keith reveled in his esoteric knowledge of Shakespearean swear words.”
Wacky & Wise Websites
Click here to check out the coolest London pubs… that used to be public toilets.
Click here to see the 10 most-checked-out books in 2020 at the New York Public Library.
American Express, Amgen, Cisco Systems, Department of the Navy, Fluor Corporation, General Electric, Motorola, The New York Public Library, Procter & Gamble, SEAL Team Six, State of Utah, Supreme Court of Virginia, United Way, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Food & Drug Administration
Writing Tips & More
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SATisfy Your Curiosity
SAT Exam practice question: Select the pair that best expresses a relationship similar to that expressed in the original pair.
ABBREVIATE : WORD
- quote : passage
- condense : book
- duplicate : copy
- translate : language
- conclude : argument
(SAT Answer: Scroll to the bottom.)
A red herring is a deliberate misdirection; the term comes from hunting. Trainers of hunting dogs would often use a red herring—a pungent, smoked fish—to create a trail and then teach the dogs to follow the smell of the red herring down the trail. Poachers, who knew of this training tactic, would interpose themselves between a hunting party and the prey it was after, and drag a red herring across the trail to mislead the dogs. This way, the poachers could bag the prey themselves. The hunting dogs, upon encountering the herring scent, would follow that trail as it was the one they had been trained to follow.
This excerpt from Nicholas Cox’s 1686 The Gentleman’s Recreation describes the training practice: “The trailing or dragging of a dead Cat, or Fox, (and in case of necessity a Red-Herring) three or four miles…and then laying the Dogs on the scent.” The metaphorical use of red herring doesn’t appear until the late 19th century when the Liverpool Daily Post of July 11, 1884, wrote: “The talk of revolutionary dangers is a mere red-herring.”
Answer: condense : book. To abbreviate a word is to make it shorter; similarly, to condense a book is to reduce its length.
Fun Facts Answer
St Patrick’s Day, falling as it does in the middle of Lent and hence considered a holy day, was once a day of abstinence. The only place alcohol was sold was in the members’ lounge at the Royal Dublin Dog Show. High attendance figures were guaranteed. Patrick Kavanagh reputedly once rented a dog to get in, while his arch-nemesis Brendan Behan stole a poodle. The law was finally changed in 1973.