If you've written an email today, you're a designer
This past December, I had the pleasure of facilitating my first design-thinking session for a group of about a dozen project stakeholders. When I first took on this task, I felt intimidated. Who did I think I was to mess with this trendy design-thinking stuff? I don’t have a black belt in user-centered design or any kind of credentials in journey mapping. So what had I let myself in for?
But, to my great delight, as soon as I dove into the facilitation methodology, I found myself able to swim…
For people and organizations struggling to find their writing voice
In the business world, the primary purpose of writing is seldom to impart information or even to convey a point of view. It’s to connect with your audience so that they come to know, like, and trust you. Because they won’t buy from you otherwise.
But how can someone get to know you if you don’t let your personality shine? So much business writing, particularly that created in scientific and technical domains, works so hard to sound “professional” that it comes across as devoid of any personal…
How to write better in 5
How can anyone resist a book on healthy living that’s based on the premise of snacking?
Dr. Rangan Chatterjee’s new title, Feel Better in 5: Your Daily Plan to Feel Great for Life, takes a brilliant approach to making positive lifestyle changes, one bite-sized habit at a time.
Forget trying to commit to virtual Pilates classes or promising yourself you’ll attempt a 21-day sugar detox… again! Instead, integrate five-minute health breaks, or “snacks,” into your daily routine.
Four Risks of Writing Documents for Non-expert Decision-Makers
This past week, we witnessed an appalling demonstration of what happens when a non-expert makes a decision without understanding or respecting expert opinion. Donald Trump’s arrogance hit a dangerously new high when he stood on the White House Balcony, fresh out of hospital and still infected with COVID-19, and ripped his mask off,
In the perfect world, the people holding power would make decisions based on sound advice from well-informed, well-meaning experts. But in the real world, decision…
The Grand Delusion of Time Management and Writing
Imagine a new kind of material so elastic that you can use it to create a container with infinite capacity. No matter the original size of the container, its sides can stretch and stretch to fit whatever you put in it. And here’s the really amazing part: as it stretches, the container takes up no more space than it did in its original shape.
Now, I know there’s some incredible work going on right now in the world of materials engineering, some of it right here in Atlantic Canada. But I also k…
What Is It Like to Work With a Clarity Coach?
I happily rent my home now, but in a past life, I was both a homeowner and landlord. In those roles, my motto used to be, “If it’s broken, get a professional to fix it.”
I’m a writer and a teacher by trade, not a dry-waller or a plumber, and I don’t enjoy any task you might put into the category of “home repair.” So I don’t see why I should spend my precious time learning skills others have already developed and are delighted to put to lucrative use.
As an entrepreneur, I try to apply this sam…
Three Powerful Ways to Simplify Complexity Without “Dumbing It Down”
We live in a world where sound bites rule the airwaves and tweeting contests among political candidates have replaced intelligent public debate. In business, the one-pager rules. Strategic plans are now compressed into placemats and funding requests into short pitch decks.
At the same time, the huge challenges we face as a planet—and the solutions needed to address them—defy easy simplification. If it were truly possible to boil climate change issues down into an infographic or blog post, we wo…
Five Surprising Best Practices to Make Your Web Copy Sing
Too many home pages read like damp doormats. Instead of inviting web visitors into the site, they push them away by using a writing style that’s impersonal and indistinct.
Your website should attract your audience to you with a unique, powerful voice. The words shouldn’t just lie on the page—they should sing out with the personality and strengths that define your brand.
Why do so many websites, especially those of science-based or tech-based companies, fall flat?
The reasons might surprise y…
Is Your Writing Giving Off Negative Body Language?
Since social psychologist Amy Cuddy became a TED talk star, many of us have become aware of the nuanced ways in which our body language shapes not only our social interactions but also our self-concept.
If you’ve watched Cuddy’s TED talk, then you may already be practicing some of the “high-power poses” she claims boost your assertiveness and confidence. (My favorite is the “Wonder Woman” pose: legs shoulder-width apart, hands on the hips, chest out.)
By the same token, you may also consciousl…
Five Critical Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Writer
No two writing projects are alike, and the differences don’t always show up in the statement of work.
Much of what determines a writing project’s success comes from the chemistry between writer and client. Differences in personality and working style make each project unique.
You might think, then, that the most important questions to ask before hiring a writer would relate to the writer’s character, experience, and approach. While those questions are important, even more critical are the ques…
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