audience unknown

Learn to analyze a workplace audience to deliver an effective message

Know your audience. This would count as a platitude for good writing without some specifics. So this post provides a specific system for analyzing a workplace audience. That system requires writers to assess two aspects of their situation–the context of their message:  (1) their relationship with the audience and (2) their audience’s readiness to accept the message. An…

March 5 Weather

Another lesson on the bottom line

A quick story…I was working from home on slides for a presentation this afternoon. As I got ready to head to campus, my phone alerted me to a text message from a co-worker: This state needs to invest in trucks. And salt. Maybe I’ll see you tomorrow! It took a minute, but I finally figured out the campus was…

Lowth's Grammar

Shibboleths for National Grammar Day

For National Grammar Day, I’m posting a slightly edited version of “Shibboleths and entering the professions,” which appeared on Pros Write back in 2012. I wrote the original in response to the raised eyebrows after I posted  “Language choices can be unsuccessful — but never wrong.” For some readers, my belief that language can never…

By www.blancobydesign.com/

Create logical flow between sentences to promote accurate and efficient reading

I have argued that sentence variety is the enemy of efficiency. People read more accurately and efficiently when all the elements of a document are tightly connected. This includes the connection between consecutive sentences. I refer to this as cohesion (sometimes referred to as Functional Sentence Perspective by linguists). My experience is that most adults are able to create cohesive prose…

report-card

Which federal agencies made the grade?

The Center for Plain Language just released their 2014 Federal Plain Language Report Card. Highest grades went to Homeland Security, Securities and Exchange Commission, and Social Security Administration. In their white paper, they note that the quality of writing within the US federal government is improving. • 16 out of 22 departments improved over last year’s grades.…