5 Handy Tips to Write Better


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Not a rehash of grammar, but handy, memorable tips you can immediately apply to invigorate your own copy.

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5 Handy Tips to Write Better

  1. 1. 5 Handy Tips To Write Better Jonathan Rick @jrick
  2. 2. Write the way you speak
  3. 3. ORIGINAL The CONNECT software provides a common gateway which manages services that package and transport data using messaging protocols compliant with NHIN specifications. REVISION The CONNECT software is a “common gateway,” or a sentinel that checks the credentials of every datum that seeks to pass through it. As long as the data are using messaging protocols that comply with NHIN, CONNECT gives them permission to proceed.
  4. 4. Omit Needless Words
  5. 5. ORIGINAL Included below and attached you will find media articles that address issues that may be pertinent to the work the P&R IM staff is conducting. REVISION The technicians are processing the work orders.
  6. 6. ORIGINAL The technicians are working on the processing of work orders. REVISION Please find below and attached articles that pertain to P&R IM.
  7. 7. ORIGINAL I’m curious to know if these slides were coordinated with anyone from the MHS for accuracy purposes. REVISION Did anyone coordinate these slides with MHS for accuracy?
  8. 8. ORIGINAL Fifty-five-year old retired Army Colonel, Ben Wright, was working at a U.S. Army installation after having served over thirty years in the Army. During a periodic exam at his local Army Community Hospital, he spoke with his personal physician about the increasingly intense pain in his right hand which was no longer responding to pain medication. A visiting hand surgeon from a nationally recognized Army Medical Center met with Colonel Wright the following week and X-rays showed extreme arthritis in his thumb joint.
  9. 9. REVISION After 30 years in the Army, Colonel Ben Wright decided to retire at an Army installation in the Northeast. During a periodic exam at his local Army Community Hospital, he complained about an increasingly intense pain in his right hand, which was no longer responding to medication. A visiting hand surgeon was brought in, and X-rays revealed extreme arthritis in his thumb. Surgery was recommended.
  10. 10. Favor the Active Voice
  11. 11. ORIGINAL The report was written by multiple, cross-agency stakeholder groups. REVISION #1 Multiple, cross-agency stakeholder groups wrote the report. REVISION #2 Stakeholders across various agencies wrote the report.
  12. 12. ORIGINAL It was concluded that additional briefings were needed for feedback to be solicited. REVISION #1 Identifying the need for further feedback, the co-chairs conducted additional briefings. REVISION #2 Because they needed more feedback, the co-chairs conducted more briefings.
  13. 13. Sometimes, due to client sensitivities and other factors, the action completed is more important than who completed it.
  14. 14. Use Specifics
  15. 15. ORIGINAL When a major weather incident, terrorist threat, or other emergency affects the American population, emergency personnel need a way to inform residents of what to do. Television and radio alerts help spread the word, but they cannot reach everyone. Fortunately, many people carry another method of communication—a cellular phone. In the future, a message could be broadcasted to cellular and paging devices to notify the public of an approaching storm or other emergency.
  16. 16. REVISION When a major emergency—a tornado, a bomb threat, the snowpocalypse that recently blanketed the Eastern seaboard—breaks out, people panic. Should I evacuate or shelter in place? For how long should I take cover in the bathtub? If inside, you can flip on a TV or radio. If outside, you can congregate and chat. Yet what’s the one thing most of us carry regardless of where we are—the one thing we’re most likely to grab in an emergency? Hint: 91% of Americans own one. That’s right—it’s your cell phone. Portable and powerful, your cell phone is the perfect vehicle through which emergency responders can beam critical, urgent info to you before, during, and after a disaster.
  17. 17. Tell a Story
  18. 18. ORIGINAL On the day prior to surgery, COL Wright underwent routine pre- operative procedures at his local Army Community Hospital, during which the radiologist noticed an abnormality in the electrocardiogram which immediately postponed the surgery. COL Wright was then directed to a Regional Private Hospital to meet with a cardiologist and undergo a complete screening before being cleared for surgery. Over the next month, COL Wright hand-carried his records back and forth from the Army Community Hospital to the private hospital for several screening sessions, including X-rays, CT scans, and stress tests, until he was finally cleared for surgery. While phone calls and faxes may have been used to communicate his medical information, with no electronic records sharing between the Army facilities and the private hospital, hand-carrying his records and test results was the only way COL Wright could be certain his most current medical information was shared between the private cardiologist and the Army surgeon.
  19. 19. REVISION On the day before the operation, Colonel Wright underwent pre- operative procedures, during which the radiologist noticed an abnormality in the electrocardiogram. As a result, the colonel was sent to a regional private hospital to meet with a cardiologist and undergo a complete screening. So far, so normal—except for one thing: It turns out that a military hospital and its civilian counterpart don’t share information that well. Indeed, as Colonel Wright soon learned, phone calls and e-mails notwithstanding, the only way both the cardiologist and the surgeon could share his current medical info was if he hand-carried the paperwork between their two facilities. Efficient, this was not.
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