Nick Westergaard, Tips for Better Business Writing and Speaking
Whether you’re writing copy or pitching your idea, communication is one of the most important skills in work today. Employers value it and everyone wishes they did it just a bit better. This insightful talk provides you with strategies and tactics for leveling up your personal communication.
HOW EMPLOYERS RANK SKILLS
are less common in MBA programs,
more desired by employers
Source: MBA Roundtable, Bloomberg
People are dying because we can't communicate in ways that
allow us to understand one another. That sounds like an
exaggeration, but I don't think it is. When patients can't relate to
their doctors and don't follow their orders, when engineers can't
convince a town that the dam could break, when a parent can't
win the trust of a child enough to warn her off a lethal drug, they
can all be headed for a serious ending.
Two things happened: good writers got
better and bad writers got worse. Nobody
told all the new computer writers that
the essence of writing is rewriting.
WILLIAM ZINSSER, AUTHOR OF “ON WRITING WELL”
WHAT DO THESE HAVE IN COMMON?
• The Hippocratic oath
• The Twenty-Third Psalm
• The Lord’s Prayer
• Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18
• The Preamble to the Constitution
• The Gettysburg Address
• The last paragraph of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech
Don’t overuse. The exclamation mark is reserved
for use after true exclamations or commands.
Where does the period go? Outside.
(Unless a wholly detached sentence is parenthesized, then
the ﬁnal stop comes before the last mark of parenthesis.)
I, we, he, and she are subjects of clauses;
me, us, him, and her are objects of prepositions
Again, warm and personal.
No one wants to talk to a robot.
AND … BUT …
These conjunctions are excellent transition
tools in writing. Much better than “additionally”
LIGHTNING ROUND – EMAIL
Photo via Flickr user Anton Pinchuk
80%of business communication
happens via email
EMAIL QUICK HITS
• Get to the point — PURPOSE — quickly;
remember the Iron Rule
• Copy judiciously — be mindful before replying all;
BCC as needed
• Subject line — remember headline writing tips;
speciﬁc & actionable
• Standard caps and punctuation, please
that could sound dismissive, distressing,
The ﬁrst draft is the down draft — you just get it down.
The second draft is the up draft — you ﬁx it up.
The third draft is the dental draft, where you check
every tooth, to see if it’s loose, decayed, or healthy.