Comprehension: Screen vs. Print Reading

ReadtoChildrenAn April 6 Washington Post article by Michael S. Rosenwald , Serious reading takes a hit from online scanning and skimming, researchers say, raises a question many of us have been wondering about, and asking ourselves: Is, and if so, how is online reading changing our reading habits, and, as a result, our comprehension of what we are reading? And what do we, as business writers, need to know now about today’s most common communication practices?

In her remarkable book, Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain, Maryanne Wolf, Tufts University cognitive neuroscientist, and one of the world’s foremost experts on the study of reading, states that the brain was not designed for reading, but has adapted to reading.

Think about how you read online – social media, for one example. We may click on a promising link, look for a juicy tidbit or two, and skim on to the next promising thing. Cognitive neuroscientists project that this process is, in fact, changing the traditional reading process into scanning and skimming for paper reading as well, with eyes skimming until the reader realizes that he or she really did not focus on, and probably does not remember much of what he or she has read, having to go back and read it again to make sense of it. The apparent development of the “digital brain” with new circuits for skimming through torrents of online information is in direct conflict with “traditional deep reading circuitry” developed over several millennia.

 CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

Published in: on May 3, 2014 at 9:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ten Tested “How To’s” for Clearer Writing

womanTyping250How frustrating! You put a great deal of thought into that last memo or instruction, and your co-worker doesn’t get it. You thought you had a good plan for this piece. So what happened? Let’s take a look at our “how to” checklist – 10 quick and easy things you can do to help your writing communicate clearly; to help your reader “get it” at a glance.

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

Published in: on February 24, 2014 at 3:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ten Tested Tactics for Clearer Writing

BusWomanComputer200

Have you ever sat in front of your computer, staring at the blank screen, and wondering what to write? We all have! So what can you do to avoid those awful blank-screen-staring-moments – and why is it they always seem to come up when you’re working against a deadline? How can you get started quickly?

Strangely enough, you can get off to a faster, easier start by taking a just a little more time up front to save a whole lot of time writing the whole piece. Begin tactically.

What is a tactic? A strategy. A good strategy is the essential part we so often leave out before we begin to write. And a clear strategy is the part that lets you start quickly and easily; continue step-by-step; finish with a piece that does the job it was meant to do; and get the results you need.

Here are the ten steps that will get you off to a quick, easy start:

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

 We invite you to subscribe to our blog, and to our newsletter.

Gail Tycer offers business writing workshops and presentationsexecutive coaching,consulting, and writing services. To discuss how we can help, call Gail at 503/292-9681, or email gail@gailtycer.com

Published in: on February 17, 2014 at 3:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Is Grammar Dead – Or Deadly?

Is Grammar Dead – Or Deadly?

Gail Tycer wordpress wordleDoes grammar really matter? Well it certainly does to some people.

In a recent New York Times piece decrying the practice, John McWhorter, author, blogger, and contributing editor states, “We cannot help associating ‘bad’ grammar with low intelligence, sloppiness and lack of refinement.”

This criterion, he notes, makes it “…increasingly challenging to find work providing a living wage or upward mobility, much less satisfaction,” for people lacking these skills. While acknowledging that this is the case, McWhorter questions barring someone from a decent job “…because he or she isn’t always clear on the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re.’”

Nor does this seem to be a situation limited to the United States. Commenting on “the debate around grammar,” a French scientist said, “I personally don’t hire people whose resumes and letters are full of…mistakes, for two reasons. First, I know I will need to rewrite everything they do…which is a huge waste of time. Second, I consider that someone who is sloppy enough not to check…before they send a resume…is not to be trusted to do serious, precise scientific work.

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

If you like what you’re reading, we invite you to subscribe to our blog, and subscribe to our newsletter.

Gail Tycer offers business writing workshops and presentationsexecutive coaching,consulting, and writing services. To discuss how we can help, call Gail at 503/292-9681, or email gail@gailtycer.com

Published in: on February 11, 2014 at 5:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Technical Writing: Will They Get It?

womanTyping250Strictly speaking, the purpose of technical writing is to provide technical information in a totally objective way. This type of technical writing is frequently written for professionals in a specific field who already  “speak the language,” and understand the general concepts. So what may look like unintelligible “jargon” to the non-technical reader may well be a timesaving “insider language” for the technical reader in that specific field.

It is important to make the distinction between this type of technical writing, and a second type – the type of technical writing most of us will most often be called upon to write: technical writing that is, by most (short) definitions, good business writing dealing with technical information.

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

 

 

 

How Important is a Thank You Note – Really?

Thank You Card

Take just a moment to think about that person in your life who always sends you a thank you note.  In our family, Cousin Harriet comes to mind. Her thank you notes are gifts in themselves. They make you feel good. Happy about whatever small service or gift, and eager to see her “next time.”

Can your thank you note do this for your friend or family member? Of course. And what a privilege it is to write that note, knowing you are brightening the day for Aunt Minnie or Uncle George, who spent hours online, or at the Mall, finding just the right thing to brighten your holiday.

A hand-written note – on paper and through the U.S. Mail – is often the best. A hand-written note, on paper, has a more lasting quality. In some cases, an email, a text message, or even a quick phone call of thanks may be more appropriate. What is important is to let that person who has done you a service, or sent you a gift, know that you sincerely appreciate his or her effort.

Is this equally true in business?

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

If you like what you’re reading, please subscribe to our blog.

We’ll be happy to bring a Gail Tycer workshop to your organization. To discuss a workshop for your people at your location or ours, or a shorter presentation for an upcoming meeting, call Gail at 503/292-9681, or email gail@gailtycer.com

Published in: on December 30, 2013 at 1:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Five Ways to Strengthen Your Email

WomanatComputer175

Have you ever had an email “send” before you were ready to turn it loose? Who hasn’t experienced this awkward moment and its subsequent follow-up? Today, let’s talk about the fail-safe way to avoid this situation, as one of our five ways to strengthen your email.

  1. A participant in one of my workshops came up with this tip: To avoid “sending” before you are ready, leave the “to” line blank until you are ready to send. Check your piece over for grammatical, usage, and strategic missteps, and then address and send it.
  2. Consistently reply promptly, and you will stand out in a very positive way. One of the most common questions asked is always, “How do I get people to respond to me?” At all. Let alone promptly. If you do not have the answer at your fingertips, or do not have time to provide a lengthy answer right then, answer that email with a reasonable expectation for the reader, e.g., “I will send that information later this afternoon.” Or, “I can have that report for you by Friday.” This is what our reader needs. This is what we need to do.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

Published in: on December 17, 2013 at 4:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

How Many Common Writing Errors Do You Make?

Let’s talk a bit about grammar and usage errors today. Can you find the errors in the following three sentences?Gail Tycer wordpress wordle

1. Woodland Caribou: Less than 65 roam America’s mountains and mesas.

2. As soon as they get the test scores back, her or her assistant will call you

3. They thought living in Canada would be a lot different than living in Portland, Oregon.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ANSWERS

Hope you’ve enjoyed this short quiz. If you’d like to test yourself further, visit our archives:

http://www.businesswritingzone.com/freeresources/writingquiz.shtml

Published in: on December 9, 2013 at 12:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

The Write Gift – Beyond Price, Yet It Costs Nothing

youngBoyWriting200Almost always these posts are dedicated to business writing strategies, tips, and tactics to help you write less, say more – and get results on the job.

This week, I’m feeling that old holiday nostalgia, and would like to digress, and talk a bit about some of the best gifts I’ve ever received. They would not be for everyone, but it may be they’ll spark some ideas for you, and perhaps some wonderful memories for someone special to you.

CLICK HERE to finish reading 

To receive your Business Writing Trends automatically every week, please subscribe to our blog, or to our newsletter.

We’ll be happy to bring a Gail Tycer workshop to your organization. To discuss a workshop for your people at your location or ours, or a shorter presentation for an upcoming meeting, give us a call at 503/292-9681, or email us at gail@gailtycer.com

Published in: on December 2, 2013 at 12:05 pm  Comments Off on The Write Gift – Beyond Price, Yet It Costs Nothing  
Tags: , ,

Thanksgiving “Thank You’s”

Thank You Card

This is traditionally the week when the traditional Thanksgiving thank you letters and notes are carefully addressed, and – hopefully – postal mailed to our favorite customers and clients. A good idea? How are they most likely to be received?

The idea of a Thanksgiving “thank you” is indeed a good one if you are really sincere. If you really mean it to be just that – a genuine thank you to the people who make our businesses possible. Thanksgiving is the time we set aside yearly for each of us to be thankful for the many gifts we enjoy every day. Thanksgiving is indeed the appropriate time to say thank you.

So what can go wrong with that?

CLICK HERE to finish reading

Subscribe to our blog – and we’ll see you next week!

To receive your Business Writing Trends automatically every week, please subscribe to our blog, or to our newsletter.

We’ll be happy to come to your organization. To discuss a workshop for your people at your location or ours, or a shorter presentation for an upcoming meeting, email us at gail@gailtycer.com or give us a call at 503/292-9681. 

Published in: on November 12, 2013 at 1:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,
%d bloggers like this: