"Words at Work" shows you how to create business writing that rocks! When you finish this book, you'll be able to: 1) organize information creatively, 2) write in a clear, conversational style people want to read, 3) add creative writing techniques such as similes, vivid verbs, and rhythm to keep your readers reading, and 4) edit like a pro with hard-to-find tricks of the trade.
Enjoy these excerpts to get a head start on the information and inspiration in “Words at Work” (winner of National Best Books Award):
"Words at Work" shares every trick of the trade I know. I get a kick out of hearing my students exclaim, “They sure don’t teach this in school!” Many topics we cover in "Words at Work" are different from those in most business writing courses or books, including:
1. Eureka!—how to find your creativity and improve your writing.
2. Stories—why they work and how to write them.
3. Projection—what it reveals about you and your writing.
4. Deconstruction—how to learn by studying other writers.
5. Bad writers just stopped too soon—how to edit quickly and effectively.
As a business writing coach, I often see grown people quake at the thought of having to writing something. They fear the censure of a boss or the painful reminder that they lack some basic writing skills. “But I wasn’t an English major,” they plead. Well, neither was I. And I didn’t write for my high school newspaper or pay that much attention in English class. The only clue I had that I enjoyed writing was the way I finished my term papers early, something that usually got me a good grade (and no dates to the prom). It took 10 more years before I started my writing career. And more years than that to get the words right.
“I have a fear of writing,” some reluctantly admit. Of course you do. We all do. Empty screens and blank sheets of paper are a writer’s nightmare. I’ll show you how to get rid of those demons, or at the very least use them to your advantage. “I don’t have time,” others say. Not necessarily. Most of us were not taught how to write efficiently. I’ll show you how to better use the time you have.
Try these creative writing tips today:
Similes paint a picture and draw readers into your letter, proposal, blog, or book. They’re especially good at taking complex ideas and making them easier to understand. Think about how your subject matter is similar to something your readers will quickly understand. Maybe you’re explaining an important step the board must take. “This next step is like oxygen to the project; it will sustain the progress we’ve made as well as our future plans.” Or perhaps you’re introducing a new policy at your company: “XYZ is like a personal trainer, building our company’s stamina while reducing the effects of our merger.”
2. Cool clichés and plays on words.
Catch readers’ attention with a cliché or phrase made fresh for your topic. Typically, clichés are catchy—but trite. Change them just enough to grab attention—and make people smile.
- Best suite in the house (in an ad for a condominium).
- He learned it the soft way (a legendary frozen custard entrepreneur).
- Familiarity breeds unkempt, which is exactly what happens when your grammatical slips are showing (how poor writing gives us a bad image).
3. Vivid verbs
When I edit clients’ work, my biggest—and most rewarding—task is to replace “to be” verbs with something more exciting. Just a few strong verbs can add a lot of energy. Of course, sometimes nothing works better than “is,” “are” or “was.” You can’t have every verb a zinger; too many can actually distract from your message. But we overuse the “to be” verb. Consider these before and after examples:
(Dull) The waistband is tight.
(Vivid) The waistband pinches.
(Dull) The boss’s remark was hurtful.
(Vivid) The boss’s remark stung.
“Words at Work” helps readers quickly grasp the importance of effective business writing to their careers and shares step-by-step solutions they can start using right away.