September 24th, 2013
If you’ve booked yourself a place at the Professional Copywriters’ Network (PCN) Conference on 11 October, do come and introduce yourself. I’ll be sitting on a panel and doing a workshop on how to write like a human being.
If you’ve not booked a place yet, why not sign up now?
The PCN is the UK’s largest membership association for commercial writers. Their first conference will be a unique opportunity to develop your skills, explore new perspectives on copywriting and meet up with other writers.
Who should attend?
The conference is designed for anyone with an interest in copywriting:
- Copywriters who want to learn new skills and discuss the latest ideas
- Business owners who write copy for their websites, blogs and marketing campaigns
- Marketeers who either write copy themselves or outsource to external writers
- Brand and business writers who want to find out what’s going on in other areas of the profession
- Academics who want to hear from leading copywriting experts
Details of the conference
When: Friday, 11 October 2013, from 9.30am to 4.45pm
Where: Haberdashers’ Hall, Smithfield, London
How to book: Online here
September 18th, 2013
The ancient Greeks and Romans certainly knew a nice turn of phrase when they saw one. In the first in a series of posts on rhetoric, Doris and Bertie’s resident classicist, David Pollack, invites you to experiment with the age-old technique of anaphora. Read the rest of this entry »
September 11th, 2013
Expressing yourself clearly in a foreign language is hard enough, but how about expressing yourself clearly while also not offending anyone?
Last week, I ran a series of workshops on professional communication at the University of Cambridge. All the participants were new graduate students whose first language isn’t English and I introduced them to the “roundabout” nature of much English office speak. That indirect way we ask for things and give feedback that is designed to keep everyone feeling happy and good about themselves.
But it struck me that even native speakers can struggle to use language that builds bridges rather than barriers.
Here are five words and phrases that you might think sound polite and professional, but that are guaranteed to get your reader’s back up (this reader at least). Read the rest of this entry »
July 1st, 2013
Most large organisations have at least one set of guidelines for writers.
Often, one of the documents you’ll be told to read before you start writing will be all about capturing the firm’s “brand personality” through tone of voice. Invariably, this document is pointless. Read the rest of this entry »
June 3rd, 2013
A reader who works in internal comms was recently asked to translate this astonishing piece of verbiage into something the average employee could understand: Read the rest of this entry »
March 7th, 2013
Last week, the Investment Management Association (IMA) announced it was renaming a particular type of investment.
From now on, says the trade association for investment managers, the “Absolute Returns Sector” will be known as the “Targeted Absolute Returns Sector”.
The reason for the rename? With rumblings of another mis-selling scandal in the works, the IMA wanted to make it absolutely clear that if you put your money in these investments, you might lose some of your dosh.
In what sensible person’s head does “Targeted Absolute Returns Sector” say “you might lose some of your dosh”? Read the rest of this entry »
March 1st, 2013
We often talk on this blog about how having real people tell their stories can be a great way of getting a message across. We also talk a lot about the power of short, simple, human words.
This new video, designed to raise awareness about the symptoms of ovarian cancer, is a great example of both.
Everyone in the video has experienced ovarian cancer in their family. I defy you to watch it without shedding a tear (and putting your hand in your pocket).
Please watch and share.
Disclaimer Read the rest of this entry »
February 25th, 2013
A client recently asked me to help them with a brochure about their efforts to promote gender diversity at the firm. The job involved interviewing the company’s female leaders about their experiences of the workplace.
During the interviews, one name kept cropping up as the company that got diversity right: McKinsey.
This consulting firm, every interviewee said, really knew how to look after its women. It was the firm they all regarded as the model for any company trying to build a more inclusive culture. I suspected it was the firm they all secretly wanted to work for.
Intrigued, I decided to check out the section about diversity on McKinsey’s site. Read the rest of this entry »
February 20th, 2013
We regularly get people coming to this blog who have searched for the phrase “advise and revert”. Invariably, these visitors are from Asian countries where English is not the first language.
I suspect an Anglophone colleague has utterly befuddled such readers by sending them an email promising to “advise and revert” or asking them to “please advise and revert”. Read the rest of this entry »
February 12th, 2013
Can you spot what’s wrong with this sentence?
Despite announcing record sales, Apple’s share price fell 10% yesterday.
It was the original opening line of a blog post I published the other week. The moment I pressed “publish” I realised, with horror, that the sentence would have Lynn Truss types fizzing with disgust. Read the rest of this entry »