How to craft a message that sticks, inspires and goes viral

January 23rd, 2014

Why not kick off the new year by learning to incorporate story telling into your business communications?

On Wednesday 19 February from 6.30pm I’ll be giving a short talk in London on storytelling. Do come along if you’d like to learn how stories can help you forge stronger connections with more readers. Book now.

Join us and you’ll come away with ideas you can apply instantly to make your comms more human, memorable and persuasive.

You’ll discover:

• How to persuade your readers by writing from the heart
• How to ditch that boring boilerplate once and for all
• Where to find the best stories
• How to build trust among employees, customers, investors – anyone who matters to your business

After the talk you’ll join other professionals for a spot of networking over drinks.

Doris and Bertie are hosting the event at citizenM, a stylish boutique hotel near London Bridge. Come along if you can!

Book now.

Tickets cost £20 per person, which includes the talk and drinks.

Places are limited so don’t delay!

A great university deserves better marketing than this

January 17th, 2014

Want to know what’s the worst thing about this new “market place” for education? You know, where universities have to compete for our business?

It’s not the fees. Or the interminable customer surveys you have to fill in between essays. Or even (if you’re a professor) the sense of entitlement your demanding 18-year-old clients surely must feel.

Nope. It’s all those god-awful adverts on the Tube. Read the rest of this entry »

Stop sweating over structure with this 5-minute technique

January 7th, 2014

So. You’ve got to write a long, detailed report, containing lots of complex ideas. Where do you start?

How do you know what’s most important? How do you know what to ditch and what to keep?

How do you even begin to structure it?

Here, I’m going to reveal a simple trick for cutting through the clutter and getting things straight in your head. Read the rest of this entry »

The single most important thing you need to do to make your next piece of writing more readable

December 4th, 2013

What do you think is the secret to improving your writing?

Getting a better grasp of grammar?

Developing a keener eye for jargon?

Gaining a deeper understanding of your reader?

All of these skills are useful, of course. But they’ll only take you so far. Read the rest of this entry »

HR-speak at its worst

November 27th, 2013

A reader forwarded me this wonderfully bad piece of HR-speak, which had landed in his inbox:

Grow your talent pool at no charge: Recruit skilled XYZers with Right Management
 Software

Right Management is a global leader in talent and career management workforce solutions within the ManpowerGroup and their mission is to help you grow talent, reduce costs and accelerate performance. They deliver solutions to align talent strategy with business strategy. 



XYZ and Right Management are providing you with the opportunity to have talent transitioning out of XYZ get direct access to your available job openings. Registration with Right Management’s job database, Right Job Opportunities, will get you started and there is no cost to participate.



(Text somewhat anonymised to protect the illiterate)

Or, in other words:

Please, please, please take some of XYZ’s cast-offs or our client will end up with a stack of lawsuits. If you’ve got any jobs going, do list them in Right Management’s database. We won’t even charge you!

Read the rest of this entry »

What were these writers thinking?

November 20th, 2013

For your amusement – some bits and bobs that entertained us while we were out and about. Read the rest of this entry »

13 arguments to try next time someone accuses you of dumbing down (and 1 you should avoid)

November 12th, 2013

The most common objection my clients make to clear, concise writing is that making stuff easy to understand is dumbing down.

The question fellow writers ask me most often is “how do I persuade my clients being clear and concise isn’t dumbing down?”

Here’s what I tell them. Read the rest of this entry »

Readability: it’s not just about sentence length

November 5th, 2013

Fellow writer Daphne Gray-Grant recently argued the case for varying the length of your sentences to increase readability.

She quoted two bits of writing to illustrate the point – you can read her analysis here.

I want to look at the two extracts from a different perspective because I think something else is going on too. Read the rest of this entry »

Employee engagement: if you’re not asking this one question, you’re not really getting it

October 29th, 2013

Look, if you really want to “engage” your employees, don’t faff around with message maps. It’ll only waste your time, your team’s time and the CEO’s time.

What’s more, said CEO will begin to wonder why, exactly, he’s paying you to waste his time faffing around with message maps. Read the rest of this entry »

Communicators, is this why you’re not getting “buy-in” for your work?

October 23rd, 2013

Message map cartoon: "If this is a map, how comes I'm lost?"

So, have you ever developed a message map?

No?

Well you need to, according to a certain well-known organisation for internal communicators whose purpose is “to embed IC best practices and skills”. Read the rest of this entry »