Category Archives: Writing Tips

How NOT to give bad news–especially when it’s not really so bad

I recently received an email with this alarming subject line from my health club: IMPORTANT MEMBER ANNOUNCEMENT In all upper case it jumped out from my inbox and I opened it immediately. I felt myself tighten as I read the first few words: To all Healthclub Members We regret to inform you that… OMG, did someone

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Slow Writing for Quick Results

You’re not imagining it—the pace of life is getting faster. In fact, a recent study shows that pedestrians are walking 10% faster than they did in 1994. And if you live in a large, prosperous city you’re among the fastest walkers of all. I love speed. It’s fun, but it’s not sustainable, and not always

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Reading more means writing better

“Read, read, read. Read everything–trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write.” - William Faulkner Thanks to everyone who helped us select reading quotes for our bookmarks. How does reading help improve your writing?

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How templates can make you stupid

Here’s how using a template made me stupid: Business is growing, and need a better way track our sales efforts. That means we need a Customer Relationship Management system, right? But which one? There are hundreds to choose from. Since I’m busy and the internet is a vast library of awesome resources, I immediately joined

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Why writing makes you tired

Does writing fatigue you? If you’re like most people, the answer is yes. You’re not tired because of any physical exertion, since writing is sedentary, but rather from mental exertion resulting from having to make multiple, constant decisions. Roy Baumeister and John Tierney in Willpower call this phenomena decision fatigue. They explain that people who

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How is writing to an external reader different?

The difference between writing to an internal reader and an external reader is the difference between being at home with your family and being with company. Chances are you’re mostly the same, with some small but important differences. The differences Keep your process to yourself and share results only. A client looking for help doesn’t

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How to create your own email protocol

Are you suffering from email overload? Abuse? We hear about your pain wherever we go. We can train you how to write effective emails and practice email etiquette. To really make our advice stick, we recommend you create your own email protocol. It’s easy to do. Time required: Ten to fifteen minutes Size and kind

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I Miss Andrew

I recently lost my kid brother in a fatal bicycle accident. He’s left a terrible hole in my life—please please please make sure anyone you love wears a helmet. I’ve been thinking of all the ways he inspired me, especially in the early days when I was creating this business. Back in 1996 he was

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Tips for Learning Homophones

Lots of good writers have difficulty with homophones—words that sound alike, but have different meanings and spelling. Hear and here is one example—there are lots more. The problem with homophones is that while your spell checker will flag a word that is spelled incorrectly, it isn’t nearly as good at flagging a word that’s spelled

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Multitasking: the way of the future?

In 2002, when I first joined Bruner Business Communication, keeping up with email outside of the office didn’t exist. (Email itself was still fairly new.) There were no Blackberries, WiFi, or 3G to make it possible. In ten short years, it has become not only possible but acceptable to check and respond to email while

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