Blog

May 23rd 2017, posted by

Why you should picture Trump every time you write a presentation

We’re all lazy listeners. Why would we be anything else? If something’s boring, we switch off. No one does this more publicly than Donald Trump. Whether he’s forgetting to put his hand over his heart during the US national anthem or nodding off during his own inauguration, the leader of the free world has perhaps… ...

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April 13th 2017, posted by

Why United CEO’s ‘apology’ only made a bad situation worse

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz should have offered an unequivocal apology to David Dao, the passenger who was dragged from his seat on an overbooked flight this week.  Instead, Munoz (or his exec team) issued a statement so full of corporatese, it made a bad situation even worse.  Munoz has since described the incident as… ...

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January 13th 2017, posted by

Why businesses should forget ‘tone of voice’

It's distracting them from good writing. Ironically.

At the end of a writing workshop last week, one of our clients said: “That was really useful. I can see how those tips will make our communications much clearer and more interesting. But it wasn’t about tone of voice. It was just good writing.” Despite how contradictory this sounds, I know what she means.… ...

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January 6th 2017, posted by

Signs of the times

Want your writing to look cool? Use these trendy punctuation marks

No, we’re not being ironic and no, ‘trendy punctuation’ is not an oxymoron. In the last few years, everyone from celebrity chefs to pop stars to brands have started using trendy typography to make their writing look cool. So sprinkle these symbols into your copy or risk the shame of using punctuation just to break… ...

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November 29th 2016, posted by

Quiz: Army jargon or business blah?

We couldn't tell the difference. Can you?

...

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August 1st 2016, posted by

Why tone of voice guides don’t change the way people write

It's not just because they're 164 pages long

Every business has a tone of voice guide. Dig around on your company’s intranet and you’ll find one, lurking there like an unloved book at the back of a library. Tone of voice guides are (usually) full of practical, helpful tips on writing. So if every business has one, why don’t they change the way… ...

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April 21st 2016, posted by

5 common but unexpected things that go awry with tone of voice

Tone of voice can be tricky. And often the things that sound like a good idea are the things that cause the biggest problems

We’ve rounded up five common culprits here – along with what you can do instead. “Let’s do some engagement workshops.” If you’ve been working on a tone of voice project for months, it’s really tempting to want to tell everyone about the work you’ve done. Your agency might even suggest an ‘engagement workshop’. In other… ...

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April 6th 2016, posted by

The magic eye test

If you're not seeing what your customers are seeing, it’s time to look closer look at your customer communications

Do you remember the magic eye test? I do, mostly because I never cracked it. The swan always remained hidden in a swirl of psychedelic colours and dots. And the more I stared, the less chance I had of seeing it. The same can happen with the letters, emails and social media messages we read… ...

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July 16th 2015, posted by

Who cares?

Why empathy works in business writing

If we had to give one piece of advice to business writers, it would be: show empathy. It’s often the last thing we think of, but empathy is one of the most powerful things you can do in your writing. Many businesses are waking up to the importance of empathy in their communications – and… ...

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July 16th 2015, posted by

How the Great Gatsby can make you a better business writer

You might not write the greatest novel of all time, but you'll nail that finance report

You’d be forgiven for thinking there aren’t many parallels between The Great Gatsby and business writing in the 21st century. And unless you work in the kind of place where drinking gin rickeys at your desk is the norm (i.e. you’re a freelancer), you’d be right. But we’re not ones to let a zeitgeisty novel-turned-film… ...

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