Tag Archives: proposal writing

4 Writing Strategies for Improving Relationships and Persuading Readers

It's really hot in this building.

Language, and writing, can do one of two things, depending on how it is used: enhance a relationship or damage it. In simple terms, it can help bring people together or push them apart; it can help you accomplish your purposes, or it can hinder you. Language is never neutral. 

What does this mean for you as you write? This means you have to think carefully about three issues:

1. What you want to accomplish from the relationship with your reader,
2. What you want to communicate through writing, and
3. What affect your words will have on the relationship.

The central question you are trying to answer is this: Will my writing enhance or damage my relationship with the reader? 

When do you need to ask this question? Every time you write. Good writing enhances the relationship; bad writing damages it. When you look at writing this way, from the standpoint of how it affects the relationship, you can begin to make revisions that strengthen your writing and improve the results you get. 

To explore this idea, let’s look at a few samples of bad writing, consider how they may affect the relationship with the reader, and then revise them to improve that relationship and accomplish a purpose. In short, let’s turn bad writing into good writing.  Continue reading

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Building Better Paragraphs

One paragraph = one central idea.

All writing requires both creative thinking and technical proficiency. On the far technical side, you have the mechanics of writing, such as knowing how to apply punctuation and grammar rules. On the far creative side, you have the development of ideas and new story lines. Combining these two into a written form that deeply engages your reader and effectively communicates your thoughts requires both sides. This synergy between creativity and technicality is most apparent in the paragraph. Regardless of the type of writing you produce, you have to pay attention to your paragraphs.

1. Basic Paragraph Components

Let’s think about the two basic components of all paragraphs and then examine how we may use them for effective writing.

a. The idea: One paragraph = one central idea. Has someone ever said to you, “Hey, you’ve got a good point there”? Well, that’s what your paragraph does. It makes a point, one point, which is the central idea of the paragraph. You might think of it as the purpose for the paragraph. That one point of a paragraph may be supported by several other ideas, and the paragraph, itself, may be written to support a broader idea, but its purpose remains the same. It stands alone as the vehicle to express one complete idea to the reader. Continue reading

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“Commas for Lunch”, a free on-line workshop.

Learn to use commas correctly, leading to professional and clear writing. “Commas for Lunch”, a one-hour on-line course by David Bowman, chief editor of Precise Edit. Date: Sept. 24, 2010 Time: 1:00 p.m. EST. 18 seat maximum Attendance is Free. COURSE FULL.

Stay tuned–We’ll do this again.

UPDATE: 0 Seats remain.

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Dependent & Independent Clauses

True or False: a Dependent Clause does not have a Subject-Verb relationship?

Occasionally, we answer questions on Yahoo! Answers. Below is our response to the question in the title of this blog, chosen as “best” by Yahoo! voters.

Our Answer

False. By definition, a clause has a subject-verb combination, whether it is dependent or independent. Perhaps you are thinking of a phrase, which does not have the subject-verb combination.

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Who is your audience?

Many people will read what you write. We call these people your audience. When you write, your document or manuscript is the tool you use to communicate with them, so understanding them helps you communicate in an appropriate manner. However, unlike some other forms of communication, you actually have two audiences, which we call “primary” and “secondary” audiences. We’ll look at each in turn.

Your primary audience is the person or group of people who will directly receive, or buy, what you write. For example, if you write a book, your primary audience is the person who buys the book. If you are writing a financial report, the primary audience is the person to whom you deliver the report. If you are writing text for your website, the primary audience is the website visitor you are most trying to attract.

When you write, you are trying to communicate information, ideas, impressions, emotions, etc. Whether you are writing fiction, nonfiction, technical documents, or poetry, you have to determine what to include in your document and how to deliver that information. Continue reading

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When Is a Morgue Not a Morgue?

What do the words morgue, birdie, assessment, green, and object have in common?

These words are jargon. Jargon is the set of terms used by people in a specific field, profession, or group. The definitions of the jargon may be unique to that field. Nearly every field has its own jargon. For example, the terms in the first sentence are used in journalism, golf, education, marketing, and editing, respectively.

Should you use jargon or not? Depends. Jargon can be useful or it can cause problems. To answer this question, you have to think about your reader.


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Writing with Spin: Making Your Readers Happy with Bad News

Perhaps you have heard the adage “No news is good news.” In contrast, sometimes the news is bad. How are you going to communicate that bad news

goodnews-badnews1Your last employer fired you. You are writing a financial report to stakeholders, and the company is losing money. You were required to perform specific duties and meet objectives, but you didn’t. You have a job to do, and it’s taking longer than expected. You failed a class in your undergraduate program. You have to miss work—again. You need to raise taxes because your budget is too high. Too many patients are dying. Etcetera. Continue reading


Filed under Businesses, Editing, Other musings, Writing