Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tips on How to Analyze Your Reader/Audience by Megan Clipse

Analyzing and deciphering your audience is a crucial step in the writing process. An effective analysis will lead to a more personalized document with all the pertinent information rather than a bunch of extraneous padding that often results in an undefined audience. According to Air University (2009), there are four types of readers:

  1. General-Someone who has no specific experience in the area being written about and often is reading to be informed, persuaded, or entertained.

  2. Decision Maker-Most demanding and important reader who is looking for the "bottom line" information and conclusions.

  3. Operator-Those whose experience levels may vary and are looking for "how-to" or "step-by-step" wordings.

  4. Expert-Reader has formal education and is familiar with the area. Will require more data to support your ideas since the expert is very knowledgeable in the given field already.

Here are a few things to consider before you start writing to better understand your reader.

  • Responsibilities of the reader

  • Reader's predetermined point of view

  • Audience's education/formal background

  • Their experience

  • Who is the primary reader (external/internal, superior/peer/subordinate)?

  • Who are my secondary readers, if any? (Find out their level of expertise too!)

  • What does my reader already know about my topic? (Eliminates the extraneous info that the reader could care less about. Keeps the writing on track rather than beating around the bush)

  • What does the reader want and their main concerns?

  • How will the reader use the information?

It is crucial in professional writing to always keep the reader in mind and that all effective communication is done by knowing as much as possible about the reader. The more you know the better off you will be and the writing process will flow much easier!

Below is a short video discussing how to understand your audience in writing; although it says web writing the same tips can be applied to any form of communication.


Air University (2009). Writing and Editing Tips. Retrieved March 28, 2009, from the AU Website:

ULiveandLearn (2002-2007). Business Writing Tips from The Writing Center. Retrieved March 28, 2009, from the iContact website:

Youtube LLC (2009). Writing for the Web-Understanding Your Audience. Retrieved March 28, 2009, from the Youtube website:

4 Things To Keep In Mind Before Any Presentation by Andrew Kam

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Monday, March 23, 2009

International Pro. Writing Tips by George erkvania

The ability to write well in international business world is crucial part of the successful business communication. U.S businesses are trying to develop the international presence for number of reasons, some of them are: weaker dollar, cheap labor and better communication technology. Even though the value of the dollar and the trade deficit may fluctuate, globalization progresses really fast. To be able to compete in global business one should be able to write professional letters that emphasizes with culture and values of partner company’s country of origin.
Improving communication and letter writing across countries weather it is personal or business letters are so important because we are living in multicultural business world. It is totally normal today that people that we work with, have business with or socialize with to be from other countries. The fact is that all cultures are different U.S companies who trying develop global business, need to be very sensitive and aware of things that can help to improve the communications and break down some barriers, so they can understand each other better.
The clear examples of possible cultural misunderstanding are so called “Americanisms.” Americanisms are special phrases that are unique for U.S culture but can be confusing for any other international citizens. For example:

a) Knock on wood
There are several theories on the origin of this phrase. ”The most common is that in the Middle Ages, pieces of the wooden cross on which Jesus was crucified would be displayed for the public to touch. A touch of the holy wood was thought to bring good luck. The Briticism for this same thought is “Touch wood;” it means the same thing, but stayed closer to the origin. How Americans went from “touch” to “knock” is a mystery.”(
b) Let the cat out the bag
If anyone ever accused you of revealing a secret is same as “letting the cat out of the bag”. “At market, these traders would advertise pigs for sale, but when a customer bought one, the con men would hand them a bag and instruct them not to open it until they got home. When the customer opened the bag, they would find a cat instead of a pig and realize they had been duped.”(
Personally, I learned to write in British English and it was a huge adjustment for me to understand all those idioms and colloquialisms (kick the bucket, call in sick, ain’t, ganna, wanna.)

Humor in Professional Writing by Matt O'Shaughnessy

Adding some humor in your professional business writing can give you a critical edge. But it can be a dangerous play as well. The following points can help you be more effective.

Write for a larger audience than what you are expecting. A corny office joke may not be so funnywhen it is read by people outside of your office.

  • Humor in business writing shoud be applied in moderation. Think of it as sugar to help the rest of your article go down. Keep this in mind when re-reading your writing, humor should be a seasoning, not a main ingredient.

  • Poking fun at yourself is an excellent tool, but be careful not to use it too much. After your reader is through you want to be thought of as a skilled writer, not a clown.

  • Make sure you write to the intellectual level of your audience. Certain references may make you sound like a genius, but to others it will leave them unconnected to the piece of writing.

  • Humor can be used in repetition so don't be afraid to use that one funny joke multiple times. Just be sure it is a funny joke and fits with the writing or you will wind up provoking repeat groans instead of repeat chuckles.

  • Absurdity can be remarkably effective. Consider bringing in some out of the box references to grab your readers attention. Their repsonse may be pleasantly suprising.

  • As a rule of thumb, avoid sarcasm or cynicism. While it may actually be funny, it can also rub a reader the wrong way and paint the writer as close-minded. This is hard for people to avoid but if you can be funny without being overly negative it will pay off in the long run.

  • Confident people are funny people, however if you are unsure at how your humor will be recieved, error on the side of caution.


Writing Courteously

In the business field, writing courteously to your employees, executives, co-workers and customers is very vital. Aggressive writings may cause lots of unnecessary problems for you and your organization. Throughout this post, I will elaborate on a few tips for courteous writing in certain professional situations.

Whenever you are in a business setting, time is money. Therefore, to be courteous of your recipient's time, use the K-I-S-S method. K-I-S-S stands for keep it short and sweet. For all of your messages, you should always be clear and concise. Straight and to the point works in all situations.

Always address your writings in a business manner. Use Mr., Mrs., or Ms. when you know exactly who your reader is. If you are addressing another business, it is safe to use the reader's job title like "ATTN: Director of Marketing".

Respond to your questions as soon as possible. By responding quickly, your business partner has the information and makes business decisions run a lot smoother.

In conclusion, always close out your writings in a sincere and business manner. Always leave your reader with goodwill, even if you are refusing a proposal or any other negative form of writing. Respect in the business field is very important and appreciated.

work cited:

Job Interview Tips by Daniel White

No matter how many times you have gone to job interviews, it is very important to stay calm and be prepared as not matter what interview it is, it can be very nerve racking.

The first step you should take when preparing for an interview is to know how to answer the typical questions one would expect at a normal interview. Being able to supply examples of successes is a great way topromote your candidacy.

Next, you must have a good knowledge of the company and what it stands for and then be able to relate the questions directed towards you with the company. This shows that you have done your research on the company and are not just applying everywhere just to find a job (even if you are).

Looking the part is also a very big part of a successful interview. Your attire should reflect that you are serious about the job. It is also important to bring a nice portfolio with you including your resume as well as a note pad and pen for note taking.

Maintaining eye contact in a job interview shows that you are confident and you can never have too much confidence in an interview. Another way to show confidence is to use the interviewers name in the interview. If you do not know it, you should call ahead to find out what it is.

One of the most important things that you must remember to do is to be on time. If you are late to an interview, you will give a terrible first impression and it will put a lot of unneeded pressure on the interview. Staying calm is key because you will not want to be thinking about something else while you are being asked a question as there is nothing more embarassing than for you to ask what the question was.

Last, but not least, you should always follow up on an interview as it shows that you are keen on the job. Even if it is just a simple thank-you note or a re-visit to the store.

Below is a short youtube video on how to give a "good" answer.


Writing That Works: Communicating Effectively on the Job ninth edition (2006). Authors: Charles T. Brushaw, Walter E. Oliu, and Gerald J. Alfred.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

5 Tips on Writing an Effective E-mail by Evan Grant

1. Use Attention-Grabbing Subject Lines

Before you begin writing your e-mail, it is important to establish a strong subject line.

Bad Subject Lines

· “Read Immediately! Very Important!” – What is important to you may not be important to them, try and be more specific to grab their attention.

· “Follow-up About Monday” – Effective if you are positive the recipient knows what you are referring to

Good Subject Lines

· “Emergency: Cars in the Lower Lot Will be Towed Tuesday at 8 pm.” - When the recipients are skimming their e-mail it will be pretty hard to miss this subject line.

· “Meeting confirmed at 12 on Tuesday… will we need catering?” – The recipient will already be thinking about whether or not there should be food at the meeting rather than whether or not he/she should even open the e-mail.

2. Write Clearly

Keep your messages readable. Sentences like, “Thx 4 da help earlier. k ill c u l8ter” might be easier for you to type but it doesn’t look professional. Skip a line between paragraphs to keep things looking organized. Don’t use different fonts because some people’s email accounts only display plain text. If you need to you can use *asterisks* to show emphasis. Use proper capitalization and punctuation in your e-mails. If you use all caps it looks like you are yelling and if you don’t capitalize anything than it makes you look lazy, and regardless of your intent, people may get the wrong impression.

3. Proofread

Always make sure to proofread your work before clicking “send.” The spellchecker won’t always catch everything so make sure to re-read it yourself. If you are writing an e-mail to a superior or sending out a mass e-mail have a co-worker or associate to read it over before sending it out.

4. Don’t Assume Your E-mail is Private

Don’t send any e-mails that you wouldn’t want seen by wondering eyes. E-mail is not secure and you cannot assume that other people can’t or won’t see it. If you would be embarrassed to have it posted with your name on it in the break room than it would be best not to send it. In some work environments an administrator can view all e-mails sent in the office and you could get fired for sending inappropriate correspondence.

5. Respond Promptly

Be courteous and check your e-mails often so that you don’t leave anyone hanging. Be available to your online correspondents. If you don’t have time to answer or can’t answer their question be sure to let them know so they aren’t waiting for nothing.

Work Cited: "E-Mail: Ten Tips for Writing It Effectively." Dennis G. Jerz. 23 Mar. 2009

Writing Effective Resumes by Andrew Kam

A resume is like a window into a person's previous experiences. A snapshot of the past, and a yardstick of the an individual's performance in the future. In this post, I shall highlight the 20 deadly sins committed by people when writing a resume and how to write an effective resume.

20 deadly sins:

1. A resume that has no relation to the employer's interests or needs - not customized for job scope

2. A resume is too long, short, or condensed

3. Unattractive format and designs in the resume

4. Misspellings, bad grammer and wordiness

5. Poor punctuation

6. Sentences, phrases and paragraphs are too lengthy

7. Too slick or amateurish

8. Too boastful and dishonest

9. Critical categories, experience and skills are missing

10. Poorly organized, hard to understand and requires too much interpretation

11. Unexplained time gaps

12. Constantly refers to "I" and appears self-centered

13. Lacks sufficient contact information

14. Includes a photo and irrelevant personal information (height, weight, age)

15. Includes "red flag" information such as being fired or incarcerated

16. Does not convey accomplishments or a pattern of performance from which the reader can predict future performance

17. Resume does not support objective

18. Lacks credibility and content

19. Appears over-qualified or under-qualified for the position

20. Vague and unclear objective

If you could avoid these 20 common sins made by numerous people when writing a resume, you will be one step ahead of the competition and will find yourself on top of the pile of resumes! In the next part, we will focus on some tips on how to write an effective resume. A video on effective resume writing is also at the end of the section which succinctly summarizes the points for making one's resume stand out from the multitude!

  • Type your name at the top in caps with large and bold type. Include the address, phone number and email address. A school address with your permanent address is needed if you plan to move after graduation.
  • Focus the job objective before writing the rest of the resume and customize the resume to the job and field
  • State the position you are seeking (full-time or part-time or an internship)
  • Everything that follows the resume should support the objective
  • Identify degree, major, graduation date and school
  • Include education abroad and any relevant vocational schools, certificates, and job training
  • Include the G.P.A if is above 3.0
Course Listings
  • Include a short list of courses to show experience, training, or knowledge in the field
  • Make the skills the selling point of your resume. Include specific skills that pertain to the objective such as computer language skills, lab techniques and language skills. Include also interpersonal and adaptive skills such as communication and leadership attributes
  • Be sure to back up each skillon your resume with specific and convincing evidence
  • Use the most important relevant experience to convince the employer that you have the skills necessary to do the job. Use an active voice to present evidence of the experience
Items to avoid
  • Keep reference on a separate sheet of paper and give it to the emplyer only when asked
  • Omit age, religious or political affiliations, marital status or other personal data which could be used to screen you out
  • Keep resume to 1 page unless you have extensive related experience
  • Organize headings so that the most important points are first
  • Invite readers' attention by using open space, wide margins, and bullets to set off text
  • Use good quality white or off-white paper
  • Use clear and dark 10-12 point type
  • Spell and punctuate perfrectly
1. University of California, San Diego Career Services Center: Your connection to jobs and graduate education. Writing Your Resume
2. Networking with Jane Lommel: Writing effective resumes - how to avoid the 20 deadly sins

Creating and Delivering an Effective Presentation by Megan Clipse

Preparing and delivering an oral presentation is much like writing, each must be logically organized and clear. A purpose must be defined as well as an audience, information must be presented in a clear and concise manner, and what information is necessary needs to be established. On the contrary, there are unique elements that make up the oral form of communication that also must be blended successfully into an effective presentation. The following are quick tips for when preparing, organizing, and delivering a presentation that will surely guide you to a powerful presentation!

Organizing/Creating a Presentation

  • Follow the same guidelines for preparation as if you were writing. (Introduction, Body, Closing, and use of transitions)

  • Logical Structure

  • Be Clear, Direct, and Precise in delivering the purpose

  • Support ideas throughout the presentation with specific examples

  • Use VISUALS!!! Be careful though, only use short sentences and common words, and easy-to-read design features. Below is a useful site with tips on using various kinds of visual aids provided by the United States Department of Labor.

Delivering Your Presentation

  • Practice, Practice, Practice! It will ease your nerves when the actual presentation day arrives and help the delivery flow smoother. Out loud and in front of a sample audience is the best.

  • Be aware of gestures used as the differ from culture to culture

  • Make eye contact

  • Move around

  • Project your voice and keep a nice pace/volume

  • Dress appropriately according to the presentation


Writing That Works: Communicating Effectively on the Job ninth edition (2006). Authors: Charles T. Brushaw, Walter E. Oliu, and Gerald J. Alred.

The United States Department of Labor 2009.

Tips for Persuasive Professional Writing by Jennifer Flowers

Tips on how to be Persuasive in One’s Professional Writing.

Following are some helpful tips that will guide you to successful professional writing and pointers which will persuade your reader(s) to follow your good ideas and future visions for change.

· Make sure your title or subject line is to the point, interesting and attractive!
· Make sure to keep your readers needs always in the back of your head, because you are trying to persuade THEM.
· Always have supporting convincing evidence and sources that can prove to your readers that the proposed issue has been well thought out and legit.
· When trying to persuade your audience do not overlook opposing points of view. Acknowledge all points of view.
· The body of the proposal should hold all of your arguments and supporting information.
· Make sure to stress to the reader how they would benefit from the new proposal, try not to praise yourself.
· Make sure to use the proper medium, and voice when communicating with your reader.
· Always make sure spelling and grammar are correct.
· To persuade someone else you have to be a firm believer in your own message. Make sure your document is truly believable and you are convinced that your message will happen.
· Check your work!!!!!! Re-read and correct errors.

Follow these basic tips and you will be on the right track to convincing your reader(s) about the future plans and ideas you have in store.


Writing That Works: Communicating Effectively on the Job ninth edition (2006). Authors: Charles T. Brushaw, Walter E. Oliu, and Gerald J. Alfred.