Blog

Building confidence in the age of disinformation
14 October 2019

Building confidence in the age of disinformation

Whether it’s a clever marketing message or deliberate disinformation, the written word can lull us into a sense of false security or catapult us into panic. As information flies around the world at breakneck speed on social media and other platforms, words rain relentlessly down on us.  With disinformation and fake news on the rise, as organisations we have an even greater obligation to give our readers confidence that the content we generate is trustworthy.

Quotation marks: single or double?
27 September 2019

Quotation marks: single or double?

When do you use double quotation marks and when do you use single? Is it correct to use quotation marks to emphasise a word? Do you need to italicise quoted material? Although they may seem like insignificant marks on the page, quotation marks (also known as inverted commas) are designed to add clarity to the meaning of your communication, so it's worth learning how to get them right.

The devil is in the detail: the high cost of real-life communication disasters
11 September 2019

The devil is in the detail: the high cost of real-life communication disasters

Many professions from forensic scientists, to engineers, to performing artists to legal practitioners quote the expression ‘the devil is in the detail’. It’s the idea that although something may appear simple or insignificant, there could be hidden problems. There have been many cases where lack of attention to detail has cost organisations as well as individuals millions of dollars, reputational damage and emotional distress.

Writing skills training: is it enough to prevent communication breakdown?
3 September 2019

Writing skills training: is it enough to prevent communication breakdown?

Poor written communication is a piece of the puzzle often overlooked or misunderstood when investigating an error or non-compliance at work. Poorly written communications lead to confused staff and confused clients, with loss of income and damage to your reputation two potential outcomes.

The rise of the fearless female: why words matter
26 August 2019

The rise of the fearless female: why words matter

I grew up in an era when women were routinely referred to as ‘the weaker sex’. We were expected to be afraid of mice but not of childbirth; we were expected to be capable of raising well-adjusted children (with no days off) but not of running a company. Words have a powerful effect on the reader and can define us positively or negatively. Although true gender equality may still be a long way off, some of the rhetoric has thankfully changed. Enter the fearless female.

Gonna, wanna and cos: bad grammar or accepted modern usage?
12 August 2019

Gonna, wanna and cos: bad grammar or accepted modern usage?

Listen carefully to many native English speakers and you’re more likely to hear them say ‘gonna’, ‘wanna’ and ‘cos’ rather than a clearly enunciated ‘going to’, ‘want to’ and ‘because’. Known as 'reductions' (lost sounds in words), these casual forms have also been infiltrating written communications including emails, social media posts and newspaper articles. But are these terms acceptable in business writing?

What’s the difference between enquiry and inquiry, program and programme?
12 August 2019

What’s the difference between enquiry and inquiry, program and programme?

There are many words in English that sound the same but are spelled differently. Two of these are 'enquiry' and 'inquiry', and 'program' and 'programme'. Is there a difference in meaning? Or does it simply come down to personal preference?

Avoid these 3 plain English traps at all costs
5 August 2019

Avoid these 3 plain English traps at all costs

When we speak, most of us use plain English. Yet, many people believe they need to switch to a complicated, formal and bureaucratic style when they write at work. Several decades ago, your employer may have expected such a style in written communications. It is certainly not appropriate today. We need to take the effort to make our message crystal clear. To achieve this clarity in writing, watch out for these three common traps.

Achieving consistency: why you need to check the style guide
26 July 2019

Achieving consistency: why you need to check the style guide

Which is correct? Single or double quotation marks? Do lists take a semicolon at the end of each bullet point? While it might seem pedantic, checking these details and consistently applying your organisation's preferred style will raise the professionalism of your writing.

Spotting typos: why it's so hard
17 May 2019

Spotting typos: why it's so hard

You’ve checked your report a dozen times, each time finding several ‘new’ typos. They seem to come out of the woodwork. If you see a mistake that you’re sure you fixed last time, you might even begin to believe aliens are sabotaging your work. Despite best efforts, everyone makes typographical errors. So why is it so hard to spot typos in our own work?