Category Archives: Reading and Writing

Teaching as a learning tool.

“Teaching made me so much better at studying.”
– Ann Patchett

In The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life, Ann Patchett remembers how teaching her first literature class forced her to think through her ideas, support them with examples and then present them in a logical way.

If you’re trying to master a new management technique, consider presenting a team workshop or training session around that topic. Teaching it to others will enhance your own learning, and working on a public timeline will keep you moving forward.

Whether you’re an aspiring writer or just enjoy learning how someone masters a craft, I highly recommend downloading Patchett’s Kindle Single.

 

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Don’t let your business writing get “puffy”.

In his memoir, On Writing, Stephen King recounts how an editor once labeled his work “puffy” and recommended he revise for length. That editor then gave King the basic formula that changed his writing forever:

2nd draft = 1st draft – 10%

This rule is as applicable for business writing as it is for fiction. Business writing often focuses on content over form, resulting in long, boring or redundant copy. A solid revision policy forces you to look critically at your overall presentation and trim your writing down to the essentials.

Many organizations, particularly mission-driven ones, can also benefit from the writing adage “kill your darlings”. These “darlings” are jargon-laced phrases that convey a great deal of meaning within the organization but mean absolutely nothing to the external customer. These phrases force the reader to pause, translate, and eventually, to lose interest. Keep your reader engaged by saying only what you need to say, clearly and succinctly.

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