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Now You Too Can Write Like Hemingway!

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in Business Writing | 0 comments

Now You Too Can Write Like Hemingway!

Hemingway is a new web app that helps you write content that’s simple and clear – just like Ernest Hemingway’s trademark style!

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What Are You Forgetting to Tell Your Customers?

Posted by on Apr 1, 2014 in Technical Writing | 0 comments

What Are You Forgetting to Tell Your Customers?

What’s wrong with these instructions? There’s something missing—a key piece of information.

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Why Are You Boring Your Customers?

Posted by on Mar 17, 2014 in Technical Writing | 0 comments

Why Are You Boring Your Customers?

You want your customers to be glad they used your user guide, right? So why is it so darned BORING? Instead, take a cue from Air New Zealand.

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User Manual Fail: This Beard Trimmer Doesn’t Make the Cut

Posted by on Mar 4, 2014 in Marketing, Technical Writing, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I recently got a new beard trimmer. The packaging was really impressive, but the product instructions…well, weren’t.

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Why Disney Believes Your Product Instructions Should Be Perfect

Posted by on Feb 13, 2014 in Customer Support, Technical Writing | 0 comments

Why Disney Believes Your Product Instructions Should Be Perfect

Disney knows that a disappointing touchpoint creates a disappointed customer. Technical content is a major touchpoint for your customers, but many companies treat it as an insignificant one.

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Fixing the Foibles of STEM Professionals: A Review of The Brainiac Paradox

Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 in Reviews | 0 comments

Fixing the Foibles of STEM Professionals: A Review of The Brainiac Paradox

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals are widely acknowledged as the brightest and best in terms of intellect and raw brain power. Yet there’s also the stereotype that these great minds are socially awkward and maybe even relationally stunted. Terms like geek speak and brainiac are shortcuts our culture uses to characterize this strange dichotomy. As it turns out, it’s more than just a stereotype. As Mark Cornillie states in his new book, The Brainiac Paradox, STEM professionals are more prone than the rest of the population at large to struggle with social norms of communication. These struggles can be more than a minor annoyance—they can impede career success and create professional dead ends. Managers can become exasperated trying to figure out what to do with an employee who doesn’t collaborate or communicate well with others; team members become resentful of constantly being corrected or belittled; and STEM professionals themselves feel slighted as they are passed over for promotions or as their recommendations seem to be ignored by others. But Cornillie says there’s hope. The subtitle of his book is Solutions for the Communication Challenges of STEM Professionals, and Cornillie proposes a nine-step process of overcoming communication challenges—without repressing what makes STEM professionals so gifted. Each of the nine steps focuses on a “foible,” or communication tendency. Cornillie borrows heavily from the techniques of one of the most famous “brainiacs” in history who shared this struggle but was wildly successful in overcoming his foibles—Benjamin Franklin. Full Disclosure I first heard of The Brainiac Paradox at a networking event, where I met Mark Cornillie. He talked at length about his research for Brainiac and his own experiences consulting for companies that were dealing with related issues. I was so fascinated by the topic, I asked him if he’d give me a review copy. So he passed me the copy in his hand. Who Is It For? The Brainiac Paradox is intended primarily for STEM professionals who recognize their communication foibles are holding them back in their careers (and personal relationships), but it’s also written for their supervisors and HR managers who want to help their staff to become more adept at communicating with others and collaborating with team members. What I Liked Brainiac is easy to read and easy to use. Discussion is peppered with case studies and narratives that flesh out the issues and their effects. Cornillie has done a terrific job of crafting a tool that can be customized to fit particular individuals and particular needs, whether you’re a manager or a STEM professional. Chapters are broken up into a statement of the problem, an examination of the solution, an action plan for improvement, and a summary for quick overviews. An appendix contains an array of tools to aid STEM professionals as they progress through his system. Because not everyone will struggle with the same foibles, or to the same degree, the book is structured modularly (although at the very least, you should read the Summary section of any chapter you intend to skip over) Cornillie also does a great job of providing overviews and giving heads-up information, stating exactly what will be covered and what to expect. This lays the ground work for later chapters very nicely. His solutions are down-to-earth, practical, sensical, and reasonable. Cornillie...

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Stop Hiding Your Product from Your Customers

Posted by on Jan 7, 2014 in Marketing | 0 comments

Stop Hiding Your Product from Your Customers

Want to increase your product’s visibility? Show off your technical content! Smart companies have been doing this for years, including HP, Apple and Garmin.

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What Kind of Infographic Should You Use?

Posted by on Nov 11, 2013 in Infographics | 0 comments

Ever find it hard to figure out how you want to design an infographic? Diana Adams recently posted an article about all the different types of infographics out there and how to choose which type to use.

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How to Make Your Business Blogging Sound Human

Posted by on Nov 4, 2013 in Blogs, Business Writing | 0 comments

How to Make Your Business Blogging Sound Human

I see most business bloggers erring on the side of sounding too formal. So here are a few tips to help you loosen up a bit without embarrassing yourself.

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To the Tune of “Paperback Writer”

Posted by on Oct 28, 2013 in Just for Fun | 0 comments

To the Tune of “Paperback Writer”

What if the Beatles were nerds instead of hippies? Maybe they would have given us such hits as “Let IT Be” or “P.S. I Love URLs.”

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