Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

3 business writing tips for non-writers

Published by | Sunday, April 13th, 2014

3 business writing tips for non-writers

How many emails have you written to colleagues, clients, or customers this week? If the answer is one or more, you should consider business writing as part of your job—even if the word “writer” is not in your title.

Business writing is any written communication to teammates, stakeholders, and other people you work with. The good news: You don’t have to be a creative writing major to be an excellent business writer; in fact, you don’t even have to be creative. All you need is the desire to communicate in a way that leaves your reader feeling informed and prepared to take action.

To help you get there, here are three of my favorite tips from the Business Writing Fundamentals course on lynda.com. For simplicity, I’m focusing on email here, but these tips can also be applied to handwritten notes, memos, printed letters, and more.

Write a claim letter to a company: Monday Productivity Pointers

Published by | Monday, March 31st, 2014

Write a claim letter

I’ve slipped a few nontechnical topics into Monday Productivity Pointers over the past year and they’ve proven to be popular, so this week I’m doing it again.

In today’s video, I’ll show you how to write a claim letter to a company for a faulty product or a bad experience. When you don’t get results from a claim letter, often the problem is that you never actually asked for a claim in the first place.

Write a press release: Monday Productivity Pointers

Published by | Monday, March 17th, 2014

Write a press release

When you’ve got news to share with the world, a press release is an ideal way to get the word out.

A press release is a notice you send to news outlets about something you consider newsworthy. It’s like a teaser trailer for a movie: You want the reporter to read your press release and be intrigued enough to call you, find out more about your story, and write about it.

Write a letter of recommendation: Monday Productivity Pointers

Published by | Monday, March 10th, 2014

Monday Productivity Pointers- Writing a letter of recommendation

This week on Monday Productivity Pointers we’ll be ditching technology and getting back to old school communication: writing letters. Specifically, writing letters of recommendation.

At any point in your life, you may be called on to write a letter of recommendation for someone you know well. It could be for a college application or a new job, but no matter the occasion, one fact remains the same: Someone else’s success is riding on the quality of your letter. In this week’s video, I’ll show you how to write a great letter.

Five business skills beyond the degree

Published by | Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
Build business skills beyond your degree


Explore these courses at lynda.com.

Is a traditional college degree enough to compete in today’s workforce? A recent Today.com article suggests that potential employers aren’t just looking for targeted skills. They want a broad set of skills that reach beyond your job-specific role into business, analytical, and interpersonal areas. Being an expert in your particular field of knowledge is critical—but here are some complementary skills that potential employers may also consider valuable.

Why do movies have a three-act structure?

Published by | Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

3-act-structure

Explore this course at lynda.com.


You’ve probably heard that most feature films tell their stories with a three-act structure. So what are these three acts? The beginning, the middle, and the end?

Well … no.

Instead, let’s call them the Buildup (Act 1), the Adventure (Act 2), and the Resolution (Act 3).

Think about your favorite movies. In most cases, something big happens a quarter of the way into the story. You’ll see a change in location, a leap forward in time, or just a sense that the characters have left their comfort zones.

In Raiders of the Lost Ark, it’s when Indy and Marion arrive in Cairo. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, it’s when we meet the astronauts (and HAL) en route to Jupiter. In The Avengers, it’s when the Avengers assemble on the giant airbase. And so on.

How to hook your reader from the very first page

Published by | Monday, March 4th, 2013

Think stories are just for entertainment? They’re not. Stories are simulations that allow us to vicariously experience problems we might someday face. Think of them as the world’s first virtual reality—minus the geeky visor. Story was more crucial to our evolution than opposable thumbs. All opposable thumbs did was let us hang on. Story told us what to hang on to.

The great feeling of enjoyment we get when a story grabs us is nature’s way of making sure we pay attention to the story. It’s a survival mechanism. Do you know what that feeling is? A rush of the neurotransmitter dopamine. It’s your brain’s way of rewarding you for following your curiosity and finding out how the story’s problem is solved.

That’s why, when it comes to writing, the most important thing to master is the craft of story. Because it turns out that the brain is far less picky about beautiful writing than writers have been taught to believe.

Yes, writing well is a good thing—only a fool would deny that. But what matters most is that the story hooks the reader from the first sentence. How? By igniting the brain’s hardwired desire to find out what happens next. That’s what gives all those beautiful words all their power in the first place.

Lisa Cron explains how story captivates the brain.

So, how do you ignite the reader’s curiosity on that crucial first page? There are three things readers innately hunt for as a story begins.