Author Archives for ‘Lori’

About Lori

How to Build Long-Term Client Relationships through Smart Communications

Show some business-love.

Valentine’s Day is a special day set aside to show appreciation for those we love; however, most of us know it’s important to appreciate your loved ones throughout the year.

The same is true with your business clients. The secret to building and maintaining solid business relations is to be professional, personable, and to express your appreciation often.

Below are a few tips on how you can “show some business love” and strengthen the tie between your clients and your business:

Grammar Judgments

The Internet is filled with lists of misused words, but I found this one from Inc.com especially post-worthy.

I rarely use “whom” when I should. Even when spell check suggests “whom,” I think it sounds pretentious. So I don’t use it.

And I’m sure some people then think, “What a bozo.”

And that’s a problem, because just like that one misspelled word that gets a resumé tossed into the “nope” pile, using one wrong word can negatively impact your entire message.

Fair or unfair, it happens.

The author is right. People do judge you for grammar mistakes and misspellings, and Inc.’s article lists some of the biggest culprits (adverse/averse, elicit/illicit, and insure/ensure, to name a few). Check it out to find which ones you may be using incorrectly and follow the tips for how to remember the correct usage.

But why did I find this particular list worthy of a link?

Is Cyber-English Appropriate on the Job?

Have you ever found yourself typing “LOL” when writing to a client or employee and then decided against it? Are you unsure about using emoticons, abbreviations, or truncated sentences when sending emails or texts from your phone?

With today’s high speed messaging—email, status updates, instant messages, texts—many people are asking whether there’s now a place for breaking traditional grammar rules in business communication. Are emoticons, abbreviations, and truncated sentences ever appropriate at work?

Once Upon A Time: Using Story in Your Business Writing

by Hannah Comerford, Scribe Contributor

February 26 is Tell a Fairy Tale Day. You probably don’t have any celebrations lined up. In fact, you may even be wondering why we’re talking about fairy tales on a business writing blog. Are fairy tales, or storytelling in general, relevant to the modern business writer?

To answer these questions, let’s first discuss why fairy tales are popular in the first place. While fairy tales are usually associated with children, the popularity of prime time television shows that celebrate fairy tale characters suggests that maybe adults still enjoy hearing new spins on their childhood stories.

Here are just a few reasons why stories and fairy tales are so popular:

Build Credibility through Your Business Communications

Last week, our daily communication tips offered advice on how you can build credibility through your business communications.

Here’s a recap:

  • Learn your industry’s terminology and be able to explain it. Speaking the language demonstrates that you know your field.
  • Use specific facts. Vague statements and lack of data weaken your message; detailed information supports your claims.
  • Cite your sources. Skeptical readers can then research your claims and come to their own conclusions.
  • Use credible sources. Peer-reviewed publications and established experts are trusted over online sources like Wikipedia.
  • Anticipate and address questions and counterarguments. Show that you’ve thought through your ideas and statements.

This Fast Company article offers more advice on how to avoid trust busters that dilute your credibility.

 

An Autocorrect Win

The jury may still be out on whether or not autocorrect on a smartphone is actually helpful, but here is one autocorrect application I think we can definitely put in the “Win” column.

Syntellia, a startup company founded by entrepreneur Kostas Eleftheriou and his business partner Ioannis Verdelis, set out to build a better predictive-typing app for the iPhone. This article from Fast Company highlights their accomplishment:

The result is Fleksy, an iPhone app that uses artificial intelligence to figure out what your fat fingers tried to spell on that tiny touch-screen keyboard. And when Verdelis says “type without looking,” he really means it: Fleksy’s first version is specifically for the blind.

Those of us who are not vision-impaired should be wary of relying too much on autocorrect when sending messages via smartphone. Most of us have probably seen some of the outrageously funny—or maybe just outrageous—examples of autocorrect gone bad, which are in such plentitude there is now a whole website devoted to them. Though it was designed to prevent errors, autocorrect can also create embarrassing mistakes.

But for those in greater need of the technology, Flesky is an autocorrect win.

How Technical Writing Can Benefit Your Business

If you are a small business owner and sell a product requiring a user manual, you probably recognize the value of good technical writing. You know that if your customers don’t understand how to use your product, they aren’t likely to buy from you again in the future. A good product or user manual can also reduce the time you spend responding to customer queries.

Perhaps your business doesn’t have a need for product manuals or user guides. Even if that’s the case, you may still want to develop proper documentation of your company’s internal processes and procedures. Providing well-written operations manuals or employee guides can help improve efficiency and minimize errors and downtime.

Technical Writing Tips

While it’s one thing to understand the importance of good technical writing, it’s another to actually know how to do it. What are the elements of good technical writing? What information does a user manual need to have to guarantee a customer will know how to use your product properly? How should an operations or employee manual be organized? And how do you best relay complex technical information in everyday language?

10 Word Slipups to Avoid

by Ashley Smith, Scribe Contributor

“How often misused words generate misleading thoughts.”   – Herbert Spencer, English philosopher (1820-1903)

As much as I’d like to think I have a way with words, I admit to the occasional slipup. Just the other day I sent an email to someone asking if I could “site” something she had said, rather than “cite” it. It wasn’t until after I’d sent the email that I recognized my error.

Sometimes our writing mistakes are things we would catch with closer review. Other times, we may not know or remember the correct usage or spelling. Add to this the fact that so much of what we read on the Internet is not formally edited, and we are also in danger of perpetuating the mistakes made by others.

Thankfully, my communication with this person was not business related. Had it been, my credibility likely would have been damaged. Although it is sometimes acceptable to intentionally misuse a word for the sake of great copy, careless mistakes or errors of ignorance can, as Herbert Spencer put it, “generate misleading thoughts.” Or worse yet, they can cost you a client.

Below are ten examples of commonly misused words. Are you guilty of misusing any of them?

Using Social Media to Grow Your Business

Imagine having a potential customer base of millions without having to spend a dime to market your company. Sound too good to be true? That’s what using social media as a marketing tool can do for you.

According to eMarketer, by 2013 164.2 million Americans—or 67% of the nation’s Internet users—will use social networks.  So, if you have not yet joined the ranks of companies that use social media as a way to promote their businesses, you might want to reconsider.

However, before you rush off to create a Twitter account, you’ll want to educate yourself on the basics of social media marketing.

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