Blog Archives

The Ambiguity of…Numbers?

Researchers have shown people who use “50%” or “fifty-fifty” often do not mean it literally. They mean “I’m not sure” or “it’s uncertain” – or more simply “maybe.” Previously, I wrote about The Ambiguity of Language. Words are fuzzy, their

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Posted in Books, Everything, Marketing

The Ambiguity of Language

“Kent was floored. A phrase that looked informative was so vague as to be almost useless. Or perhaps it was worse than useless, as it had created dangerous misunderstandings.” – Superforecasting In the early part of Superforecasting, the authors talk about the

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Posted in Books, Leadership, Marketing

Technical Communications: Plain Language for Clear Communications

“One of the things that sets an organization up for failure is to assume that plain language happens after everything else is done; instead, think about it right at the beginning.” – Christa Ptatschek The most recent session of Communitech’s Technical Communications

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Posted in Everything

Conversations, General Knowledge, and Your Career

“It isn’t enough to be able to do the technical aspects of the job – our clients need to actually enjoy working with us, as people, for us to hit our highest levels of efficiency.” Many people are ignorant. (How’s

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Posted in Careers, Everything

Language lessons from George Orwell

“The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.” – George Orwell If rock legend Bruce Dickinson ever tells you that you need more cowbell, then you should listen. Similarly, when George Orwell gives advice about language and writing, we should

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Posted in Advertising, Everything, Marketing

The “Ten Rules of Effective Language”

Dr. Frank Luntz¹ is a political strategist and pollster who describes his specialty as “testing language and finding words that will help his clients sell their product or turn public opinion on an issue or a candidate.” He begins his

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Posted in Advertising, Books, Leadership

The best kind of comma

Punctuation lends clarity and precision to communication, and as a consequence is a powerful toolset. Here’s an illustrative video that drives the point home. Perhaps my favourite piece of punctuation is the Oxford comma (up there with the semicolon).  According

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Posted in Everything

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