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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

Book Report: Words that Work

“For most people, language is functional rather than being an end in itself. For me, it’s the people that are the end; language is just a tool to reach them, a means to an end. But it’s not enough to simply stand there and marvel at

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Posted in Advertising, Books, Leadership, Marketing

Why how you say something matters more than what you’re saying

“Those who define the debate will determine the outcome.” – Words that Work, p170 I’m an engineer by training. That means I enjoy precision, I get along well with numbers, and I’m fairly objective when presented with facts. But it

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Posted in Leadership, Management, Marketing

Five words to supercharge your marketing communications

On more than one occasion I’ve gone through my company’s marketing material and completely eliminated particular words in favour of others: “flexible” is so bendy and wishy-washy, but “versatile” suggests something that can be put to use in many different and varied

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Posted in Advertising, Marketing

The appeal of hope and optimism in communications

In a recent post, The Ten Rules of Effective Language (from the book Words that Work by Frank Luntz), I wrote about the importance of speaking aspirationally (rule #7). The most important take-away of that section was that messages need to say what people

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Posted in Advertising, Leadership, Marketing

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

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