Your expertise may be in accounting, coaching, or sales, but if your grammar is grating, your punctuation is poor, and your spelling is strange, people will wonder if you really know your stuff.
Here is a list of seven common challenges and solutions:
ONE: Spell Check is not always right. Think of Spell Check like someone checking in, “Excuse me. Are you sure you meant to use it’s instead of its?” It doesn’t mean you’re wrong. It means you may want to double-check with someone or search the internet for your answer. There are lots of helpful writers and editing addicts out there aching to show you the way.
TWO: Speaking of it’s and it… It’s stands for it is, so “It’s there on the desk.”
Its means it belongs to something, like “The store reduced its price on bananas.”
THREE: There is my pencil. It is a location
They’re walking to work together. Short for they are.
Their mother is a smart woman. Possessive.
FOUR: An effect is a result. It is a noun, a thing. The effect of the ban on smoking was that fewer children had asthma attacks.
Affect is a verb, an action word. His talk on staying healthy really affected me, so I am going to eat more greens.
FIVE: Spell out all abbreviations.
I am the New Brunswick Chapter Chair for the Canadian Society for Training and Development (CSTD).
SIX: Avoid jargon or at least explain it.
I just taught a workshop on instructional design, helping trainers develop training plans for next month’s workshops.
SEVEN: A quick formatting tip: White space is your friend. The more white space, the more likely someone is to read your message or handout.
BONUS: OKAY, THIS ONE ANNOYS ME WAY TOO MUCH TO NOT SAY IT. Please control all urges to write in all caps. A headline is fine. Numbering is fine. WRITING IN ALL CAPS IS LIKE SHOUTING AT SOMEONE AND IS RUDE. If you disagree, you can join the debate here. But trust me on this one 🙂
If you are not comfortable writing, have someone check your work or hire a writer. You will look like the expert you really are.
What writing challenge or pet peeve do you have?
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