Workplace Writing 101 - Advanced Skills

Every writing technique has proper rules as well as preferred nuances. This is about the latter.

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Punctuation and Grammar

Commas - Proper use with initial conjunctions and with long introductions.

Semicolons - Three reasons for use: unity, juxtaposition, and rest.

Dashes - Preferred use of the hyphen, the en dash, and the em dash.

Spelling - Memory aids to hear correct spelling; drills to help remember.

That/Which - Proper use in writing, in terms of scope and purpose.

They Singular - Strategies: play it safe; make it work; own it.

Rules and Usage

Adjective Order - Use of multiple adjectives and a memory aid: NOD-SAShCOMP.

Latin Rules - An explanation for formal style, but common usage overrules.

Just Qualifiers - Taking care when using vague qualifiers.

As/Like - Which word to use when comparing things or actions.

Different/Into/May - Achieving clarity from the precise use of these words.

While/Whether - Avoiding ambiguity by choosing these words with care.

Clarity and Flow

Good Parallelism - The best technique for sequencing parallel structures.

Stuff-to-Back - Why to control content and cadence at the end of sentences.

Bad Delays - Maintaining flow in long sentences by editing interruptions.

Good Modifiers - Things to do when you have too many modifying phrases.

Familiar-to-New - The sentence pattern that pulls the reader along.

Topic Focus - Minimizing topics to improve paragraph coherence.

Style and Sophistication

Tone for Purpose - Strategies for adjusting your style to achieve proper tone.

Personalize - The difference between a conversational style and a personalized style.

Diction - A detailed technique to help choose the right word.

Balance - Between plain and stylish writing, find balance in structure and rhythm.

Inversion - Reasons for reversing the normal order of sentence components.

Humor - Advice about what not to write; techniques for safely being funny.

Rhetoric and Narrative

Engage - Overview of word patterns that engage the reader.

Emphasize - Word patterns that emphasize something for the reader.

Argue - Overview of thought patterns for presenting effective arguments.

Appeal - The strategy of rhetoric: gain trust, show reasons, stir feelings.

Narrative Style - Three things to add to create engaging narrative.

Power of Story - How to structure and use components of story arc.

Influence and Persuasion

Magic Words - Use words to stimulate imagination, activate senses, and create associations.

Personal Reliance - Choose words that match reliance on self or on others.

Approaches to Work - Choose words that match how people approach their work.

Evidence Preference - Choose words that match how readers consider evidence.

Essential Consistency - Understand reciprocal obligation and commitment to consistency.

Ethics at Work - Use a golden rule and two questions.

Presentations and Graphics

Clutter - Simple strategies for reducing clutter on presentation charts.

Focus - For important presentations, focus on questions and be ready with data.

Content - Condensing presentation charts for clarity.

Change - Simple strategies for showing change in graphics.

Contribution - Simple strategies for showing contribution in graphics.

Data - How to show complex data, support it with words, and keep it simple.