13/08/08

The language you use defines you. It’s true. People judge others by accents, word choice and other language related factors. And when they can’t hear you, the judgments are made based on the quality of your writing. This is exactly why corporate communications are central to building brand reputation.

But what does it look like in practice? What can be considered good writing and how to learn it?

Check out: Your Company Is Only as Good as Your Writing 

 

Listen

writing

Glossary

  • riddled – fill or permeate (someone or something), esp. with something unpleasant or undesirable
  • rampant – violent or unrestrained in action or
  • forefather – a member of the past generations of one’s family or people; an ancestor
  • critique – a detailed analysis and assessment of something, esp. a literary, philosophical, or political theory
  • foster – encourage or promote the development of
  • viable – capable of working successfully; feasible
  • nebulous – unclear, vague, or ill-defined

  

Think about it

Answer the questions below.

  • At the beginning of the article, what examples of good and bad writing does the writer present?
  • What does it mean that writing should be “a company-wide endeavor?” Give an example.
  • What does the writer mean by saying that he “kicked up a bit of a stir ‘round these parts?”
  • What are some of the most frustrating things about writing? Can you think of some examples from your own experience?
  • How did iFixit’s Tech Writing Handbook came into existence?

 

Practice makes perfect

 Combine the words in bold with those on the list below to form phrases.

work   –   constructive   –   core   –   company-wide   –   safety

  • _____ competence
  • _____ training
  • _____ feedback
  • _____ instructions
  • _____ endeavor 

Now put the phrases in the blank spaces below.

Great leaders consider communication a _____ _____, so why don’t more businesses? Manufacturers spend millions on _____ _____ to get people to wear hard hats, but spend very little to make sure their safety critical _____ _____ are written clearly.

That’s not good enough. Effective writing must be a _____ _____.

If my marketer misses a typo while writing about a product, I want my packaging staff to catch it before the design gets sent to print. If my technicians don’t capitalize a tool’s name consistently, I’d hope my videographer notices the error when he glances at the report on their desks. When I’m writing an essay, I always ask my software engineers for_____ _____. (I’m not too proud to admit that many of them are better writers than I.)

 

Use the verbs in brackets in appropriate tenses.

For the last 10 years, iFixit _________ (write and host) free, open source manuals for every thing. We ________ (not always be) as good at it as we are now. Like many publishers, we ________ (not have) an open dialogue about what we ________ (write)— not within the company and not with the public. And, in our early years, our writing suffered for it. In fact, some of our initial instructions ________ (lead) users astray — resulting in broken computers and cameras and cell phones. That ________ (be) our fault, and we knew it.

 

Explore it more

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