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Parisa

Corporate communication: A rare example of keeping it real

Plenty of companies could be telling great stories that would get them noticed. But so often the dead hand of corporate  ’messaging’ renders their communication turgid and lifeless. As a result, most people don’t make it past the first paragraph and the opportunity is lost. That’s not the case for NIBR, the R&D arm of […]

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The Pyramid Principle in copywriting

The pyramid principle: Successful copywriting technique

I’m currently reading The Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto. It sets out a proven technique for communicating complex ideas persuasively in writing. I’m pleased that it supports most of what I’ve been doing since I started out as a writer on employee newspapers some 20 (ahem!) years ago. For anyone who gets called upon to write […]

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Typewriter with discarded first drafts

Sharpen up your writing: Three top tips

I’ve  been working on a long internal communication document for a global pharma. My rough draft came to almost 10,000 words in total. After typing in “Ends” with some satisfaction, I reminded myself  I was still a way off being able to submit an official v1 to my client for review. That’s because I know […]

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computer user

Is your intranet a victim of ‘launch and leave’?

One of my clients surprised me recently by letting me know how many people had read the intranet content I’d faithfully written for them – and how many of those had taken the trouble to rate the content as helpful.  In all my years of being involved in developing intranet content for comms teams, this […]

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Typewriter

To write well at work, forget what you learned at school

Influencing others through the written word is more important than ever in modern business. The content you write – whether email, web page, PowerPoint deck, report or policy – has to cut through the maelstrom of other written communications that assail employees every day. Yet so few of us have ever received any training in […]

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Woman head in hands

Let content professionals manage your content

Intranet content so often fails to deliver what users want. That’s because many companies still favour the distributed publishing model in which content is written from the perspective of the department that owns the process. It doesn’t address what’s most important to users. We come to the intranet with a task in mind, not to […]

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Typewriter

Why does so much business writing suck?

We’ve all heard umpteen times that communication – external or internal – is the lifeblood of any business. Yada yada. But if that’s really true, how come so many people in business, from top to bottom, are so bad at written communication? In almost 20 years as a corporate writer and editor, I’ve met countless […]

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Sleeping audience at presentation

Avoiding death by PowerPoint

You’re at a conference and it’s the post-lunch slot. The speaker starts his presentation by turning to look admiringly at his first slide: a morass of barely legible bullet points. Groan! By slide two, you’re wondering if anyone will notice you’re playing Ruzzle on your phone for the next 45 minutes. I had that familiar […]

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Woman head in hands

Don’t “click here”! Writing good web links

In my previous post, I talked about some general principles for writing for the web. Here, I’m going to take a quick look at the most important bit of content on any web page: the links. A maxim I always keep in mind when writing web or intranet content is that users arrive running. As […]

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computer user

Top tips for writing for the web

Writing for the web is sometimes billed as some kind of niche activity that requires specialist knowledge. I disagree. Sure, there are some technical tips and techniques that are helpful for making sure search engines like your content and you appear high up in search results (this is called search engine optimisation, or SEO). But […]

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