ALL THE BLOGS

Writing

Getting clarity – how do I write more clearly?

In all my trainings, with hundreds of professionals each year, this is the thing people ask for above all else:  How do I write more clearly? The answer is so simple it’s almost embarrassing:  Write the way you speak. Yes, really. Write the way you...

How to persuade and get buy-in

How not to argue If you’re in an energetic discussion with someone, what’s a sure-fire way to get them to dig their heels in? Flat-out tell them they’re wrong. Point out all the faults in their logic. Deny their point of view. The more you do that, the greater the...

Dear document reviewers

Dear document reviewers, It’s not about you. It’s about whether the document is fit for purpose (and fit for its readers). In my estimation, about 70% of all feedback from reviewers of documents in the workplace is not based on correctness or making a document fit for...

How to write a report

#SorryNotSorry but there’s no such thing as how to write a report. A  REPORT. Like there is one kind of report and there’s one right way to write one. Meeehhh! Wrong. But thanks for playing. There are endless kinds of reports status reportsresearch...

What place does empathy have in business writing?

What place does empathy have in business writing? All the places. All. Of. Them. If your writing isn’t empathetic to your readers’ needs, you’ve failed. End of story. Who are you writing for? YOU? All those bad, waffly, long-winded, not-fit-for purpose documents you...

How to write a cover letter

This is a question people ask me often, so here’s my advice. Especially since a couple of weeks ago I told you how to quit *insert cheesy grin here*. Is it needed? Before you start stressing over the cover letter, you need to find out if one is actually needed. If the...

How to write a resignation letter

So you want to quit your job It’s time to move on. You’ve got a better offer. Or you’re ready to tell your boss, F*ck you and the horse you rode in on. Whatever the reason, there’s usually a legal obligation to give written notification and a period of notice. (Check...

How to create the right tone in your emails

We have some seriously weird ideas about tone. I say this because I train 800 to 1000 people each year, and I hear some really surprising and contradictory perspectives: bullets feel too formalbullets feel too informalI could use structure in an email to someone I...

You can’t please everyone

When I first started writing professionally I felt really confident in my writing abilities. I’d already been a writer with a masters in creative writing for almost 20 years. I’d published, edited, and taught writing at high schools, universities, and on an...

Dear language purists

Dear language purists, Language changes. Deal with it. I got mansplained recently, in the most belittling of ways which quickly devolved to mockery and insults when I called him out on it. (In truth, I hurled the first insult.) He was a PhD student from the local...

The formal business voice is dead

In PR we know what makes a successful apology and what doesn’t. SUCCESSFUL APOLOGY = a conversational, human approach: Hi Shelly. We’re sorry we got the date wrong for setting up the internet at your new home.  We know that was really inconvenient. Thanks for letting...

How to be concise – strip out the fluff!

Being wordy is only good if you’re a dictionary. We have to learn to strip out the fluff! The writer switch If there’s one thing we know about text, it’s that messages get weaker as the word count grows.   But, flick our writer switch, and what happens?  The more...

Writing for outcomes part 3 – tools for document structure

OK, so you’ve taken care of your up-front framing, and you’ve started to drill down to the clarity you need to write an amazing, fit-for-purpose document that’s gonna help you take over the universe. But now you’ve got to the real guts of it:  what do you actually...

How does plain language save money?

So I’m guessing you’re here because either: you LOVE plain language and want to convince someone at work that it’s worth investing in, oryou’ve heard about this plain language thing but you’re not yet sure you buy into it Either way, I can help you out. So let’s dive...

Joy

Evidence of growth

Is that little mess just evidence of your growth? So I redid my office recently and made it all beautiful and I’m a bit in love with it cos I’m so good with making spaces functional but not pretty but I won’t bore you with all the details (*aaaand breathe*). My pretty...

The stories we tell ourselves

I wonder how many relationships have broken down completely because of a combination of 2 things: An information gap we fill with a made-up storyNot asking a simple question to fill that gap with truth Managing relationships It's been an interesting (and glorious)...

Reflections are the new black

Photo by Arnold Zhou on Unsplash I'm SO not into all the New Year's blah blah! But, I do have reflections. What have you been doing for a full cycle of the moon? I woke up at 2am and got up for water. The night was SO BRIGHT and the moon cast a full...

What gift can you give yourself?

For me, sometimes it's the gift of doing nothing. Sometimes it's spending a bit of money on myself. Sometimes, it's the gift of serving someone else so I get the fuck over myself! Sometimes I need the gift of time alone. Or time with my beautiful man. Sometimes I need...

Focus – Is your laser pointing the right way?

When it's high summer and I'm sitting on my deck on Aotea (Great Barrier Island), the cicadas are deafening. Great Barrier Island - NZ What’s interesting to me, though, is how that sound, which is actually REALLY LOUD, is a sound I equate to quiet, peaceful, calm –...

In the light of a new day

I've learned, over the years, that my best tool when I'm feeling emotional distress is SLEEP. I simply don’t know if it’s the same for everyone. But for me, when I’m not coping and nothing else is working, I know that sleep will make things look different. Maybe I...

Angry, much?

I’m really angry about something right now. Someone close has done some things that I feel hurt by and resentful of. I’ll get over this eventually – in fact, sooner rather than later, me being me – but right now, I’m feeling it. Permission to feel I give myself...

Thinking towards and thinking away from

What’s the last change you tried to make in your life that didn’t stick? Or that was torturous? (And damn, how quickly did you populate a list in answer to that question??) If I said to you, don’t think about a purple elephant, well, you know what happens. Where's...

Want to increase your ‘happy’? Be grateful

Did you know that research has proven that being consciously grateful for a few things each day literally increases our happiness? Doing gratitude your way You can do it in whatever way suits you! Go for a walk and reflect on the things you can see that you’re...

How to be happier

Love the rain It was high summer and on that day it was raining. I’d been revelling every day in the heat. The sunshine. The creek, the beach. Great Barrier Island I love warm nights sleeping with just a sheet and cool mornings on the deck when you know there’s only a...

If you have something to say

If you have something to say, just SAY IT! I need you to know this. There are no new ideas. There are no new things to say. There is nothing to say that hasn’t been said before. If you’re waiting to have something NEW to say, you’re shit outta luck. I can’t even tell...

Whose permission do you need?

Being permissive My 40s have been an exercise in being permissive. I was calling it an exercise in removing restrictions and barriers until I realised that then I was giving power to any remaining restrictions and barriers. Well, fuck that. The power is mine. I claim...

Heeey superwoman! How’s your cape?

I did the best I could. I tried my hardest. I couldn’t have done more. I used to feel guilty every time I thought or said any one of those statements. I thought they were lies. The superwoman days You see, I have these days every now and then that I call my superwoman...

Let’s talk truths and confirmation bias

The complexities of truth I’m really intrigued by the concept of truth. It’s probably because one of my core values is integrity, and so truth is part of that. What I’m interested in, though, is the complexities around truth. As an indigenous woman, for example, I...

Are you brave enough to be happy?

I woke up this morning, looked at the beautiful man beside me, and thought, it doesn’t get much happier than this. Gratitude I’ve been doing the gratitude thing this year and there’s NO DOUBT it’s making me happier, kinder, less sweating the small stuff. That’s...

How to reduce stress – do you own it?

I once had a friend staying with me, and she was worried about a small decision my daughter made. She later told me how stressful the visit was, because of that one thing. Let me explain a bit more (while still respecting the privacy of both my friend and my...

How do I live my best life?

OK, I hate that title. But it’s all about SEO – did you know if you title your blogs with questions people type into google, your content is more likely to be found? True story. And this post IS about living your best life. I just hate those words because I can hear...

What can you roll with?

What are you putting energy into resisting? What might happen if you just roll with it? I’m what you might call ‘highly strung’ (uggh).   Me, earlier in life was a basket-case. Control-freak, stressed out, ready to blow up over stupid shit on a regular basis. I really...

How to like someone more: Find commonalities

People are irritating, right? And this is coming from one of the most loving and empathetic people I know (that’s me – yes, I’m saying nice things about myself. And?) I’ve believed since I was a teenager that I’m on this earth to love. Empathy is one of my...

Badassery

How to develop credibility in your profession

When people find out I teach writing, they assume it’s creative writing. Novels, stories, poetry. (Except that one dude who thought I teach handwriting. Weirdo.) And I can teach those things. I have a master’s degree in creative writing. But without being a hugely...

What is a brand?

What is a brand? In my younger and dumber days, I thought a brand was a logo and a set of fonts and colours. Those are only part of a brand, and in my opinion they are very much secondary to the other aspects of brand. Brand is: a feelinga storycharactervaluesdrivers...

How to make your CV stand out.

You’re a rockstar. Can they see it? Well, that's not how you want to stand out! Let's talk about your CV. Your Résumé. Whatever you call it, it’s the thing you rely on to show a prospective employer that you’re shit hot. It needs to yell, I’M THE ONE FOR YOU!! It’s...