Copyrights don’t give you a right to copy

I was surprised to see a favorite non-profit had committed an illegal act. On the third page of a recent newsletter, they reprinted an item from Reader’s Digest. It was germane to their mission, and they kindly included a credit line. Still, they broke the law. Which law? Copyright law. Unless they formally obtained permission from […]

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Do you suffer from the education curse?

There’s a phenomenon I’ve long observed affecting the ability of people to write clearly and effectively. Economists and psychologists have referred to the phenomenon as the “curse of knowledge.” In simple terms, it’s what happens when we fail to recognize others don’t know what we do. When we try to communicate with them, we use […]

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Eschew obfuscation to write better

When presenting workshops on writing more effectively, I always tell attendees the most important advice I can offer is to eschew obfuscation. If you’re scratching your head, don’t feel bad. The two words are unfamiliar to most people. “Eschew” is a verb that means deliberately avoiding something or some act. If you’re allergic to okra, […]

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9 tricks for better proofreading

Is proofreading important? Have you noticed the dramatic increase in the number of typos and other mistakes in materials produced by companies and organizations? I suspect it results from three factors: emphasizing haste over quality, relying on software spellcheckers, and unfamiliarity with spelling and language. Granted, the mistake someone at your company makes may not […]

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