Talk it out

Run the ‘Hey, did you hear?’ test

Having trouble nailing that “business casual” tone you’re aiming for? Try reading your message aloud — after a friendly greeting or phrase:

Talk it out

Hey, did you hear? Is your tone conversational? Then you’re on the right track. Image by Ben White

“Good morning, honey! In regard to the subject account mentioned above, please find the enclosed statement.”
“By the way, Bob, let’s figure out how we can leverage our bandwidth to incentivize our team to envisioner an impactful B2E interface, enterprise-wide. I think we can tee this up as a strategic synergy.”
“Long time, no see! The re-writing of the vocabulary of intemporal Irish heritage is a possible vector for submissions on the condition that this transposition is resolutely anchored in the 21st century through a contemporary lens that absolutely avoids drifting into the vernacular.”
“Hi, everyone! I’m so glad you could make this meeting today. We’re going to discuss a very important topic — how we can redefine B2C partnerships, target collaborative infomediaries, harness 24/365 Web services, engage plug-and-play e-commerce, drive proactive models, scale robust experiences and engage transparent models so we can facilitate out-of-the-box ROI. Who’s with me?!”
“Hey, did you hear? This position & objectives are a new addition to the stable of existing Global Lubricant Solutions (GLS) functions. The role participates in the development of the ChevronTexaco Global Lubricants Innovation Solutions Vision and drives cultural change with associated front-end strategies and concepts that eventually become customer-facing differentiable Integrated Solutions.”

I call this the “Hey, did you hear?” test. If your copy sounds like the adults in a Charlie Brown special — “Wah Wah Wah Wah” — after a simple greeting or phrase, chances are, your copy is too stiff, bureaucratic and jargon-filled.

Fix it.

  • Cut Through the Clutter in PR

    Measurably boost readability with our targets, tips & tools

    Regardless of what you’re writing, Cutting Through the Clutter is the No. 1 way to keep readers reading.

    Cut Through the Clutter in PR: Measurably boost readability with our targets, tips & tools

    But the stakes are even higher when it comes to PR pieces. That’s because, say, if your lead is too long, Google News might reject it. If it’s too short, Google News will reject it.

    Leave this session with “the numbers” you need to measurably improve your readability.

    At NOT Your Father's News Release — our two-day hands-on PR-writing master class on Sept. 6-7 in Atlanta — you’ll leave this session with “the numbers” you need to measurably improve your readability. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

    • Pass the Goldilocks test: Write a headline that’s not too long or too short, but just right. (Google News ignores one in five releases because the headline is too long!)
    • Write a one-minute release: Journalists rarely spend longer reviewing releases, according to a GreenTarget survey.
    • Stop using the most overused PR buzzwords: Journalists and bloggers — not to mention readers — will love you for it.
    • Write by number: What’s the right length for your release? Your paragraphs? Your quotes? Your sentences? Your words?
    • Use a cool tool (to quantifiably improve your copy’s readability. PR pros in our Master Classes have improved readability by up to 300% with this resource.



Gobbledygook courtesy of: Golden Bull-winning direct mail letter from the Crafts Council of Ireland

Web Economy Bullshit Generator

A job opening announcement at Chevron, published in The Chicago Sun-Times


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