The Past Beckons

Rearview Mirror

I think about the past a lot. Who doesn’t?

Of course, like most people I cherish the great memories.

And then there are the difficult ones. There’s nothing I can do to change them (Boy, that LIVESTRONG tattoo sure seems like a bad idea now). Few things can amend unresolved issues with others.

The only thing the complete past — good and bad — offers is experience. Experience to draw upon, contemplate, and possibly use to become wiser and evolve as a human being.

This is true for both business and personal life.

Yet, dwelling on the past for too long is one of the most unproductive exercises one can engage in.

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Activate Run-Ons with WIFM

red pen
Image by Mad African!

The best way to spruce up boring business writing? Activate verb tense, parse run-ons into multiple sentences, and add the what’s in it for me (WIFM) factor.

Yes, some colleagues focus on grammar, but when I edit business text these are the first three things my red pen seeks out.

Inevitably business text crams an overt amount amount of jargon and hyperbole into copy to ensure that it stays “on message” and achieves branding goals.

Business writing seeks to market and inform stakeholders. Over-focus on messaging and positioning hurts that goal, instead fulfilling an internal need to appease executives.

An editor should punch up copy to resonate with stakeholders.
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