inCredible Messages Blog

Latest "Writing Mistakes and How to Fix Them" Posts

Improve Your Nonfiction Writing in 10 Minutes!

Here is a great article by Writer’s Digest to improve your writing in 10 minutes or less:  http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/improve-my-writing/brush-up-on-your-style-in-10-minutes-or-less.

Posted by Bonnie Budzowski in Writing Mistakes and How to Fix Them.

Expert Advice on Avoiding Communication Overload

John Medina, accomplished scientist and author of Brain Rules (2008), reports that the most common communication mistake is “[r]elating too much information with not enough time to connect the dots.”

Medina is not alone in suggesting we refrain from overloading our readers and listeners with information.  Gar Reynolds, in Presentation Zen, demonstrates that less is more in both words and graphics.  It makes sense for us as communicators to make fewer points people will remember than to bombard audiences with everything we know.

Knowing what to cut is both a skill and a discipline.  It begins with knowledge of your goals and your audience.  It ends with a certain amount of humility.  Just because you know something doesn’t mean you have to say it.

Also, just because you say something doesn’t mean your audience knows what to do with it.  Making the assumption that readers and listeners easily make the jump–from theory to their own situation–is dangerous. 

Posted by Bonnie Budzowski in Writing Mistakes and How to Fix Them, How to Write Content to Attract Clients, Business Writing Techniques, Clear, Concise and Compelling Writing.

Write Clear Concise and Compelling

Want your writing to be clear, concise, and compelling?  Do you in fact, get the opposite:  muddy, laborious, and bland?  It might be because you are trying too hard too early.

Composer Aaron Copeland said, “Inspiration may be a form of the super-conscious or the subconscious, I wouldn’t know.  But I am positive it is the antithesis of self-consciousness.”

Do you second guess every word you write, correcting for grammar, looking for the right word, rewriting each sentence or paragraph before you move to the next one? If so, you are the enemy of your own writing.  Your self-consciousness is hindering your writing.  Chances are it’s giving you a headache too.

Whether you are writing an email or a book, make a rough plan for your message.  Then just write.  Write according to the plan, but don’t be rigid.  Turn off your spelling and grammar check and just write.  Get the piece out on your screen. 

Posted by Bonnie Budzowski in Writing Mistakes and How to Fix Them, Multipurpose Content, Clear, Concise and Compelling Writing, Creating Content to Build Your Business.

How to Start Writing a Book: Questions You Need to Answer

If you are wondering how to start writing a book, you might be thinking about what content to include or how to organize your thoughts.    If so, you’ve gotten ahead of yourself.  Start writing your book by answering two fundamental questions that could make or break your book.  Answer this questions correctly, and you increase your chances of success exponentially.

Posted by Bonnie Budzowski in Write a Non-Fiction Book that Builds Your Business, Writing Mistakes and How to Fix Them, How to Write Content to Attract Clients, Creating Content to Build Your Business.

Six Proven Strategies for Clear, Concise, and Compelling Writing

Would you like your writing to be more clear, concise, and compelling? This article covers six proven strategies to move you there.  You’ll find that the strategies overlap and build upon each other. While each strategy will bring you closer to the goal of clear, concise,and compelling writing, used in combination, these strategies really boost the power of your writing.

Posted by Bonnie Budzowski in Article Marketing to Boost Your Business, Writing Mistakes and How to Fix Them, How to Write Content to Attract Clients, Business Writing Techniques, Multipurpose Content, Clear, Concise and Compelling Writing, Creating Content to Build Your Business.

Don’t Make this Stupid Mistake #15: Expect People to be Supremely Interested in Your Story

Here’s the situation:  It was a big networking event, and the speaker was introduced as a networking guru, brought in from another state.  The speaker began her presentation with a funny story about how someone bored her by talking only about himself over a get-to-know-you lunch.  The speaker then announced that she would share five important networking tips with the audience.

Here’s the stupid mistake:  “But,” the speaker said, “first I have to tell you more about my personal story.”  The audience members let out a collective sigh.  Fifteen minutes later, the audience still  hadn’t heard the five tips, and people began to discreetly leave the room.  I confess that I was one of the ones who left.  A person I met just outside the room gave me an unsolicited comment.  “I don’t care a bit about her personal story!”  The speaker had broken her own rule about considering herself a bit too interesting!

Posted by Bonnie Budzowski in Writing Mistakes and How to Fix Them, How to Persuade & Gain Commitment, Secrets to Powerful Presentations.

Avoid this Stupid Mistake #14: Step on Someone’s Story

Here’s the Situation:  Okay, I was complaining.  I was describing a frustrating situation at work with a professional friend.  I had had a rough day and  needed to vent  before I dusted myself off for the next day.

Here’s the Stupid Mistake:  I’d barely finished my story before my friend began with a story of her own.  She delved into details of her own challenges and frustrations at work.  I’ve heard the behavior described this way:  “She stepped on my story.”  As a result, I felt “cut off.”  At the end of the encounter, I felt worse than at the beginning–because my friend did not listen to me or offer understanding.

People step on the stories of their conversation partners all the time.  For example, we step on stories of success, failure, frustration, illness, relationships, etc.  At minimum, this mistake makes for an unpleasant conversation because the person who initiates the conversation doesn’t feel listened to. 

Posted by Bonnie Budzowski in Writing Mistakes and How to Fix Them, Influence.

Don’t Make this Stupid Communication Mistake #12

Here’s the Situation:  A professional colleague and I were discussing an incident that occured  in the association we both belong to.  It was one of those incidents that ocur in every organization that involves volunteers.  Leadership on the board had turned over with a new year, and the outgoing leadership had neglected to provide the recognition my colleague felt she deserved. 

Here’s the Stupid Mistake:  The colleague began several of her sentences with the words, “I don’t care about the recognition, but . . . ”  Other sentences began with, “I wouldn’t say this to anybody but you . . . .”  What’s worse is that these type of statements consistently pepper the conversations I have with this individual.  As I result, I am quite sure she does care about the recognition and she does make these statements to me and to others. 

When a person is indirect about feelings such as being hurt, it results in the person seeming petty. 

Posted by Bonnie Budzowski in Writing Mistakes and How to Fix Them, Influence.

Don’t Make this Stupid Mistake: #11 Fail to Encourage Feedback

Here’s the situation:  Jack Simms, owner of a speaker’s bureau had booked a speaker to give an inspirational talk for faculty and staff as a new school year began.  Jack, attending the talk, received a signal from a key administrator to cut the talk short.  The speaker was boring his audience and was completely unaware!

Here’s the stupid mistake:  Although Jack tactfully informed the speaker that his presentation did not go well, the speaker did not encourage further feedback.  Jack, a successful speaker at an international level, was prepared to give this individual some very valuable feedback and advice.  Because the speaker didn’t welcome the feedback, he missed a golden opportunity to improve!

Here’s the solution:  Feedback is a priceless gift, especially constructive feedback that points out how you can improve.  It’s a priceless gift because most people we encounter feel too uncomfortable to give anything but praise.  Express appreciation for feedback; welcome the information  and ask for details; and remain non-defensive.  

Posted by Bonnie Budzowski in Writing Mistakes and How to Fix Them, Influence, Leadership.

Don’t Make this Stupid Mistake #10: Too Much Info Too Soon

Here’s the situation:  John was eager to make a good impression.  A  highly qualified individual,  John was was interviewing  for a desirable position.

Here’s the stupid mistake:  John told me the mistake in his own words:  “I just blew an interview,” John said. “I droned on and on about my background for 45 minutes and bored the interviewer. The guy’s eyes glazed over, and I didn’t get called back.” 

In their eagerness to make a good impression, job seekers often provide too much information too soon. They miss the opportunity for a dialogue and the chance to make an impression by targeting the interests of the other party.

Salespeople make the exact same mistake. So do project managers reporting on the outcome of a project. Chances are you make the very same mistake on a regular basis–in e-mails, presentations and proposals. Providing too much information too soon is the top communication mistake.

Posted by Bonnie Budzowski in Writing Mistakes and How to Fix Them, How to Persuade & Gain Commitment, Influence, Secrets to Powerful Presentations.