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Flat interviews = boring stories (here’s how to fix that)

Think about the last story you wrote. Did you get a bunch of high-fives? Did you hear things like, “Wow – thanks! That was such a great story!” Or did you hear absolutely nothing? If so, that can be telling. Perhaps the problem lies in how you interview your sources. 1. Do you settle for […]

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Top 3 writing goofs of the week

I’m often asked, “What are the most common errors you see people make when they write?” Here are the top three I’ve run across repeatedly this week. Goof 1: Writing “it’s” when you really mean “its” (or vice versa) Remember: The word “it’s” is a contraction for “it is.” And the word “its” is the […]

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Nice and easy does it

Getting ready to interview a hesitant or harried source for your company’s or client’s next big story? Job 1 is creating the right environment so your source feels comfortable sharing information. Here are 13 ways to create a good rapport with your story sources – right upfront. 1. Tell a source you simply want to […]

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A quote is a terrible thing to twist

What were they thinking? Change a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most revered activists, writers and orators of the 20th century? The deed is done, but many are calling for it to be undone. Here’s what chiselers of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington inscribed on the north […]

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Some good advice for speechwriters

Want to write more speeches for existing clients? Want to get new speechwriting clients? Serendipity is only part of it, according to Sandra Yin, a writer based in Maryland and a colleague of mine. Sandra recently interviewed me and four other speechwriters from across the United States and in the United Kingdom about how to break into […]

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No such thing as ‘just a meeting’

My colleague and I left a bit exuberant after a three-hour meeting with a client Friday. We’d wanted to map out an initial strategy for this year’s direct-mail campaign – and we left with that in hand and much more. It was one of those meetings where idea after idea came flowing, and each person’s […]

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Need to brush up on your AP style?

Check out Ask the Editor FAQ at AP Stylebook Online. It’s fast and easy to browse through the sampling of frequently asked questions, with examples of AP style used in answers. The online Associated Press Stylebook is the A-Z guide to usage, spelling and punctuation for writers and editors. Ask the Editor FAQ gives you the straight […]

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Conversing with sheer pleasure: The 12 C’s of great conversation

Being a journalist by training, I must say I’ve always admired broadcast journalist Barbara Walters. She does so well what I attempt to do when interviewing clients for a story I’m writing. I try to make it a conversation – not an inquisition. Barbara Walters has mastered the art of conversation with her interviews of […]

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If we set the bar low, there we will go

“Where are tomorrow’s writers going to come from?” asks Natalie Canavor, business writer, author and presenter, in her November 2010 CW Bulletin article, “The Texting Tide: Is the writing on the wall for writing?” CW Bulletin is the e-newsletter supplement to Communication World magazine published by the International Association of Business Communicators. Canavor says managers […]

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Talk the Talk: Communication Secrets of Great Women Leaders Revealed

Do you “talk the talk”? After all, women who want to be recognized as great leaders must be inspired, passionate communicators and outstanding orators. But how do we get there? There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. Women today need only look to some of our greatest women leaders in recent history to learn how […]

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