Blog Archives

3 Steps to Turn a Report into an Executive Presentation—Step 3

You have gathered and analyzed some interesting budget, operations, research, or workforce data and described your findings in a written report for your work team. Now it’s time to brief top-level executives on this valuable information. Your purpose is to summarize (“Executize”) the data and explain its significance without overwhelming your audience with too much detail. To turn your report into a tailored presentation that meets the needs of those executives, use a three-step approach: PLAN, DECONSTRUCT, RECONSTRUCT.

Our previous two blogs explored how to plan and deconstruct your report. Now we are ready to reconstruct your Storyboard as a PowerPoint presentation. Read more ›

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3 Steps to Turn a Report into an Executive Presentation—Step 2

You have gathered and analyzed some interesting budget, operations, research, or workforce data and described your findings in a written report for your work team. Now it’s time to brief top-level executives on this valuable information. Your purpose is to summarize (“Executize”) the data and communicate its significance without overwhelming your audience with too much detail. To turn your report into a tailored presentation that meets the needs of those executives, use a three-step approach: PLAN, DECONSTRUCT, RECONSTRUCT.

Our first of three blogs 3 Steps to Turn a Report into an Executive Presentation–Step 1 explored the planning step. Now we are ready to deconstruct your report: Read more ›

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3 Steps to Turn a Report into an Executive Presentation—Step 1

You have gathered and analyzed some interesting budget, operations, research, or workforce data and described your findings in a written report for your work team. Now it’s time to brief top-level executives on this valuable information. Your purpose is to summarize (“Executize”) the data and communicate its significance without overwhelming your audience with too much detail. To turn your report into a tailored presentation that meets the needs of those executives, use a three-step approach: PLAN, DECONSTRUCT, RECONSTRUCT.

This first of three blogs explores the planning step:

Step 1: Plan your presentation. However imminent your deadline, take time to think about the significance of your information and its relationship to the concerns of your audience. Read more ›

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Take this Short-Answer Quiz on Successful Blogging Strategies and Techniques

A blog, an online communication platform, shares with website visitors timely, authoritative information on topics within a particular area of expertise. As the go-to person for your area of expertise, you may have been asked to contribute blog posts, or you may have decided on your own to create a blog. Our previous blog posts presented 6 Quick Tips for Successful Blogs and then 6 More Quick Tips for Successful Blogs. Take this short-answer quiz to test yourself on successful blogging strategies and techniques. The list of questions is followed by sample answers.

Questions

  1. What motivates readers to return to your website?
  2. How frequently should you post?
  3. What type of content interests readers?
  4. How do you ensure that you have enough topics and content for your blog?
  5. When should bloggers remove the tool for readers’ comments?
  6. How should a blog begin?
  7. What devices add context and depth as well as humanize a blog post?
  8. What easy-to-implement Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques should bloggers employ?
  9. What tone do readers find off-putting?
  10. What is the right balance of information to share/withhold?
  11. What is the goal of each individual blog post?
  12. What is the goal of blog posts collectively?

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6 More Quick Tips for Successful Blogs

A blog, an online communication platform, shares with website visitors timely, authoritative information on topics within a particular area of expertise. As the go-to person for your area of expertise, you may have been asked to contribute blog posts, or you may have decided on your own to create a blog. Our previous blog presented 6 Quick Tips for Successful Blogs. Here are 6 more tips to help ensure your success:

 1. Consider weaving in startling but authentic statistics, an illustrative story or example to increase readers’ understanding, or compelling quotes that give a sense of immediacy and humanize your content. For example, an environmental consultant in the United States might weave in statistics or other facts about lengthy project delays and hefty fines or insert quotes about compliance from the Environmental Protection Agency, Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), or other federal agencies. Where have you successfully used statistics, stories, examples, or quotes? To which future blog posts could you add those devices? Read more ›

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6 Quick Tips for Successful Blogs

A blog, an online communication platform, shares with website visitors timely, authoritative information on topics within a particular area of expertise. As the go-to person for your area of expertise, you may have been asked to contribute blog posts, or you may have decided on your own to create a blog. The following 6 tips will help ensure your success:

1. Give visitors a reason to return to your website. A dynamic website with interesting, substantive content attracts visitors to return regularly. Reward them with frequently updated content. Set a realistic goal to post at least once or twice a month—more often if you will reliably post more frequently. You can increase your frequency as your posting process becomes more efficient. Also, devise a strategy to attract visitors. For example, is your website address in your email signature block, on your business card, and on all of your give-aways? Does your blog link to Linked-In and Twitter? Does your website design lead readers to your blog? Do you encourage customers to visit your website? The Writing Center provides an updated list of blog post topics with our course participants’ materials and mentions our website and blog in our customer communications. How frequently will you post? How do/will potential visitors learn about your blog? Read more ›

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21 Steps to Create a Customized Style Guide

How can you help ensure that your work team delivers consistently high-quality blogs and articles, customer email responses, presentations and reports for customers and your management team, white papers, and other documents?

Let’s assume that you have already created document–specific Writers’ Guides to ensure that each document’s content is accurate, appropriate for the context, and substantive. The Guides could include annotated document models, content checklists, dynamic templates and instructions for writers. The dynamic templates could have fields for writers to fill in content or simply annotation/prompts for writers.

Once the Writers’ Guides are in place, it is time to focus on style. For each writing situation, consider creating a customized Style Guide and Glossary for your work team’s quick reference. These codified rules and standards will help to deliver a consistent experience for your readers and the desired perception of professionalism and credibility for your work team and larger organization. These rules and standards will also increase your team’s writing and editing efficiency.

The following list provides suggestions for your customized Style Guide: Read more ›

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How to Correct 3 Common Errors in Technical Papers and Reports

Familiarity with a topic can make you unaware of content gaps or lack of clarity in a paper or report. In our previous blogs, we reviewed How to Correct Common Errors in Technical Papers and Reports. The following checklist will help you locate and correct three additional common errors:

  • Poorly written Methods sections
  • Unnecessary, inaccurate, or out-of-date content
  • Mechanical errors

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How to Correct 2 Common Errors in Technical Papers and Reports

Familiarity with a topic can make you unaware of content gaps or lack of clarity in a paper or report. In our previous blog, we reviewed How to Correct 5 Common Errors in Technical Papers and Reports. The following checklist will help you locate and correct two additional errors:

  • Lack of consistency
  • Unclear, ambiguous wording

1. Lack of consistency. Why is consistency so important for technical writers? Inconsistency in format and wording may distract and confuse readers and affect their perception of you as a reliable, credible author. Consistency improves the paper’s or report’s flow and clarity and thereby readers’ comprehension. Read more ›

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How to Correct 5 Common Errors in Technical Papers and Reports

When familiarity with a topic makes you unaware of content gaps or lack of clarity in a paper or report, the following checklist will help you locate and correct five common errors:

  • Faulty organization
  • Insufficient context to orient readers
  • Failure to guide readers through the content
  • Insufficient description and detail
  • Poor use of illustrations

1. Faulty organization. Why is logical organization so important? A well-chosen structure for a paper or report guides readers comfortably through the content and increases readers’ understanding. Within standard paper and report templates, use familiar organizational patterns such as the following:

  • Order of importance for readers who are apt to agree with your conclusions and recommendations. Begin the paper or report with the information of greatest interest to readers. Provide an informative abstract or summary for busy decision makers.
  • Reverse order of importance for readers who may at first disagree with your conclusions or recommendations. In persuasive documents, create common ground and present your rationale before your recommendation.
  • Chronological order for site visit reports and trip reports. Since methodical time order can bury critical information, preface your chronology with a summary that captures your most important findings and recommendations.
  • Spatial or sequential order for process and procedure descriptions. Before taking readers into the details of your spatial description (moving north to south, left to right, or clockwise, for example) or of your process or procedure, orient your readers with an overview. Also, ensure that the process or procedure is described in absolute sequential order.
  • Comparisons to juxtapose the advantages and disadvantages of two or more solutions. In order of importance to decision makers, present the criteria for successfully resolving the problem and evaluating the solution.

Read more ›

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