Helping Your Readers Read: The Two Things You Need to Know About Page Layout

Before your readers see your words, they see your page and then make a decision about whether or not they’ll read your document at all. These two tools are simple enough that you can use them in an email …and are all you need to ensure that your readers will go on to read your actual words. Which of […]
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How to Say Something Actually Useful: The Reality Show Version

Scott McGillivray, the host of “Income Property,” is a very smart guy. But even Scott can make mistakes. In one episode he starts by passing on some useless information to his homeowners. Fortunately, he recovers and provides a model for what great communication looks like: Don’t talk about what you know. One of the reasons […]
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What a Game Show Can Teach Us About Answering Questions

I have had a lot of exposure to questions and answers, writing exams for professionals and university students. I’ve applied for grants and evaluated grant proposals. I’ve applied for awards and evaluated award proposals. I’ve been a subject matter expert and interviewed subject matter experts. I also routinely answer questions as a speaker and when […]
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Amplify the Signal, Minimize the Noise

I studied computer engineering in college, but I’ve learned that some of the critical principles I learned way back then apply to far more than engineering. I was reminded of this by a tweet from Nancy Duarte author of the wonderful book Resonate. I’ll talk more about the book later, but first I want to […]
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How to Write Great Instructions

Here’s how to write instructions that your readers will actually be able to use, regardless of whether it’s how to get to your house to how to disarm a nuclear bomb. The instructions in the picture have got to be intimidating: It’s a solid wall of text where, presumably, you either get everything completely right […]
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