There is nothing more that The Study Dude wants for you than to make your beef a prime rib?not a whopper.
Well, in these articles, as The Study Dude, I’ll try to give you the study tips you need to help make your learning easier. I’ll also give you straight and honest opinions and personal anecdotes?even the embarrassing ones that you wouldn’t ever dare read about from any other study tip guru.
This week’s Study Dude takes notes from Writing that Works, 3e: How to Communicate Effectively in Business by Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson.
Did you ever want someone to look spectacular? I hosted a charity event, and I wanted a celebrity newscaster?my emcee?to sizzle.
As backstory, I met the celebrity at another event he emceed; at that event, the coordinator said he fizzled. But I knew what went wrong?and how to fix it. You see, newscasters read teleprompters. So, give a newscaster a speech to read. Duh!
So I hired a doctoral student and the speech read beautifully. Short punchy lines. Humor. And the applause? Deafening. The lady who said he fizzled asked, “How did you get him to shine?” Well, would you get an astronaut to build the ship? No. Give him the ship.
Roman and Raphaelson share tricks to make your business writing sizzle:
– Write short: short paragraphs, short sentences, short words. (Academic writing uses longer paragraphs and sentences, but sprinkle in your shorts. Now That’s a play on words you don’t want to take literally.
– Use big words when they are more concise.
– But beware, big words are more abstract; they often suggest you lack clarity. But if your big words are concise, consider them gems.
– Use active voice. If first-person (I or me) isn’t allowed, then you may be stuck with passive.
– Use clear and specific adjectives and adverbs: don’t say, “we’ll soon be late.” Instead, say, “Tomorrow will be too late.”?quantify.
– Use adjectives and adverbs that add to the meaning and don’t just repeat it: don’t say, “highly proficient.” Instead say, “Nobel-prize proficient.”
– don’t use jargon. Uses down-to-earth words instead.
– Write like you talk.
– Know the definition of every word you write.
– Cut out the extra words. don’t say, “Despite the notion that?” Instead, say, “Although?
– don’t write clauses inside clauses.
– Write like you would talk to your best friend, and then touch it up with formality.
Complain to the Prof
Did you ever tell-off a prof?
I had a feminist studies professor—an unprepared professor. I hungered for feminist theory, but she taught Mork from Ork. Yes, Robin Williams in his 80s sitcom.
But first, let’s back up. What sparked my interest in feminism?
I once politically campaigned with a radical feminist; she sat the eager me in a board meeting of a feminist magazine. But I was a misfit?a high-school dropout; I knew more about Value Village than the right to vote. Yet, I upgraded and enrolled in university, rushing to take a feminist class.
On the first day of feminist class, the professor asked, “What would Mork from Ork, an alien from another planet, say about Earth’s women?”
The second day of class, the same Mork from Ork question. Most days, Mork from Ork. The professor had a life, just not in school.
Later, I overheard a student curse the professor for too much Mork. But, the student got it wrong: don’t get even?get results.
Let’s look at the art of complaints, according to Roman and Raphaelson:
– When saying no, be ultra compassionate. don’t say, “Your paper lacked substance. Poorly written. You got a C.” Instead, say, “I can imagine how difficult it will be to hear this. I’m sorry, but you got a C on your paper. Here’s why I gave that grade ? If you still feel you deserve a higher grade, please let me know where I might have got it wrong.” Sincerely explain your reasons for saying no.
– When complaining, don’t aim to tell-off someone; aim to get results. Write about all the actions the person needs to do to resolve your complaint fairly.
– When responding to a complaint, don’t read into it. If It’s fair, say how you’ll address it. Say sorry. Ask for continued relations.
So, there’s nothing to fear. The Study Dude is determined to make right for you all the wrongs I made in grad school—one A+ at a time.
Roman, Kenneth, and Raphaelson, Joel. (n.d.). 3rd Ed. Writing that Works, 3e: How to Communicate Effectively in Business. Harper Collins e-books.