Business jargon C words – no, not THAT one…

Would you “cock a snook” at a “cup of joe” and just “chill out?” And would you know where those terms originate? Find out the fascinating roots of our favorite business and other jargon here…

business jargon explained on HTWB

Should you “chew out” someone who cries “crocodile tears?”

C-Suite: this is an affectionate slang term for the senior directors/vice presidents and other top people in an organisation and, presumably, where their offices are located! It’s said to originate from the fact that many of the senior job titles in a company start with the letter “C” – e.g. Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Technical Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Information Officer, etc.

Can’t make head nor tail of it: (also can’t make head or tail of it) means you can’t understand something at all, and/or you find it horribly confusing. Apparently the Roman politician Cicero once wrote “Ne caput nec pedes” (neither head nor feet) when he was confused about something. More recently (from about the second half of the 17th century) people began using the term closer to its present form, but no-one is sure why we refer to “head nor tail.” Logically though, this must mean top/bottom, beginning/end, or of course two sides of the same coin. [Read more…]

Business jargon bits – do you know what these “A” words mean?

Ever wonder why we talk about “a month of Sundays?” Or “at the drop of a hat?” Here’s a selection of English jargon beginning with “A” that you’ll often see in business writing or hear in meetings, talks and presentations.

HTWB jargon 01

Let’s start at the beginning…

101: a special number used to show that whatever it’s linked to is introductory – like, for an example an introductory course or lesson in something. There are various versions of the number’s origins, but according to Daniel Engber, columnist on Slate.com, “in the late 1920s. The Oxford English Dictionary finds the first use of “101” as an introductory course number in a 1929 University of Buffalo course catalog. Colleges and universities began to switch to a three-digit course-numbering system around this time.” As with so many such examples, after a while the term filtered through into general slang and business jargon and is now used commonly to describe the basic, introductory elements of almost anything from sports to cooking. [Read more…]

Why you need to think first and write later – especially for business

“If you don’t know what you think, you can’t write it down,” said my longtime colleague and book co-author John Butman some years ago.

Yet how many of us take on a business writing exercise – email, blog post, even web page – without thoroughly thinking through the key issues needed to make that piece of writing work properly … before we write anything down?

Most of us fall victim to it. Even I do, and I’ve been a professional business writer since Madison Avenue was a dirt track with an Algonquian name.

Think before you write, especially for business

Think before you write. And think about the right things, so you write what works for your business.

It’s all part of our tendency not to engage brain before putting fingers into gear. Here is one classic symptom, with a suggestion on how to treat it… [Read more…]

How not to spam bloggers, by I. M. A. Spammerdick

If you have a blog, or a website with a blog, you may well get approached by kind souls offering to do anything from enhancing your content to transforming your life if only you include their totally unsuitable material within your blog content.

how not to spam a blogger

Do you ever stop to read the spam you receive? It certainly can open your eyes…

I have to admit it, though. I read a lot of my spam.

Why such a saddo? It’s because even though it’s spam I can learn from it. (And get some laughs from it.) Here are some of the more outrageous examples… [Read more…]

Writing essays: what can we learn from nature?

Here’s a question I was asked recently by a student, that really made me think: what can we write about of what we learn from nature? This was for an essay she was about to write.

writing about nature on HTWB

The business world seems to claw at nature to make its commercial points.

In fact, how many of us still can take the time to look around us and absorb the lessons nature teaches us, especially when our heads are mainly buried in electronic devices while sat in antiseptic urban homes and offices? [Read more…]

Writing for business in the third-age: old? No, new.

People in the “third-age” who are running businesses are not old f*rts. In fact many of them are new entrepreneurs.

When I go home to Canada every summer I work a lot with my good friend and colleague Trudy Van Buskirk – a stalwart women-in-business coach and networker, founder of a number of online and offline business networking groups in Toronto. And just to make the challenge a bit more interesting she also a) is the wrong side of 60 and b) has disabilities.

Writing for business for third-age entrepreneurs on HTWB

Thanks to the internet it’s very easy for anyone of any age to keep bang up to date with their chosen business or industry.

What has struck me over the last few years of leading blogging and business writing workshops for Trudy and her clients are the high levels of energy, enthusiasm, business acumen, hunger for further learning and downright grit that all of these people pour into their businesses. [Read more…]

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