How to get your written message over faster with an abstract

This will make you smile … we’re going to take a business writing lesson from the academic world … the abstract (noun: a short summary of a text, scientific article, document, speech, etc.), and how its concept can be adapted to help your readers get to the point ASAP. 

Writing an abstract on How To Write Better

Unlike in the art world, an “abstract” in writing terms means a summary that can work better for business writing than the “executive summary” people in business tend to use. Here’s why…

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Grownup business video: what really works, and what doesn’t

Over the last few weeks and months here on HTWB we have shared a number of articles and tutorials on how to make the best of video for business and other organisations (or business documentary video) as it exists today, both technically and practically. (NB I do not include video advertising commercials here – different ballgame.)

How to write video that works properly

Sorry if I’m brutal, but with my history of writing and making business videos, you might my find my views interesting…

Having been a corporate video producer, writer and director for more years than I care to admit to, I have watched the way business documentary video has evolved with a great deal of interest.

The good news is that it has become affordable to thousands of businesses and other organisations who couldn’t have dreamt of using it 20 years ago when its production cost many times what it does now. [Read more…]

Metaphors, slang and jargon: why translators turn to drink

Metaphors, slang and jargon have a lot to answer for – in any language. Nothing is worse for a translator of business text, in particular, than text that’s heaving with them.

Nearly all languages have numerous metaphors, slang and jargon that, if translated literally, make absolutely no sense whatsoever. Predictably, English is probably the worst.

Metaphors, slang and jargon: why translators turn to drink

New GM model that wasn’t going anywhere – not in Spanish, anyway.

We’ve all heard the story about General Motors Europe who launched a small hatchback model some years ago called the Nova[Read more…]

Creative training videos: the renaissance at last?

Once again we welcome Farai Chirimuuta, video supremo based in Milton Keynes, England, who has delighted me by suggesting that the time has come for the rebirth of what I consider to be the most effective and inspiring of all training media … the capturing, enrapturing “training video.” But before I hand over to Farai, let me share my own two cents’ worth…Sz xx

Creative training videos: the renaissance at last?

Creative training videos: communication in a richer landscape that words alone cannot hope to compete against.

In my observation and  experience (although I write training material for business clients, as a volunteer cancer survivorship worker I watch and go to a lot of medical/healthcare training sessions as a learner) current training offerings may be cheap to produce and easy to be measured for effectiveness. But how much effectiveness? Does the fact that learners can recall XX percent of the teaching points at the end of the session in the feedback forms mean the associated messages will stay with them beyond tomorrow?

Not now. Not today when so much training is tick-box, multiple-choice either on-screen or delivered to a script when it’s live (and Heaven help you if you ask a question that’s not in the script: nearly always, the professional trainer won’t know the answer.) So much of it is bland, boring, done to the book… [Read more…]

Blabbing on live video – some useful tips I picked up

If you have been following HTWB for a while you’ll know that recently I was initiated into the wonderful world of Blab, that incredible new institution that despite sounding like a tropical skin disease is actually a brilliant new channel of online communication.

Blabbing on live video - some useful tips I picked up

Despite Blab being a fairly new medium there are many “how to” articles and demos around. However here are some tips that I picked up while preparing for and doing my first Blab chat…and you might find them helpful.

First of all huge thanks must go to my good friend Steven Healey who grasped Blab by the throat the moment it emerged back in the summer of 2015 and has made it his own, with a brilliant series of Blab chats (Blabbers? Blabberations? We need a new vocabulary here…) [Read more…]

If you can’t do it, train …

Here’s a quandary for you: should business training be delivered by expert practitioners who have learned how to train, or by expert trainers who have memorised content of a subject they know nothing about?

If you can't do it, train...

To listen to these learned training “gurus” you’d think experts are mere cannon fodder for trainers who can grasp and teach business writing, brain surgery, astrophysics and Vietnamese cooking all in the same week.

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