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, “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…]

A Memorial Day everywhere this year

Monday May 29th, 2017 is a day of remembrance this year that has even more consequence and pathos than normal.

Not only is this Memorial Day in the USA but also people in Europe and especially in England will be remembering the tragic loss of friends and family in the Manchester ISIS atrocity.

Memorial Day 2017 on HTWB

Remembering lost soldiers, and hundreds of civilian victims of war and other atrocities

Beyond our borders, at the time of writing this, we’re also mourning the loss of another 16 civilians in Syria. [Read more…]