If you don’t think you’re good, why the hell should I?

Trying to make forward progress in almost anything when you don’t have faith in your ability to do it, just doesn’t work. No matter how well you conceal it, your uncertainty will wind itself around your neck and stop you from showing what you’re really capable of.

How To Write About YourselfAnd no more does this apply than when you have to write about yourself for a job application, or even in a short biography. There’s lots more on this topic in my eBook “How To Write About Yourself” – but now let’s take that a stage further to help you believe, and behave, as well as you write about yourself.

We’ve got to snap out of our modesty culture [Read more…]

Why good writing skills matter for ‘action jobs’

medium_6777931751We all know that good writing skills are important for business. But what about for “action jobs” like the police, armed forces, train drivers, paramedics, etc.? Do people who rescue victims from burning buildings also need to write well? I asked Richard McMunn, who runs a recruitment business specializing in this type of career, to share his views… [Read more…]

Is your work driving you doo-lally today? Here’s an instant, permanent cure…


The Bumper Book Of Business Jokes

Over 500 wicked laughs (and 115 pages) about the workplace

for just USD $2.50 (GBP £1.60)

Over 500 wicked laughs about the workplaceOnce upon a time a long, long time ago (well, a while ago, anyway) there was a desperately earnest business writer called Suze St Cere, who slavishly researched and wrote really useful books about business writing, marketing, the English language and all that sort of serious sincere shit.

But she had a deep, dark and dirty secret…

In her spare time, well hidden from her friends, family and clients, she had also written a joke book.

One day Suze’s Fairy GodMother Accountant Geeta twinkled into Suze’s office, perched prettily on the desktop screen and began to speak while dusting off all the cat hairs with her magic wand.

 “God this place is a mess. Now I think you ought to get real about something. Your joke book about horses? Remember?” FGMA Geeta fluttered down behind the desk to retrieve a dead mouse.

 “That bloody joke book,” she rang out from the depths of the waste paper basket, “outsells all your business books put together. How long has this mouse been here? It’s fossilized. Now what does that tell you, my child?”

Over 500 wicked laughs about the workplaceHad a chuckle already? Download all 500 of them right now for just $2.50
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Poor Suze St Cere. It was no good: she would have to come out of the closet and reveal herself as a humor writer. Her lower lip trembled as she waited for FGMA Geeta to make the garbage and mouse magically disappear.

“Let me give it to you straight,” tinkled FGMA Geeta. “Don’t fart around with the business books any more. Well, OK, maybe one a year. But if you want to sell books and make a few bucks, write and compile more jokes. Lots of them. Now f***ing get on with it.” In a sparkle of fairy dust, she was gone.

And that, readers, is how Suze St Cere came to cut the crap and compile/write this book. (A lot of stuff in it is original.)

Over 500 wicked laughs about the workplaceGiggling now? It’s just $2.50 to guarantee giga-giggles  
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Not yet? OK – some samples

SocMed jargon buster
Aggrevator:  a website that collects and redistributes blogposts and news based on information hacked from people’s phones
Bogosphere: comfort break facilities solely for the use of paid-up members of the blogosphere
Chavatars: (Great Britain) avatars you can customise with fake Burberry clothes and accessories, tightly-pulled ponytails, excessive gold jewellery and white stiletto-heeled shoes
Drowser: one of the older-format browsers that is painfully slow
Extroll: how to describe your persistent blog critic whose address you have found and whose house you have just burned down
Flogger: a blogger who rants on at length about a topic until no-one is interested any more
Google Fuss: a relatively new social media platform gathering millions of users who, now they’re there, are chatting about the weather and wondering what to do next
Hashtags: symbols used to flag up suspected weed smokers and so warn that their comments and blog posts should be taken with a pinch of, er, salt.
Javascript: (USA) programming language developed by geeks who were wired on strong coffee and didn’t sleep for several days until it was done (this is true, by the way)
Midgets: standalone applications which are very, very small
Plodcast: a particularly long and boring podcast
Rememe: an aide-memoire to help you remember what the hell a meme was before everyone started abusing the term
Squitter: someone on Twitter with bad verbal diarrhoea whose tweets invariably get cut off midstream with no link to follow on
Taxonomy: contraction of “tax on the economy” which is a polite way of saying a country is soon to go bust
Treads: threads on blogs and social media platforms where the conversation is concerned solely with footwear
Weddinar: a live online weddings exhibition

Over 500 wicked laughs about the workplaceThat’s just the tip of the iceberg. Download the book right now – for the price of a sandwich
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A man went to apply for a job. After filling out all of his applications, he waited anxiously for the outcome.
The employer read all his applications and said, “we have the perfect opening for a person like you.”
“Oh, great,” he said, “What is it?”
“The doorway.”

To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

The woman applying for a job in a Florida lemon grove seemed somewhat less than qualified for the job.
“Look Miss,” said the foreman, “have you any actual experience in picking lemons?”
“Well… as a matter of fact, yes,” she replied.  “I’ve been divorced three times.”

Over 500 wicked laughs about the workplaceMake sure you’ve got enough business laughs for a year or more – download your copy of The Bumper Book of Business Jokes right now!
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Business English Quick Tips will be back next week….

Workplace-speak: what the buzzwords really mean

“break-out group”

We all find ourselves using the latest buzzwords in the workplace, whether we’re in commercial or public sector jobs. But do you know what they all really mean? I’ve “shared” (see below) my own interpretations to give you a quick smile…

Access (n. and v.) Nice way of saying “get at” or even “demand,” “shout for,” or “threaten-with-an-axe-until-I-get-it.”

Break-out group Discussion group charged with an agenda to find the quickest and quietest way out of a UK Category D prison.

Challenge What problems used to be called until they became unfashionable.

Change Draconian cost-cutting with resultant job losses and other misery

Client What civil servants are made to call the general public – through gritted teeth, until they’re reminded that it’s the “clients’” tax money that pays their salaries.

Connect Meet and sniff around something or someone, rather as dogs do to each other’s behinds. Comes before “engage,” see below.

Content What geeks, techies and other IT nerds call those boring pictures, videos and written words that clutter up otherwise perfect technological beauty.

Deliver Do what you’re supposed to do, and make sure it’s a Pepperoni special still piping hot when you produce it from the pannier of your small motorcycle.

Engage What you’re meant to do after you have “connected” (see above.) Preferably down on one knee with a 5 carat diamond ring.

Feedback Response and/or reaction to an event, activity, etc., hopefully without the suggested regurgitation or other dyspeptic reaction.


Joined-up As in handwriting. I would prefer “co-ordinated” but that’s boring. Much better to steal a term from kindergarten.

Journey This romantic sh*t doesn’t fool anyone: calling someone’s run of disastrous luck a “journey” doesn’t soften the blow.

Lead (n.) Boss/manager/supervisor etc. It’s more touchy-feely than older synonyms but this doesn’t prevent the “lead” in a department from biting team members’ butts with every bit as much venom as managers used to.

Locality Means an area. Never use a short word when a long one will do.

Model A business blueprint or system with enormous breast implants and the look of an anorexic meerkat.

Opportunity A crushing, burning need to think up something to solve a problem as a matter of urgency.

Ownership Kind of out of fashion now, except when you want someone else to “own” your problem. Sorry, “challenge.”

Passion What every business / public employee swears blind they have for their job, especially in the light of upcoming job cuts. I’ve even seen companies advertise that they’re passionate about plumbing.

Pathway A route from A to B through a business or other process, e.g. a course of hospital treatment. Bear in mind this word’s close relationship to “leading up the garden path.”

Plenary Everybody has to be here and listen to this. No hiding in the toilets or nipping outdoors for a quick smoke.

Reach out Approach or get in touch with, being careful not to reach out too far and fall flat on your face.

Resources Usually, other people’s talents, skills and experience that you can use and say are your own.


Ringfence Isolate and conserve a “resource” or an amount of money, preferably with electrified barbed wire and a couple of patrolling Rottweilers.

Seamless Without showing any obvious joins, often confused with “papering over the cracks.”

Share Pass on information, although unlike sharing a sandwich with someone you don’t get to keep and eat half each.

Stakeholder People and organisations which have a vested interest in the topic in question, although they won’t necessarily want to stand over it and drive a wooden stake through its heart.

Sustainable A show that is likely to stay on the road once you get it to start rolling in the first place.

What are your favorite buzzwords – and why? Please share!

Get your head around workplace-speak:

“Super Speeches”…how to write and deliver them well

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English