Saturday, March 2, 2013

Better Writing and Your Career

The newspaper "Investor's Business Daily" carries a daily series on "Leaders and Success."  Monday's installment (March 4, 2013) falls under the category of "How You Think is Everything" with an article on how to lift your career with the correct choice of words.  One expert quoted in the article is Bryan Garner, who is the editor of Black's Law Dictionary, the author of numerous books and countless articles, and a board member of Scribes -- The Society of American Legal Writers.  

The article has these two points from Bryan.  Although the article is geared toward business writing, it applies as well to legal writing:

1.  "Sink the Clunkers."  Some people trying to make a good impression use technical jargon, but the audience is often left wondering what was said.  Garner notes that jargon isn't always negative, and that it began as a way to streamline communication within a company or industry.  But he says that "what is bad is when you start using this jargon outside your specialized realm.  Then it becomes inconsiderate insider talk."

2.  "Boil it Down."  Garner notes that two great communicators -- Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. -- could "hone a message to powerfully simple missive."  To achieve similar clarity, Garner suggests condsidering "How would I explain this to a high school student?"  He also added: "When you simplify your ideas -- still keeping the substance pure -- there's no better way to seem like a smart writer."

The Monday issue of Investor's Business Daily has some other tips in that article by Sonja Carberry, "Lift Career With a Smile."

Click here to visit the LawProse Blog.

Mark E. Wojcik (Board Member of Scribes - The Society of American Legal Writers)

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