June 2014  
UpWrite Press Writing eTips

The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.

—Maya Angelou, 1928–2014

Word Pair of the Month: your, you’re.

Often mixed up, this pair is actually quite simple to tell apart. Just remember that the apostrophe forms the contraction for “you are.”

You’re not really going there, are you?
You are not really going there, are you?

The word “your,” with no apostrophe, is a possessive pronoun.

Did you forget about your meeting tomorrow?

When editing and proofreading, remain alert for these types of common errors. An occasional misused word seems insignificant, but it can negatively impact the reader, who may subconsciously assume that the writer is also careless in other ways.

Writers’ Forum Question

Which communication devices do you use most in your job? How do they improve your work, and what problems do you find inherent in the new world of electronic communication?

Not surprisingly, the majority of the responses referred to the smartphone as a top device for business communication.

From Jeri Patel, who said it best:
All I really need for communication is my phone. It’s become indispensable for email, social media, texting, and generally staying in close contact with my clients. I have apps for organizing materials, tracking trends, and simply staying in touch. It is the ultimate device for productivity and convenience.

Some readers favored other communication devices.

From Lucy Chin of Silver Spring, Maryland: :
Believe it or not, I’ve come full circle. My favorite device is a pen! But it’s not just any pen. This one not only records my notes as I write but also captures video of any drawings I make, along with the speaker’s audio. Then it wirelessly syncs it with my computer or tablet, providing a total recording of a meeting.
From Gabriel Garcia of Houston: :
I recently added a personal URL (PURL) system for my business, and I am completely sold on it. This direct-marketing technique allows me to personalize all my ad blasts and connect with my target-audience members on a more personal level. Customers who visit my site land on a page personalized to them. When customers feel special, they will be more inclined to use your products or service. The system is fast and easy, and my sales have zoomed!

Finally, a number of our readers wrote about electronic devices that, while not specifically designed for communication, do help their businesses run more smoothly.

From Charley Farris of Boston: :
I have to say the most valuable device I have is my portable scanner. This little wand-like machine is terrific and convenient. I’m on the road a lot, and I can’t tell you how many times a day I pull this out to copy materials into my laptop for later use. I actually used to take photos of papers with my phone and had a heck of a time reading them later. This is so much more practical.
From Beth Lawrence, DDS, of Chicago: :
My dental X-ray film scanner allows me to digitize my patients’ X-rays and store them safely and efficiently. It also makes it easy for me to copy the X-rays for patients so they can keep them or take them along when they move. On a communication level, it allows me to send X-rays to patients via email, which is so much more efficient. For example, I once emailed X-rays to a patient who had a dental emergency while she was on vacation. If I’d had to send them via regular mail or messenger, she would have had to suffer for a longer time.

A Final Thought

Writing a recommendation for someone? Beware of “damning with faint praise” and lending a negative connotation to a positive trait. For example, describing someone as “not inconsistent” in her work is not the same as saying she is “consistent.” The first description suggests minimal performance, while the second declares solid performance. Be aware of how your words may sound to a reader who will read between the lines.

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