Websites and branding: Three principles to keep in mind

First impressions do matter, especially for small businesses (and every organization), and often the first opportunity to make a first impression is your organization’s website. Question: how is your website branding you?

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Malcolm Gladwell describes the idea of “thin slicing” in his book, Blink. His point is that we have the ability to gauge what is important from a limited experience. Gladwell has received criticism for his thesis, but his ideas are valid. You do form an immediate impression when you first encounter others – and they do the same to you. That’s why it is important that your website…fit. Continue Reading

Writing words that matter; 5 tips to improve your communications

Words are the molecules that create the science of language. Merriam-Webster, the dictionary people, estimate there are approximately a million English words, but rightly explains – as does Slate – there is no way to know for sure an exact number. We do know, however, there are several that downright annoying people.

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Ragan Communications recently published its list of 25 Least Favorite Words, compiled through an informal survey on its Facebook page. Among those making the list were: Essentially, basically, methodology, vetted, align, aforementioned, functionality and irregardless. To this list I’d like to add: Bandwidth, group-think, synergy and its cousin, synergistic. Unfortunately, the perpetrators of these offending words are often organizational communicators. Stop it! Continue Reading

Writing made easier in 3 steps

Writing seemed to be the undoing of my fellow writer. I could hear the mental anguish coming from the other side of the cubicle partition.

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My friend with years of experience was on deadline and it was obviously painful. I slipped from my chair to offer a word of encouragement, but as I poked my head around the corner, I was shocked to see the hair on my always immaculately groomed friend standing on end. She’d been driving her fingers through her hair fighting for every sentence.

I decided not to say anything. I quietly watched her write; and it was excruciating, like having a root canal…with no anesthesia. I decided then that if writing became that difficult I’d take up something less stressful, like maybe testing warheads with a hammer at a missile factory. Continue Reading