Test Your Writing Acumen
Personal pronouns take one of three forms—nominative (sometimes
called subjective), objective, or possessive. Picking the right
form can be tricky. For each sentence below, decide which personal pronoun of
the pair in parentheses is correct.
- Sam and (she, her) went to the movies yesterday.
- If anyone can clear up the mess, it’s (he, him).
- I saw Frank lecturing (he, him) after the meeting.
- The real winners of the case were Toby and (me, I).
- The black coffees are for Manny and (me, I).
You can check your answers at the end of this newsletter.
Creating an Effective Visual Presentation, Part 1: Planning
Visual presentations—whether for reports, sales, or entertainment—are a
common part of business these days. Not surprisingly, writing plays an
important role in preparing a presentation. This month, we will examine the
To begin planning a presentation, you need to know three things:
- Your subject or topic
Consider what you already know about the subject, what you still need to know, and where you can find that information as well as support materials.
- Your purpose
Are you providing information, entertaining a group, or trying to persuade people to do or buy something?
- Your audience
What do they already know, want to know, or need to know about the subject, and what is their attitude going in?
Once you have a clear picture of your topic, purpose, and audience, move on
to the following planning activities:
First, draft an outline.
Make it as detailed as you wish. You may choose
to use the outline during your presentation. Brainstorm the points you want to
share and arrange them in an organized list.
Next, collect information.
Look for company documents, articles, and
videos on your topic. Also do an Internet search. Examine these sources for the
details you need to explain your main points, and insert the information into
Finally, consider support materials.
Look for visual aids that clarify
your information, and mark in your outline where each will be used. Choose from
the following types:
- charts, tables, graphs
- audio or video clips
- photographs, drawings
- live demonstrations
- physical props
- sample products
Preparing a presentation becomes less daunting when you make a plan and take
it one step at a time.
You can find more information about creating an effective visual
presentation beginning on page 215 in Write for Business: A Compact Guide to
Writing and Communicating in the Workplace.
Providing training for your
employees needn’t be an either/or choice between preparing in-house
materials and purchasing them from an outside source. You can have materials
customized for your specific use, usually at a reasonable cost; and the time
you save can be used for other tasks.
For example, UpWrite Press offers
a wide range of customizable lessons for everything from critical thinking to
management writing. Visit UpWritePress.com/workplace-training to learn more.
That Little Extra
Don’t discount the effective use
of social media in your business. The Web offers an abundance of social-media
sites, many of which target specific audiences. Explore to find a few that are
appropriate for your market and interests; then make your presence known in a
friendly, helpful way. The right approach will establish your authority,
present your brand to new viewers, and link back to your own site, expanding
your market and increasing possible sales. Also remember that social-media
sites are a great way to find out what your audience is thinking and what they
need the most, allowing you to reach out and meet those needs.