Word Choices for Effective Communication

Subject: Word Choices for Effective Communication
From: Daniel Wise <dewise -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 1996 20:49:54 -0800

Colleagues,

Kris Olberg asks whether word choices really affect how effectively we
communicate.

Yes, they do.

We can go back to Mark Twain and his comment about lightning and the
lightning bug. The difference between using the right word and one that is
almost right can lead to misunderstanding on the part of your audience.

Remember that our product is supposed to be

clear
complete
concise
correct
comprehensible

If you can slop words onto paper like latex paint on a blank wall and still
satisfy these five Cs, I want to sit at your feet and learn. The word
sloppers are the ones who generally produce all that lamentable
documentation out there that no one reads.

Of course, we can also look at the bright side. If it were not for the word
sloppers, how many of those gazillion-page secondary how-to manuals would
ever be written?

Dan Wise
dewise -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com


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