Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tips From the Field by Alissa A.

Interview with Marci Seamples
AA: As editor of Business Currents, can you describe your day to day responsibilities?
MS: Business Currents is a very unique situation. It is very uncommon for a local non-profit organization to produce a full magazine and atypical that production is not spread among several staff. It's a different publication in a sense that we largely rely on pro-bono contributors, yet we are not a newsletter and require content to be non-advertorial in nature and relevant and useful for our membership. The magazine is one component of a larger communication platform. It is critical to gather content for each communication medium - which includes a mix of web, social media, e-communications and print - that is appropriate for that particular medium. For instance, the feature article for this month’s Business Currents edition centers around the issue of ethics and how “shelving” them contributed to the state of our economy today. This is a heavy and heady topic – it’s a good fit for the magazine, but not appropriate for social media. On a social media platform like Facebook, I may share an article regarding a new IRS regulation or information regarding a workshop next week. This information needs to be delivered quickly, therefore print wouldn’t be the right medium. In short, it’s a mix of finding or creating the right content and then knowing which medium is best suited to disseminate it.
AA: What type of writing do you do most often? (articles/stories for the magazine, emails, letters, etc.)
MS: The magazine itself easily compromises less than 50% of my job. Email is the main tool across all my responsibilities, so I would have to say email.

AA: How do you communicate most often? (emails, IMs, texting, formal letters, etc.)
MS: Definitely email.
AA: What specific topics do you prefer/enjoy writing about? Why?
MS: It’s unfortunate, but I rarely write for pleasure any longer – there simply are not enough hours in the day. Several years ago, I would write articles for our local civic organization’s newsletter. I enjoyed writing commentary and opinion on current events and local policy and, where appropriate, philosophy.
AA: What's the most interesting piece you have ever written?
MS: I attended a choral concert where the University of Minnesota’s full and chamber choirs performed a series of pieces based on religious texts. The concert was performed around Christmas time in a Presbyterian church. One of the pieces they performed was Hineh Mah Tov, an adaption of Psalm 133 in Hebrew. I couldn’t help but chuckle that I, a former Roman Catholic, was sitting in a Presbyterian church listening to a state-funded university choir signing a religious piece in Hebrew and how no one would find anything wrong with this picture. While I firmly believe in separation of church and state, I also believe the two can co-exist. In short, the written piece that resulted was a commentary on how sacred and secular systems could compliment one another instead of clash.
AA: What piece have you received the most praise about?
MS: I’m really not sure. My letters to the editor usually garnish more praise for me than venom, which is a good thing.

AA: Do you ever find yourself worrying about grammar and punctuation rules as you write, or do you just write, and then edit later?
MS: Not at all. Grammar is important and there are reasons for rules and punctuation, but that could be an article in itself. I find myself more closely reviewing pieces given to me for publication than those I create myself. I will do my best to try and catch any errors so that a writer will not be embarrassed, that is my commitment to the writer. But I am always more concerned with content over form and rarely laugh or point the finger at obvious published typos unless it changes the meaning of what is trying to be expressed.
That being said, if your grammar is poor – and I see more poor than good on a daily basis even through email – no one will take you seriously and your point will be lost anyway.

AA: Do you prefer to write with paper and pen or straight to the computer?
MS: I use the computer.

AA: How important were your college classes in preparing you for this position, or did you just learn as you went?
MS: At the undergraduate level it’s not really about what you major in unless you are pursuing something like engineering or a very specialized field. It’s more about having the discipline to choose a course of study, do well and complete it. It means you are “teachable” or “trainable”. My undergraduate degree was in psychology with anthropology as my related field and I knew entering my junior year I would not be pursuing this field beyond the undergraduate level. Every course, like all of life’s experiences, has something you can learn and take away that will help you in whatever job you find yourself in. The art is finding how the puzzle pieces fit together.
After a few years working in my chosen industry, I decided to return to school and pursue my masters. My field is management with a non-profit emphasis, and, yes, it has been useful.
AA: In your opinion, what separates a good writer from a great writer, why?
MS: A great writer clearly and concisely delivers the message or idea they are trying to express. They create a “meeting of the minds” between themselves and the reader.

AA: How long have you been in this position and what is your favorite thing about it thus far?
MS: I have been in my current position about two and a half years. My favorite thing is still being able to work within the non-profit sector. That is the key for me. I do not consider myself a communications professional, I consider myself a non-profit professional. The ability to get up every day and produce something for the greater good is critical to me. I would be terrible and miserable in a widget factory.
AA: For my whole class-what are the 3 most valuable tips you could give us from your experience, as it relates to professional writing?
MS:For professional BUSINESS writing (not creative, philosophical, etc.)
· Be short and concise
· Have a clear beginning, middle and end that ties the piece firmly together
· It is better to relate one idea well than several ideas poorly

Marci Seamples, age 32 Vice President for Communications Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce Earlier this year, Marci Seamples was nominated for, and awarded, a place in the American Chamber of Commerce Executives “Top 40 Under 40”. Here is her nomination letter, written by Michael Reagen, President and CEO of The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, outlining Marci’s great efforts. In 2 years, Marci has exceptionally improved our media. She completely designs, produces, feature-writes and edits our monthly, 46-page Business Currents Magazine [10K Circulation]. She is solely responsible for the cover story and 5 best-practices monthly articles on marketing, leadership, strategic planning, govt., community issues, events, new and renewing member listing. Our full magazine is also available in electronic format on our Website [www.napleschamber.org]. Also, she has completely refreshed our Website which receives 67,000+ distinct visits and more 1.3+million hits per month. Members manage their own profiles on our Member Directory searchable by category and business name plus pay dues, and post eCoupons. The Site lists all our events [on-line registration and pay options], She daily posts Member news releases and photos and produced a New Member Handbook distributed to all new members to help them navigate our 200+ page website. In addition to handling all our Southwest Florida five-county media relations and annually editing Naples On The Gulf, our premier, 116-page visitors guide [80,000 circulation], Marci has produced 5 Podcasts to help Members in these difficult times. She crafts and sends our Chamber Connect Weekly eNewsletter [4600 recipients] containing latest news, best practices and Member spotlights. She has also put us on Facebook, and Twitter; and she helps publicize our monthly TV Show on Comcast, Chamber Matters which is reachable by 230,000 households in our five-county region. Bottom-line: Marci Seamples is extraordinary and most deserving of national recognition.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tips From the Field by Alissa A.

Well, no matter how much planning and preparing you do, sometimes people let you down :(
I am very sorry to report that despite my 5:30 appointment for my interview today, I was unable to get connected. Apparently, I've been stood up!

So for this week's ''Tips From Within the Field", we go to a more well-known source-Ernest Hemingway.

I found this interesting article online with some great tips on writing that can be used in any scenario.

Hope you like them!

PS...If I hear from my interviewee before midnight tonight, I will post again!

Hemingway's Rules

1. Use short sentences.

Hemingway was famous for a terse minimalist style of writing that dispensed with flowery adjectives and got straight to the point. In short, Hemingway wrote with simple genius.
Perhaps his finest demonstration of short sentence prowess was when he was challenged to tell an entire story in only 6 words:

For sale: baby shoes, never used.

2. Use short first paragraphs.

See opening.

3. Use vigorous English.

Here’s David Garfinkel’s take on this one:
It’s muscular, forceful. Vigorous English comes from passion, focus and intention. It’s the difference between putting in a good effort and TRYING to move a boulder… and actually sweating, grunting, straining your muscles to the point of exhaustion… and MOVING the freaking thing!

4. Be positive, not negative.

Since Hemingway was not necessarily the cheeriest guy in the world, what does he mean by be positive? Basically, you should say what something is rather than what it isn’t.
This is what Michel Fortin calls using up words:
By stating what something isn’t can be counterproductive since it is still directing the mind, albeit in the opposite way. If I told you that dental work is painless for example, you’ll still focus on the word “pain” in “painless.”

• Instead of saying “inexpensive,” say “economical,”

• Instead of saying “this procedure is painless,” say “there’s little discomfort” or “it’s relatively comfortable,”

• And instead of saying “this software is error-free” or “foolproof,” say “this software is consistent” or “stable.”

5. Never have only 4 rules.

Actually, Hemingway did only have 4 rules for writing, and they were those he was given as a cub reporter at the Kansas City Star in 1917. But, as any blogger or copywriter knows, having only 4 rules will never do.

So, in order to have 5, I had to dig a little deeper to get the most important of Hemingway’s writing tips of all:

“I write one page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of shit,” Hemingway confided to F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1934. “I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”

Ashley A's Resources for Professional Writing

Who needs help with professional writing?

Although I work in an office, I still need help with professional writing. I spend most of my day writing e-mails, invoices, and formletters to both clients and coworkers. Although professional writing is the strong basis of my current career, there are still things that I need help or assistance with.

I have found a great resource that could help everyone with their professional writing needs: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/681/01/

The following link is for the website, The Owl At Perdue. The Owl offers a free writing service available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The Owl provides help with such things as writing resumes, letters, memos, reports, and many other types of professional documents. There are so many resources on this website that I can’t even list them all! This is a must have for business professionals and college students. Take a look and see what The Owl has to offer you!

Another great resource I found is this video off of YouTube regarding writing professional emails.

I hope this blog post has been helpful and everyone succeeds in their professional writing goals!

Manuel M. Enhancing Translations

Lost In Translation: Enhancing Translation Methods

How we enhance the theory of translation, would be to generalize our word choices, so that sentence structure becomes universal. As a Hispanic American, I find that translation is important in understanding people from all nations. The problem that arises when different cultures collaborate is the miscommunication of specific wording that is represented by one person’s language, but not the other.

This problem occurred whenever I was talking with a friend, who is Puerto Rican rather than Cuban, and I misunderstood the meaning of the word. My friend was talking about pasteles and how they were not tasty. In my mind, I thought how could this be? Pasteles are yummy deserts that everybody just likes. What was wrong was our translation. My friend’s pasteles were a boiled meat filled dinner, while my pasteles is a guava paste desert. Even though we are from both similar cultures, our conversation was not universal; rather the word choice was too specific.

In literature, translators face this problem frequently. We can look at the work of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, to see generalization being used. The original Spanish sonnet number XXI states in its first line, “Oh que todo el amor propague en mi su boca.” This translates to: “If only love would spread its savors through me!” Stephen Tascott the translator generalizes the English translation of the poems, for the comprehension of his readers. When in reality, the Spanish poem states, “Oh what all love spreads in my and your mouth.” This is an example of how general language makes it able to understand the translation easier, rather than to use words specific to only one culture.

Video (Just a funny clip):

Works Cited:
Neruda, Pablo. Cien Sonetos de amor. Texas: University of Texas Press, 1986.

Stephanie A’s Strategies for Successful Word Choice

An important step in the writing process is editing. This step is important because editing and revising our work makes us step back and really look at what we have written. The editing process often requires us to focus on our choice of words. When we write, we have the liberty of choosing any words or phrases that we like. This freedom allows us to choose words that have the most effective impact possible.

Here are few strategies to fall back on when deciding which words to use:

  • Eliminate Unnecessary “Filler” Words

Effective writing requires that our thoughts and ideas are presented in a clear, concise manner. If we clog up our writing with extra words and phrases that do not add any meaning to our work, we are simply using them to fill space. These unnecessary “filler” words do not provide any substance to our writing. Phrases like “kind of” and “sort of” add no real value to our writing and can simply be eliminated altogether.

  • Avoid Clichés

These catchy little phrases should be avoided in professional writing. Clichés often lose their impact because they tend to be overused and annoying. Writers should avoid using these wordy phrases, when a single word will do just fine. For instance, avoid using the phrase “up in the air” when you could just say “undecided” instead.

  • Be Careful with Unfamiliar Words

Writers should take caution when using words they are unfamiliar with, since they may easily be used in the wrong context. It is important to check a dictionary for the proper definition to avoid using the incorrect word. Also, writers should be careful when using a thesaurus. Not all synonyms listed will have the correct connotation. Again, always be sure to check with a dictionary for the proper meaning of a new word.

We must all remember that the words we choose can have a dramatic impact on the impression we give as professional writers. I hope these strategies will help all of us to choose our words wisely!

Check out these sites for more great tips on word choice:



Properly Address A Cover Letter Alen Fidahic

A cover letter is a document, usually attached to your resume, where you are able to introduce yourself. The goal of a cover letter is to spark the interest of the possible employer. The employer will certainly go over your resume, but in your cover letter you can add style that cannot possibly be expressed or address in your resume. Visualize yourself as the employer; you go through hundreds of resumes, and may candidates qualify for the position. In a cover letter you write how you are qualified for the position in your own words and don’t follow an almost universal resume template. In a cover letter you can express yourself, unlike in a resume where all the information are facts about your qualifications. Here are some tips how to properly address a cover letter.

· The first obstacle in addressing your cover letter is to find out your intended contact. You can almost always find your contact at the company address or website.

· Never misspell your contacts first or last name.

· If you address your cover letter appropriately, by stating the employers name wherever you get a chance, you will have a greater chance of an interview.

· Addressing the name of your potential employer will guarantee the document ends up on the right person’s desk, and not a secretary’s.

· You should always start a cover letter with the employer’s suffix. Although stating “Dear” is just as effective.

· If there is not a direct contact, address a group of individuals. For example, “Dear Human Resources”.

· Never write “To who it may concern” because it is inappropriate and is actually extremely formal.

· Always review the criteria for the position you are applying, and explain how you have the needed qualifications.

· Do not inform the employer of what you want, but further concentrate on what you can do for the company.

· Make sure to carefully state in your cover letter why you are qualified for the position and why they should hire you. Do not continually brag about you qualifications, but state how they can be excellent for the career opportunity.

· When constructing a cover letter try to keep it simple with no fancy font. Also, try to keep it to at least one page.

A cover letter is almost as important as a resume because it adds a touch of personality, where as a resume cannot. It allows the author the opportunity to describe their skills and accomplishments, and how they can be incorporated into the position.


· “How to Address a Cover Letter”. eHow. How To Just About Everything. Dec. 7 2009.



Kendall, Pat. “Cover Letter Tips”. Advanced Resume Concepts. Dec. 7 2009.


Audio in presentations? Sounds like a Plan. By Adam Barreto

While video presentations are preffered, sometimes they are not an option for a presentation. In some situations audio presentations are better, for example, if a businessman needed to listen to a report on a plane or other vehicle but couldn't have a laptop, he could use a music player to listen to his presentation instead.

If you are going to use audio software, there are several important caveats you should remember. Video presentations have the ability to display data as an image, while audio cannot, so it's important to make sure your audio presentations can create images with words so that the listener feels like he can see what you are describing. I have never done an audio presentation, but I have given speeches without visuals, and the ideas are similar.

I think the most important part of audio presentation is the restatement of key points. Remember that your audience does not have anything to look over so if you reiterate the important parts of the presentation, those items will have a better likelihood of being absorbed and remembered.

Also, remember that like any presentation, there is a level of showmanship. What I mean is, don't be boring. That being said, I am not suggesting that you dress like a clown at a board room meeting, but there are simple things you can do to keep the listeners attention, and not lose their interest. I would suggest, for example, not being monotone. Change the tone of your voice and speak slowly and enunciate. You can effectively bold a certain part of your presentation by staying on it a little longer and speaking in a different tone to stress the importance of that piece.

Remember to vary your language. Just like in professional writing, professional presentations should use varied sentence structure and jargon and technically terms only where appropriate, or with a proper definition as a preface.

Whatever your pursuits, written or spoken, these tips can help you make the most of the auditory experience if you have to make an audio presentation.

Writting a Complaint Letter In A Positive Way By Daryl D. Scopino

There are many times in life where we come across unsatisfactory service or we receive a defective good. Sometimes our first instinct is to complain and blame someone for the poor service and take our angry out in a complaint letter. When writing a complaint letter always remember to stay calm and also remember that you are trying to solve a problem that the company has.

A complaint letter is a letter you send to a company, school, to address a problem you had with their service or their product. A good example of this was the time I ordered a printer online and the printer was supposed to be able to print photos however, that part of the printer did not work. I sent a complaint letter to the company stating my problem and asking if i could return it for a new one. My letter did not consist of anything that sounded angry, sarcastic or threatening. A few days later the company sent me a letter back thanking me for addressing my problem and allowed me to return my printer for an all new printer. If I used an angry tone of voice in my letter I probably wouldn't have gotten the great feed back and fast resolution to my problem.

  • When writing a complaint letter make sure to:
  1. Type your letter and not hand write it so it is simple to read.
  2. Name of the company or specific person you are addressing the letter to.
  3. Keep the letter brief and to the point about the problem you are addressing
  4. Include important dates. For example, date of purchases or the time that the problem occurred.
  5. State exactly how you want the problem to be resolved.
  6. Include all documents that have to do with your problem. (Ex. receipts) Be sure to also send copies of the documents and not the originals.
  7. AVOID WRITING IN ANGRY, SARCASTIC, OR THREATENING WAYS! Majority of the time the person receiving your letter is not the one responsible for the problem, however they can be very helpful in finding a way to help solve your problem.
  8. ALWAYS keep a copy of the letter for your record.
  • Here are a few examples on how a complaint letter should be formatted:
  1. Example of complaint letter

Work Cited:
  • Dobrin, Sidney I., Christian R. Weisser, and Christopher J. Keller. Technical Communication in the 21st Century. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2007. Print.
  • Sample Letters. Web. 08 Dec. 2009. .
  • Stock Images - Royalty-Free Stock Photography Images and Photos at Jupiterimages. Web. 08 Dec. 2009. .

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kerrilynn M's Creating Presentations Online

There are many, many programs to create presentations for professional projects. I find that online generators are effective and prevent you from having to purchase a program and install it on your computer. Keep in mind that online presentations allow the presenter to present their information from a browser. Here is a list of credible and useful sites that you can create a presentation online with.

Different sites allow you to do different things with your presentation. It is wise to shop around to see what graphics, pictures, and other visuals, such as videos, can be included.

Online presentations, or Webinars, do not only benefit you, but your company or business as well. According to PresentationMagazine.com, webinars provide easy access to your presentation, as well as cutting down on costs. (Face it; we all know economically sound presentations will benefit all companies these days…) This is a link to a great article on webinars related to sale if that is what you are interested in: http://www.presentationmagazine.com/online_presentations.htm.

Just remember when you are creating your presentations online, you still need to be aware of the general rules: spelling, grammar, appropriate images, relevancy, and professionalism.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Editing and Rewriting Tips Alen Fidahic

It does not matter if you are writing a letter to your relatives, a high school term paper, or a document for a fortune 500 company, every single person should revise and edit their document rigorously. Editing and revising a document is extremely important because many people do not like to read errors and mistakes. Imagine you are president of a major company, sitting on your comfy office chair, at your busy office, and you receive a document form a respectful and powerful employee. You start reading the document only to find out it has horrible grammar mistakes and is not organized. What would you think of the employee, you pay millions of dollars a year, about the time involved in construction of the document? Revising your writing requires taking a look at the structure of the essay and making some major modification. You want to maximize the overall outcome of your document to the audience. Here are some checkpoints you should take a look at when you have completed your document.


1. Does the introduction grab the reader’s attention?

2. Is there a thesis statement in your introduction?

3. Is the thesis clear enough for the reader to understand your position?

4. Is the writing understandable and easy to read?

5. Are the paragraphs organized?

6. Are there enough examples for the reader to see different views?

7. Is there a sufficient amount of detail to support your idea?

8. Are the details related to the topic you are presenting?

9. Do you display vivid images and examples?

10. Do you use effective transitions throughout the document?

11. Are you repeating anything such as words or phrases?

12. Do you end with a strong conclusion?

13. Are there any grammatical errors in the entire document?

Editing, revising, and rewriting basically illuminate the document you wrote. Visualize yourself at a car show and you see a Corvette that is dirty and has not been waxed in months. Although the Corvette has unbelievable construction, many people will choose a waxed and polished car, rather than a filthy automobile. The point I am trying to get across is you could have a great idea, but you need to make sure you take the time to improve it and more exquisite.


Petkus, Thadra. “Editing & Revision Essay Checklist”. Suite101. 10 Mar. 2008. 30 Nov. 2009.