Archive for June, 2008

Blame it on your 9th-grade English teacher. It turns out, the way she taught you to write is all wrong. And if you’re writing to influence your readers, your customers, or god-forbid your patients, it’s going to get you into trouble.

MSNBC just got around today to responding to an Institute of Medicine report, Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion, first published in 2004. In Health Literacy, the IOM reported that 40 million Americans cannot read complex medical notes and texts at all, and a whopping 90 million of us have trouble understanding them. That’s half the country misunderstanding medical advice. And even for those of us who are not currently patients, there’s a critical lesson about communicating with customers. Read the rest of this entry

 J K Rowling at HarvardJ K Rowlings’s commencement address at Harvard this past Friday is a communications conundrum.  The speech has a lot to recommend it. Throughout, Ms. Rowling is, of course, quite articulate displaying her remarkable touch for rhetoric–balancing the humorous with the earnest, the  sober with the soaring. Yet NPR reported that as affecting as the speech was, for many people it wasn’t inspirational.

That observation presents a real problem for most coaches and students of speech making. Read the rest of this entry

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