Tag Archives: writing skill

Forgetting Cleveland – The City, Not The Convention

I’m back from my recent network marketing convention.  It was my first trip to Cleveland, Ohio.  If I have anything to do with it, it will be my last.  Cleveland is  an old, run-down, and dreary city.  That old saw, “The Mistake By The Lake,” (Lake Erie, that is) still applies.  One of the cabbies noted that the city has done little in the way of restoration.  Justification for that comment was quite evident from just looking around.   During the Saturday lunch break at the convention, we walked several blocks looking for some place to eat.  We wound up going back the the convention center because everything we saw was overflowing with lunch seekers.  But the point is we walked past one dreary, old fashioned building after another.  Very depressing.  The next convention will be in Phoenix, AZ, however, which should be a different story altogether.

But the convention itself was a success.  It always is.  The continuous excitement and energy pouring out from some 25,000 attendees  packed into the Quicken Loans Center  (known locally as the “Q”) was overwhelming.  The speakers offered  sage advice on how to improve business.  The testimonials provided by those recognized for success so far this year was inspirational.  Some of the people who were recognized  only spoke broken English, but they had become very wealthy.  So the money I spent on the convention was money well spent.

If I can  reduce the weekend’s information into one golden thought, it would be this: to make professional money, you must develop professional skills.   This means personal skills as well as business skills.  Personal growth and development is just as important, perhaps more so, than skill in running a business, although  it can probably be argued that the two go hand-in-glove.  The founder of the company I’m partnered with remarked that his personal growth has been instrumental in the growth of the company.  One book relied on heavily for personal growth is Napoleon Hill’s classic, “Think and Grow Rich.”  I strongly commend this book to anyone who has not read it.  It is a book which not only should be read but studied.

One of the more exciting aspects of the company is that it now operates in Mexico.  This is a huge new market which I am trying to exploit.  I think development of this aspect of the business will also go a long way to strengthen Mexican-American relations by providing the common Mexican “man on the street” with an opportunity to make extra money by owning his/her own business.  This is one of the aspects of this network marketing business that truly excites me, i.e.,  making a difference in the lives of others.

I also met an individual  attending the convention who had an inspirational  life story.  He’s still a young guy, I think in  his late twenties or early thirties, who spent several years as an iron worker and then as a boxer.  Down on his luck money-wise, he turned to network marketing to improve his financial circumstances and has done very well.  He was quite interesting to talk to and provided some useful information on how he built his business.

In closing, let me add one other thought that I have mentioned in previous posts.  The network marketing business not only can be personally rewarding but it helps the economy by reducing unemployment.  So you can be  making a difference in the lives of others and also helping the country as well.  This is an unbeatable combination.   This is a truly remarkable business, one that should be seriously considered by anyone seeking to change his/her life.

Copyright©2014.  Arnold G. Regardie.  All rights reserved.

 

 

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Filed under active voice, clear writing, good diction, sound sentence structure, tips for good diction, Writing Improvement

Clear Writing Is Your Responsibility

This blog has repeatedly reminded readers that it’s never too late to learn to write clearly.  In fact, my eBook, “The Art of Clear Writing,” (available at amazon.com/kindlebooks, but soon to be available in print as well), devotes part of Chapter II to that very proposition.  I point out there that even lawyers with all their education are not always good writers. While it may be surprising to learn that lawyers and judges, with all of their emphasis on the written word, still strive to improve their writing skills, many examples of poor writing on their part can be found.

For example one judge, in writing his decision, clearly demonstrated that he did not understand how to structure a complete sentence, nor did he understand the difference between a comma and a period, or when to use capital letters.  Here’s what he wrote:

“This cause coming on for hearing, on the Motion to Set Aside Default, the Court hearing arguments, finds that this is a very unique case involving issues of first impression concerning the validity of the Will, the nine charities who are asking the default to be set aside, assumed the Personal Representative would be protecting their interest under the Will, this is not the case and in order to protect any interest the nine charities may have under the Will, the default entered against those nine charities only will be set aside, it is therefore Ordered and Adjudged that the Motion to set aside default is hereby Granted.”

This is nothing more than very sloppy writing, to say the least, and is inexcusable when coming from a judge.

In another case involving four plaintiffs and two defendants, missing apostrophes and the incorrect use of the singular “plaintiff” or “defendant” incurred the displeasure of the court in trying to figure out who is being referred to:

“Counsel uses possessives without apostrophes, leaving the reader to guess whether he intends a singular or plural possessive…Such sloppy pleading and briefing are inexcusable as a matter of courtesy as well as because of their impact on defendants’ ability to respond.”

Another court complained that its responsibilities did not “include cryptography,” and still another described a complaint as “gobbledygook” and “gibberish.”

A misplaced comma in yet another case, affected the burden of proof of mental competency.  In this case, an affidavit filed by the Director of Mental Retardation, stated as follows:

“I have reviewed the medical records pertaining to [complaining witness], the complainant in this case, and that the assertion, upon information and belief, of mental incompetency is true.”

Here’s what the court said:

“It may be that the confusion arises from the typographical error of placing a comma before the expression, ‘upon information and belief.’  Had the comma not existed the entire expression, ‘and that the assertion upon information and belief,’ would have referred back to the earlier mentioned accusatory instrument so as to render the affidavit non-hearsay.”

Thus, punctuation, seemingly unimportant and meaningless to some writers, plays a large part in the clear writing arena.  The use of correct punctuation makes writing more understandable.  It helps to provide a smooth flow of words and a clear presentation of information.

Wordiness, needless repetition of an idea, or tautology, is another issue which unfortunately plagues lawyers.  Courts are not hesitant about admonishing attorneys for not being concise.  Briefs should not be prolix, verbose, or full of inaccuracies, misstatements, or contradictions, as a court noted.  Further, in still another case, a court took an attorney to task for writing in “legalese” instead of English, and also condemned the writer for using “grammatically atrocious” wording in an indictment.

Punctuation and wordiness issues are also covered in my eBook.

In the legal profession then, clarity is a benchmark of good writing.  This goal should also apply to non-lawyers as well.  As my blogs have stressed, the ability to write clearly is an important part of the goal of building a skilled work force.  You can vastly improve your chances of finding a job or getting ahead in your job if you are presently employed by learning to write clearly.  Consider this as your personal obligation. You will help yourself as well as the economy.  It’s your turn.

Copyright © 2012.  Arnold G. Regardie.  All rights reserved.

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Filed under active voice, clear writing, good diction, history, punctuation, sound sentence structure, tips for good diction, Uncategorized, Writing Improvement