Just do it: Ax Useless Words!

old typewriter

Need more time? Stop using words you don’t need. That should save you a few minutes initially and many cumulative hours of writing and editing over time. It’s really that easy. Strike that. It’s really easy. See?

Like veteran higher education PR pro and former newsman Don Hale, you may learn a lot about bad writing by watching news chyrons or the text scrolling at the bottom of your TV screen. You don’t need the volume on to see bad spelling and grammar in media and posted tweets.  Hale provides  a handy list of words to lose in the latest post, Resolve to Ax These Words and Phrases in 2014  on a site filled with no-nonsense news, pr and marketing wisdom.

Hale, who is the vice president of public relations and marketing communications at Georgia State University and a  PR consultant, has seen it all in his long career in leading university news bureaus where’s he taught timeless lessons in writing concisely to students and staff (including this writer who was on his team at Carnegie Mellon University).

And don’t even get Don started on television advertising, you can read about some of his favorites in “Advertising and the Decline and Fall of Western Civilization.”

We recommend Hale’s blog. It’s a valuable read. Because, hey, Don doesn’t use more words than are needed to give great advice.

And you might want to revisit The Elements of Style every six months. There’s no excuse as Strunk and White’s classic on writing is now online. I give it to every new intern along with the AP Style book. I mean, why sustain an injury when you can simply be injured? Really, it won’t hurt a bit.

About the author:  Yvonne Hudson, principal of New Place Collaborations, credits former boss Don Hale for coaching her to write more concisely and avoid the dangers of using impact as a verb. In the busiest moments, she often recalls the “no whining sign” in Don’s Carnegie Mellon office during her stint on Hales award-winning team.