Category Archives: Writing and Publishing

The do’s and don’ts of Email Etiquette

Email Etiquette

Email is an integral part of our lives. It is amazing to find that in this day and age, how many individuals and companies have still not realized how important their email communications really is. So if you don’t have great email etiquette you will be in trouble.

Over the years we have used email as part of our day and lives, how many of us stop to check ourselves and see if we using it the best way we can.

Subject Line – When you write this, make it exciting if you applying for a job: “Ranked as #1 Sales Leader for 5 years running”, this will make anyone sit up and take note. Make a summary of who you are to get attention. In todays world, everyone gets huge amounts of mails daily, you have to differentiate yourself.

Email Tone – When you reply to a mail from a potential Employer, reply conservatively. Be polite and to the point. Remember people hire people and 80% of a decision is if you are a culture fit, so how you engage on this platform is critical. Be smart in this regard. You do not know what email program they are using, so do not embed logos etc. It may come out looking shocking.

Email Length – This mails purpose is to get them to read your CV, so treat it as a cover letter. Keep it short, sharp and to the point. No long winded essays, this will just be deleted.

Read Receipt – Be careful when you use this. Rather save your sent mail and follow up with a mail or call. Read receipts do suggest a level of mistrust, so be careful when using this option.

Urgent Delivery – This is a definite thing not to do! Lots of people are applying for that job. Separate yourself out by tour contents and subject line. Not by making this urgent! It is not urgent to the prospect employer and can only cause irritation. Even if you have the very best intentions.

Use these simple guidelines and you will be rewarded. Email is the first introduction to you, so make it count.


Simple ways to improve your business writing skills

Effective Business writing skills

Given the growing popularity of email in our personal and professional lives today, we all need to pay more attention to our writing skills and have to write intelligently. To improve our communication, we need to use simple, clear and precise language techniques. Here are a few tips and advise.

Avoid using metaphors – Stop using common metaphors, similes, or common figures of speech that you read and see in daily print today.

Use simple and clear language – Make every effort to avoid the use of long words. It is far better and more effective to use simple short words. Make sure your writing techniques is simple, clear and precise.

Delete all needless words – Self police yourself and be ruthless with the words you use. If you do not need a word then simply delete.

Active is better than passive – Rather use active verbs instead of using passive verbs. Active verbs are far better and energize your writing.

Use proper English – Stay clear of using jargon, foreign phrases, or scientific words when you can simply use and everyday english word instead. Jargon is a sign of lazy writing and it distorts the message you are trying to express. Never try to show off and use foreign language words.

Curb your enthusiasm – Never overuse exclamation points and always be professional when signing off. Instead of signing off with ‘xoxo’ rather use regards for example.

 Match your subject to your pronoun and verb – This might seem an obvious statements but you will be surprised how often individuals get this wrong. Remember the number of the subject should determine the number of the verb.

Be aware of the number of adverbs you use – Make use of strong and simple verbs instead of weak verbs and adverbs.

Know how to use the word “that” and “which” – “That” is generally used when introducing essential information and referred to a ‘restrictive clause. “Which” should be used when attempting to introduce extra information in a nonrestrictive clause.


Stay Ahead of the game with GetSmarter’s October promotion

With the new year fast approaching, now is the best time to get ahead of the pack and fulfill some of your upcoming resolutions. It’s vital to plan for the future – and it often pays off too.

These days, most working professionals think they don’t have time to acquire a new skill set or to study something valuable. But GetSmarter’s wide range of part-time online courses makes brushing up on new techniques and furthering your knowledge a breeze. They’re specially designed for working professionals, current students and people who want to gain new, valuable skills but who don’t have the time or inclination to take a costly contact-based course.

Alex Trengove Jones and Anna Malczyk

GetSmarter works with industry leaders like the University of Cape Town and Random House Struik and presents courses on financial management, creative writing, project administration, internet marketing and guest house management, among others. You can learn a new trade or hobby, improve your business skills or make your CV more marketable: the courses are very practical and give you real, valuable skills you can use right away. It you’re serious about achieving your goals and getting ahead, a GetSmarter course could be just the motivation you need. GetSmarter will have trained over 2,500 students by the end of 2010.

Claire Allison and Anna Malczyk

All of the courses are presented online, making them ideal for busy working professionals who are looking for an affordable, convenient and supportive learning environment. The courses, which typically run over 8 to 10 weeks, include detailed course notes written by subject experts, quizzes and videos to make learning more engaging, a discussion forum for students to interact with each other and their teacher, and practical assignments that let students put their learning into practice.

Gareth Cotten

Although GetSmarter is raising the course fees for 2011, in line with annual increases, anybody can take advantage of the October promotion to get university-quality online tuition at the discounted 2010 rate. This special applies to all courses run in conjunction with the University of Cape Town.

View Company Profile and Courses


The Writing Studio – Find your voice as a writer


If 2008 was the year of pursuing and exploring your writing talent and honing your writing skills, 2009 is the year to take a step in the write direction.

“Whatever you do, take the write action and turn thoughts into words,” says Daniel Dercksen, who will be taking aspirant writers through the paces of being a writer in South Africa with the The Write Voice workshop at the Artscape Theatre Centre on September 5, 12, 19 and 26 from 2pm until 5pm.

The Write Voice is aimed at storytellers who would like to sharpen their creative skills and explore their writer’s voice.

“One of the major reasons that writers fail to complete projects successfully is because they have no idea who they are as writers and how to project their writer’s voice,” says Dercksen.

“Once you take ownership of your writer’s voice it is possible to make a healthy living by channelling your writing through the right medium and turning your writing talent into a powerful tool of communicating effectively and passionately.”

The Write Voice takes writers through the writing process, from the inception of an idea, to selecting the right medium for your story.

It empowers writers to make the right choices and take ownership of their writing; master the craft of writing for different mediums (from articles to short stories, from novels to plays and films); develop an understanding of what and who you are writing about; and how to change chaos into completed projects that is publisher-and-producer friendly.

During the workshop the writers will write a short story that will be read to the group at the last session.

The workshop is presented by Daniel E. Dercksen, who has done more than 350 practical and motivational workshops in creative writing and scriptwriting throughout South Africa during the past nine years; and as a published movie journalist, with more than 22 years experience, he writes regular interviews and features on a freelance basis.

Bursaries are available on discretion for disadvantaged writers.