/writing/ Report Staging Areas

LET’S THINK ABOUT large project reports and our approach to writing them. We rarely get any more direction from a boss than “start writing the report.” Of course, writing is only one phase of a broader production process. Writing is the product of thinking, organization, and developing a conceptual understanding of how we want to... Continue Reading →

/writing/ Content Versus Format

I WAS RECENTLY talking with a friend. He was developing a communications strategy for a large-scale education project implemented on behalf of a government funder in a war-torn environment. Simple enough. He further explained that the client restricted the Strategy to two pages. Slightly more complicated. Two pages is very little space to capture the... Continue Reading →

/writing/ A Cerebral Dive

PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR large volumes of writing – journalists, authors, PhD candidates to name just a few – are often cerebral by nature. Their world exists in their head, and to create something of meaning, they dig deep within. (Cerebral in this sense does not necessarily equate to intelligence. We can dig deep and still... Continue Reading →

/writing/ Three Sided Stories

AS THE ‘OL saying goes: There is always three sides to a story – side A, side B, and the truth. As I stand knee-deep in conflicting data for an annual donor / client report, there seems an appropriate applicability to the development setting: There is four sides to client reporting: M&E, communications / reporting,... Continue Reading →

/writing/ Beware: Proxy Battles

I’VE BEEN ON a recent history streak. One theme that continually intrigues me is the concept of proxy battles. In plain terms, it goes something like this: -Interest A conflicts with interest B. -Interest B is friends with interest C. -Interest A avoids direct confrontation with interest B, and instead, attacks interest C. -Interest C... Continue Reading →

/writing/ A Spacing Tip

FOR All THE brilliant development consultants working on your next report or technical handbook, a quick editing tip: There is never an appropriate situation to use the space bar for more than two consecutive spaces. The tab key does just fine, as does the ruler function. Or if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, even a borderless... Continue Reading →

/writing/ The Overlooked Email

I ONCE RECEIVED a curious email that had been sent office-wide. The subject line read “RE: Imminent security threat, see below for details.” This email, naturally, alarmed me. I read with some urgency. “It comes with great pain that I have to say goodbye to this wonderful team. I am moving on to another position.”... Continue Reading →

/writing/ Creating Shared Understandings

YOU MAKE A product. You put it out for feedback. The potential responses simplified: feedback on it is good, bad, or your product doesn’t make sense. It’s easy to jump to the positive feedback. It gives us immediate validation. But let’s wait. Let’s look at a more pressing need. Your product is bad, here’s why.... Continue Reading →

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