Style Manuals 101


The world as I see it can be broken up into two kinds of people. People who follow the rules and people who break them. When it comes to corporate rules and policies there are people who love them and live by them and there are those who just plain ignore them. Generally, in life I tend to be more of a rule breaker. But when it comes to corporate standards…well, I am the branding police.

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Catching the Content Standard Wave

bodysurfing blog2

There aren’t many people who discuss content standards while body surfing at the Jersey Shore. But I am one of them. Sad but true, my sister and I spent one beautiful afternoon in the ocean debating the proper punctuation of the bulleted list. I guess that puts me into the category of the grammatical-standards nutcase.

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Plain Language: Getting to the Meat of the Message


When it comes to propagating gobbledygook, lawyers are some of the worst offenders. In an earlier entry we mentioned that the legal profession’s love of confusing, convoluted language is hindering federal agencies in their attempts to implement the Plain Writing Act. When a reader sent us this impressive example of one agency’s “fog of legalese” we couldn’t resist the idea of rewriting it in plain language and then comparing it with the original.

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Reasons Why We Don't Need Plain Language


With this entry we offer the last of three good reasons why the government and business organizations should continue to use gobbledygook instead of plain language in their communications with the public.

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Another Reason Why We Don't Need Plain Language



Last time, this blog featured the first of three good reasons why the government and business organizations should continue to use puzzling, confusing language in their communications with the public. In this entry, we provide the second reason why gobbledygook is the better way to go. 

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In praise of gobbledygook


Why we don’t need plain language

Our recent blog entries about plain language have featured attacks on confusing, wordy and convoluted writing. In the interests of fairness, we’ve decided to give the opposing point of view equal time. Here’s the first of three reasons why our government as well as American businesses should continue to use gobbledygook in their communications with the public. 
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Summary of written findings and observations including advisory commentary applicable to similarly purposed private sector initiatives, based upon investigation of the implementation of Public Law 111-274, enacted by the United States Congress on October 13, 2010 (Plain Writing Act of 2010)


*or, without the gobbledygook: Plain Language lessons from our government

In our last entry, we noted that although the U.S. Government’s Plain Writing Act of 2010 has been in effect for over a year and a half, there hasn’t been much improvement in the way the feds communicate with the public. This time, we look at some of the reasons why the Act hasn’t helped cure the government’s addiction to gobbledygook. Understanding what’s wrong with their approach to the problem can help you avoid repeating the feds’ mistakes when you implement your organization’s plain language initiative.
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Writing in Plain Language: Are we winning the war on gobbledygook?


Many Americans, puzzled and frustrated by incomprehensible communications from their government, suspect that the feds invented gobbledygook—and they’re right. The word “gobbledygook” was first used in the 1930’s by Maury Maverick, a two-term congressman. He coined the term to describe the confusing bureaucratic language he heard in the House of Representatives, which reminded him of the gobbling of wild turkeys back home in Texas.

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Begin your journey to better compliance documentation: getting started with the 6 Steps


Last week we completed our series of 6 Steps to Better Compliance Documentation with the final step, Create Reusable Information. Each step in the series featured tips and ideas you can use to create documents that support employee performance while meeting the requirements of regulators. The 6 Steps are more than just good advice—they’re proven strategies distilled from the principles of the Information Mapping® methodology. Our professional services consultants use the 6 Steps on a daily basis to help clients across a wide range of industries improve the quality and effectiveness of their compliance documentation.

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6 Steps to Better Compliance Documentation: Create reusable information

Step 6: Create reusable information


If you visit the Information Mapping offices, in our hallways you’ll see several big blue bins. They’re usually full of paper that’s waiting to be picked up for recycling. You probably have similar bins in your offices, since nowadays most organizations are doing their best to be good corporate citizens. Many of us recycle glass, plastic and metal at home, as well. Recycling these materials represents cost-effective and efficient use of resources.

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