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My dream is to rid the world of the misplaced apostrophe, put punctuation in its place and give spelling the royal treatment (the UK rather than US variety).

My passion is to take the mystery out of writing and make it accessible to people eager to discover the joys of mastering the art of writing.

My mission is teach those who feel left out, left behind or simply left bewildered by the complexities of the English language.

There is unfortunately a lot of stigma around illiteracy so many are embarrassed to admit that they need help writing. If you’ve ever read or seen the movie The Reader you can see how far some people are prepared to go to hide their shame.

You can teach yourself with the help of my comprehensive training modules that walk you through basic writing skills.

Business letter writing format

How to write effective business letters

The advent of email communication has witnessed the demise of writing business letters to clients.

Professional business letters play pivotal roles in communicating key messages to prospective and existing clients.

It is important to distinguish between a client letter and email. Reserve emails for everyday transactional communiques than require rapid responses.

Client letters, on the other hand, are ideal for providing more concrete information and advice that can be reviewed, archived and referred to by the recipient, as and when required.

The motivation for writing to clients generally falls into the following key categories:

  • Spruiking about upcoming events as well as new products and services
  • Providing advice and relevant information
  • Arranging or recommending meetings
  • Seeking membership and subscription renewals
  • Handling compliance issues
  • Resolving complaints
    Whatever the reason for writing to your clients, it is important to cover a few basic fundamentals to ensure effective communication.

    Client details on left-hand side
    Restrict word length to one single page (if possible) or two maximum
    Use minimum 12-point font and 1.15 line spacing
    Treat sentences as paragraphs (ie space between each sentence)
    Align text to the left

    Follow the format outlined below


    Client’s name
    Client’s position
    Company/ organisation’s name
    Company address Line 1
    Company address Line 2

    September 12, 2013

    Dear Mr Smith,


    How you structure information plays a major role in how it is interpreted. Too often, people opt for the hard sell from the opening line which usually turns reader’s off. You need to focus always on the reader’s needs rather than making the letter all about you.

    Capture the reader’s attention

    Secure interest in the first sentence by identifying the relevance to the target audience.

    Leading companies recognise the importance of…
    Profitable businesses cannot afford to ignore…


    Identify relevant background information

    Provide any information that will help the reader make any informed decision about your communication.
    For example, do they need to be aware of any changes in laws that require them to take action. Or is it any ongoing issue that demands a brief overview of historical facts.

    Recent changes to superannuation laws introduced by the Federal Government require small business to pay their staff an additional three per cent superannuation.


    Offer a solution/recommendation/ advice/resolution

    This is where you communicate the true purpose of your letter by stating how you can help them either resolve an issue or problem or take advantage of an opportunity.

    We would like to offer you…
    As a valued client you are entitled to…
    We recommend you (identify action required)



    Call to action

    What do they need to do next? Lead the way for them.

    We will contact you to make an appointment…
    Call our friendly staff today to find out more information…


    Back to GAPS from Writing and effective client business letter.

    Email writing format

    How to write effective business emails

    It never ceases to amaze me how much angst the humble email can cause in the workplace. It can generate more anxiety and cause more disharmony both between work colleagues as well as as clients than any other form of non-verbal communication.

    The simply reason boils down to emails are essentially “body language in writing” which means our words are often open to interpretation depending on the reader’s viewpoint and our language choice.

    No matter how many effective email writing training sessions I run, the number one pet peeve always involves the use of tone in emails. Remember emails are not a letter or report but rather a “conversation in writing”. That means, you may mean one thing but inadvertently communicate sometime else through your choice of language. Being human, we all put our own spin on the messages we receive too which means we may misinterpret the writer’s meaning.

    I have outlined below the top five reasons for email angst and simple measures you can readily implement to avoid sending the wrong message in your writing:

    Although it is not an exact science, there are a few measure you can implement to improve the tone of your writing. Using a person’s name is extremely important in your email as it personalises the communication. However never just use their name in isolation as it has the effect of shouting. Soften the tone by using “Hi” or “Dear” depending on the level of rapport you have with the recipient. If you are emailing the same person repeatedly about an issue then it is not important to use a greeting each and every time, but certainly in the first instance.

    There appears to be a pervasive reluctance to use pronouns in emails amid concerns it makes us sound unprofessional. However, emails are the perfect communication platform for generating rapport with people. Using pronouns “I”, “you”, “he/she/it”, “we” and “they” is a powerful way to transform your writing and create connections with people.

    Always take an opportunity to acknowledge the other person’s viewpoint if you are handling a sensitive matter arising from a compliance issue or complaint. It can go a long way to diffusing a situation that potentially can escalate into a much greater problem. Similarly, many employees often grumble about the tendency to focus on the negative while overlooking all the positives. Take the time to demonstrate you appreciate a staffers hard work before unloading the next project on them.

    The English language is a complex beast with many words meaning the same thing. Always opt for the simpler version of words when communicating via email. Remembering it is a conversation in writing, only use words, terms and expressions that you would use when speaking with someone directly. Know that using complicated words that may stump the reader may only serve to alienate them if they fail to understand the meaning.

    Restrict emails to four or five lines whenever possible. If you need to transmit more comprehensive information then give some thought as to how best you can package it. It is better to treat the email itself as a the executive summary that provides an overview of your key message before attaching any relevant documents etc.

    Back to GAPS from Effective email communication.

    Click here for some handy hints on how to write effective website content.

    Professional website content

    Professional website content

    The idea of launching a new website live is an exciting prospects for many businesses.

    Creating a great looking website with lots of flashy images, bright colours and eye-catching designs certainly has the “wow” factor.

    But many people short change themselves on the content and closer inspection often reveals that the content fails to do justice to the product or service being offered.

    It is critical to invest the same amount of time, money and energy to promoting your key messages to prospective clients in writing.

    Word length

    It is about striking the correct balance between demonstrating relevance to the visitor as well as providing enough information for them to take the next step.

    Unfortunately, most websites fall into the trap of being too wordy which turns many visitors off reading the material.

    Remember the mantra….LESS IS MORE!!

    The less your write, the more people will read.

    Limiting your word volume makes it even more important to identify your key message on each page. The first sentence on every page must capture the reader’s attention by tapping in to their needs, dreams, fears or desires.


    Placing website copy without drafting a plan detailing the best page to position certain information is like building a house without a blueprint.

    Give some thought as to how a visitor is likely to navigate around your website to find relevant information.

    The general rule of thumb being that if a person has to hunt for answers than you risk losing their business.

    Keep it simple with a few obvious tags detailing your major products or services. Consider repeating the same information in different locations throughout your site to ensure maximum exposure.

    Speak to your website develop about linking relevant pages together with stylish tabs etc.


    Use simple language that reflects the general demographics of your likely audience.

    Words can easily be tailored to ensure the same message is conveyed in either a personal tone or professional style accordingly.

    In a nutshell, failing to publish persuasive website content detracts from the overall product.

    Take that extra time or seek professional advice on how to write powerful website content to ensure your maximising the opportunities afforded by a website.

    Back to GAPS from How to write professional website copy

    Email writing format

    How to structure professional business reports

    Structuring your business documents by applying the easy-to-follow AEIOU format.

    Many professionals are brimming with ideas and knowledge in their area of expertise but struggle to present their key messages in a coherent form.

    Whether vying for a tender, submitting a business proposal or creating a marketing campaign, structuring your arguments in a clear logical pattern is critical if you want the reader to follow your lead.

    The AEIOU formula ensures the central message takes centre stage in every business document which is not only well presented but mounts a convincing argument.

    Attract Layout/ design
    Font style; line spacing; word length
    Letterhead and graphics
    Page and margin alignment

    Engage Captivating introductory paragraph
    Secure interest at a glance by immediately identifying the relevance to the reader.

    Upgrading staff skills in effective business communications is critical to presenting a professional image to key stakeholders and other relevant statutory and government bodies.

    Leading companies recognise the importance of…

    Responsible managers can no longer afford to ignore…

    >Idea Supply relevant background information
    Identify key features and benefits of products/ services offered by your business/ organisation that directly links to the opening sentence.

    We offer comprehensive retail packages tailored to reduce costs to running your business. We specialise in….

    >Offer Provide solution
    Offer a recommendation designed to alleviate the problem or issue raised.

    Our new (product name) package ideally suits your specific business needs by…
    Our professional staff provides premium expertise…
    We would like to offer your company…

    yo>U Call to action
    What do they need to do next?
    Lead the way for them.

    Back to GAPS from How to structure business reports and proposals