How dating advice makes you a better writer

Have you ever been told how to act on a first date? That advice can improve your writing skills.

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Believe it or not, the rules to attract new love can also help to attract new business. It’s all about making a great first impression.

1. Avoid “too much information.”

Don’t do a “data dump” upon first contact. It’s overwhelming and, almost always, a turnoff. What does your audience need to know? What will leave them wanting more? What will motivate them to call you again?

2. Don’t talk about relationships gone bad.

Unhappy customers? Product defects? Share snippets if you’re asked. But don’t volunteer this info freely. Save the negative stuff for another day.

3. Be yourself.

Show personality. But don’t go overboard. Excessive exclamation marks are excessive!!!!!!! AVOID BELLOWING ALL-CAPS. And did you know one question mark is enough to end a question???? In other words, don’t try too hard to make people like you.

4. Dress for the occasion/environment.

Would you wear tattered jeans to a five-star restaurant? Or a tuxedo to a diner? Likewise, tailor your writing to the place and time. Example: don’t use flashy, “salesy” language in a news release. Always ask: should you dress it up or tone it down?

5. Keep your drinks to a minimum.

There is no excuse for sloppiness. Your writing should be crisp, clean and—most importantly—coherent.

6. Order the steak.

From what I’ve heard about first dates, men aren’t attracted to women who only order salad. How does this apply to writing? People want substance over style. So, go for the steak … because it sizzles.

Lindsey McCaffrey is an Ottawa-based communications/public relations consultant, writer and editor. With more than a decade of experience, Lindsey is the recipient of a Gold Quill award from the International Association of Business Communicators. To reach Lindsey, contact 613.290.0239 or

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