John Ragozzine: Silent Speech – Building Better Written Communication

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May 27, 2017

Being able to convey both factual meaning and human sentiment through the written word can be challenging. From emails to project updates to tweets, we are constantly sending text artifacts out into the world that may not jibe with what we MEANT to say.

Who needs this talk? EVERYONE! “But devs don’t need to know how to write well,” you say. Sorry, but developers do need to, for:
* Clients (both current and potential) – being able to explain technical issues in a way that is both intelligible and digestible is a key work skill. Many WordPress developers and businesses live and die by solid RFP responses;
* Coworkers – website development can be a solo gig, but often involves code collaboration (even if your collaborator is your future self #docbrown). How you update (or solicit updates from) your co-workers can make or break a project. The words we choose only become more important in situations where cannot rely on body language (such as in Slack, email, forums, or work tickets);
* the WordPress community – when all you have are Core Trac ticket updates, how we bolster support or provide actionable feedback to our peers is crucial. A poorly crafted forum reply can drive someone away from open source contributions, so being able to respond in helpful, respectful ways is a skill we all must hone;
* Yourself – Do you tweet? Do you publish content online? Are you seeking work and need to craft RFP responses or application cover letters? All these require stronger writing skills than a one-and-done draft.

This talk is for anyone who uses words to convey ideas. I will lay out examples of words to avoid and offer alternative ways to convey similar ideas. By sharing easy-to-implement tips and tricks on writing, I will help attendees communicate better in any situation.

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