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Professional Writing March 29, 2006

Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools.
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Rick  One of my favorite writing strategies is to let the writing sit overnight or for a period of a few hours if there are deadlines pressing. It is inevitable that when I return to the piece, prepared to press the “send” button, some nuance will have presented itself usually in the form a little too much ego floating to the surface. Sometimes my initial agitation with something would still be showing through in the writing. There certainly is nothing wrong with agitated writing and writing that demonstrates emotion, but it does not always have its place in a business or professional setting. Some people would say it never has a place in such a setting.I spent the last two weekends reading 53 grant applications to Hewlett-Packard from institutes of higher education. Without sharing details of the grant proposals, they were all vying for a classrooms set of tablet PCs. The main instruction to them was to justify and rationalize why they needed to have these tools in the classroom. I must say that, for the most part, the writing was cohesive and clear, although you can certainly see individual personalities in their writing. This type of writing is supposed to be dry and professional, but I was surprised at the ways people found to generate enthusiasm for their program and their proposal. Although most of the grant applications never reached the cacophonous crescendo expected from a televised appliance salesperson or used car dealer, in the subtle language of grant writing some came serenely close. When the representatives of the institutions writing the grant refers to their host institutions as cutting edge, at the forefront, or unequaled and unparalleled then my perception of their institution is automatically on guard. It is much like interviewing for a posted position and the candidates go out of the way in the first few minutes to highlight their hard work ethic or brilliant innovation.

Unfortunately, I am going to be experiencing the same thing next week as one of our most highly prized employees is leaving for a job at another college. Our College did not challenge or reimburse his skill set as well as he expected. That means I will have to do a little more juggling than I expected to do this week, but I will get the opportunity to meet some new potential employees. Last year we had over 77 applications for the job. Wish us all luck at finding the right person and, if you know him, wish Rick all the best.

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