Writing for the reader: banishing the business speak and energising your e-learning

Stephanie Dedhar
Learning Consultant at BP

(Original published 2009)

Recently I wrote a post for the Spicy Learning Blog about banishing business speak from e-learning.1 I began the piece with a quote: ‘If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.’2 Don’t recognise it? If you’re not either of primary school age or the parent of someone who is, that’s hardly surprising. This particular line is the one that opens Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and I think you’d be forgiven for questioning the wisdom of choosing these as the opening lines of your book. For those of you unfamiliar with Mr Snicket, he – along with the Baudelaire orphans and the ruthless, unscrupulous Count Olaf – has been the biggest thing to hit children’s bookshelves since Harry Potter.

Why is this? It might be the tales of murderous money-grabbers and absurd adventures that keep the kids entertained, but parents up and down the country have become just as devoted fans because of Lemony’s ability to tap into how people think. Someone tells you not to blink, you blink. Someone warns you not to press the flashing red button, you want to press it…


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