The Red Jacket Diaries blog

Sue Horner is a freelance writer in Oakville, Ontario, who blogs about writing, newsletters, communications and running an independent business in The Red Jacket Diaries blog.

Get an ‘aha’ moment with analogy

Vivid images in your writing are the fastest way to give your readers that “aha!” moment of understanding. Common tools are analogies like metaphors and similes, which compare this new thing to that quite different thing. A metaphor expresses the unfamiliar in terms of the familiar (“The river snakes its way…”). A simile compares two […]

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In a slump? Here’s how to dig out

The independent life has its ups and downs, but in 24 years, I have never hit a slump like the one I’m in now. It’s quiet. TOO quiet. Knowing that this, too, shall pass, as it always does, I’ve been doing all the right things. This includes — you knew this was coming — an […]

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Capture attention and interest with your elevator speech

Networking is an important part of finding customers. Is the way you introduce yourself helping land those customers? When it comes to getting people’s attention, “You have about as much time as it takes to start your car,” speaker Kevin Smith (aka The Story Architect) told members of IABC/Toronto’s Professional Independent Communicators at the Perfect […]

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Niche reads and odd titles in quirky contest

The clever folks at The Bookseller, a British trade magazine, have a way with words and a good sense of humour. Exhibit A: The Oddest Book Title contest. I’ve written before about this funny contest, conceived in 1978 by The Diagram Group’s Bruce Robertson as a way to avoid boredom at the Frankfurt Book Fair. […]

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4 ways to simplify your sustainability report

This time of year, corporate sustainability reports bloom like algae in a lake. These reports show the efforts a company makes to do the right things for the environment and the community. However, the language that describes what they do is often thick with jargon. And there’s no getting around multi-syllable words like “sustainable” and […]

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Take control of meetings to shine

Gerry Lewis wants to help you stand out. “Everyone can be a better communicator if we just take it up a notch,” the author of SHINE: Stand Out. Get Noticed. Be Brilliant told a recent gathering of IABC Golden Horseshoe members and friends. Start by handling meetings like a pro, by conquering the five sins of […]

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Set the tone with words

Anything worth doing is worth doing with WOW. So says online retailer Zappos, which for years has been a name synonymous for great customer service. At least, that’s what I had heard. I hadn’t experienced it myself because Zappos no longer ships to Canada (after a brief trial where they discovered how painful cross-border shopping […]

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Don’t let LinkedIn intimidate you

A friend has a LinkedIn profile, but beyond listing his title and employer, he has nothing — nothing! — to say what he does and how well he does it. He doesn’t even have a photo. Of course, I’m bugging him about it. “At least get a photo up!” I told him. “And then you […]

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How do you reach “non-desk” employees?

How do companies communicate with their employees these days, when so many don’t have a desk or a computer? How do you reach those who work in a mine, in the cab of a delivery van, on the sales floor? Since it’s been a long time since I’ve been in a home office, curiosity sent […]

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To bid or not to bid on that RFP?

When it comes to a Request for Proposal (RFP), the first question you should ask yourself is this: To bid, or not to bid? At a meeting this week of my local group of independents, the Communicators Connection, presenter Paul Heron pointed out that for small businesses like ours, responding to an RFP may be […]

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