September 1998 Web Brief
Learning to be Successful

Quote of the month: "The greatest mistake a man can make is to be afraid of making one" Elbert Hubbard

How to Edit Diplomatically
Source: Communication Briefings ideas that work

Here are some ideas that can help you diplomatically alter someoneís writing:

  • Confirm what the writer wants you to do. Examples: "Should I just polish the lead?" "Do you want me to tell you how well youíve organized the piece?" "Should I determine if youíve supported your argument?"
  • Use green ink, not red, to suggest changes. Reason: Red is seen as a stop symbol, so it can make writers resist your advice. But do use red to praise something, such as a well-crafted sentence or paragraph.
  • Consider making your advice look even more like a suggestion, not an edict, by using pencil. Another plus: You can more easily change comments.
  • Be a teacher as well as an editor, always explain why youíre changing something. Itís the only way to create better writers.
  • Sit next to writers, not across from them, if you meet to discuss their work. Reason: This nonverbal signal says youíre there to help, not order.
  • Stop often and ask questions such as: "Do you see what I mean?" "Can you agree with that?" "What do you think we should do to fix that problem?"

Source: Susan Perloff writing in Philadelphia Business Journal, 400 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106