The Write Stuff November 2016 Volume 12 Issue 11

Fly the W

If you thought last month’s issue was baseball related, you haven’t seen anything yet. Yes, I’m still on cloud nine regarding the Cubs’ dramatic World Series win.

Does the headline to this piece mean anything to you? I chose it to make a point: when you use sayings, abbreviations or acronyms in your writing that are familiar to you but may not be to readers, it can result in frustration at the very least — and failure to read what follows at worst. All Cubs fans know what “Fly the W” means, as do those who paid close attention during the Cubs’ playoff run, but the rest of you may be mystified. (Hope you’re still reading!)

A white flag sporting a blue W is raised above Wrigley Field every time the team wins a game. In the old days (the stadium has played host to the Cubs since 1914), that flag was how many people learned the results of the day’s play. Today, thousands of fans wave their own personal W flags or towels at the conclusion of every victory, and Fly the W became a rallying cry this championship season.

I digress: An imaginative Chicago TV station used San Franciscans’ ignorance of what the W stands for to trick a number of them into holding a W sign on air and urging fellow citizens to Fly the W while the Cubs were playing the Giants in the National League Divisional Series. They were told the W stands for water and represents a conservation effort in our parched state.

My use of Fly the W probably didn’t frustrate you, but you might have been perplexed. That’s OK, since I’m merely trying to educate here, rather than market or sell. Using sayings, abbreviations or acronyms that are not common knowledge can be a much bigger issue in business writing, which is typically directed toward one of those activities. For instance:

Female entrepreneurs in the communications field may find it valuable to join the PRSA or local chapter of NAWBO.

That advice may fall on deaf ears to those not familiar with those organizations: the Public Relations Society of America and National Association of Women Business Owners.

It’s a good idea to engage an individual who is a CFP® professional to help you make decisions that affect your financial future.

You may not know what you’re looking for unless you are aware that CFP stands for Certified Financial Planner®.

Does your website have a CTA and do you use best practices with respect to CRM?

That question may stump those who aren’t familiar with Call to Action and Customer Relationship Management.

My advice? Be safe by always defining acronyms and abbreviations the first time they appear, and explain your use of potentially unfamiliar phrases and verbiage. That will make you a winner — and you can fly your own personal W!

Published On: May 25th, 2017 / Categories: 2016 /

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