September 2011  
UpWrite Press Writing eTips

New! Test Your Writing Acumen

Here's a quick brainteaser for testing your knowledge of writing and grammar. (The solution can be found at the end of the newsletter.)

Select the correct words to complete this sentence:

We visited (there, they're, their) plant, and while we were (there, they're, their) we found that (there, they're, their) working on a project that perfectly complements ours.

Conducting Research
Part Three: Secondary Sources

Last month we discussed using primary sources as your first step in researching a topic. This month, we move on to secondary sources. These sources contain information that someone else has gathered, and perhaps interpreted, from primary sources. Secondary sources include the following:

  • Newspaper or magazine articles
  • Nonfiction books
  • Encyclopedia entries
  • Documentary films or videos

Using secondary sources saves you the time that someone else has already spent compiling facts. However, secondary sources may harbor an author's bias or be unreliable because of faulty research methods. So if you are looking strictly for facts, be especially careful about which secondary sources you use.

For more professional business-writing tips, see Write for Business: A Compact Guide to Writing and Communicating in the Workplace—just one of the handy business-writing materials from UpWrite Press.

Trainer Tips

Here are some suggestions for a smooth, efficient orientation of new employees.

First, bear in mind that the goal of an orientation is to help the new hire to quickly become part of the "family" at work. Always introduce new employees to all pertinent coworkers, but also provide them with a list of names, job titles, phone extensions, and e-mail addresses. If possible, take a tip from the public schools that now provide teachers with a sheet of student photos, allowing names and faces to be connected.

Also, consider pairing the newbie with a "partner" who can show the person around and explain unwritten rules, such as the coffee-money jar or the supply-room sign-out sheet.

Finally, don't dump a 500-page office manual on new hires and expect them to "know everything" instantly. Make sure the manual includes a good reference page or a table of contents that clearly indicates where to find relevant information.

Follow these tips and your new employees will be able to integrate quickly.

That Little Extra

Ever wonder why you don't get as much accomplished as you'd like in a day? Could be that ol' devil e-mail is sidelining you. Avoid the e-mail time trap: Scan your messages when you first get to work, but don't open anything unless it's from your boss or is obviously urgent or directly related to a current project. While you should check your inbox every few hours for important communications, ignore the siren song of general messages until you have accomplished a major amount of work. Then, later in the day, allow yourself a fixed block of time to deal with the rest of your inbox.

   

September Writers' Forum Topic

Here’s your chance to tell us how your work environment operates. Send us your responses to the forum question below, and we’ll print the most interesting in our eTips Mid-Month Mini.

It used to be a nine-to-five world, but the times they are a-changing. Does your office employ creative work time? We'd love to know what creative scheduling you've used. Please share with us what works or and what doesn't work for your business.

E-mail your response to writersforum@upwritepress.com. Write "September Writers' Forum" in the subject line, and you could see your reply in the eTips Mid-Month Mini.

Solution to this month's brainteaser:


We visited their plant, and while we were there, we found that they're working on a project that perfectly complements ours.

We Want to Hear from You!

This is your chance to shape eTips. What writing topics do you want to hear about? What communications tips would you like to share? What words do you constantly mix up? Send us your ideas, and you could see your name in Writing eTips or The Mid-Month Mini!

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