Cutting Down the Paperwork in Plain English

Director, Ivano Machine Building Works, Moscow

There’s a story of a president of a multinational corporation who sent a memo to all staff saying: “For the next month I want to see a copy of every memo, letter and report produced by any staff member.” The results: the paperwork fell by 40 per cent and productivity rose dramatically.

We’re all bombarded with too much paper. Some we want to receive because it’s interesting; some we have to read because it’s part of our job. But as much as half wastes our time and should never clutter up our in-trays or our minds. Here are some ideas to cut the quantity and cost of paperwork.

1. Don’t write without good reason.
2. Talk, either in person or by telephone, rather than write.
3. Use plain English.
4. Cross your name off circulation lists.
5. Never write memos to a wide circulation.
6. Send unnecessary paperwork back to the writer.
7. Fire the company lawyers – only hire them again when they can write in plain English.

Don’t write without good reason.

Unless you have something worthwhile to say, don’t start writing.

Talk, either in person or by telephone, rather than write.

Writing is often the least efficient and most expensive form of communicating. Studies put the minimum cost of writing a one-page memo at?, rising to as high as?0 if produced by the managing director. Whenever you can speak to the person instead of writing, do so.

Use plain English.

Cutting passive verbs, redundant phrases and simplifying your writing saves the reader’s time. Using plain English writing and editing techniques often cuts one-third of the words in standard documents.

Cross your name off circulation lists.

You’ll find much of the paperwork cluttering your desk comes to you because you’re on someone’s circulation list. Take your name off the circulation list and you’ll see much of your paperwork disappear. Similarly, if you don’t want junk mail, don’t give out your name and address to other organisations.

Never write memos to a wide audience.

Readers claim to throw in the bin unread or only half-read about 90 per cent of memos to all staff. Narrow down your audience for memos until only those who need to know read them. Some organisations have gone as far as banning memos and found productivity increased.

Send unnecessary paperwork back to the writer.

How else will the writer ever learn? One British government department issues staff with a rubber stamp saying “Why me?” If you get unnecessary paperwork, send it back to the writer.

Fire the company lawyers – only hire them again when they can write in plain English.

My friend rewrote the office manual in plain English, cutting the 140 pages down to 80 pages and sent it to other departments for comment. Everyone approved the new draft, except the legal department. They rewrote it and it became 206 pages long. This would not have been so annoying if the legal department hadn’t already approved the 140-page original the previous year.

English Writing Classes – Why You Should Join

The English language is a complex beast at the best of times, and mastering English as a written language can be a minefield even for those of us who have been brought up with it as our first language. It is a language of many complexities – words that sound the same yet mean different things, punctuation that is complex and divisive, and sentence structure that can often be deceiving – and nobody can ever claim to have mastered the art perfectly.

This is why English writing classes, even for those of us who are greatly experienced in written English, are something that should be considered very carefully indeed.

Writing English is considerably different to speaking the language, for very often the way the words are laid down on the page can lead to punctuation quirks that confuse and contradict. The comma, for instance, if misplaced can be troublesome.

We all know of the famous ‘eats, shoots and leaves’ example, a phrase that is used in a joke about a murderous panda; remove the comma, and the phrase ‘eats shoots and leaves’ makes more sense. There are many examples of such misuse, and this is why the comma – like many of the punctuation marks in English – is becoming less frequently used in common writing.

The apostrophe is perhaps the most troublesome example of English written parlance, and as such is best avoided if at all possible; after all, using the phrase ‘he’s’ rather than the full ‘he is’ is not considered good written form.

English writing classes will guide you in the right direction and help you to overcome the basic errors that many of us – even the vastly experienced – tend to commit; the misuse of capital letters, full stops, colons and so on, and will also give you an idea of how words look – and read – when on the page. Reading written text, after all, is much different to listening to speech.

Joining an English writing course will also put you in touch with other like-minded people – those who wish to write – and networking is a great benefit whether you are pursuing writing as a hobby or as a potential profession.

Mastering written English these days is, contrary to the belief of many, more necessary than ever as while the computer spellchecker is a valuable device it -too- does not understand the finer nuances of written English; it should be used as a first line of defense, and not relied upon. To find writing classes near you you could use the internet, or look in your local library or community center, and add another string to your bow.

Poor English Just Doesn’t Matter Anymore – Or Does It?

I run a real live “bricks and mortar” business in the real world, selling office supplies. Now you won’t find us if you Google office supplies, as I decided long ago that this was a keyword phrase best left to the big boys, with their big budgets and SEO professionals. Instead I have concentrated on longer tail keywords in more specific niches to bring our traffic and new business.

For a lot of my chosen keyword phrases, my various web domains are not just on the first page, but in many cases are the very top, or top three organic listing. It’s a simple process, although I would not kid anyone and say it’s easy. Far from it, it requires a degree of learning and quite disciplined application. Very often all the work is put in up front and with no guarantee of good results. Anyway, that’s another story which I may well write about in the future.

I was checking through my main businesses email and noticed an email with the heading website enquiry. Now these are usually spam and more often than not I delete quite quickly. But in this case the first line caught my eye – the author of the email had written:

My name’s Brian. I work for a stationery and office supplies company called … (I’ve changed his name here.)

My first thought and I suspect many other recipients’ first thought also was to bin the thing straight away. I get approached all the time by people who know spelling and grammar and I don’t need to waste my time on the ones that don’t! I skimmed through the email noting several erroneous placings of full stops. They all had a space between the last letter of the last word in the sentence and then no space before the first word of the next sentence. Very odd I thought as with this level of consistency it had obviously been done deliberately.

Anyway Brian explained he was doing SEO full time (of course it should have been full time) and was sure to be rising up the rankings very quickly, so did we want to swap links with him? I have to say I thought the days of the effectiveness of link exchange were long gone, but I am prepared to be corrected here. I couldn’t resist having a quick look at the links page he directed me to, I must confess I was expecting to see a complete hash of it and that’s why I clicked the link.

I wasn’t disappointed and the page had a banner floating across it with the following text:

Site’s that we are linked too

This was in bold red type that floated in the top section of the page. Now, if you are reading this and don’t see any error, stop reading now.

I decided on reading the banner that even if I had been considering swapping links with these people, that banner alone would dissuade me. I decided to drop Brian a line and tell him about his grammatical and spelling errors, for no reason other than perhaps help him get a better response to his link building campaign.

I mentioned the couple of errors in his email as well as the errors in the banner text above, which in common usage English should at least read “sites we are linked to,” and although it doesn’t flow so well, the absolute correct English would I suppose have read “sites to which we are linked,” but that would probably be slightly over pedantic in this day and age! By way of explaining why I was writing I mentioned the expression “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” and wished him well with his climb up the Google rankings. I did also suggest that I am no longer sure there are many people in this country who care about using correct English, so by all means ignore the correct English if you like. I was hoping he would take the free advice in the spirit it was sent and maybe take on board my suggestions and just possibly improve his acceptance rate.

Here’s the response I received:

Well thanks for the information!
Hopefully we will be on page one on Google for terms such as ” office supplies ” page four at present.
so grammar may not be my strongest point but the results i get for our site along with revenue and traffic is the most important thing .
As they say money talks .
No point in having perfect grammar on a site that will never be found on Google .
Your page 50 or more on the rankings so good luck with your climb up the Google rankings

Fair enough. As I said at the outset, I have chosen a different SEO battle to fight, but it certainly appears that arrogance and ignorance do sometimes go hand in hand, especially where SEO are concerned!

Is there anybody out there who feels that our language just seems not to matter any more? I’d love to hear back from you.

How to Write a Resume in English

Writing a resume in English can be different from writing a resume in one’s native language. There are many key points to consider when writing an English resume. The following is a list of helpful tips on writing a resume in English:

An English resume should be created on a word processor. Hand written resumes are not acceptable. Print your resume on high quality paper.

Do not include a picture of yourself.

Do not put the title Resume or Curriculum Vitae as a heading.

Type your complete name, address, telephone number, fax, and email at the top of the resume.

The Profile section is where you summarize your skills and experience. It should be only one or two paragraphs long. Write a resume objective. The resume objective is a brief sentence stating what type of work you want to acquire. You should also include your career ambitions.

A resume should be no more than two pages long. Try for one page. Highlight your positive characteristics by keeping content brief and to the point.

Proper grammar and spelling is essential. Use a capital letter at the beginning of a name. Write complete words. That is, do not use initials for company names or qualifications. Ask an English speaker to check your resume for errors. Use strong verbs such as: accomplished, encouraged, managed… etc. Use past tenses unless explaining your current job and make sure you do not use “I” in your descriptions.

Spacing: Address: bold and placed in the center of the page
Objective: double space
Experience: double space
Education: double space
Additional Skills: double space

Align everything to the left except your name and address.

When entering your education achievements place your highest qualification first and list the others in reverse-chronological order. Include any degrees or certificates as well as your major. Make sure that you enter the institution and dates you attended. Do not list grades unless they are requested.

Highlighting English Language skills is an extremely important part of the English resume. Under the “Skills” heading, describe your knowledge of the English language. This includes if you are bilingual, fluent in English, and how well you speak the English language.

When entering your career history, place your most recent job first and then list the rest in reverse-chronological order. Include where you worked, dates, name of employer, your position in the company, and your duties.

When listing your skills in an English resume, it is important to highlight technical, professional, and other skills not associated with your career history. Choose skills that are similar (transferable) to the position in which you are applying.

List no more than six achievements from your education, work experience, other experiences (paid and non-paid), and special skills. Highlight unique achievements from your career or education history that will help you stand out from other candidates.

Personal details should be brief and to the point. Details should include your nationality.

Finish your English resume with the statement: References available upon request

The purpose of an English Resume is to sell your qualifications. It is essential to emphasize your education, skills, work experiences, and achievements. A well-written and well-rounded resume can catch the attention of a potential employer.

What Is Tort Law Exactly?

Have you ever done something that was against the rules? Well, torts are something like that; but much more serious. Torts are civil wrong-doings; immoral behaviors and actions against civilians. The law identifies a tort as immoral, and approves it as grounds for a lawsuit. Most often, torts come with severe consequences, like serious injuries and death. These consequences establish a civilian’s right to file a personal injury claim against a wrongful party.

Torts that result in serious injury or death can be punishable by imprisonment; however, the objective of tort law is to acquire compensation for damages incurred by victims and families of victims. In addition, and equally important, intent is to prevent similar wrongdoings from occurring in the future. In fact, victims of tort can take legal action for an injunction in order to inhibit further torturous conduct of the opposing party.

Explaining Torts and Tort Law

Victims of tort can pursue fair compensation for damages incurred as a result of the offence. Exemplary damages include everything from pain and suffering to loss of companionship, and much more; such as lost wages, hospital bills, medical expenses, scarring or disfigurement, funeral expenses, prolonged rehabilitation, permanent disabilities, and much more. Injured victims can also pursue compensation for damages like diminished quality of life and loss of benefits from loved one’s death. Tort law is established to protect injured victims that were wrongfully hurt by a negligent party. Negligent parties can include people, companies, individuals, organizations, products, and much more.

Categories of Tort

There are several individual capacities of tort law that all depend on the type of injury or accident that harms a person. Types of tort include motor vehicle accidents, product liability, assault and battery, sexual harassment, drunk driving accidents, wrongful death, slip and falls, head or brain injuries, dog bites, nursing home neglect, motorcycle accidents, and several other types of deliberate inflictions of emotional or physical trauma.

Every type of tort can be grouped into three separate categories of tort law; these categories are Intentional Torts, Negligent Torts, and Strict Liability Torts. Intentional torts are deliberate, premeditated, and purposeful. Assault and battery, sexual misconducts, and nursing home neglect are some examples of intentional tort. Negligent tort occurs as a result of carelessness and disregard. Disobeying traffic signals and causing an accident that harms another person is an example of negligent tort. Other examples include pedestrian accidents, hit-and-run accidents, medical malpractice, legal malpractice, and slip and fall accidents. Strict liability torts, on the other hand, occur when a particular action causes harm or damage to another person; such as liability for making and selling defective products that are hazardous.

If you are a victim of tort, or was recently injured in an accident caused by the negligence or misconduct of another party, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Contact a licensed personal injury law firm for professional guidance and counsel. It is important to take immediate action following a serious injury before the State’s statutes of limitation runs out. An experienced tort lawyer will substantially increase your chances and likelihood of winning your personal injury claim recovering compensation for your damages.

Posted in Law

Common Benefits Received From Workers’ Compensation

It is common for people who are injured on the job to collect workers’ compensation benefits. The amount of compensation and degree of benefits received by injured workers largely depends on the extent of their injuries or damages. Damages can include but are not limited to pain, suffering, prolonged rehabilitation or illness, diminished quality of life, lost wages, medical expenses, hospital bills, mental trauma, PTSD, and much more.

It is wise to hire a personal injury attorney that specializes in workers’ compensation law to recover the full and fair recompense deserved. Continue reading to learn what type of benefits to expect, or that is possible, to receive after being injured while on the clock.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Not all workers’ compensation claims are for physical injuries. Although most involve some sort of bodily harm, mental anguish or trauma can be just as damaging. Sometimes, personal injury cases can involve sexual harassment, discrimination, assault or battery, contracting a work-related illness or disease, experiencing an armed robbery, and more. Either way, the common coverages and benefits received from workers’ compensation claims are as follows:

Paid Hospital Bills, Medical Expenses, Physical Therapy, Medical and Vocational Rehabilitation, Doctor Visits, Counseling, Prescriptions, Etc.

Paid Weekly Earnings for Time Off Work Longer than One Week (2/3 of Average Weekly Pay-400 Week Maximum)

Benefits for Dependents in the Case of a Wrongful Death at Work

Punitive Damages in Cases of Malicious Intent or Blatant Disregard

Compensation for Excessive Pain, Suffering, Loss of Companionship, Mental Anguish, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Diminished Quality of Life, Etc.

Travel Expenses (If Applicable)

There are several other types of benefits available to those injured on the job, however, they vary depending on the company’s policies, insurance coverage, the extent of injury, and much more. It is strongly encouraged to discuss your recent work injury with a licensed Indianapolis workers’ compensation lawyer for accurate case assessment and legal guidance. They retain the proper resources, experience, and knowledge to navigate your workers’ compensation claim.

In order to recover the full and fair remuneration deserved to an injured victim and their family, a personal injury lawyer is the path to take. Be sure your personal injury law firm employs attorneys with extensive trial and litigation experience in workers’ compensation cases. This will further ensure you are choosing a lawyer that can successfully navigate your claim and have a better chance of recovering for your damages and losses.

Posted in Law

Who’s Liable for Injuries Sustained in Public Transportation Accidents?

Public transportation is a wonderful asset for thousands of Americans all across the country. Buses, trains, subways, limousines, metros, taxi cabs, and more are just a few examples of the variety we have to choose from when it comes to public transport. As customers and clients, we generally trust that these choices are safe and reliable; but sometimes unexpected accidents happen.

If someone is injured while using public transportation, who is at-fault for their damages? There can be several outcomes when determining who is liable for accidents such as these. Continue reading to understand all the possible parties that might be liable, under law, for injuries sustained to public transient customers.

Public Transportation Traffic Accidents

When it comes to public transportation, buses are one of the most popular. Tickets are inexpensive, and some buses are complementary to individuals in the community. School buses are also widely used for public school transportation. With the rising popularity of public buses, more and more are on the roads every day. As a result, the number of bus accidents continue to increase each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 300 bus accidents happen every year, all of which resulting in fatalities.

Bus crashes, and other public transport cases, are complicated to litigate. Determining the at-fault party is a bus crash can be tricky because it may be more than one, or none at all. It requires the professional litigation skills and trial experience of a licensed car accident attorney to effectively pursue a bus accident injury lawsuit or claim. If you or someone you loved has recently been injured in a public transportation accident, like buses or taxis, contact a local personal injury lawyer to learn your rights.

Possible At-Fault Parties:

  • The Driver
  • Management Company
  • Other Negligent Vehicles
  • Government Entities (If Public)
  • Equipment Manufacturers
  • City Traffic Management (If Defective Light or Sign)

Common Causes:

  • Drunk Driving
  • Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
  • Defective Stop Light or Traffic Sign
  • Hazardous Weather Conditions
  • Reckless or Careless Driving
  • Poor Equipment Maintenance
  • Treacherous Roads
  • Defective Equipment
  • Obstruction of Views
  • Other Negligent Vehicles on the Road

Traffic accidents, public or not, can happen very suddenly, and usually result in serious injuries and damages to innocent bystanders and drivers. If a person is injured using public transportation as a result of another carelessness or negligence, they are entitled to legal compensation for their pain, suffering, lost wages, medical bills, and more. 

Posted in Law

A Myth Regarding Personal Injury Protection

I often get told by my clients that they “do not want to make any claims on their own insurance policy” because “it will raise their rates.” Like many things, this is an insurance tactic meant to scare people from claiming what is rightfully theirs. Let me elaborate further.

Under Texas law, every person in the State must carry Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) coverage on their auto insurance policy, unless you expressly sign a rejection or “opt-out” of this coverage. The State minimum requirement is $2,500, although many people carry $5,000 or $10,000 in coverage (or sometimes even more, depending on what their auto insurance carrier offers). Importantly, under the Texas Insurance Code, it is illegal for your insurance company to raise your insurance rates, drop your coverage, affect your credit, etc. for making these claims. Therefore, if you have this coverage, you always want to use it.

PIP coverage is meant to reimburse you for two things: (1) medical bills you have already incurred or (2) lost wages (although it will only cover 80% of your lost wages). Additionally, Texas allows “stacking” of insurance benefits. For example, let’s say you get into an accident and you are taken to the emergency room where you incur a $10,000.00 bill. Let’s also say that you have the standard $2,500 PIP policy through your insurance company. After you are finished treating, we send that same $10,000 bill to both the Defendant’s insurance company and to your own. We get you paid $10,000 from this insurance company plus $2,500 from your own PIP coverage for a total reimbursement of $12,500. That’s right, you get paid $12,500 for a bill that was originally $10,000.

I always tell my clients the same thing: If you pay for this coverage every month in your premium, and if your insurance company cannot raise your rates for using it, then why wouldn’t you use it? It is free money falling out of the sky. However, because it’s free money falling out of the sky, many insurance companies (and their agents) will deliberately try to convince you that you do not need it because “it cost more.” Again, this cannot be further from the truth. The cost of this coverage is literally pennies on the dollar for what you get in return should you need to use it. Further, the best part is that this coverage is no-fault, meaning you are entitled to these benefits whether you caused the accident or if someone else hit you.

For these reasons, it is a no-brainer not only to have this coverage, but also to use it once you need it.

Posted in Law

How to Complete a Self-Health Assessment Following a Car Accident

As soon as you are involved in a car accident, the first priority is to have your health and over-all condition assessed by a professional emergency medical technician on-site or at the hospital. For less serious car accidents, it is still important to assess your own health to be sure you are not suffering from a head, spine, or neck injury. The issue with these kinds of injuries is that they can become evident or worse as time passes. So you might seem fine after a car wreck, but can then start to develop symptoms later on that point toward neck and back injuries.

There are signs and symptoms to look for, as well as, tips to learn how to identify the difference between vague soreness and tenderness of muscles, and an actual serious injury. Continue reading for a post-accident health assessment guide and information about filing a car accident injury claim for injuries and damages sustained in a serious collision.

Checking On Your Health

Once you have been involved in a car accident, whether it was your own fault or not, is to seek immediate medical attention. As a car accidents happens, authorities are usually alerted almost immediately; either by someone involved in the wreck or a bystander. Police will ask if you or your passengers need to go to the hospital if it is not obvious or evident that someone is hurt. You can make this assessment yourself, or you can simply have an EMT check you out at the scene of the accident or at the hospital.

You can choose to ride in an ambulance for a faster commute to the hospital for emergencies, but for less serious and less evident injuries, you may choose to take yourself or have a loved one drive you. In other cases, you might feel like you are not injured enough for professional medical care, and pass up the opportunity to go to the hospital altogether. Once you are familiar with how to assess your own condition after an accident, you will be able to responsibly make the choice of seeking further medical assistance, or to care for yourself.

Here are some symptoms to look for immediately after, as well as, the days following a motor vehicle accident:

  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Soreness or Tenderness of Neck
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Mental Confusion
  • Pain or Tenderness in Lower Back
  • Pain in Neck or Spine
  • Difficulty Standing
  • Pain When in the Seated Position
  • Swelling of Neck, Back, or Head
  • Redness or Abrasions on Body
  • Nausea or Dizziness
  • Blurred Vision
  • Slurred Speech
  • Bleeding
  • Broken Bones
  • Immobility

Any of these symptoms could be a sign of a more serious injury or internal damage. If you are experiencing more than three of the above symptoms, it is strongly encouraged to go to the hospital or to request an EMT at the sight of an accident. Concussions are one of the most common and overlooked head injuries that results from car accidents. And the problem with this type of injury is that a person can seem fine at first, only to later suffer serious consequences and health decline as a result of a neglected head, brain, or spine injury.

Filing a Car Accident Injury Claim
Contact a licensed personal injury lawyer for information about filing a car accident injury claim against a negligent party that caused you or a loved one serious harm following a traffic accident or collision. You may be entitled to compensation.
Posted in Law

Personal Injury Should Be Well Taken Care Of

If there is ever a situation where a person is suffering terribly from an injury, disability or in worse case scenarios, even death, mostly due to a careless negligence of an individual, in such cases, the personal injury law covers these instances and extends its hand for help.

A severe injury can cost an individual to shell out a lot of money, sometimes an amount that the individual might not even be capable of paying, if you opt for a personal injury claim in such desperate moments then you are eligible to seek some compensation for the injury you have faced and the payment gets taken care of because of the claim.

Mostly this law covers all the kinds of injury that can possibly take place, these injuries can be of any type. It can either be something that can cause a lot of harm to your body or it can make you face some kind of emotional trauma as well. It can be anything and at anytime and having a claim especially for these kinds of injuries will help you in emergencies.

Be alert and be careful of every step you take.

Let us have a look at some of the tips that can help you get this claim:

• DO NOT DELAY TO GET SOME MEDICAL ATTENTION

The first and foremost step that you need to take when you get an injury is to seek out for medical help immediately and instantly. Do not under any circumstances delay that step because the more you delay it, the more serious it can get, therefore seek out for some medical help as soon as you find yourself in such a situation.

• BE CAREFUL OF THE STATEMENTS YOU MAKE

Be absolutely confident and clear in what you say in the accident scene. Do not say anything that might make the situation much more complicated than it already is or give rise to some kind of a conflict. Be clear in what you have to say and keep it straight when asked about it. This will help in dealing with the process much quickly.

• KEEP A CHECK ON ALL THE EXPENSES

This would include all the bills in the hospital. Be it expense bills; diagnose bills, medical bills or any other tests that you might have undergone. Have a record of all the expenses because it might be asked for when you go to claim for compensation. You can also keep a record of some lost wages that you might have faced due to missing work. Keep a track of everything.

Posted in Law