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Real Words that Work 

By Patricia Davies, President, Patricia Davies Communications  
 
Giving readers a chance to breathe
 
Some writers can’t resist cramming an encyclopedia into a sentence, a habit that confuses readers and boosts sales for Advil. Here’s an example from a national training organization:
 
“While many formal training programs are mandatory—often referred to as ‘push learning’, the ‘pull’ of voluntary, informal learning programs can reinforce formal training, focus on best practices, model proper behaviour, and reduce performance gaps, all while having fun.” 
 
Guideline
Give readers a chance to grasp the point you are trying to make before adding more. Forget the pushing and the pulling and stick to one new thought per sentence. 
 
Fix
Practice on the job substantially reinforces formal classroom training. By repeating and polishing new skills they have learned, employees can increase their job performance in an informal, maybe even fun, environment. 
 
Punctuation Tip
In response to reader requests, this column will occasionally include hints on punctuation.
 
Use a comma to separate the day from the year when you include a date in a document: April 24, 2013. Do not include a comma when you only refer to a month, as in December 2012. 
 
Patricia Davies www.patriciadavies.com is an award-winning writer and editor, an Endorsed Education Provider (EEP) with IIBA®, and a regular panelist on the IIBA “Being a BA: Effective Communication” Webinar. Do you have a writing question? Please email to IIBAnewsletter@IIBA.org and we’ll try to address it in a future column or Webinar.