Basic Elements of Technical Writing

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Technical writing is a specialised form of writing.

Its goal is to help readers use a technology or to understand a process, product or concept. Often these processes, products or concepts are complex, but need to be expressed in a much simpler, reader-friendly form.

So within the technical writing genre, you will find: technical reports, installation and maintenance manuals, proposals, white papers, on-line help, process standards, work instructions and procedures.

While each discipline has its specific requirements, some basic elements are common. But before looking at those, the most important thing a technical writer must consider is the audience.


  • How familiar are readers with the subject and with the specialised terms and abbreviations you need to use?
  • What is the best way to explain those terms or shortened forms – footnotes, endnotes, glossary, table of abbreviations, appendix, links?
  • Do you need to accommodate secondary readers (e.g. the manager or financier who will make the decision about the proposal), and how will you do that?

Now for those all-important elements:

  1. Clarity – The logical flow of the document will help readers understand the content. It can be useful to ask someone who is not familiar with the topic to review your writing before you finalise it. Using headings, illustrations, graphs or tables can be useful – your aim is to make it as easy as possible for your readers to understand what you’ve written. Consider how the way the text sits on the page or screen – another clue to maximising clarity for your readers.
  2. Accuracy – The information and the interpretation of data that you present must be accurate. If it’s not, your readers will question the credibility of the content. Be careful to clearly differentiate between fact and opinion, and to accurately cite references to other works.
  3. Brevity – Strive to find the balance between the amount of information presented and the time needed to read the document. Remember that you can use an appendix or link to provide supplementary or background information. Consider using an illustration, table or graph rather than words to explain a concept – but remember, if you use a ‘visual’, don’t give a long written explanation.
  4. Sentence length – Generally, complex or unfamiliar concepts are best presented in shorter sentences. This will give readers time to digest small pieces of information before moving on to the next. While this can be difficult to achieve, try to aim for approximately 25 words per sentence. If you find you’ve written a series of long sentences, look for ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘however’ and similar words where you can break the sentence.
  5. Paragraphs – The age-old rule about one topic per paragraph is a useful guide. That doesn’t mean that you can have only one paragraph for each topic, but it does mean that having only one topic in each paragraph makes for clear, logical writing.
  6. Reader-centricity – You are writing for your readers. Make it as easy as possible for them to understand your work.

Keep these basic elements and other principles in mind as you undertake your technical writing tasks.

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What Are the Characteristics of Successful Advertising Copy?

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Some time we work hard to create a product and launch it. But, we fail to achieve the expected result just because of improper advertising. The net result is low sales and loss. There are two things essential for the success of a product. First one is that your product should be good in quality and the second one is it should be promoted through proper advertisement.

Make your advertisement unique

You will find two types same food produced by different companies in the supermarket. One advertises the product as a “best healthy drink for babies” and the other advertise as “low cost healthy drink for babies”. Here, you will not find much difference. Both the products look good on the basis of advertisement. Still, people choose the second option. This is where the advertisement works. When a product is available at low cost and branded as best, this will have more impact.

Analyze the problem

You must find out, why your quality product did not go well in the market. There is no deficiency in the quality of the product; still you could not get the sales target. Why? The problem may be in any area. It may in the advertising area, product launching area etc. So, when you rectify the areas where something is missing, you can catch hold of the profit earning tree.

Highlight your product as a valuable one

There are many numerous good qualities in your product. It should be properly highlighted. You can explain the cost, its quality, its durability, its effectiveness etc. So, when the customers understand the value of your product, they will start thinking that your product is worthy to buy. Giving offers will also help to boost the sales of your product.

Get the feedback from your customers

The main and final part of your advertising is the message you leave at the end of the advertisement. Ask them to buy your product and use it. Request them to contact you through e-mail or call over phone, if there is any problem in the product. You can offer guarantee for the product and build a brand name for your product. All these notes will create best impression on your product and your company. Finally, solve your customer’s problem at once. This strategy is required to build good relationship with the potential customers.

By implementing and following the above strategies, your product will get good sales target.

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Interdependence – How the Systems of the Human Body Perfectly Exemplify It

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Interdependence means being dependent on each other. In effect, the human body consists of a number of interacting ‘systems’ which are the skeleton and the muscular, nervous, endocrine, circulatory, cardiovascular, respiratory, lymphatic, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems. Within these systems one also finds organs which work in unison.


The body depends on the skeleton’s rigid framework for support and the internal organs count on it for protection while the muscles use the skeleton for anchorage.


There are three types of muscular movements: skeletal, smooth, and cardiac.

Skeletal movement, initiated by the nervous system, is assured by the muscles attached to the skeleton. The digestive system, the bladder and blood vessels rely on the smooth muscle and the heart functions with the cardiac muscle.

The nervous system

The brain and the spinal cord which comprise the central nervous system (CNS) bank on sense organs (eyes, nose, and ears) to send them signals which they integrate.

Endocrine and circulatory systems

The endocrine system composed of glands (hypothalamus, pituitary, and thyroid), pancreas, kidney, ovaries (female only), testes (male only), adrenal, parathyroid, pineal body and brain secrete hormones directly into the circulatory system to be carried in the bloodstream towards appropriate tissues.

Cardiovascular system

The heart counts on the arteries through which it pumps out the blood in the blood vessels. The lungs supply the blood oxygen and the guts nutrients which the blood carries to all cells in the body.

The cardiovascular system also relies on the blood to remove waste products from the cells; then tissues and the kidneys excrete them as urine and the lungs as carbon dioxide. The heart bets on the veins to carry deoxygenated blood to it. (It is interesting to note that the whole circuit lasts only about one minute.)

Respiratory system

Human respiration turns to muscle reflex that makes the diaphragm and internal intercostal muscles to contract. As volume increases in the chest cavity, the air pressure inside it drops. Air then rushes in through the nose, down the trachea, and into the lungs, making the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide to take place.

Lymphatic and circulatory systems

Lymph vessels, lymph nodes, and its lymphoid organs (the spleen and the tonsils) remove excess fluid from the body’s tissues and return it to the circulatory system. (Note that this helps to fight infection.)

Digestive and urinary systems

The mouth is the beginning of the digestive tract. As one goes down, one finds the salivary glands, epiglottis, oesophagus, liver, stomach, gall-bladder, pancreas, small intestine, large intestine, appendix, rectum, and the anus.

In the mouth one finds the teeth which take care of biting and chewing and the tongue which shapes food into a readily swallowed bolus.

The windpipe depends on the epiglottis, a flap of cartilage at the root of the tongue, to become depressed during swallowing and cover it.

Apart from the mouth, the digestive tract includes the oesophagus (which links the throat to the stomach), stomach, small and large intestines (the lower parts of the alimentary canal from the end of the stomach to the anus), rectum (the final excretory opening at the end of the alimentary canal).

Through a system of ducts, the digestive tract is connected to the salivary glands (which secrete liquid into the mouth to ensure lubrication, aid chewing and swallowing, and facilitate digestion), the gall bladder (which stores bile after it is secreted by the liver and before it is released into the intestine) and the pancreas (which provides bile and enzymes to aid digestion), and to the liver, which help to metabolize food products into a form that can be stored, for example, as fat and proteins. In the large intestine, undigested food is solidified into faeces which will be excreted via the anus.

Urinary system

The kidneys filter blood to form urine by which waste products will be excreted. Ureters carry the urine to the bladder which stores it for discharge. For this to happen, the bladder contracts, the bladder and urethral outlets (sphincters) relax, and the urine is expelled. (Note that a woman’s bladder is smaller and lower in the pelvis than a man’s, and her urethra is about one-fifth the length of a man’s.

Reproductive system

The reproductive organs produce sex cells (ova in the female’s ovaries, spermatozoa in the male’s testes), which ensure fertilization of an ovum through sexual intercourse. Then the uterus (womb) receives the ovum. (This provides a safe environment for the developing foetus during the 9-month gestation period.)

Lesson for humanity

We find that while each of the systems of the body and the various organs have specific roles to play in the body, they don’t work in isolation. When a system or organ finishes its work, it relies on the others to continue from where it left off. This also depends on others to carry on the work. This interdependence helps the body to work in perfect harmony and assure its survival.

Is there a lesson here for families, people, communities, nations, and continents to learn to cooperate with each other for the good of the world? Your answer is as good as mine.

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How to Summarize and Paraphrase For Academic Writing

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Do you know how to summarize your writing and paraphrase your content? In academic writing, summarizing and paraphrasing are very essential skills. With majority of college writing essays geared towards providing a point, you will very likely need to depend on a lot of source material to effectively argument your case.

First, a bit of refresher:

  • Summarizing is all about reducing a material down to its most important points, often bringing it down to roughly a third or less of the original source.
  • Paraphrasing, on the other hand, is about restating a passage in your own words, often as an alternative to using a direct quotation.

In the case of your college essays, you will employ both techniques to integrate evidence from previous writing into your own work. If you're struggling to put together either type, the following advice might help.


  • Scan the text.
  • Locate and highlight the main points. A good first place to look for are the topic sentences on each paragraph.
  • Rewrite the material using the main points you found, setting aside evidence and examples.


  • Review the source text.
  • Rewrite it in your own words.
  • Use reporting verbs and phrases to show attribution.
  • Put unique and author-driven phrases in quotes.

Like other parts of your essays, summaries and paraphrases are best done with the help of a competent writing software. While the thoughts you will express in them are not original, the words you will be using are and they'll be best served with a dose of polish from such a tool.

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Writing Tip – Verbs of Utterance

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Josie shook her head, “It will never work.”

“I can’t believe that actually worked,” Ben chuckled.

Miss Gilmore woke them with a shout, “It’s time to get up!”

“What the heck is a verb of utterance?” Maria asked.

In the sentences above, the phrase “Maria asked” would often be referred to as a tag. The phrases “Josie shook her head” and “Ben chuckled” might be referred to as tags, but they should also be referred to as wrong. More precisely, the phrases themselves are fine, but the punctuation setting off those phrases needs fixing. You may see the reason immediately, but such misunderstanding of verbs of utterance in dialogue is probably among the top three mistakes I see in work by new fiction writers–and often by established authors, too.

Sure, I’m talking (in most cases) about the difference between a comma and a period. If you squint you’ve fixed it. But how many times have I said that an aura of professionalism can be the difference, for agents and editors, between wanting to work with you and considering you an amateur? And this is one of those massively easy-to-fix commonplace writing mistakes that can, if peppered throughout a manuscript, scream “amateur.”

Dialogue tags in general should be used with caution; it’s painful to read a long passage of staccato dialogue between two characters in which every quotation mark is followed by “said” or “asked.” Try to use them only when necessary to make the speaker’s identity clear or when they serve a meaningful purpose, in which case “said” and “asked” should rarely appear, unless they’re followed by an adverb you cannot live without (I said emphatically).

When using tags, think as carefully about them as you do the words between the quotation marks. A lot of verbs shouldn’t be used as verbs of utterance, but that doesn’t mean you have a tiny selection to choose from. A character can shout, whisper, bellow, spit, or mutter a sentence… but they can’t chuckle a sentence. (See example two above.) Use that simple test if you’re unsure.

As always, gray areas exist. I say you can’t “chuckle” a sentence, but some perfectly fine writers might get all stubborn on me and insist you can. Another test is simply to look in your dictionary and see if the verb is transitive or intransitive (i.e., whether it takes a direct object or not). Webster’s says “chuckle” is intransitive, so I’m right. Ha ha. Then again, Webster’s says “giggle” can be transitive and, specifically, is a verb of utterance. Why can I giggle a sentence but not chuckle a sentence? No explanation.

But I’m talking mainly about more straightforward examples, such as the first and third ones above. Your character definitely can’t shake her head a sentence. And in the third example, “woke” is the verb and “shout” is a noun. Miss Gilmore didn’t wake her words, she woke people. Scan your manuscript and I guarantee you’ll change at least a few commas to periods, and you will then come across as a more polished, professional writer.

If you want to play around with the language and have your character chuckle a comment, go for it. The grammar police may or may not catch you. But always be aware of how you’re using tags–most writers are so focused on the dialogue itself that they get lazy after that end quote. Think before you ink (hey, I like that) and know why you’re putting that word and that punctuation on the page.

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Communication Skills – 2 – Clarifying

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What we HEAR is not always what’s being said. What we SAY is not always what we mean. No wonder misunderstandings occur in our communication with people!

Quite often when we ‘hear’ what other people are saying we do so through our own insecurity, experiences, values, etc. This distorts what we’re hearing.

When we communicate with others, what we say is often not very clear. We use all kinds of routes around the subject rather than stating exactly what it is we mean. (It is possible to do this without engaging in confrontation!)

So – when someone is telling you something that’s important (to them) try repeating back to the person what you THINK they’ve said. This has three purposes; it let’s the other person know you’ve listened to what they’ve said; it lets you both know you have the same understanding about what has been said – or if there is a mis-understanding or mis-interpretation, you have the chance to correct it; it helps the other person to really hear it. Words or comments always sound different and have more impact when they are repeated to you (or said out loud to yourself) so it helps you to really hear the message.

Now let’s look at a scenario:

Person 1:

I’m so fed up with the arguments. There’s such an atmosphere – when you walk into the office you can cut it with a knife! I’ve started dreading going to work and on some mornings when I’m getting ready, I actually start feeling sick. She doesn’t seem to be affected by it at all but I just don’t enjoy my job any more.

Person 2:

So you’re finding it difficult to go to work because of this woman’s behaviour, and it sounds like you’re thinking about leaving?

Person 1:

No – that’s just it! I used to love my job and I still love the work. It’s just her that I’m finding difficult. What I want is for her to behave differently.

In this instance, while Person 1 seemed to be saying that she wanted to leave her job, in fact what she was saying that she wanted the situation in the office to change, so that she could once again enjoy her work.

The response by person 2 to these two situations would be quite different.

Sometimes the conversation is about something with which we are more directly affected, and this brings in even more emotional reactions.

Person 1: I know I don’t help much with the children but I’m at work all day. It’s such a rush in the mornings and by evening time I’m tired and there’s usually only about an hour before they go to bed. What you forget is that although my work isn’t physical it is very stressful! I usually spend part of the week-end doing jobs around the house or gardening and shopping with you, and I also play with the children as much as I can.

Person 2: So you don’t think my job looking after the children and the home is as difficult as yours and I shouldn’t complain?

Person 1: No – I’m not saying that, I think it is a difficult job which you do extremely well. What I’m trying to tell you is why I feel I can’t do much more.

Person 2: But you do think I’m being unfair to say you don’t spend enough time with the children?

While clarifying doesn’t actually sort out the problem, it does help to ensure that both parties have the same understanding about what the problem is. It also gives each the opportunity to agree or amend their understanding, and in this way enables them to move forward towards a resolution.

The difficulty is that when we hear something negative its human nature to take this as a criticism. This immediately puts us on the defensive and/or we start fighting back before really having a full understanding of the issue being presented to us.


When next someone is sharing something with you, or telling you how they feel about something, repeat it back (using your words not theirs) to ensure you’ve understood.

Note how sometimes you have misunderstood and try to work out why. For example, did you make an assumption? Did you put yourself in the other person’s shoes and think how you’d feel? Did you feel defensive?

Also note how sometimes the other person doesn’t express themselves clearly, perhaps because they’re not clear about what the real issue is.

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B2B 2015: The Future Role of Telcos in ICT Markets

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ICT industry has been observing new trends on a continuous basis which are primarily an outcome of fusion of IT and telecoms. All this has been influencing the B2B operations. Telecos are required to deeply analyze the market and the ongoing trends to aptly utilize their growth and revenue potential.

Businesses to business communications are very essential in today’s competitive times. Consistent evolution is constantly altering the current working process and is also shaping the future face of industries. Every year demands for meticulous planning and well defined strategies to assist an organization in achieving the set goals and simultaneously stand tall in the market.

Convergence of telecommunication and IT has faded the differences that were once very evident between the two industries. The current scenario is such that many telcos are looking beyond the basic data and voice services and have begun retailing IT services by using their current IT assets. Many telcos have hold on IT companies that enables them to fuel growth in IT services. Industry witnessed many mergers in the past, for instance KPN’s merger with Getronics and the recent NTT’s hold over Dimension Data. Markets trends are no different and have various examples such as association of Telmax and Hildebrando and Indonesia’s merger with IT player Sigma. The convergence in not proceeding in single direction, but is multi directional, as many IT services for instance cloud services are becoming dependent on communication gadgets.

More and more companies are engaging Chief information officer (CIO) to take decisions related to both IT and telecoms. The emerging trend has consolidated the services and telecom and IT suppliers. CIOs are required to gather detailed information about the services and should clearly determine the fading differences between mobile and fixed telecoms, data and voice or IT and telecoms.

Emerging Markets – B2B Growth Engines

B2B growth is approaching the emerging markets to explore new opportunities to generate more revenue. High growth rate is the reason why telcos are planning to become credible ICT players. Convergence of IT and telecom is expected to widen the scope of B2B, owing to which the future will observe B2B growth rates exceeding B2C rates. IT services can well assist telecom industry, but they come attached with smaller margins. If we compare EBITDA margins for telecom services one will find out that they can increase by 35 to 40 %, while EBITDA margins for IT services will be as low as 5 to 25 %. EBIT is lucrative in regard to IT services and the lower capex requirements as compared to telecoms. If we shift our focus to EBIT margins then we will observe that the margin for IT services is approximately between 5 to 10 percent, whereas for ICT services it lies between 10 to 20%. It is required by telcos to meticulously examine the margin prospects and resources to receive key benefits that are more profound than their counterparts.

Experience High Growth Rates

The growth trajectory of ICT has observed a sharp rise in the current market analysis graph. Recent surveys have reflected that customers always look forward to adopt new technology and services for better outcomes and performance. Advanced ICT services are expected to play a vital role in shaping the growth and revenue chart.

Open Market Structure

Market structures and potential to rise is more in emerging economies than in the developed ones. Emerging markets are highly fragmented and are equipped with a defined range of services available. The open market structure is more favorable for the ICT as there are more opportunities and fewer conflicts to deal with. Early market development stage has a disadvantage that only a few companies can achieve the growth.

Six B2B Trends and their Telco Implications

To better analyze the equation between B2B growth and telcos McKinsey initiated a survey to throw light on various aspects involved. Increase in internet dependent connectivity is expected to boost the growth rate by 33% per year for multiple services where telcos have an edge. Switching to IP will come attached with its own set of implications as it demands meticulously crafted network design and skills to work with IP based products. This situation often leads to some degree of customization so that it can work well with ICT systems. Software capabilities are also expected to take new forms and will be less chaotic and wired and more programming oriented. Transition from traditional Telcos to IP solutions will require careful management. Growth rate of around 20% is expected in cross platform integration and unified communications. Trending examples of these services comprises applications, desktop video conferencing that are supported by various devices such as smartphones, tablets and PC’s. 

Investment in cloud infrastructure has been experiencing an upsurge of around 30% each year. Cloud computing basically emphasizes on three key services that are together recognized as “X” as a service-XaaS. It offers applications to customers that assist them in data storage, computing power and infrastructure management. Virtual private cloud offers an enterprise to make use of secure private space on shared infrastructure. Researchers expect that virtual private networks will add more to the revenue and will be adopted by many in coming years.

Mobile Services Latest Trend

Next generation mobile services include machine to machine (M2M) applications that offer tremendous potential to B2B services to grow. M2M comprises smart metering, vehicle asset tracking and remote heath services. Telecom service providers can take benefit of their large customer base and widely spread area of operations to achieve high growth rate. Telecoms need to collaborate with latest innovations in the industry to actively participate and contribute in the growth of enterprises.

Consider Customerization

Customerizartion is integration of devices of customers, businesses and markets. The demand for dynamic devices is raising and has been adding new trends in the sector with more and more devices getting employed by IT teams. 

Future Prospects of B2B

Wide scope to explore and infinite strategy options will assist of B2B segment in reaching a wider client base. Telcos should focus on escalating their capabilities and performance. Shifting to ICT comes with its own set of risks and challenges. To overcome these challenges telcos needs to improvise and improve their technical, operational, and commercial capabilities. Sales team also requires bucking up their potential and delivering according to the needs of their customers.       

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Interesting Facts About Europe’s Sports

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Did you know…

Stella Walsh -Olympic champion- was not a sportswoman. Five decades later, an autopsy confirmed that Stella was a hermaphrodite. Under the flag of Poland, Stella (or Stanislawa Walasiewicz) won a gold medal in the women’s 100m at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles (USA). In the 1920s and 1930s, she lived and trained in Cleveland (Ohio, USA), but competed for Poland.Walsh won more than 1,000 championships (100m, 200m, 4x100m, 80m hurdles, long jump, discus throw, shot put, javelin throw). For many decades , Stella was compared to Mildred “Babe” Didrickson and Francina “Fanny” Elsje Blankers-Koen , two of the most famous sportswomen of the 20th century.

Laura Flessel-Colovic ( France ) was one of the best fencers in the early 2000s. At the 1996 Olympics, she won two gold medals. Laura was born in Guadeloupe, an island in the Caribbean. Bruce Crumley, who is a journalist, wrote: “For someone who lunges to glory swathed in a get-up resembling a bee-keeper’s outfit, French fencer Laura Flessel-Colovic has had no problem establishing herself as one of France’s most chic and photogenic sports personalities. Since first grabbing attention with a pair of gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, she has wowed sports fans with graceful and tenacious swordswomanship, adding three world championship titles to a list of international laurels. Away from her foils, the stunning 29-year-old has enhanced her celebrity status with flourishes of wit and charm that have made her a star with a larger French public that doesn’t know an eppe from its elbow…”

Holland is the birthplace of Inge de Brujin, one of the greatest female swimmers of the 21st century.

The Federal Republic of Germany has never won an Olympic medal in basketball.

Water Polo is one of the most popular sports in Hungary. At the 1974 European Championship, Hungary finished 1st and earning a place at the FINA World Cup. At the1975 FINA World Championship, it won the silver medal.

The Portuguese Republic has many foreign-born sportspersons: Nelson Evora ( triple jump , long jump / world champion / Cape Verde-Africa ), Michel de Sousa Fernades Alcobia de almeida ( judo / Angola-Africa ), Francis Obikwelu ( 100m, 200m, 4x100m / Nigeria-Africa ), Enezaide do Rosario da Vera Cruz Gomez ( long jump / Sao Tome & Principe-Africa ), Helder Ornelas ( 1,500m, 5,000m, 10,000m, marathon / Angola-Africa ), Lucrecia Jardim ( 100m, 200m, 4x100m / Angola-Africa ), Yazaldes Nascimento ( 100m, 200m, 4x100m / Sao Tome & Principe-Africa ), Mario Silva ( 1,500m / Guinea Bissau-Africa ), Jose Luis da Cruz Vidigal ( football / Angola-Africa ), Joao Gomes ( fencing / Cape Verde-Africa ), Jose Bosingwa da Silva ( soccer / Democratic Republic of the Congo ), Luis Carlos Lourenco da Silva ( soccer / Angola-Africa ).

Sweden won the Handball World Cup in 1958.

Football and athletics are two of the most popular sports in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Robert Tisdall ( Ireland ) won the gold medal in the 400m hurdles at the 1932 Summer Olympics in the United States.

Yugoslavia -currently Serbia- won the first Olympic medal gold medal of its history in men’s basketball in Moscow ’80. In I974, Yugoslavia was second place in the World Championship in San Juan de Puerto Rico. Two years later, the team won the silver medal at the 1976 Olympic Games in Canada.

Sofia (Bulgaria) hosted the FIVB Men’s World Cup in 1970. Final standings:

1.German Democratic Republic ( currently Germany )



4.Czechoslovakia ( currently Czech Republic / Slovak Republic )


6.USSR ( currently Russia )



9.North Korea

10.Yugoslavia ( currently Serbia )




14.Holland / Netherlands











Bulgaria has had many famous sportswomen in the 20th century: Ekaterina Dofovska ( biathlon / Olympic champion, 1998), Jordanka Donkova ( athletics / Olympic champion, 1988 ), Stefka Kostandinova ( athletics / Olympic champion, 1996 ), Ivanka Khristova ( track & field / Olympic gold medalist, 1976 ), Tania Dangalakova ( swimming / Olympic gold medalist, 1988 ).

Great Britain won the gold medal in ice hockey in the Winter Olympics in 1936.

Bosnia & Herzegovina – it is about 2 times the size of Vermont- has never won an Olympic medal.

The Kingdom of Spain has many Olympic champions: Juan Llaneras ( individual points race / cycling ), Fermin Cacho Ruiz ( 1,500m / track & field ), Daniel Plaza Montero ( 20-kilometer walk / athletics ), Martin Lopez-Zubero (200-meter backstroke / aquatics ), Gervasio Deferr ( vault / gymnastics ), Isabel Fernandez ( lightweight 57 kg / judo ), Francisco Fernandez Ochoa ( slalom / alpine skiing ), Miguel Indurain ( individual time trial / cycling ).

The Swiss Confederation sent 27 sportswomen to the 1984 Summer Olympics.

The Most Serene Republic of San Marino -it is one of the world’s oldest republics- has never won an Olympic medal.

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Letter Writing: Confrontational Letter Writing – 12 Tips

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A confrontational letter is a letter that confronts a situation, a problem or dispute. It seeks a specific objective from the recipient that will not usually be granted without resistance.

The writer wants a certain objective and the recipient of the letter will not grant that objective unless convincingly persuaded that he should.

Here are some tips as to how to effectively structure a ‘confrontational letter:’

1. Appearance is very important. The letter must be a hard copy and appear impressive and professional. You must use good quality paper and have the letter printed using a good printer on a professional appearing letterhead.

Emails do not project the impressive image that is truly effective.

Emails are unimpressive and these days a hard copy is becoming more and more rare. For that reason the appearance of an impressive appearing hard copy letter signifies that the letter is a serious letter and written by a writer deserving serious consideration. An impressive hard copy letter stands out from the crowd.

Have you ever noticed how much more respect a man in a well-tailored suit receives? The same principle applies and the physical appearance of the letter is very important and must project the writer as a serious, refined, educated individual.

Behind that projected image is implied the fact that the writer has the ability and wherewithal to take the matter further – i.e. to superiors of the recipient and/or to authorities that oversees the conduct of the recipient and his organization.

The serious and impressive appearance of the letter projects the clear understanding that the writer is the type of individual who may subsequently refer the matter to a lawyer for further action if the request for relief is denied.

What must also be borne in mind is the mindset of the recipient of a confrontational letter. That is to say, the greatest fear of a recipient of a confrontational letter is that his decision not to grant your request may be overruled by his superiors.

Therefore, if the recipient has received an impressive looking letter that is persuasively written this basic fear of being overruled will weigh very heavily on his mind. He may grant the request out of fear that the letter looks like ‘trouble’ both in appearance and content. He may therefore decide to quickly grant the request and close the file. The recipient will save negative responses for letters who do not appear to be ‘trouble.’ I personally have experienced this situation many times and that is why I place particular emphasis upon the physical appearance of the letter.

A professionally appearing letterhead can be easily created by a word processor. I recommend a border around the page and that the paragraphs be justified on both sides to give the letter a distinctly professional appearance. If you have a degree or some sort of designation include it on your letterhead.

I am not suggesting that if you have a weak argument that an impressive looking letter will in itself be effective. However what I am suggesting is that an impressive letter, in every sense, shall likely ensure that the persuasive argument contained within that letter gets the serious attention and careful treatment it deserves. And that objective is more than half the battle!

2. The letter must be well-researched and well-organized. If there is background and supporting information that must be conveyed to the recipient then that information must be included, accurate and complete. In order to keep the letter itself to a minimum consideration should be given to putting supporting information in an attached appendix to the letter.

The package put in front of the recipient must be total so that the reader does not have to secure other records in order to confirm or understand the situation correctly. This too is the mark of a professional and will have a positive impact upon the recipient. The recipient will feel that he is dealing with a professional who has his act together and that feeling shall increase his concern.

3. The letter must be entirely professional in tone and content and must project a distinct tone of civility and respectfulness. To deviate from this standard gives the recipient an excuse to place the request into the category of an unreasonable request. After a request has been characterized as ‘unreasonable – whether justified or unjustified – it is very difficult to rehabilitate that request.

4. If there are facts that have to be stated make sure that they are stated clearly and in short paragraphs of one or two sentences at the beginning of the letter. Short sentences and paragraphs are easier to read and the information contained is easier to digest. You want to make your factual case very clear and consideration should be given to numbering these paragraphs so that the recipient may easily refer to them by number.

5. State the request as briefly as possible and give justification for why the recipient should grant the request. Make your argument as short and simple as possible. Your letter should be as brief as possible because if you digress and add more detail you may put something in that an unscrupulous recipient may seize upon to unfairly deny your request. The touchstone – make things as clear and simple as possible.

6. End the letter in an up-beat manner. Indicate that you hope that the reader recognizes the merits of your position and invite him to respond if anything is unclear. I find the following sentence particularly effective: ‘If you are unable to agree to my request or if I am in error on any of the facts or, on any other aspect of the case I have outlined, please specifically advise.’

If the recipient gives you a detailed explanation as to why he is refusing your request it shall be your road map to further attempts to persuade him that he should agree to your request. It may also put him on the spot in a close case when his response is inappropriate and may be reviewed by a superior.

If the recipient does not give you a detailed explanation as to why he is refusing your request then that fact can be seized upon to suggest in a subsequent letter that the recipient is not being reasonable in considering your request.

7. Never refer to your ‘request’ as a ‘demand’. It should be respectfully framed as a ‘request’.

8. Always end the letter with ‘Respectfully Yours’.

That ‘respectful’ ending further and emphatically confirms that the letter has been respectfully submitted which is crucial.

If the recipient responds in a disrespectful or less than respectful professional manner then the contrast between his approach and your approach stands in stark contrast. This fact will be to your advantage when the letter and the entire situation is reviewed by someone else… i.e. someone in authority to the first responder, a regulator, another interested third party, etc.

Many of these confrontational situations are won only narrowly and can easily go one way or the other. The fact that your letter(s) is reasonable and respectful may be the crucial difference. I have seldom seen a disrespectful, unreasonable letter secure its objective. It is much more difficult to deny a request in a polite, respectful well-written letter.

9. Do not end the letter with a ‘cc’ to the regulator or any other third party that may stand as an authority to the recipient. It is completely inappropriate, unprofessional and the mark of an amateur.

Reference to a third party may be appropriate at a later stage but the first letter should stand entirely on its own and the recipient should not be made to feel that he has a gun to his head.

The recipient well knows that you may appeal to a higher authority and does not have to be reminded. Most first responders are very sensitive to this issue and so why antagonize him by waving that threat in his face? Do you really want to antagonize the person whom you are trying to convince?

10. A demand in the letter that there be a response within a specific time frame is completely inappropriate and unnecessarily irritating to the recipient and should not be inserted within your first letter.

True professionals fully understood that a timely response should always be provided and some responders take the request for a quick response as an indication of desperation or impatience and a weakness to exploit. For that reason many first responders will purposely delay their response in order to exasperate the writer and perhaps provoke an intemperate letter which is usually always to the recipient’s advantage.

Forget about asking for a quick or timely response – you have no control over that fact so why mention it?

In fact a tardy response can be a plus in your favor at a subsequent stage. A slow response can look bad when reviewed later and will tend to indicate that perhaps the recipient to your letter is being unreasonable, unnecessarily dragging his feet and acting inappropriately.

11. Make sure that there is nothing in your letter that can be criticized. Do not allow your anger to show through. Remember at some point your this letter is very likely to be reviewed by others and it should be completely beyond reproach. An understandable temperate expression of exasperation may be in order to prove a point but not anything more.

12. If you have the luxury of time then sleep on the letter and come back to it when you are fresh.

It is amazing what a fresh set of eyes can see and it also amazing what other points may occur to you as you go about your regular schedule.

Review the letter critically and tweak it so that it is as concise as possible and flows smoothly. Remember the key to good writing is ‘re-writing’.

If possible get a friend who has good judgment and good writing skills to review it. A good second opinion together with constructive criticism can be invaluable.

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Source by Richard F Vero

How to Create a Strong Profile (On Freelance Exchange Websites Like PeoplePerHour, Guru, Etc)

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Many freelance Web content writers are wonderfully talented but struggle to find a continuous stream of paid work. Often this can be because they market their skills in a haphazard way, without working to a strategy.

Establishing an online presence is an essential part of such a strategy. By positioning yourself online as a go-to Web content writer you’ll gradually forge a reputation as an expert in your field and get steady work as a result.

Uploading a profile (short biog) and portfolio (samples of your writing) onto freelance work exchange websites, such as, Guru, Elance and iFreelance, can be powerful additions to your online presence. Companies worldwide post paid writing jobs on these sites that writers can then make a bid for.

This article will explain how to create your profile: what to include, what to leave out, and how to set yourself apart – to increase your prospects of having paid writing projects ‘on tap’, all-year-round. Imagine that!

Preparing to Write Your Profile – Take a Step Back First

– Don’t just register with the site, log in and start typing up your profile and uploading your portfolio samples. Take some time to think it all through first.

– Grab a pad and pen, and brainstorm ideas. Mindmap it. Take as long as you need. Think about the services you offer, your strengths, what makes you different…

– To get ideas (but without copying) read other writers’ profiles. What do they say about their skills, experience, payment terms, etc? Read through half-a-dozen profiles and make rough notes. Not only will this give you ideas, it will also help you get more of a feel for the sites.

– Now start typing up a rough first draft of your profile in Microsoft Word. (Write two or three drafts and then print the document and let it ‘rest’ for a few days. Then read it again with a fresh eye and make any necessary edits)

Writing Your Profile – Techniques to Use

– Go for short sentences and a simple writing style. Remember, you’re selling writing, so the way your profile is written will be potential clients’ first impression of your writing standard and style. 

– Keep it honest. Don’t oversell or overclaim.

– Keep it positive. Don’t say what you can’t do. Focus only on what you can.

– Adopt a customer-focused mindset. Don’t ramble on and don’t just brag about what a great writer you are. Instead talk enthusiastically about what your writing can help clients achieve, how it could benefit them… think YOU YOU YOU.

– Set yourself apart somehow. There are thousands of writers worldwide. What makes you different? Is your writing witty? Are you cheaper than the rest? Are you vastly experienced? Are you a niche writer who specialises in writing about travel? Whatever separates you from the rest, focus on that and include it early on in your profile. You could even include it in your profile headline. You never know, if it’s there in big bold letters you might just snag the attention of a potential client who is looking for someone exactly like you.

More Tips and Tricks

– Choose an eye-catching image. Rather than just using a headshot, how about going for something more original instead? As a tip, think about using an image that corresponds with your USP. If you’re saying you deliver brilliant writing, FAST, how about using an image of a cheetah or an Olympic sprinter? You get the gist!

– List the main services you offer near the top of your profile. If a potential client reads your profile quickly, they will find the vital info quickly, and hopefully your skills will match their project. As you mention a skill, point the reader to a strong example of it in your portfolio on the site.

– Assume nothing. Don’t just put ‘SEO’, write it out in full (search engine optimisation), and explain briefly what it is. 

– List sectors and industries you have written for.

– State how many years of experience you have.

– Tell clients you can meet deadlines, and will give them a timeline.

– Include genuine testimonials (ones that state how your writing has actually benefited clients, rather than just saying how great the writing was you did for them).

– Explain how you would go about a project (research approach, briefing process, number of drafts…)

– Include your payment terms (ask for 50% of your fee upfront, perhaps?)

– BEWARE of including personal contact info as this could get you removed from the site.

– Offer an extra incentive: “I will write 10 articles or blog posts for the price of 9!” Or how about offering to proofread the client’s website for free (as a bonus freebie) once they’ve given you a paid writing job?


– Overall, strive to make an emotional connection: Be positive, friendly, human and accessible. Project yourself not as a writing machine, but as a living and breathing person – someone others would want to know, to be involved with (on a business footing), both in the short and long-term. Taking this approach will give your profile a heart and soul and will give you an edge over other writers who simply craft their profile in the form of an anonymous (and forgettable) list. 

Good luck!

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Makler Heidelberg

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Source by Lee Enefer