Yesterday was a bit of a red-letter day. It was my husband’s birthday (and he thanks you kindly for all the good wishes, both here as well as on Twitter), which is a pretty big deal in and of itself.

Over and above that, though, IABC/DC Metro (y’all know I’m current president, right? Disclosure and all…) hosted a very special event: a three-hour writing workshop, sponsored by Johns Hopkins University (additional disclosure, I teach there) and Marketwire, with the renowned Ann Wylie, who promised to teach us all to “Think Like A Reader” and “Cut Through The Clutter.”

I’ve been a fan of Ann’s writing and teaching for years, but this was the first time I got to meet her in person.

Quite frankly: she’s amazing. She’s friendly, down-to-earth and has a fabulous dress style (and her hair is pretty fabulous as well).

As you may have seen, I live-tweeted a fair amount of her workshop (with Ann’s permission). There were so many nuggets that it’s tough for me to give you all of them, but here are a few:

  • “Irrelevant information is not benign; it hurts. It costs attention, and that’s one thing no one can afford to spill.”
  • “Would you put a stamp on it?” That’s a good rule of thumb to help you decide whether to send a communication or not.
  • The definition of a paragraph: cover one idea, and then hit “return.” So think about packaging your information into smaller ideas.
  • “Go from we to you. Stop talking about yourself. ‘You’ is the most re-tweeted word in English.”

If you haven’t already, you should definitely sign up for Ann’s writing tips via her free e-zine or, better yet, Revving Up Readership. And no, she didn’t ask me to say that; I really think you should.

Here are a few more tips from the master. I’d say “mistress,” but somehow that doesn’t feel right…