Chance or Opportunity? You decide

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Maybe I'm just getting grumpier with age, but these days I tend to mentally edit a lot of what I read in newspapers, magazines and online. One of my main causes to get out the mental red pencil is the use of the word "chance" when the writer was really describing an "opportunity". What's the difference? I was taught back in communication school there's quite a lot of difference between the words, although both may mean similar things. Let's a have a look at the meanings of both. Dictionary.com offers the following meanings, among others, for chance: –noun 1. the absence of any cause of events that can be predicted, understood, or controlled: often personified or treated as a positive agency: Chance governs all. 2. luck or fortune: a game of chance. 3. a possibility or probability of anything happening: a fifty-percent chance of success. 4. an opportune or favorable time; opportunity: Now is your chance. And it says this about opportunity: –noun, plural -ties. 1. an appropriate or favorable time or occasion: Their meeting afforded an opportunity to exchange views. 2. a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal. 3. a good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success. You can see areas where both words overlap (ie meaning 4 of chance is similar but slightly different to meaning 1 of opportunity), but let's look at using them in context. One of my clients is Ryde Business Forum, and I organise many events for this association. In the invitations I write, I offer members and guests the opportunity to hear a keynote speaker, not the chance. Chance suggests a gamble in what the visitors might get out of the occasion - it could be good or it could be rubbish; opportunity suggests they're going to hear something to their advantage. If I'm organising a charity auction, I advertise that bidders have the opportunity to win the object of their desire - this isn't a game of chance, they have to put the highest bid in to be successful. If I'm organising a charity raffle, then ticket buyers are told they have a chance of winning as they don't, unlike an auction, have any say over the outcome. If you are writing a media release, copy for your website, an invitation to an event or other promotional material, think carefully before using chance or opportunity to make sure you're using the correct word for the situation. It does make a difference to the way your readers will perceive you and your chosen topic. If you're confused about which word to use, drop me a line on the contact form you'll find on this website!

Websites: Ryde Business Forum

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Ryde Business ForumWe work with quite a few not-for-profit organisations to give them a smart presence on the web. This is Ryde Business Forum's site - RBF is the umbrella Chamber of Commerce for the Ryde area and the site is updated on almost a daily basis. Sabrina Ferguson is responsible for co-designing the site with Martin Sekel of Street View HQ and she maintains the site. Apart from external articles sent in to RBF for the news page, she writes all copy for the site and provides nearly all photographs. Visit the website.

Tell the world without it costing the earth

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We work with a lot of small businesses, and we know how hard it can be financially to market your business. If you don’t have a website, you’re not in the game. You need professional-looking brochures and flyers people can download. You need to be found by search engines. Doing all this yourself takes time, and as we know, time is money, especially when you’re running your own business. But most website and marketing companies charge a bomb, right?

Arion Productions is a business communications company – that means we help you with all aspects of communicating what you do to the big wide world. You can use as little or as much of our service portfolio as you wish. Whether you simply want a brochure designed to an existing look and feel, or a whole new identity for your company including a website, we can do it. We can even take photographs for you.

Importantly, we can help you write compelling copy for your marketing materials and media releases, so your company has a professional identity.

Best of all, this service doesn’t cost the earth. Contact us to find out more.

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Need words? Ask us!

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We offer copywriting and copyediting facilities for websites, reports, newsletters, books, advertisements, eBay listings or anything else you want written well.

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