Home > Standards > Style Guide > Communications


Last updated Jan. 30, 2019.

IFMA’s writing style is based on the guidelines set forth by the Associated Press Stylebook. This guide offers highlights as well as frequently used and IFMA-centric terms. Examples are in italics.

In this section:


The IFMA voice is direct and engaging. We prioritize clarity and connection. Our tone strikes a balance between approachable and professional. Our language is customer-centric — we show how we meet user needs rather than simply talk about our products.

​Best practices

  • Use active language where possible
  • Be concise
  • Avoid jargon
  • Use contractions ​as needed
  • Use punctuation thoughtfully (limit use of exclamation points; never use more than one exclamation point at the end of a sentence)
  • Speak about IFMA as an organization in first person (we/us/our)
  • Avoid all caps within body text
  • Spell out/explain what acronyms stand for on first use


A consistent writing style is essential ​for message clarity and serves to solidify the tone and voice of IFMA.

Academic degrees

Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree, a master’s, etc., but there is no possessive in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science. Also: associate degree (no possessive). Use periods when abbreviating academic degrees (B.A., M.S., etc.).


Spell out on first reference; you may use acronyms on subsequent references (e.g., Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a popular topic relating to sustainability. There has been vast IAQ research.). If you use a term only once within a given piece, do not reference the acronym.


The Built Environment Technology Association (BETA) is a separate organization from IFMA (launched in 2017 with ​support from IFMA members and staff). (smartbeta.tech)


IFMA accepts payment in USD – list as US$xx.xx (never USD$xx.xx, which is redundant). Other common currency examples: Canadian dollars (CAD) – CA$xx.xx. Australian dollars (AUD) – AU$xx.xx. British pounds (GBP) – £xx.xx. Euros (EUR) – €xx.xx. Always indicate currency type. When you list a currency several times within a single document, you may use a global note. All prices listed in USD.

Date and time


  • Do not use st, nd, rd or th with dates; use numerals.
  • Spell out the month unless it is used with a date. When used with a date, abbreviate only the following months: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. She was born on Dec. 9, 1977. The event ​is in August.
  • For events occurring outside the U.S., use European-style dates when speaking specifically to non-U.S. audiences. We're hosting a conference in Prague on 31 May 2040.


  • Use figures except for noon and midnight. 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 9-11 a.m., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Avoid redundancies, such as 10 a.m. this morning, 10 p.m. tonight or 10 p.m. Monday night.


I.e. means that is/in other words and is used to clarify meaning. E.g. means for example/such as and is used to offer some of several possible examples. Do not italicize i.e. and e.g. Always place a period after each letter and always put a comma after i.e. and e.g. This year there ​are three keynote speakers (i.e., Plato, Socrates and Oprah). I love all of our IFMA chapters (e.g., IFMA Philadelphia, IFMA San Fernando Valley, etc.).

Facility management

Not facilities management. People who practice facility management are called facility management professionals or facility managers (abbreviated as FM or FMs). Facility management is widely practiced around the world. IFMA offers professional resources for FMs.

Note: You may also refer to the profession itself as FM. It’s not necessary to define the abbreviation FM when writing for IFMA or facility management audiences, but it is necessary when writing for outside audiences who may be unfamiliar with the term.

General punctuation

  • No serial commas, unless they are needed to clarify meaning in compound sentences. It’s important to reduce, reuse and recycle. Session topics included sustainability, technology, and operations and maintenance.
  • Place punctuation that directly follows text in quotation marks within the closing quotation mark, not without. “Welcome,” said Joe Facman.
  • Do not place an apostrophe before “s” if making a word or abbreviation plural (e.g., many FMs, not many FM&rsqursquo;s).
  • Use a single space after a period.
  • Do not use ampersands, except when part of a company name or when necessitated by character limits (e.g., in tweets).


  • Run headlines/main titles in title case. Run subheads in sentence case.
  • Capitalize position titles that appear before a person’s name; lowercase if appearing as additional information after the name (e.g., IFMA President and CEO J​ane Facman or ​Jane Facman, the president of IFMA).


  • When listing hyperlinks in written pieces:

    • Omit http://
    • Use the shortest available version (e.g., www.ifma.org/fmj, not http://www.ifma.org/publications/fmj-magazine)
    • List URLs in all lowercase letters, except when capitalization impacts link functionality (i.e., when using link shorteners)
    • Use a link shortener to represent long URLs
    • Maintain vanity URLs that are used in tracking for specific campaigns


  • Common terms: life cycle, health care, whitepaper, ongoing, well-being
  • No hyphen needed after adverbs ending in -ly (e.g., widely accepted theory, not widely-accepted theory).
  • Em dash (—) indicates change of thought midstream. En dash (–) is used to connect supplementary clarifying information. Hyphen (-) is used to join words or within ranges (date, time, etc.).
  • Place a single space before and after dashes. No spaces before or after hyphens or slashes.


International Facility Management Association® (IFMA is acceptable on subsequent references or in headlines)

Main office:

800 Gessner Road, Suite 900
Houston, Texas 77024 USA

Refer to as the Service Center of Excellence or IFMA headquarters; do not use IFMA national. SCOE is acceptable on subsequent references. When referring to other offices around the world, use IFMA’s [Location] Service Center of Excellence.

  • Spell IFMA in all capital letters without periods or spaces (not I.F.M.A. or Ifma)
  • Do not precede IFMA with “the”
  • Refer to IFMA as an association or organization, not as an institution
  • The possessive is IFMA’s (e.g., IFMA’s Knowledge Library)
IFMA components
  • Use this umbrella term when referring to IFMA’s chapters, councils and communities.
  • Lowercase, except when using the formal title. The Utilities Council of IFMA is hosting the event in conjunction with the Capital Chapter of IFMA. IFMA councils and communities transcend regional boundaries while chapters foster location-based networking.
  • Workplace Evolutionaries® — this community is a registered trademark
IFMA conferences
  • World Workplace® (registered in U.S. and several other countries)
  • World Workplace Europe® (registered in EU)
  • Facility Fusion®
  • IFMA’s World Workplace [region] [year] Conference and Expo on first reference. World Workplace or World Workplace [region] is acceptable on subsequent references. Do not abbreviate as WWP or WW. Note that Workplace is one word (World Work Place is incorrect).
    • Hashtag format for World Workplace: #WWP + [country or region abbreviation] + [2-digit year] (e.g., #WWPAsia17, #WWPEU17, #WWPME17, #WWPIN17, #WWPHou17)


    • North America (U.S.) — Since this is the flagship conference, don’t include North America/U.S. as part of the event name (only list as needed in descriptions). worldworkplace.ifma.org
    • Asia
    • China
    • Europe
    • India
    • Middle East
  • IFMA’s Facility Fusion [region] [year] Conference and Expo on first reference. Facility Fusion or Facility Fusion [region] is acceptable on subsequent references. facilityfusion.ifma.org
  • Hashtag format for Facility Fusion: #IFMAFF + [2-digit year] (e.g., #IFMAFF29)

    Location: U.S.

IFMA Corporate Sustaining Partners

You may use CSPs or partners on subsequent references. CSPs may join IFMA at the standard, silver, gold or platinum levels.

IFMA Foundation (foundation.ifma.org)

Always refer to as the IFMA Foundation. On subsequent references, the foundation is acceptable (do not capitalize).

  • Accredited degree program (ADP) — note that the foundation maintains an online FM Academic Registry which lists ADPs
  • Global workforce initiative (GWI)
  • FM Accreditation Commission (FMAC)

 IFMA professional designations

  • Certified Facility Manager® (CFM®), Sustainability Facility Professional® (SFP®), Facility Management Professional™ (FMP®). Trademark and registered trademark symbols are not necessary on subsequent references.
  • IFMA Facility Management Learning System® (FMLS)
  • Essentials of Facility Management®
  • FMP Credential Program®
  • SFP Credential Program®
  • When listing a person’s credentials, CFM precedes all other designations, except Ph.D. IFMA Fellow should always be listed at the end of all other designations. (E.g., Robert Smith, Ph.D., CFM, SFP, FMP, LEED AP, IFMA Fellow).
  • People can be certified; organizations can be accredited (not vice versa).
  • A certificate is a piece of paper issued for participation, attendance, completion, etc.
  • The FMP and SFP are both certificate programs. The CFM is a certification. Never refer to the FMP or SFP as certifications.
  • Credentials is an umbrella term which you can use to describe both certifications and certificate programs. (Note: Essentials of Facility Management is not a credential).

IFMA publications

  • FMJ® is the name of IFMA’s magazine (never use Facility Management Journal or refer to as a journal). Do not italicize; do not use “the” before the magazine title unless needed based on the word following (e.g., the FMJ article).
  • FMJ Extended: Section at the end of each digital issue containing content that appears in the online version but not the print publication
  • FMJ is distributed every other month: January/February issue (mid-January), March/April issue (mid-March), May/June issue (mid-May), July/August issue (mid-July), September/October (mid-September), November/December (mid-November)
  • IFMA Insider (the Insider is acceptable on subsequent references)
  • Weekly news brief emailed to all IFMA members every Friday
  • Refer to as a news brief (compilation of FM-related news pulled from around the web) rather than a newsletter
  • In addition to the Friday Insider, IFMA distributes four regionally specific Insider briefs each Tuesday to members located in certain areas. The regional Insiders are: IFMA Insider – Northeast Edition, IFMA Insider – West Coast Edition, IFMA Insider – Southern Edition and IFMA Insider – Canada Edition.
  • The WIRE newsletter contains IFMA-related news and updates and we email it to all members every other Thursday.
  • Do not italicize, bold or place within quotation marks publication (magazine, newspaper, whitepaper, etc.) titles. Place individual article titles within quotation marks (e.g., Read “BIM and the Future of FM” as featured in IFMA’s FMJ magazine.).​

IFMA – other products/programs

  • [year] Awards of Excellence (awards.ifma.org)
  • Bookstore – Online area of IFMA website offering purchase of digital research reports  (www.ifma.org/marketplace/bookstore)
  • Engage – Online member discussion forum/document-sharing site (engage.ifma.org)
  • EU FM Coalition – Lobbying body for facility management in the European Union
  • FM Buyer’s Guide – Listing of vendors of FM-related products and services (onlinefmguide.com)
  • FM Research and Benchmarking Institute (research.ifma.org)
  • fm.training – IFMA-RICS education platform; also called the Online Learning Academy (www.fm.training)
  • Global Job Task Analysis (GTJA on subsequent references)
  • IFMA Fellow
  • IFMA-RICS collaboration – The collaboration is acceptable on subsequent references; never use partnership or merger
  • InternNet (www.ifma.org/intern-net)
  • JobNet (jobnet.ifma.org)
  • Knowledge Library (community.ifma.org/knowledge_library)
  • Merchandise – Online store for IFMA-branded items (store.ifma.org)
  • Year in Review: IFMA FY [year] Annual Report (annual report is acceptable on subsequent references)


  • No unnecessary ciphers (e.g., 9 a.m., not 9:00 a.m.).
  • Okay, not O.K.
  • Use lowercase for seasons ​except as part of a formal name. The conference was held in the fall. IFMA’s Fall Symposium was a success.


Spell out whole numbers below 10. Use figures for 10 and above. Always use figures for ages, dimensions and percentages, unless used at the beginning of a sentence. He was 3 years old. She ran four miles; he walked 11. Twenty-six FMs ​participated.

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

  • RICS is acceptable on subsequent references (never R.I.C.S. or Rics; never preceded by “the”)
  • Refer to as an organization, not an institute or an association
  • The possessive is RICS’ not RICS’s
  • Main office is in UK. When referring to other offices around the world, use RICS in America, RICS in South Asia, etc.
  • Use collaboration to describe the relationship between IFMA and RICS
  • www.rics.org

​Tech terms

  • BlackBerry, BlackBerrys
  • download
  • eBay Inc. (use EBay Inc. when at the beginning of a sentence)
  • e-book
  • e-reader
  • email
  • cellphone
  • Facebook
  • Google, Googling, Googled
  • hashtag
  • IM (IMed, IMing; for first reference, use instant message)
  • Internet
  • Internet of Things (IoT on subsequent references)
  • iPad, iPhone, iPod (capitalize 'i' when the word begins a sentence)
  • logon, logoff, login and printout are one word when in noun form, but two in verb form (e.g., I log in to my computer using my login credentials.)
  • LinkedIn
  • listserv
  • multimedia
  • social media
  • smartphone
  • Twitter, tweet, tweeted, retweet
  • website, web page, the web, webmaster
  • Wi-Fi
  • YouTube

That, which, who, whom

That introduces information that distinguishes one thing from another. Which introduces incidental information. Use who when a person is the subject of the sentence; whom when the person is the object. The chapter that won the award was the IFMA Toronto Chapter. ​We measured record attendance at World Workplace, which is the best FM event of the year. There are many people who want to join IFMA. The person to whom she was speaking is Joe Facman.

United States

  • United States is a noun; U.S. is an adjective. IFMA was founded in the United States. IFMA holds many U.S.-based events. Note: Omit periods from the abbreviation in headlines.
  • List country on first reference for U.S. locations using the standard postal abbreviation (USA). The event will be in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
  • List U.S. phone numbers with hyphens and country code (e.g., +1-xxx-xxx-xxxx).

Word choice

  • Accept means to receive. Except means to exclude.
  • Affect is a verb meaning to influence. Effect is usually used as a noun meaning a result. The game will affect the standings. The effect was overwhelming.
  • Backward, not backwards. Forward, not forwards. Toward, not towards.
  • Continuous means nonstop. Continual means ongoing. The buzzing is continuous. We will monitor that on a continual basis.
  • Preventive, not preventative.
  • Pronounce or enunciate, not pronunciate.