Why the heck do we communicate information? Answer that question correctly and you win. Win your audience, that is.
But waste their time by creating useless, inaccurate, wordy, muddled, ugly, purposeless, and hard-to-find content and you will have bought a ticket to unemployment. So how can you ensure you don’t waste your audience’s time?
Follow these ABCs of good communication:
A is for accuracy – Research every fact and conclusion you make. Rely on SMEs (subject matter experts) and check sources.
B is for brevity – Be brief. Edit ruthlessly. Make every paragraph, every sentence, and every word earn its right to be.
C is for clarity – Eliminate misunderstood words. Write phrases that can be understood by a 5th grade-level reader. (You’re not “dumbing it down.” You’re making sure all levels Continue reading
Blackboard posted in New York prompted passersby to write theirs.
Then, you see the common word in all of them.
Every day is a clean slate. Go reach even further.
Meetings. Meetings. Meetings. If used intelligently, meetings can help to share sensitive information face to face, discuss and gather information, educate and motivate, direct and decide. But if not managed correctly, meetings can kill productivity, waste valuable resources, or demotivate employees.
Read Matthew Hussey’s post: “7 Steps to a Perfect Meeting” and see if there are suggestions you can use.
When a team asks me to join in a brainstorming session, and the first thing I see is someone with a notepad trying to capture all their thoughts, I always find a way to have them change to sticky notes and a large wall space. Why?
Not another list of 10! This one from “Chip’s Blog,” of MacGregor Literary, captures errors that drive an editor crazy.
My favorite is list item number five.
Worthy of more than a quick retweet, this entry found its way to me on Twitter, thanks to Susannah W Freeman, WriteitSideways.
Kat Neville writes on Smashing Magazine “The Art and Science of the Email Signature.”
Nice work. Too many of my friends and coworkers have loaded down their signatures with every number, every tagline, every graphic logo of the company, in every color in the company-approved brand palette.
That’s all recipients want.
Also, if the majority of your email is sent inhouse, then create an internal signature that’s your default.
No need to tell your coworkers the name of the company you both work for, your own Web site, and monthly Marketing tagline.
Speaking of company brand, the pastel colors some companies include in their palette are instant turnoffs. Try reading this: andy gee, communication specialist
Friends who aren’t on Twitter often ask me how to get beyond their “get started” phase. Other friends tell me of the frustrations with Twitter that drove them away. Still others remind me that their busy lives don’t allow them to engage with Twitter as often as they’d like.
To all of these friends, I may have found an answer. Read this helpful list Continue reading
eye-to-eye with a lens
Because I’m often seen as a photographer, my friends sometimes ask me what can be done to improve their photos. And if their questions are about what equipment to buy, I often steer them first toward the debate regarding “photography = science + art.”
For those who haven’t heard that one, photography is a balance between two parts, science and art. The science : light, equipment, and mechanics. The art: composition, timing, light, balance and contrast, and story. My point? Too often, people concentrate on Continue reading
Mashable.com’s Josh Catone clearly practices what he preaches when he writes the “5 Rules for Better Web Writing.”
- For seasoned technical writers, this is nothing new.
- For newbies and my practicing students who are thrust into the world of technical writing for the Web, pay heed.
Are you curious how our writer did on her writer’s block problem? Yesterday, I posted a blog entry on a writer (whom I’ll call “Jay”) facing writer’s block and impending deadlines.
Today, I checked in with Jay and learned the first draft went out to a first reviewer, at a whoppin’ 1,300 word count! Yeah, I’d say the block was broken.
Jay appreciated the following tips from our brainstorming and mindmapping session. Jay shared that before our session:
“I was overwhelmed on what was important and where to start. During our session, I was able to spit out a lot of topics and then organize afterwards…By seeing the topics in front of me instead of floating around in my head…it made it easier to focus and prioritize the information.”
So, stay tuned for a follow-up post on Jay’s final production piece, as the deadline to production approaches.
A fellow writer just mentioned getting stuck in writer’s block. It happens to all of us. So, I spent 10 minutes helping the writer (whom I’ll call “Jay”) overcome writer’s block. How?
I had Jay list the obstacles on sticky notes. “What is keeping me from crossing that divide between here and the finished product?”
why Jay's stuck
Once Jay saw them written, he/she either (a) knew that it was real and had a plan to overcome it or (b) realized it wasn’t a real obstacle after all.
With that out of the way, I had Jay mindmap the written project. In ten minutes, we had an outline of four key points and the four solutions, an intro, and an ending.
Jay had been stuck on the headline. So we put “headline” as a mindmap topic and left it blank for now.
I’ll write a follow-up post on Jay’s progress in a few days. Stay tuned.
“Geewhiz, send these photos out for the staff to see.” OK. I’ll just take a few hundred hi-res digital photos, paste them into a PowerPoint file, store that file on a local server, attach that file to email and send it to 200+ employees spread across the country. Aaaaaahh! You can see we have a recipe for a file storage disaster!
That process typified the old-school method of sharing photos, once used by our division. What’s wrong with that picture and what are we doing differently today?
Our first mistake was adding them to a PowerPoint file Continue reading