The ABCs of good communication just got an “F”


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

What’s your biggest regret?


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.

White Cane Safety Day


October 15 is White Cane Safety Day. So what’s the deal with the white cane?

I collaborated with the Society for the Blind to understand.

See what’s possible at vspblog.com learning-how-to-use-white-cane

Amgen Tour of California – geewhiz photos


Convergence (n) – the point at which objects meet.

On May 15, 2011, my hometown of Sacramento became the convergence point, and I could only be at one place at one time.
So, I shot photos at the Amgen Tour of California as it blew into my hometown.
Wrapping itself around the state capitol for its final leg of this “opening” stage, the race finished just blocks away from where I also wanted to be, the Sacramento Community Center.

For it was at that precise time and place that my other true passion was converging.
The technical communicators’ annual conference!

My best photos. http://on.fb.me/mdbjvl

Tips for Photographing a Conference


captured-geewhizkidSchwarzenfeld Photography guest-posted a great entry at Digital Photography School’s site on tips for shooting conferences.

Tips include knowing the agenda, changing your point of view, and taking the must-have shots.

I happen to agree with many of the points, and engaged in some conversation regarding the topic.
Read the entry at DPS.

E-mail signature blocks. How to.


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.

Brevity. Clarity.

That’s all recipients want.

Also, if the majority of your email is sent inhouse, then create an internal signature that’s your default.

Name, Extension.

Period.

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

Wellness IQ GetFit Team


Hey gang, another 1612-week session of our GetFIT Wellness IQ program starts in a few weeks, and I’m returning to captain a team for the 12th straight session. This session will be slightly different from past ones: I want to lead a new team of losers. I’m forming a team of “first-timers or failed-returners.” If you’ve never joined a Wellness IQ GetFit team in the past, or have tried a team but failed at your personal goals, this year choose me as your team captain.

I want you to join my team if:

  • you are a first-timer to the Wellness IQ program,
  • you’ve put it off or made excuses in the past,
  • you worry that you might fail at this,
  • you feel you have a ton of issues or obstacles that will prevent you from succeeding.
  • you joined a team, but hit some type of obstacle midway through the 16 weeks and had to bail out.

I’m not creating a team that’s going to win first place in the team competition and take home the cool prizes. Those teams already exist and I applaud them. Please don’t sign up for my team if… Continue reading

An Evening in December


On my other blog, read a teaser about our first full-cast run through.
behindthescenes.wordpress.com

100 tips to rise above the noise on Twitter


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.
twitter_logo
To all of these friends, I may have found an answer. Read this helpful list Continue reading

The best camera to buy. Ever.


eye-to-eye with a lens

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

Simplify


(updated 6/2009 with new link to Grammar Girl’s podcast)
Have you noticed how complicated the world can be? Tired of reading legalese? Confused by complex tools crammed with complicated directions to confound you and stake claim to your cranium?

It’s time to do your part. Learn to simplify what others read. Think Readability. Simplicity. Clarity.
grammargirl

Start with Grammar Girl’s post of Adam Friedman’s “Simplify Your Writing.” As author of “The Party of the First Part”, he knows the topic. (And, I just love Mignon Fogarty’s podcasts!)

Let the Tour of California inspire you


Incredible finishes at the Tour de France often stimulate new bicycle sales.
Olympic medal performances often inspire youth movements into local recreational swimming, gymnastics, and sports programs.
amgen-tourSo, let the Amgen Tour of California inspire you to Continue reading