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

Perfectionism is killing me


I’m a closet perfectionist. It’s in my DNA.

The danger of perfectionism is that nothing gets completed. Sure, I get work done, but that often leads to me tweaking and refining and perfecting and revising and reworking and never reaching the point where I am satisfied.

Because I’m shooting for the perfect, when I should be shooting for the good.

Funny thing is I just read about it in this post by ProBlogger Darren Rowse, “Perfectionism: the ultimate time drain?”

You should have seen how much angst I put myself through just getting this post started, written, and finished.

There.

Draw me a picture (at SXSW)


Not able to attend SXSW (the South by SouthWest conference), I have to live vicariously through the tweets, blog posts, slideshares, and other conference notes from attendees who happen to be among my social media contacts.

So, this set of hand-drawn notes by ad agency Ogilvy appeals to me on several angles.

First, it’s visual. Colorful. Image-based, more than text-based content.

Second, it’s good for business. Clever that this agency differentiated itself from others, the illustrations open potential business opportunities for Ogilvy, simply because presenters and followers who request a free 11×17″ print might linger, browse, and perhaps do business with Ogilvy.

Third, it’s cleverly different. Unlike the presentations posted on other sites, notes posted on blogs, and photos and tweets, this visualization of the content got my attention.

Prepare to be visually fascinated!
See http://ogilvynotes.com/

What tech can’t you live without?


Quick. What’s the one technology you can’t live without? Not a day goes by without you using it.

Is it your laptop or desktop computer? HD TV? cell phone? digital camera? GPS device? satellite radio? hand-held game? eBook reader? personal health monitor? universal language translator? transporter? (Oh-ooops, not supposed to tell anyone about that one yet.) Continue reading

A Post a Week in 2011


I want to blog more.
But instead of just thinking about it and saying it, I’m going to do it.
I will post to my blog at least once a week for all of 2011.

Now, I know why my blogging has tailed off in the past few years. When I first began blogging in 2004, there were fewer challengers to my time. But in the last few years, I’ve added social networking through Facebook, business networking through LinkedIn, microblogging through Twitter, and photoblogging through Tumblr.
I’ve graduated from a simple cellphone to an iPhone with all its distractions.
So, my blogging here dropped off.

This year, I’m taking the WordPress challenge. I’m making use of WordPress’ The Daily Post to help me along the way.

If I need help, I get to ask for it. If I can help someone else, I promise to volunteer.

I hope you encourage me with comments and likes.

Here’s to a new 2011.

10 Errors that Drive Me Crazy


Not another list of 10! This one from “Chip’s Blog,” of MacGregor Literary, captures errors that drive an editor crazy.
Chip

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.

The art of the focal point


“Every good design needs a focal point.” Garr Reynolds begins in this meaty blog post.

Explaining “Tokonoma,” Garr moves from the Japanese architectural and cultural explanation, into the realm of practical application in—of all things—presentations. He takes the real-life, explains the concepts, and turns them back into the real life.

Brilliantly depicting before and after examples of presentation images, Garr shows examples that my most-practical and literal-minded followers can swallow.

I encourge you to apply the principles if you do any of the following:

  • create presentations and training visuals
  • design living spaces or workspaces
  • create visual communications (even the most-basic e-mail!)
  • Read his post on presentationzen.com.