Communication Skills tips from Certified Speaking Professional,
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You write business documents for one of five reasons.
You write to inform, inquire, include, incite, or influence.
Informing means telling. Nothing revolutionary there.
Inquiring means asking a question. Simple.
Including gets a little tricky. Sometimes you “include” people by creating “documentation” – that necessary form of writing that nobody ever reads.
You also “include” people with “CYA” writing.
Y’all know what “CYA” means, right? Cover Your Anatomy!
This is that strange form of writing in American business that proves no one trusts any one.
I love the word, “incite.”
Most people think this word means something revolutionary. All the word means is to emotionally stir someone into action.
Accounts Payable people incite customers all the time. “Pay your bill.”
The fifth reason we write is to “influence” others.
Probably, most of the writing you create informs people.
Take a clue from your task. If you purpose is to “inform,” your writing should be “informal.”
Yes, go ahead. Re-read that sentence.
Your writing should be “informal.”
Forget about what your English teachers and your college professors taught you. You are in the business world now where
your success and the success of others depends on clear, concise, correct, complete, and conversational communication.
This means you need to express your ideas in a way your readers can read quickly, understand easily, remember, and act upon.
Let’s put that another way. Keep your business writing conversational. Your business writing should sound as natural as a telephone conversation.
That’s all business writing is – conversation on paper.
Remember, in your job, you are in a people-to-people business. I seriously doubt you would start a conversation with a friend, coworker, boss, or client by saying, “per your request.”
We don’t start telephone conversations saying, “per your request.”
But, for some reason, many people start their letters and e-mails that way.
In his book, “Talking Straight,” Lee Iacocca wrote, “Write the way you talk. If you don’t talk that way, don’t write that way.” Thank you, Mr. Iacocca. You just summed up this article in one sentence.
For those purists in the group, I will add a side bar to Mr. Iacocca’s sound advise. Write the way speak; then, edit, edit, edit.
Someone once said, “There’s no such thing as good writing, just good re-writing.”
To me, re-writing implies a lot of work.
I prefer to take what I have created in my first draft and edit it to make sure it is clear, concise, correct, complete, and now, conversational.
This means checking your draft to ensure you have used complete sentences and correct spelling, punctuation, grammar, structure, and approach.
That sounds like a lot.
But, if you visit Chunkinars.com you will learn tricks, tips, and techniques on how to accomplish this important business task.
Stephen king reportedly wrote, “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
What he really meant was, “The road to hell clearly is paved with adverbs.”
Or maybe he meant, “The road to hell is clearly paved with adverbs.”
And yes, you can split infinitives.
See Gregg Reference Manual, Rule 1046.
I challenge you to tell me whether they are contributing to your bottom line or simply collecting paychecks.
See how many of these characters you recognize.
The Deer In The Headlights Listeners.
They’re looking at you, but you’re not sure they see you. If you feel that about them, you know they can’t be listening.
The Lights Are, But Nobody’s Home Listeners.
They are present, but they are definitely absent from the conversation.
The Hole In The Head Listeners. In one ear and out the other.
They are also known as The Teflon Listeners. Nothing sticks.
The Beatles Inspired Listeners.
If I say, “She loves you,” what response do you hear and feel?
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, means hurry up, I’m busy, and I really don’t care what you have to say.
Why is today’s workforce filled with these types of listeners?
Simple. Their backgrounds are completely devoid of any listening skills training at all.
As a matter of fact, studies show that 90% of all business people have had no listening skills training at all.
Good listening combats two enemies.
The first is assumption.
People assume that because they have two working ears, they know how to listen.
The second is training budgets. Most companies do not set aside any budget money to train their employees how to listen correctly.
Listening Skills training requires a Real Blended Learning approach to unlearn bad listening habits.
This includes awareness, hearing, observing, practicing, feedback, repetition, and follow-up.
You can accomplish all of these except the follow up in a rapid-fire, highly interactive, clearly focused 90-minute or three hour session.
If you would like more information on creating more productive employees, please call me at 412-561-7628.
Or, e-mail me at email@example.com
Listen. I think this is something we should talk about.
Listening skills is a topic I am passionate about.
I encourage participants in my workshops and webinars to view Listening Skills as their most valuable Communication Skill.
I also recommend that busy business professionals go beyond Active Listening all the way to Strategic Listening.
Today, I came across an article that really stopped me in my tracks.
It’s a little long and not about something normally talked about but I hope you gain one little piece of wisdom from it.
I’m not sure how long this article will be available so I hope you check it out sooner than later.
And please let me know what you think.
Here’s the link.
Listening Skills Article
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