Communication Tips

Communication Tip #8

“You’re” or “your”:
This confusion is just as widespread as “too” vs. “to”. (See my previous grammar tip.)
Simply put: “You’re” means you are. “Your” does not. “Your” is possessive. Period.

  • Your cat. Your career.
  • Your use of the words you’re writing communicates it own message.
  • You’re the composer of your thoughts and words.

(By the way, when in doubt, write out “you are.” It’s more professional, too.)

  • You are right, _____!

Something isn’t very true, extremely impossible, really inevitable. I push my clients to let the foundational words do their work. Qualifiers dilute.

(And here’s my nemesis: pretty cool! What does that mean! What does cool mean? Does pretty weaken cool it or strengthen cool? Here’s an example where the listener has to do all the defining!

March 12, 2012

Communication Tip #7

Are you writing “to” when you mean “too”?
I see this mistake frequently–even in emails from people who are, otherwise, excellent writers.

“Too,” the longer of the two words, has the longer list of meanings: extremely, more than desirable, also, very or indeed.
“To” is a preposition: it connects

  • People are not too educated or too successful to misuse these words.
  • These too frequent misspellings may be the result of being oblivious to the difference.
  •  They could be too confident too.

Here’s to learning!

Communication Tip #6

Singular or Plural?
When you use the words “or” or “nor”, you are choosing one or the other–not both. If one of those choices is plural and the others are singular, the word closest to the verb determines if the verb is plural or singular.

For example:

  • Either the girls, their parents, or the other team stays.
  • Neither the dogs nor the cat likes caviar.
  • He guesses his father or his sisters are singing.
  • The salespersons or the boss helps me. (Our eyes or ears need to adjust to that one!)
March 5, 2012

Communication Tip #5

Think before using GET or GOT. The correct word might be HAVE, HAS or HAD.

  • Not: “Do you GOT your gloves?”
  • Correct: “Do you HAVE your gloves?

Also, using HAVE or HAS as helping words doesn’t dignify the faux pas.

  • Not: He’s got three sisters. (The “he’s” means he has, so you’re saying, “He has got three sisters.)
  • Correct: “He has three sisters.”

Do you GET this? Do you HAVE the concept? (Both are correct.)

February 27, 2012

Communication Tip #4

A telephone surveyor asked me to choose among:

  1. fair, slightly unfair, unfair, or strongly unfair.
  2. not very convinced, somewhat convinced, very convinced.
  3. somewhat agreed, agreed, or strongly agreed.

Something is either fair or unfair. Convincing or not. We either agree or we don’t. Those words embody their meanings. Qualifying words strip them.

The words fair, unfair, agreed and convince are absolutes–they embody their entire meaning. Any gradient of these concepts require different words such as reasonable, comply or sway.

February 6, 2012

Communication Tip #3

This week, let’s stretch our vocabulary by eliminating the qualifier words “very” and “really” and let’s go for the perfect word.

  • Instead of saying, “That’s really easy.”
  • Say, “That’s simple, effortless, feasible,” etc.

To read more on this, check out my blog at this website.

January 30, 2012

Communication Tip #2

When speakers appear uncertain, their listeners remain unconvinced and struggle to connect.

To exude confidence, use a strong voice, maintain eye contact, and expunge words as “um, kinda, sorta, I guess, I’ll try.”

Replace with words such as “I will, I agree, I am convinced, YES.”

January 28, 2012

Communication Tip #1

Use caution with trendy adjectives that may mean the opposite of what you intend. For example, in the past month I’ve heard:

  1. “We’re going to have a ridiculously great church service today.”
  2. ” That’s an outrageous restaurant!”

Remember that “ridiculous” comes from the verb “ridicule” and “outrageous” comes from “outrage.”

January 16, 2012

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