Equipping Professionals to be Effective Communicators
Equipping Professionals to be Effective Communicators
Equipping Professionals to be Effective Communicators
Equipping Professionals to be Effective Communicators

Communication Tips

COMMUNICATION TIP #130

“By changing your habitual vocabulary…you can instantaneously change how you think, how you feel, and how you live.” That is from Tony Robbin’s book, Change Your Words, Change Your Life.

Quick! Think of another word for “awesome” or “cool”!

One way to effectively achieve this is to have options at your fingertips. How about if alternative words are displayed on the mug on your desk?

Yes, in my quest to expand the everyday vocabulary of professionals, we’ve created mugs that contain 100 or more alternatives for “awesome” and for “cool.”

You will benefit from this convenient way to access the right word, and others will too: The mugs are perfect gifts for clients, colleagues, friends, teachers, and family members. Get one of each.

The mugs come in two designs:

  • Word Cloud—whimsical vocabulary building (black mugs)
  • Awesome Alternatives (100 words)
  • Cool Alternatives (113 words)
  • Alphabetical—serious vocabulary building (white or black mugs)
  • Awesome Alternatives (148 words)
  • Cool Alternatives (172 words)

To see the selections and purchase one or more mugs, visit my website.

I’m excited for what this vocabulary resource will do for you as you “drink in” more effective alternatives for describing people, places, and concepts. Here’s to your continued success!

November 27, 2017

COMMUNICATION TIP #129

“This is not a subject with which I am not familiar.” I heard someone say that last month. Think quickly: What did that person mean?   (Translation: “I’m familiar with this subject.”)

See how confusing, obfuscating, and unproductive negative words inserted into phrases/sentences can be!

  • The clarity solution: avoid as many negative words as possible.
  • Ready for some examples? Here goes:
  • They will stop at nothing to do that.  (They will persevere / keep at it, etc.…)
  • He mentioned it no less than 10 times. (He mentioned it at least…)
  • They did not lack for opportunity. (They had plenty of opportunities to…)
  • Don’t arrive after 3:00. (Arrive by 3:00.)
  • We can’t agree. (We see things differently.)
  • Why don’t I stop by and pick it up? (How about if I stop by…)
  • I’ll see if I can’t do that for you. (Literal meaning: “I try not to be able to do that!) (Intended meaning: “I’ll see if I CAN do that…)
  • Not to mention… (We all know how this ends: It’s mentioned!)

 

I have many more examples, which I share in my workshops. If you want to speak more positively, confidently, and clearly or want that for your staff or team, contact me. I will tailor consultations or workshops for you that are fast-paced, fun, and full of career-enhancing skills. Contact me at Elizabeth@theVerbalEdge.com or (887) 228-0096.

 

November 8, 2017 

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COMMUNICATION TIP #128

“It will not take a minute for you to read this.” So, how long will it take?

Add one more word and the sentence gets even more confusing: “It will not take but a minute…”

For succinctness and clarity, use positive construction and active voice (subject / verb / object) whenever possible.

Example. “You will read this in less than a minute.” (and love it, I’m sure!)

More next week on the advantages of using positive construction. “You’ll want to read it.”  vs  “You don’t want to miss it.”

 

October 30, 2017 

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COMMUNICATION TIP #127

The Power of WORDS: The following is SUCCESS magazine’s adaptation ofThe Jim Rohn Guide to Communication.”

“People judge you by the words you use…Choose your words wisely…When you speak, use your words carefully.

  • Avoid using words that will cause the other person to think poorly of you. Slang is one example. Another is, of course, slurs of any type. Use words that communicate positive values. Use optimistic words, words of strength. Make sure they are understandable.
  • Use words that are colorful and rich with meaning, as long as they can be understood by the listener.

An expanded vocabulary will set you apart. It enhances the communication process and draws others in.

Your vocabulary can reveal to others how educated you are, and others may make judgments about you that can affect your opportunities with them. The best communicators will use an expanded vocabulary with more educated groups and a more basic vocabulary with less-educated groups.”

 

Thank you, Jim Rohn and SUCCESS magazine, for championing the importance of words and exemplifying their impact.

 

October 24, 2017 

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COMMUNICATION TIP #126

Question marks? Periods. Exclamation points! Do they go inside or outside the quotation marks?

 

In the U.S., periods and commas go inside the quotation marks:

  • Alex said, “Yes, I will exercise the night away.”

In the U.K., periods and commas go outside the quotation marks:

  • Alex said, “Yes, I will exercise the night away”.

Back to the U.S.: Question marks and exclamation points go inside the quotation marks if the quoted words comprise only a part of the question:

  • Did Alex just say he’s going to “exercise the night away”?

Single quotation marks: We use them when we have a quote within a quote:

  • Sam said, “Emma was surprised Alex said he ‘will exercise the night away.”’

My response to Alex: “Good luck finding party-goers willing to do that!”

 

October 10, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #125

Let’s own our gerunds!  (Stay with me!)

 

“Your smiling is contagious.” In this sentence, we treat “smiling” as a noun. That’s because it’s a gerund, which is an “ing” form of a verb that functions as a noun.

 

Nouns can have modifiers—adjectives: In this case the adjective is possessive: “your.” (Whose smiling?) We could have used other possessive adjectives such as my, his, her, its, our, their, and whose.)

 

Why am I making this such a big deal? Because many people use pronouns (me, you, him us, them) instead.

  • Here is the correct and incorrect way to own your gerunds:
  • My jogging up the stairs inspired her.  Not: Me jogging…
  • His snoring all night keeps me awake. Not: Him snoring…
  • Our working overtime clinched it.  Not: Us working…
  • Their refusing to listen frustrated the boss.  Not: Them refusing…
  • Your reading this reinforces the concept.  Not: you reading…

 

One more reinforcement: You wouldn’t say, “Me presenting needs work. You would say “My presenting needs work.”  Now, enlarge that thought to include all gerunds and gerund phrases: “My presenting to small and large groups needs work.”

 

September 27, 2017

COMMUNICATION TIP #124

“The only thing worse than saying nothing is spending a long time saying it.” (Toastmasters Magazine)

 

Preparation for speeches, networking, sales presentations, and interviewing is key–even if you have only seconds to prepare.

 

I watched as a TV host interviewed a professional couple. The woman spoke first: Her words and delivery communicated confidence. The next question went to the man. His first words were, “Um, I guess, you know…I mean…kinda…”  (The was familiar with the topic.)

 

If the man had eliminated the verbal clutter at the beginning of his sentence, he would have immediately engaged the listeners. Instead, he rambled, tuned out his listeners, sabotaged his message and credibility, and communicated insecurity.

What a difference some quick mental editing would have made!

 

September 18, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #123

Common usage doesn’t always make common sense.
Here are three words whose prefixes are unnecessary and irrational (Keep in mind the prefixes “un” and “ir” mean “not.”):

  •  unthaw
  •  unloosen
  • irregardless (Cringe. Yes, it has made it into the dictionary as nonstandard usage for regardless)

These words do not mean:

  • unthaw — freeze
  • unloosen – tighten
  • irregardless – showing regard or concern for

Regardless means without regard, in spite of. Irregardless (not regardless) means the opposite.
Regardless of how many readers now know to avoid using these words, I feel anxious even typing the word irregardless, which my computer dutifully underlined with a squiggly red line each time—and, in case you’re wondering, no, I’m not going to “add it to my dictionary!”

 

September 12, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #122

Can our attire and demeanor pass the test?

A few years ago, a young man I was mentoring had an interview at a temp agency for a factory job. I encouraged him to wear a pressed long-sleeved shirt, his black pants, black belt, and black shoes.

Beforehand, we practiced the initial introduction: smiling, making eye contact, extending his hand for a firm handshake, and using the other person’s name.

He did well during the interview, but he failed the drug test.

However, because of his appearance and the way he handled himself, the agency decided to retest him.

The second time, he passed. (The first drug test had shown a FALSE positive.)

This young man learned, firsthand, the power of a positive first impression!

 

August 28, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #121

Do you need a reason to increase your daily vocabulary?

 

Anthony Robbins, in the article CHANGE YOUR WORDS, CHANGE YOUR LIFE, says, “According to Compton’s Encyclopedia, the English language contains some 500,000 words. Yet the average person’s working vocabulary consists of 2,000 words: 0.5% of the entire language. And the number of words we use most frequently—the words that make up our habitual vocabulary…averages 200-300 words.”

 

I recommend this method to increase daily vocabulary usage:

  • When you hear or read words you haven’t used for a while, write them in your mobile device or journal. I title my list “Vocabulary.”
  • Choose five of those words and use them throughout the week.
  • To reinforce your using them, rehearse. Say or write sentences containing the words before you debut them.
  • Each week, choose five more words.

 

If we make this a concerted project, the percentage of words we use daily will skyrocket!

 

August 21, 2017

 

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COMMUNICATION TIP #120

Solving the mind-paralyzing hyphenating conundrum.

We hyphenate two or more words that act as a single idea to describe a noun they precede.

Because they do the work of one adjective, they are called, appropriately, compound adjectives.

 

This seldom-pondered rule is often ignored because it is not perceived as a hard-fast one.

Here’s the confusing exception: Following that noun, the adjectives are not hyphenated! So, the conundrum is mind paralyzing and the often-ignored rule is seldom pondered and not perceived to be hard fast.

 

To summarize:

These words are hyphenated:

  • The seven-toed dog won the animal-lovers’ competition.
  • The follow-up email needs to be succinct.

These words are not hyphenated:

  • The dog with seven toes won the competition attended by animal lovers.
  • The email you send to follow up needs to be succinct.
  • When you follow up, do it succinctly.

Oh, and these words are always hyphenated:

  • The 3-year old reads Shakespeare plays. (ages)
  • The man shows self-control. (self)

 

Happy always-confident hyphenating!

 

August 14, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #119

More ways to retrieve names that escape us:

 

You’re at an event and you see people you think you’ve met before. If you’re with your spouse or someone who also knows these people, use this game plan:

 

Beforehand, agree to casually mention the first and last names of people you encounter. For example, your companion can say “You remember Dave and Sally Harris.” To which you can happily say, “sure!”  That’s because you did remember them–just not their names. Your companion can also add how you know these people. (Extra points!)

 

Here’s another tactic—recommended by Heather McMichael, a friend and former TV broadcasting colleague of mine. She says, “If I’m with my husband and I recognize a face but not a name I will introduce my [husband] and then the other person will always say their name.”

 

I’ve almost always had success with that too. However, I’ve also encountered people who just say, “Hello.” So, I then resort to my favorite, simple request: “Remind me of your name.”

 

July 31, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #118

We all encounter this embarrassing situation: We recognize people but are unable to recall their names.

 

Here is a solution that works nearly every time. While shaking their hands, say, “Good to see you. To remind you, I’m …” and then say your first and last name. Usually, they will reciprocate with their names.

 

I use this technique frequently. And people I’ve met have mercifully introduced themselves again for me. Sometimes I had remembered their names and told them so. Other times, I thanked them for reminding me. Every time, I’ve been impressed with their intuitiveness and relationship skills.

 

If people don’t say their names when you’re mentioning your name, then smile and casually say, “Remind me of your name.” (And then incorporate it into your conversation a few times.) “Remind me of your name” is quick, easy, and almost unnoticeable.

 

And it’s more professional and less traumatic than making a big deal out of forgetting their names and launching into how embarrassed you are. Or worse: proclaiming you’re not good at remembering names, which is an excuse and automatically puts the other people into the category of “not worth remembering.”

 

Pretend you have a teenage daughter and you’re meeting her new boyfriend. You would not only remember his name, you would google it as soon as he left!

 

July 24, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #117

In business, a positive first impression is essential.

Here is how you pull it off: You are at a restaurant and you’re meeting a new client for the first time. The client walks toward your table and you:

  • Smile
  • Stand (This applies to women also. Business is gender neutral.)
  • Begin and maintain eye contact
  • Greet the person by name.
  • Confidently introduce yourself, if the person does not know you.
  • Firmly shake the person’s hand—web to web. (That’s a Karen Hickman term, and I like it. It means you move your hand all the way into the other person’s hand until the webbing between your thumb and pointer finger touches their webbing.)

(Karen is an etiquette consultant. Her company is Professional Courtesy.)


July 10, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #116

Are you giving “it” all the credit?

 

  • Instead of saying, “It has come to my attention…”
  • Say, “I have learned…”.
  • Instead of saying, “It is recommended…”
  • Say, “I recommend…” “The board recommends…”
  • Instead of saying, “It is a pleasure working with you”.
  • Say, “I enjoy working with you.”
  • Instead of saying, “It has to be settled.”
  • Say, “We need to settle this.”

 

In the above examples, we changed the subject and verb from ‘it is” to words that have precise meaning and action—we moved from passive to active voice.

 

  • So, instead of saying, “It is active voice that makes your ideas clear and strong.”
  • Say, “Active voice makes your ideas clear and strong.”

 

 

June 26, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #115

You’re at a networking event and it’s your turn to stand up and introduce yourself. YIKES!

Here is one way to get and keep your prospects’ attention:

Stand tall, smile, and then confidently, clearly (pause between key words), and energetically tell the group your first and last name, your title, and the name of your company. Then say, “I help (name the target group(s), state the results they will experience, and tell them how they will feel.)” Then repeat your name and company because NOW, you have their attention.

Here’s one way I would do it:

I’m Elizabeth MacDonald. I’m a communication skills advisor. My company is The Verbal Edge.

I help teams and individuals who value communication skills excel in presenting themselves and their messages so they can feel confident when speaking, writing emails, and engaging others.

I’m Elizabeth MacDonald, The Verbal Edge.

Oh, the amazing power of words and the delivery!

 

June 20, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #114

Choose “to.”  Eliminate “try.”

 

Instead of using “on” or “and,” use an infinitive (“to” + a verb).

Example:

  • Avoid saying: “I’m planning on introducing the boss.”
  • Say: “I’m planning to introduce the boss.”
  • Avoid saying: “I will try and contact the client.
  • One option: “I will try to contact the client.

 

To transform the above sentence into a confident statement, eliminate “try:”

  • In that sentence, “try” is a confidence-robbing word that sabotages the speaker’s determination and tells others, “This isn’t going to happen.”
  • The best option: “I will contact the client.”

 

June 12, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #113

Write them as two words—not one.
The words? “All right” and “a lot.” (Instead of alright and alot.)
To remember this, think of the opposite: Would you write “alwrong” and “alittle?”

 

(“Alright” is acceptable in informal writing; however, if you write a lot, you’ll want to automatically default to the spelling that is all right all the time.)

 

June 5, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #112

Is it “we” or “us?”

We writers need to know the better choice for us wordsmiths.

The rule is simple: Pretend the word after “us” or “we” is not there and choose what sounds better. (We * need to know the better choice for us * .)

More examples:

  • We neighbors are concerned.
  • He will be speaking to us employees.

For us professionals, knowing this rule means we communicators can write and speak with even more confidence.

 

May 22, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #111

Best is not always better.

When comparing TWO persons, concepts, places, or things, the word to use is “better.” Use “best” when comparing THREE or MORE.

This rule also applies to other words ending in “er” versus “est.”

Examples:

  • Between options A and B, the better option is B; however, the best option is D.
  • Jack is the older of the two sons and the oldest of all the children.
  • Anna is taller than Rae. She is also the tallest in her class.
  • The audience voted Derrik the funnier of the two finalists and the funniest comedian of the year.
  • We are accepting the lower bid of the two proposals.
  • Make this a better week than last week…and the best week ever!

 

May 15, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #110

Reduce verbal clutter by eliminating redundancies.

Here are some examples of redundancies:
(added) bonus, (honest) truth, (close) proximity, every (single), consensus (of opinion), (advanced) planning, (unpaid) volunteer, collaborate (together), nodded (his head), eradicate (completely), evolve (over time), follow (after), gather (together), kneel (down), revert (back), report (back), (mutual) cooperation, (over) exaggerate, PIN (number), postpone (until later), (sum) total, surrounded (on all sides), (temper) tantrum, tall (in stature), (usual) custom, visible (to the eye).

Many more exist.

What verbal redundancies drive you crazy?

 

April 24, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #109

Where’s the subject?

To discover the subject and clearly see if you need a singular or plural verb, ignore all prepositional phrases between the subject and verb. (I’ve bracketed the propositional phrases below.)

Example:

  • One [of the projects] is finished.
  • The projects [for that company] are on schedule.
  • Ten minutes [before all the meetings], Bill, [without his co-workers], walks the halls.
  • The employee [with the skills] and [over all the interns] deserves a bonus.
  • Prepositional phrases, [if they are non-essential], are separated by commas. That’s another clue!

Look again at the examples and notice which prepositional phrases are non-essential—and are, therefore, separated by commas.

 

April 3, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #108

Are you having “guy” trouble?

When speaking professionally to groups, refrain from saying “guys.” You’ll sound more professional.

The first meaning of “guy” is “a man or a boy: fellow.” Its 2nd meaning is: “informal: persons of either sex: people.” (Dictionary.com). The British Dictionary doesn’t’ include the 2nd meaning.

I hear, “you guys,” from professional speakers, church leaders and staffs, and executives giving presentations.

When I started teaching English, I was surprised to hear myself saying, “Okay, guys, I need your attention.” I worked to eliminate it immediately. It took a few days.

That’s because the reward—for the listeners–is immeasurably greater:

  • Instead of saying, “Good morning, guys. Are you guys ready for…?
  • You say: Good morning. Are you ready for…?

We relate more personally and less like, well, coaches talking to their teams of all men.

And if you’re still thinking of using “guys,” think of the 2nd meaning: “Good morning, people. Are you people ready…?”

Do you really want to communicate that way?

 

March 27, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #107

Subject/Verb Agreement:

To accomplish this, ignore all prepositional phrases between the subject and verb.

Examples:

  • One [of the projects] is finished.
  • The projects [for that company] are on schedule.
  • The employee [with the skills and over all the interns] deserves a bonus.
  • Grammar, [throughout the years], has changed.

 

March 6, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #106

Don’t use an apostrophe to pluralize numbers or abbreviations.

Treat them as you treat traditional words.

Examples of plurals:

  • YMCAs, 1930s, VPs, 100s, PTAs
  • CEOs in the 1990s retired in their 50s.

To show possession/ownership, use the apostrophe:

  • The VP’s vocabulary is similar to1960’s music lyrics.

And if you are among the increasing number of people who are inserting apostrophes to pluralize traditional words, please stop! What we all learned in first grade is still the rule:

  • Correct: The boys are here.
  • Incorrect: The boy’s (or boys’) are here.

 

February 27, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #105

Is it “your” or “you’re?”

This confusion is just as widespread as “too” vs. “to”. (See my previous Communication Tip.)

Simply put: “You’re” means “you are.” “Your” does not.

“Your” is possessive. Period. Examples: Your cat. Your career.

Your use of the words you’re writing communicates its own message. You’re the composer of your thoughts and words.

Oh, and don’t trust your spell check. Many times, my spell check erroneously prompts me to change “you’re” to “your.” Test your choice.

And when in doubt, write out “you are” instead of “you’re.” (It’s more professional, too.)

 

February 20, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #104

Singular or Plural?

The words “or” or “nor” indicate you have a choice, and the noun or pronoun closest to the verb determines if the verb is singular or plural.

For example:

  • Either the girls OR their PARENTS STAY.
  • Neither the dogs NOR the CAT LIKES caviar.
  • He guesses either his father OR his sisters ARE SINGING.
  • Either the salespersons OR the BOSS HELPS me. (Your mind OR EARS NEED to adjust to that one!)

 

January 25, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #104

Singular or Plural?

The words “or” or “nor” indicate you have a choice, and the noun or pronoun closest to the verb determines if the verb is singular or plural.

For example:

  • Either the girls OR their PARENTS STAY.
  • Neither the dogs NOR the CAT LIKES caviar.
  • He guesses either his father OR his sisters ARE SINGING.
  • Either the salespersons OR the BOSS HELPS me. (Your mind OR EARS NEED to adjust to that one!)

 

January 25, 2017

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COMMUNICATION TIP #103

Think before using GET or GOT.

The correct word might be HAVE, HAS or HAD. In fact, most of the time, that’s the case!

  • Avoid saying: “I got to go now.”
  • Say instead: “I have to go now.”
  • Avoid saying: “Do you GOT your gloves?”
  • Say instead: “Do you HAVE your gloves?

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

  • Avoid saying: “He’s got three sisters.” (The “he’s” means he has, so you’re saying, “He has got three sisters.)
  • Say instead: “He has three sisters.”

Do you HAVE the concept?

 

December 27, 2016

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COMMUNICATION TIP #102

Let’s stretch our vocabulary. And let’s do it by eliminating the qualifier words “very” and “really” and choosing the perfect word.

Instead of saying, “That’s really easy.” Say, “That’s simple, effortless, feasible,” etc.
If you feel ambitious, how about also eliminating the word “pretty” (as in “pretty tasty”)?

To read more on this, check out  “This is Pretty Interesting,” my article on this website.

 

December 12, 2016

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COMMUNICATION TIP #101

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.

Examples:

  • People may be too hurried or too distracted to focus on these words.
  • These two misspellings are too frequent and may be the result of being too indifferent to the difference.
  • They could be too confident, too.

Here’s to learning!

 

December 5, 2016

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COMMUNICATION TIP #100

De-murking the WELL/GOOD conundrum: When do we use WELL and GOOD?

WELL is an adverb. It modifies verbs and answers the question How: He slept well, ran well, spoke well, worked well.

GOOD is an adjective. It modifies nouns and answers the question WHAT (kind/type): He had a good time, good run, good speech and she did a good job. Usually when you use “good,” the noun it modifies follows it.

And sometimes that noun precedes it: This example is good.
So, heed well this good advice!

 

November 7, 2016

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COMMUNICATION TIP #99

When speakers appear uncertain, their listeners doubt their credibility, remain unconvinced, and struggle to relate.

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

Replace with intentional pauses and confidence-exuding words such as “I will, I can, I agree, absolutely, YES.”

 

September 26, 2016

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COMMUNICATION TIP #98

Word proximity can be your nemesis.

Double-check your word order. We don’t want to confuse (and misinform) our readers.

For example:

  • The jury convicted him for murdering her today. (Same-day decision!)
  • Dust the picture of the children on the shelf. (They must be cramped!)
  • Fortunately, the mouse was entrapped before the meeting. (Fortunate mouse?)
  • Seen on a furniture store sign: We have tables for families with thick legs.
  • Randy was criticized by the boss because he was late. (The boss was late? Write instead: The boss criticized Randy because he was late)

Most of us accidentally misplace words in sentences, and that’s why we need to re-read and correct what we write.

 

August 22, 2016

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Communication Tip #57

“I would have went to the meeting.”

Most of us cringe when we read this, but some do not. (“I would have GONE to the meeting.”)

Some of us–because of lapses in our education, attention in school, or associations afterwards, routinely write or punctuate incorrectly–and we don’t know it.

For that reason, ask someone to proofread your emails for a while. You will become aware of your chronic mistakes and stop making them.

Regardless of your expertise, when composing important emails or documents, have at least one other person read them before you send or publish them.

(My husband read this before I posted it.)

July 29, 2013

Communication Tip #56

Capitalize the first word of every sentence. Also capitalize titles that precede a person’s name. (The bank’s Vice President John Jackson spoke. .bank, the person’s name, and the names of organizations and businesses, which are

The first word of every sentence is capitalized. Proper nouns are always capitalized

Please capitalize your business’ name. It is a proper noun. Proper nouns name particular (specific one-of-a-kind) persons, places and things.

Some businesses and organizations are now designing logos with their names written in all small letters. They are doing it for artsy reasons and possibly to identify with and acquiesce to younger people who choose not to make the effort to capitalize when texting.

In my opinion, that relegates those businesses and organizations to the category of common nouns–the opposite of proper nouns. To me, they come across as cute, faddish, acquiescent, and obviously ignorant of basic English rules. They do not project an image of being strong, capable, and proud of their name.

June 24, 2013

Communication Tip #55

Leave conversations having left great last impressions.

End conversations the way you began:

  • Smile.
  • Give warm, firm handshakes.
  • Use the names of the people to whom you were speaking
  • Tell them how much you:
    • o appreciate meeting them.
    • o value them.
    • o learned about the topics you discussed.

This, from Mike Bechtle’s book Confident Conversations.

June 13, 2013

Communication Tip #54

Last week I had the privilege of giving the commencement address to the students, their families and the staff of National College. I gave them tips for which those who attend my workshops are grateful.

The #1 tip is to smile.

Smiling communicates confidence. It is contagious. It attracts people to you and makes them feel positive– about you, what you say, and themselves: the receivers of what you say. How positive? A smile causes the release of the same amount of endorphins–chemicals that make us feel good–as eating 20,000 chocolate candy bars or receiving the equivalent of nearly $25,000 in cash. That, according to Katerina Nikolas, author of “How Smiling Affects Your Health.”

So, make a positive, confident difference in yourself and the reaction to your products or services: Smile.

May 28, 2013

Communication Tip #53

Here are three words that appear to be better off without their confusing prefixes: unloosen, unthaw, and invaluable. (Yes, unloosen and unthaw are actually in the dictionary! I discovered that today.)

Unloosen means to loosen, unthaw means to thaw and invaluable means valuable–albeit, a notch above valuable, which further complicates this.

What other words come to your mind that, when etymologically broken down, make no sense?

April 22, 2013

Communication Tip #52

Do you want to get your message across and have people glued to your every word? Paraphrase what they say.

They will be laser focused because it is “their” messages, and they want to make sure you paraphrase correctly.  Here’s the other advantage: you have the opportunity to seamlessly interject suggestions. After listening to your paraphrase + inserted suggested, this might be a response:  “I said angry? I meant disappointed. And, on second thought, ‘butthead’ sounds inappropriate. And you may have a point: what I say and do next could affect everyone in the office.”

April 14, 2013

Communication Tip #51

Good morning, Stupid.

Now that I have elicited your attention (and your ire), convince me that words account for only 7% of communication.

In writing, they obviously account for more, even if you resort to adding emoticons :)

How about speaking? If someone says, “Good morning, Stupid” in an affectionate embrace using a tender tone of voice, those loving non-verbals still could not overpower the effect of the innately insulting “Stupid.” We could not dismiss “Stupid” as being a measly 7% of an otherwise affirming communication.

Although tone of voice and body language are crucial, words are more important than we are lead to believe.

We need to choose our words carefully and not depend on non-verbals and emoticons to be our main transmitters.  Comments?

April 8, 2013

Communication Tip #50

We all encounter this embarrassing situation: not being able to recall people’s names.

Here is a solution that works nearly every time: While shaking their hands, say your first and last name. They usually say theirs. If they don’t, I suggest saying, “Remind me of your name.”

I then make a point to say their names several times to let them know I value them and that the next time, I will, indeed, remember.

What works for you?

April 1, 2013

Communication Tip #49

Before approaching others to network, define who you are or who you want to be (bold, engaged, creative, etc.). Become that person not only with prospects but also with your co-workers, spouse, children, and neighbors. That’s congruity, and according to THE CHARGE author Brenden Burchard who devised this exercise, when our actions are congruent, we feel more grounded, responsible and certain.

I define the results as integrity.

We’ll explore congruency and much more at Networking 201 at the Fort Wayne Chamber’s Lunch and Learn this Wednesday. Hope to see you there!

March 18, 2013

Communication Tip #48

You are at a networking event and want to end a conversation and talk to someone else. Here is a professional and positive way do that: “I enjoyed catching up with you / meeting you and especially appreciate learning about______. I look forward to connecting with you again.”

Summarizing a point the other person made not only honors that person, it shows you were laser focused and found what the person said valuable.

This is one of several advanced networking tips I’ll be sharing at “Networking 201″ on March 20th. The Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce’s Lunch and Learn begins at 11:30 and lunch is provided. Contact the Chamber for reservations.

If you are in the area, I’d love to see you there! 

March 11, 2013

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