Communication is not just about the written or spoken word. Music can convey emotions across the spectrum, as this does in the midst of the chaos of a damaged apartment after the dreadful explosion in Beirut. Our thoughts go out to the people of Lebanon.
The last tip on writing effectively in business: #Visualise your #reader. Billionaire Warren Buffett gets the right balance in his reports by writing for his sisters, Doris and Bertie – intelligent people, but not experts. (HBR, Mike Reed)
Tip 5 about #effective_writing in business: Focus on #benefits to people. Eg, “Keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer, thanks to its cotton-merino blend” works a lot better than “A luxurious cotton-merino blend fabric”. (Tips from HBR, Mike Reed)
Tip 4: Get to the point. Think like a #journalist – what’s the most important thing you need to say? Identify it, and put that first. Busy people need to get the point upfront. (Tips from HBR by Mike Reed, Reed Words, London)
Tip 3: Recognise that your audience #skim-reads by glancing at a screen, picking out words and sentences. Use features like #sub-heads, #bullets, #diagrams, #infographics and #tables to help their understanding. (HBR review)
Tip 2 in our series on effective business writing: Choose short and more familiar words. Long, complicated words and sentences confuse readers. Cut the jargon! These tips are shared from an HBR paper (Mike Reed of Reed Words, London)
Writing well – and communicating effectively – is a critical skill for all in business. In the next few posts, we’ll share tips from a Harvard Business Review about how to write without boring your audience.
Tip 1: Talk like a human, not a business. One way of avoiding stiff formality is to write in the first person. So, instead of: “Jones and Jones is a residential agent offering customers friendly, clear and straightforward advice”, say: “We’ll give you the clear, friendly home-buying advice you need.”
Next post: Avoid complexity
In this article in The Atlantic, http://ow.ly/Julf50xZSnY, John Hendrickson reflects on the seldom-acknowledged stutter of USA Presidential frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination, Joe Biden. As the immediate former vice president of the USA, there is no doubt that Biden has a desire to communicate and get people to believe in the policies he promotes. It is interesting to read in this article about a speech therapist who, in helping people to overcome stuttering, concentrates not so much on the mechanics of communicating, but on the desire to communicate at all. Interestingly, it is difficult to perceive any trace of a stutter when one listens to Biden. This reminds us of the former great Methodist leader in South Africa, Dr Joseph B Webb, who delivered the most articulate presentations during his influential ministry. Yet he grew up with a profound stutter and overcame it by standing in farmlands in the Eastern Cape, practising, practising, practising to speak fluently. Effective communication – spoken, written, acted, presented – comes with practise and a simple belief in the desire to communicate.
A final thought: When stutterers sing, they don’t stutter; they communicate the beauty of the music. (For a discussion on singing and stuttering, see this link.)
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The best communication is understandable, straight forward, and yields a satisfactory response. That so many of us get frustrated communicating through digital media, not least through online shopping, illustrates that digitisation has not yet got its communication completely right. This brilliant and humorous presentation by BBC Wales aptly illustrates the absurdity we have all experienced in shopping online, or trying to do “simple” banking transactions, but ending up thoroughly disenchanted with contemporary communication. But of course, we return to it, because we have to! Quo Vadis offers communication services in a number of disciplines: good old fashioned writing, editing and training, and now digital marketing strategies and campaigns.