Communication

Good Writing Skills

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Blogs constitute the first step in making of an author, today. There never was a time when so many aspirant authors were seen to find their space. Further, if your blogs become popular, the chances are strong that when you write a book the same will also be widely accepted. That will motivate you to write more and try to become author of a bestselling book. The popularity of eBooks may have hurt the traditional book business, but more books are being written than ever before.

But that is only one of the many advantages of writing blogs.

The more commonly in use is the benefit of improving your writing skills in general. It will improve your vocabulary, your sentence construction and remove problems of syntax. Clarity of expression also improves your credibility as well as your productivity.

I am reproducing a document which I found on the net. It is very inspiring. The title of the document is:

The Importance of Good Writing Skills in the Workplace

“Profession

Obviously good writing skills are important when your job involves writing, be it as a journalist, paralegal or public relations professional – that goes without saying. If you are employed for your writing skills, having “good” writing skills is a job requirement. However, more professions require good writing skills than those traditionally associated with writing. Any time a profession requires written communication, writing skills become important.

Communication

With emails, notes, letters, texts and Tweets, most people spend a fair amount of time at work communicating via the written word. Whether you are messaging a colleague, writing to your manager, or crafting the company newsletter, your writing skills can boost or hinder your career easily, even if you do not have a “writing” profession. Basically, writing skills make a difference in how you come across.

Credibility

People with good writing skills are generally seen as more credible. Think to yourself how you would interpret an email from a colleague that was filled with typos and grammatical errors. At best, he was negligent in that he didn’t proofread his message or use spell check; at worst, he comes across as less intelligent and less capable. Better writers tend to get higher grades and be perceived as more competent and more intelligent than their less literary counterparts.

Considerations

In the workplace, you need to make sure that you proofread everything you write, from an email to a company memo. However, just because good writing skills are a plus, you still need to pick your battles. Correcting others can work against you, in some cases even undermining you. Further, context and tone are just as important as grammar. While obvious mistakes are a no-no, such as using “their” and “they’re” incorrectly, smaller errors, like confusing “who” and “whom” are less important.

Importance of Good Business Writing Skills

Learning and honing business writing skills can have a positive impact on an individual’s career advancement. Effective channels of communication make an organization run smoothly. Professional quality writing being sent through these channels improves productivity and the ability of all functional areas to work together, particularly in an increasingly global workplace where collaboration is the norm.

Persuasion

Sales and marketing professionals are particularly skilled at using the written word to persuade customers to purchase the company’s products and services–or at least pay attention to its advertisements. But everyone in the business world finds it necessary at times to persuade someone else to take an action based on written material they have sent. The chief financial officer of a company makes written recommendations to the chief executive officer about expenditures. Human Resources tries to make a written case for hiring a particular individual to the manager to whom the person will report.

Clarity

Clarity in writing is one of the most difficult skills to master. Word choice comes more easily for some businesspeople than for others. Venture capitalists sometimes receive business plans that are so unclear it is difficult for them to tell what business the company is in. Presumably, expressing it clearly on paper proved too difficult for them.

Professional Courtesy

In this age of text messaging, business communication increasingly comes in a shorthand fashion. Even email has a much less formal style in many companies than a letter. Taken to an extreme, this type of writing can seem lazy. If communication becomes too abrupt, it can send a message that the person receiving the message was not important enough for the sender to take the time to communicate in complete sentences or check spelling and grammar. Conversely, a carefully written email can be more impressive than a letter because it has the added element of rapid transmission–the other person was so important that the sender wanted to make sure the message arrived quickly.

Completeness

Business communication can be ineffective if a document does not completely express its intention. An instruction manual on how to operate machinery, for example, must not have gaps in the sequence of steps or the how-to explanations. The result of incomplete information could be failure to run the machine properly or even cause injury to the equipment operator. A financial report that has the quality of completeness would be one that answers the reader’s questions before he has time to ask them.

Inspiring Confidence

Supervisors and business associates who express themselves well in writing inspire a feeling of confidence in their abilities from employees or colleagues. Sharp writing conveys the impression that a sharp mind composed the words. Sloppy writing, on the other hand, can make others conclude that the creator is not intelligent. Some might even question their job-related competence.

Team Building

Written communication to employees is one way a company shows that it values their contribution and appreciates their efforts. Subtle but strong bonds of teamwork can be built through simple means such as sharing company-wide accomplishments — sales milestones, for example — with everyone in the organization. The tone of the communication is particularly important. If it is energetic and positive, the employees will respond to it in an equally positive fashion.”

Hope you find it very useful for not only writing blogs but also for enhancing your expression in general.

Thanks for reading.

 

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Bad News: Time Flies Away / Good News: You are the Pilot

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If there is one thing that is equally distributed by the Lord Almighty, that is Time. And it is the most important of all resources. Proper use of time makes the people very successful and vice-versa. With the fast development of technology, executives are expected to be far more productive. It is possible. But it calls for more efficient use of your time.

In fact, over the years our attitude towards time has changed. Today, each one of us has become aware of cost of time.

One can effectively use time if the goals are written down. The specific goals make it mandatory to write down a plan of action. And when you have worked out your plan to achieve your goals in respect of important aspects of life, there is hardly any time which you can afford to lose.

I would like to mention here that some habits need to be changed to be more time productive. These are:

  1. Procrastination is the most potent culprit which destroys some of your most precious time. It is only important tasks that you want to carry out as a priority. But if the task is challenging, many a time you tend to postpone it. In the process, you lose time but more importantly the burden or guilt of not attending to important work makes you time inefficient. So having a habit of procrastination even in the smallest measure is not permissible.
  1. Time has the habit of expanding to work to the time allotted. Even if you are able to do a job in two hours, but you have four hours available, the work will expand to fill all four hours. So what is the remedy? Allot lesser time to the task. You may have to stretch yourself a bit. Do it. But, save time.
  1. Another villain which steals away your time is indecision. Whenever you are not able to decide between two or more options, you lose time. You must learn to be more decisive. Normally decisions are not taken because of risks associated with the decision. We must remember that not taking any risk is the biggest risk of our life.
  1. Verbosity in our speech is another time-wasting demon. We need to be terse in our communication. It just requires better focus and a determination of not using more words than are necessary.
  1. If we follow the system of diving our tasks into four quadrants as propounded by Steven Covey of “Seven Habit of Successful People”, we can surely save time which is often wasted.

There are some suggestions to use our time more productively. These are:

  • Keep a Time Log for 2-3 days. Understand the normal, routine use of your time. Now study the same to find out where you can save time. The exercise will not go waste. In process the credit balance of your time current account will increase.
  • If you want to become really time efficient follow the rule of 60 : 25 : 15.You must try to complete your routine (daily tasks) in 15% of the available time. Besides, 25% time should be spent on ongoing projects. Finally, spend 60% of your time on developments, innovations, and new projects.
  • Make a to-do every day morning and try to complete the jobs which must be done on that day. In this list, you must keep in mind the priorities. In fact proper prioritizing your tasks enables you to use your time very productively.

Working out priorities:

You must analyze your tasks. Then place them in three distinct categories:

  1. Tasks which are important as urgent. These cannot be carried forward.
  2. Tasks which are important but not urgent. For example, looking after your health and going for a walk daily is important but not urgent.
  3. Tasks which are neither urgent nor important. These should always receive the least importance.

While making your to-do list you must be realistic. Don’t pack too many things in a day which cannot be completed. If is unnecessary to create a burden for yourself. This will decrease your efficiency.

Thanks for reading.

Speech Spells Your Style

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Speech is, perhaps, one of the most important aspects of communication, today. Speech comprises the words that you speak and more importantly how you speak these words. Speech is not taught in schools and colleges. We just pick it up – from our parents, teachers, friends and others in the society with whom we interact. Some of the mistakes that people make in our circle are also adopted by us, though unknowingly. When we set out to improve, we have to unlearn many things. Just because we have been committing these mistakes again and again these form a part of our speech habits. Speech blemishes can be corrected with knowledgeable guidance and a lot of practice. In this regard let’s deal with the following six items:

  1. Knowledge of language grammar.
  2. Your vocabulary in that language.
  3. How you construct your sentences.
  4. Clarity in your voice.
  5. Your knowledge and ability to pronounce the words correctly and clearly.
  6. Pace, pause and tone of your speech.

Knowledge of grammar Normally, it is assumed that knowledge of grammar is only bookish ability and it’s useful only for written communications. This is a fallacy and totally incorrect. You can make nice sentences easy to understand only if you are adequately comfortable in the grammar of the language.

Learning or building of vocabulary is a lifelong process. It should never cease. Difficult, fancy or fashionable words need not be a part of your vocabulary. In fact, simple is beautiful.

Your construction of sentences, in a way, defines your speech. The efficacy of your speech depends on it. Short sentences of varying length may be intertwined to bring out a beautiful style.

Voice plays a major role in your speech. Voice need to be pleasing to the ears of your listeners. Voice can be made very attractive by proper breathing and desirable use of the speech organs.

Pronouncing the words correctly and clearly shows your style. Importance of clear and correct pronunciation should never be undermined.

How you speak is as important in conversation and speech as the content and language, if not more. Power of your speech depends on the judicious use of changing pace, pause and tone etc.    

Thanks of Reading.

May I invite your comments on my forthcoming book?

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Introduction

 “Life is a race. If you don’t run fast, you will be trampled”!

Yes! Indeed, once one starts toddling or even before that the race begins and one keeps wondering “What made me lose and the other one win, the same race?”One questions oneself amidst the darkest deep nights until one gets no answer and finally blames it up to the destiny. One often becomes uncomfortable when one thinks about the failures one had especially when one doesn’t get valid reasons for the same.

But we tend to forget these monologues – thanks to the mundane activities of one’s life. But if we dig deeper, the exercise has the power to take us closer to the solutions. This book aims to give you an insight into life which is a mixture of ups and downs, failures and successes. Once we understand this and accept the reality, it no longer remains a jigsaw puzzle. Life is journey. All our goals are but milestones, and we need to enjoy the journey.

At a certain stage of life, one tends to compare oneself with others. It is indeed a natural tendency wherein one often measures one’s success, joy or happiness by comparing these with those of others’. And then confronts a battery of questions like below:-

“Why am I not rich like him? Though we studied together and are best friends how come he/she has achieved what I could just think of? What makes him/her so very desirable? In short, one tends to become jealous of other’s success. Jealousy, certainly, is best avoided but if nailed properly could give us the desired results like success, happiness, prosperity and also peace of mind.

Through this book, I have tried to help the reader understand themselves better to ward off various negative influences and personality development needs. These hinder your chances to succeed. The book addresses the personality issues, and shows the path towards improvement. It will help to elevate your self confidence to an untapped level.

The book also throws light on important habits, skills and behavioral traits which successful people possess and practice. The contents have been divided into following chapters.

  1. Attitude:

A bad attitude is like a flat tyre! If you dont change it, you will never reach anywhere!

Attitude defines the major part of your personality. It makes you who you are. It is the way you respond to what you face in your life. Thus, a positive person seeks opportunities in the various hurdles he/she encounters whereas a negative person finds faults with every situation. This book will help you identify your attitude and learn the ways to correct the flaws by adopting certain procedures.

  1. Communication:

Today’s world is a shrunken world. Globalization has brought us closer but you should have a knack of able communication with the world around you. Both, verbal and written communication skills are a must you to understand others and to express yourself effectively. This book aims primarily at pointing whether you lack these skills and, if yes, the various ways to improve on these. We, also, look forward to hone your existing communication skills through this book.

  1. Interpersonal skills: – Man is a social animal. We continuously interact with the family, colleagues, friends and society around us. We have to work with those around and seek harmonious relations with all. Interpersonal skills come into the picture when we need to build and maintain cordial relations with the society. Through this book we take you to the various methods which would help you imbibe the necessary interpersonal skills.
  1. Continuous Improvement: – Stagnation doesnt breed success! Is it not true? Today’s fast changing world demands dynamic people who keep abreast of latest information and the changing advanced technology. Successful people, often, have a quest to explore more, learn more and thereby, pursue excellence. But one cant be directionless in exploration. This book is a must have guide so that you know what are you heading towards.
  1. Willpower: – Willpower is the strongest virtue which successful people possess and which helps them achieve distinguished success. It is the ability to perform consistently under the testing times and the ability to withstand the difficulties. Willpower, alone, often defines one’s success. This book sheds light on the way to focus your physical, mental and intellectual energies and to build strong willpower. Success, then, is just a few steps away with strong willpower.

6) Habits: – Power of good habits are vital to success. The book intends to inculcate all the basic formal good habits like humility, understanding, and empathy for others. It will also help you develop a sense of humor which is a rare trait these days. This book will enable you to enhance your self esteem be the best of yourself.

  1. Time management: – Time and Tide wait for none. This might sound a cliché, but it is the hardcore truth. One needs to effectively manage this very resource which is equally distributed to everyone on this planet. This book will hold your hands and guide you to use time in the best possible manner.

How to use this book?

Well, before using this book one needs to have undergone a self analysis. An analysis helps in the long way to identify one’s strengths and weaknesses. One needs to retrospect about the successful times and identify what contributed to those distinguished events. Was it your sheer talent, initiative or a group effort? Once you get answers to this question, ask yourself again whether you still use those elements in your endeavors? If you encounter a negative answer, ask yourself again “Why not?”After all why should happy history not repeat itself?

It is equally important to ponder over the failures of life as it is to dwell over success. Failures are the major lessons to be learnt in life. Ask yourself,” When did I fail and Why?” Is it because of some shortcomings? If the answer is yes, note down the shortcomings and counter them with the methods in this book.

This book can be used as a reference manual for developing a desirable and successful personality. Of course, you need to answer all the questions tabulated in the self assessment form.

Happy personality development ahead!

7 Rules of Email Etiquette

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business email

Email happens to be the most used (at times abused) form of business communication. The importance of email, thus, should not be undermined. However, it is necessary to observe business email etiquette. Following 7 rules need to be taken care of:

Rule No. 1:

Think of all the options before deciding to send an email. Today, we have many other options like text messaging, WhatsApp, Instagram, chatroom etc. Choose the one which is most appropriate for the subject and for the receiver whom you want to contact. Remember email is a commitment.

Rule No. 2:

At times, you may be sending a venerable message. Whenever some kind of conflicting statements are made, it is necessary to be careful, very careful. In such instances, you may find it useful to print the message before sending. A hard copy can be easily examined for correctness of language syntax etc. But when you read on a computer, you may not be all that meticulous. Besides, you will have a permanent record. Who knows, you may need the record in the event the conflict escalates.

Rule No. 3:

Whenever you send an important email, it’s necessary to read it more than once. You may improve the language. You may like to modify the thought to make it more intelligible, logical & convincing. It may require extra effort. But when the message you are sending is of critical importance, extra effort is justified. After all, such critical communications are not handled on daily basis.

Rule No. 4:

Always maintain an address book. Never delete names. You never know when you need the same. But maintain the address book most efficiently. For personally known contacts, always start the name using surname first. For others business contacts you may like to form some groups. Vendors could be in one group. Clients could be in another. Further, these can be assigned subgroup names. It could be industry wise or importance wise. As per the needs of your particular organization and your role, planning needs to be done.

Rule No. 5:

In business, in spite of best efforts it’s difficult to maintain equanimity. But never send an email when you are not a good mood. Something may have happened and you may be upset. This is certainly not the right time to send an email. Further, even when you are exhausted, don’t send an email. An email is a spontaneous expression of your thought and mind. Your exhaustion could peep through the mail when the receiver reads it.

Rule No. 6:

Don’t ever cut short the business process to make it simple. When the occasion demands that you must have a face to face meeting: go for that. An effort to make it more convenient may obliterate and negate the very cause of the meeting. An email is never a replacement of a personal contact.

Rule No. 7:

Last but not the least, always keep in mind and reflect on the hierarchy of business contacts. Meeting comes first. So, when you need to convince and influence someone, you may require meeting. Yet, you cannot always meet even though it may be important business. Then, use the telephone. Have a smile on the face. Go through the contents of your call based on your objectives, and call. Don’t hurry to pick up the phone. Third in line is voice mail. Though it is not interactive, yet it has some degree of personal touch. When all the aforesaid three are not possible or not required, use email and sure remember to follow the first 6 rules.

Thanks for reading.

Six Aspects of Personality Never to be Ignored!

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Hi,

Today I’ll talk to you about 6 critical aspects of one’s personality. There should never be ignored. Which are the six characteristics that define a successful person?

1. The first one represents the physical aspects. How do you look? How you carry yourself and the clothes that you wear. These are important. Your posture, the body language and your smile are even more important. Practice and rehearse your smile for different situations. This may appear silly. But it is not.

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2. After physical aspects, you must develop a positive attitude. Overcome all negative assumptions. First you have to identify these negative assumptions and then throw this art. An open mind without preconceived notions, alone can breed a positive attitude.

positive attitude

3. Third point to be emphasized is about your communications- both verbal & written. Regarding verbal, you must ensure that you sport a reasonable cordiality at all times. A smile on your face and a desire to be cordial will do the trick. Your voice quality and modulation while speaking are also very important for the efficacy of your communications.

interpersonal skills

4. Fourth notable characteristic of personality is competence in interpersonal skills. It’s necessary to be adept in interpersonal skills. Today, more than ever before. On can achieve progress only with the help and co-operation of others. That makes if necessary that we build good relations with all concerned. It so one must develop the required capacity to build good relations.

interpersonal skills1

5. Fifth distinctive feature of a successful personality is time management. Little can be achieved by anyone if his/her time is out managed productively. Only when you are and time wise you achieve something significant. Otherwise you are left behind. Growth and progress are no longer linear. They are exponential. So it’s imperative to make the best use of limited time available to us.

time manangement

6. Finally & the sixth distinctive quality of personality is about your goals, focus & perspective. Success can be achieved only by consistently making efforts toward realization of your goals. This can happen with your focus on what is required to be done. Perspective must not be allowed to be prejudiced. Any  circumstances or situations should not impact your desire & ability to pursue your goals.

goal

Thanks for reading.

Communication

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communication

Let’s examine four possible combinations of speaking & listening. This will enable us to understand what communication can do to our lives and to our organizations.

Possibility 1. Effective speaking but poor listening. If this is the leader’s characteristics the results could be as under:

It will increase your focus. You may have generated good followers & good soldiers. But the potential leaders will leave. There will be practically no innovation. Stress level will increase.

Possibility 2. Effective speaking and active listening. That is the perfect combination for the leader. The focus of the leader and of the organization will remain in the forefront. Things will happen fast. Loyalty of employees will increase. Appreciation of mind and ability to enjoy the work will bring in more breakthroughs, more innovations. People will collaborate with each other and also compete with each other. The best will blossom with the leader’s effective speech and active listening. An atmosphere of sustainable leadership will prevail.

Possibility 3: Poor speaking but active listening. It will amount to lack of focus. Also, waste of time & money. There will be thrust on management by committees. People might get an impression that anything goes.

Meanwhile active listening will also result in the positives. The employees will become more self-expressed. Application of mind by them will increase. There would be greater innovation.

Possibility 4: Poor speaking and poor listening. It will be nothing but a slow death of the enterprise. The death of textile mills in Mumbai & Ahmadabad can be attributed to this syndrome. Misunderstanding and conflicts will rule. Opportunities will be missed. There would be high rate of attrition. Isolation will result in fragmentation, and finally extinction.

Just perusing the above possibilities would shake our slumber. Importance of communication will then be fully realized. So, I will deal with both aspect of communication- good speaking and good listening.

Effective Speaking:

First of all it is necessary to have strong content. Content is the king. Effective communications take this into account more than any other aspect of management or even life. Content means domain knowledge. You can’t fool people with shallow thoughts. Much less you can impress them. Lot of hard work goes into acquiring knowledge. The biggest problem is seen when you have worthwhile knowledge but you can’t use into your advantage due to lack of effective speech. Your expression remains impaired. People would barely know that you are a storehouse of useful information.

Then what should you do? Become a good speaker. Practice the art and science of speaking clearly, confidently and convincingly.

How do you speak clearly? You must understand that speech in the result of decision to communicate. First thinking clarifies the idea you want to project to the listener or a group of listeners. Then brain sends a signal to the lungs and some breath is released. Breath strikes the vocal cord to produce sound. But the words are created by the speech organs. So in order to speak clearly, think clearly. Cultivate habit of deep breathing. It enables to have sufficient breath to support strength of your voice. This will also enable you to speak longer sentence without breathing in between. The flow of speech will enable ideas to flow smoothly.

Active listening:

listening

Communication does not mean only effective speaking. In fact, it is the beginning point. But even more important is active listening. Active listening will bring about the results that you are looking for. You communicate with someone or a group of listeners with an objective. How can you influence others? By listening to them actively or with your speech. How do you find whether you are a good listener or not? I give below a checklist which is self- expletory.

Checklist:

  1. Don’t think of what you are going to say next when another person is speaking. Just focus on understanding and assimilating what he/she has to say.
  2. You must listen with an open mind. Don’t try to relate with your own experience, similar experience. When someone is relating a story in support of his argument, your tendency to evaluate should be given a pause. Never be judgmental, as they say.
  3. When you are listening, try to recreate mentally what the other person is saying objectively.
  4. Try to see things from the speaker’s point of view. Empathize and be compassionate while listening.
  5. Try to uncover the intent of the speaker. All speakers may not be terse. Their verbosity may require a little extra effort on your part to understand the intent. Make this extra effort.
  6. Think what results you can produce through listening rather than speaking. If you want to influence people, you will be amazed to observe how listening comes in handy and helpful.
  7. Listen a minute longer than it is comfortable. That extra minute will give you extra input. In any case, you are having a dialogue for understanding the other’s point of view.
  8. Last but not the least; you must remember that your words of advice will be seen as unwanted noise. Never give an advice unless asked for. If you are not convinced and the solution demands that you must express your views, do that and say we agree to disagree!

Thanks for reading.