Do Presentations Or Public Speaking Terrify You?

“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” ~ Mark Twain

I offer communications training, including business writing, presentation skills training, and media relations. The latter two, I’ve found, have much in common in that they force one to stand up and talk to strangers who may or may not be receptive. Over the years, I’ve come up with several teaching points, largely by watching accomplished professionals draw audiences in and make them comfortable, open to new ideas, and eager to share in what becomes a productive conversation. [Read more…]

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Business Writing — An Opportunity, Not A Chore

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” E.L. Doctorow, novelist

For nearly three years, I’ve been traveling around the country teaching a course called “Clear Writing Through Critical Thinking.” So it was gratifying to pick up a USA Today article that cited a survey by the Social Science Research Council concluding a liberal arts education can “provide a leg up in a down economy.” It turns out that recent college grads who  scored highest on a standardized test to measure skills most associated with a liberal arts education, were much more likely to be better off financially than those who scored lowest. [Read more…]

There’s Money To Be Made Via Productive Business Communications

Experts in the dismal science of economics can argue about the timing, but the rest of us know one thing: This economy is on the mend. Still, I’m not sure that companies are falling all over themselves to hire at a rate that will get us back to pre-Great Recession levels. It seems that what I said in this blog more than four years ago still holds true: Many businesses emerging from the severe downturn have gotten leaner in order to survive.

How can they make that happen? There are, of course, economies in shop floor scheduling, parts ordering, distribution, and all the other factors that go into being competitive. But for my part, as a communications trainer, there’s another way to view productivity, particularly in white-collar office work. It’s about writing so efficiently that — internal or external — it goes out with a minimum of fuss (editing). Here are three crucial writing guidelines: [Read more…]