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Viewing posts for category: Writing Best Practices

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Posted: August 28, 2014 at 09:14 AM
By: IWCC Training
(2) Comment/s | Categories: Meeting Skills Series Presentation Skills Series Writing Best Practices
When to use e.g. and i.e.

How many times have you asked yourself, do I use e.g. or i.e.? E.g. and i.e. grew up in the same era – they are both Latin abbreviations. However, they have different meanings.

First e.g.
E.g. stands for exempli gratia which technically translates to free examples. Use e.g. when providing some examples of something. After e.g., you provide an example or list of examples, naming some items but not an all-inclusive list.

Correct:      Amphibians are animals that can live in the water and on land, e.g., bullfrogs, tadpoles.

Incorrect:   Tadpoles are the type of animal that can live in the water and on land, e.g., an amphibian.

Now i.e.
I.e. stands for id est or that is. Use i.e. when looking for another way to say something. After i.e., you would write a definition, metaphor or clarification.

Correct:     An elephant is an animal with thick skin and nails resembling hooves, i.e., a pachyderm.

Incorrect:   A pachyderm is an animal with thick skin and nails resembling hooves, i.e., an elephant.

Using the correct punctuation
You may have noticed in the examples above that these abbreviations do have one thing in common – punctuation. They both have periods between letters and a comma after.

How can I remember the difference?
If you like memory tricks, perhaps these will trigger you to remember the difference. Use the letters themselves to help you. To remind you that e.g. stands for examples, let the letters “eg” stand for egg sample. To remind you that i.e. stands for another way to say something, let the letters “ie” stand for in other words.

Posted: July 24, 2014 at 09:11 AM
By: IWCC Training
(0) Comment/s | Categories: Writing Best Practices
Take charge of your e-mail!

Have you ever hit the send button by accident before your e-mail is ready to go? Have you ever forgotten to attach that important attachment? Of course you have! We all have. In both cases, your e-mail is managing you.

What, no big deal you say? You simply write a funny apology e-mail. Oh yes - an e-mail that starts with: “Oops, I hit send by accident”. Or the other favorite: “Guess you might like the attachment – here you go…”

If you dismiss both situations as harmless mistakes, time to wake up to reality. You might find that these slipups could cost you a job, a sale, your personal credibility. At the very least, they cost you valuable time and create extra work.

Imagine if the e-mail is going to your boss, an executive or a client; both these slipups can cost you your professional image. You sure don’t look like the sharpest individual on the team. And, what if you are applying for a new position and forget to attach your resume or you hit send before you finish and proofread your cover e-mail? Either of these slipups could cost you that job and future potential with that employer. Remember – you have lots of competition out there who did not slip up.

Let IWCC help. Follow these two simple, foolproof best practices and never pay the price for either of these slipups again.

  • Make it a habit to leave the TO line empty until you have composed your message and are satisfied that it contains the right stuff, is error-free and speaks in a constructive tone. Then you don’t need to worry about hitting the SEND key too soon and paying a hefty price for it.
  • Make it a habit – when including an attachment – to attach it BEFORE you compose the body of the e-mail. You don’t want your reader to have to come back to you asking for that attachment.

Remember you need to take charge and manage your e-mail. Don’t let it manage you!

Posted: June 26, 2014 at 10:21 AM
By: IWCC Training
(0) Comment/s | Categories: Writing Best Practices
Subject-line-itis spreading in epidemic proportions

Readers report not one – but THREE – pain points in regard to e-mail subject lines. We call it subject-line-itis. Readers tell us that the pain stems from subject lines that often:

  • don’t appear at all;
  • are neither descriptive nor helpful; and
  • don’t change as the topic changes.

Although subject-line-itis is widespread, you can cure it. Follow these three Etiquette Must-Dos and stop the pain with relevant subject lines:

  1. NEVER send an e-mail without a Subject Line!

  2. Make the subject line as descriptive as possible to a) let the reader know what’s in the message and b) allow them to prioritize it. Don’t use a simple Re: as a subject line. Even a subject line such as Compensation Policy is not nearly as descriptive as Answering Your Questions about New Compensation Policy.   Sure, it’s longer…but it’s also more HELPFUL to someone at the other end who is wading through the 200 e-mails in their inbox and trying to decide which ones to read first. Remember your e-mail recipients receive just as many e-mails as you do and you are competing for your reader’s attention with many other people and issues.

  3. CHANGE the Subject Line or ADD to it, if you are responding to an e-mail string in which the topic has changed from the original. Better still, if the topic has substantially changed in the course of an e-mail “conversation”, take the trouble to initiate a fresh e-mail with a new and more appropriate, descriptive subject line.

E-mail can help your readers or hurt them. Don’t be the cause of any more subject-line-itis.

Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:53 AM
By: IWCC Training
(0) Comment/s | Categories: Writing Best Practices
Spice up your presentation - Tell me a story

People have been telling stories since the dawn of existence. From neolithic man who scrawled images of the hunt on cave walls to the more recent J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, stories have imparted wisdom, faith, courage and inspiration to listeners and readers for centuries. So too can you use stories to influence your business audiences when you deliver effective presentations.

Stories speak…
People like to hear stories. They visualize them; they remember them; and they repeat them. Research tells us that people learn not just from hearing a story, but from relating the story to their own experience.

Effective presentation skills include telling good stories. As presenters, we can accomplish much with a well told, relevant story. Through stories, we can:

  • connect with our audience at an emotional level  
  • make facts and figures more meaningful
  • get buy-in for our ideas
  • bring teams together to focus on a common vision

Last – but certainly not least – we can use stories to spice up our corporate presentations. By so doing, we have a much better chance of keeping our audiences engaged and “with us” especially during those inevitable kill-‘em-with-facts presentations.

Where do good stories come from?
We all agree that using stories is effective - but where do good stories come from? In IWCC’s Effective Presentation Skills workshops, we help people develop their own personal tool kit of stories. Here are some of the suggestions we share with our participants.

Search your own personal archives
The best source for stories is your own life and experience. Drawing from your own history, you can create a library of stories – poignant ones, humorous ones, inspiring ones. Because we know our own experience-based stories so well, we can often tell them with true authenticity and more passion than borrowed stories.

To tap into your personal story library, take a few minutes with a blank piece of paper and jot down:

  • key turning points or events that have shaped your life or career
  • books that may have altered your thinking or world view
  • happy events and what they have meant to you
  • sad or traumatic events and what you learned from them
  • mistakes made along the way
  • funny or serendipitous events – both in your personal and business lives

Think about how these events have influenced your life and your ability to achieve your goals. Or perhaps how past experiences have helped you enjoy success or learn from failure. What parallels can you draw between your past and present experience? How might these observations be of value to your audience?

Borrow stories from others
When your own story archives don’t give you the material you need, there’s nothing wrong with borrowing stories from others. Or you can tell stories ABOUT other people (your friends, family, famous people) to help you shape your message and make your point. Just be sure – when using a borrowed story – to rehearse it several times to make it your own.

Posted: May 15, 2014 at 09:45 AM
By: IWCC Training
(0) Comment/s | Categories: Meeting Skills Series Presentation Skills Series Writing Best Practices

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Latest Posts

» What do you need and how can our blog help?
August 28, 2014 at 09:14 AM
» Turn your voice mail greeting from bad to BEST
August 12, 2014 at 11:49 AM
» When to use e.g. and i.e.
July 24, 2014 at 09:11 AM
» Take charge of your e-mail!
June 26, 2014 at 10:21 AM
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