Effective Business Communication: Audience is Key!

Instead of lauding Russell Peters for the great job he did as host of the recent Juno awards celebrating Canadian music, organizers had to apologize for his comments. Headlines in the news were not what you’d expect. They were about Russell Peters’ “jokes” about the young women in the audience and Mélanie Joly, Canada’s Heritage…

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Punctuation Matters

Whenever I solicit grammar questions from an audience, many of the questions relate to punctuation. Punctuation is a crucial part of good writing. It tells us where to stop, where to pause, and it marks off the exact words someone is saying. But it does so much more than that. Judicious and correct use of…

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Great Presenters Know Their Audience

Sometimes, we can be our own worst enemies. Case in point: I’ve been working with a highly accomplished IT manager, who’s an expert in her field. She’s smart! She manages large, highly technical complex projects. When she makes presentations to colleagues, with similar technical backgrounds, she tells me they have no trouble understanding her. Yet,…

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Why Improve Workplace Writing Skills

It’s easy to assume that smart, educated people know how to write well. But that assumption isn’t always correct. I was reminded of this recently when I met with a client who was interested in improving the email writing skills of her employees, all of whom are university educated professionals. In order for me to…

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What is Business Writing?

Maybe an even better question to ask is: What isn’t business writing? It isn’t what you may have learned in school: that sentences must paint pictures using many descriptive adjectives. It isn’t the essay you wrote in university where, in order to meet the word count, you “padded” it with unnecessary words or quotes. It…

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A Better Business Writing Guide for Performance Reviews

Conducting a performance review isn’t easy. However, when I saw the following question posed in The HR Capitalist: “Will Algorithms Ultimately Write Coaching Scripts for Managers?” the concept of automated people management seemed preposterous. Yet, computer analysis measuring employee productivity is already in use in some sectors, as Steve Boese notes in his blog post, “Maybe…

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The Power of the Unspoken Word: Three Top Tips

Sometimes, what goes unsaid is as important as what is said. I was struck by this truth following Donald Trump’s comment about Ghazala Khan, the mother of an American Muslim soldier killed in Iraq. She chose to remain silent during her husband’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.  Trump suggested it was because she wasn’t…

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