The Message is the Medium in Business Communication

Marshall McLuhan, Canadian luminary, famously declared, “The medium is the message.” Yet, when it comes to business communication, whether it’s electronic or paper-based, it’s your words that matter most. As Tony Robbins, speaking about human relationships, articulated so succinctly, “words matter.” If you’ve ever had an argument with any one, I am sure you’re aware how true these…

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Ten Techniques of Highly Persuasive Communicators

As a business owner, I am sure you frequently encounter people who solicit you in order to sell you their services. For instance, the other day the phone rang and someone, who identified herself, only as “Ann,” launched into a monologue about how her digital marketing company would “achieve outstanding outcomes” for my business. She…

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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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A word cloud of computer security related tags and terms

How Plain Language Can Improve Cybersecurity

The recent cyber attack on Twitter, Paypal, Netflix, the New York Times and other major businesses — all on the same day — demonstrated how incredibly vulnerable we are to cyber exploitation. These are businesses that I tend to think of as very secure. Of course, what online business is totally secure, really? I learned this…

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A Venn diagram that shows the intersection of customers, staff and shareholders

Why You Need Plain Language

Harvard Business School professor Robert Simons asks: “How Do Your Core Values Prioritize Shareholders, Employees, And Customers? Along with identifying a primary customer, you must also define your core values in a way that ranks the priority of shareholders, employees, and customers. Value statements that are lists of aspirational behaviors aren’t good enough. Real core…

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