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Showing posts from July, 2012
Saying It Better: Choosing the Right Words and the Best Tone

     You've heard it said, "It's not what you say, but how you say it."  I've come to understand that it's both what you say and how you say it that affect our communications.  Choosing the right words to convey your message is critical to clarity and accuracy in communications.  Choosing the appropriate tone in that same message will complete how it gets across to the other party.  For example, if I have to tell a co-worker that I don't believe she's pulling her weight on the team, I wouldn't say:  "Joan!  I'm tired of doing your work.  Stop being lazy and do what you're getting paid to do just like the rest of us."  Wrong word choices and wrong tone even though it may be exactly how I feel.  I wouldn't go to her with hostility in my voice from the start.  I'd find the least confrontational words to describe the situation, and my tone would match.  It would sou…

Betty Parker's Rules of Electronic Engagement

Electronic etiquette--the proper use of electronics in today's wired connections.  That's my definition.  We have all the gadgets, and we know how to use them according to their technical purposes.  However, do we know proper etiquette when using our devices?  What's appropriate and what's not?  Although there are books that have been written on electronic etiquette, I have a few rules of my own about email, texting, Facebook entries, tweets, and voice mail that I think you might find useful.  Here are a few:

Emails:
Keep emails brief.  Use bullet points when appropriate.  Most people scan.  They don't read every word so don't waste your time.Refrain from sending a gazillion emails in a day to any one person.  After the third or fourth one, they'll most likely stop reading them and something important may get missed.If you want someone to respond to email because it actually is important, say so.  In the subject line, write in caps: IMPORTANT or ACTION REQUE…

Responding Responsibly

I've been asked my opinion on what I think of people not responding when you contact them.  This is a source of frustration for many, including me.  Since this is a communications blog, I believe that a lack of response is an important part of communication.  Therefore, I will address it. 
     Most of us can agree that we are inundated with information from the time we rise in the morning until we crash into bed at night.  We are mentally drained from the multitudinous contacts we get daily.  Unfortunately, we don't want most of them.  They often come unsolicited.  And truth be told, we find ourselves just as guilty of the same.  But sometimes it's unavoidable--especially at work.  To combat the unwanted messages, we've all resorted to handling them the same way--ignoring them.  We don't always respond to email, voice mail, snail mail, texts or calls.  Sometimes we think we'll be able to get to them at a later time, but we never do.  Thus, we've essen…

Direct--Not Rude

In almost every training class I conduct, there is at least one person who admits that they're direct in the way they communicate.  They know it because they've been told so, and I'm willing to bet that it wasn't meant as a compliment.  Most often when an individual is informed that their communication style is direct, it's because they've offended someone in some way.  But direct doesn't have to mean rude.  There are huge benefits in being direct.  When done right, this style of communication doesn't waste time but gets straight to the point, is extremely helpful in its feedback, and puts the speaker in a position of strength.  When done inappropriately, it will undo all of those and comes across as insensitive and abrasive.
     So how do you turn your direct style into a useful means of communication?  One way is to think about what you'll say before you blurt it out.  Ask yourself, "How will this come across to the person I'm talki…

WTF! The Impact of Profanity in Communications

You turn on the TV and on your favorite series there's a scene with an actor saying:  "G--d--mit, man have you lost your mind?"  You get in the car with your kids, and a song is playing that references "video h-s" in the lyrics.  You walk into the office, and your co-worker is staring at his computer screen when suddenly he blurts out:  "What the f--k!"  Everywhere you go, you hear it.  We all do.  We all do it.  Whether it's mild profanity or straight up vulgarity, most of America seems to have no qualms about spewing out a few words that would make their mothers blush--unless she's using those very words herself.
     What's the impact of profanity on our communications?  The answer is as wide as the range of profane words that we choose to express ourselves.  They can have no impact at all or they can immensely offend someone.  It depends on the individual, the place, and the circumstance.  If you're amongst friends in a social…