Category Archives: Bits & Pieces

Whatever your profession, you also need to be a professional communicator. ETC is pleased to share these essential Bits & Pieces to help you polish those skills.

I Don’t Get It – Voice Messaging Systems

Has this ever happened to you. After placing a call to a business, you hear … ‘Your call has been forwarded to an automated voice messaging system … 376 398-4008 is not available. At the tone, please leave a message … ‘ Read More »

‘Stellar’ Wisdom

Readers generally like ‘Quote-ables’ – the pearls of wisdom about communication I share from past generations, famous people and business leaders. But recently, a reader indicated she was also interested in what contemporary communication practitioners … like me … had to say based on our everyday experience. Read More »

Lots of Great Reads

Readers often indicate that they appreciate my regular listings here in BookShelf, but one asked for a comprehensive list. Great idea. Here you go …

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I Don’t Get It – Redundancies

Your Redundancies Are Laughable

We’ve gotten into some sloppy habits regarding redundancy. While this tendency may not be a major problem in verbal or written communication, it does waste words and the result is often amusing. Unless you’re a comedian, you probably don’t want people chuckling about what you say or write. So, here are some reminders.

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No BS About BS

‘Your Call Is Important To Us – the Truth About Bullsh*t’, Laura Penny, Random House, NY, 2005

I  picked up this book for the title and actually read it while traveling. An interesting study of the steaming piles of BS found in advertising, institutions and government.

20th Century Treasures

We can learn a lot about communicating from those who lived and worked in the 20th century.

‘The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand.’ John Maynard Keynes (1883 – 1946), British author and influential economist.

‘No one has a finer command of language than the person who keeps his mouth shut.’ Robert Benchley (1889 – 1945), American humorist, columnist and film actor.

‘Do not accustom yourself to use big words for little matters.’ Sam Rayburn (1882 – 1961), American politician and longest-serving Speaker of the House of Representatives.


 

Stop Pitching in the Elevator

A reporter doing an article on Elevator Pitches recently asked for my brief input.  First, I said that I preferred ‘Elevator Speech’ to ‘Elevator Pitch’. ‘Pitch’ sounds like you’re trying to sell something. No one likes to be sold to. ‘Speech’ sounds like you want to share some information. Even though the difference in connotation is subtle, it can impact the mindset of the person doing it. Read More »

Everything Old Is New Again

What can we learn from the ancients about contemporary communication challenges? Lots!

By words the mind is winged. – Aristophanes, (450 BC – 388 BC) Greek playwright.

An angry man opens his mouth and shuts his eyes. – Cato the Elder (234 BC -149 BC) Roman senator and historian.

Words have a longer life than deeds. – Pindar, (522 BC – 443BC) Greek lyric poet.

‘I Don’t Get It!’ – Holding Notes

Recently, a reader asked my opinion of holding speaker notes with two hands. I Don’t Get It, because I discourage the habit. It limits natural-looking gesturing, especially with notes in hand. Read More »

Workplace Writing Power Point – Short Words

Here’s this month’s Power Point – whenever a short, simple, familiar word is just as clear or clearer as a longer word, use the shorter word. The extra syllables don’t add anything to your meaning and may detract from your image as a real, down-to-earth person. But don’t trade clarity for brevity. Think ‘Twitter’ and save some of those characters for another message. Read More »

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