Program Goals and Objectives: Improving Writing: the Permanent Communication Skill
Five Reasons for Poor Writing pg.12 • Thinking and planning that are unclear. Without a plan, writing often lacks direction. Effective planning leads to clear organization. Clarity is achieved when information is presented in a step-by-step process. • Failing to write with your audience in mind. Realize your audience’s level of knowledge. An audience-centered approach tells readers what they want to know in a way that is useful to them. • Writing to impress rather to communicate.Nothing impresses readers more than clear, simple communication that tells them what they want to know. • Failing to consider design as crucial. Information overload is a fact of life. Business people are often too busy to wade through pages of details to get the point of a letter. Use headings, bullets, indented paragraphs, and plenty of white space. • Failing to revise and edit.Documents need fine-tuning and sometimes major revisions.
Don’t write merely to be understood. Write so that you cannot be possibly misunderstood. Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1934) Writer
No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft. H.G. Wells
Style Can Vary pg.14 • In Accurate: Something is incorrect or stronger information is available and should be used. • In Appropriate: The tone is faulty. • In Consistent: Parallelism is violated or the organization’s standards are in question.
Developing New Habits: The Four Stages of Learning 2. Conscious Incompetence We know that we don’t know 3. Conscious Competence We work at what we don’t know 1. Unconscious Incompetence We don’t know that we don’t know 4. Unconscious Competence We don’t have to think about knowing it
THINKNOTINK Points to consider before sending a document. • Readers do judge your writing and thinking. • A well-written document gives your ideas visibility and authority within your organization. • Poorly written documents can make you appear incompetent or someone who spends little to no time analyzing. • You could be viewed as someone who has nothing worthwhile to say. As with first impressions, such perceptions are difficult to erase.
Academic Teaching Knows the “right” answer so often “knows what you mean” even if your writing is not clear Wants to see you use new vocabulary, concepts, organizational patterns Expects deadlines to be met but will often award partial credit if they are not met Usually discourages collaboration Must read the document Business Learning Does not know the “right” answer so probably does not “know what you mean” if your writing is not clear. Wants to understand your accurate information without effort Expects to be served promptly and courteously; does not expect excuses Does not care how the information was obtained May not finish reading the document Roles of the Reader in Academic & Business Settings pg. 25
Academic Learning Not conveying information Expected to show knowledge of vocabulary concepts, organizational patterns Partial credit possible Topic often from personal experience or literature and often involves choice Deadlines imposed by another, often arbitrarily Length of writing assigned Type of organization sometimes assigned Collaboration usually discouraged Business Teaching Conveying information Expected to be accurate and clear Accuracy crucial; no “credit” for almost! Topic dictated by client, customer or supervisor and seldom involves choice Some deadlines, flexible or self-imposed; others completely flexible No length of writing provided Type of organization seldom assigned Collaboration permitted, sometimes encouraged Roles of the Writer in Academic & Business Settings
Pro-Acting: A More Sensible Approach to Communication Take Charge of the Writing Process: Determine • Date Due • Date Revising and Editing Completed • Date Outlining and Rough Drafting Done • Date Data Analyzed, Interpreted, and Evaluated • Date Data Collected and Organized
Project Deadline pg. 34 • Isolate yourself. • Don’t procrastinate. • Know your objectives. • Give top priority to planning. • Break the job into individual tasks. • Make choices. • Keep a time log. • Reduce Interruptions. • Avoid clock watching and other diversions. • Concentrate. • Strive to meet the deadline.
DebriefingSentence Variety In speech we use inflections and hand gestures to emphasize points we make. In writing, we vary our sentence length to emphasize points in our text.
Three Stages of the Writing Process pg. 39 Creating State: • Why am I writing this? • Who is my intended reader? • What do I want to say? Quick Draft Shaping Stage • Are these the points I want to make? • Did I forget something? • Are any of the points fuzzy? • What did I say that I could leave out? • Does this sound like me? • Do I believe what I said? Completion Stage Engage you readers • Use vivid, active, hopping-with-aliveness words, delete dull, lifeless, vague, and otherwise boring words. • Cut, cut, cut. Cut words that say the same thing – such as actual truth. Cut words that modify meaninglessly – such as kind of. Cut clichés – such as “pursuant to our next meeting,” and “do not hesitate to contact me.”
Proper Format pg. 45 • Format and neatness are aids to readability. The physical presentation of your message is one important way you can achieve your goal of getting the receiver to read your message. • Do your documents pass the eye test?
Date: April 3, 200_ To: All Employees From: Oliver Castle, President Subject: Reorganization of the Company As you well know, our company has had considerable difficulty this year with the collapse of the barunium market, with inflation hitting 12% and going up, with the labor difficulties we’ve had at several plants, and with the development of our new products, especially in the home products system. This situation has forced the management to assess our entire company and its operations with a view to finding a better way to organize it for improved profits and long-term efficiency. Some of our departments have been growing and shrinking without much rhyme or reason, and before this occasion we had not made the effort to take a really hard look at what we were doing. Instead, we were patching things here and there with the aim of eliminating duplication when we could and pulling together groups that belong together functionally. Now we are announcing a major reorganization to take effect on January 19. We will announce the details on January 12, such as when the desks will be moved and when new managers will hold meetings with various employees to whom the information is pertinent. We will also, at that time distribute a complete schedule setting forth who will be working for whom. In the meantime, we are announcing the following changes so the managers in charge of the affected divisions and departments can prepare for the reorganization. Charles Jones will assume duties as director of the new Office Products Division, leaving his present post as manager of typewriter and office equipment supplies. Janice Moreland will move from Vice President for Research to Vice President for Operations. Jack Spotter will be the new head of the Research Department, moving from his position as Assistant to the President to fill the position of Assistant to the President of Operations. Marilyn Belt will become director of the new Home Products Division, which used to have only project status. These changes in department managerial positions will take place on January 5. Current Assistant Directors will remain in their positions at that time unless otherwise notified. Then, on January 12, changes at the level of assistant directors will go into effect…
Paragraph pg. 46 • A paragraph consists of one or more sentences that either state or develop a single idea. A paragraph can consist of one short sentence or ten or more sentences. It is a vehicle for simple or for complex ideas. Therefore, sentences must be deliberately written to form paragraphs. CHARACTERISTICS OF AN EFFECTIVE PARAGRAPH • Unity • Coherence • Tone • Emphasis
Guidelines: • Paragraphs are developed around the content of the topic sentence and not always for the purpose or function of providing essential information for the reader. • Problems with Paragraphs: *too much information *different kinds of information *information which is not identified to ease understanding, quick scanning, and retrieval • Each paragraph should: • Contain only one main idea relevant to the purpose or function for the reader
Use a Heading To… pg. 48 • Make reports look less formidable • Enable the reader to tell at a glance what the major concerns are • Improve readability and save time – the readers; not the writers • Help both reader and writer to stay on the subject USE A HEADING TO: • Stress • Group • Balance • Arrange
User-Friendly Documents pg. 49 • Don’t scare the eye • Give the reader’s eye and mind breathing space Make documents user-friendly: Use -- • White Space • Wide Margins • Short Paragraphs • Short Sentences (average of 16-20 words) Use the “eye test” to determine if your documents are user-friendly.
Formatting Review pg. 51 Check your Document • Sentences Limit your sentences to 16 - 20 words Limit your lists to 5 - 6 items • Use Paragraphs every 5 to 7 sentences • Add Headings The Heading Itself should: • Be in bold type • Be in larger type • Be in a simple, clean font • Be flush with the left margin • Clearly identify the contents • Paragraph Headings The paragraph headings should indicate the purpose or content of the paragraph it identifies.
Date: April 3, 200_ To: All Employees From: Oliver Castle, President Subject: REORGANIZATION OF THE COMPANY Background As you well know, our company has had considerable difficulty this year with: The collapse of the barunium market Inflation hitting 12% and going up Labor difficulties at several plants Development of new products, especially in the home products system. This situation has forced the management to asses our entire company and its operations with a view of finding a better way to organize it for improved profits and long-term efficiency. Management Changes NameWILL move from …To … Charles Jones Manager, Typewriter and Director, Office Office Equipment Supplies Products Div. Janice Moreland V.P., Research V.P., Operations Jack Spotter Asst. V.P., Operations Dir., Research Maxwell Richardson Asst. To the President Asst. V.P., Operations Marilyn Belt Asst. to the Plan Dir., Home Products Manager Division Jed Franklin Asst. Dir., Finance Asst. Dir., Office Products Marsha Zettonelli Dir. Of Budgeting Asst. Dir., Home Products Memorandum to staff: The managers of these departments will inform the staff by special memo whether they will be moving with their current managers or staying in their current departments. In most cases there will be no change, as we are trying to keep as many departments intact as possible. Effective Dates: The effective dates for these changes are: January 5 changes in Corporate Officers and Division Chiefs January 12 announcement of details of reorganization, Assistant Directors move to new jobs.
Proofreading pg. 57 GUIDELINES: • Read the final copy for logic, meaning, clarity, interest, and persuasiveness • Read again for good sentence structure and punctuation • Read again and check for the following: • Typographical errors • Spelling errors • Precise word choice • Agreement of subjects and verbs • Correct tense of verbs • Correct case for nouns and pronouns • Agreement of pronouns and their antecedents • Proofread word by word and comma by comma in one of these ways: • Use a ‘guide sheet’ • Have someone read aloud the original draft • Read your draft into a tape recorder • Lay your copies side by side on a desk or table in front of you.
When I stand before God,at the end of my life,I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left but could say,“I used everything yougave me.” Erma Bombeck (1927-1996) Syndicated Columnist
Good Morning! Welcome to... Team Skills
Renewal Why Continue? Orientation Why am I here? Trust Building Who are you? High Performance Wow! Goal/Role Clarification What are we doing? Implementation Who does what, when, where? Project Management Model Commitment How will we do it? Initiation & Definition Tracking Planning Execution Close-Out Team Skills Team Performance Model
Team Skills Assessment • What do I do in a group? Please refer to handout to complete this assessment.
Team Skills Task Functions • Information and Opinion Giver • Information and Opinion Seeker • Initiator and Time Keeper • Direction Giver and Recorder • Summarizer • Coordinator and Liaison • Diagnoser • Energizer • Reality Tester and Critic • Evaluator
Participation Encourager Harmonizer and Reconciler Tension Reliever Communication Helper and Procedure Monitor Evaluator of Emotional Climate Process Observer and Participation Monitor Standard Setter and Consensus Seeker Active Listener Trust Builder and Candor Monitor Interpersonal Problem Solver Team Skills Maintenance Functions
Team Skills • Criteria for Effective Goals • Effective goals should meet the SMARTS test: • 1. Specific • 2. Measurable • 3. Attainable & Agreed Upon • 4. Relevant, Reinforced, and Results Oriented • 5. Time Bound • 6. Stretch Please refer to handout for more information.
Team Skills Effective goals should meet the Zest Test: • There’s a real sense of urgency. The goal must be achieved. • We feel a great sense of challenge. • Success is clear and measurable. • We’re really working together to achieve. • The stakes are big. We’ll be up if we win and down if we don’t. • We’re not afraid of mistakes; we’ll try anything that might work. Please refer to handout for more information.
Team Skills Segment 3: Commitment What prevents teams from achieving goals; from being high performing? • Complacency and lack of commitment • Vague mission • Non-smart goals • No team rules • No conflict or unmanaged conflict • Surface communication and ineffective listening
Team Skills What is Conflict? Conflict is an expressed struggle between two people who perceive incompatible goals or incompatible approaches to accomplish a common goal or a principal way/reason people change and believe and behave differently!
Team Skills What Causes Conflict in a Team? • Competition for limited resources • Clash of values • Poorly defined responsibilities • Change • Normal drives for success, recognition and power • Poor listening skills • Individuals with different information
Team Skills Exercise: Conflict What is Your Primary Conflict-Handling Style? For each of the 15 items, indicate how you rely on the tactic by circling the appropriate number. Please refer to handout to complete this exercise.
Team Skills Conflict: Five Options
Team Skills Conflict Styles: A Brief Summary • Avoiding is unassertive and uncooperative Conflict is postponed • Accommodating is unassertive and cooperative May help in future negotiations • Competing is assertive and uncooperative Someone wins, someone loses • Compromising is intermediate in both assertiveness and cooperativeness Both sides get something & give up something • Collaborating is both assertive and cooperative Both sides win and have an opportunity to create a new environment
Team Skills Conflict, Collaboration, & Commitment We can progress through collaboration, only if we are willing to move beyond our positions. It's not the conflict that is important, but the outcome. Each member must be 70% comfortable with the decision but 100% committed to working to make it happen.
Team Skills Delegate: to entrust! To send;…to appoint; to assign responsibility or authority (or should it be authority and responsibility?) Why Don’t We Delegate? • No faith in Subordinates • Fear of Superiors • Desire for Personal Credit • Misjudgment of Time
Team Skills Delegation Musts • Understand the need for delegation. • Designate objective/goals and performance standards. • Set a time limit for completed work. • Show your interest. • Measure results.
Structure Agendas Steps Rules Assigned Roles Interaction Give-and-take Discussion Reactions to Talk Opportunities for Creativity Open-Ended Discussion Team Skills Decision-making Teams Need a Balance of… &
Team Skills A Final Thought on Teamwork Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
Team Skills THE Final Thought on Teamwork To move the world, we must first move ourselves. -Socrates