I've read (and edited) some very flowery corporate language in my career. There is a misperception that using "business-speak" is the appropriate, and effective, way to compose business communications.
Unfortunately, there is also a misperception that business writing full of jargon and buzzwords makes the writer, and thus the employer, appear more educated and experienced. Um...NO!
Consider this: people are overwhelmed with information, and you have only 10-20 seconds to capture a reader's attention. Writing as The Word Doctor, which of these is most likely to get my point across - and quickly?
"I am a woman who robustly and effectively visually reviews material which has been written by those enterprising business owners wishing to appear best-of-breed vis-à-vis those who will engage them."
"I edit copy written by business owners who want to connect effectively with their clients and prospects."
Avoid corporate jargon and overused phrasing. Write and speak from your heart, authentically, in the style most natural for you. Those relationships, those connections are how you communicate effectively!
Here's a wonderful article which goes into more detail on this topic.
Words are nothing more than spoken collections of sounds, or written collections of letters (symbols). Both the sounds and letters are representations of our world - they have no meaning except what we have ascribed to them over time.
If you know me and my work, you know that I keenly sense the energy behind the words I read and write. This energy IS the meaning. We speak or write with intent to communicate a thought, idea, emotion.
The old childhood saying, "sticks and stones may break my bones..." is a falsehood. Bones heal, but words can cause lasting and great harm when the intent - the energy - is based in force, anger, fear, or any other "negative" emotion.
And words can be a healing balm when the intent is based in love and kindness.
Want an example? Easy - look at any social media post.
That post is a digitally rendered and delivered collection of symbols which represent the intent - again, the energy - of the writer. If the writer portrays himself/herself as a kind, loving soul, but posts divisive, angry, or hateful thoughts, then the writing is inauthentic. It is incendiary. The reader engaging with that post will take on a degree of the expressed emotion - they sense the anger, whether they're aware of it or not, and that energy may stay with them for some time.
This is the power of words in any format...a blog post, social media post, article, book, poem...to harm or heal, to educate or influence, to create love or fear.
Use them wisely.
In a conversation with a new friend yesterday, the topic of boundaries came up. We were discussing how important and satisfying it is to focus our energy in our businesses on those clients that really "feed" us...those with whom we feel the most connection.
How often have you had a conversation with a new acquaintance or potential client that felt a bit "off"? Something about the connection didn't quite fit, rather like a jigsaw puzzle piece that was not cut correctly. Rather than bashing the piece with a hammer to MAKE it fit, it's wiser to leave it out. And with a potential client, it's wiser to politely decline to provide service.
It's so important to "respect your no" when you know you're not the best person to offer service to someone. We often joke about saying to others, "What part of NO didn't you understand?" But we're often too ready to disrespect our own boundaries!
The same applies to your tasks. How often do you take on a project or task that makes you feel "off" the same way? Perhaps you really don't have the time or inclination to take care of it. Perhaps it's something you don't have the expertise or experience to handle properly. Why then take that hammer to it and force yourself? There's always someone to delegate to!
When I first started my business many years ago, I would provide any service to any client, as long as they'd pay me. Over time I realized I was not honoring the best in myself, or in my clients, and began to politely say "no" to certain tasks and certain people.
If you don't enforce your own boundaries, then who will? How can you expect others to respect your "lines in the sand" if you don't yourself? Remember, we always show others how to treat us...and your intention to violate your own rules means you're showing the universe that's just fine. Expect the best from yourself, and FOR yourself!
When I collaborate with a client, I know that being able to easily share files is critical to smooth sailing. We need to work off the same set of documents, and we need access to all the same supporting materials.
We've all experienced the trauma (ok, maybe not trauma, but certainly stress!) of sharing documents by email. It's so easy to lose track of what changes have been made, and by whom. Instead, use a virtual "file cabinet" like Google Drive or Dropbox, or a project management system like Asana, to store items every team member will need.
Set up project folders with explicit titles so that anyone on the team can easily find what they're looking for. Within those folders, store anything, and I mean ANYTHING, that a team member might need. You might want a folder for images, one for applications, one for setup or venue - consider the aspects of your particular project that make the most sense to organize the folders.
When changes are made to a file, ensure that it's saved back into the same folder so you don't end up with multiple versions of the same document - something I see often! You may want to have team member save items they have edited as "V1 date, V2 date," so it's easy to tell at a glance what the most recent update is, and yet you will still be able to recover previous versions if something goes wrong. AND, as I said, you won't have ten of the same file saved! Tip: be sure to include the date in the file name.
Whenever I manage a project I like to outline everything up front in a team meeting, so everyone is "on the same page" about timelines, roles, and how communication will be handled. Be sure to have regular meetings with subsets of the team sharing the same roles. Set expectations up front so there are no surprises!
Have you ever noticed two people having a conversation but neither is hearing the other? I have experienced that myself - haven't we all? Did you realize there are levels of comprehension involved?
Hearing is, of course, the mechanical, physical act of perceiving sound. You hear words and comprehend them. Listening is active...you pay attention to what you are hearing. You focus, sit in silence, and take in the words and their meaning, while observing subtle cues like facial expressions and body language.
Understanding is another level entirely. What you take in is not always what is expressed. You each come from your own unique viewpoint, history, communication styles, and word usage.
To communicate effectively in a conversation, you can check in with the other person to validate what you're understanding. "What I hear you saying is...." "So, you think that...." You may find that you either missed a point, or misunderstood entirely, and this gives the other person a chance to reword their message.
Too often in our culture we listen with the intent to respond. Of course conversation is a give-and-take exchange, but true listening has the intent to understand, not always respond. Worst of all is when someone responds with, "Well, I...." Immediately turning the focus on yourself completely negates the message of the other person.
A form of listening also occurs in written exchanges like text or email. Using the correct words in the correct context, tailoring your message for your audience, and asking for feedback can help smooth the path to clear understanding. As a "listener" to a written conversation, be sure to read carefully and take the time for full comprehension before responding.
Becoming more mindful in conversation, both written and verbal, can lead to clearer understanding and better relationships!