Building Better Communication Skills

  • All too often I have found that UK management are the ones with the inability of communicating. I much prefer to deal with German, Dutch, and Scandinavian managers as their English is near enough perfect. They also go to the trouble of trying to understand what was meant rather than what was poorly said.

    There are 2 sides to any dialogue. Its a shame that there are those who only want to blame 1 side, typically not themselves.

  • OCTom (1/10/2011)


    I doubt that Twitter improves writing skills. It seems to do the opposite. The nature of Twitter encourages shortcuts and abbreviations that may not aid communication.

    Over four years later and I have to say I disagree.

    The limits of Twitter exaggerates peoples' communication skills. Good communicators get their message across very clearly. Poor communicators do not.

    Gaz

    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • It seems that there is a midway point where people can write eloquently but not simply. The best writers produce books, articles, blogs, letters, emails, texts and Tweets that are read with ease. It is difficult to achieve. Far harder that to write something that is baffling to many.

    EDIT: ...because I am not a "best writer" 😉

    Gaz

    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • Gary Varga (12/8/2015)


    OCTom (1/10/2011)


    I doubt that Twitter improves writing skills. It seems to do the opposite. The nature of Twitter encourages shortcuts and abbreviations that may not aid communication.

    Over four years later and I have to say I disagree.

    The limits of Twitter exaggerates peoples' communication skills. Good communicators get their message across very clearly. Poor communicators do not.

    Worth remembering that good writing skills and effective communication are not the same thing. Certainly there is a strong overlap, but at the extremes it's possible to have poorly written text that is still effective communication and grammatically perfect text that fails to communicate entirely.

    I don't like shortcuts and abbreviations, but if they're commonly understood then I can't deny that they may still improve (or at least not get in the way of) effective communication.

    Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat

  • Gary Varga (12/8/2015)


    OCTom (1/10/2011)


    I doubt that Twitter improves writing skills. It seems to do the opposite. The nature of Twitter encourages shortcuts and abbreviations that may not aid communication.

    Over four years later and I have to say I disagree.

    The limits of Twitter exaggerates peoples' communication skills. Good communicators get their message across very clearly. Poor communicators do not.

    An example of well-done Twitter posts is science fiction author John Scalzi (@Scalzi). He gets in to some great repartee with others that are a lot of fun, most recently a rehash of Star Wars: A New Hope. He does an excellent job of making concise statements within Twitter's 140 character limit, then spanning it on to the next message.

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    [font="Arial"]Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves or we know where we can find information upon it. --Samuel Johnson[/font]

  • david_wendelken (1/28/2011)


    I've lost track of how many times I've seen documentation like this:

    Step 1: Do blah...

    Step 2: Do blah...blah...

    ...

    Step N: Do blah...blah...blah...

    Important! Before doing step 1, ...

    That's a basic mistake that's all too common.

    Here's another one. When presenting a list of items, number the items if order matters and bullet them if it does not.

    There was an episode of MASH where a bomb lands in the middle of the compound and doesn't detonate. They finally find out who dropped it and got instructions for defusing it.

    "Cut the red wire" *snip* "AFTER cutting the green wire."

    Oops.

    Yes, order of operations is quite important.

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    [font="Arial"]Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves or we know where we can find information upon it. --Samuel Johnson[/font]

  • jay-h (1/10/2011)


    ...Then there is the complexity of the instructions. My non-smartphone has a 150 page manual. Automobiles come with 500-600 page manuals (not that many years ago the owners manual was a 64 page booklet and the service manual was 500 pages). ...

    I bought a 2015 Subaru Crosstrek in October. It has adaptive cruise control and EyeSight: it watches the car in front of you and slows you down if it slows down. And the radio system is a touch-screen with Bluetooth.

    I've spent a lot of time in the manuals figuring out how the systems work along with the limitations of the systems, including downloading the manuals in PDF form. I just wish they were available as epubs so I could do keyword searches.

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    [font="Arial"]Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves or we know where we can find information upon it. --Samuel Johnson[/font]

  • I agree totally. My writing's not bad, not great but not bad. I just wish that I had better verbal skills. I can explain something and the person go "Huh?" Then when someone else explains it to the person they understand, though the explanation sounds to me the same as I had just given.

  • I cringe anytime I open any emails from one manager. Her emails have many misspellings and grammatical errors.

    For improving verbal skills, I recommend Toastmasters.

  • Ralph Hightower (12/9/2015)


    ...Her emails have many misspellings and grammatical errors...

    Someone please point her to the option in her email client that enforces a spellcheck before sending!!!

    Gaz

    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • Gary Varga (12/9/2015)


    Ralph Hightower (12/9/2015)


    ...Her emails have many misspellings and grammatical errors...

    Someone please point her to the option in her email client that enforces a spellcheck before sending!!!

    You mean there's a decent spell checker available? I've never managed to find one. One that knows or example that both "center" and "centre" are OK but not both in the same message unless all occurrences of one are marked with quote symbols?

    Does in accept "wedded" or "wed" or both?

    How many errors does it signal for

    1) So holp me Petault, it is not a miseffectual whyacinthinous riot of blots and blurs

    2) Helpe me Cassius, or I sinke

    3) But com thou Goddes fair and free, In Heav'n ycleap'd Euphrosyne

    - there should be no errors, they are all perfectly good modern English used by the OED to illustrate meanings [(1) dates from 1939. (2) is early modern English (Shakespeare); (3) is by Milton, so in between the other two in date].

    What will it do if someone quotes Chaucer (middle English)? Suely Chaucer should be OK? But I suspect it won't be.

    Of course I don't expect a spell-checker to be able to handle Early Middle English (things like " Ich bi-tæche þe anne hængest godna and strongna") or any Old English or Anglo-Saxon that hasn't survived beyond the EME period or even early 14th century midle English. But anything from the mid-14th century onwrads should be recognised as OK. And I believe that there are no spelling checkers that can handle even modern modern (lets say 1815 and onwards) English, or even very modern (lets say last 100 years) English.

    Tom

  • One of my favorite Foxtrot comics had Jason typing the following in to the computer:

    Marry hat hey lid tell lam, ids fleas woes wide has know.

    The spell checker finds no errors. He then turns to his brother Peter and says "If you ever want to feel superior to a computer..."

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    [font="Arial"]Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves or we know where we can find information upon it. --Samuel Johnson[/font]

  • Wayne West (12/9/2015)


    One of my favorite Foxtrot comics had Jason typing the following in to the computer:

    Marry hat hey lid tell lam, ids fleas woes wide has know.

    The spell checker finds no errors. He then turns to his brother Peter and says "If you ever want to feel superior to a computer..."

    A rather old joke - I wonder who did it first (perhaps not with those words). When did that comic appear? And when did Piers Anthony's version appear (in one of his early books, I think; no computer, of course, that wouldn't have been punny enough so a Bee was used instead)? And do I remember an earlier version from the early 50s; no computer involved there, of course - or was there a computer called Colossus there or is that just me confusing myself? One of my mother's uncles introduced me to SF when I was 4 or 5 years old, so I had come across fictional computers before 1950; Colossus must have been a coincidence when I saw it as the name of a fictional computer some time before 1954 when I was exiled to spend my childhood in the deep south (of England, not of Left Pondland). I don't remember whether that Colossus was involved in horrible homonyms, but It was certainly not a reference to Tommy Flowers' hardware with the same name, because that sort of computer was still classified back then.

    Tom

  • TomThomson (12/9/2015)


    Gary Varga (12/9/2015)


    Ralph Hightower (12/9/2015)


    ...Her emails have many misspellings and grammatical errors...

    Someone please point her to the option in her email client that enforces a spellcheck before sending!!!

    You mean there's a decent spell checker available? I've never managed to find one. One that knows or example that both "center" and "centre" are OK but not both in the same message unless all occurrences of one are marked with quote symbols?

    Does in accept "wedded" or "wed" or both?

    How many errors does it signal for

    1) So holp me Petault, it is not a miseffectual whyacinthinous riot of blots and blurs

    2) Helpe me Cassius, or I sinke

    3) But com thou Goddes fair and free, In Heav'n ycleap'd Euphrosyne

    - there should be no errors, they are all perfectly good modern English used by the OED to illustrate meanings [(1) dates from 1939. (2) is early modern English (Shakespeare); (3) is by Milton, so in between the other two in date].

    What will it do if someone quotes Chaucer (middle English)? Suely Chaucer should be OK? But I suspect it won't be.

    Of course I don't expect a spell-checker to be able to handle Early Middle English (things like " Ich bi-tæche þe anne hængest godna and strongna") or any Old English or Anglo-Saxon that hasn't survived beyond the EME period or even early 14th century midle English. But anything from the mid-14th century onwrads should be recognised as OK. And I believe that there are no spelling checkers that can handle even modern modern (lets say 1815 and onwards) English, or even very modern (lets say last 100 years) English.

    Tom. You need help. I'm here for you mate.

    It just needs to stop sentences like:

    I cannut spoll.

    It is the simple language spelling errors that are the most unprofessional. Incorrectly spelt esoteric terms, words and even languages are often excused. Rightly so in most scenarios.

    Gaz

    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • Gary Varga (12/10/2015)


    It just needs to stop sentences like:

    I cannut spoll.

    It is the simple language spelling errors that are the most unprofessional. Incorrectly spelt esoteric terms, words and even languages are often excused. Rightly so in most scenarios.

    The problem isn't that it doesn't correct things it doesn't know about, it's that either it does "correct" them (ie change them to some vaguely similar word with a completely wrong meaning) or it signals an error which has to be dismissed or ignored, and spotting a real error in the sea of correct words marked as errors is an error-prone process and a real pain.

    The only good things about most spell checkers are (a) they can help learners writing a pretty basic form of a language (no exotic words to fool the checker) and (b) they are not as bad as grammar checkers :-D.

    Tom

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