Effective Communication
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Effective Communication

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Internal training presentation for new employees about how to communicate more effectively in presentations, documents, emails, and IM

Internal training presentation for new employees about how to communicate more effectively in presentations, documents, emails, and IM

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    Effective Communication Effective Communication Presentation Transcript

    • Effective Communication
    • Today’s Agenda Writing and designing documents Using IM at work Creating effective presentations Sending and replying to email
    • User Centered Writing
      • Think about your audience
        • Who are your readers?
        • What are their preferences for style, tone, format, length?
        • What do you know about their environment and where they’ll read?
        • What questions do your readers bring to the document?
      • Tailor your message for your readers
        • Imagine them reading your document
        • Respond to their questions
      Assume your reader is busy and just wants the facts
    • How To Write Good
      • Don’t try to sound smart, try to make sense
        • There has been a decision that we will proceed with haste.
        • Let’s go!
      • Change nominalizations into agents with active verbs
        • The agency conducted an investigation into the matter. There is no need for further study of this problem.
        • The agency investigated the matter. We do not need to study this problem further.
      • Delete unnecessary words and phrases
        • Productivity actually depends on certain factors that involve basic psychology more than on any particular technology
        • Productivity depends more on psychology than technology
        • We must explain the reason for the delay in the meeting
        • We must explain why the meeting was delayed
    • Consistency, Consistency, Uniformity
      • Consistent styles and formatting
        • Keep the width of indentations the same (don’t tab all over the page)
        • Don’t change type size and style (except to communicate hierarchy)
        • Don’t change font within documents
      • Consistent capitalization
        • Sentence case capitalizes the first word
        • Title Case Capitalizes Every Word
        • Shift + F3 toggles quickly between them
      • Consistent (and parallel) bullet points
        • Start each point in the series with either a noun or an action verb
        • Don’t add periods at the end unless they are full sentences
    • Document Styles
      • Set up heading styles to make formatting consistent
      • Styles mapped to keystrokes makes it easy to style text
    • Spelling and Spell Check
      • Spell words out fully
        • I dunno y, but plz spell it out, k?
        • I don’t know why, but please spell words out, okay?
      • Spell check your own documents and emails
    • Writing Pet Peeves
      • Use of quotation marks
        • The phrase user personas are a “best practice” in the field of web design doesn't make the words “best practice” seem more important. It makes it sound like you're lying.
      • Use of And
        • You can use the word and to begin a sentence... but it had better be a really good sentence.
      • Using exclamation points
        • Don’t over-emote, PUHLEAAAZZEEE!!!!
    • Today’s Agenda Sending and replying to email
    • Emailing Clients
      • How to email someone for the first time:
        • Don't assume that they know you, or care to know you
        • Write a one-line introduction setting the context, introducing yourself, and explaining your role
      • How to structure an email requesting a decision:
        • State the topic briefly
        • Explain the issue
        • State pros/cons
        • Give a recommendation with rationale
        • Provide guidance on when you need the answer
      If you are sending an email to executives, make it brief
    • Subject Lines
      • Should state the subject of the email
      You can edit the subject line of someone else’s email if you want to save it  Don’t continue replying to an old email thread without changing the subject line 
    • Formatting in emails
      • You can set Word to be your default email editor
      Don’t over-format Formatting can be used to break up the text
    • Font in Emails
      • True or False?
        • I do creative work for a creative company, so a good place to express my creativity is in the font I choose for my emails
        • False
      • Use Arial 10 Point for body text
        • Not Verdana , Trebuchet , and especially not Comic Sans
      • Don’t emphasize too much
        • Please, no more BOLD ITALIC UNDERLINE ALL CAPS
        • If you want to emphasize, do it sparingly with bold
      • Don’t write emails in ALL CAPS
        • IT MAKES IT SOUND LIKE YOU’RE YELLING
    • Length of emails
      • Break emails up into short sentences and short paragraphs
      • If the message takes more than couple of paragraphs to communicate, pick up the phone or call a meeting
      No Yes
    • Reply or Reply All?
      • Limit use of reply all in emails
      Move the reply all button to the other side of the toolbar (to prevent unfortunate incidents from occurring)
    • Don’t Be A Jerk
      • Review your tone before you send:
      • Be careful what you say when you write:
        • Stay away from analogies, expressions or jokes on sensitive topics (politics, religion, etc.)
        • Sarcasm is next to impossible to convey via the written word, especially emails and IM.
        • Keep in mind that some lazy person will unintentionally forward your nasty email to the person you're calling an idiot.
      No Yes
    • Mailing List Etiquette
      • You are a member of various office and department mailing lists
      • It’s okay to email these lists with a question, but…
        • Use the Outlook Address Book to choose the correct list
        • Send to specific offices or departments rather than spamming the entire company
        • Specify if you want the replies to go to you or the whole list
      Do not spam the list with requests to be removed, or with complaints about the list
    • Today’s Agenda Creating effective presentations
    • Planning
      • Determine what question you need to answer , or what the client needs to get out of the presentation
      • Write an outline in Word for long, complex presentations
    • Font in Presentations
      • Presentations must be readable from 10 feet away
        • Make sure the font is not too small or too light
        • Assume the client’s projector will suck
      • Arial is the preferred typeface
      • You can use other fonts if:
        • You are a designer
        • A production designer formats the deck
        • The client style guide requires a different typeface
      24-36 pt 18-24 pt
    • Images
      • Images should be used to make the presentation more visually interesting (when screenshots or diagrams are not appropriate.)
      • Our presentations use well-styled photography chosen from image database sites
      Don’t recycle images without first considering your audience No Yes
    • Screenshots
      • Take good quality screenshots using Snag-it
      • Use alignment tools so images are orderly
    • Builds and Animations
      • Builds should be used to communicate meaning or to focus the viewer’s attention, not for comedic effect
      Use appear for builds, not one of the swoopy options Slide transitions are not recommended
    • Anatomy of a Slide
      • Three basic types of slides form the foundation of every presentation:
      Divider Slides Bulleted Slides Titles & Master Slides
    • Anatomy of title and master slides
      • Use an AA|RF template or a template created for your client
      • Include the client’s logo
      • Update the date and contact information
      • Set up master slides for consistent formatting
      • Work with the template and follow the slide layout styles
      • Try to work within the outline structure
    • Anatomy of divider slides
      • Agenda slides or section dividers:
        • Act like “signposts” telling the client what to expect and where they’re at in the presentation
        • Length and complexity of sections reflects their importance
      • Rules of thumb for divider slides:
        • Any deck longer than 15 pages or so should include dividers
        • Each section should be at least 5-7 slides (don’t have sections of only 1-2 slides)
        • Use color or shading to highlight the current section of the agenda
    • Anatomy of a bullet point slide
      • Slide Title
        • Tells the audience why the slide is important – what’s the point?
        • Ties the slide into the overall flow of the deck and gives context for new information
        • Titles should use nouns or active verbs
          • not “there is” or “it was”
        • Titles should use consistent capitalization
          • Sentence case or Title Case
    • Anatomy of a bullet point slide
      • Slide Body
        • Don’t make too many points
          • More slides is better than dense slides
        • Don’t use too many words
          • High ink-to-value ratio
        • Consistency is key
          • Begin each bullet with the same type of word, ideally an action verb
          • Use the same capitalization style throughout
          • If you end one with a period, end all of them with a period
        • Highlighting with bold can help draw attention
    • Anatomy of a bullet point slide
      • Takeaway box
        • Bounded box at the bottom of the slide
        • Draws a conclusion that can only be made after reading the body of the slide
        • Emphasizes a point – so what?
        • Provides transition to the next slide – where do we go from here?
        • Use sparingly, otherwise the emphasis is lost
    • Anatomy of a Diagram
      • Some of the diagrams you may encounter in the wild
      Venn Diagram Process Flow Four Square Screenshot with callouts Comparison Chart Trend Chart
    • Screenshot with callouts
      • Use callouts to draw attention to specific areas of the page
        • Use pointers and text to reference specific areas
        • Try to align the text so it looks neat
        • Or, use numbers to reference areas of the screen
      • Use screenshots that fill the entire page if callouts aren’t needed
    • Four Square
      • Four squares show relationships along two axes
        • Emphasize where a point falls on the axis
        • Focus on which quadrant a point falls in
        • Show progression (always to upper right)
    • Venn Diagram
      • Venn diagrams show relationships between entities
        • Focus on overlap between two things
        • Show mutual exclusion of things
        • Sometimes, just things shown in circles for visual interest
    • Process Flow
      • Process flows show a sequential relationship
        • Present steps in a series
        • Illustrated with circles, squares, or chevrons
        • Usually linear, but sometimes show a circular process that repeats itself
    • Other Charts
      • Information can sometimes be presented in a table more easily
      • Comparison charts
        • Show relationships among many categories
        • Can be coded with shading or with circles
      • Trend charts
        • Show movement and direction
      Comparison Chart Trend Chart
    • Review your slides
      • Consider your client’s communication style and attention span – have you said too much or too little?
      • How does each slide contribute to the overall story ?
      • Does the client need to know what’s on each slide?
      • Is the point of the slide clear from reading the title?
      • Are the title and the body clearly connected ?
      • Is the body of the slide easy to read or understand?
      • Is there a clear “ so what? ” for the client?
    • QA your slides
      • Make sure there are no mistakes
        • Read for typos
        • Run spell check
        • Clients notice errors!
      • Be internally consistent in structure, formatting, and style
        • Are all the bullet points parallel?
        • Is capitalization style consistent?
        • Have you followed the template formatting?
        • Are all the graphics neatly aligned?
      Be extra careful if you are repurposing slides from another client or pitch
    • PowerPoint Tips
      • Get to the punch line (fast!)
        • Less is more in presentations – people retain little of what they hear
        • It's better to present three things well than nine things poorly
        • Executives are less interested in the details of the methodology
        • Put the detail in an appendix for people who are interested
      • Take most of the bullet points off your slides and put them in the notes section
        • This does mean that you need to know what you are talking about when you present!
      • Use the notes function to create a leave-behind document
        • Focus the presentation on your delivery and on images
        • Summarize your points for later reading
    • Document Production
      • Book time in advance for a production designer to format your presentation, if needed
      • Alert office services in advance if you need presentations printed and bound – leave enough time
    • Today’s Agenda Using IM at work
    • Appropriate IM handles
      • Which of these are appropriate IM names to use when communicating with a client?
      IAmDrunkAllTheTime LisaSteinRF YourMother HarryP10011 JGordonNY ATCooperman AmputeeBoy SnotGrobbin Carlisle95 HamsterPantz Anderson1970 BellBottom69 Consider different names for work and personal use
    • IMing Tips
      • IM is OK to do on conference calls, but pay attention
      • Be very careful when IMing with clients!
        • Don’t get lulled into a false sense of unprofessionalism
        • Don’t accidentally send a message to the wrong window
        • Spell out all words
    • Conclusion
    • The Medium for the Message
      • Emails
        • When you need to distribute information quickly to a large group
        • When you need to document something that has already been discussed
        • When you are trying to avoid personal contact
        • When you say something you wouldn’t say to someone’s face
        • When you need to have a back-and-forth discussion
      • Phone calls or Meetings
        • When the discussion is sensitive, complex, or emotional
        • When a group needs to come to a shared consensus
        • When the sound quality for the speakerphone isn’t good enough
        • When you’re doing a conference call from your cell phone
        • When there’s no clear agenda for the meeting
      Good Bad
    • The Medium for the Message
      • Slides
        • When you need to walk a group of people through the flow of an argument
        • When information requires a combination of text and images
        • When you will distract the meeting attendees from having a conversation
        • When you risk “death-by-PowerPoint”
      • Documents
        • When you need to present the logic of an argument more fully
        • When information is purely text and not visual at all
        • When your clients don’t read
        • When the logic of your message will be lost in the details of the text
      Good Bad
    • Thank You