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Clear communication webinar

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Good communication starts with clear writing. Regardless of what you're writing, people need to understand what you're trying to say. If you are involved in: ...

Good communication starts with clear writing. Regardless of what you're writing, people need to understand what you're trying to say. If you are involved in:
* proposals
* blogs
* social media
* user instructions
* policies and procedures
* video scripts
* and more

In one hour, you learn specific steps and actions to make your writing clearer and convey your powerful message. You'll leave with 10 simple actions you can apply to your writing today. Your message will be clearer and easier to understand.

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  • DCL’s core service is data conversion from any format to any formatAdditional services also includeeBook productionCompositionQAContent Reuse AnalysisProject set-up/managementConsultingTranscriptionTranslationServices can be bundled or sold al a carte Highly proficient with very complex projectsSolid reputation within all industries
  • DCL’s core service is data conversion from any format to any formatAdditional services also includeeBook productionCompositionQAContent Reuse AnalysisProject set-up/managementConsultingTranscriptionTranslationServices can be bundled or sold al a carte Highly proficient with very complex projectsSolid reputation within all industries
  • Our client base spans the gamut… Publishing:EducationalReferenceeBookLegalPeriodicalsSTMInstitutions:LibrariesUniversitiesHospitalsMuseumsIndustry:AutomotiveAerospaceTransportationEquipmentManufacturingDistributionTechnology:ComputingUtilitiesSemiconductorsTelecommunicationsFinancial Services:BankingCredit card servicesGovernment/Defense:Civilian agenciesGovernment agenciesMilitaryLife SciencesSPLSRPRecordsResearch
  • Any industry where documentation & content exists

Clear communication webinar Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Tweet: #ClearWriting We’ll be starting the webinar at 3 minutes after the hourClear WritingSimple steps to make your communicationclear Sharon Burton Sharon@sharonburton.com Twitter: sharonburton 951-369-8590
  • 2. Tweet: #ClearWritingClear WritingSimple steps to make your communicationclear Sharon Burton Sharon@sharonburton.com Twitter: sharonburton 951-369-8590
  • 3. DCL Company Overview▪ 30 years of experience providing electronic document conversion services meeting the needs of technology…today & in the future • More than 1 billion pages converted to date • Transform legacy & future documents • US Based project management team • Global capabilities • Specialize in complex projects • Employ a proven automated process
  • 4. From Any Format to Any Format… • Audio/video transcription • Composition • Consulting • Content Reuse Analysis • Digital Publishing • Document & image conversion • eBook production • Project set-up/management • Quality Assurance • Translation services • Workflow analysis
  • 5. Serving a Broad Client Base…
  • 6. …Spanning all Industries ▪ Publishers ▪ Heavy and Industrial Equipment ▪ Government ▪ Financial Services ▪ Defense ▪ Manufacturing ▪ Life sciences ▪ Computing ▪ Automotive ▪ Semiconductors ▪ Aerospace ▪ Telecommunications ▪ Utilities
  • 7. Webinar MechanicsHow does this thing work?
  • 8. Tweet: #ClearWritingWelcome!▪ I’m Sharon Burton ▪ Content Consultant ▪ STC Associate Fellow ▪ Other stuff▪ Been in the Tech Comm industry for 20 years ▪ Content Strategy Consultant - I help you make your content work better ▪ Also teach: ▪ Technical Communication to Engineering students at the University of California, Riverside ▪ Tech Comm certificate program at UCR Extension ▪ Business Writing for University of Redlands ▪ Custom training programs for clients
  • 9. Tweet: #ClearWritingHow this webinar works▪ You are muted ▪ If you’re talking, hoping we’d notice, we can’t hear you▪ We’re recording this webinar ▪ None of your information appears in the final webinar ▪ The recording link is provided to you automatically in a follow up email tomorrow ▪ A short survey is also included ▪ Helps us make the webinars better for you▪ We should be done by the top of the hour ▪ I know you have a busy day
  • 10. Tweet: #ClearWritingSupporting role today…▪ DCL is supporting us today ▪ If you have questions, they will help you in the questions window▪ Let’s say “Thank you” to Data Conversion Labs for hosting this webinar
  • 11. Tweet: #ClearWritingAudience andcommunicating
  • 12. Tweet: #ClearWritingCommunication▪ From Wikipedia: Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the senders intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast distances in time and space. Communication requires that the communicating parties share an area of communicative commonality. The communication process is complete once the receiver has understood the message of the sender.
  • 13. Tweet: #ClearWritingWhat does this mean?▪ Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information.▪ This means that what we need to convey has to be meaningful ▪ To the point ▪ Clear to our audience ▪ No extra noise
  • 14. Tweet: #ClearWritingWhat does it require? Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient…▪ We are busy people communicating with other busy people▪ Our written communications convey the message for us▪ Provides a record of our communication▪ But also think about videos, podcasts, etc.
  • 15. Tweet: #ClearWritingPeople want communicationin the way they preferWhat does this mean?
  • 16. Learning styles▪ One of the most important things we can know about our readers is their learning styles ▪ This tells us how to design the communication we deliver▪ 4 adult learning styles ▪ Visual ▪ Auditory ▪ Read/write ▪ Kinesthetic (hands on)▪ Most people have a strong preference 2 or more ▪ Some people are only one ▪ Some rare people are all 4
  • 17. Visual Learners▪ Pictures and line drawings▪ Show concepts in graphics▪ Flow charts are great▪ Tables are also graphics▪ A well designed page is also a graphic▪ Color is important
  • 18. Kinesthetic Learners▪ Hands on stuff▪ “Do” instructions▪ Written words should be very descriptive ▪ Textures, moving things, other “feel” things▪ Drawings and photos can work but they have to show doing or texture or…
  • 19. Read/Writer Learners▪ More words are better▪ Lots of written text, following the writing guidelines ▪ More about the writing guidelines in a few moments
  • 20. Auditory Learners▪ Sound is good ▪ Podcasts and webinars and other voice over▪ Write in a conversational tone ▪ As tho someone is talking▪ Written content not the best ▪ They read the instructions aloud to provide that auditory aspect for themselves
  • 21. Adult learning styles▪ While people can learn in all 4 modes, people have preferences for learning▪ There are no “wrong” learning styles ▪ Just as there are no “wrong” eye colors▪ People are much happier getting information in the mode they are comfortable with ▪ People are busy. Why give them information in a mode that they typically don’t like?
  • 22. Learning preferences and jobs▪ Learning preferences also attract people to specific jobs ▪ Visual kinesthetics might be hair dressers, interior designers, architects, photographers ▪ Read/write auditorys might be song writers, actors, journalists ▪ Engineers are typically visual kinesthetics
  • 23. A secret about learning styles▪ Now that you know a little about learning styles, here’s a secret ▪ You will always want to deliver material that matches your specific learning style(s) ▪ This may not meet the needs of your readers but you won’t know why ▪ This may also result in terrible communication issues ▪ They may have different learning styles than you or the users
  • 24. Clear Writing GuidelinesHow to communicate clearly
  • 25. What’s in a sentence?▪ Sentences include: ▪ Subject ▪ Verb ▪ Other stuff▪ Subject ▪ Actor of the sentence ▪ Bob▪ Verb ▪ Action of the sentence, performed by the subject ▪ Runs▪ Predicate and other stuff ▪ Tells what the actor did or where the action happened or many other things ▪ To the car
  • 26. Active voice▪ Active voice is critical to engaging writing▪ Active voice depends on the subject, the actor ▪ The actor comes first▪ Passive voice: ▪ The award was won by the writers.▪ Active voice ▪ The writers won the award.▪ Always write active voice ▪ Practice with sentences that start “You can…”
  • 27. Present tense ▪ English has 7 or 8 ▪ Only use (simple) past tenses or (simple) future ▪ Other languages have tense when it really more or less happens then ▪ We care most about ▪ Past tense present tense ▪ Bob ran to the car. ▪ It puts the action in the sentence in the now, ▪ Future tense making is relevant and ▪ Bob will run to the car. immediate ▪ Present tense ▪ Bob runs to the car.
  • 28. Second person▪ He, she, it, they, we, I, you ▪ You is second person ▪ You’re writing to a specific person▪ Don’t use “the user” ▪ Unless there is really a different group of users, separate from your reader▪ Second person is also easier to read in English ▪ More familiar and trusted
  • 29. Reader focused, reader centric▪ Because we write to people, we need to keep the focus on the reader ▪ Readers need to care why they need to know this information ▪ They want to know what they can do or why this is important to them▪ For example: ▪ WidgetBlue uses tags to talk to other products. ▪ You can use tags to let WidgetBlue talk to other products.
  • 30. Short is good▪ Short sentences are easier to understand ▪ Fewer ideas in a short sentence ▪ No more than 25 words per sentence▪ Short paragraphs ▪ Paragraphs are groups of related sentences ▪ No more than 3 to 5 sentences per paragraph▪ Short sections ▪ Sections are groups of related paragraphs ▪ No more than 3 to 5 paragraphs before a section heading
  • 31. Headings▪ Use headings to break the narrative text into chunks▪ Headings visually break up the page ▪ Makes it easier for the reader to find the information s/he is looking for. ▪ It also makes the information look easy to understand. ▪ Things that look easy to understand are easier to understand.▪ Headings show the relationships between ideas or the parts of ideas ▪ Critical in overview sections where you are introducing the user to new concepts
  • 32. Building sentences and paragraphs▪ Paragraphs start with a topic sentence▪ Topic sentences explain the point of the paragraph. ▪ The reader can read just the topic sentence and get the idea of the entire paragraph▪ Other sentences in the paragraph amplify and support the topic sentence▪ The paragraph can include ▪ an example that illustrates the concept ▪ with a limitation or special case the reader should know now that they know about the general class
  • 33. Example▪ Another challenge is that business writing follows very specific formulas in structure. Think about your resume, for example. Your writing style, the points you highlight about your career or education, and the look and feel play an important role. A company uses all of these to decide whether to offer you a job.
  • 34. Parsing the paragraph exampleAnother challenge is that business writing follows veryspecific formulas in structure.▪ This is the topic sentence ▪ Contains the point to the paragraph▪ It’s a short sentence ▪ 12 words▪ Easy to understand ▪ Short words
  • 35. Parsing example, contThink about your resume, for example.▪ This is an example▪ Using you helps you picture your resume ▪ Not some generic resume▪ Notice how you have a picture in your head right away▪ You can relate
  • 36. Parsing example, cont Your writing style, the points you highlight about your career or education, and the look and feel play an important role.▪ Now that we have an example, we pull out important features to think about ▪ We created a picture in our readers head ▪ It’s 21 words. ▪ Look how long that looks.
  • 37. Parsing example, cont A company uses all of these to decide whether to offer you a job.▪ We bring all the ideas to a conclusion ▪ In this case, it’s the point of the resume: to get hired▪ No sentence is longer than 25 words.▪ We have four sentences total
  • 38. In sumThink about these concepts for video scripts,and other communication
  • 39. To sum up▪ Cover all 4 learning styles ▪ To learn more and find out your learning styles ▪ www.vark-learn.com ▪ Easy and fast. No wrong answers and select all that apply▪ Tight writing ▪ 25 words or less per sentence, 3 to 5 sentences per paragraph, headings every 3 to 5 paragraphs ▪ Active voice, present tense, second person ▪ Reader focused – Why does your reader care about this information?
  • 40. You will get a link to the recording tomorrowI’ll upload the slides to SlideShare later today. Questions? sharon@sharonburton.com Twitter: sharonburton 951-369-8590 www.sharonburton.com