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Nick Westergaard, Tips for Better Business Writing and Speaking

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Whether you’re writing copy or pitching your idea, communication is one of the most important skills in work today. Employers value it and everyone wishes they did it just a bit better. This insightful talk provides you with strategies and tactics for leveling up your personal communication.

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Nick Westergaard, Tips for Better Business Writing and Speaking

  1. 1. NICK WESTERGAARD EDUCATOR. AUTHOR. IOWAN. WELL SAID TIPS FOR BETTER BUSINESS WRITING AND PRESENTING
  2. 2. NICKWESTERGAARD.COM/SLIDES
  3. 3. I MKTG
  4. 4. ONE DAY AT TIPPIE …
  5. 5. COMING SOON! 
 MAY ‘18
  6. 6. IT’S ALL COMMUNICATION
  7. 7. A NEW FOCUS – BUSINESS COMMUNICATION
  8. 8. COMMUNICATION TODAY PRESENTING 
 TIPS I. III.II. WRITING 
 TIPS
  9. 9. NICK WESTERGAARD I. COMMUNICATION TODAY
  10. 10. HOW EMPLOYERS RANK SKILLS 1. Communication 2. Teamwork 3. Leadership 4. Technical 5. Managerial
  11. 11. COMM SKILLS are less common in MBA programs, 
 more desired by employers Source: MBA Roundtable, Bloomberg
  12. 12. “ ” People are dying because we can't communicate in ways that allow us to understand one another. That sounds like an exaggeration, but I don't think it is. When patients can't relate to their doctors and don't follow their orders, when engineers can't convince a town that the dam could break, when a parent can't win the trust of a child enough to warn her off a lethal drug, they can all be headed for a serious ending. ALAN ALDA
  13. 13. HARDER TODAY
  14. 14. SNAP JUDGEMENTS
  15. 15. THE ICE WATER 
 EXPERIMENT
  16. 16. NEW TOOLS – EMAIL & POWERPOINT
  17. 17. “ ” Two things happened: good writers got better and bad writers got worse. Nobody told all the new computer writers that the essence of writing is rewriting. WILLIAM ZINSSER, AUTHOR OF “ON WRITING WELL”
  18. 18. WRITING & PRESENTING BETTER COMMS =
  19. 19. @ WELL SAID = CLEAR, CONCISE, AND PROFESSIONAL
  20. 20. NICK WESTERGAARD II. WRITING TIPS
  21. 21. Photo via Flickr userHerry Lawford
  22. 22. “ ” I keep six honest serving men (They taught me all I knew): Their names are WHAT and WHY and WHEN and HOW and WHERE and WHO. RUDYARD KIPLING
  23. 23. WHY? Ask yourself — why are you writing this? ✎
  24. 24. THE INVERTED PYRAMID One thing your audience needs to know WHY? FACTS 
 that support 
 and enrich that
  25. 25. “ ”JOSH BERNOFF, AUTHOR OF WRITING WITHOUT BULLSHIT The Iron Imperative: 
 Treat the reader’s time as more valuable than your own.
  26. 26. WHAT? Ask yourself — what do you want 
 the outcome of this to be? ✎
  27. 27. WHO? Ask yourself — who are you writing to? 
 This sets your tone. ✎
  28. 28. Photo via Flickr user Alex
  29. 29. FOCUS on writing to a SMART NON-SPECIALIST, balancing sophistication and accessibility. ✎
  30. 30. SHORT WRITING 
 GETS ATTENTION
  31. 31. WHAT DO THESE HAVE IN COMMON? • The Hippocratic oath • The Twenty-Third Psalm • The Lord’s Prayer • Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 • The Preamble to the Constitution • The Gettysburg Address • The last paragraph of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech
  32. 32. 996words total — in all seven documents ✎
  33. 33. SHORT TIPS DON’T use “business speak” and padding
 DO opt for plain-spoken language ✎
  34. 34. “ ”DONALD MURRAY, PULITZER-PRIZE WINNING JOURNALIST Brevity comes from selection and not compression.
  35. 35. WRITE LIKE A PRO Writing professionally — good style & grammar — builds trust by demonstrating competence ✎
  36. 36. TOP 5
  37. 37. OXFORD COMMA Or ‘serial comma’ is not optional! 
 It changes meaning … ,
  38. 38. A $5 MILLION OXFORD COMMA
  39. 39. EXCLAMATION POINTS Don’t overuse. The exclamation mark is reserved for use after true exclamations or commands. !
  40. 40. PARENTHESIS Where does the period go? Outside. 
 (Unless a wholly detached sentence is parenthesized, then the final stop comes before the last mark of parenthesis.) ()
  41. 41. PRONOUN PROBLEMS I, we, he, and she are subjects of clauses;
 me, us, him, and her are objects of prepositions ✎
  42. 42. USE CONTRACTIONS Again, warm and personal. 
 No one wants to talk to a robot. ✎
  43. 43. AND … BUT … These conjunctions are excellent transition tools in writing. Much better than “additionally” or “however.” ✎
  44. 44. LIGHTNING ROUND – EMAIL Photo via Flickr user Anton Pinchuk
  45. 45. 80%of business communication 
 happens via email @
  46. 46. EMAIL QUICK HITS • Get to the point — PURPOSE — quickly; 
 remember the Iron Rule • Copy judiciously — be mindful before replying all; 
 BCC as needed • Subject line — remember headline writing tips; 
 specific & actionable • Standard caps and punctuation, please
  47. 47. OMIT ANYTHING that could sound dismissive, distressing, 
 or upsetting ✂
  48. 48. TAKE TIME, 
 TAKE A STEP BACK
  49. 49. “ ” The first draft is the down draft — you just get it down. 
 The second draft is the up draft — you fix it up. 
 The third draft is the dental draft, where you check every tooth, to see if it’s loose, decayed, or healthy. ANNE LAMOTT
  50. 50. NICK WESTERGAARD III. PRESENTING TIPS
  51. 51. “ ”WOODROW T. WILSON If I am to speak for 10 minutes, 
 I need a week for preparation; if 15 minutes, three days; if an hour, I am ready now.
  52. 52. FIRST-DRAFT CULTURE
  53. 53. TOO MANY DRAFT IN POWERPOINT
  54. 54. “ ”RUDYARD KIPLING I keep six honest serving men (They taught me all I knew): Their names are WHAT and WHY and WHEN and HOW and WHERE and WHO.”
  55. 55. WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Where do you want them to be 
 after your talk?
  56. 56. MOVE AUDIENCE FROM Skepticism that the school will make good use of the money Excitement about innovative research by faculty, students, and alumni — and an impulse to give … TO
  57. 57. SOFTWARE UPDATE = Your department will struggle to meet key production deadlines until we update the workflow software.
  58. 58. CALL TO ACTION What do you want them to do? Define this by role for — Doers, Suppliers, Influencers & Innovators
  59. 59. BEFORE PPT …
  60. 60. AFTER STRUCTURE, FOCUS ON STORY
  61. 61. STORY is a more powerful communications tool 
 than bullet points. Why?
  62. 62. THE SCIENCE OF STORY Source: Michael de Groot, “Share Your Story”
  63. 63. STORIES & SPEAKING • Stories are about TRANSFORMATION • Stories have STRUCTURE • Beginning, middle, and end but also arcs …
  64. 64. STORIES HAVE STRUCTURE, SHAPES
  65. 65. STEVE JOBS “IPHONE LAUNCH”
  66. 66. BEGINNING: THE WORLD TODAY
  67. 67. MIDDLE: FLESH OUT WITH SPECIFICITY
  68. 68. END: NEW BLISS = BENEFITS (THEM, THEIR SPHERE)
  69. 69. CLOSING Find a closing story — get creative; when was a time when you had to do something like your audience
  70. 70. LIGHTNING ROUND – SLIDE DESIGN BUT FIRST … Photo via Flickr user Anton Pinchuk
  71. 71. POWERPOINT CAN DO MANY THINGS • Create documents • Create slides • Serve as a teleprompter • Don’t make it do all at once
  72. 72. ASK – WHAT WORKS BEST?
  73. 73. BLANK SLIDES Start with blank slides instead of masters and templates — do people need your logo on every slide? ?
  74. 74. ONE IDEA Per Slide (slides are free!) 1
  75. 75. LIMIT TEXT Keep the text short and easy to skim; 
 TIP: Start with type scale set high 
 (think of the back of the room) T
  76. 76. COHERENCE One font — two at most; Only two colors;
 Consistent forms of imagery — stock vs. clip art ☯
  77. 77. ARRANGE W/CARE Align graphics with text boxes; 
 watch sizes of objects — don’t want to pull focus ⌭
  78. 78. Whitespace conveys a sense of luxury
  79. 79. ANIMATIONS ARE LIKE RHINESTONES
  80. 80. MULTIMEDIA ≠ MEANING Extra words, graphics, animation, and sounds 
 tax your cognitive resources
  81. 81. FACT People can only process one stream of information at a time — they can either listen to you or look at your slides. They won’t do BOTH.
  82. 82. NOW WHAT?
  83. 83. MR E.
  84. 84. GOLDILOCKS MOVEMENT
  85. 85. CROCK POT SPEAKING
  86. 86. VOICE COMES FROM BREATH
  87. 87. FILLER WORDS Beware of filler words — ‘ah', 'um', ‘like’, 
 and ‘you know’
  88. 88. PAUSE TIP: Pause before key points if you need to =
  89. 89. BRING YOUR STORIES TO LIFE
  90. 90. NICK WESTERGAARD IV. NEXT STEPS
  91. 91. COMMUNICATION IS HARDER TODAY PRESENTING 
 STRUCTURE & STORY I. III.II. WRITING 
 CLEAR & CONCISE
  92. 92. IT COSTS YOU TIME TO SAVE 
 YOUR AUDIENCE TIME
  93. 93. OWN YOUR ENDING
  94. 94. MY FAVORITE SPEAKER Photo via Flickr user NTNU – Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  95. 95. WELL SAID = 
 SAYING IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME
  96. 96. THANKS! NICKWESTERGAARD.COM/SLIDES NICK@WESTERGAARD.COM COMING SOON! 
 MAY ‘18

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