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Clear Communication
Simple steps to make your communication
clear
Tweet: #ClearWriting
Sharon Burton
Sharon@sharonburton.c...
Clear Communication
Simple steps to make your communication
clear
Tweet: #ClearWriting
Sharon Burton
Sharon@sharonburton.c...
Welcome!
▪ I’m Sharon Burton
▪ Content Consultant
▪ STCAssociate Fellow
▪ Other stuff
▪ Been in theTech Comm industry for ...
Supporting role today…
▪ DCL is supporting us today
▪ If you have questions, they will help you in the questions window
▪ ...
Experience the DCL Difference
▪ DCL blends years of conversion experience with cutting-
edge technology and the infrastruc...
Valuable ContentTransformed
▪ Document Digitization
▪ XML and HTML Conversion
▪ eBook Production
▪ Hosted Solutions
▪ Big ...
Serving a Broad Client Base…
…Spanning all Industries
▪ Aerospace
▪ Associations
▪ Defense
▪ Distribution
▪ Education
▪ Financial
▪ Government
▪ Librar...
Webinar Mechanics
How does this thing work?
How this webinar works
▪ You are muted
▪ If you’re talking, hoping we’d notice, we can’t hear you
▪ We’re recording this w...
Audience and
communicating
Tweet: #ClearWriting
Communication
▪ FromWikipedia:
Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful
information.Communication requires a ...
What does this mean?
▪ Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful
information.
▪ This means that what we need t...
What does it require?
Communication requires a sender, a message, and an
intended recipient…
▪ We are busy people communic...
People want communication
in the way they prefer
What does this mean?
Tweet: #ClearWriting
Information consumption styles
▪ One of the most important things we can know about our
readers is their information consu...
Visual Consumers
▪ Pictures and line drawings
▪ Show concepts in graphics
▪ Flow charts are great
▪ Tables are also graphi...
Kinesthetic Consumers
▪ Hands on stuff
▪ “Do” instructions
▪ Written words should be very descriptive
▪ Textures, moving t...
Read/Writer Consumers
▪ More words are better
▪ Lots of written text, following the writing guidelines
▪ More about the wr...
Auditory Consumers
▪ Sound is good
▪ Podcasts and webinars and other voice over
▪ Write in a conversational tone
▪ As thou...
Consumption styles
▪ While people can learn in all 4 modes, people have
preferences
▪ There are no “wrong” styles
▪ Just a...
Preferences and jobs
▪ Information preferences also attract people to specific
jobs
▪ Visual kinesthetics might be hair dr...
A secret about preferences
▪ Now that you know a little about information
consumption styles, here’s a secret
▪ You will a...
Clear Communication
Guidelines
How to communicate clearly
What’s in a sentence?
▪ Sentences include:
▪ Subject
▪ Verb
▪ Other stuff
▪ Subject
▪ Actor of the sentence
▪ Bob
▪ Verb
▪...
Active voice
▪ Active voice is critical to engaging writing
▪ Active voice depends on the subject, the actor
▪ The actor c...
Present tense
▪ English has 7 or 8
tenses
▪ Other languages have
more or less
▪ We care most about
present tense
▪ It puts...
Second person
▪ He, she, it, they, we, I, you
▪ You is second person
▪ You’re writing to a specific person
▪ Don’t use “th...
Reader focused, reader centric
▪ Because we write to people, we need to keep the focus on
the reader
▪ Readers need to car...
Short is good
▪ Short sentences are easier to understand
▪ Fewer ideas in a short sentence
▪ No more than 25 words per sen...
Headings
▪ Use headings to break the text into chunks
▪ Headings visually break up the page
▪ Makes it easier for the read...
Building sentences and paragraphs
▪ Paragraphs start with a topic sentence
▪ Topic sentences explain the point of the para...
Example
▪ Another challenge is that business writing follows very
specific formulas in structure.Think about your resume,
...
Parsing the paragraph example
▪ Another challenge is that business writing follows very
specific formulas in structure.
▪ ...
Parsing example, cont
▪ Think about your resume, for example.
▪ This is an example
▪ Using you helps you picture your resu...
Parsing example, cont
▪ Your writing style, the points you highlight about your
career or education, and the look and feel...
Parsing example, cont
▪ A company uses all of these to decide whether to offer
you a job.
▪ We bring all the ideas to a co...
In sum
Think about these concepts for video scripts,
and other communication
To sum up
▪ Cover all 4 styles
▪ To learn more and find out your styles
▪ www.vark-learn.com
▪ Easy and fast. No wrong ans...
Questions?Thoughts?
sharon@sharonburton.com
Twitter: sharonburton
951-369-8590
www.sharonburton.com
You will get a link to...
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Clear Communication Webinar

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Good communication starts with clear writing. Regardless of what you're trying to say. View this webinar if you are involved in:

proposals
blogs
social media
user instructions
policies and procedures
video scripts

Learn about what clear communication looks like and how to improve yours.

Published in: Business
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Clear Communication Webinar

  1. 1. Clear Communication Simple steps to make your communication clear Tweet: #ClearWriting Sharon Burton Sharon@sharonburton.com Twitter: sharonburton 951-369-8590 We’ll be starting the webinar at 3 minutes after the hour
  2. 2. Clear Communication Simple steps to make your communication clear Tweet: #ClearWriting Sharon Burton Sharon@sharonburton.com Twitter: sharonburton 951-369-8590
  3. 3. Welcome! ▪ I’m Sharon Burton ▪ Content Consultant ▪ STCAssociate Fellow ▪ Other stuff ▪ Been in theTech 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 ▪ BusinessWriting for University of Redlands ▪ Custom training programs for clients Tweet: #ClearWriting
  4. 4. Supporting 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 Tweet: #ClearWriting
  5. 5. Experience the DCL Difference ▪ DCL blends years of conversion experience with cutting- edge technology and the infrastructure to make the conversion process easy and efficient. ▪ World-Class Services ▪ Leading-EdgeTechnology ▪ Unparalleled Infrastructure ▪ US-Based Management ▪ Complex-Content Expertise ▪ 24/7 Online ProjectTracking ▪ Automated Quality Control ▪ Global Capabilities
  6. 6. Valuable ContentTransformed ▪ Document Digitization ▪ XML and HTML Conversion ▪ eBook Production ▪ Hosted Solutions ▪ Big Data Automation ▪ Conversion Management ▪ Editorial Services ▪ Harmonizer
  7. 7. Serving a Broad Client Base…
  8. 8. …Spanning all Industries ▪ Aerospace ▪ Associations ▪ Defense ▪ Distribution ▪ Education ▪ Financial ▪ Government ▪ Libraries ▪ Life Sciences ▪ Manufacturing ▪ Medical ▪ Museums ▪ Periodicals ▪ Professional ▪ Publishing ▪ Reference ▪ Research ▪ Societies ▪ Software ▪ STM ▪ Technology ▪ Telecommunications ▪ Universities ▪ Utilities
  9. 9. Webinar Mechanics How does this thing work?
  10. 10. How 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 ▪ We have time for questions at the end ▪ I know you have a busy day Tweet: #ClearWriting
  11. 11. Audience and communicating Tweet: #ClearWriting
  12. 12. Communication ▪ FromWikipedia: 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 sender's 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. Tweet: #ClearWriting
  13. 13. What 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 ▪ Our audience decides if we communicated clearly Tweet: #ClearWriting
  14. 14. What 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. Tweet: #ClearWriting
  15. 15. People want communication in the way they prefer What does this mean? Tweet: #ClearWriting
  16. 16. Information consumption styles ▪ One of the most important things we can know about our readers is their information consumption styles ▪ This tells us how to design the communication we deliver ▪ 4 adult 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. 17. Visual Consumers ▪ 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. 18. Kinesthetic Consumers ▪ 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. 19. Read/Writer Consumers ▪ More words are better ▪ Lots of written text, following the writing guidelines ▪ More about the writing guidelines in a few moments
  20. 20. Auditory Consumers ▪ Sound is good ▪ Podcasts and webinars and other voice over ▪ Write in a conversational tone ▪ As though someone is talking ▪ Written content not the best ▪ They read the instructions aloud to provide that auditory aspect for themselves
  21. 21. Consumption styles ▪ While people can learn in all 4 modes, people have preferences ▪ There are no “wrong” styles ▪ Just as there is no “wrong” eye color ▪ 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. 22. Preferences and jobs ▪ Information 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 ▪ But your audience may not be engineers
  23. 23. A secret about preferences ▪ Now that you know a little about information consumption styles, here’s a secret ▪ You will always want to deliver material that matches your specific 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 ▪ You may have a terrible communication issue with co-workers
  24. 24. Clear Communication Guidelines How to communicate clearly
  25. 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. 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. 27. Present tense ▪ English has 7 or 8 tenses ▪ Other languages have more or less ▪ We care most about present tense ▪ It puts the action in the sentence in the now, making is relevant and immediate ▪ Only use (simple) past or (simple) future tense when it really happens then ▪ Past tense ▪ Bob ran to the car. ▪ Future tense ▪ Bob will run to the car. ▪ Present tense ▪ Bob runs to the car.
  28. 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. 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 letWidgetBlue talk to other products.
  30. 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. 31. Headings ▪ Use headings to break the text into chunks ▪ Headings visually break up the page ▪ Makes it easier for the reader to scan for the information s/he is looking for. ▪ 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. 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. 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. 34. Parsing the paragraph example ▪ Another challenge is that business writing follows very specific 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. 35. Parsing example, cont ▪ Think 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. 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. 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. 38. In sum Think about these concepts for video scripts, and other communication
  39. 39. To sum up ▪ Cover all 4 styles ▪ To learn more and find out your 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. 40. Questions?Thoughts? sharon@sharonburton.com Twitter: sharonburton 951-369-8590 www.sharonburton.com You will get a link to the recording and the slides tomorrow

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