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Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

9780749475550Social media has changed the way people write, read, and understand English. The ability to manipulate business English has never been more important than in today’s globally interconnected world. In the second edition of How to Write…Effective Business English, Fiona Talbot employs her four-step Word Power Skills system to help readers write successful business English that conveys passion, not “management speak.” Talbot’s handy guide will help writers impress their audiences, sell products and services, and create brand reputation across a wide range of platforms.

The author believes that:

  • Written English is the primary form of communication in business today.
  • Social media messaging has transformed business writing.
  • Successful business writing uses simple, accessible language.
  • Writers should compose their messages to elicit a response.
  • An effective writer employs a style that conveys personal brand along with company values.
  • Knowing the target audience makes it easier for companies to customize content.

To learn more, please visit www.bizsum.com

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You Said WhatAs Kim Zoller and Kerry Preston explain in You Said What?!, effective communication is vital in the workplace. Building relationships with others means making them feel valued, respected, and, above all, heard. But even the most well-intentioned professionals make common communication blunders. Because professional communication skills are not intuitive, they must be learned and perfected over time.

The author believes that:

  • People are always communicating whether they know it or not, but few people know how to communicate effectively.
  • Communication is not only about the words people speak; it is about the actions people take and how they are understood by others.
  • Everyone has different communication styles and preferences, but in business it is vital to communicate with and be understood by a diverse range of personality types.
  • In today’s business environment, individuals must communicate over a wide range of mediums, including through social media, over email, and in face-to-face meetings.

To learn more, please visit www.bizsum.com

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20 Minute Manager Leading Virtual TeamsThe Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation title 20 Minute Manager: Leading Virtual Teams aims to help managers of remote groups succeed from afar. Virtual teams can present a unique set of challenges, including maintaining accountability from a distance and depending on technological means of communication, but these challenges can be overcome. Leaders of virtual teams can achieve success by ensuring that their teams have the right mix of skills and abilities for remote work, the right technological tools are in place, goals and processes are clearly defined and understood, and their employees remain engaged and accountable.

Leaders of virtual teams can overcome the unique challenges of remote workforces by employing six basic strategies:

1. Ensuring that their teams contain the right mix of skills and abilities. Team members must be able to communicate and collaborate effectively, be open to the use of technology, and possess the skills that are needed for success.

2. Assessing and fulfilling their teams’ technological needs. The success of virtual teams depends largely on the technology that they are given. Virtual team leaders must assess and implement the right tools to enable communication and the creation and sharing of content.

3. Clarifying goals, processes, and norms. Leaders of virtual teams must define common expectations, goals, processes, and norms to align the priorities of their teams.

4. Regulating the messages and communication channels that enable effective collaboration. Leaders must find ways to effectively share information through the appropriate channels. They must find the right balance of communication to avoid overburdening team members with information and undercommunicating their visions and objectives.

5. Keeping team members motivated, engaged, and accountable. Virtual team leaders must build rapport and trust among their teams and mobilize the social bonds that keep people engaged in and motivated about their work. They must also hold people to their commitments to prevent missed deadlines, poor results, and interpersonal conflicts.

6. Resolving conflict from afar. Leaders must manage conflict before it damages work relationships and creates toxic work environments. This can be achieved by practicing active listening, mediating, and encouraging transparency.

To learn more, please visit www.bizsum.com

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7 Secrets of PersuasionMost people make decisions so quickly that they may not even know they are making them; therefore, logic seldom has anything to do with the process. Psychological and scientific studies have proven that the brain’s nonconscious, automatic system is responsible for quickly generating impressions that lead to making choices. In 7 Secrets of Persuasion, James C. Crimmins, PhD explains how people can appeal to the brain’s automatic system to impact the decisions of their family members, work associates, friends, or customers.

People can successfully persuade others by:

  • Getting to know the lizard–the nonconscious mental system that makes most decisions without people’s knowledge.
  • Discovering the triggers that quickly engage the lizard.
  • Learning how to speak to the brain’s emotional side.
  • Attempting to change people’s behaviors rather than their attitudes.
  • Giving people what they want–not changing what they want.
  • Unearthing the reasons people respond in certain ways.
  • Focusing on how people feel (or want to feel).
  • Creating an expectation that a desired experience will be superior.
  • Engaging listeners using images and spokespeople with whom they wish to identify.

To learn more, please visit www.bizsum.com

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what-great-trainers-doIn What Great Trainers Do, Robert Bolton and Dorothy Grover Bolton target the underlying need for trainers to energize and motivate individuals to enact relevant change in their workplaces. They present an approach to attaining well-run training programs that ultimately drive future business for clients. Using time-tested techniques, trainers can deliver dynamic workshops that ultimately help boost profits and positively generate personal growth. From PowerPoint presentations to the effective management of group dynamics, this book offers no-nonsense advice to trainers seeking to create lasting and valuable learning.

Businesses spend upwards of $60 billion each year on training for employees. Despite this, studies have shown that scantily more than 10 percent of teaching material is incorporated into participants’ work environments. The ultimate task for an effective trainer is ensuring lessons learned during training translate to the workplace. This can be achieved by:

  • Creating a framework for training. To build a successful training program, a trainer must integrate content with how the group operates as a whole.
  • Developing a dynamic workshop. Effective trainers are enthusiastic, open-minded, and focused, and they maintain a conversational style.
  • Debriefing to gather the learning. Trainers attain feedback and learning from individuals when they debrief after activities, practices, or presentations.
  • Making presentations interactive. Great trainers involve participants early and often to create learning environments where thoughts are exchanged in a meaningful way.
  • *Evaluating and ending the workshop. Dynamic trainers have evaluation processes where sponsors and participants understand the degree of satisfaction.
  • Serving as a facilitator. Good trainers battle personal and group resistance by intervening when trouble arises.
  • Maturing as a trainer. First-rate trainers redesign failing workshops in real time, should groups feel that coursework is off the mark.

To learn more, please visit www.bizsum.com

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20-minute-manager-difficult-conversationsWhether confronting a colleague, giving feedback, or filing a complaint with management, finding the right words and methods to express oneself during a difficult conversation can be a challenge. And while most professionals might prefer avoiding any workplace confrontation, doing so often makes things worse. Harvard Business Review Press’s 20 Minute Manager: Difficult Conversations not only demonstrates the benefits of confronting contentious issues head-on but also provides a step-by-step guide to transforming interpersonal conflicts into productive dialogue. The book highlights the qualities and skills professionals need to become better communicators and examines how they can maintain positive relationships at work.

The book explains that in order to transform contentious conversations into highly constructive ones, professionals must:

  • Pinpoint the root of the problem. To resolve an interpersonal conflict with a productive conversation, a professional must first have a clear understanding of where the problem is stemming from.
  • Develop self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Only when professionals look within and empathize with how others are feeling can they calmly navigate difficult conversations.
  • Prepare for the conversation. To ensure that a difficult conversation goes smoothly, a professional must carefully plan what he or she is going to say and anticipate the different ways the conversation may unfold.
  • Stay calm and collected. Difficult conversations can easily become emotionally volatile; therefore, professionals must always try to maintain a calm, neutral tone and ignore any inflammatory language directed their way.
  • Reflect. To have consistently better and more productive future interactions, professionals must take a moment after the conclusion of each difficult conversation to identify what did and did not work.
  • Follow up on the conversation in writing. To fortify the positive outcome of a difficult conversation, a professional must quickly reiterate and reinforce what was agreed upon with the other party in an email.
  • Become better communicators. Effective communication does not just make difficult conversations easier, it can also help professionals’ self-esteem, improve workplace relationships, and mitigate conflict.

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20-minute-manager-performance-reviewsA commonly dreaded task for managers in any field is giving their direct reports feedback during annual performance reviews. While most managers acknowledge that feedback is important, annual assessments routinely become a rushed ritual conducted to fulfill a human resources requirement rather than improve performance.

20 Minute Manager: Performance Reviews from Harvard Business Review Press serves as a comprehensive yet concise guide that outlines the full process of gathering and analyzing information, documenting the evaluation, sharing feedback in person, and using the review to set new goals and further employee development. It equips managers with the fundamental tools for transforming performance reviews into a constructive use of time for organizations, managers, and their direct reports.

Conducting productive performance reviews is a fundamental management skill, but it can be a difficult one to master. By following some essential guidelines, managers can transform reviews from stressful obligations into key assets:

  •  A manager should remain objective and gather evidence from direct observation, other employees, job descriptions, and additional sources to support the assessment with specific examples. The manager’s evaluation should be formally documented for professional, organizational, and legal reasons.
  • Employees should be involved throughout the evaluation process. Each employee should submit a self-evaluation before the review, be actively engaged during the meeting, and initiate ideas for the post-review development plan.
  • Evaluations should cover both notable accomplishments and gaps in performance. These should not be presented in the “sandwich” style of praise, critique, and more praise. Rather, managers should lead with achievements, be clear about gaps, and use both to stimulate productive conversation and new goals.
  • Performance reviews should always be followed up with a separate meeting to create a development plan. The plan should outline how employees will achieve two to four goals in the upcoming year, specific actions they will take, how managers will support them, and contingency plans if problems are encountered.
  • Gathering evidence for performance reviews, offering feedback, and checking on progress toward development plans should be a consistent, year-round feature of a manager’s job.

To learn more, please visit http://www.bizsum.com

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