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The Success Tips feature highlights career hints and key communication principles.  These easy- to-remember tips enhance your personal and professional communication skills.

 

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Communication and Electronic Technology

Success Tip 1.1 Listening

Develop your listening skills by being an active listener. Paraphrase what you hear to confirm your understanding. Minimize distractions; do not answer the telephone or shift your attention to other people during a conversation.

 

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Qualities of Effective Messages 

Success Tip 2.1 Seven Simple Rules

Follow these seven simple rules so others can understand your messages:

1. Use correct grammar and spelling. 

2. When smaller words will express your idea, use them. 

3. Zero in on the most important part and cut any unnecessary words. 

4. Read your writing out loud. 

5. Use similes and metaphors to pep up your writing when you know your audience. 

6. Eliminate phrases such as "for your information," "please be advised," or "obviously." 

7. Provide documentation because written messages live on forever. 

Adapted from "Write So Others Can Understand" by Anita Bruzzese

Anita Bruzzese, a free-lance writer, specializes in workplace issues. Address correspondence to:  Business Editor, Gannett News Service, 1000 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22229-0001. 

 

Success Tip 2.2 Unlucky Number in Korea

When communicating with someone in Korea, avoid using the number four. The Korean four is the equivalent of the American thirteen--unlucky! The Korean word for four (sa) sounds similar to the word for death. If you check into a Korean hotel, your room probably would not be on the fourth floor; hotels usually do not have a fourth floor. Also, when you check into a Korean hospital, you will not find a fourth floor there either.

 

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Planning and Developing Messages 

Success Tip 3.1  Receiver Focus

When possible, use your receiver's name throughout your message to draw the receiver into the "conversation." 

Success Tip  3.2  Familiar Words 

Choose familiar words when delivering your message so that your receivers are not distracted by consulting their "mental" dictionary to determine word meanings. 

Success Tip 3.3  Business Cards

When conducting business internationally, frequently in the same country, consider having business cards printed in English on one side and the language of that country on the other side. 

 

 

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Document Preparation 

Success Tip 4.1 E-Mail Messages

Use e-mail messages to quickly and accurately keep employees and customers up to date on your latest offers and opportunities. 

Adapted from "Do More With Communications" by Robert Moskowitz

You may review the entire text online at  URL: http://www.smartbiz.com/sbs/arts/mos5.htm

Success Tip 4.2  Evaluate Web Sites

Follow these five steps to evaluate web sites and information on the Internet: 

1. Judge a web site by more than the screen appearance. 

Even though a site looks professional, the information may or may not be accurate and reliable. An animated, glittery site can be purely a marketing front. 

2. Locate trustworthy guides.

Bookmark "hotlists" and links from authorities you trust; for example, http://www.smartbiz.com --a site that provides reliable information about business issues. 

3. Identify who created the information.

Is the author or creator identified? Has the authority either included a short biographical description that appends to the end of messages or given a link where you may pursue additional dialogue? 

4. Determine why the information was posted.

Web site creators have agendas, sometimes explicit, sometimes hidden. Keep the agenda in mind when you evaluate the information. 

5. Attempt to verify the same information elsewhere.

Verification is especially important if the information is at odds with previous understandings or contradicts common sense. Try to confirm the information with at least two other sources either through the Internet or at a library. 

          Adapted from "Teaching Healthy Skepticism About the Information on the 
           Internet" by Reid Goldsborough 

 

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Good News and Neutral News Messages 

Success Tip 5.1  Strategies

Strategies set your thoughts right about how you are going to tackle problems. 

Adapted from "Eight Habits of the Heart" by Clifton Taulbert

 Success Tip 5.2  Keep Reader's Attention

An inviting, easy-to-read message gains and keeps the reader's attention. 

 Success Tip 5.3  Thank-You Messages

Thank-you messages enhance opportunities for building goodwill between the sender and the receiver. 

 

 

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Bad News Messages 

Success Tip 6.1  Empathy

Effective messages reflect the writer's empathy for the receiver. 

Sucess Tip 6.2  Positive Self-Talk

Always use positive self-talk. Avoid expressions such as "can't," "try," "they made me," "I have to," or "I had to." 

Adapted from "Ten Disciplines of Success" by Jack Canfield

Success Tip 6.3 Written Criticism

When you must include criticism in a written message, draft the contents and wait a day before you transmit the message. You may want to revise your statements; then, make certain that only the intended reader receives the message.

 

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Persuasive Messages

Success Tip 7.1  Writer's Block

 When you experience writer’s block, try talking to a friend or co-worker about your topic. Often words and ideas come quickly when you are not worrying about format and style. You can then put your ideas on paper. 

 Success Tip 7.2  Sales Messages

Make sure that your sales messages answer these receiver questions: "What do I get out of this?" or  "Can you prove what you say?" or "So what?" 

Success Tip 7.3  Fax Design
September 1998

When faxing information to a customer/donor or potential customer/donor, be sure that the your fax creates a positive image for you and your organization. The design of the document should ensure clear transmission, and the content of the fax should employ the same persuasive strategies as typical mailings. 

 

 

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Employment Messages

Success Tip 8.1  Online Job Search--Keywords

When searching online for a job, use detailed keywords to describe the job you are seeking. The more specific the description, the more efficient and effective the search 

Success Tip 8.2  Online Resumes

For security purposes when submitting an online resume, include your e-mail address rather than your street address and telephone number.

 

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Reports in the Workplace 

Success Tip 9.1  The "Right" Answer

You don't have to have the right answer as long as you know where to find the right answer. 

Success Tip 9.2  Report Beginnings and Endings

Make the beginning and the ending of your report equally as memorable.

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