Monday, April 20, 2009

Communicating in the Workplace by Matt O'Shaughnessy

Being able to effectively communicate is not only important in the workplace, but it is important in life. If you can effectively convey your ideas and thoughts to others it puts you in a great position. In the workplace, employees have to talk to a wide range of different people, including clients, supervisors, co-workers and suppliers. Therefore, it is worthwhile to think about the importance of effective communiation and to think about ways to accomplish it. Here are five tips for effective communication in the workplace.

Be Clear
Make sure you get your point across in a manner in which the person you're talking to knows exactly what is expected of them. This can save a lot of headaches later in the day when your co-worker didn't do what you wanted them to do because you didn't effectively tell them what to do.

Get to the Point
Don't beat around the bush. Not only are you wasting everybodys time but its annoying to listen to somebody who takes 15 minutes to explain something that could have been explained in 5.

Be Personal
Getting to the point ,however, does not mean communicating in a cold, unfriendly manner. Let your audience know you care about them as an individual too not just a co-worker, and that their input and opinions are highly valued.

Communicating is not a one way street. You have to be able to listen as well as communicate or else no one will ever want to talk to you because you seem close minded. You have to be able to do both.

Think Before You Speak
Don't rush into speaking, think about what you want to say, think about the best way to say it, then go ahead and say it. If you can do this you can avoid misunderstandings, and in times of hostility, you can keep yourself from saying something you might later regret.

References: Burris, Skylar. "Six Steps Towards Effective Communication at Work." 18 November 2008. April 19 2009.

How to Take Effective Notes by Evan Grant

Taking notes isn’t always a simple task, especially when the speaker is talking really fast. It’s easy to fall behind and miss valuable information so learning how to take effective notes is a very important skill to have.

The first thing to keep in mind when you start taking notes during a lecture or a business meeting is that you aren’t supposed to write everything down. If you try writing everything the speaker is saying you will quickly find yourself playing catch-up for the entire speech.

To effectively write down the key information from any speaker you must abbreviate abbrev. abbr. Write down as little of each word as possible, while making sure it is still readable. Stay away from full sentences, use words or phrases that will trigger a memory of what was said. If you do find yourself falling behind, leave an empty space where you were writing so you can fill in the gap later.

Michael Hyatt, the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, indents his notes from the left margin a bit so he can add symbols next to his writing. These symbols are as follows:

* Place an asterisk by important information.

? Place a question mark by information that requires further clarification.

[ ] Place a box by “to do” items and put a checkmark in the box once it is finished.

( ) Place a circle by tasks that you asked others to complete and checkmark it once it is finished.

Works Cited:

Hyatt, Michael. "Working Smart: Recovering the Lost Art of Note-Taking." Michael Hyatt - President & CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. 20 Apr. 2009.

Trapani, Gina. "Lifehacker - Geek to Live: Take great notes - Capture tools." Lifehacker, tips and downloads for getting things done. 20 Apr. 2009.

Williams, Richard S. "HOW TO TAKE EFFECTIVE NOTES." Washington State University - Pullman, Washington. 20 Apr. 2009.

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Email Etiquette by Daniel White

Etiquette is something that should be taken very seriously when composing an email, especially if it is a superior or someone that you do not know.

Clarity is the most important component of an email. In order for an email to be understood, the message should be simple and direct getting to the point right off the bat. You can start this off by having an effective subject line as it will then give the recipient the opportunity to prioritize the email.

Another important aspect of the email to consider is that the majority of professionals see their email account as business, therefore it is important that you do not write unnecessarily long paragraphs. You do not want to be wasting the recipients time if it is only a simple question you have to ask.

It is important to be friendly and cordial, however, it is important to stay away from jokes or witty remarks because they may not come off appropriately in an email.

As per attachments, it is important that you do not attach something to an email the first time that you contact someone (unless specifically asked to do so) because the recipient may see your email and instantly think it is junk and then delete it. You should initially write them and introduce yourself and say that you wish to send something as that way they will expect the attachment and it will not get lost. Also, do not send large files such as huge photographs unless you state that the files are large because then it is the readers choice whether or not to open the file.

Email Etiquette is something that can easily be looked over with text messaging being at such a high level in present time, therefore it is extremely important that your email is composed correctly and courteously.

The following is a youtube video which goes over a few other important aspects of email etiquette.

Work Cited
The OWL at Purdue (1995-2009). Email Etiquette. Retrieved April 19, 2009 from:

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Sarcasm at Work By Cedric Cummings

Sarcasm is a very dangerous tool to have in your arsenal, especially when your in a professional setting. Sarcasm can not only lighten the mood with humor and laughter, it can also hurt feelings and offend people. I searched and searched for websites with a positive view on sarcasm in the workplace and was sadly disappointed. I finally came upon a few sites and articles that did not frown upon sarcasm. They believe as do I that it is great and humorous; to an extent. Here are a few tips on using sarcasm in the workplace without ruffling feathers:

Know who your audience is: You have to be aware who is around and what kind of sense of humor they have. If you are in a room full of people that you are not familiar with, your sarcasm may come off as offensive and they may not approve of you too much.

Edit your remarks: If you are like me and can make a sarcastic remark without having a thought, we need not forget this tip. Always edit your sarcastic comments because some talk is better off left outside.

Those are a couple of tips that should keep you out of too much trouble when walking that fine line of sarcasm. Here is a video to follow up with my tips:

Work Cited: Mook, Bob. "In defense of Sarcasm at the Workplace." Bizjournals. 16 Nov. 2001. 20 Apr. 2009 .

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Different Document Layouts by Jennifer Flowers

Whether we are about to write a letter, resume, poem, news article or instant message there is one important detail that needs to be made. Presentation! Its the way the document looks, the layout and style of your work. Personally when I read a written work I can tell before hand what it is I am going to read because of specifically how it looks.

Letters are easily distinguishable because they are always addressed to someone. Like starting off with Dear Mr./Mrs. Jones, etc. and ending with a Sincerely, From or some other send off.
Newspaper Articles can be found in well the newspaper, or some other journal/magazine. The styles are all similar whatever the story due to the skinny columns and small fonts. The story is typically short and to the point. Space is scarce and the quicker the story is told, the better.
Haiku's and poems are special in their own way because haiku's are very short and normally only have three lines which have a specific number of syllables in each, and match other lines in the small poem. Poems also have special rules such as how many syllables are in each line, how many phrases and verses there are and different rhythm schemes. Both of these works of writing are visionary tales, which most of the time tell a story to the reader. Pictures are often added to the haiku's and poems to help tell the story. Here are examples of both a haiku and a poem.
There are hundreds of different documents made each day. It is very important to have a good idea of what your task is and how it should be presented. If unsure, talk with coworkers or peers, find an example template and work off of that. Whatever you can do to properly present your work DO! Not only in school is your written works important, it's even MORE crucial in the workplace to produce correct documentation so good writing and good luck bloggers!
Letter Layout. Retrieved April 17 2009, from
Newspaper layout. Retrieved April 17 2009, from

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Power of List Writing(Schindler's List) by George Erkvania

A word after a word after a word is power”-Margaret Atwood. Everyday we wake up we make a list, list of the things that is important for us.

A list helps anybody to organize and plan their everyday lives. Lists help save time because we gather our thoughts in some kind of order.

Later, we realize that piece of paper with list of duties on it has undeniable power on one's particular day. Power of the list writing is what makes us more punctual, more reliable and successful.

However, the one particular list that I want to talk about in this post did not make people better, or made them more organized or reliable. This list saved hundred people’s lives.

“It saved 801 men from gas chambers-it’s incredibly moving piece of history”- Library co-curator Olwen Pryke said. The document was found in Library in Sydney.
Schindler’s list consists of thirteen pages of fragile, yellow paper, in which are typed the names and nationalities of 801 Jewish people. The list of Jewish names were put together in order being described as one of the most powerful documents of the 20th century.

Only a life lived for other is a life worthwhile” – Albert Einstein. Oscar Schindler is the man who could proudly say that his life was worthwhile.

“Schindler’s list is a story of the remarkable man, a card-carrying Nazi, who outwitted SS and Hitler to save more Jews from the gas chambers than any other during the World War ll"( .

The list was typed on 18 April 1945, in closing years of the War.

“Whoever saves one life.. saves the world entire”- Power of the list written by Oscar Schindler saved 801 Jews. Today there are more than 8,000 descendents of the Schindler-Jews living in Europe, Israel and US.

References: The Holocaust; Crimes, Heroes and villains website. (2008-2010) Retrieved on April 16, 2009.

How to Overcome Writer's Block by Megan Clipse

How many times have you ever came across that feeling when you are about to start writing and all of the sudden it hits you....what am I going to say? Where do I start? And then you freeze! Today this is referred to as one of the most prevailing 'diseases' amongst writers of all ages, genders, and educational levels: Writer's Block! Although the symptoms are temporarily debilitating there are some quick and easy cures to rid yourself of this common fret. Below is a list of 'diagnoses and cures'.

Writer's Block 101

Symptom #1 You have come across a last minute paper and wish to write it without any preliminary outlining or brainstorming.

  • Cure-Jot down your primary ideas and connect them with smaller thoughts. This will also help you create a working outline as it is easily convertible and will give you a starting point to the paper.

Symptom #2 Boring, boring, boring! The topic you have to write about has no interest to you what so ever.

  • Cure-Learn to personalize the topic more towards your liking. If possible interlink it to something you enjoy and the writing will flow much easier.

Symptom #3 You are in a rush and deep down really do not want to spend the time to write.

  • Cure-Give in to the idea that you absolutely must write this assignment either way.

Symptom #4 You are anxious to get started

  • Cure-Develop rituals and success strategies to relax nerves. Examples are chewing gum, listening to music, etc.
  • Focus your energy to the task at hand!

Symptom #5 What most college students feel at one point or another----STRESS!

  • Cure- Just BREATHE! Take a moment to stop, stretch, and focus your breathing to calm yourself. Think of calming thoughts so as to not get even more worked up over the writing.

For more general tips and strategies for Writer's Block you should check out this site:


The OWL at Purdue (1995-2009). Writer's Block/Writer's Anxiety. Symptoms and Cures for Writer's Block. Retrieved April 17, 2009 from: (2009) How to Overcome Procrastination and Writer's Block. Retrieved April 17, 2009 from: