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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Signposting Words

Signposting is an effective method to help your audience follow what you are saying.

In a previous post, "What is Signposting", the concept of signposting was explained, and several examples were provided. In this post, I will be sharing examples of signpost words, which are words that can be used to connect ideas and sentences.

Signalling Addition - The following words signals addition.
And: We are experiencing cost issues and operational issues.
As well as: We are experiencing cost issues as well as operational issues.
Along with: We experience cost issues along with operational issues.

Signalling Condition - The following words signals a conditional situation.
Except: He usually works hard except when he is stressed.
If: He would have been successful, if only he works hard.

Signalling Contrast - The following words signal contrast.
But: He does not work hard but he earns a lot.
However: He works hard, however he does not earn a lot.
Although:  He works hard, although he does not earn a lot.

Signalling Example - The following words signal examples.
Such as: He has many hobbies, such as jogging and swimming
For example: He has many hobbies; for example jogging and swimming.

Signalling Sequencing - The following words signal a sequence of events.
First: First, I will start by reading the essay, before starting to write.
Before: I need to start preparing before I am ready.

Signalling Cause - The following words signal causality or the cause.
Because: She needs to eat more because she is pregnant.
As: She needs to ear more as she is pregnant.

Signalling Result - The following words signal result or effect.
Therefore: He overeats regularly, therefore he is fat.
So: He is fat, so he needs to try to slim down.

Signposting words are an essential tool in written or verbal communication to help to connect ideas and examples. Do use them regularly to help communicate more clearly.

If you are interested in this post, you might consider the following posts
1) What is Signposting
2) 10 Attention Grabbers for Better Public Speaking
3) Advantages and Disadvantages of Written and Spoken Communication

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Review: Changing Behavior: Immediately Transform Your Relationships with Easy-to-Learn, Proven Communication Skills

Title: Changing Behavior: Immediately Transform Your Relationships with Easy-to-Learn, Proven Communication Skills
Author: Georgianna Donadio

Content: 8.5/10
It offers a practical step-by-step guide, supported by research and proven strategies to enable readers to develop a much more meaningful and effective communication relationship with the people they desire to improve their current relationships with.

Readability: 8/10
The 12 steps of Pure Presence is written in an easy-to-understand manner so that readers can pick up and acquire the skills easily to improve the quality of their communication skills.

Overall Ranking 16.5/20
Overall, Changing Behavior is a good read that offers important and timely advice for people who desire to bring transformation to their relationships, health and happiness as whole.

At the heart of Changing Behavior is the revolutionary Behavioural Engagement™ model. Developed over the last 30 years in partnership with leading hospitals and medical centers, Behavioural Engagement is the first known whole person health education and health behaviour change model developed, tested and utilized in a clinical setting.

Here is a summary on how to apply the Behavioral Engagement model with pure presence:

Step 1: Be fully and purely present - Remove any forms of distraction prior to the conversation and focus only on entering into a meaningful and effective communication with another person by being receptive, non-judgemental and fully present throughout the entire communication.

Step 2: Be physically comfortable and relaxed - Adopt an upright and centred sitting posture to enable you and the other person to be relaxed and thereby assist you in remaining in pure presence throughout the communication.

Step 3: Constant eye contact – Maintaining a constant eye contact with the other person can create a physical response in the latter that brings about trust, comfort and safety.

Step 4: Check your intention – It is recommended to keep your intention or views open, centered and non-judgemental. This will prevent you to trigger that particular emotion or ego from surfacing which cause the conversation s to go off track.

Step 5: Listen with understanding - Initiate a conversation with a respectful inquiry with the other person and seek to listen attentively without disruption while the latter respond to your inquiry.

Step 6: Be responsive without injecting – It is ok to node your head, give eyebrow gestures and short responses such as “thanks”, “ah-ha” and so forth to allow the other person continue this talking. It is however not wise to probe, ask questions or interrupt at the wrong juncture.

Step 7: Accept the silence between words – Throughout the conversation, there is surely to have moments of short silence between words. During this time of silence, we can visit our subconscious mind and integrate this with our thinking process.

Step 8: Be patient with yourself and the other person 
It takes time for people to notice and accept that you do not have an agenda or you are not going to judged them or give advice or suggestions.

Step 9: Be honest with your conversation objective 
It is important to have a pure presence intention when entering into a conversation as your intention will become your agenda. By practising this pure presence intention, it will perfect your being-in-the present skills to strengthen your communication skills and relationships.

Step 10: Use of “I” statements to convey your feelings – Using “I” statements to express your feelings will enable us to own what we feel and thereby showing respect for the other person’s experience.

Step 11: Allow for discovery – One of the transformational components of Behavioural Engagement™ model is that if you remain true to the model ad stay in your pure presence center, you will make discoveries that will bring about emotional shifts and behavioural change in you. As our behaviours shift, we will achieve a more sustainable change that can have positive long-term results in our lives and relationships.

Step 12: Keep trying to perfect your skills – Even if you experience some frustrating moments and mind wander during a conversation, you can begin again with the next conversation. It is crucial to be committed t improve the quality of communication in your relationship.

In summary, Changing Behavior is a good read that offers important and timely advice for people who desire to bring transformation to their relationships, health and happiness as whole. It offers excellent tips, substantiated by research. It also asks questions to reflect the points back at you. If you are interested in finding out more, do check out the Amazon.com page for more reviews.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Book Review: Painting With Numbers - Presenting Financials and Other Numbers So People Will Understand You

Title: Painting with Numbers: Presenting Financials and Other Numbers So People Will Understand You
Author: Randall Bolten

Content: 6.5/10

As the book was targeted towards finance professionals, only half the book (related to report presentation and creating spreadsheets) were relevant to me. However, those parts were timely and well presented. 

Readability: 9/10
The emphasis of this book was to present financial numbers so people will understand you. And this book does present its information in a clear and concise manner.

Overall Ranking 15.5/20
The tips that Randall provides are well worth reading. However, I would only recommend to purchase the book to finance professionals involved in financial reporting.

The Good and the Bad

The Good: This book is appropriate for executive who are required to present financial information on a routine basis. The first half of the book is also useful for general presentations as well as for the creation of spreadsheets.

The Bad: I found the latter half the book to be not quite relevant, as presenting a balance sheet and GAAP reporting was not relevant to me.

Summary and Review

Painting with Numbers is a book that teaches consultants, accountants and finance professionals to present numbers in a clear and concise manner. Written from the perspective of an ex CFO, it presents timely information as to the proper way by which financial information should be presented.

Bolten says it best when he says that "reporting is an act of communication, not an act of compliance." 

When presentations or reports are not well communicated, the audience is often left either missing the key points, or left confused from a poor choice of words.
In the best version, the largest 
important  numbers stand out visually, 
the commas line up vertically, and it 
mirrors the way we were thought to 
add up numbers. 

The author's points are demonstrated in a clear manner through the use of examples that are easily understandable. In addition, as a book that emphasizes on the clarity of presentation, Randall practices what he preaches by presenting his points in a clear and readable manner.

Key points are boxed in red as "deadly sins", examples, notes and advice are similarly boxed with their separate colors. The result is clarity and variety as the important information is communicated.

An example of this can be seen from the example in the picture on the right. Randall presents this example and questions the reader as to which version is the best. The answer is version A. Can you guess why?

The book is divided into three main sections.

In part 1, "The Rules", Bolten focused on the rules that every report or presentation should follow.

In part 2, "The Tools", Bolten provides advice using the tools of excel, graphs and PowerPoint to help create your reports.

In part 3, Bolten puts everything into context of the organization.

Ultimately, the information presented in "Painting with Numbers" could mean the difference between an audience that is able to absorb the content, and an audience that did not understand what you are presenting. Although not the entire book was relevant to me, the parts that were relevant was timely and well presented.