CommsMasters Blog

What Are Words Worth?

It's important to acknowledge that in any debate, both sides believe that they're right. And we, as human beings, are hard-wired to gravitate towards the things that reinforce our beliefs or existing knowledge, rather than refute them.

Take the recent case of the dispute at the Grangemouth petrochemical plant. Leaving the politics aside, the language that was (reported as) being used added fuel to an already inflamed debate, one in which both sides believed their perspective was the 'right' one. Workers, on the one hand, allegedly described one INEOS director as being "evil", while David Cameron described the plant's former Unite convener as a "rogue" operator.

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It’s The Message, Not The Medium, That Matters

When I emerged as a fresh-faced young graduate of Edinburgh Napier University’s journalism school in the late 1970s, my ambition was to brighten the newspaper world with the brilliance of my reporting.

My pen (or typewriter in those days) burned with indignation; my writing embellished with 'big words' gleaned from the Thesaurus that sat by my desk.

With weary patience, the Editor of the local newspaper I worked for explained that journalism was about communication and that our readers appreciated information and facts more than purple prose and opinion.

He was right, of course.

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How Many Conversations Have You Had Today?

How many conversations have you had today? What range of people have you spoken to? And what variety of topics have formed the content of these interactions?

I'm not talking here just about the formal business conversations that mattered to you. I'm referring to all those 'pass-timing' moments as well – the water cooler conversations; the brief exchange as you purchased train tickets, your morning coffee or a refill of petrol.

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3 Misleading Beliefs About Communication

When a message gets communicated often enough and across multiple platforms, it can eventually become accepted as fact.

And, of course, the more people believe it to be fact, the more they repeat it as such – and the more it becomes embedded in the general consciousness as being ‘right’ or ‘the truth’.

Here are three of the most common beliefs often treated as ‘facts’ in relation to communication:

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Speaking of Innovation: How to Unlock Creativity and Unleash Competitive Advantage

We won’t survive on the status quo

Innovation means stepping outside the status quo, thinking creatively and nurturing a welcoming environment so that the best new ideas can flourish. Improved customer satisfaction, cost savings and, ultimately, long-term viability are some of the more obvious benefits of innovation.

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6 Ways to Engage/Disengage Your People

Having been employed in a number of roles in several different sectors over the years, I've naturally come up against a wide range of bosses – the good, the bad and the ugly (some of them all three).

Therefore, as a team member (or 'follower') I have some insight into which traits and behaviours engage or disengage me and my fellow employees from our leaders. Of course these'll be different for everyone, but – needless to say – all of mine involve communication. Here are my personal Top 3 for each category:

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3 (Extremely Irritating) Phrases That Managers Use When Things Go Wrong

If you’re a good manager, you let your team members implement ideas and try out new things without micromanaging them. You delegate tasks that create interesting opportunities and develop people.

You know this means sometimes things aren’t going to be done the way you want, and that occasionally things will go wrong. But you wholeheartedly believe wise words such as “the person who never made a mistake never learned anything.”

And most of the time everything is fine; you’re pleased with the results. From time to time you are even surprised and delighted by the unexpected brilliance of the outcome.

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8 Commonly Used Phrases That Make No Sense

Want to be a clear, concise communicator?

Here’s a simple tip that guarantees you will take a step towards that goal: cut out unnecessary adjectives and adverbs – usually words like very, really, absolutely and extremely, although not limited to these.

But even if you are addicted to jazzing-up your communication with a few extra words that don’t add much value, there are certain combinations that should be banned. These are the ones that are nonsensical, rather than just being surplus words.

Here is my list of the most common (and irritating!) culprits:

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