Saturday, July 23, 2005

Why Business People speak like Idiots

I had dinner at my parents last night with Elizabeth and Jennifer. In to work today by 7:30 for a conference call at 8 that never happened – frustrating. Going to go for a long (perhaps 16K) run now and maybe lift some weights.

I follow the stats on my blog and notice the readership on the weekend is roughly half what is during the week. Interesting.

The latest book I finished is “Why Business People speak like Idiots” by Frugere, Hardaway and Warshawsky. It is a light read. The gist of it, better writing and speaking lead to better communication – duh (or does using that word make me one of the business illiterates).

Some good valid points that were made:

1 – think of the reader (not the writer) when writing.

2 – avoid acronyms. SYNNEX could learn - we are rife with NGM, OPL, RR etc.

3 – Appropriate humour is good (4 year olds laugh an average of 400 times per day compared to 35 year olds that laugh 15 times per day)

And my favourite:

4 – keep it shorter

I have long been a proponent of good writing and think the easiest way for people to improve writing is to read more. Reading has almost become a lost art.

One section of the book talks about apologizing. They put forth an interesting view that it reduces liability. There is truth to that. From my experience with lawsuits, most of them would be avoidable with proper heartfelt apologies. But this is not the reason to apologize. From my perspective, apologizing cleanses the soul and keeps authenticity. It is closely tied with taking responsibility which is one of the most important traits of successful people.

Off for the run.


At 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree on the book - an excellent read. Anything you have to REREAD to understand is just bad and is a waste of MY time.

Some people think you can wow the audience with big words. Guess what, world: we're all busy! Get to the point and tell us clean and simple, or we'll start thinking you're BS-ing us.

At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim - you're quite the reader. Check out Josh Kaufman's Personal
MBA 40 book list

At 4:51 AM, Blogger Jim Estill said...

Looks like a great list. I have added the ones I have not read to my reading list.

I totally agree that having to re-read a book to understand it is bad. Re-reading it s year or two later for refreshing the information is fine.

At 10:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"apologizing cleanses the soul and keeps authenticity. It is closely tied with taking responsibility which is one of the most important traits of successful people."


If I remember correctly, Margaret Mead noted that, in one of the many indigenous cultures she studied, one would apologize to someone who was harmed or offended in one's dream. The apology had to be done the day after the dream.

My first visit at the blog. Very interesting, Jim.

At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: reading. I recommend "Theatre of Fish" by John Gimlette. He traces his great grandfather's journeys through NFLD using prose verging on blank verse. Powerful imagery on the province and its people.


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