"To write an effective technical material, one needs to hone his creativity. It takes creativity, after all, to shorten expressions."
- Sheila Viesca, TalkShop

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

On Professional Writing Workshop

On Professional Writing Workshop

Maintaining Company Integrity through Effective Internal Communications

English communication is not only a requisite in colleges and universities. Its necessity and benefits are most significantly felt in corporate organizations and businesses especially in this age of globalization. The global trend in business should keep managers always alert of the demands of competition. A company should then strengthen its foundation through effective internal communications such as business writing because its strong but subtle effects on employees will have an impact on the way they perform their jobs and deliver services, affecting the organization’s leadership in the market.

“A poorly-worded memo or an official email can ignite a controversial conflict between a subordinate and a supervisor that may snowball into a labor dispute, and even between an employee and a customer resulting in lost business. A thoughtless and indecisive technical report may spell disaster during a board meeting. These otherwise avoidable concerns may have disproportionate consequences if continued and left ignored,” points out Sheila Viesca, TalkShop CEO and Director of Communication.

Considered the country’s top choice for English communication training, TalkShop understands this corporate concern, and so it responds by conducting Professional Writing Workshops. This course is all about effective intra-office communications such as reports, charts, graphs, and other visuals, memos, endorsements, and circulars, letters and emails, minutes of the meeting. Other applications or skills to be developed include technical writing, theme writing, and business writing.

It is an integrated learning package and coaching workshop for CEOs, managers, and supervisors and it runs for three days or a total of 24 hours. Students will be mentored by no less the country’s communication expert Sheila Viesca.

Due to the design of its courses and the positive response of its clients, TalkShop has become the top brand for corporate communication training that is most sought after by top organizations, training specialists, and managers. It has been leading in the industry for 12 years now, and it still continues to innovate itself to respond to the demands of global business.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

5 Simple Ways to Write with Style

5 Simple Ways to Write with Style

As discussed in a previous blog entry, style and substance go hand-in-hand when writing a good report. Now let’s discuss some simple methods you can use to write a report with style.

1. Use an appropriate font.
For written works, a font size of 11-12 is recommended. Anything below that will strain the reader's eyes. Digital reports have the advantage of being easily adjustable. Also consider the intended audience of your report and adjust accordingly. For example, older users might appreciate a more sizable text like font size 15.

Many font styles have been developed throughout the years, from the comical (and grossly misused) Comics Sans to the outdated Courier. Resist the urge to use ostentatious fonts and stick to reliable timeless ones such as Arial, Times New Roman, or Verdana. Some examples of stylish yet functional modern fonts include Calibri, Cambria, and Helvetica. Rather than examining the font style, readers should be breezing through the text.

2. Write crisp sentences and paragraphs. 

Sentences must not be too long and overly complex. Start new sentences instead of adding a clause after clause. Your sentence is most likely too long when there are too many conjunctions (e.g. and, but, or) or commas.

Avoid making a 'wall of text' that spans the length of the page; instead break paragraphs into groups of logically-connected ideas. No one wants to read a report that like a stream-of-consciousness monologue. As a general rule of thumb, three to five well-constructed sentences make a good paragraph.

3. Eliminate spelling and grammatical errors. 

With the advent of robust spell-check tools, there should be no excuse for submitting error-plagued reports. Make it a habit to use these tools before and after writing a report. Better yet, improve your English language fundamentals to avoid grammatical mistakes. Reading a few well-written articles in the newspaper everyday can gradually improve your English skills.

4. Add figures as needed to support the text. 

Figures and images are used to support the text. Ensure that figures are able to do this by using a clear and systematic labeling format. The figure itself must be clear and concise enough to be understood at first glance. If your graph looks tedious because it is flooded with too many numbers and labels, simplify your graph.

Using a figure helps illustrate your point. If you are inserting a figure for any other reason, ask yourself what its purpose is and if it is truly necessary. More often than not, it isn't. Avoid adding figures just for the sake of adding figures.

5. Include supporting information. 

For longer reports, include supporting pages such as a cover page, table of contents, executive summary, and appendix. Other additions include page numbers, footnotes, and endnotes. 

Shorter reports can do without supporting pages. Instead, consider adding pertinent information such as titles and subtitles, author name and contact information, and date of submission.

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Write to Sell

After all, the pen is more profitable than the sword.
What is the point of writing if no one is going to buy your ideas?  Even seasoned writers tend to get carried away with impressive vocabulary and complicated explanations, not minding how easy they lull their readers to sleep.  Whatever you want to say or sell, you improve your chances when you focus on achieving these writing goals:

Writing by Hand Makes You Smarter

When Typing On A Keyboard, This Process May Be Impaired

Associate professor Anne Mangen at the University of Stavanger's Reading Centre asks if something is lost in switching from book to computer screen, and from pen to keyboard. 

The process of reading and writing involves a number of senses, she explains. When writing by hand, our brain receives feedback from our motor actions, together with the sensation of touching a pencil and paper. These kinds of feedback is significantly different from those we receive when touching and typing on a keyboard. 

Learning by Doing 

Together with neurophysiologist Jean-Luc Velay at the University of Marseille, Anne Mangen has written an article published in the Advances in Haptics periodical. They have examined research which goes a long way in confirming the significance of these differences. 

An experiment carried out by Velay's research team in Marseille establishes that different parts of the brain are activated when we read letters we have learned by handwriting, from those activated when we recognise letters we have learned through typing on a keyboard. When writing by hand, the movements involved leave a motor memory in the sensorimotor part of the brain, which helps us recognise letters. This implies a connection between reading and writing, and suggests that the sensorimotor system plays a role in the process of visual recognition during reading, Mangen explains. 

Other experiments suggest that the brain's Brocas area is discernibly more activated when we are read a verb which is linked to a physical activity, compared with being read an abstract verb or a verb not associated with any action. 

"This also happens when you observe someone doing something. You don't have to do anything yourself. Hearing about or watching some activity is often enough. It may even suffice to observe a familiar tool associated with a particular physical activity," Mangen says. 

Since writing by hand takes longer than typing on a keyboard, the temporal aspect may also influence the learning process, she adds. 

The term 'haptic' refers to the process of touching and the way in which we communicate by touch, particularly by using our fingers and hands to explore our surroundings. Haptics include both our perceptions when we relate passively to our surroundings, and when we move and act. 

A Lack of Focus 

There is a lot of research on haptics in relation to computer games, in which for instance vibrating hand controls are employed. According to Mangen, virtual drills with sound and vibration are used for training dentists. 

But there has been very little effort to include haptics within the humanistic disciplines, she explains. In educational science, there is scant interest in the ergonomics of reading and writing, and its potential significance in the learning process. 

Mangen refers to an experiment involving two groups of adults, in which the participants were assigned the task of having to learn to write in an unknown alphabet, consisting of approximately twenty letters. One group was taught to write by hand, while the other was using a keyboard. Three and six weeks into the experiment, the participants' recollection of these letters, as well as their rapidity in distinguishing right and reversed letters, were tested. Those who had learned the letters by handwriting came out best in all tests. Furthermore, fMRI brain scans indicated an activation of the Brocas area within this group. Among those who had learned by typing on keyboards, there was little or no activation of this area. 

"The sensorimotor component forms an integral part of training for beginners, and in special education for people with learning difficulties. But there is little awareness and understanding of the importance of handwriting to the learning process, beyond that of writing itself," Mangen says. 

She refers to pedagogical research on writing, which has moved from a cognitive approach to a focus on contextual, social and cultural relations. In her opinion, a one-sided focus on context may lead to neglect of the individual, physiological, sensorimotor and phenomenological connections. 

Interdisciplinary Collaboration 

Within the field of psychology, there is an awareness of the danger of paying too much attention on mentality. According to Mangen, perception and sensorimotor now play a more prominent role. 

"Our bodies are designed to interact with the world which surrounds us. We are living creatures, geared toward using physical objects - be it a book, a keyboard or a pen - to perform certain tasks," she says. 

Being a media and reading researcher, Anne Mangen is a rare bird within her field of study. And she is very enthusiastic about her collaboration with a neurophysiologist. 

"We combine very different disciplines. Velay has carried out some very exciting experiments on the difference between handwriting and the use of keyboards, from a neurophysiologic perspective. My contribution centres on how we - as humans with bodies and brains - experience the writing process, through using different technologies in different ways. And how these technologies' interfaces influence our experience," she concludes. 


Trond Egil Toft 
University of Stavanger www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/214297.php

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