Posted tagged ‘communication’

Apostrophes and Possessives Made Clear

July 15, 2009

newsletterI got this newsletter from Jane Straus this morning in my inbox. Most of the time, I don’t forward these missives on to my blog, but this proves extremely helpful for people who have questions.

Plural and Possessive Forms with Names Ending in y

How do you form the plural of a proper noun that ends in y such as Murphy? Should you change the name to Murphies? Given how other English words ending in y form their plurals, you would think so.

Examples:

puppy / puppies

army / armies

supply / supplies

However, proper nouns are not made plural in the same way common nouns are.

Rule: Do not change the spelling of a name to make it plural. Instead, just add s.

Examples:

I visited the Murphys last weekend.

We have two Zacharys in our office.

What if you want to show possession with a name that ends in y?

Rule: To show singular possession, use the apostrophe and then the s.

Example: I petted Mrs. Murphy’s cat.

Rule: To show plural possession, make the proper noun plural first, then use the apostrophe.

Examples:

I petted the Murphys’ cat.

I visited the Murphys’ store on Main Street.

Rule: To show the plural of a name that ends in s, ch, or z, add es.

Examples:

The Sanchezes will be over soon.

The Thomases moved away.

Readjusting My Goals…

May 28, 2009

linkedin1If you’ve been reading my recent posts, you may have noticed that I have made the statement that I will begin affecting change in my life by becoming accountable to YOU, the blogosphere.

Well, I started out pretty well, but then it sort of lost the appeal as I was a bit uncertain as to the actual number of people who were reading my posts. Hmm….

However, I have found renewed inspiration and am working now on some new goals which I will share with you as I become comfortable with the idea of letting the world (or the couple dozen people who click on my posts) know what my plans are.

But what I do want to tell you is this: I’m trying to become more active on LinkedIn and am always looking to make new connections. If you are interested in connecting with me, my email address is in the “ABOUT” page on my blog. However, if it appears that I’m getting tremendous amounts of spam to my inbox, I will then take action and remove it.

Are you trying out new things in your business? If so, I’d love to hear about them!

How ’bout it?

Accountability: Becoming the person you want to become

May 7, 2009

AccountabilityIn starting this recent chapter of my blog, I decided to create some sort of accountability which would hopefully “encourage” me to write on a more regular basis. Each week, I’m making a (seemingly) feasible goal of action.

This week, I have aspired to make contact with people in the mainstream (traditional) media, since I’m working to become the next generation of “new” media. So far this week, I have endeavored to for connections with 15 people from Facebook who work for CBS. Several have responded, but the rest have either ignored my friend request or haven’t taken action. Should I move on with others, or should I keep asking those who haven’t replied?

My second goal from my last post was to become more accountable by making more frequent blog posts. That’s an easy one. By doing just this, I’ve taken action to make it happen.

My third goal is to use my time more wisely: I accomplished this goal by implementing the use of a timer when using online aps on Facebook.

A friend sent me this Youtube video which I found sadly true and a bit amusing:

After watching it, I started making a list of my goals for next week:

  1. I need to have a business plan, something to fall back on when I get into a funk. I have never written a business plan, but I understand that by writing others’ business plans, it can be very lucrative, but first I want to have one of my own. Any advice from those who are more seasoned in business than I would be much appreciated.
  2. I intend to continue making connections in the traditional media.
  3. I will begin/continue trying to sell my services and those of others via social networks and the Relationship Economy.

How ’bout it?

Clear Communication Is the Key To Writing

April 13, 2009

strunkwhiteIn my inbox today, I found a message from CopyBlogger on a subject which interests me: Three Grammar Rules You Can (And Should) Break. In an article by Michelle Pierce, she encourages writers to question the rules which we have had beaten into us by our teachers and others who happen to be well-versed in the written word and applicable grammar rules.

1. Ending a sentence with a preposition

I have no idea where this rule came from. What I do know is that many people, in an effort to keep from ticking off the Grammar Police, start twisting their sentences around so as not to end them with prepositions.

Unfortunately, more often than not, the new syntax is terribly awkward and painful to read. Take the first sentence of this section, for example. “From where this rule came” sounds like something Yoda would say, not me. A big part of blogging is showing your personality through words. How can you do that when you’re twisting your phrases to suit some archaic rule?

In the interest of clarity and readability, it’s quite all right to end a sentence with a preposition.

Did you get that? “In the interest of clarity and readability…” That means it’s okay to write (or say), “Where y’all from?” I remember a Designing Women episode in which MaryJo posed that question to a woman with whom she shared an elevator. The woman replied, “We are from somewhere where we know not to end a sentence with a preposition.”

Without missing a beat, MaryJo rephrased her question, “Where y’all from, bitch?”

Although I will usually let a preposition at the end of a sentence or question slide, my blood pressure and rockets skyward when I hear the preposition “at” as an ending: “Where you at?” or “Where do you work at?”

2. Beginning a sentence with “and” or “but”

Somebody, somewhere, once decided that you shouldn’t begin sentences with conjunctions. Maybe it was an overzealous teacher who thought her students were doing it too much. My guess is that it was frustrated mothers who got sick and tired of hearing their children start every single sentence with “But Mo-om!”

The rule even got screen time in the movie Finding Forrester, when Sean Connery and Rob Brown have an entire conversation about it (and deliberately start their sentences with the offending words in order to make their points).

Regardless of how it began, you don’t have to stick with it. It’s perfectly all right to start your sentences with “and” or “but.” It’s a great way to grab attention and emphasize a point. But, as in all things, take it in moderation.

I completely agree with the breaking of this rule. Both “But” and “And” are transitional words which form a bridge to thoughts conveyed in the previous paragraph. A journalism professor once explained to the class that it is acceptable to use transition words like these at the beginning of a paragraph. And that’s what I tend to do on a regular basis.

But that does not mean that the writer should begin an article or post using those words.

3. Splitting infinitives

How often have you heard that you’re not allowed to let another word come between “to” and its verb? Some people hold that construction with the same reverence as is typically given to marriage: that which the writer hath wrought together, let no man tear asunder.

Except that it’s really not that big of a deal. Come on: “to go boldly where no man has gone before” just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “to boldly go.” If it sounds better to split the infinitive, then take an axe to it!

Don’t cling to the ancient rules just because your high school English teacher told you to. Be a rebel and break free of these nonsensical shackles!

Though I usually try to adhere to the grammatical rules I have been taught while both speaking and writing, sometimes this rule is appropriate to break. “Boldly to go” doesn’t have the same ring to it as “to boldly go…”

Though our English teachers would like us to think that all these rules were handed down to Moses like The Ten Commandments, they were not. And except for a few self-important grammarians, most people understand that sometimes rules can be broken…or at least bent!

The important thing is for what you have written to convey the intended message with as little chance of misinterpretation as possible.

How ’bout it?

Using the Communications Factor

May 9, 2008

With all the demands on our attention, we have to prepare ourselves to penetrate the filters and “walls” others have erected. In the networking world, it is called having your elevator pitch perfected. The elevator pitch is what having your story trimmed down to a clear, concise 45-50 second speech which makes the people you’re talking to REALLY WANT to learn more about you and your business.

The reason it’s called an elevator pitch is because it needs to be long enough and short enough that you can tell about yourself and your business during the elevator ride from the lobby to the top floor, where you intend to meet your next big client. Most of the time, you only have 30-45 seconds before people “check out” on you and start doing other things mentally.

The elevator pitch needs to have enough detail to make people want to contact you either via phone, email or, in best cases, by appointment to sit down and talk with you over a cup of coffee or lunch. Just like movie trailers, the elevator pitch needs to provide enough information to intrigue the audience and make them want to follow up with you, but it shouldn’t take two hours to present the “deal.”

Think of your elevator pitch as an advertisement for your business; you need to promote yourself/ your business, without becoming pushy. Pushiness doesn’t work. More often than not, you will find yourself sitting alone at a networking meeting with people trying to avoid you if you become labeled as only wanting to sell your services.

Your pitch should provide the information clearly and effectively, leaving little room for someone to misinterpret your words — and message — as he replays it in his/her mind after you’ve left.

Focus on what it is you do. Be clear. Be concise. Show people how you can help them. Taylor your message to your audience. And check out my other blog by clicking here.

How ’bout it?

The Communications Factors: Where It’s Going

October 10, 2007

Fred Vogelstein of the LA Times wrote a very compelling article on the Facebook Revolution for October 7. He spends much of the article writing about FaceBook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, and his vision. What really hit home with me, however, was how he paraphrased what Zuckerberg envisions for the social networking megagiant:

“Humans get their information from two places — from mainstream media or some other centralized organization such as a church, and from their network of family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. We’ve already digitized the first. Almost every news organization has a website now. What Zuckerberg is trying to do with Facebook is digitize the second.

“Think about what this means. Right now, the interactions among friends, neighbors and colleagues — a.k.a. word of mouth — is still analog. You go to a cocktail party, and a friend tells you about this incredible pediatrician he’s found. You ask a few other friends to confirm that data and eventually two things happen: You switch doctors, and the physician becomes a favorite in town. Now imagine that information automatically pushed out to all your friends, tested, verified and returned to you in 24 hours, and you have Zuckerberg’s vision for Facebook.”

nashville-skyline.jpg

Zuckerberg’s vision is clearly head-and-shoulders above others’, who have yet to capitalize on the idea. That’s what I want Link to Nashville, the site I administer, to become. I want it to be “the place” to visit on-line to find out what’s hot and where things are happening, in addition to who people recommend.

My Vision:

Link to Nashville has already become a gathering place for business people – most of them local – who are stepping into the on-line social networking space – some for the first time. Just like Zuckerberg’s visionary thoughts about Facebook, “You switch doctors, and the physician becomes a favorite in town,” I want Link to Nashville to be the top resource for people who are new to the area and are looking for a church, doctor, or whatever, and for the people who are planning to visit Nashville and are looking for a hotel close to downtown, a hotspot, or the most likely places to see a country musician!

Think about it. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to go on-line and learn that Tootsie’s provides a live music venue seven nights a week if you weren’t from middle Tennessee?

How ’bout it?

Communications Factors: How The Recent Posts Fit Together…

September 28, 2007

As I have written about the Communications Factors and their roles in the Relationship Economy this week, some truths became evident to me. The Communications Factors come together to form a synergistic effect on the ability of the world to convey information – whether we intend to send that message or not.

Gutenberg’s press of the 1400s created revolutions which took centuries to be fully realized and understood. Likewise, the effects of the shift in thinking, caused by the internet and the constant emerging technologies, only now has become the focus of the major players (companies) in business and not considered merely a fad which will gain momentum in the coming months and even years, but then will fizzle when the novelty of the technology has worn off.

 We can only begin to imagine what the world will be like in the next 25, 50 and 100 years with the vast advances in the communications industry which keep happening, day after day, month after month! It’s kind of like a snowball effect. It takes a little bit of effort to get it going, but as it rolls downhill, it gathers more snow and more inertia, causing opposing forces to be either sizeable or squashed in its path.

currency.jpg

In the Relationship Economy, the “currency” which will be of the greatest value will be the number and quality of the relationships a person has. Having over a thousand contacts on any one social network will not be as valuable as say having 200 quality relationships – if they are properly maintained. That point is key. Maintenance of the relationships will become (if they haven’t already) more important than the mere number of lower-quality acquaintances.

The “business contact” about whom I wrote in an earlier post failed to realize this fact. Because we didn’t have a relationship, what he said to me shut the door on the possibility of our doing business together in the future. If someone else – a friend, perhaps – had used the same words, I would have taken what was said as a painful, albeit accurate, truth. Because we didn’t have a relationship other than over the phone, the contact made his point, but in doing so, slammed the door on any future ventures or collaboration.

The same thing can be said about the employees at BestBuy. Because they don’t have a relationship with the customer, when they act like something is wrong with the person who doesn’t want to opt in for the extended warranty, they are ruining the chance to make a life-long customer. Sure, they may not use verbal communication to ask, “what’s wrong with you,” but it is in their tone of voice, body language and even facial expressions.

With the newest inventions enabling communication more cheaply and more easily, the message needs to be crystal-clear, or we will risk ruining the relationships we have painstakingly endeavored to create. It’s just like the physical relationships all of us have: When we are dating our significant other, we open doors, refrain from foul language, and actually talk over dinner at a restaurant while eating out; after marriage, or years of dating, the manners go out the window, and we can get away with it because of the value to the relationship we contribute.

How ’bout it?