Viewing entries in category 'Copywriting'

An easy way to handle difficult conversations

If you run a business, manage employees, or deal with suppliers, there will inevitably be times when you have to face some difficult conversations - ones that you dread, avoid or mismanage.

You may have to reprimand a staff member, pass on bad news to a supplier, or talk to a client who is proving to be trickier to deal with than you expected.

Whether you do these verbally or in writing, here are few tips on how to make these difficult conversations a little easier:

1. Avoid using personal pronouns

Stay away from using "I", "we" and "you" in the discussion. If possible, make it about the situation or events, not about the personalities involved. For example, "the business needs products that will be available nationally" might be better received than "you're not able to supply us with what we need throughout the country".

2. Avoid unnecessary adjectives

Words like "really" and "very" can sound subjective or overly dramatic, so leave them out. Telling a supplier that you're disappointed sounds more professional than "really disappointed". It's probably sufficient to say that your staff member was late, not "very late". And telling them that their dirty work car is unacceptable will do the trick; no need to call it "incredibly dirty".

3. Avoid emotion and opinion

Make the discussion about facts, not feelings. This becomes easier to do once you remove the personal pronouns. Saying "it's unacceptable that deadlines are being missed" is less personal than "you keep missing deadlines". Because there is less blame or accusation in this approach, the recipient may not take the criticism personally and may be more receptive to suggested behavioural improvements.

Of course, there may be times when you need to add in a more personal approach. But even then, stick to the facts that aren't open to interpretation.

 

Posted 11 April 2018 | 0 comments

What the heck is a google anyway?

It’s hard to imagine a world before Google.

Yet, if like me, you were born before the 1990s, then chances are you used to say things like, “I don’t know, let’s look that up”. You possibly had a dictionary or a set of encyclopaedias in your house. You may have even had a library card!

I was watching Back to the Future III with my children recently, when a certain phrase made me pause and back up the movie to double check what I had heard. There’s a scene where a despondent Doc Brown says, "Clara was one in a million... One in a billion... One in a googolplex... The woman of my dreams, and I've lost her for all time."

A googolplex! What the heck is that?

Some of you may know that the Google headquarters are referred to as the Googleplex.

But it turns out that a googol is a real word, and it means the number 10 raised to the 100th power. Picture a 1 followed by 100 zeroes.

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

That’s a pretty large number.

So yeah, Clara was a rare gem.

Now remember, this movie was made in 1990. Google started as a PhD research project in 1996, eventually incorporated in 1998 – almost a decade after Doc uttered those lines.

It turns out that Google takes its name from an alternate spelling of the word googol. Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin picked the word to signify that the search engine was intended to provide large quantities of information. And inc

So, there you have it. Back to the Future was influencing our future in ways we hadn’t even yet realised.

Posted 18 May 2017 | 0 comments