Thursday, September 16, 2010

Five basics that still count. What's your score?

Social media platforms continue to proliferate and evolve at a fast clip. It was only a short six years ago that blogging and podcasting came into their own and only two years ago when Twitter and Facebook became the soup du jour . All of these platforms serve to bring people and communities closer together and allow more people to have a voice in those communities and in society at large. These platforms also have made job search and networking more efficient. It is a good thing!

And change and evolution are good! Twitter is just rolling out the new and improved “Twitter.” Woohoo! But as much as technology helps society move forward to help people be more efficient and collaborative, what has not changed is the basics. Have you taken stock?

1. Get it write! Languages have not changed appreciably. They have rules and conventions that are designed for clarity, logic and efficiency. While we may be tempted to take short cuts, generally most languages and their guiding rules for sentence structure, tense and grammar (among other issues) have served humanity well for a very long time. Do not mess with success. Write it right the first time.

 2. Spelling is not just for bees. Spelling still has standards. I know that new words come into the lexicon all of the time. But we are communicating here. And it makes sense to spell correctly so we all have the same basis and common understanding of words we use to c o m m u n i c a t e.

 3. Keep it simple! People are people! I know that is obvious. But what it means is that people by nature prefer simplicity. And simplicity can be elegant and effective. So when you write, write like you speak. Keep sentences simple so they have maximum comprehension. This is particularly true when your communications is read by people not of your native language. So if you want to be global, make short and sweet.

4. Courtesy is king! Everyone wants it and deserves it but not everyone gives it. If you want courtesy give it. Whether you are networking, writing a cover letter or interviewing, keep in mind that courtesy can often get you everywhere.

5. Say the magic word. No I am not referring to Groucho Marx. He made the phrase famous but parents of toddlers and small children use it all the time. If you want something, say “please.” If you get it, say “thank you.” This holds true whether you are writing to request an interview or asking for a job. The magic word often works.

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