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Archive for the ‘Communications’ Category

DEATH OF THE BUSINESS LETTER

Posted by Tim Bryce on April 11, 2019

BRYCE ON COMMUNICATIONS

– Texting is destroying our ability to communicate effectively on a corporate basis.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I have noticed I do not get much mail anymore from the post office. Of course, I still get bills and junk mail, but aside from this, little else. I surmise only a handful of people know how to write a business letter anymore. Most of the true correspondence I get nowadays is by e-mail and telephone (both of which have their share of junk).

When you do get a business letter today, it is typically poorly written in terms of style, layout, and grammar. I know we have made a lot of progress in word processing technology over the years, but it sure seems people do not know how to run such things as spelling and grammar checkers. I think the real culprit here though is text messaging which has basically annihilated any sense of syntax and word formation.

Now, instead of this…

Dear Sir,

It was a pleasure talking with you today.  Concerning your order, I have made the correction and credited your
account accordingly.  Thank you for bringing this to my attention.  If I can be of any further assistance, 
please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

We now have this…

Dude,
don't tabooma. cy. all is kewl. cm.
stys
plo

Actually, I don’t blame the younger generations for these bad writing habits as they are only innocent victims of technology. Instead, I blame my generation for not teaching them how to communicate properly in a corporate setting.

I first learned to write business letters in my high school typing class and have written numerous letters over the years. However, the kids today do not take typing anymore and are definitely not familiar with writing for business. Text messaging may be fine for quick and dirty interpersonal communications, but it also leads to some horrible writing habits. I do not care what your age is, a well written business letter can work miracles in terms of sales and service. Too bad it is slowly disappearing from the corporate landscape.

NOTE: for text messaging syntax, see NetLingo.

One last note, it has been proven that old techniques like Shorthand and Morse Code can record and transmit messages a lot faster than any electronic technique used today. Who-da-thunk-it!

First published: September 22, 2008. Updated 2019

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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THE BEST WORD IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 14, 2019

BRYCE ON LIFE

– And it is certainly not “please.”

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

My company has been fortunate to have conducted business all over the world. Visiting the different cultures has afforded us the opportunity to learn a lot about their perspectives on life, not to mention their humor and speech patterns. Inevitably we often compare notes about the expressions and idioms used by people. For example, in Australia, I was somewhat surprised to learn that a “rubber” referred to an eraser. I went to a restaurant and discovered they didn’t have “doggie bags” but rather “pussie boxes.” I had to bite my tongue on that one.

When people from overseas visited with us, they were enraptured by our slang and colloquialisms. The English, for example, had trouble understanding the expression “G2” which I commonly use in my presentations. The term is derived from the military and used to express the performance of research and intelligence work, e.g., “Did you do your G2?” While most Americans understood the expression, it baffled the British. The point is, I tend to believe Americans use a lot more jargon than we are cognizant of.

There is one word in our vernacular outsiders particularly enjoy, Bulls*** (aka “BS”). In particular, the Japanese have a fondness for this word beyond description. Evidently, they have nothing comparable to it in their lexicon. They consider it the most versatile word in our language fulfilling many applications. It can be used to express intense displeasure with something, to describe a frivolous activity, to refute an argument, to cut someone off in conversation, and many other uses. It was made very clear to me by the Japanese and others, that in the business world, “BS”, is the best word in the English language.

Not surprising, I have heard it used in many settings; in Japanese companies for example, a manager may shout it out for inferior workmanship; in Brazil it is amusing to hear Portugese conversation interrupted by a booming “BS”; or even the proper English allowing it to slip inconspicuously into the conversation, “I say old boy, that truly is bulls***.” The Mexicans have, of course, adapted it to Spanish, “Caca de toro.”

I fear though, the expression is doomed to extinction as it is more identified with my Baby Boomer generation and not by others. For example, my son’s generation has no appreciation for the word and will seldom use it. It’s a pity too, as I’ve found it to be one of the best words I have ever used, both in business and personal settings. Perhaps the Japanese will maintain it for us until future generations in this country rediscover its value.

Originally published: Jul 20, 2012. Updated: 2019.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

Posted in Communications, Life | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

PUSH BUTTON GRIEVANCES

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 10, 2019

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Our Pavlovian response to irritants.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I find it interesting how people tend to have knee-jerk reactions to certain things. It’s kind of like a Pavlovian response we turn to in certain situations, particularly as we get older. For example, years ago when I visited my grandparents in Buffalo, New York, my grandfather would automatically go into a tirade if he heard on the radio about crime rising in the area or taxes rising, a common conundrum in New York state. This would automatically trigger a response from my grandfather who would say, “And you know who pays for that don’t you? Your grandmother and me!”

If I heard this expression once, I must have heard it a thousand times over the years as it left an indelible impression on me. So much so, when I hear something similar on the radio while I’m driving around town, I find myself saying, “And you know who pays for that don’t you?”, and I start to laugh.

I think we all have certain hot buttons which trigger some sort of an outcry, mostly things that irritate us one way or another. For example, I know a couple in my neighborhood who is quick to point out the horrible color their next door neighbor painted his house with, a ghastly dark blue. “Do you believe how horrible that looks?” I have been asked several times over the last three years since it was painted. Every time I act as if the question is new to me.

My mother has made a house in the neighborhood a pet peeve of hers. Whereas it was a handsome and well maintained house in the past, the new owners have turned it into a perpetual project whereby something is always being modified or remodeled, be it inside or out. Interestingly, they never seem to get it right, causing the house to lose its charm. Consequently, whenever we pass the house today, my mom is likely to say, “What in God’s name are they thinking of?”

There are, of course, many other push button expressions to convey our displeasure. For example, when my wife was in high school, her mother would say to her or her sisters, “You’re not going out dressed like that are you?” or “You didn’t pay money for that did you?” Women may say something catty about another woman they don’t like; e.g., “Ugh! I hate her.” Guys are a little more colorful, referring to someone as “What an idiot” or something much stronger.

Mothers are notorious for pushbutton expressions, such as, “You can plant potatoes in those ears” or “Eat your vegetables or you’ll wear them” or “You can put your eye out that way.” Another favorite is, “Stop it or you’ll go blind.”

We also see this phenomenon in the area of politics. For example, when liberals hear a reference to President Trump, they instantly respond that he is a racist, a fascist, or is xenophobic. Again, this is a Pavlovian conditioned response requiring no thinking. Ask them what he said or did to trigger their reaction and they won’t remember, but they are sure he is a a racist, a fascist, or is xenophobic, even if they do not understand what the labels mean.

I have heard these expressions so often, perhaps we should consider numbering them, thereby saving us time and effort. In a way, it reminds me of the old story where a man is sent to prison. As the newbie, he asks his cellmate if he knows any jokes to pass the time. The cellmate says, “Here in prison, we’ve heard all of the jokes a million times. So, instead of repeating them, we’ve numbered them to save time. Here watch this…”

The cellmate yells “97” from his cell which results in gales of laughter from the other prisoners.

“Wow, that’s pretty impressive,” the newbie says, “Can I try one?”

“Sure, be my guest.”

“82,” he yells out from his cell. Unfortunately, nobody responds, not even a chuckle.

“Try another,” the cellmate encourages.

“51,” he yells. Again, no response.

Frustrated the newbie tries multiple numbers, “162”, “25”, and “13.” Again, dead silence.

To which the cellmate observes, “Well I guess it goes to prove, some people can tell a joke, but others cannot.”

I’m not sure we should number our grievances this way, as I believe we take comfort in airing our displeasure to others, thereby building consensus of opinion. Besides, someone will inevitably find a way to make money off such a numbering convention, “And you know who pays for that don’t you?”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Communications, Life | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

OVERCOMING GLOSSOPHOBIA (PUBLIC SPEAKING)

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 27, 2018

BRYCE ON COMMUNICATIONS

– Conquering your fear.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I have been back on the speaker circuit lately, thanks in large part to the recent elections. I have also been on the radio more frequently to discuss politics. I relish the opportunity to talk to people, be it on politics, business, or our ever changing world. I like to believe I possess a personal touch as I try to get the audience to participate in my presentation and challenge them to think. I despise it when people sit there muted like zombies. I want them to participate. Some encourage me to run for political office, but I am probably too honest to do so.

I have lectured on a variety of subjects, be it related to politics, morality, technology or business related. Early in my career, I taught such things as corporate planning, systems design, data base, and project management, all of which was related to our “PRIDE” methodologies. From this, I realized I had to master the subject matter and exude confidence in my delivery.

Interestingly, it wasn’t always this way for me. In my youth, I was incredibly shy and suffered from glossophobia, a fear of public speaking. The idea of speaking in front of a group of people was loathsome to me. If I knew I had to speak in front of the class the next day, I would be awake all night worrying what I was going to say. I didn’t get much help from my friends and teachers, so I basically had to figure it out for myself. As a freshman in college, I knew it was time to face my fear, so I took an early morning class in public speaking. The professor was a patient man and we hit if off from the start.

As students, we were asked to give a series of three minutes speeches on different subjects, then five minutes, and then fifteen. I prepared my talks with meticulous detail, but then I discovered something; if I truly mastered the subject matter at hand, there shouldn’t be any reason for me to be afraid. After all, I figured, I knew the subject matter better than anyone else in the room, so what was there to be afraid of? “Poof!” The spell was broken, as I learned to speak matter-of-factly with conviction. From then on, I went from defense to offense. It wasn’t a matter of imagining the audience naked and inferior to me, but rather if I had confidence in what I was talking about, I wanted to persuade people to see my side of an argument. I believe this phenomenon is called “salesmanship.”

Thereafter, I learned about such things as the three canons of speech as represented by ethos (an appeal based on the character of the speaker), pathos (emotional appeal) and logos (logical argument). In discourse, we will likely use all three when making a presentation, but it is necessary for students to understand what they mean and how to use them. As for me, I tend to rely heavily on logos, something I found useful when teaching management and systems subjects. In high school, the one math subject I excelled in was Geometry where you built theorems based on logic, e.g., “If A=B, and B=C, then A must equal C.” I found this particularly useful in public speaking as well as in my writings.

Public communications is incredibly important for just about any field of endeavor, and high schools should do more to teach the students this important skill. Personally, I would like to see students stand on a soap box and give a five minute speech to classmates passing by at lunch time. This would help them overcome their fear of speaking and give them the confidence to argue a point. They will need such resiliency throughout their adult life. Speaking from experience, as a young man, I was scared to death initially, but thank God I learned to overcome my fear as it allowed me to become more sociable and productive both in college and the work force.

I only hope my experience will help and encourage young people suffering from glossophobia to overcome their fear. I knew I had conquered mine the moment I realized I actually relished being in front of an audience, instead of behind it.

By the way, I finished my college career with a degree in Communications, specializing in speech and rhetorical thought. Who-da-thunk-it!

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2018 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Communications | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

ROBO CALL HEADACHES

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 26, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Are they really necessary?

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

It seems I do not receive too many telephone calls from humans anymore. Rather, most are from computers (aka, “Robo Calls”) either soliciting something or informing me of the schedule of a maintenance worker. Like a lot of you, I am not immune to the absurd spam calls. One of my favorites is, “Stop what you’re doing and listen carefully…” Yea, like I’m going to drop everything and listen to some dolt trying to sell me something. I can usually hang-up on such calls within one second.

Health insurance companies use robo calls, as do travel agencies. Many companies just want to get you on the line so they can transfer you to someone in Tibet who reads a script to sell you something. I take pleasure in hanging up just as the person is getting on the line.

During political seasons, it is not uncommon to be bombarded by robo calls from various campaigns. My friends complain about it, but rarely do I get any. Maybe it’s because I’ve told them all to go where the sun doesn’t shine so many times, I’ve been blackballed by both Democrats and Republicans alike. Quite often, these political calls are soliciting donations for campaigns. To my way of thinking, they wouldn’t need more money if they simply stopped using this obnoxious form of communications.

Service companies like to use robo calls, such as for deliveries or to keep you abreast of when their people are going to be working at your home or office. For example, my lawn service, which applies fertilizer and pest control, dutifully calls me early in the week to let me know when an appointment is made. I then receive another reminder the day before. Interestingly, there is nothing for me to do or respond to, which makes me wonder why they don’t either send an e-mail or text message instead. Maybe they believe we need to be reassured by the soothing voice of a recorded message. Frankly, I find it to be a colossal waste of my time.

Following one of Florida’s legendary storms which knocked out power and cable, we naturally had trouble contacting both companies. We had to traverse voice mail jail and wait in queue a long time to talk to a representative who would only say their people were “assessing and evaluating” damage as opposed to fixing the outage. I became so frustrated with my cable operator I decided to switch companies again. As an aside, it seems I have to do this every two or three years.

My latest cable operator scheduled an appointment to install the service. From then on, robo calls took over. On the morning of the day when the technician was to arrive, I received my first call…

“This is Tampa Cable (fictitious company) calling to remind you that one of our technicians is scheduled to be at your home at (address) at …2 to 4pm… today. It will be necessary for someone with a photo ID to be present for work to be performed. We estimate this work should take no more than …1… hour.”

Okay, fine, I get the idea. However, at 1:00pm I received robo call number two:

“This is Tampa Cable calling to remind you that one of our technicians is scheduled to be at your home at (address) at …2 to 4pm… today. It will be necessary for someone with a photo ID to be present for work to be performed. We estimate this work should take no more than …1… hour.”

It didn’t end there though. My third and last call said:

“This is Tampa Cable calling to let you know your technician is on his way to your house at (address) and will be there in less than 30 minutes.”

Now they had crossed over the line of obnoxiousness. I realize they are trying to keep the customer informed and their technicians on time, but it occurred to me what would happen if something went wrong along the way thereby causing a delay. Maybe I would get a robo call like this:

“This is Tampa Cable calling to let you know your technician has been delayed. He ate a burrito supreme at the Clearwater Taco Shack at …1236 US-19… and has had to make a stop at a gas station at …1457 US-19… and will be delayed …15… minutes. We thank you for your patience in this matter.”

Frankly, I don’t need too many reminders. Just make the appointment and keep it. Simple, right?

The one sad thing about all this, robo calls are normally more articulate and understandable than the average customer service rep.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  WHY WE LISTEN TO RUSH & COMPANY – Maybe because they are “right”?

LAST TIME:  EASTER ISLAND STATUES  – “If the mind really is the finest computer, then there are a lot of people out there who need to be rebooted.” – Bryce’s Law

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Communications, Life, Technology | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

TALKING WITH YOUR HANDS

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 2, 2017

BRYCE ON COMMUNICATIONS

– Do we do it to excess?

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I find it interesting how people use their hands when they talk, kind of like a comedy routine. Just about everyone does it, yours truly included. We use our hands to emphasize a point, exemplify something, but more than anything we use them to command the attention of our audience. So much so, people tend to use hands as a second set of lips. Actually, I do not believe we can help ourselves as we tend to emulate everyone also suffering from the same affliction.

I find it difficult to talk without the use of hands, and it seems the people who can do so are few and far between (and generally tend to be quite boring). Comedians and politicians often use their hands to emphasize a point. In fact, some people are better remembered not for what they said, but how they said it instead. Comedian Jack Benny exemplified the point of someone who is better remembered for his mannerisms than his jokes. Jack could get a laugh simply by looking at people or using his hands.

The occasional hand gesture is fine but it becomes somewhat distracting and annoying when you start using your hands excessively thereby taking on the appearance of an animated windmill. Those who are deaf have a legitimate excuse, but the rest of us do not want to suffer with someone who seems to be going through mime school.

I tend to believe there are three types of active uses of the hand for communications: what I call “The Fencer,” “The Gunslinger,” and “The Punctuator.” “The Fencer” (aka “The Boxer”) uses his hands to swirl, parry and thrust himself in a debate; in his mind, he is in the midst of a dual with an opponent, but with a lot of finesse and footwork. Make no mistake, such histrionics represent a contest to dominate or win over an opponent. Then we have “The Gunslinger” who uses his hands less than the others, often keeping them hidden in his pockets as he contemplates a response to a question, but when he responds, out come the hands like six-guns blazing and shooting down his opponent. The “Punctuator” tends to be less threatening and more academic in nature. Here, hands are used to highlight a point, such as using two fingers on both hands to make the “quotes” sign, or an exclamation point, an underline or a period. Do we tend to favor one form over another? Sometimes, but I tend to believe we use all three forms to suit our needs in a conversation.

What I find most interesting in our use of hands is that we are usually not cognizant we are using them in our daily discourse. Sometimes I will parody a friend when I notice they are speaking excessively with their hands. This usually results in a look of total surprise as they were unaware of the use of their hands. It’s all very subliminal.

Using our hands is a natural part of the way we communicate. However, if you are worried you use your hands excessively, either ask your friends, or better yet, try sitting on your hands during a conversation. If one or both hands pop out, you probably use them to excess.

Also published in The Huffington Post.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  STOP THE PRESS! – Time to get tough with the news media.

LAST TIME:  IF YOU CANNOT BEAT THEM, INSULT THEM  – Has liberal humor gone too far?

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Communications, Life | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

CONFIDENCE IN PRESENTATION

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 10, 2017

BRYCE ON COMMUNICATIONS

– Getting the audience on your side.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I had a young friend recently ask me for advice on a critical sales presentation he was getting ready to make. He had prepared a good graphical presentation on the computer, but was still a little squeamish about speaking in front of a group of people. Knowing I had been through this many times in my career, he asked for some advice. My first question to him was, “How well do you know your subject?”

He assured me he was supremely confident in his subject area, that he could answer any and all questions pertaining to it. I then replied that he had nothing to worry about as it is all about confidence. Quite often you hear people admonished to think of their audience without any clothes on. This is done to exert the speaker’s confidence and superiority over them. It’s not really necessary to think of your audience naked, unless they are all highly attractive people in which condition you will likely be distracted (as opposed to authoritative).

I advised my young friend, to remain confident and stay in control of the presentation. If you know the subject matter better than anyone else, as they should, go into the presentation with a little swagger, look people square in the eye, and almost dare them to ask you a question. A little intimidation can go a long way in demonstrating your confidence. More importantly though, I encourage speakers to interact with their audience. A pointed index finger can engage participation better than just asking, “Are there any questions?”

I frequently use the index finger not only to ask questions, particularly to those people who are half-awake, but to ask them, “Isn’t that right?” If there is disagreement, I want to get it out in the open and not let it simmer until later. More importantly, I am trying to get the audience on my side. Jokes and humor are useful for breaking the ice, but I want to recruit support for my argument, and this is primarily done by actively interacting with the audience. The index finger can be very powerful in this regard.

When I get nothing but blank stares after asking a question, I say something like this, “Look it is really quite simple, this means ‘Yes’ (shake head up-and-down), this means ‘No’ (shake head left-to-right), and this means ‘I haven’t got a clue what you are talking about’ (shake head diagonally).”

This is a good for breaking the ice and a clever way of warning the audience they will be asked to actively participate in the presentation (and they shouldn’t be caught napping).

I also advise speakers to dress for success. A good set of clothes not only is a sign of respect for the audience, it is an expression of your confidence and authority. The speaker should either dress better than his audience, or at least equal to them, but never worse.

I followed up with my young friend afterwards to see how his presentation had gone. He was pleased to inform me that all went well, that he had actively engaged the audience and got them on his side. In fact, he was quite pleased with his performance as well as his boss who was impressed by his swagger. More importantly, they got the sale.

This is why I am a big believer in encouraging more speech classes in school, starting in the elementary grades. Such training overcomes the intimidation of the audience and actually turns the tables. Giving an effective speech is much more than just the spoken word, or a slick graphical presentation, it is also the histrionics of delivering a speech. Just remember, your index finger is more powerful than a lot of people think. It means you are in charge.

Also published in The Huffington Post.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  RESPECTING PRIVACY – What to do about a loudmouth neighbor.

LAST TIME:  WHAT IS FAIR?  – Is it in the eye of the beholder?

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Communications | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

OUR RIGHT TO DISAGREE

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 2, 2016

BRYCE ON COMMUNICATIONS

– Political correctness is killing it.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I recently returned to my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio where I met with some classmates for dinner prior to attending a football game at my high school alma mater. In particular, I got to catch up with a female friend who I have known for a long time. Our families were very close and our parents often met on the weekends and took vacations together. Her father was a noted physician in the area, and her mother was a great cook of Jewish cuisine. I loved visiting their house to sample some of her delicacies and share a cigar with her father. My classmate and I were so close, she still refers to me as her “Big Brother” and I think fondly of her as my sister.

During the course of our discussions, we caught up on what all the other family members were doing. We laughed, we were serious, and we were candid. It was great to see her again. However, there was a point where I wanted to talk a little politics; to discuss a column I was working on. Hearing this, my friend raised her hand, and knowing my political persuasion, said, “We better stop here.” She obviously didn’t want to get into a situation that may cause friction.

Frankly, my friend’s opposition to discussing such a subject surprised me. I can vividly remember our parents talking politics over their Friday night get-togethers. When it came to politics, the families were polar opposites, yet this did not deter them from talking about such things as Richard Nixon, the Viet Nam war, Israel, and a plethora of other subjects. They disagreed on several areas, but found the dialog stimulating and there was respect for opposing opinions. They then sat down for dinner and laughed.

So here was my classmate and myself, practically brother and sister, just one generation removed from our parents, and we can no longer discuss politics without offending someone, and I find this all rather disturbing. Frankly, I blame it on society’s inability to carry on a conversation (thanks to excessive use of technology), the visceral ideological differences of today, and political correctness which has run amok.

It disturbs me we cannot carry on a dialog of anything meaningful anymore, be it political, religious, racial, even humor. The point is, such discussions, should be a two-way street, certainly not one way. They are vital for building awareness and trust, which is what happened to my parents and their friends years ago.

Once a week, I meet with a small group of men where we enjoy some libations, and talk frankly on a wide variety of subjects, particularly current events. We have been doing this for several years now, and, No, we do not always agree, but I wouldn’t trade these get-togethers for anything as it adds meaning to my life.

When we can no longer speak from the heart without fear of offending someone, it is time to pack it in. As for me, I prefer a respectful argument, something with some useful mental gymnastics, before sitting down to dinner and laughing.

Let me leave you with a piece of the famous “Argument Sketch” from Monty Python which, unfortunately, is how a lot of people perceive such discourse today.

MONTY PYTHON – THE ARGUMENT SKETCH

Man: Is this the right room for an argument?

Other Man: I’ve told you once.

Man: No you haven’t!

Other Man: Yes I have.

M: When?

O: Just now.

M: No you didn’t!

O: Yes I did!

M: You didn’t!

O: I did!

M: You didn’t!

O: I’m telling you, I did!

M: You did not!

O: Oh I’m sorry, is this a five minute argument, or the full half hour?

Also published with The Huffington Post.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

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LAST TIME:  WHAT IT MEANS TO VOTE FOR HILLARY CLINTON  – What can we assume about a vote for Mrs. Clinton?

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THE WORD “GOBBLEDYGOOK”

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 28, 2016

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Cheap words and expressions that bother me.

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I always liked the word “gobbledygook” ever since I first heard it in my High School English class. If memory serves me correctly, the term resulted from World War II to combat bureaucratic processes that impeded progress in the war plants. Basically, it refers to unclear or wordy jargon that is more inclined to confuse than to clarify something. It seems to me there is an abundance of gobbledygook in our daily vernacular. Let me give you a few examples of such expressions that particularly tests my patience.

The term “workaround” has been popular for at least the last ten years and I believe it was derived from the Information Technology (I.T.) sector. I tried looking it up in both Webster’s and The New Heritage Dictionary and, of course, I couldn’t find it. As we all know, it has come to mean finding a way around a technical problem. It doesn’t mean it’s a correction to a problem but rather, a way of addressing a problem. Make no mistake though, “workarounds” ultimately represent errors or “bugs” in the system and we should refer to them as such. I’m amazed by programmers when they proudly proclaim they’ve found a “workaround” as opposed to admitting they have a problem and don’t know how to fix it.

An I.T. Department should avoid the term “workaround” as it tends to irritate end-users and causes them to lose faith in the development staff’s ability for solving their problems. An error is an error, I don’t care what you call it; don’t try to sugarcoat it, fix it.

As an aside, I was finally able to find “workaround” defined in the Redneck Dictionary. It’s typically used to determine the location of employees. For example, “Hey, Y’all workaround here?”

Next, we have the word “guestimate.” I have been involved in the systems industry for a long time and have taught Project Management for the past three decades. I have always found it unsettling how people try to invent new words in an attempt to appear cute and clever. “Guestimate” is such a word which implies an estimate is simply a guess, to which I have to give a great big “DUH.” Estimating is fundamentally an effort at projecting the future. Like all projections, the more facts and information available, the better the estimate will be, but rarely is it ever perfect. There is a natural human tendency to avoid making estimates because estimates are expressions of commitments, and people tend to shy away from commitments and accountability, particularly when they are not sure of the facts. Look, let’s keep it simple, an estimate is an estimate and a guess is a guess, let’s not create any more 3rd grade words such as “guestimate.”

Another word that bothers me is “reiterate” and you hear it just about everywhere these days. Think about it; what does it mean? The word “iterate” refers to the repetition of something. So what do we mean when we say “RE-iterate”? An infinite loop? Our language is sloppy enough without us having to produce new words to dilute old ones, but I guestimate I am reiterating myself.

There is an old expression which I have been hearing a lot in our vernacular these days, and that is “Let me be honest with you.” I personally know a lot of people that use this expression and frankly, its getting old. When a person says it, I come away thinking he has been dishonest with me all other times.

As creatures of habit, we tend to be repetitive in our speech. I have also heard expressions like “At the end of the day” and “Frankly” (which I am also guilty of using myself). Excessive use of expressions and buzzwords tend to be very distracting in a conversation and doesn’t serve the speaker well. “But frankly, at the end of the day, we have to be honest with each other.” See what I mean?

I hear America talking, but I don’t like what I’m hearing. Our language is sloppy and convoluted, or should I say filled with “gobbledygook”? It makes you wonder how people from foreign countries ever learn our language and understand us. We can’t even understand ourselves.

One last note: The word “often” is pronounced with the “t” silent (“off-en”), not “off-ten” – Look it up.

Originally published: January 24, 2011

Also published with News Talk Florida.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific); and WWBA-AM (News Talk Florida 820). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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LOUD AND CLEAR

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 21, 2016

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– The need for honest criticism.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

My father has been gone for eleven years now. We worked together for nearly thirty years and in that time, he taught me the ins and outs of the information systems industry and the corporate world. What I particularly miss about him is the arguments we would get into. I don’t mean vicious discourse but rather serious debates on a variety of topics. He had a good logical mind and we would often spar if for no other reason than to clarify an idea or concept. My dad was old school though who was of Scottish stock and came up the hard way. If you screwed up, he would let you know about it loud and clear. There was no sugarcoating a mistake with him. Over time I came to learn the reason he jumped down your throat was that he didn’t want you to commit the same mistake twice, and to his credit, you wouldn’t.

Some people were offended by his candor, others thrived on it as they understood the intellectual dynamics involved. Even customers would call my father to pick a friendly fight with him and, in the process, would learn a lot. I knew of other men of his generation who were also not exactly politically correct and not afraid to give it to you loud and clear. However, I think we now live in a time when such discourse is frowned upon and you don’t see too much of it anymore.

People are hesitant to be critical in the work place, school, or just about everywhere. I think this is bred into people at an early age whereby everybody has to be a winner, and nobody should suffer the stigma of being labeled a loser. Consequently we become hesitant to tell someone when he is wrong in that it might hurt his feelings. The only problem here though is if everyone tells you nothing is wrong and that everything is great, you’ll never get to the bottom of what is wrong. Every once and awhile you need the naked truth, and you can only get this through honest criticism.

Sugarcoating a problem only delays its resolution thereby costing more money to correct or allowing someone to commit a mistake repetitively. If you give it to them loud and clear, they may not like how you said it, but they will most assuredly comprehend what you meant and will not forget it. One point to make in this regard, when you are criticizing or arguing with someone, simple “yes” and “no’s” are not sufficient. It is vital you explain your rationale, otherwise they will remain skeptical and learn nothing.

Perhaps the biggest problem with honest criticism is to learn not to take it personally. The “loud and clear” person is trying to teach you something and obviously thinks it is important for you to learn it properly which is why you are getting it loud and clear. I realize we are supposed to be sensitive to the feelings of others, but we must understand that conducting business does not involve participating in a personality contest. Sometimes, to get the necessary results, a manager needs to get into a worker’s face and talk to him heart to heart. We would make little progress if we had to constantly hold the hands of our workers. At some point, the training wheels have to come off and they have to drive the bicycle themselves.

Years ago, when I first volunteered to be a Little League umpire, I had to attend a clinic to learn the duties and responsibilities of the job. At the time I was only signing up to umpire eight year old girls softball which I didn’t exactly consider a heavy duty assignment. The instructors of the clinic taught us a lot of things, but one thing they emphasized was to make your calls “loud and clear” regardless of the age of the kids or sex. A watered-down call or one without authority will challenge your credibility not only with the coaches, but with the players as well. Basically, they were saying, “If you’re going to do something, do it right.” As I was quick to learn, this was perhaps the best advice I could have received. Consequently, I rendered my calls as umpire “loud and clear.” Interestingly, I discovered even the youngest kid on the team seemed to instinctively understand what I was doing and respected the call. In all the years I umpired, not once was a tear shed.

For those of you who believe loud and clear is “not cool” in the workplace, you have to remember we live in a fast paced world and managers do not always have the time or luxury to patiently offer tender and sympathetic advice. Honest criticism is a fact of life and a necessity for us to grow and evolve, and we should certainly not be embarrassed to receive it “loud and clear.”

Originally published: January 10, 2011

Also published with News Talk Florida.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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LAST TIME:  THE HASSLE OF METAL KEYS  – A low tech solution for solving our security problems.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific); and WWBA-AM (News Talk Florida 820). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Business, Communications, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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