Category Archives: News and General Updates

Review of John Carlton’s Simple Writing System

It was a hard choice for me to shell out the money for an online writing workshop. In the end, the sales page convinced me. So now I’d like to pass on a detailed review to anyone else struggling with the decision to enroll in the Simple Writing System. Continue reading Review of John Carlton’s Simple Writing System

Shipping lessons in communication

One of my early bosses and mentors who came to lead Communications at Hostess Brands at a hectic time once said in a frenzy, “We’re the communications department. We have a job to do. We can’t wait around and get everyone’s buy-in. This is our job.”

It struck me as odd that this former director of Communications at Pepsi would have such a gung-ho, we-don’t-have-time-to-make-sure-the-executives-are-happy attitude. But she was right; the communications departments for a company with 22,000 numbered exactly two: her, who was commuting to Texas from Connecticut, and me, a fresh college grad. Continue reading Shipping lessons in communication

What’s going on (and what’s coming)

It’s been a while since the last post, but I’ve been doing a lot behind the scenes. Many articles are in draft form, and some are a compilation of notes that I haven’t solidified into an article.

A lot of the notes are helpful even without a cohesive post tying everything together. A new notes page (to be posted soon) will be where those are stored. They’ll also be continuously updated.

Waiting to get an article “perfect” seems to be delaying everything more than I’d like. It’s a simple problem to overcome, but it’s also a convenient excuse.

I’ll start regularly publishing again. The posts will be shorter and less polished, but I’ll get them out there. The posts, like the notes pages, will probably also undergo updates and evolve instead of going out into the world once and staying there. I like that model way better.

Photo credit: seier + seier

Am I behind on corporate jargon? “Sunset” is rising

Someone help me out. Has “sunset” been thrown around for a while, or is it a new weed in the patch?

It looks to me like it’s a new euphemism for “to kill.”

Yes, sunset is now a verb.

Some examples:

  • “We will soon sunset the XYZ Widgetizer.”
  • “That department has been sunset.”

Sunset: New Jargon or Old?Until about two weeks ago, I’d never heard the S word used like that before. Then it came out in a corporate communication, and its use EXPLODED. Any doubts to its true identity of jargonhood were “sunset.”

Like any good new corporate buzzword, the growth isn’t slow and steady. It’s immediate. People have to jump on as quickly as possible to prove they know the current lingo.

Since that first broadcast email two weeks ago, I’ve heard people using it in casual conversation. “Sunset” has appeared in subsequent emails. It’s even in my dreams! Agghh!

Welp, I guess that’s my learning for the day.

What? Don’t tell me you thought you learned lessons. No, all the big boys are using learning as a verb and noun these days.

“Lessons” is old school, and it’s been sunset.

Birthday Blog Launch!

Happy birthday to this new blog—which is launching on my birthday! Go ahead, mark your calendar. It’s the same day every year.

I started tinkering on the blog about a week ago, but this is the “grand opening.” Up until this point it was still incubating in the WordPress womb, waiting to poke into the world.

I’ve published a post about what this blog is about at a high level. More specifically, I’ll be writing in depth on topics I’ve been learning about such as these:

  • strategy and concepts behind communication (relates to all types: internal, web, social media, etc.)
  • media communication
  • copywriting
  • marketing
  • getting started freelancing to make extra $$$ on the side
  • productivity as it applies to communicating

I’ll include some important/helpful tools of the trade too:

  • SharePoint
  • Photoshop
  • Outlook (remember the “productivity” part of this blog’s name?)
  • Evernote

I’m sure the topics and writing style will evolve as I figure out what’s working and what readers like.

I’d love to know what you think. So…

As a birthday present (had to slip it in there), please leave a comment letting me know any communications questions you have, what you’d like to learn about, general suggestions or just a pat on my virtual back.

It’s comment time. Go!

Who is Communication Productivity Meant for?

This site isn’t for everyone. Besides being a resource for myself as a way to categorize and document the comms information I find most helpful, there are a couple other groups who will get the most from this information:

  1. professional communicators
  2. people who want to “sell” an idea or improve the way they get their point across.

Professional communicators
Those in corporate communication and marketing (marcom) will find this site to be great resource for additional ideas and tips as well as a helpful refresh of key ideas. This is what I do as my day job, and it’s the type of material that fills my RSS feeds and podcast playlists. Adding my perspective seemed like a natural progression.

People who want to get their ideas across
Everyone sells. We all have a viewpoint to express, a program to promote, a friend who needs directions. Although language is natural, clear expression is not. (“Why did you tell me to go north for three miles instead of taking a left when I see the giant banana stand?”) This site can help people learn to pick the lint off their message so people can taste the meaning and not the fuzz. It’s not complicated; you just have to know what you’re doing.

I still have a lot to learn (again, main reason for this site), but hopefully others can learn with me.

New Blog for Effective Communication Skills

This site is here as a resource to myself and others. I’d like a way to organize and categorize my thoughts about transferring a message from one place to another.

Most of it will be related to creating productive communications in the workplace. Still, the lessons spill over into other areas.

Why focus on the business world?

In my time in corporate America, I’ve come to realize a few truths:

  • most people are terrible writers
  • most people are horrible communicators
  • most people enjoy doing neither of the above

For the few curious individuals who want to improve—whether it’s a quick tip for a specific activity or a desire to learn more about clearly expressing your thoughts—that’s who this site is for.

It’s not about using the correct there/their/they’re, perfecting grammar or learning the AP Stylebook.

The blog is meant to help you untangle your jumbled messages, shoot them straight to your intended audience, and produce the exact response envisioned.

And now my thoughts about this site are organized. See? It’s already doing its job.