Monthly Archives: October 2014

Telephone Message Script

Leaving a message can be stressful. Use this script to leave a helpful message, focus on the details, and avoid rambling.

Hello, it’s [name] from [your company’s name]. My number is ][number], and it’s [time] on [today]. I’m calling for [person’s name] because I wanted to discuss [reason for call]. I’ll be available [day] from [time] to [time] if you’d like to call back, otherwise I’ll try again on [next day].

Tip: If you’re calling about a specific issue, use a reference code, part number, or invoice date so they can look it up before they call you back.

With my information, it looks like this:

Hello, it’s Dave Henderson from Awesome Manufacturing. My number is 123-456-7890, and it’s 3:30 on Tuesday. I’m calling for Alice Burrard because I wanted to discuss our sales invoice, number 111222. I’ll be available today from 4:00 to 6:15 if you’d like to call back, otherwise I’ll try again on Wednesday.

PowerPoint Perfection

Have you ever watched a presentation where the speaker used PowerPoint? I’;m sure you have. Think about the slides – did they keep your attention and give you useful information? If you’re like most of us, the answer is no.

Presentation software can be a real help. However, it can be very easy to bore your audience with it. Today, I’m going to give you some hints from my years of watching presentations about how to avoid this unfortunate situation.

1- Remember the 6 by 6 rule. Limit yourself to a maximum of six points on one slide, each with six words at most. By avoiding long sentences on the slide, your audience will be able to concentrate on the words you say.

2 – Avoid animation. Slides that move, flip, or fade might look fancy, but they might remind your audience of cartoons or children’s movies. In order to project a professional image, your slides should help the audience focus on your ideas.

3 – Use photos when they help. Using something visual like a photo, diagram, or graph, can be very helpful when comparing technical details. The best photos are ones that you take yourself – stay away from internet sources if you can. Everyone can find the same images on the internet!

4 – Be familiar with the technology. Practice beforehand, using all the tools you plan to use for the real presentation. Juggling a remote, your notes, and a laser pointer during your presentation can really be stressful and detract from your ideas.

Those are the most important ideas that I think make presentations better. When you are writing one, always ask yourself “Does this change make my presentation easier to remember or understand?” If the answer is yes, your change is a good one.


Parallelism – Making Lists Easy To Understand

Parallelism is an aspect of grammar that connects to lists. It means “to group similar parts of speech together.” The easiest way to learn about it is just to see it in real sentences:

Before: I like to eat pizza, watch movies, and dancing.

After: I like to eat pizza, watch movies, and dance. (gerund becomes infinitive)

Before: John should write the report quickly, accurately, and with precision.

After: John should write the report quickly, accurately, and precisely. (adjective becomes adverb)

Before: Alice will research the problem, gather information, and solutions will be evaluated.

After: Alice will research the problem, gather information, and evaluate solutions. (active and passive verb forms made only active)

Before: James played his guitar, was dancing, and had done yoga before we came home.

After: James had done yoga, played his guitar, and danced before we came home.(several verb tenses combined)

The easy rule is this: be consistent with parts of speech in your list. If it is a list of nouns, use only noun forms. If only verbs, use the same tense. Looking for these patterns will help you write and speak more clearly.

In creative writing, you can use the forms of the words and also the sounds or the spelling to create interest and excitement.