How to Give Feedback Diplomatically

giving feedbackby Jody Bruner

Have you ever had a colleague eagerly ask for feedback on a document only to have her face fall as you eagerly point out all the ways she could improve it? Why, you wonder, did she ask for help in the first place if she doesn’t really want it?

Most people–we’d even say all people–are sensitive about their writing. Our writing reveals so much about who we are that we don’t respond well when we’re hit by a barrage of criticism, however well-intended.

Receiving feedback has obvious benefits for the writer. It also has tremendous benefits for the reviewer. When you review someone else’s document it’s easy to achieve the objective distance you need to see how it can be improved. It’s far more difficult to achieve this objectivity with your own writing. And the better you get at looking critically at other people’s writing, the easier it becomes to look critically at your own writing.

In our writing courses, we include an opportunity to peer edit, once participants share a common language and criteria. Here’s how we recommend doing it:

1. Read the document twice–once for content and strategy, and once for structure, style and grammar. The first time you read it, you’ll notice style and grammar. The second time you’ll be more aware of the overall structure and strategy. Make note of the things that are successful, as well as the things you think could be handled differently.

2. Give the writer the good news first. There is always something positive to say and we learn a lot by seeing what we’re doing successfully. Also, people are more willing to hear your criticism if you first acknowledge their value.

3. Organize your critical feedback into two categories: global and local. The global feedback includes comments about structure, content and strategy. The local feedback addresses style and grammar. You may decide to withhold the local level feedback if the document needs to be restructured or rethought strategically, since chunks of it may need rewriting

Happy 50 Years to Wavelength!  

Back in 1969, Wavelength started by helping business people communicate more easily, clearly, and persuasively. Our first workshops were delivered to oil field workers in Alberta. 

Fifty years later, we keep this vision alive by helping our learners wherever they work: in banks, governments, airports, mines, insurance companies, engineering firms, pharmaceuticals—you name it. After all, everybody benefits from better communication skills.   Read more

Plain Language for Better Written Communication

written communication skillsby Lesley Nevills

Have you ever had to read a message several times just to understand it? We’ve all been on the receiving end of emails like that, and our impulse is to hit delete. But what if that email includes information you need, or it comes from someone you can’t ignore?

Many writers fall into the trap of writing in a vague and bureaucratic style because they think it makes them sound more formal or professional, but it confuses and challenges the reader. So, if you don’t want your readers to hit delete, use a modern written communication style that engages your reader with a friendly, conversational tone. To be effective, let your human voice come through.

Who would you prefer to work with – Writer A or Writer B? Read more

Should You be Branding Yourself?

branding yourselfby Leigh Geraghty

Most of us understand the benefits of branding our business-it helps build recognition, credibility, customer loyalty and a competitive edge. But what about branding yourself? What is personal branding, and why is it an increasingly important area of employee development?

Personal branding is how you define and portray yourself as a person and a business professional. Your brand expresses your interests, talents, personality, and expertise. It portrays the person you are and the person you want others to see. You want to make sure that you are using a custom SEO for your brand to hone in on the target customers that you ideally need for your business, for example, if your brand was of luxury items like furniture, then you would look into seo for luxury brands and how it can help you. Read more

PBW: An Instructional Design Story

by Jody Bruner

Wavelength is the result of merging two communication skills training companies, IWCC and BrunerBiz. In 2017, we blended our two flagship business writing courses (IWCC’s High Impact Business Writing and Bruner’s Effective Business Writing) to deliver a course that combines the best of each: Professional Business Writing. Creating this new workshop was a great learning experience, and everyone—our team and clients who have piloted the course—is happy with the results.  

This is an instructional design story, in which we share how this redesign revealed what each workshop assumed about the learner, and about reconciling two different approaches to writing.  

Different assumptions about our learners  Read more

3 Tips for Writing an Effective Performance Review

performance review

by Alan De Back

The end of the calendar year is when many organizations start their performance review process. Both employees and managers often find the process confusing, frustrating, and demotivating. Whether employees are writing their self-review or managers are writing their supervisory reviews, many struggle with what to write and how to write it. If they’re not careful, managers can lose the opportunity to not only improve their team members’ performance but also improve their relationships and communication channels.

Here are three tips to help you in the performance review process:

Always provide specific examples. 

Simply writing “I am a great employee” or “Tom did a great job” is not enough.  You need to give specific examples Read more

How to Use Geometric Psychology to Influence People

by Lucille Lo Sapio

How often has your boss, colleague or client reacted poorly to your work output or ideas because you just didn’t understand their perspective? Imagine how much better communication would be if you could know their personality type and how to best influence them. You might just get a better understanding of how they see the world, and from that, how you can work better together.

You’ve probably taken a psychological test or two to determine your own personality type. We’ve been doing that since Hippocrates’ time. One of my favorites is Psychogeometrics, developed in 1978 by Dr. Susan Dellinger. It’s based on the notion that we are attracted to certain shapes and forms based on our personalities, attitudes, education and experience. And once you determine which of those personality types you’re dealing with, the better equipped you are to communicate effectively. Read more