Tag Archives: communication

Are You Globally Present? Richard Richards

To ensure your success in making a connection across cultural divides? Here are some guidelines from Richard Richards:

Reference: A Seminar is coming, details: Global Thinking, Training, Success

Be Present

Being present is a universal courtesy that transcends culture, language, and whether communicating in-person or virtually. Key points to consider:
– Some cultures have personal relationships that precede business relationships. Results in a “Type A Sales first” behavior vs. calmer, contemplative start to a working relationship.
– Multi-tasking and BUSYNESS, can be seen as rude and unacceptable. Unplug!
– Looking at “body language” and cultural politeness.

Reach Out

Reaching out and connecting is essential. Key points to consider:
-Check-in frequently , discover acceptance or disagreement.
-Use empathy in timing, holidays, local happenings, religious events. Establish a “Do not Call List: for areas that are experiencing disasters, holidays etc. Think about time zones!  Bend YOUR work hours.

Be Expressive

Not just what we say, but how we say it (vocally, facially, physically, and emotionally). Key points to consider:
• Pace of their speech, clarity, loudness and enunciation will profoundly change the level of understanding with a new audience. Involve written communication with verbal. Have you ever misunderstood or had trouble understanding a faster pace? ASK your audience if they can hear you! Accents, slang, idioms can cause trouble.  Yup and Bob’s your Uncle!
• You might try SMILING when speaking. You can hear it (even in a phone conversation). Body language helps communicate, so if others cannot see you, enhance your descriptions.
•Watch out for filler words, “ums” and “ahs.” These are distractions. Practice in front of your team. Join the Toastmasters International club for encouragement and help.
•Acronyms will cause misunderstandings, even if they are explained, because B sounds like D and on a conference call, new people may join later or be afraid to “raise their hand”. Yes, check-in!
•Make sure to have supporting visuals or text. Increased understanding AND retention will help those listening in their non-native language.

Be Aware

Self-knowing is being aware your values, strengths, and limitations, especially when it comes to what you know about the other culture. Key points to consider:
– Admit what you don’t know. Own it with grace and humility and teach others what you learn so it can be adopted company-wide.  Be forthcoming,  Make sure to “honor” questions. Thank those that speak up!

At the end of the day, we need no language to be able to laugh together, and much of what “divides” us is really our own biases and lack of curiosity about differences. And as the author Ciore Taylor said, “Differences simply act as a yarn of curiosity, unraveling until we get to the other side.”

AI for the Multilingual World

This is a fascinating subject, and we are lucky enough to have Catherine Havasi speak to us in April. So much of what I do is about plain and simple communication. You too? Bi-lingual teachers know, that there is an overwhelming need to teach in a way that profoundly REACHES the student; that student will be more engaged and more excited to learn. These new technologies are essential for medicine, finance, education, technology… everything really!

Hello World.

Introducing Natural Language Processing! It’s the way to discover the meaning behind the words.
It’s not just about the words.  Machines need to be capable of more than translating word-for-word in our multilingual world. Multiple examples exist of words and phrases that simply do not translate from one language to another. As businesses become more global, companies increasingly need to take into account feedback from people all over the world who are using their products, not just those who speak English. Teaching a computer to comprehend reviews in Spanish or Mandarin is much more complicated than just running a quick translation algorithm. The computer needs to be able to comprehend and analyze that language in its native tongue, including idioms and phrases, otherwise much of the meaning is lost. By leveraging the power of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI) we can teach a computer to understand multiple languages in order to rapidly deliver insights to various parts of the business.

Dr. Catherine Havasi is the CEO and Co-Founder of Luminoso Technologies, an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based Deep Analytics Company in Cambridge, MA. Luminoso was founded after nearly a decade of research at the MIT Media Lab related to how NLP and machine learning could be applied to text analytics. For over 15 years she has been researching language and learning and was a research scientist in artificial intelligence and computational linguistics at the MIT Media Lab where she ran the Digital Intuition group. In the late 90s, she co-founded the Common Sense Computing Initiative, or ConceptNet, a big-data lexical resource used in over two thousand academic projects.

Using Focus to Excel

Excerpt from this Article in FastCompany.

Distraction. Even for skilled writers who love what we do… yes, we would prefer to do anything other than write. Writing is work. Worse, it’s lonely. Most projects, at least in the initial stages, it is lonely. My friends believe I just sit calmly and training manuals pour from my fingers, that I am meant to blog, and my emails are revision-less. NOT TRUE.

Also, first (+) drafts tend consume all your time. You impose a deadline, it comes and goes. There is still content that doesn’t hang together and it is revision number 12. Oh, let it be done. But no.

I learned to write because my fellow coders couldn’t. So they stayed glued to their monitors concocting devious ways to process faster…. and I explained the systems we built to our management and C-level execs. It was a trade-off. We all would have lost our freedom to create something great, if we didn’t show progress and share status. I was elected… or forced to stretch into this role, and I am grateful.  — the editor

“I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money,” says Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird, her celebrated 1995 book on the craft. “And not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much.”

Sometimes our tools help us. Speaking of FOCUS MODE in MS WORD — One author says “I’ll cling to Word until Google Docs brings out its own version (it offers something roughly similar but not quite there yet) of one-click Focus mode, no matter how retro or dorky that might make me in the eyes of some. Focus mode forces you to concentrate.”

25 Words and Phrases that Are Great to Get Right!

Mastering a language is tricky business, particularly if you want to write well in it. One of the reasons why is because you’ve got to know all of the different expressions, turns of phrase, and other quirks that give the language its unique contours. And while that may sound easy enough, it’s not always so straightforward when it comes time to use them correctly in written language. Between confusion over homonyms (words that have the same pronunciation or are spelled the same) and eggcorns (words or phrases that result from mishearing or misinterpretation of another), among other factors, it’s easy to get things wrong.


The original post here – Thanks Acrolinx.

Below we’ve compiled a list of 25 different words and phrases that, as a writer, you’ve got to make sure you’re using correctly. I loved this list, and found a few others to light up your geeky word-loving brains:

  1. It’s 180-degree change, not 360-degree change
    To say you’ve made a 180-degree change means that you’ve turned around and are now effectively doing the opposite of what you were doing before. By contrast, saying that you’ve made a 360-degree change means that you’re in the same spot you were before and haven’t really changed at all.
  2. It’s beck and call, not beckon call
    To be at someone’s beck and call means that you’re at their disposal and ready to do whatever they need. It often gets confused with the incorrect and nonsensical beckon call.
  3. It’s chalk it up to, not chock it up to
    To chalk something up means to give credit to something. A chock, on the other hand, is a wooden block you put under a wheel to keep it from moving.
  4. It’s couldn’t care less, not could care less
    Saying you couldn’t care less implies that there’s no way that you could care any less. When you say that you could care less, on the other hand, it means that there may still be some caring left in you.
  5. It’s could have/should have/would have, not could of/should of/would of
    Although they may sound very similar, could of, should of, and would of don’t exist as constructions in English, and should never be used when writing.
  6. It’s deep-seated, not deep-seeded
    Deep-seated means firmly established. And while deep-seeded may seem to make sense on some metaphorical level, it’s not the correct expression.
  7. It’s each one worse than the last, not each one worse than the next
    While it may at first seem that either version of this expression could work, the reality is that you’d have to be a psychic for that to be true. That’s because the expression sets up a comparison. Logically speaking, you can only compare things that you’ve already looked at and evaluated, not those that you haven’t yet but are going to next.
  8. It’s eke out, not eek out
    To eke something out means to make it last longer or go further. Eek, on the other hand, is just a word used to express surprise or fear, as in “Eek, a mouse!”
  9. It’s fall by the wayside, not fall by the waste side
    To fall by the wayside means to fail to continue or to drop out. To fall by the waste side is, well, simply incorrect.
  10. It’s far be it from me, not far be it for me
    Far be it from me, as in “far be it from me to interject, but…,” is often confused with far be it for me. The former is the correct version of the expression.
  11. It’s first come, first served, not first come, first serve
    People get this one wrong all the time. Just memorize it.
  12. It’s for all intents and purposes, not for all intensive purposes
    For all intents and purposes means in every practical sense. For all intensive purposes is a commonly used eggcorn that may sound good, but doesn’t actually mean anything.
  13. It’s free rein, not free reign
    Having free rein means that you can do whatever you want. Having free reign, on the other hand, is just a common misuse of the homonym.
  14. It’s hunger pangs, not hunger pains
    Although being hungry may be uncomfortable, even painful at times, it’s correct to describe that sensation as having hunger pangs, not hunger pains.
  15. It’s jibe with, not jive with
    When something jibes with something else, that means that the two things are in accord or agreement with each other. Although jive with is a commonly used variation, jibe is the preferred form, particularly when writing.
  16. It’s make do, not make due
    To make do is short for making [something] do well enough, where the word do means to serve a specified purpose. It’s similar to the usage in the sentence, “I wanted waffles for breakfast, but pancakes will do.”
  17. It’s moot point, not mute point
    A moot point can be either an issue open for debate, or a matter of no practical value or importance because it’s hypothetical (the latter is the more common example of how we use the term today). A mute point, by contrast, doesn’t exist.
  18. It’s statute of limitations, not statue of limitations
    Statutes of limitations are laws. Statues of limitations are something you might find at a funky exhibit in a modern art museum.
  19. It’s one and the same, not one in the same
    Here’s another example of an eggcorn. Although both versions seem to make sense logically, one and the same is the correct version.
  20. It’s scot-free, not scott-free
    To get off scot-free means not to have to endure any punishment, but it’s often incorrectly written as scott-free.
  21. It’s shoo-in, not shoe-in
    A shoo-in is someone or something that’s certain to succeed or win a competition. A shoe-in, on the other hand, doesn’t have any particular meaning.
  22. It’s different tack, not different tact
    To take a different tack means to take a different approach. It’s an expression derived from sailing and has nothing to do with being tactful.
  23. It’s you’ve got another think coming, not another thing coming
    If you think people don’t get this one wrong, you’ve got another think coming. Unfortunately, people often mishear think as thing and so this eggcorn was born.
  24. It’s on tenterhooks, not on tenderhooks
    To be on tenterhooks means to be anxiously awaiting something. According to the Free Dictionary, “the expression is based on the literal meaning of tenterhook (a hook that holds cloth that is stretched to dry), suggesting that someone’s emotions are tightly stretched like a piece of cloth held by tenterhooks.”
  25. It’s tongue in cheek, not tongue and cheek
    Tongue in cheek means to speak or write in an insincere way. If you say or write tongue and cheek, you’re just listing two parts of the body.

While there are certainly plenty of other words and phrases that writers tend to get wrong, these ones are particularly common and, when used incorrectly, will make your writing look less professional. Hopefully, after reading this list, you’ve committed to memory the correct versions of any you may have had wrong.