Association of Romanian Engineers in Canada

Business Communication Tips

Print this page    Email to a friend    Share this

"Good communication is good business."


"How you communicate is how you are perceived and how you are perceived is how you are treated." - Gloria Pierre -


Choose the right words in an argument


15 Grammar Goofs


Word distinction
We often find adequate, sufficient and enough misused. Adequate refers to the suitability of something in a particular circumstance {an adequate explanation}. Sufficient refers to an amount that is enough to meet a need (always with an abstract concept, a mass noun, or a plural) {sufficient water} {sufficient information} {sufficient cause} {sufficient resources}. Enough, the best word for everyday purposes, modifies both count and nouns {enough people} and mass nouns {enough oil}.

Kinship Names
Kinship names are lowercased when preceded by modifiers (that is, when not used in addressing the person directly). When used before a proper noun or alone, in place of a name, they are usually capitalized.
- His mother was a friend of Errol Flynn's.
- My sister and brother live in Texas.
- the Gibbs brothers
- Happy birthday, Uncle Gary.
- Her mother's middle name is Jean.
- Please, Mom, let's go to the fair.

Possessives of Compound Nouns
It is customary to form the possessive of all compound nouns, whether closed, open, or hyphenated; and of similar noun phrases by adding the inflection at the end of the compound or phrase:
- the cookbook's index
- my daughter-in-law's father
- the doctor of philosophy's thesis
- the mayor of Chicago's Toronto's crimes (ha-ha, I changed this one!)

The possessive of plurals of compound nouns may be formed in the same way, but many of the resulting forms are awkward and might profitably be replaced by the possessive prepositional phrase with of:
- all my cookbooks' cake recipes
- my three daughters-in-law's mothers or
- the mothers of my daughters-in-law

To form the possessive of the plural of noun phrases, like the one illustrated above, it is best to use the construction with of and avoid the possessive inflection:
- the crimes of the mayors of Chicago
- the wives of the doctors in the amphitheater

The personification of abstractions -- giving them the attributes of persons -- is not a common device in today's prose writing. When it is used, the personified noun is usually capitalized.
- Nature's handmaid, Art...
- In spring, nature is at its best.
- Then Spring -- with her warm showers -- arrived.
- The icy blasts of winter had departed.
- Like Milton, he bade Melancholy be gone.
- He had suffered from melancholy all his life.

When there is doubt, the word should be lowercased:
- It was a battle between head and heart; reason finally won.

From newsletter.


10 Powerful Body Language Tips for your next presentation


8 phrases to smooth conflict resolution

Few people enjoy conflict, but it's an inevitable part of life and ­business, so if you want to succeed, you need to become skilled in managing it.

A few phrases can help you to resolve conflicts when they arise, says author, speaker and consultant Barry Moltz:

1. The last thing I want to say is no. This shows consideration for the other person's feelings and you take her perspective into consideration.

2. Having no secrets between us is critical. If we can't talk to each other, we will never be able to be productive. This recognizes the importance of clear, open communications and can help break the ice before a difficult discussion.

3. It seems things are not running as smoothly as they have in the past. This is a nonthreatening way to open a tough conversation that shows you want to explore the problem, not assign blame.

4. I really appreciate your input into our team. This tells people they're valued and worthwhile even when you aren't using their ideas.

5. We may have a misunderstanding, since I may not have been clear about my expectations. Again, this avoids assigning blame and also opens the door to you being the problem. This approach helps the other person feel less threatened and defensive.

6. What held you back from meeting your commitment? Sometimes there's a good reason people don't get things done on schedule.

7. What can I do to support you? This is a great phrase for a manager or team leader to use and can help you find out how to help your team do its best.

8. You're saying one thing and doing another. This points out a discrepancy between intentions and actions and makes someone think about where he or she may be going wrong.

- Adapted from "10 Phrases That Can Resolve Any Conflict," Barry Moltz, OPEN Forum.



The 8 Blind Spots Between Men and Women at Work by Barbara Annis & John Gray, Ph.D.

"We need a new level of conversation, to include each other and participate with each other more successfully. We need a better understanding of why men and women think and act as they do, to see the strength in the complement of those differences. We need to be more gender-intelligent." at "investing" was synonymous with buying stocks and bonds ... Fortunately, times have changed."


Qualities of a High Value Player (or, How to Rise Above the Suffering in Your Work Life) by Cy Wakeman

"People have come to believe that suffering is a part of working life. But it is still possible to find people who are performing well and are happy. This article will provide you with some tips for how you too can be a happy, high performer-a high value player."


Some for FUN: Can-Speak: your guide to speaking Canadian


Talking the Same Language for an Effective Performance Review - soft skills


The Language Lab - Online Courses in Business Communication - Take our free quiz!


When someone criticizes what you've done or attacks you personally... listen, think and then answer: "I share your concern. May I tell you my view on what we can do about it?" - become an excellent communicator.



"Getting" Sarcasm

Have you ever wondered why some people never seem to "get" your jokes? It could be they are actually not physically able to process sarcasm.

A recent study at the University of Haifa in Israel used high-tech scanning equipment to track what happens in the brain when people were presented with sarcastic statements, such as "Hey Joe, don't work too hard", said to Joe when he was obviously relaxing. Some people recognized it as sarcasm and either laughed or became defensive, and others did not. Lack of response was most pronounced in autistic people with no discernible ability to process inconsistent messages.

What does this mean to you? It reminds you that when presenting, it might not be safe to assume that everyone will appreciate your witticisms. Inappropriate humor can backfire on a presenter. If you don't know how your audience will respond, don't take chances.

When in doubt, keep it positive.



Do You Know the Art of an Effective Apology?

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you know you didn't deliver and need to make amends? There is an art to apologizing that if mastered will go a long way to minimize the damage and come across as credible, reliable and fair. Apologizing isn't easy. It's essential to apologize whenever you feel you're at fault, though. Learn how good managers do it well here.


Are you new to Canada or recently hired into a Canadian organization? Are you trying to understand the nuances of the Canadian workplace? Why it's important to develop "people skills"? Not sure how to interpret your manager's feedback and communicate back?

Gain insight into these and many other questions that will help you to make a successful transition to working in a new environment. TRIEC Campus materials are based on real-life situations in the Canadian context and address challenges that you might face when looking for a job or working for a Canadian organization.

Login now to browse free interactive e-learning modules, videos, resources and tools.


7 phrases to ban, 3 rules to follow

You may think you've just penned the most brilliant correspondence of the year, but if it takes the recipient too long to wade through lengthy paragraphs, he'll never know how bright you are.

Let's face it: Fancy-schmancy business-speak does not make for strong business writing.

Business Writing: 7 phrases to ban

With that rule in mind, an editor for Harvard Business suggests banning these words and phrases from your writing:
1. As well as. You can almost always use "and" instead.
2. People manager. As opposed to a "non-people manager"?
3. Value add. Saying, "What's the value add?" is sometimes a way of covering for the fact that you don't understand.
4. Take away. You take away food in a to-go bag.
5. At the end of the day. It's everywhere, yet it's usually just filler. One source says it's the most written cliche.
6. Out of pocket. People increasingly use it when they are unreachable, on vacation or away from their BlackBerrys. Instead, just say "away."
7. Individual. It's often used to create distance between the speaker and the actual person. For example, instead of "We value the individual," say, "We value the people who work here."

* Here's an easy way to improve everything you write, from emails that need to make the right impression to proposals that can make or break deals - and careers. Simply follow the guidelines in Business Communication Toolkit: Vol. 1, Written Communication - Your Guide to Professional Editing, Proofreading and Grammar.*

Business Writing: 3 Rules to Follow

Light a fire under your readers and spur them to action by using these three cardinal business-writing rules:
1. Get to the point. Within the first sentence or two, tell them why you're writing.
2. Don't assume. What do you know that your reader doesn't know? Fill in the gaps. That includes explaining acronyms.
3. Explain what you're thinking and what you want the reader to spend time on.

Avoid simply sending a forwarded chain of messages with a "What are your thoughts?" tacked at the top. Instead, do the thinking for the recipient. Give your opinion or options for the reader to respond to.

For more click Make your business communication better


Click on the link above for the online article, which includes a Grammar Quiz!

This Embarrasses You and I*

Grammar Gaffes Invade the Office in an Age of Informal Email, Texting and Twitter

When Caren Berg told colleagues at a recent staff meeting, "There's new people you should meet," her boss Don Silver broke in, says Ms. Berg, a senior vice president at a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., marketing and crisis-communications company.

"I cringe every time I hear" people misuse "is" for "are," Mr. Silver says. The company's chief operations officer, Mr. Silver also hammers interns to stop peppering sentences with "like." For years, he imposed a 25-cent fine on new hires for each offense. "I am losing the battle," he says.

Managers are fighting an epidemic of grammar gaffes in the workplace. Many of them attribute slipping skills to the informality of email, texting and Twitter where slang and shortcuts are common. Such looseness with language can create bad impressions with clients, ruin marketing materials and cause communications errors, many managers say.

There's no easy fix. Some bosses and co-workers step in to correct mistakes, while others consult business-grammar guides for help. In a survey conducted earlier this year, about 45% of 430 employers said they were increasing employee-training programs to improve employees' grammar and other skills, according to the Society for Human Resource Management and AARP.

"I'm shocked at the rampant illiteracy" on Twitter, says Bryan A. Garner, author of "Garner's Modern American Usage" and president of LawProse, a Dallas training and consulting firm. He has compiled a list of 30 examples of "uneducated English," such as saying "I could care less," instead of "I couldn't care less," or, "He expected Helen and I to help him," instead of "Helen and me."

Leslie Ferrier says she was aghast at letters employees were sending to customers at a Jersey City, N.J., hair- and skin-product marketer when she joined the firm in 2009. The letters included grammar and style mistakes and were written "as if they were speaking to a friend," says Ms. Ferrier, a human-resources executive. She had employees use templates to eliminate mistakes and started training programs in business writing.

Most participants in the Society for Human Resource Management-AARP survey blame younger workers for the skills gap. Tamara Erickson, an author and consultant on generational issues, says the problem isn't a lack of skill among 20- and 30-somethings. Accustomed to texting and social networking, "they've developed a new norm," Ms. Erickson says.

At RescueTime, for example, grammar rules have never come up. At the Seattle-based maker of personal-productivity software, most employees are in their 30s. Sincerity and clarity expressed in "140 characters and sound bytes" are seen as hallmarks of good communication-not "the king's grammar," says Jason Grimes, 38, vice president of product marketing. "Those who can be sincere, and still text and Twitter and communicate on Facebook-those are the ones who are going to succeed."

Also, some grammar rules aren't clear, leaving plenty of room for disagreement. Tom Kamenick battled fellow attorneys at a Milwaukee, Wis., public-interest law firm over use of "the Oxford comma"-an additional comma placed before the "and" or "or" in a series of nouns.

Leaving it out can change the meaning of a sentence, Mr. Kamenick says: The sentence, "The greatest influences in my life are my sisters, Oprah Winfrey and Madonna," means something different than the sentence, "The greatest influences in my life are my sisters, Oprah Winfrey, and Madonna," he says. (The first sentence implies the writer has two celebrity sisters; the second says the sisters and the stars are different individuals.) After Mr. Kamenick asserted in digital edits of briefs and papers that "I was willing to go to war on that one," he says, colleagues backed down, either because they were convinced, or "for the sake of their own sanity and workplace decorum."

Patricia T. O'Conner, author of a humorous guidebook for people who struggle with grammar, fields workplace disputes on a blog she cowrites, Grammarphobia. "These disagreements can get pretty contentious," Ms. O'Conner says. One employee complained that his boss ordered him to make a memo read, "for John and I," rather than the correct usage, "for John and me," Ms. O'Conner says.

In workplace-training programs run by Jack Appleman, a Monroe, N.Y., corporate writing instructor, "people are banging the table," yelling or high-fiving each other during grammar contests he stages, he says. "People get passionate about grammar," says Mr. Appleman, author of a book on business writing.

Christopher Telano, chief internal auditor at the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp., has employees circulate their reports to co-workers to review for accuracy and grammar, he says. He coaches auditors to use action verbs such as "verify" and "confirm" and tells them to write below a 12th-grade reading level so it can be easily understood.

Mr. Garner, the usage expert, requires all job applicants at his nine-employee firm-including people who just want to pack boxes-to pass spelling and grammar tests before he will hire them. And he requires employees to have at least two other people copy-edit and make corrections to every important email and letter that goes out.

"Twenty-five years ago it was impossible to put your hands on something that hadn't been professionally copy-edited," Mr. Garner says. "Today, it is actually hard to put your hands on something that has been professionally copy-edited."

Write to Sue Shellenbarger at

A version of this article appeared June 20, 2012, on page D1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: This Embarrasses You and I*.



New to Canada? Experienced in Business?

Participate in FREE work-oriented language training

Workplace Communication Skills for Business is offered at the following colleges. -


How to Keep Your Business Writing Clear And Up To Date


30 tools that you can reference to increase vocabulary and grammar. 30+ Online Resources to Expand your English Vocabulary



How to improve your resume's looks

Send your resume in PDF format or save your Word document in read-only format. If you have a new version of Word, you can do this by choosing File, Info, Protect Document, Restrict Editing. Then choose Read Only in the Editing Restrictions section of the pane on the right.

If you have an older version of Word, go to Tools, Protect Document, Read Only.



5 things you shouldn't say to your bossBuild a stronger relationship with your boss by never letting these phrases cross your lips:

1.  "It's not my job." Even if it's true, thinking this way could negatively affect your attitude.

2.  "It's not my fault." Instead, be willing to take responsibility, then immediately look for ways to remedy a bad situation.

3.  "I can't work with Person A." A boss wants to be surrounded by can-do attitudes. First, focus on how to resolve a situation without involving the boss. If work is suffering because of Person A, let your boss know how deliverables or deadlines are being impacted.

4.  "I can't do X, because I have to do Y."

5.  "That's not possible." Even if you believe it, turn your statement into a more constructive one. "We could try that approach. I believe we may face a few challenges, though, such as...."

- Adapted from "6 things you should never say to your boss," Alexandra Levit, Intuit's Quickbase blog. 

" This information is proudly provided by Business Management "


Editorial Tip of the Week: Fewer or Less?

Use fewer for things you can count (e.g., people, jelly beans, books), and use less for things that are not countable, do not have a plural, but may be measured in volume (e.g., coffee, rain, money, time).


- Fewer people attended the presentation than we had expected.
- If I had less coffee in the morning, I might be nicer. However: If I had fewer cups of coffee if the morning, I might be nicer.

Less can also be used with numbers when they are on their own and with expressions of measurement or time:


- Her employment lasted less than five years.


Noon and Midnight -- NOT 12:00 p.m. or 12:00 a.m.

We see it often in business documents: Using the time expression 12:00 a.m. or 12:00 p.m. is substandard. Why? These abbreviations are Latin abbreviations meaning "ante meridiem" and "post meridiem," respectively. Those translate to "before midday" (morning) and "after midday" (afternoon and evening). If you think about it, there is precisely one point in the day when it is "midday" - neither before nor after. That is what we call noon or noontime. So rise above Google's and MS Outlook's apparent ignorance and avoid "12:00 p.m." Write "noon" instead. Oh - and for that time in the night when it is the moment between one day and the next, use "midnight," not 12:00 a.m.


I or me?

The two personal pronouns I and me are often used incorrectly, usually in sentences in which I is being used with another noun.

Here are some tips to help you get it right:

Use the pronoun I, along with other subjective pronouns such as we, he, she, you, and they, when the pronoun is the subject of a verb:

He went to bed.
We waited for the bus.
Clare and I are going for a coffee.

Use the pronoun me, along with other objective pronouns such as us, him, her, you, and them, when the pronoun is the object of a verb:

Danny thanked them.
The dog followed John and me to the door.

Use the pronoun me, along with other objective pronouns such as us, him, her, you, and them, when the pronoun is the object of a preposition:

Rose spent the day with Jake and me.
Send the report to Monica and me when you are finished.

An easy way of making sure you've chosen the right pronoun is to see whether the sentence reads properly if you remove the additional noun:

I am going for a coffee
X Me am going for a coffee
√ The dog followed me
X The dog followed I
√ Rose spent the day with me
X Rose spent the day with I



40+ Tips to Improve your Grammar and Punctuation


Stay calm no matter what fate throws at you, and you're guaranteed to make all the right moves. You've got all the right resources in the right places. The only trick is figuring out how to juggle them. START here.

EFFICIENCY is about doing things the right way.

EFFECTIVENESS is about doing the right things.

There is no point in acting EFFICIENTLY if what you are doing will not have the desired EFFECT.


The Language Lab - Online Courses in Business Communication















Hr bottom
Designed By TeoEx
© Copyright 2019 - Association of Romanian Engineers in Canada - All rights Reserved.