Monthly Archives: November 2009

Quick Interpersonal Communication Advice

Here is some advice that I often give to clients and friends (and to myself!), at different times. I hope you find them useful.

See people eye to eye.
Hear people with more than your ears.
Talk to people heart to heart.
Feel someone’s real message using empathy.
Listen To words and FOR meaning.
Deal with problems face to face, not back to back.
Do not fight to be right. It is not a win/lose competition.
Conflict is not necessarily a bad thing.
Body language is not an exact science, but a cluster of cues is often right.
Just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you SHOULD…

Enough for now.

Thank you!

How to write a 5-paragraph report

Initial Criteria for Writing Reports

Writing Conventions:

These are the basic parts of your writing: the spelling, punctuation, grammar, and
sentence structure. Do errors make it hard to understand your writing?


Logic determines the order of your writing and how easy it is to follow your ideas. Proper logic determines how well your introduction, body, and conclusion work together and how logical your order of ideas are inside each paragraph.


Here, your sentence variety and use of idioms and vocabulary are very important. How fluent is your language? Are your sentences precise? Good reports exhibit a varied repertoire of sentence types, along with an extensive vocabulary.


Is the topic and ideas specific to your own experience and have they been conveyed well. Did you show with details exactly what you mean? Did you save your assertions for the topic and “statement making” sentences? Are your ideas convincing? Are they explained logically or systematically?


Originality can dramatically improve the reader’s experience but can be an unnecessary distraction for some topics. Is there a balance between accuracy, statements for effect and originality based on the topic?


A title should be an exciting and accurate label of the contents of your report.

Simple, short and clear so it is understood quickly.

Directly connected to the reports main ideas.

Interesting, to make the reader want to read the report.

Capitalize all words except the small words (a, the, an, for and so on) or, capitalize the whole word.

Remember a topic is not a title!


An introduction contains a topic sentence that conveys the main idea or statement of the report. This is the most important sentence of your whole report and needs to be the most carefully written.

Introductions are general compared to the ideas in the report, but related directly to the ideas in the report. Don’t give away too much. Save the details for the body.

Body Paragraphs (3)

The body is the center of the sandwich. Body paragraphs are a standard design: topic sentence, detailed examples with a concluding sentence. The body paragraphs support the topic and provides supportive examples with descriptions, and details.

Make it easy for the reader to follow from sentence to sentence and from paragraph to paragraph. Keep to one idea in one paragraph. Each of these ideas relates directly to the topic.

Put your best paragraph first, weakest in the middle and your second best paragraph last.


The conclusion is usually larger than the introduction.

Restate your topic as the first sentence of the conclusion.

Summarize the ideas of the body paragraphs without repeating everything point-by-point.

Conclusions often contains a final opinion, suggestion or prediction related to the topic that ends the report.

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What Those Words on Yearly Performance Reviews REALLY Mean

Hi folks,

It’s been a while since my last update. I apologize for my tardiness. I have been quite busy with coaching, a presentation on PowerPoint repair, and setting up employee training courses at companies for immigrants who have English as a second language. In addition, I am moving in a couple of weeks. Busy busy!

Today I want to share with you a joke that originated as an email-based forward. You know those annoying forwarded messages that you get daily that crowd your inbox? You are bothered to receive them yet still curious to open some of them, if not all. The problem is, every once in a while, there is a good one. And that is what probably keeps us from asking people NOT to forward stuff to us. That, or the fact that we are sometimes guilty of the same offense!

Without further ado, I present to you a list that was a forwarded email. I do not know who the original author is, but did notice that they use British English spelling.

My thanks to my client Tatiana, who kindly provided this list to me. (I actually requested that she forward it to me – how is that for a change?)

What Those Words on Yearly Performance Reviews REALLY Mean:

1. Outgoing Personality: Always going out of the office
2. Great Presentation Skills: Able to B.S.
3. Good Communication Skills: Spends lots of time on phone
4. Work is First Priority: Too ugly to get a date
5. Active Socially: Drinks a lot
6. Independent Worker: Nobody knows what s/he does
7. Quick Thinking: Offers plausible excuses
8. Careful Thinker: Won’t make a decision
9. Uses Logic on Difficult Jobs: Gets someone else to do it
10. Expresses Themselves Well: Speaks English
11. Meticulous Attention to Detail: A nit-picker
12. Has Leadership Qualities: Is tall or has a louder voice
13. Exceptionally Good Judgement: Lucky
14. Keen Sense of Humour: Knows a lot of dirty jokes
15. Career Minded: Back stabber
16. Loyal: Cannot get a job anywhere else
17. Plans for Promotion/Advancement: Buys drinks for all the boys
18. Of Great Value to the Organisation: Gets to work on time
19. Relaxed Attitude: Sleeps at desk

Can You Laugh at Yourself?

The most confident people are able to laugh.
They laugh under stress, they laugh at jokes, even if they are not particularly funny (out of respect for the joke-teller – as long as they are not disrespectful jokes), they laugh at themselves when things go wrong or when ‘Murphy’s Law’ takes over their life for a moment, and they laugh at insults.
Do your best at work and in life, but don’t sweat the small stuff. And don’t let anyone put you in a bad mood just because they can’t control their own life, mood swings, anger issues, jealousy, workload…the list goes on. Help them if you can, but do not let others walk over you. No doormat here!

Laugh my friends. You don’t need stress and anger inside you. I leave you with one of my favourite odd-but-true quotes:

“When the vultures start circling, the thought of how silly they look will put things in a truer perspective.” – David Carradine