Tips for Emails

Consider this. Every business email you write is like a personal PR agent. What do your emails say about you? “The writer of this email is disorganized / creative / thoughtful / unthinking?” Here are 10 tips to ensure that when you write business emails you give people the right impression... 1. Stop, think then write (or don't!) Are you emailing to say you’d telephone when the fax goes through? Is a phone call more appropriate? Choosing the right communication medium will increase your chance of being listened to. 2. Prevent premature sending To avoid sending a badly spelled, half written pile of rubbish, wait until you have written the email before you key in the recipient’s names. Hitting send too early is a painful, toe-curling experience. 3. Be professional You lose control of your email as soon as you hit 'Send' so stick to professional language. Out go all “ist” comments – racist, sexist, ageist, genderist (okay so I made that last one up but you get my drift). Even your own brand of oh-so-funny humour can cause offence in the wrong hands. 4. If in doubt, spell it out! How well you know your audience will dictate whether you use short hand, jargon, abbreviations and emoticons. If in doubt, spell it out! Always err on the side of being too polite and respectful, particularly when writing emails to business colleagues where translation may be required. Use the spell-check and re-read your email before it goes out. To, two and too will all be spelled correctly but which is the correct in context? And to all you text savvy hipsters out there – I h8 ur txt style emails. Leave it to the kids. 5. Be precise, concise and clear • Keep it brief • Use the subject header • Get to the point, quickly • Use “urgent” flags sparingly • Use bullets (did you see how I cunningly demonstrated by example?) 6. Tailor emails to your audience Always open emails with a hello and use the name that they signed off with, even if it’s crazyhorse38! If you must send the same email to loads of people, put their address in the bcc box and use just one email address in the To box . This keeps the person’s email address private and makes it look like you’ve taken the time to write a personal email. Getting technical, there are mail merge functions that do all the hard work for you. Warning to novice emailers – test before you go emailing the world! 7. Most people can’t read minds Writing an email to a career site requesting “all the stuff you have on getting a job” could at best land you with a load of bandwidth hungry information or at worst be ignored. The more specific you are, the more likely you are to get a response. If responding to multiple questions embedded in a large email, copy the questions into your email and

write your answers next to them. 8. Keep your cool Your emotional state can slip into an email without notice, with curt sentences, skipped pleasantries and blunt asks. I purposefully let these emails gather dust until the person writes again in a more appropriate tone or picks up the phone. You wouldn’t tolerate someone coming to your desk and having a tantrum would you? TAKE OFF THE CAPS LOCK KEY. It’s rude to shout. 9. Need to know basis A common business email warfare tactic is to cc in senior managers in the vain thought that this adds weight to the communication. Fight your fights in private so that when you really need someone else to step in, they know you mean it. 10. Be clean and tidy! Attachments clog up networks and spread viruses. Could the salient points be pasted into the email? If you value your PC, only open attachments if you trust the source. Use spam filters and delete chain emails or other scams and make the web world a better place. Writing business emails well can make you stand out in the corporate landscape. Writing them badly can do the same, but for very different reasons. These 10 email writing tips will help you get it right. Oh, and finally always sign off professionally.

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Tips for Spoken English
1. Read aloud in English for 15-20 minutes every day Reading loudly helps in developing confidence. 2. Until you learn the correct intonation and rhythm of English, slow your speech down If you speak too quickly, and with the wrong intonation and rhythm, people will have a hard time understanding you. Don't worry about your listener getting impatient with your slow speech - it is more important that everything you say be understood. When you read loudly, take a 3 second pause after every word that you read. 3. Think in English – 30 minutes daily People who speak fluent English have a habit of thinking and speaking in English at the same time. Think “simple & short” sentences in English whenever you have free time. 4. Pronounce the ending of each word Pay special attention to 'S' and 'ED' endings. This will help strengthen the mouth muscles when you speak English. 5. Record your own voice and listen for pronunciation mistakes Many people hate to hear the sound of their voice and avoid listening to themselves speak. However, this is a very important exercise because doing it will help you become conscious of the mistakes you are making.

6. Observe the mouth movements of those who speak English well and try to imitate them When you are watching television, observe the mouth movements of the speakers. Repeat what they are saying, while imitating the intonation and rhythm of their speech. 7. Be patient You can change the way you speak but it won't happen overnight. People often expect instant results and give up too soon. You can change the way you sound if you are willing to put some effort into it.

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Tips for Powerpoint Presentation
You can take many courses on how to use PowerPoint from a technical standpoint, but when it is used effectively, it can add tremendously to our presentations. Here are ten secrets based on years of experience in developing and using presentation slides that will help you move from being technically proficient to using PowerPoint effectively. 1. Use the Outline View first The most important part of any presentation is the content, not the graphical appeal. That is why you should develop your presentation with the content first, before deciding on the look (colours, graphics, etc.) The best way to do this is to use the Outline view. This view is accessed by clicking on the View menu and selecting the Outline command or by clicking on the Outline tool button at the bottom left of the screen (the one with all the lines). This view only shows the text of each slide. You use the Tab key to move to a lower level within a slide or the Shift-Tab key to move to a higher level in the slide. By using the Outline View first, you ensure that the content of your presentation is solid before you concern yourself with the visual elements. 2. Use Contrasting Colours If you want your audience to be able to see what you have on the slide, there needs to be a lot of contrast between the text colour and the background colour. I suggest a dark background with light text – I usually use a medium to dark blue background and white or yellow letters. Some prefer a light background and dark letters, which will also work well - which you choose will depend on personal preference. Don’t think that just because the text looks fine on your computer screen that it will look fine when projected. Most projectors make colours duller than they appear on a screen, and you should check how your colours look when projected to make sure there is still enough contrast. 3. Use the 8 to 1 rule for font size When deciding what font size to use in your presentation, it matters less what size the font is and more whether the audience can see it or not. I suggest using the 8 to 1 rule to check if the font size is large enough. Here is how the rule works. The distance to the audience member seated furthest from the screen should be no more than 8 times the height of the image on the screen. For example, if the screen image is 4 feet high, then the last row of chairs in the room should be no more than 8 times 4 feet or 32 feet from the screen. To test this when developing your presentation, stand about 8 to 9 feet away from your computer monitor and see if you can comfortably read the screen (most monitors are about 12 to 13 inches high). If the room is set up with the last row further away than the rule suggests, either make the image on the screen larger, or remove some chairs at the back of the room. 4. Stop the moving text When text comes on the screen, we want the audience to read the text, then focus back on the

presenter to hear the message. If the text moves onto the screen in any way – such as flying in, spiral or zooming – it makes it harder for the audience members to read since they have to wait until the text has stopped before they can read it. This makes the presenter wait longer between each point and makes the audience members focus more on the movement than on what is being said. I suggest the use of the "Appear" effect, which just makes the text appear and is the easiest for the audience to read. 5. Turn the pointer off During a presentation, it is very annoying to have the pointer (the little arrow) come on the screen while the presenter is speaking. It causes movement on the screen and draws the audience attention from the presenter to the screen. The pointer comes on when the mouse is moved during the presentation. To prevent this from happening, after the Slide Show view has started, press the Ctrl-L key combination. This prevents mouse movement from showing the pointer. If you need to bring the pointer on screen after this, press the Ctrl-A key combination. If the pointer does appear during your presentation, resist the urge to press the Escape key – if you do, it will stop the presentation and drop you back into the program. Press the A key or Ctrl-L to make the pointer disappear. 6. Use the PowerPoint Viewer to Present There is a free program (downloaded from the Microsoft web site) called the PowerPoint viewer which can be a great tool for presenters. It was developed so that if someone did not have the PowerPoint program, they would still be able to view and print the slides in your presentation. It is much smaller than the full program because it does not have the ability to edit the slides, only view or print. The small size of the program is important because it is less prone to crashing than is the full program. The viewer also contains a feature that is absent in the full program – the use of list files. You can set up a list of presentation files that you want run one after the other, and the viewer will automatically load the next file in the list without you having to do anything. This can be very valuable when you have multiple presenters each with their own file, or when the presentation is made up of a number of segments. 7. Have Slides at the End of Your Presentation The last slide you speak to should not be the last slide in your presentation file. You should have three identical copies of your last speaking slide so that if you accidentally advance one too many times at the end of your presentation, your audience never knows because you don’t drop into the program, the slide looks like it has not changed. After these slides, you should include some slides that answer questions that you expect to be asked. These slides will be useful during Q&A sessions after the presentation. The final slide should be a blank slide so that if you go through all the other slides, you have a final backup from dropping into the program. 8. Be able to Jump to Any Slide PowerPoint has a feature that allows you to be able to move quickly and seamlessly to any slide in your presentation. To do so, you need to know the slide numbers. The easiest way to print a list of the slide numbers and associated slide titles is to go to the Outline View and collapse the details for each slide (there is a button on the left side of the screen in this view that will do this). Then print the view. To jump to any slide, just enter the slide number on the keyboard and press the Enter key. This will move you directly to that slide. This technique is very useful for moving to a prepared Q&A slide or for skipping parts of your presentation if time becomes an issue. 9. Blank the screen Sometimes we want the image on the screen to disappear so that the audience is focused solely on the presenter. There are two ways to do this. The first is if you want to blank the screen with a black image, similar to shutting the projector off (we used to do this all the time with overhead projectors

by just shutting the projector off). Just press the B key on the keyboard and the image is replaced with a black image. Press the B key again and the image is restored. If you want to use a white image instead of a black image, press the W key each time. 10. Draw on the screen during a presentation Sometimes it can be valuable to be able to draw on the screen during your presentation to illustrate a particular point or item. This can be done in the following way. Press the Ctrl-P key combination to display a pen on the screen. Then, using the left mouse button, draw on the slide as you wish. To erase what you have drawn, press the E key. To hide pen, press the A key or the Ctrl-L key combination. When you employ these secrets to use PowerPoint effectively, you will greatly enhance your audience’s understanding of your message and help to make your presentation the best it can be.