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Business Survival Skills – Some “hard to hear” yet very helpful advice

Sometimes the most helpful advice is the hardest to hear!

Recently, a straight-shooting client told me something that hurt me hard and shook me to the core – initially!

This client is a realist. Someone I respect a lot. Someone tough enough to be honest with himself and others.

I don’t reveal client names – unless it’s something really positive I am writing about and with a client’s permission.

TB Social Media KLT

For years I’ve been helping his business stand out from competitors. He regularly engages me to help his people improve their communication skills – written and spoken.

He wants his business to project a reliable and credible image.

I’d help his people use the correct words and grammar and spelling. His own writing is very strong and he wants his people to write well too – even if he has to pay to get them writing training.

Many (but not all) younger writers don’t know the difference between words: horde/hoard, whether/weather, sort/sought, discreet/discrete.

I see so many mistakes in printed sales materials and brochures and prominently displayed on websites – sometimes in the first paragraph!

Spell check will not pick up these words that are the wrong words correctly spelled.

Proof reading probably won’t catch these sort of mistakes – if the proof reader doesn’t know the correct words to use.

The other day (about a month ago)* my straight-shooting client looked me right in the eye and told me:

All that stuff about being “correct” and “connecting” is nice – but at the moment we are just trying to survive!

word nerd CU

I’m a word nerd (a journalist turned writing coach and trainer) and I pride myself on my skill to teach people how to use the right words and to teach them in an engaging and memorable way.

My client’s response was a slap in the face to my love of language – and what I do as a job!

My first response was: a sad silence

My next response was part Sales-training reflex – but mostly with sincere desire to help.

I asked:

What communication skills DO your people need to improve to help you survive?


What 3 things would make the biggest difference in helping you suvive?

These 3 things were distilled from our following chat.

1. Just getting through the amount of e-mails.
2. Getting people to pay – without pissing them off by pestering them too much.
3. Getting readers to read our messages. Our readers just seem to ignore our messages. It’s so hard to get a response. We’ve never been ignored so much before.

* After this slap in the face a month ago, I got busy designing short and sharp training sessions that addressed the above needs.

I’m calling them Business Writing Survival Skills – and I’m actually “inspired” by some of my client’s “real” and earthy descriptions such as “Getting people to pay without pissing them off!”

My client wanted shorter and more affordable sessions that didn’t take his people away from their “real work” for too long.

So, if you can relate to any of the above needs, I can help.

If you have any “particular needs” to help you survive, I’m confident I can design training sessions to help with those needs.

If you’re a boss or manager and you can use some help – please contact me – contact details below.

If you are a writer in a business – please show this to your boss or manager.

Looking back, I’m now very grateful to this straight-shooting client.

Some clients (especially overseas ones) still DO want help in using the correct words and the finer points of Business English.

The new Business Writing Survival Modules are helpful for those businesses that are currently focussed on “just trying to survive”!


TB LL mosaic

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I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious business communication tips.

Linked In – under Tony Biancotti
Or you can follow this blog.

These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing, effective e-mail, e-mail overload, cross-cultural communication, better social media engagement etc. I like to help people COPE.



One comment on “Business Survival Skills – Some “hard to hear” yet very helpful advice

  1. efangelist
    January 19, 2015

    Reblogged this on efangelist.

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