Category Archives: Communication

Complete or just correct?

I had occasion to replace my car’s headlight bulb. Unaccustomed to vehicular maintenance I consulted the owner’s manual (I acknowledge this is not a particularly blokey thing to do!) which was very clear in its instructions leading me to expect a simple and quick replacement.

The manual identified the key steps – opening the bonnet, removing the headlight assembly bolts, removing the bulb cover, disconnecting the socket, unsnapping the retaining wire, removing the bulb and then inserting the new bulb and completing the reverse of the original steps. Simple!

The steps were easy to follow and they were correct. However, the location of the bulb covers also required the removal of the water reservoir. This wasn’t mentioned in the instructions! A quick google search identified that this essential ‘extra’ was indeed necessary. So the instructions were correct, just not complete.

I’ve found that often I too can be correct, rather than complete. Whilst the idea of being right comforts me, surely it’s far more impacting to provide the tools for something to be done it its entirety. My focus needs to move away from purely the essential items to consideration of the variables. This will deliver a far more comprehensive outcome for all concerned.

Consider a relationship. Is it more important to adopt a ‘correct’ communication strategy or one that is complete? Just because I ticked all the boxes and delivered the message, did I ensure it was understood? It is this additional consideration that enables completion.

What about teaching or training? Is it only beneficial to identify the 5 critical steps or would the 5 steps along with identification of outliers deliver a more comprehensive result?

Choose today – complete or just correct?

What’s your story?

I love people watching. Not in the stalker sense, but rather observing people interact, preferably whilst I’m enjoying a darn fine coffee. What I’ve come to realise simply by observation, is that we each have a story.

Watching a young couple push a pram begs the question how did they meet? Perhaps they’re from opposite sides of the world or maybe they grew up together as neighbours. Every single one of us has a story. A story that defines who we are. A story that explains our decisions. A story that maps our future.

The unfortunate thing is that very few of us think our stories are worth sharing. We tend to think that because it’s our story, that it’s insignificant; that’s it just part of the puzzle of who we are. The opposite, in fact, is true. It’s because it is OUR story which makes it significant. My story belongs exclusively to me. Your story is entirely yours.

I recently posted the eulogy I was privileged to share at my dad’s funeral. It was during the writing of this piece it was again confirmed that EVERYONE has a story. Sitting down with my mum I discovered aspects of my dad which I either wasn’t aware of or didn’t fully appreciate until I had this fresh perspective.

Whilst each of our stories is unique, the potential impact of those stories is not. What I can learn, and have indeed learned, from someone else’s story has shaped my future, the part of my story that is yet unwritten. I can seek to deliver a different ending by taking heed of others’ experiences, through understanding their stories.

Let’s celebrate our own story. Let’s allow others to share theirs.


Putting it out there…

We all know social media is an interesting phenomenon. We’ve all read posts that have left us bewildered, asking “why do I need to know that??!!!”. The keyboard tends to remove filters that we’d otherwise wisely employ.

A Facebook friend recently posted about a minor surgical procedure planned for that day. A fellow Facebook friend chose to comment. I thought it would be a “best of luck / hope all goes well” style of comment however the ‘friend’ elected to detail the challenge and the pain she had experienced with that procedure. Of course, the disclaimer was that her experience was not a standard one, as she wrote at the end of her piece.

When we put stuff out there, be it via social media or in person, we must expect a response. If we’re not prepared to manage the potential range of responses, then perhaps we should reconsider our desire to share in the first place? Being a man, I know all about the negative impact of not appropriately sharing, of allowing emotions to bottle up inside until an inappropriate explosion! However we must decide what is appropriate to share, to whom and in what format.

The adage “just because we can, doesn’t mean we should” rings true with sharing our personal feelings. Not everyone is actually equipped to handle what we feel the need to share. It is vital, then, that we have people in our lives who we have given permission to speak into our world. These are the people who are at a stage in their life that we’re travelling towards. People who have journeyed where we are now and have come through stronger. People who can support us and guide us. People who can handle what we put out there. These are friends of our future, of our destiny.

As we navigate 2014, decide who is best placed for you to learn from. Put yourself out there strategically. Build that relationship. Ask for support. And then we can appropriately share. After all, all of your 675 Facebook friends may not have your best interests at heart! Just putting that out there….


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The power of community

Despite Simon & Garfunkel’s acclaimed song some decades back, I believe man is not an island. At least, we are not intended to be the lone wolf, endlessly roaming the plains in isolation.

The power of community is interesting to observe. I recall in the workplace a small team that were scattered across the office floor, located solely according to available space. As the physical environment changed, the decision was eventually made to position these individuals together. Perhaps not surprisingly, this group then began functioning more effectively as a team – shared experiences and learnings, enhanced communication, a greater sense of cohesion.

The only change that had occurred was location – bringing the individuals into a community. Not only doing the job together but coming alongside each other as well.

My street is a similar community. The glue within our cul-de-sac is a couple who spend a significant amount of their time in their front yard, so that the opportunity to converse is present almost daily. Through this one couple, we have met and now connect in our own right with another five households. We’re each living diverse lives with the commonality of our address, our community, drawing us together.

Many of us may like the idea of flying solo and may in fact feel we’re doing okay as the lone wolf. The truth is, though, we’re called to live not just for ourselves but to make a positive difference to others. Community affords us this opportunity and enables others to benefit our world.

How are enhancing community in your world?


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Your, you’re…their, there… what’s the fuss??

In the overall scheme of life using incorrect grammar on your Facebook status update is not overly significant. When you are writing for a specific audience, though, (for example, as a blogger, or compiling a report for your boss, or even putting together your resume), then grammar becomes critical. It could mean the difference between being shortlisted for the job and missing the cut, positively engaging your audience or losing readership.

Most grammar mistakes are not that complex. Most are simply using an incorrect version of a word or the misplacing of an apostrophe. A little time and little education can bring about super results!┬áThe following infographic (shared by Copyblogger) shows some of the grammar goofs that can make us look silly… enjoy (and learn!).

15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly


Truth in advertising?

As a resume writer, I have the opportunity to help people “sell” themselves. Many of us have difficulty articulating our achievements verbally, let alone putting them down on paper as some form of permanent record, and being an external party I can bring objectivity.

A recent client, with whose workplace contributions I am familiar, commented that she “looked too good for the job!”. This wasn’t because the information was exaggerated or inaccurate, it was simply that when presented with her achievements and skills via a professionally prepared resume, she was surprised at just how valuable her contributions had been.

This is human nature. Most of us discount our contributions and experience. I do not think this is part of what we refer to in Australia as the “tall poppy” syndrome, I reckon we think just because we are able to do something competently, that this is somehow the standard for everyone.

What we advertise to others (employers, for instance) whilst truthful, may only be part of the story. This could explain why we feel we’re missing out on opportunities or that our potential is not being realised. We obviously need transparency and honesty in all communications, but we do need to ensure we’re sharing the full story. Through objectively assessing our input to a situation or relationship we may find we added value in more ways than our first thinking suggested.

We were there in the midst of the project / challenge / transformation and the people to whom we’re seeking to sell ourselves were not. We understand the context and significance because we were there – those who weren’t there, cannot.

My challenge to us all is to stop under-valuing our skills, abilities and talents. Let’s look for opportunities that utilise and expand our entire skill-set. Let’s provide the full truth!


You can find out more about my resume writing and other career development services here.

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