Author Archives: Gwen Hester

WRITING TO WIN: HOW LONG IS TOO LONG?

10-09-2016_aWRITING TO WIN:  HOW LONG IS TOO LONG?

One of the greatest realizations seasoned professionals come to find out is the fact that ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’, meaning, you may not realize that even though you have years of experience in the office, this does not necessarily mean you are a great business writer.

Business writing is an art and a skill. It is artistic because a well put together business document can be a beautiful thing when it accomplishes your purpose.  It is a skill because it takes practice and the knowledge of three key considerations essential for effective business communication.  I will discuss each of these over the course of three posts, the first being this one which is dedicated to LENGTH.

CONSIDER THE LENGTH      

CONSIDER THE DATA

CONSIDER THE AUDIENCE   

To be effective is to produce a win. What is a win exactly? A win is getting the recognition you deserve after having your idea, solution, or process improvement acknowledged and accepted.  Therefore, it is important that you be well acquainted with these areas that will have everything to do with accomplishing your goals.

10-09-2016_bCONSIDER THE LENGTH of your document. This is very important because a reader can easily become distracted, disengaged, or outright bored if there seems to be no end in sight.  What is an acceptable length? It depends on the document. Email, interoffice memos, letters, reports, and internal proposals have different objectives. The objective drives the length, that is, the reason why you are writing the document. But it doesn’t just stop at its reason for being.

YOU MUST ALSO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION: 

  • The Recipient – Have some knowledge of the individual to whom you are writing.  Is this person a stickler for detail? Or does this person prefer   ‘broad brush strokes’ rather than getting bogged down in the minutiae?
  • The Subject – Some subjects require more length than others. Longer topics should be summarized in an executive summary and detail can be provided in an attachment or appendix, satisfying the person who wants details, but not overwhelming those that want broad brush strokes. Always remember, LENGTH IS CONTINGENT ON THE TYPE OF DOCUMENT.
  • The Type of Document – Different types of documents have varying lengths. Below, are a few examples.

10-09-2016_cTypes of Documents and Their Lengths

  • EMAIL – [200 – 250 words] Email is considered a ‘brief’ form of communication. Be concise. They should be no more than three paragraphs. There are basically two types: informational and promotional. Informational email can be exactly what it is, a means of imparting information. They can also be persuasive, meaning, they are small arguments that are meant to sway opinion. Persuasive email tends to be longer than informational because you must be careful to include such persuasive elements such as a claim, support and considerations of audience. Informational email should absolutely be no longer than 200 words.
  • INTEROFFICE MEMOS – [300 – 350 words] it can be hard to tell the difference between the traditional memo and an email message. Memos frequently do not have the ‘MEMORANDUM’ banner at the top anymore. They are frequently sent in the form of an email or as an email attachment. So, is it email or what? No, memos are not email. They are longer. They can use various techniques to layout information such as: bullets, sub-headings, and the occasional table if it is very small.  In short, memos include much more detailed information. They are a more formal document.
  • LETTERS – [250 – 300 words] Letters have an inherent amount of power that sets them apart from email and memos, but they must not exceed one page. They may be composed to gather information or show appreciation. They can solicit new business or convey bad news. They can announce promotions or terminate employment.
  • REPORTS – [up to 500 words] Reports have the luxury of added length.  Because there are several types of reports: progress, term projects, activity, and feasibility to name a few, the length can vary. Five-hundred words would more than likely be a business progress report. Feasibility reports would be appropriate at this length. Activity reports can top out at 300 words depending on the activity.
  • INTERNAL PROPOSALS – [500 – 600 words] Proposals come in various shapes and sizes. They can be either internal or external. They can be either solicited or unsolicited. They can be as short as an email and as long as a ten-page document.  They have the luxury of being longest document you might every write. They are always persuasive in nature. In short, proposals are arguments which require length to be truly effective.

10-09-2016_dFINALLY

What is important to note when it comes to length of business documents is to keep the meaning of the word, concise, firmly rooted in your mind. When you are in the workplace, you are not in a classroom. You are not writing research papers, essays, responses, or summaries. You are crafting a message that your reader must realize quickly and clearly.

For an expanded discussion on effective business writing and workplace etiquette, see my book:

Royce Murcherson, Ph.D., The Guide to Persuasive Business Writing: A New Model that   Gets Results. Iowa: Kendall-Hall, 2013

Clip Art, provided by Microsoft Office Professional Academic, 2010

If you want to develop or enhance your business communication skills, consider enrolling in the Business Office Systems & Support (BOSS) program at Richland College.

Richland College is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road. For more information, please contact Angela Nino at anino@dcccd.edu or call 972-238-6215.

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a FREE version of Microsoft Office, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote. You can install this software on up to 5 devices.

 

 

 

 


Congratulations to Professor Dee Hobson!

small-dee-hobson-image-with-frameCongratulations to Professor Dee Hobson on being selected as Richland College’s 2016-2017 Excellence in Teaching recipient!

“Dee,” as she is known to colleagues and to many of her students, is a full-time BOSS faculty member in Richland’s BOSS program, where she has taught for the past 17 years. Dee holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Teacher Education from Southern Illinois University and a Master’s Degree in Business Education from Memphis State University.

Dee brings a tremendous wealth of experience and knowledge to students who are enrolled her BOSS classes in many important ways, because she has

  • taught at private and public education institutions (both at the secondary and community college levels).
  • provided corporate training to a number of companies in the DFW area.
  • designed curriculum for public and private institutions.
  • created staff development programs and activities for several local DFW ISDs.
  • supervised and managed corporate personnel both in the United States and abroad.
  • served on the board of directors of the Dallas County affiliate of The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. She also received that organization’s Volunteer of the Year Award.
  • received Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) software certifications over the years in the key Microsoft software applications–Word, Access, Excel, PowerPoint.

We are proud to call Dee one of our own, and we are thrilled that her on-going contributions to helping students succeed have received such laudatory recognition!

If you want to develop or upgrade your skills to help you in today’s job market, consider enrolling in the Business Office Systems & Support (BOSS) program at Richland College. You will have a wide selection of courses (offered online and face-to-face) from which to choose. These courses range from basic keyboarding, computer literacy, business communications, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access (includes preparation for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam**), office procedures, etc. These courses can all lead you towards a college-credit certificate or a 2-year associate’s degree.

Richland College is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road. For more information, please contact Angela Nino at anino@dcccd.edu or call 972-238-6215.

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a FREE version of Microsoft Office, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote, which can be used on up to 5 devices.


Introducing Excel 2016’s New IFS Function!

Have you ever needed to establish categories or summary ranges for numerical information?

Let’s say you have the feedback from a seminar that was held earlier this year, and you’ve chosen the categories of Excellent, Satisfactory, Needs Improvement, and Unsatisfactory to help determine what items need improvement or attention as you plan future seminars.

In our example, the results have to have a rating of 87 or above to be considered Excellent, 86 to 75 to be Satisfactory, and 74 to 70 for the Needs Improvement category. A score of 69 and below is considered Unsatisfactory.

08-29-2016_dYou can use the new IFS Function in Excel 2016 to help you quickly obtain your information. In fact the Excel 2016 IFS function can help obtain the conditions on 127 different conditions!!  In our example, you can see the categories and scores for these items, but how can we quickly determine what needs improvement, is satisfactory, etc.?
Just one word of caution
–if you open a file containing the IFS function in an older Excel version, the error message #NAME? will appear.

The two screen shots below allow you to see the conditions and the criteria for this function that must be met for each category. We simply create the IFS function for the first item and include conditions and what will appear for each score. In this case Cell C3 is where the IFS function will appear for the conditions in Cell B3.

 08-29-2016_a08-29-2016_bOnce all of your conditions are stated in Cell C3, you can then copy the function in to Cells C4, C5, C6, C7, C8, and C9 and presto! You have your work completed! The finished results appear below:

08-29-2016_cKeep learning how to use Excel more efficiently so that you work smarter,
not harder!!!

If you want to develop or upgrade your skills to help you in today’s job market, consider enrolling in the Business Office Systems & Support program at Richland College. You will have a wide selection of courses (offered online and face-to-face) from which to choose. These courses range from basic keyboarding, computer literacy, business communications, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access (includes preparation for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam**), office procedures, etc. These courses can all lead you towards a college-credit certificate or a 2-year associate’s degree.

Richland College is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road. For more information, please contact Angela Nino at anino@dcccd.edu or call 972-238-6215.

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a FREE version of Microsoft Office, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote, which can be used on up to 5 devices.


Microsoft Office 2016 (Office 365) BOSS Classes Are Here!!!

Office 365 Apps as of May 2016Do you need to learn Microsoft Office or update your Microsoft Office skills?

GET DIGITALLY PREPARED TODAY by taking one or more Microsoft Office productivity software classes—Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, or Publisher—through Richland College’s BOSS Program.

REGISTRATION is going on now through Saturday, August 20, 2016, for full-semester classes.
For online and flex-term classes, registration will resume on Monday, August 29, and will be available until the beginning of the actual class start date. Click here to see the class schedule for Fall 2016 BOSS classes.

  • Word 2016 – offered on campus and online
  • Excel 2016 – offered on campus and online
  • PowerPoint 2016 – offered on campus and online
  • Access 2016 – offered on campus and online
  • Publisher 2016 – offered on campus and online

As you learn the latest software version of Microsoft Office, you will also be preparing for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam(s) that are available for Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint. Getting your certification in one or more of these software applications lets employers know that you are proficient and highly knowledgeable about that application, which can help you with employment and promotions.

For more information on these courses and how to get registered, please contact Angela Nino at 972‑238‑6215 or by email at anino@dcccd.edu

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center for the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification exams.

DYK?–if you take a DCCCD class, you are eligible for a free download of the latest Microsoft Office 2016 (Office 365) version? You can use your MS Office software on up to 5 devices!

Richland College is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road.


Why You Should Learn Excel!

Click on the YouTube video below to listen to the song that was created by University of Texas Professor Clint Tuttle and get an entertaining, enlightening serenade on why you should learn Microsoft Excel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPLzV0-X0lI%20

According to a 2015 U.S. News & World Report article, “If you want a better job, master Excel.”

Middle-skill Jobs—those jobs that require more than a high school diploma, but less than a bachelor’s degree—are considered the jobs that have long been associated with middle income wage earners. For example, jobs such as office and administrative assistants as well as managerial positions in industry, communications, retail, healthcare, and other major sectors want their employees to be proficient in spreadsheets—Excel.

In fact the demand for digital proficiency for these middle-skill jobs has only grown over time and will continue to grow. You can read more about these jobs by clicking this link to read the 2015 report (PDF file) prepared by Capital One Financial Corporation and Burning Glass Technologies.

Meanwhile, sit back and enjoy Professor Tuttle’s musical message—it’s the truth, folks!

GET DIGITALLY PREPARED TODAY by taking an Excel class or other Microsoft Office productivity software classes—Word, PowerPoint, Access, and Publisher—through Richland College’s BOSS Program. The Microsoft Office 2016 version and Windows 10 will be offered this coming fall!

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exams.

DYK–if you take a DCCCD class, you are eligible for a free download of the latest Microsoft Office 365 version? You can use your MS Office software on up to 5 devices!

Richland College is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road. For more information on BOSS class offerings, please call 972-238-6215 or email Angela Nino at anino@dcccd.edu.


Watch Your Mobile Manners!

With the widespread use of mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches for communicating in the business environment, it’s important to remember the role of manners and why using good mobile etiquette counts.

Here are some are tips you should keep in mind when communicating on your mobile device. (Please click twice on the table below to get a larger view.)

2016-01-08_Table Image for Word Press Import

Source: Dianne S. Rankin and Kellie A. Shumack, The Administrative Professional: Technology & Procedures, 15th edition, Cengage Learning, Boston, 2017, pp. 125-126.

If you want to improve your communication skills, consider taking the BOSS program’s POFT 2312 Business Correspondence and Communication at Richland College.

Richland College, which is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road, offers both online and on-campus courses. For more information, please call Angela Nino, Lead Faculty, aedwords@dcccd.edu 972-238-6382.

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office Pro Plus***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a free version of Microsoft Office Pro Plus (or 2011 on the Mac) which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote.


Watch Your International Manners! Important Don’ts to Observe in 15 Countries

480098185--04-18-2016 Flag imageClick on this link to take a look at the Business Insider graphic that was created by authors Sarah Schmalbruch and Samantha Lee on what NOT TO DO when visiting any of the following 15 countries.

Body language along with other overt actions are very important components of your communications, and they should be kept in mind and respected when traveling abroad.

  1. Chile
  2. Croatia
  3. France
  4. Germany
  5. India
  6. Ireland
  7. Japan
  8. Kenya
  9. Mexico
  10. New Zealand
  11. Norway
  12. Russia
  13. Singapore
  14. Turkey
  15. United Kingdom

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-not-to-behave-infographic-2015-5

If you want to improve your communication skills or learn/update your computer software skills, consider taking a Business Office Systems & Support (BOSS) course at Richland College.

Richland College, which is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road, offers both online and on-campus courses. For more information, please call Angela Nino, Lead Faculty, aedwords@dcccd.edu 972-238-6382.

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office Pro Plus***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a free version of Microsoft Office Pro Plus (or 2011 on the Mac) which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote.


Are You Ready for These Administrative Assistant Positions???

03-31-2016-TI Job Search 515964426

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on this image to find out more about administrative assistant positions that have recently been posted by Texas Instruments. Be sure to pay close attention to the qualifications and skills that are required for these jobs. Improve your hiring chances by making sure your skills are up-to-date.

If you need to update your communication and business writing skills OR your software skills, register for classes in Richland College’s BOSS program. For more information on classes, certificate programs, or the associate degree plan, e-mail Angela Nino at ANino@dcccd.edu or reach us by phone at 972-238-6215.


Exploring New Features in Word 2016

With Word 2016 making its debut last September and now that the year 2016 has arrived, it’s a good time to explore some of the new features that are in this latest version of Word.

Use the Tell Me Feature

01-19-2016 Word Feature 1aThis feature can help you get the answers (and steps) to tasks quickly and easily. Simply look to the right on the ribbon and locate the text field which will allow you to type in your query or topic.
For example, I decided I wanted to find out how to insert a math equation into a Word document. As you can see in the next two illustrations, it’s just that easy—type the topic and you will be presented with a list of possibilities. Another feature that is contained within the equations area is Ink Equations.
01-19-2016 Word Feature 1b

Write with Ink Equations
If I decide at this point that I want to actually “write” an equation, I can use my mouse to draw the equation or use my finger or a stylus with a touch screen device. My “written” equation will automatically be converted to text.

01-19-2016 Word Feature 1c

 

Take Advantage of Smart Lookup
Use Bing’s lookup feature to help you with research on the web or word definitions without leaving Word. Simply select the word or phrase and right-click it and then choose Smart Lookup from the short-cut menu. You will at least get definitions, perhaps some Wiki articles, and depending on the topic/phrase, you may get graphics as well. I chose “social media” as my topic, and the second screen shot below shows a wealth of information that was generated, and all without leaving Word!

01-19-2016 Word Feature 1d01-19-2016 Word Feature 1e

Collaborate Quickly and Easily
Need to work on a document with other people? If you use OneDrive or SharePoint, you can collaborate in “real time.” In other words, you can see the changes made by each other as they happen. Once you’ve saved the document online, you just click Share (located in the far-right corner) to generate a link or email an invitation. Once the others have opened the document and agreed to share changes, you can see their changes as they happen.

Create Great Looking Shapes Faster and Easier
Word’s lineup up of shapes from the Shapes gallery just got easier by allowing you to give your documents that professional look in selecting the color or special effect enhancements for your shapes from a list of presets.

If you want to upgrade or develop skills that can help you in today’s job market, consider enrolling in the Business Office Systems & Support program at Richland College. You will have a wide selection of courses (offered online and face-to-face) from which to choose. These courses range from basic keyboarding, computer literacy, business communications, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access (includes preparation for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam**), office procedures, etc. These courses can all lead you towards a college-credit certificate or a 2-year associate’s degree.

Richland College is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road. For more information, please call Angela Nino, Lead Faculty, aedwords@dcccd.edu 972-238-6382.

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office*** If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a FREE version of Microsoft Office, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote.



Richland College’s Techie Transfer Fair: AAS and Beyond

What does your future include???

     Take your technical certificate to an AAS degree, and then take your AAS degree to a bachelor’s degree–BAAS!

     Visit Richland College on Thursday, March 3, to get more information on using your skills and experience to help you get to that next educational level!!!

Spring 2016 Techie Transfer Fair