Chapter 12 – Developing Oral & Online Presentations

While developing and delivering presentations requires practice, I thought that this chapter did a good job of describing the essentials. I especially like the discussion of free-form slides. I had never heard the term or the concept before reading the chapter. Though free-form slides are the newest concept in training, it seems to me that a combination of structured and free-form slides would be the most effective.

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Chapter 2 – Mastering Team Skills & Interpersonal Communication

I thought most of the chapter was extremely useful to the workplace today – regardless of whether you work in a formal or informal environment. I especially liked the reminders in the business etiquette online section. Online communication makes it too easy to loose all sense of propriety when communicating.

Chapter 11 – Writing and Completing Reports and Proposals

I found the entire chapter practical and helpful. I particularly liked the advice on effective visuals. I think people often substitute skill with graphics for substance in reports. I have read too many publications that contained graphs that were at best unhelpful and, often, distracting. I didn’t understand why this section did not include a reference to Edward Tufte. If only for the reader to see the impact of a good graphic image.

I also liked the chapter as a reference. Unlike emails and memos, which I compose often, I rarely write reports and proposals. 

Chapter 5 – Completing Business Messages

I liked the discussion of both the layout and graphics considerations when writing a message. The discussion is especially important for people who tend to write long, complex sentences and paragraphs that feel like molasses. I find that lists and bullets are an easy way to visually structure a business message and convey essential information without exhausting the reader.

I would have liked the chapter to emphasize the role of face to face communication in a business environment. I find that, too often, time is spent drafting and editing a message, when simply walking to someone’s office and having a face to face communication would have been as effective, and, often, quicker.

Chapter 4 – Writing Business Messages

I enjoyed the chapter’s suggestions for creating effective sentences and choosing powerful words. It’s easy to write hard to understand and convoluted sentences that don’t convey much. Like a picture being worth a thousand words, choosing the right words and sentence structure can replace paragraphs of ineffective writing.