Here are the solutions for the challenge, as well as some ideas to help you make the most of this program.
As always, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions. We love to help.
Davina and Gerard
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1. Why should you avoid using a ‘stream of consciousness' approach in business communication?
All of the above: It makes it hard for your audience to work out what they are trying to say, it drives your audience ‘nut's and your business audiences are reading for purpose, not pleasure. In sum, when we are writing for business, we are not writing a novel: we are writing to get something done.
2. Which is more important?
Using structure and logic to organise your ideas is more important than making sure you give your audience lots of detail, elegant word choice, or avoiding typos. These other things are also important, but if your ideas are not organised and ideally synthesised into a compelling point, it doesn't matter how beautiful they are. They don't get the job done.
3. When should you begin to focus on clarifying your thinking?
At the start of your process, so that you get the most possible benefit from your efforts. If you leave it until later – which is better than not doing it at all – you will likely end up redoing a lot of your work. If you wait until you complete all of your analysis, you may not realise that you have not completed all of the right analysis.
4. Where makes the most sense to start employing these tactics in your own work?
The easy answer here is: whatever is sitting on your desk right now. The trick is to pick something manageable that you do often so that you can see the results and repeat them to start converting these ideas into habits.
Now that you have completed the introductory Clarity module, it's time to get started putting these ideas into practice and see the results. Here are a few tips for the coming week:
- Let your audiences know that you are trying something new so they are not surprised by the change in approach. Sometimes people are so accustomed to reading to the end of a document, or perhaps to a particular section, that they find a new approach difficult because they don't know how to relate to the new document even if it is better. We find, however that if we tell people in advance that we are now putting our key ideas at the top of a document rather than at the end, they respond really well to the change.
- Test your ideas with a colleague before you send out the email or document. Even if your colleague hasn't done this course, you can explain to them at a high level what you are trying to achieve and then ask whether you have succeeded. You might, for example, explain that you are trying to communicate in such a way that your insights are closer to the top of your document, rather than at the end.
- Don't be concerned if it takes a while to get it right. Constant and incremental progress gets you just as far – and in fact the research suggests even further in most cases – than a ‘big bang' approach. Give yourself some time to master the ideas piece by piece, and over time they will come together. You will, of course, learn a lot more about putting these ideas into practice through the other modules in your program.