Communication: 6 Ways to Add Value

One of the things I like about blogging is that it forces me to consider how to best communicate my thoughts. It also means that whenever I read anything, from books to blogs, I am constantly asking myself how an author is keeping me interested: what is it about their writing that makes me want to read?

I have noticed that a key characteristic of any good writing is that it adds value. In fact, this doesn’t just apply to writing, but to any form of communication. Someone can add value in many different fashions: from telling you something you didn’t already know to summarising a large amount of information in order to save you time. I have identified 6 key ways you can add value when you are communicating:

Source

If you know something that someone else doesn’t you can be the source of that information for them. An example would be if you’ve carried out an experiment and you are telling people the results.

Conclusion

You can research several sources of information and then reach a conclusion based on what you have found. An example would be reading about several different estimating techniques and then recommending one for your team to apply.

Summary

Not everyone has the time or inclination to read a thousand page report. You can summarise the key points in a few paragraphs thus making the information more accessible. Summarising is not easy, in fact, there is a real art to it. One exercise my Dad used to give me when I was young was to summarise a 500 word article in 50.

Comment

You can comment on what someone else has written. “I read this book, I thought it was OK.” is an example of doing this. Bear in mind that the value you add is largely proportional to how much people respect and value your opinion.

Format

There are many ways you can add value by simply changing the format in which something is presented. Examples include:

  • Creating a PowerPoint presentation from a document
  • Converting a paper book to an audio book
  • Converting the spoken word to written text (i.e. meeting minutes)

Composite

If you put together a list of websites about project management then you have created a composite information source. Grouping together items into related lists is valuable because it makes it easier for people to find what they are looking for.

Remember that none of these techniques are mutually exclusive. In fact it is common to combine a few of them together. As an example you might carry out an experiment and write up the results (source), compare the results with other available information and reach a conclusion (conclusion) and include a list of recommended further reading (composite). You might make all of this available as a document that includes an executive summary (summary) and also carry out a presentation (format).

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2 comments so far

  1. daviddaly on

    Bizcovering posted a great article on improving your business writing entitled Six Types of Words That You Should Axe in Business Writing.
    It is well worth reading in my opinion.

    A while back I also found some useful tips on writing (specifically blogging) from Tim Ferriss here.

  2. daviddaly on

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