Contributing to a larger story

One of the reasons to speak to the media is to contribute something to a larger story. This can set you up as an expert even more than if the story was just about you. You’re sharing space in the story alongside other experts and authorities, and that puts you in good company to showcase what you know.

As an example, Dean Siminoff is quoted in this story in a Rwanda newspaper about work he is doing with Martial Arts for Justice to help victims overcome the effects of the trauma of the genocide. The story isn’t about him or Martial Arts for Justice. He’s quoted because of what he is contributing to help trauma victims. It puts Martial Arts for Justice’s efforts in the bigger picture, and that benefits their cause.

The timing is great as well, since their biggest fundraising event of the year takes place this month. Breaking Boards Breaking Chains is a campaign where martial arts schools across the country raise money for each board the students break at a one day event, and those funds help Martial Arts for Justice help victims of trauma here and in other countries.

The media is your friend. It’s a valuable resource to help you share your expertise, share your story, and move your enterprise forward.

5 ways to find your work voice

Five ways to make your work voice human

I worked at a television affiliate, and our reporter was an easygoing, very sociable guy with a low-key, soft voice. He’d come back from shooting a story, sit down at his desk, and start recording his voice-over, and suddenly he sounded all bold and official. We’d laugh and tell him to use his reporter voice all the time. He’d look at us and say, “What?” He didn’t think his voice was changing at all when he was recording his story.

We have a ‘work voice’ that we speak or write with that is different from our ‘regular’ voice. It is still a human voice. The more you use your human voice at work, the more engaging you’ll find your communications with coworkers and customers.

Whatever it is you want to communicate, use your human voice. It could be your key messages about your product or your services. It might be the news you are sharing in a news release. It might be a presentation to staff or a client or the public.

Here are five ways to make sure your work voice is a human voice.

  1. Use plain language: be clear and concise, using everyday words that we all use and understand
  2. Use the first person: I need this from you… We can help you with…
  3. Read aloud what you’ve written before you send it. Does it sound like a person is talking? If it doesn’t, rewrite it.
  4. Think of it as a conversation: how would you talk to the other person on the phone or in the flesh? That’s the voice you need to use to engage with them.
  5. Listen: if you’re listening to the conversation, you’ll reply with a human voice. If you’re just there to deliver a message and not engage, how personal is that?

It sometimes takes practice to find our work voice. Try these tips and see how your communication improves.

Let me know what happens!


October is training month!

Good communications helps your bottom line. You have news to share, a story to tell, and so many ways to share it. Join us for one these communications workshops this month to make your company’s communications clear, effective and engaging.

  • October 10: Communications Planning for Small Business Success, 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm at Selkirk College
  • October 15: Communications for Small Business Success, 10:00 am – 11:00 am, at Community Futures Central Kootenay, in Nelson. Free!
  • October 17: Media Relations for Small Business Success, 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm at Selkirk College

5 Handy Writing References

Do you use colour or color? Affect vs effect? Capitalize your president and CEO’s title?

(Answers: colour; depends whether you’re hoping to affect an outcome or create an effect; and, despite what presidents and CEOs want, no.)

Do you need to check on the correct punctuation, capitalization, title or other style questions? Here are five helpful reference guides you should bookmark.

  1. Canadian Press Style Guide – It’s what the media uses, so work in their style and you’ll make them happy.
  2. Government of Canada Style Guide – If the government deems this the correct usage, why fight it?
  3. The federal government’s Collection of Canadian Language Resources isn’t as scary as it sounds and has links to many university style guides, French and Indigenous language resources and other useful writing tips and tools.
  4. Take your pick of online dictionaries. I’ve always been partial to Oxford.
  5. While this article is written with fiction writers in mind, the discussion about audience, context and geography is valid for business writing as well. Basically, who’s your audience?

Let me know in the comments if you’ve found other helpful writing references online.