Trying something new is always challenging and a bit nerve wrecking.
So it’s easy to rely on sources of information to help the process.
We are doing up our bathroom so needed adhesive to attach the tiles to the bathroom walls. After research, we decided to use adhesive powder rather than a pre-mixed adhesive.
To make the adhesive, it is a simple matter of mixing some of the powder with water. Of course, how much of each is somewhat important!
The packet included instructions for making the adhesive to the correct consistency. However, the instructions were to mix 20 kg with 6 litres of water.
Trying to convert those instructions into mixing usable quantities was difficult – giving a weight rather than volume of the powder was particularly difficult. Meaning our first attempt was too wet and wasn’t going to hold the tiles well enough.
We figured out a good consistency for the adhesive, eventually, and now have some lovely tiles stuck to our walls!
But learning from others’ mistakes, here are my tips for making instructions for useful:
What interesting experiences have you had with hard to understand instructions?
Theory has its place, but an example often makes learning something much easier. In many areas, an example of a mistake or poor quality is an even more effective teacher than examples of the correct technique.
Using examples to teach
For instance, I can tell you it is best to use the fewest words possible to give a message and to avoid repeating a word.
Or I can give an example: Leave as long as possible before proof reading your writing.
Or I can show you a bad example: Another effective way to increase the possibility of increasing your link building purposes… Then explain the issues with it and write it well: Another effective way of potentially increasing your incoming links…
Does it work for you?
Do you like seeing poor examples of something as a means of learning to avoid those same mistakes yourself?
The bad examples I use are real but I never identify who wrote them – if you searched hard enough you might figure it out, but I respect that the writers didn’t mean to provide us with bad examples and use discretion 🙂
I think it is an effective way of showing how to write well – but do you find it useful? Would you like to see more bad examples I spot to help you improve your writing?
Using a mock design can help communications projects run efficiently because everyone can literally see where the project is heading.
Of course, its value depends on the project details so here are some examples of when a mock design is useful:
Has a design mock helped in any specific projects you’ve done? Or maybe now you wish you’d had a design mock for a project? Share your stories and help make projects easier to manage.
Corporate volunteering obviously helps the community as well as being positive for the supporting business.
Don’t think that the only way to support local community is to give money donations, though. Even businesses on their own tight budget can help local groups, and all businesses can find a means of giving that suits their specific structure and products/services.
Here are a few suggestions – what else can you add to this list?
What other ways have you seen businesses support their local community?
There are a number of ways of setting goals (brainstorming, asking a coach/mentor/friend for help, breaking down bigger goals, adding onto previous achievements, doing workshops or workbooks or just following the SMARTY acronym for example.)
I have found some recent examples of goal setting processes which you may enjoy reading:
Belinda Lindhart has recently gone through the process of setting business, artistic and personal goals for 2009. She has posted about her process in her blog and I think it is a great process that she is sharing.
Chris Brogan has a very different goal setting technique – he uses three specific words to keep him on track for the year. It is actually a very challenging thing to do, but has a lot of potential – I think I will try this one myself! I also love the words equip and armies that Chris has set for himself – he probably wouldn’ t mind if I copied them as it is my aim to equip people with clear communications (through my tips and own writing) and environmental consciousness, and I would love armies of people to push for clear communications and more respect for our planet. However, I will sit down and see what words I come up with myself.
Ali reminds us that goals should be fulfilling as they happen, not just for some mythical future happiness. While not every step of a goal will be fun, it will ideally have some reward for you along the way – and certainly be something you want rather than what you ‘should’ do.
“A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step” said Confucius. Apparently, the Japanese system of kaizen has a similar meaning and I agree with Emma that taking baby steps is the way to achieve anything – and I loved reading that she used this system for breaking a habit like smoking as it is exactly how I think such habits can be broken!
Some years I ago I used a list of questions (out of a book originally but I can’t remember it’s title or author now) to review the previous year and start the new one. The questions were things like ‘what did you learn this year? what was your biggest achievement? which goals did you reach? which people influenced you this year? what was your biggest challenge this year?’ and then repeat them for the upcoming year (so what do you want to learn next year? what do you want to achieve next year? how will you overcome/avoid those challenges? which old goals need refining?) It was an effective exercise in choosing a direction and goals which I could then write out.
So what process do you use, or will you now use, to set 2009 up as your best year so far?
Writing a complete list can be tedious, so we tend to write out part of a list as a sample instead. Implying it is a sample even when we think we have written out the entire list, can also be useful – it protects you from giving an absolute.
So how do we imply it is part of a list? We start the list with something like ‘for example’, ‘such as’, ‘including’ or ‘something like’ OR we end the list with ‘etcetera’, ‘and so on’, ‘and more’, ‘or another…’ or ‘and similar.’
The key word is or – we start or end the sentence to indicate it is an incomplete list, not both.
“For example, we offer red, blue, orange, pink, etcetera” is unnecessary.
In fact, example means here is a subset of the whole while etcetera means there is more or the rest is to come. So the above sentence means “The subset is red, blue, orange, pink, and the rest”
“For example, we offer red, blue, orange and pink” or “We offer red, blue, orange, pink and other colours” makes more sense, is shorter and is correct!
So please don’t write example and etcetera in the same sentence!