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Speak Previews
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Talking Back

Our core belief is that communication only occurs when ideas are being exchanged, understood, and transformed within particular contexts and purposes. It is for that reason that we at ECG like hearing from you about our Speak Previews articles, as your comments and questions prompt new thoughts and connections.

We were pleased by the passionate responses to our initial Speak Previews article that discusses the pressing need for strategic communication during a turbulent economy. Its message certainly remains pertinent. As economic news continues to fluctuate, unfounded fears sprout or grow daily, many of them fed by misinformation or lack of information. Your organization must remain proactive, communicating often and effectively with both internal and external audiences. In response to your request to help you achieve that goal, our Founder and Chairman, Peter Giuliano, has written an in-depth piece on the need for a clear vision and the strategic imperative of communicating that vision to the general public as well as to individual stakeholders.

Another reader responded to our article about the use of images in PowerPoint presentations, providing an example of how pictures can be an effective means of conveying messages and establishing common ground. He recalled that some years ago in a quarterly review, a presenter used images of his baby goats to introduce slides that detailed disappointing financial outcomes but also the new, positive steps the team had taken. The goat pictures eased tension and moderated the response of his upper-management audience. During a subsequent review when he had better results to report, the presenter said something like, "And this time, I donŐt have to show any pictures of my goats," garnering not only appreciative laughter from his listeners but their complete understanding that the team turned things around.

We've also received many comments on our Speak Previews article on fillers. One particularly interesting comment concerned the status of the word "so" as a filler. Our President and Managing Director, Frank Carillo, replied that in some contexts, "so" is simply a connective, a word that indicates a causal relationship between two ideas. But in other contexts it serves as a springboard kind of filler that hints at a summary, bottom line, or transition to a new topic. As a verbal idler, it's most common in Northern European use of English. "Well" is more commonly used than "so" as this type of filler in North American English, but when used repeatedly without contributing content, both become verbal clutter that annoys listeners and muddles messages.

So. Do keep reading and do keep responding. We're happy to answer your questions, address your concerns, and marvel at your examples of communication success. Each is an opportunity, an opportunity for us all to connect often and strongly.

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