Archive for the ‘BPRstrong’ Category

Five tips for communicating technical subject matter

Friday, January 6th, 2017

Elyse Nabata, Assistant Account Specialist

Working in IT, Government of Alberta’s ministry of Environment and Parks and dating an engineer have faced me with the task of deciphering and communicating complex technical information. Whether you are looking to improve your next presentation or find yourself needing to communicate technical subject matter to a non-technical audience – here are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure your message is understood.

  1. Know the facts/product/technology inside out – if you are the subject matter expert, you’ll likely have this down pat, but if you’re not, it’s important to try and become one. If it’s a technical solution that you can test or pilot first hand – do it. Seek out the subject matter expert and have them walk you through what they know and don’t forget to ask plenty of questions! Read information online and do your own personal research.
  2. Know your audience – this may seem like a no-brainer, but the way you communicate a topic can change significantly depending on who the audience is. It can also affect your choice in who is delivering the message. For example, at an engineering conference, you would likely want to choose the technical subject matter expert and not the CEO to speak about a new technology. It’s a good idea to tailor your language and examples to best fit the audience you’re working with.
  3. PLAIN LANGUAGE – I’ve used all caps to emphasize the importance of this point. It’s something I’ve found that technical subject matter experts often struggle with. To be fair, at times there aren’t plain language alternatives for specific processes, technologies, etc., but try as much as you possibly can. Mark Twain once said, “Don’t use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do.” Preach, Mark – preach.
  4. Examples and visual aids – the use of real life examples and visual aids (photos, diagrams, charts etc.) can help drive your point across and reinforce your message. Once, my partner tried to explain how a steam turbine worked to me. It wasn’t until he showed me a diagram that I began to understand. There are many types of visual aids – don’t immediately jump to a PowerPoint presentation. There are many new and creative visuals you can use. I love this TED Talk by David McCandless about data visualizations – if you have 20 minutes to spare; it’s worth a watch.
  5. Keep it clear, concise and to the point – this is a tip that we all can keep in mind to improve our writing. Strive to cut out unnecessary words and use the most direct way to phrase sentences. If in doubt, pass a piece of writing by someone who’s not familiar with the subject matter to see if it makes sense to them.

 

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll improve your communication skills and avoid people looking at you like this:

confused

 

 

 

 

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-Elyse Nabata is an Assistant Account Specialist at Brookline with a passion for writing and organized project planning.

T. E. A. M.

Friday, December 16th, 2016

Ashlee Smith, Account Executive

What do you like about working at Brookline?

Since the day I started back in 2011, this has been the number one question I have been asked by family, friends, co-workers, interns, clients and connections. My answer: the team!

Working at Brookline comes with a lot of fabulous projects and thought provoking challenges. In order to do my job, I need a solid team who provides support, knowledge and creativity. So what does the team at Brookline mean to me? It’s simple!

Trust                      I can always lean on my teammates, trust that they have my back and know they are there to support me. No person is an island, and we know that the best way to succeed is together.

Expression          The key to success in any organization is fine-tuned communication. At Brookline, we are in constant communication with each other, expressing our ideas, concerns and solutions in a constructive and positive way.

Appreciation     Voicing my gratitude to my coworkers, and receiving the same in return, makes for a team that is willing to go above and beyond to meet the needs of one another in an effort to produce stellar results.

Motivation         When the going gets tough, the tough have a team behind them to help them keep going.  I have a team of Brookliners behind and beside me, encouraging me to grow and pushing me to be the best version of my PR self on a daily basis.    

Teamwork, communication and collaboration are what keep me coming back for more!

And if you couldn’t already tell, I don’t like the team at Brookline, I love them.

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– Ashlee Smith is an Account Executive at Brookline. Not a surprise to those who know her, Ashlee loves connecting with people and thinks learning is fun. Relationship building is her forte and she loves to laugh. Ashlee believes that to be an incredible story teller, one must first be a committed listener.

Your Brand’s Audience is Purple

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

doug

 

Caption:

2012 Presidential Election, Purple America. http://www.princeton.edu/~rvdb/JAVA/election2012/

 

As an American citizen who has lived in Canada for just over three years at the time of this posting, the last couple of weeks of election-related frenzy has been pretty consuming. Rightly so, I don’t think anyone would debate how divisive the last 18 months was in the US.

Don’t stop reading! This is not an op-ed, but merely a reminder that while you, your colleagues, maybe even the values of your entire company may swing to one political persuasion over another, laying a claim to one side is a sure-fire way to alienate at least a portion of those who support your brand.

Without putting specific companies in the corner with a dunce hat firmly affixed to their heads, there were many reminders in the days following the US election that when a brand takes a political side, it has a PR crisis on its hands. Try this exercise: take politics out of the equation and pretend we’re talking about Coke and Pepsi. If you knew around half your customers were Coke diehards and the other half were Pepsi devotees – would you tweet your full support for Coke, even putting down Pepsi as inferior? Of course you wouldn’t!

Yes, I realize politics have an actual affect over peoples’ lives and they should not be reduced to pop metaphors. Individuals should always be free to express their views, opinions and have the right to endorse and vote for whomever they’d like, it is the very basis of democracy.

It isn’t just customers that brands stand to lose, either. Companies are made of individuals of all persuasions, opinions and values, endorsing one way or another alienates not just a portion of your customers, but a portion of your employees. The PR lesson here is simple: never lose sight of the fact that your brand represents a group of individuals that rally behind your company, through working for the company or buying your products and services. The communications you put out in the world affect them, too.

Remember, the world is not only blue or red, no matter what the Electoral College map tells you. My favourite day-after-election map is the purple map, which shows in gradient how America voted. Without a doubt, after every election, it is a blend of blue and red. It is purple, and your brand should be, too.

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– Doug Self is a Senior Account Executive at Brookline with a background rooted in the technology industry. His expertise lies in media relations, content creation, and communication and marketing strategy.