Sunday, December 30, 2012

Boxing Day is When?

We all remember the advice about communicating when working with people whose language isn’t the same as your own.  Keep the sentences short and the vocabulary simple.  Avoid acronyms and slang.  For American English speakers skip the sport references.  What do  “we’ll hit it out of the ballpark” or “that’s a slam dunk” really mean? 

But it isn’t just words or phrases that can puzzle people. I was reminded of that when I read through my friend Liz Danziegr’s book “Get to the Point”.  It’s an excellent book filled with humor and practical advice.  In it she writes about being more precise when writing and speaking. (  The point is clear in a section called “See You at Whitsuntide”.   (Wondering when exactly that would that be? It’s the 7th Sunday, approximately 50 days, after Easter.)

Think about holidays and how we often use holidays as markers for planning.  We say we’ll do something before Christmas or after Bastille Day. Or that the deadline is Halloween, plan the trip after Chinese New Year or don’t plan to come for Independence Day.  Remember that not everyone knows about these holidays much less the dates, even the time of year,  when they are celebrated.  For help with finding out about holidays and their dates check the website   The site lists holidays world wide through 2070. 

 Make it easy for your colleagues to understand what you’re trying to say. Add the month and date to the name of the holiday you’re referencing.   More precision, more clarity, better communication, clearer understanding of what we're saying.  A good way to start the new year.

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