Archive for September, 2009

5 Ws and 1H – 6 questions all Communication Mechanisms Should Answer

September 29, 2009

All communication professionals are teachers. The very nature of our profession requires we impart our knowledge on others. We achieve when communication improves and we succeed when our styles and suggestions become inculcated into the fabric of corporate sub culture. So, what would the 1st day of effective Corporate Communication Skills 101 entail? What would lesson #1 be?

My answer? The Corporate Communications answer to “123, abc” (the first things taught to toddlers in pre k) is the 5 Ws and 1H: 6 questions every communication mechanism (interpret – media release, letter to public official/ customer/ stakeholder, internal correspondence, newsletter, memo etc) should answer are:

  1. WHO: Who is sending the message? Who is the intended recipient or audience? Their title, status and rank will impact the tone and style of communication. You would not write a text message to your significant other using the same style and language you would use to write a letter to the VP Human Resources of that international firm you always dreamed of working for.
  2. WHAT: What are you trying to communicate? What is your objective? What do you need the recipient to do/ see/ feel after reading the letter. This too, shapes the style and content of your letter.
  3. WHERE: Where are you communicating from and where are you communicating to? Where do they need to send a reply? Where do they need to go upon receipt of this information or to learn more?
  4. WHY: Why should your audience care about the info you are sharing? Why should they act upon receipt? In today’s world, why is also answered by “what’s in it for me, the recipient of this info”. The why should be close to the beginning of your communication as, most time, its was communication recipients look for (and care about most). Think: “I know you need groceries mom. Lend me your car and I will pick those up to you on the way back from the date with the guy YOU like.” (over the top yes – but you see my point).
  5. WHEN: When should recipients respond or show response or indicate they have recieved the info? Is there a deadline to respond? Is there a penalty if said deadline is missed.
  6. HOW: How do they show they have received the message? How do recipients put the information received to use?

So, the next time you begin to craft your message, revisit the 5 ws and the H and train others in the effective use of same in getting their messages – corporate or otherwise, across.


A Shoe In? Clothes Can Start A Conversation – About YOUR BRAND!

September 28, 2009

This past weekend at the EventologyTT conference in Port of Spain Trinidad, a group of event planners, communicators, marketing people and just plain old  “macos” (see for more definitions of Trini terms!) to learn about being a better event planner/ coordinator/ host. In addition to learning lots about events, including a fantastic presentation on social media and wedding planning by thepartygoddess, I learned something new – SHOES MATTER!

On opening night of the conference (where I met Preston Bailey!!!), I wore my favorite shoes – a red patent leather pair of Stuart Weitzman 5 inch heels.

Definite Conversation Starters

Definite Conversation Starters

Definitely attention getters, they started many a convo. In every little “lime” (see for definition), the group amazingly commented on the red heels – asking everything from “where did you get them?” to “Do those hurt?”. The conversation was ALWAYS started about the shoes -BUT I parlayed the discussions to focus on red (the exact same shade) as the brand colour of the Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation – where I “happen” to head up Communications (follow us on Twitter @ttutc or join the UTC Customer Corner on Facebook🙂

I have stated the red heels “make me feel magical” – but the magic is in the conversation, about my company, what we do there and the passion about what I do! HA! So, do clothes maketh the communicator? Not so, but they can help! Over the next few days, being an avid shoe collector, I wore a few different pairs, and though, not red, they all became communication starters. The same can be said for the amazing “cupcake” ring donned by “The Party Goddess” – hell, it was a plastic pastry on the fingers of a woman who, on her other hand, donned a fabo wedding ring…hmmm!

So, here are some tips for making your clothes begin the conversation:

  1. Pick ONE Striking Fashion Item: Red shoes + a crucifix necklace +a t-shirt that screams a message (all worn at one time)=fashion disaster!
  2. Make the item link in a way to what you do: Maybe its a fabulous pen because you’re a speech writer, or a fabo “electric name tag” because you do event lighting (TLC was awesome with this). Good at media, have a fabo striking note pad, blogger? Maybe a kickbutt colour PC or a T-shirt (under a fabo suit jacket) that says “Blog” in the same colour as the shirt. Whatever IT is – make it YOU but classy and conversation worthy. Go for WOW not “Ewe!”
  3. Let THEM bring it up: If its cool and effective, THE AUDIENCE will bring it up. If they don’t, hey – at least you liked it. No one wants to be in a conversation that starts with “Hey LOOK AT MY STUFF!”

So, there ya go. A great way to brand yourself and to START CONVERSATIONS that will help YOU network better! Try this out and let me know how it goes. Of course, if it backfires, tell me about it but don’t expect me to pull down my blog…I already ordered the Caribbean Communicator inflatable arm floats! (kidding).

Caribbean Communicators 5 Tips When U Join the Conversation

September 27, 2009

Are our Caribbean accents destined to disappear? Imagine the Caribbean without the intricate island accents.  The world around our sparkling waters is changing and so are we. In the social media realm, our accents now blend seamlessly with those of N.America, Europe and as far afield as Asia and Africa’s southernmost regions. LOL you say? If so, you make my point.

The positive aspects of this change allow for our voices to be seen as credible and not forever dismissed by our obvious accents that can cause our messages to face extra challenges of interpretation. One need only turn to our blogs: 5am at mango media caribbean, Trinidad Carnival Diary for example or read our websites, Tribe or even and you will see a snapshot of who we are – a people defined by our culture – the basic underpinning of communication. So thus, given that communication IS culture, is culture about to become amorphous?

We can fight that. 5 things all Caribbean Communicators can do to keep our cultures alive in the global conversation are:

  1. ACTIVELY UTILIZE SOCIAL MEDIA: Social media is MORE than FACEBOOK. Communicators register for every site possible –,, and others. Let’s join the conversation.
  2. PARTICIPATE IN YOUR OWN LANGUAGE: When you join the conversation, speak in YOUR language. Create OUR own terms. My cousins and I joke about “Trinibreviations” for Facebook and Twitter – YMOW (Yah mad or what!), Water More than Flour) and my personal favorite  WUL? (Where you limin?). Use OUR slang, teach the world our phrases and share our culture through your words.
  3. IMBED LINKS TO LOCAL SITES & RESOURCES: Share our culture through links & track them with and others. You can showcase our culture to the world, bring business to our shores (even if digital) and, more importantly, shape the conversation and give the Caribbean a voice in the global realm of Web 2.0.
  4. EDUCATE: Share your slides and presentations, talk about your experiences at conferences like EventologyTT and IABCTT activities, tell the world we are a smart people and we have something to offer – if they would just visit our sites
  5. EMPOWER: Empower your networks to do the same. Drag the aunties and grannies, the “helpers” and “fellas” to start groups and chats on our culture, politics, festivals and activities. Empower through community and then ask the world to join the conversations YOU start.

SO, Caribbean Communicators – Go Forth and communicate. The world awaits!

Hello world!

September 27, 2009

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