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know how to read, listen, and watch, but you’ll need to become more astute at

decoding, prioritizing, and categorizing the information that comes your way in

business. That’s how you’ll minimize your chances of being blindsided by a

client or collaborator who gave you early signs of trouble that you didn’t pick up

in time. That’s also how you’ll learn from other designers, mentors, clients, and

collaborators who have much to share with you, but who lack the time, self-awareness,

or eloquence to spell everything out for you.

The rest of this book is dedicated to helping you develop your skills and

strategies as a business writer and presenter. However, right now, this section

will introduce you to the dynamic, two-way nature of communication. We’ll

also discuss nonverbal communications and active listening. Then, we’ll address reading in terms of research, which is a crucial skill for you to master if you want

to advance in your


Now that we’ve given you a basic understanding of the different skills required

to succeed in the business of graphic design, review the following communication

categories to assess your current strengths and weaknesses. This will help

you set priorities and goals for your self-improvement plan.

When writing e-mails, letters, and proposals, can you:

• Organize messages persuasively? • Write logically and concisely? • Keep your reader’s needs in mind at all times? • Adjust the style and tone of your writing to suit different audiences and situations?business • Know whether a memo, e-mail, letter, or fax is the best vehicle to convey your message? • Revise for organization, accuracy, and completeness? • Proofread to correct grammar and punctuation? When researching, are you able to: • Optimize your Internet searches? • Determine the authority and bias level of your sources? • Find information from sources beyond the Internet? • Pick out and summarize key points from your readings? • Formulate questionnaires and conduct interviews and surveys? • Make significant meaning and draw conclusions from your findings? • Document your findings? When presenting, can you:s • Plan and develop a presentation appropriate for the situation and audience? 3 01 graphic revised 2/12/07 4:23 PM Page 3 • Speak from your notes without reading them? • Sound natural, and not canned or memorized? • Gauge your audience’s interest and engagement and adjust your speech accordingly? • Handle unexpected comments or questions without losing your way? • Close with a flourish? • Learn from your mistakes afterward by doing a self-critique?