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They say that any publicity is good publicity, but we all know that isn’t true.lie detector There are many situations where you may not want to be quoted in the paper or to have factual information reported. If you are negotiating a sensitive deal to buy or sell an asset, for instance, the last thing you want is for details of the transaction to be reported in the paper before the agreement is finalised. If you have a difficult relationship with another person or organisation, it is rarely in your interest to make negative comments about them in public. Unfortunately, either of these outcomes will earn a reporter a pat on the back from their editor for a great story. Both of these hazards seem pretty simple to avoid – just don’t speak to the journalist or, if you do, don’t tell them anything. After all, journalists have no coercive powers, unlike a legal authority they can’t make you give them information. So why do I pick up the paper every day and see stories like these which the subject has no doubt been losing sleep over? The answer is that good journalists are experts in making you feel like you have to speak. It is a core skill. For this reason, I have assembled the four top tricks that journalists use to con you into talking when it isn’t really in your interest. In my former career as a journalist I used them all from time to time and now I hear them being used upon my own clients. 1. Pretending they know more than they do This is the top way that journalists convince you to talk out of turn. Journalists will often claim to know far more about a situation than they really do. This encourages you to offer new information in the belief that they already know it, or to confirm their guesses which were not printable until you confirmed them. 2. Pretending they have been told a wrong fact Journalists who have heard of a deal will sometimes pretend that they have been told other information, like a price, in order to flush you out. Typically this is a number that would cause you embarrassment. “I heard you are buying it for [imprudently large sum] but I’m happy to use your figure instead. Otherwise, I will have to use this number.” You then unnecessarily tell them the right number and suddenly they have a good story. 3. Falsely summarising someone else’s comments If someone makes some moderate comments, a journalist will call you and paraphrase them so it sounds like they have criticised you or said something obnoxious. This may provoke you to criticise them and bingo! – the journalist has a story based on your comments. Always check the original transcript first before commenting yourself – don’t rely on a journalist’s summary. 4. I am definitely going to publish tomorrow so you need to talk now Journalists who don’t have much of a story will sometimes use time pressure to make you speak in a panic. This often means claiming they are going to publish imminently when, in fact, they will only publish if you give weight to the story by speaking. If you stick to your guns and decline to comment, the story never appears.  
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communicationsIn today’s business world almost everything is entirely information driven. Whether you work in a small business or for a giant corporation, chances are you do and receive most of your communication in writing. This includes emails, memos, letters, proposals, contracts, presentations and a huge range of other documents. While most of us have some varied experience in writing,the importance of strong written communication skills is rarely stressed in universities . We know it’s important but most of us fail to understand the future implications of weak writing skills. By using simple, clear, precise language and following a few basic rules of writing, you can become a better communicator and drastically improve the prospects for your career. There is no substitute for practise but here are a few tips to get started: Avoid jargon One of the biggest mistakes you can make in business writing is using unnecessary jargon. It may sound important using words such as ‘synergy’ and ‘solutioneering’  but to most people it just doesn’t make sense. While some technical jargon may be unavoidable it’s always best to use as simple language and word choice as possible. Concise is best Less is always more. There’s no need to pad sentences out with words such as “essentially’ and “basically”, just say what you mean and say it in as little words as you can. This also means that wherever possible use active rather than passive phrasing. Instead of writing “The meeting was led by Bob” use “Bob led the meeting.” Check your grammar Beware of common grammatical errors. Grammatical mistakes are the quickest way to undermine yourself in any form of written communication. Simple errors include confusing “that” and “which” and “affect” and “effect”. Leave out useless words Be ruthless when it comes to self-editing. If the word isn’t important then cut it out. Be professional, not overly formal There is sometimes a tendency to be overly formal in business communication. While appropriate in some circumstances this type of language can often obscure meaning. At the same time, it doesn’t mean you should ever be too casual. Personal comments or off-colour jokes should not be written at work and never address or sign off on emails with unprofessional phrases. Using “Best” or “Regards” is still the norm and absolutely avoid “xoxo” when it comes to business writing. Check titles It sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how many get this wrong. Always check name spelling, title and correct use of a pronoun. Nothing is more uncomfortable than when you’ve been referring to a Mr. Turner as Ms. or Mrs. throughout a document. If in doubt, using gender neutral pronouns like “they” or “their” is perfectly acceptable. Check once, then again Just like grammar problems, typos can ruin an otherwise fine document. It’s important to always check then recheck for mistakes such as spelling and grammar. Being too close to something can sometimes trick you into missing mistakes, so the best tip is to come back after a few minutes or get a fresh set of eyes of check it over. Happy writing.
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More people are turning to Twitter and Facebook to get their daily news hit than ever before, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center in the US.

The study, which was conducted in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, revealed that 63 per cent of Twitter users and 63 per cent of Facebook users are using the social networking mediums as a news source. The statistics are not surprising. Given the world’s growing addiction to social media, it’s easy to see why people are favouring social networks like Facebook to deliver their news, rather than relying on television, radio or print. One, they’re simple and convenient to use. Two, news is updated constantly. I mean, what’s easier than scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed to see what’s happening in the world? It only takes a few seconds to click on the Facebook app on your smartphone before you’re instantly connected to news around the world. Take this week’s announcement of the Liberal Party spill. A colleague heard about the spill via a text message from a friend. After trying to unsuccessfully find news updates on various Australian online news sites, we finally found up-to-date, as-it-happened coverage and commentary on the spill on Twitter. The speed of reporting by social media is by far one of its greatest advantages. Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 2.50.06 pm However, it’s wise to exercise caution if you depend on social networks for your daily news. Facebook, for example, suffers from a proliferation of hoax articles that are reposted hundreds of times and taken as gospel. Analyse articles carefully to ensure they come from a reliable, trusted source. In this case, not all news is good news.
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