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Business Literacy for the Digital Age

Working people today are faced with more distractions and more ways to communicate than ever before. Some clients prefer to communicate through Social Media channels such as Facebook or LinkedIn; others use email; still others prefer texting and SMS; still others stick to the phone, written correspondence and face-to-face meetings.

The fact of the matter is that people in the service business need to recognize that information, both outbound to clients and suppliers, and inbound from clients and the world at large requires skill – to parse the information, respond in a timely and appropriate fashion and still stay focused on the work at hand.

Therefore, literacy in the 21st Century refers to more than simply being able to read and write; it is about being able to process information effectively, in smaller pieces, in shorter timelines, and from numerous sources, while still being able to represent the company and its reputation with quality written and spoken communication skills.

The Business Literacy workshop from The Bristall Group teaches students how to manage both time and messages in a way that keeps their business healthy and vibrant.

This is not an “Introduction to Social Media” course. Nor is it a traditional “Business Writing Course.” Instead it teaches professionals such as accountants, lawyers, support staff and entrepreneurs the distinct strategies for communicating in the high speed world. Topics include:

The Principles of Effective Written Communication

  • Defining a key issue/purpose
  • Knowing the audience
  • Developing the idea
  • Choosing the correct medium
  • Outlines and Planning
  • Tone
  • Obstacles
  • Creating the message
  • Layout and design issues
  • A painless grammar refresher
  • Proofing: techniques


  • Business Letters
  • Memos and informal short reports
  • Reports, including using executive summaries
  • Proposals
  • Technical Writing
  • PowerPoint Presentations
  • e-Mail procedures and etiquette
  • Voice-mail
  • Specific Message Types (The Direct Request, The Persuasive Message etc.)


  • Communicating by text, SMS BBM or email – which is better?
  • Communicating in collaborative environments such as SharePoint
  • Understanding the strategic importance of staying tuned in to Social Media (for business reasons).
  • Using Social Media technologies such as FaceBook and Linked In as direct communication tools with clients.
  • Using PowerPoint – is it still relevant? What are audiences looking for?
  • Blackberrys and Smartphones – how many ways can they improve communication and productivity.
  • How and why Twitter works as both a newsfeed, a customer service tool, a focus group and a PR tool
  • Dealing with issues: being overwhelmed by technology
  • Timelines, and the speed of expectation
  • Addressing resistance and concern about “time wasting” or technology as “unconventional.”
  • Formulating strategies for communicating: which media to use with distinct demographics.

Our sessions are interactive, using anonymous case studies drawn from the pre-course assessments, and participants are encouraged to work through and solve their time problems according to the principles of effective Adult Education.

Download a two-page summary in PDF.

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