eNewsletter September 2007

Business Communication in the Information Age

There is a curious discrepancy that exists between the spoken and the written word – one assumes that if a statement makes sense when you say it, it should technically make sense when you write it. Unfortunately, that isn't the case, and recognizing and appreciating that difference between writing and speech can greatly aid in mastering both skillsets.

Polished written skills are especially important in business communication as they are a reflection of your personality. How you write reflects how you think – how organized your thoughts are, how well informed you are of the situation.

Why all of this is dependent on your writing skills, as compared to your speaking skills, is simple. It's the age we are living in. Our fast-paced lives and split second decisions are made possible because of the information age we are living in – and a significant amount of interaction in organizations is taking place through emails.

On an average day, we reply to no less than a dozen emails, and likely receive more, and it is all the more vital to ensure that your message is concise, precise, and free of frivolities without being stripped of the warmth necessary to build professional relationships.

Business Communication is a tightrope act between intention and interpretation that can easily be thrown off balance by poor grammar, vague sentence structure, or simply bad writing. Enter BCI: the GCA course for Business Communication in the Information Age. BCI not only covers the essentials of good writing, such as grammar, style and punctuation, it also recognizes the importance of electronic communication to modern business by devoting three modules to that aspect.

Regardless of your native language or skill level, the proper structuring of written communication will organize your thoughts into a format that anyone can understand, and delivering direct questions will take you faster to the direct answers you seek. Participants in BCI will master skills that allow them to create business communications that are logical, powerful, and easy to comprehend.


Other areas of learning within BCI are:

  • Tailoring your words: No matter what you are writing, you must clearly define: what you are writing, why you are writing it and, most importantly, who you are writing it for. In other words, your approach must be flexible and tailored to the specific task at hand.

  • A Strong Grammatical Foundation: An understanding of grammar is essential if you are aiming to produce a clear message for your readers. Learning about the building blocks of sentences – nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc – and how they should be put together correctly

  • Punctuation Problems: Do you know when to use a comma rather than a semicolon? Does a question mark go inside or outside the quotation mark? Correct punctuation of your writing is both important for ease of reading and to help maintain your credibility.

  • Corporate Style: There are accepted standards and guidelines that govern the presentation of aspects such as numbers, capitalization, abbreviations and spelling. These aspects are known collectively as style, and it can vary on the basis of country, organization or time. This course will teach you how to adhere to a style that is up-to-date and appropriate for your needs.

  • Effectively Use of Email: Email has revolutionized business communication. In this course you will learn about the various features that enable you to write, send and receive effective email.

  • Efficient Email Management: Don't let important messages fall through the cracks of poor organisation. Learn how to manage your email, so that the benefits are maximized and the negatives (such as a drain on resources) are minimized.

Click here for more information on BCI, or contact your nearest GLO.


GCA Begins Q4

The GCA Team at the official launch earlier this year.

GCA began operations in March this year, with a vision to empower GAC's employees by providing them with a platform through which they can achieve personal and professional excellence. Six months and countless invested man-hours later, GCA is proudly launching its 9th unique course.

GCA begins Q4 with operating capacity of 400 unique seats on the GCA LMS, or Learning Management System, and courses running at full enrolment. “We've received a very enthusiastic response to GCA, and the feedback has been extremely encouraging,” said Jan Farnelid, GAC Group Vice President of Human Resources as well as Chairman GCA Board of Governors. "Allowing people tools to drive their own careers empowers them and the effects on motivation are astounding."

A screenshot from the GCA Learning Management System

GCA's focus has been on using cutting-edge tools and technologies to make the learning process interesting and convenient. A step in that direction has been the Learning Management System. The online academy allows for GCA's course participants to easily access the learning and communication hotspot, allowing course participants to exchange information, news and views through chat and discussion forums, use a comprehensive resource library, keep track of grades, quizzes and assignments, and view pertinent sources from the web.

Another important milestone for GCA is the graduation of its most recent batch of GLO's, or GCA Liaison Officers. GLO's are trained to accurately gauge and assess all training and human resources requirements of their respective offices, and in concurrence with their managers, nominate the most suitable people for various courses being offered. Hence, the GLO is crucial in ensuring the success of GCA. As of today, GCA has 30 GLO's from 26 different countries. They are the flag bearers of GCA, communicating effectively the need for targeted training.

"As GCA continues to build on individual competencies of GAC employees," Jan Farnelid continued, "we believe GCA and GAC will work strengthen and build a strategic partnership that will be integral for survival and success of both."

Here's to another quarter of success and growth

Did you know?

GAC first began, not in logistics, or even in shipping, but as a travel bureau.

More about GAC’s fascinating history can be found in IGW– Introduction to GAC World. For more information, click here, or contact your nearest GLO!

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Profile: IGW Facilitator Kylie Grimmer


"I enjoyed meeting other members of the GAC family from around the world through the course and feel that I could walk into any office in any of these locations and instantly have a friend..."

-Kylie, on her experience with the GCA LMS

Kylie and her husband Greg, GM of GAC Turkmenistan.


I come from a mainly administrative background, although one of my first jobs was working in a hardware store mixing paint and cutting keys. The other was selling flowers from a roadside cart! After I completed school I began working in administration and never really left it.

My family always owned and operated their own businesses, which is where I ended up for a few years. We sold and installed fibreglass and concrete swimming pools. There is nothing like working for yourself to find out that there is no-one else to take responsibility! I left the family business and joined one of the largest privately owned civil engineering and construction companies in Australia as a PA. Over the years this company gave me the opportunity to travel to Papua New Guinea. Maybe that’s where I was bitten by the travel bug!

Together with my husband, Greg, I have been an expatriate from Australia for five years and lived in Malaysia and Thailand before coming to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, when Greg joined GAC in May 2006.

GCA for me was initially an opportunity to learn more about GAC and have information I'd be able to share and discuss with colleagues and clients of my husband. It still provides this avenue but it's now become a passion! I have recognised one of my personal strengths to be that of a good listener and guide, helping people find answers and direction (facilitation) - this led me to begin a course in basic counselling, which I'm currently undertaking. The opportunity to become a course facilitator with GCA is another direction, or extension, of utilising my natural and learnt skills.

So far I've completed GLOL and IGWG with GCA and would relish the chance of future participation. The Personal and Professional Development course, in particular, catches my interest. I enjoyed meeting other members of the GAC family from around the world through the course and feel that I could walk into any office in any of these locations and instantly have a friend. GCA offers a great opportunity to GAC employees to learn in and experience the innovative eLearning environment. I'm now even considering undertaking further study in the field of online education.


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Are You the Can-Do Type?
By Waleed Jameel

My name is Waleed Jameel and I'm a student of the Can-Do philosophy. I wasn't always a student of this philosophy. Rather, I was once the student of its antithesis and it took some smart thinking to come to the right path. As a convert, I can relate to those from both walks of life, and I'd like to share this unique perspective.


The Can-Do philosophy is simple and very powerful. It differs from its antithesis (its enemy & opposite) philosophy of "Sorry, it can't be done/happen," by focusing on the pathways that lead to the desired results versus the many ways an outcome cannot be achieved. It is a step up from stating desired outcomes to focusing on ways to reach the desired outcome. In simpler terms, think of how you react to a suggestion that seems difficult, and if you're reaction is to instinctively map out all potential obstacles, then your focus may be Problem-Centric as well.

While it can be helpful to anticipate obstacles before they arise in the attempt to be prepared, there is a difference between foreseeing future problems and being blinded by them. Clouding your vision of the end goal with potential pitfalls before they even occur (if they do at all) will cause you to fail before the project is even attempted, and in the end, the opportunity to think creatively to overcome a challenge loses out to safer, run-of-the-mill solutions.

Problem-Centric individuals see a forest and focus on chopping down trees. Can-Do Guys look at all the ways to get through the forest without ever picking up the chainsaw. A simple test can reveal which philosophy the people around you subscribe to. Put forth a desired outcome to your colleague, manager or employees. Naturally, this should be a realistic and feasible outcome, but let is also be a little challenging, then sit back and listen to the response.

Here is what may happen:
A Can-Do guy might say-
We'll have to think a little outside the box to get it done on time and within our means but this can be done! Imagine the end results! Amazing! So, let's do this thing!

A Problem-Centric guy may scratch his head and say-
Tricky, tricky...I'm not really sure we can do this right now. Don't get me wrong, it's a good idea! But how about we wait till we get A, and B. maybe C, also D taken care of. See, the idea is great but I think you need to realize that there are many many bugs along the way which will make it so very difficult, perhaps impossible, for this to go through successfully. I'm just being realistic here with you...

Having been exposed to the Can-Do philosophy (especially in an office full of such individuals), it is hard to think of any other way of doing things. You look at things more analytically, feasibly, and conclude that everything can be done with the right mindset and attitude.

One way to get around the negativity of Problem-Centric thinking, whether it be your own or your colleagues', is to phrase questions that beg solutions: "I think X is a great idea, but it may be a little work. What would need to happen for X to occur?"

The Can Do guy doesn't always get through every challenge, but he does search for solutions and in the process, possibly discovers whole new ways of achieving an objective, or updating the objective itself with a better purpose. The important thing is how the Can-Do guy approaches the challenge. He sees possibilities where others would see dead-ends. And that is the difference that makes THE difference.


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