Learn something new every day

Tips for Communicating in Global English


The Internet has made it easier than ever to communicate with people around the world. As an executive assistant supporting the International Sales Manager, I’ve learned a lot about booking international travel, how to dial international phone calls, and how to decipher documents in any language using Google Translate.

English is the most widespread language in the world, which may be convenient for us here in the U.S., but we should keep in mind that not everyone speaks “American” English.

4 Tips for International Communication

  1. Keep sentences short. Limit the length of sentences to 20 words in international business documents, including email.
  2. Avoid colloquial expressionsidioms and slang.
  3. When writing the date, always write out the month – in full or abbreviated, but not just a number. (Example: 02/03/13 could be Feb. 3 or Mar. 2)
  4. When referring to money, always specify the currency. (Example: US$100 or AUD$100 – not just $100)

For more information about global communication, see Rachel McAlpine’s article “From Plain English to Global English.”

I hope to travel to other countries one day. Have you ever traveled abroad? What differences did you notice from American culture? Leave me a comment below!

What’s your punctuation IQ?


As an administrative assistant, when you communicate with others you are not only representing the intelligence of yourself, you are also representing the intelligence of your boss, your department, and your company.

Having excellent written communication skills is of the utmost importance. Misspelled words, bad grammar, or poor punctuation can make you appear less professional and, in turn, less intelligent.

Here is a quick quiz to test your knowledge of a list of 75 compound words. Some of the answers were surprising to me. It was a good reminder that if I am unsure of how to spell a word to look it up!

1. Air borne
2. Anti social
3. Audio visual
4. Back log
5. Blood pressure
6. Book keeping
7. Bull’s eye
8. By law
9. Catch all
10. Check book

Go to Quiz

How to customize Microsoft’s My Places


The My Places bar is on the left side of some Microsoft Office XP or 2003 dialog boxes, such as Save As or Open, that allows you to specify a folder where you want to store your files.

This shortcut could come in handy if you’re on a network where your files are located beneath several layers on the folder tree. With one click you can go directly to the folder you need. Step-by-step instructions are on the Microsoft Help page.

Microsoft's My Places bar

One of the things I’ve learned throughout the years is to use the myriad resources on the Internet. Very rarely is it necessary for me to “start from scratch” on anything. One of the best resources for administrative assistants is the Microsoft website (if you use Windows and/or any Microsoft product like Office).

I hope you find this helpful!

« Older Entries