New Communication Tips

My book, Sharpen Your Verbal Edge: 101 Tips to Enhance Your Professional Communication Skills is available on 

Starting with Tip 102, here are the tips I’ve written since the book was published. Enjoy! And thank you for your loyalty. 



Negative phrases: Let’s reduce the number we use! They consciously or subconsciously communicate negativity and are confusing. I’ve collected negative phrases for 8 years, and many are in my book. I continue to collect them, and here are two I’ve heard in the last couple of weeks:

An employee who was preparing to talk to his boss said:
• “I’m going to ask if I couldn’t explain what just happened.” (could not?)
He could have said:
• “I’m going to ask if we can talk about what just happened.”

And here’s a negative phrase older readers will recognize:
• “You’ll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn.”
Bob Dylan wrote the “Mighty Quinn in 1968 and Manfred Mann’s version was the most popular.

If you’ll not see nothing, then you’ll see something—maybe a lot of—mighty Quinns. In fact, they might even be ubiquitous! I doubt that Bob was envisioning a plethora of mighty Quinns.

If I could gently cajole him to re-write that sentence, he could change the lyrics to: “He’s unique and charismatic, the mighty Quinn.” (Quinn was also weird! Read the lyrics!)

My book, SHARPEN YOUR VERBAL EDGE, contains an entire section of tips dedicated to changing negatives to positives. Even Mr. Dylan would enjoy them!



Fun with transforming negatives to positives. Below are additional words, phrases, and sentences I’ve read or heard since SHARPEN YOUR VERBAL EDGE was published.

Additional examples of often-confusing negatives—followed by solutions:

  • “I asked if I couldn’t talk to her.” (…could talk to her)
  • “It’s anything but complicated.” (It’s simple.)
  • “In the real world, it is not otherwise. (It’s the same in the real world.)
  • “Look at these verses and see if they don’t make sense.” (…if they make sense.)
  • “That team has no shortage of confidence.” (That team is highly confident.)
  • “I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to learn different skills.” (It’s okay to learn different skills.)
  • “I would not have been able to achieve my goals if it were not for my teacher.” (I achieved my goals because of my teacher.)
  • “He is no stranger to St. Petersburg.” (He knows a lot of people / is well liked / travels here often / knows the layout of the city.) It could mean any one of those things. The speaker needs to be more specific.
  • “Our political campaign is nothing if not positive.” (Our political campaign is positive.)

Yes, I did hear that last sentence—verbatim.

If you want to delve into a wide range of communication skills essential to achieving successful and effective professional lives, consider purchasing SHARPEN YOUR VERBAL EDGE: 101 TIPS TO ENHANCE PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS. And then let me know what you think. I look forward to that.