Category Archives: CommunicationTips


Do you collect negative experiences and use them to define you?

Here are two examples:

  • “I knew this would happen: Every time I’m on a team, something goes wrong.”
  • “You’re not catching any fish because I’m in your boat. This happens all the time.”

For pessimists, one negative incident can pervade all other experiences.

For optimists, it is an isolated incident from which the person learns and gets on with life.

If you work with a pessimist, encourage that person and diplomatically and respectfully counter that person’s comments with facts to the contrary. And add a compliment, if applicable.

Pessimists can change their perspectives. Be optimistic about that!


Owning certain words that end in “ing.”

My writing this tip and your wanting to learn it exemplify how our searching for growth continues. Notice I didn’t say: I (or me) writing, you wanting, and you and I searching.

Those words ending in “ing” are gerunds. They are derived from verbs and function as nouns. If they are nouns, they can be owned. (Joe’s car, Joe’s driving, Ella’s thought, Ella’s thinking, John’s boat, John’s boating.)

Here is the difference between the noun and the verb:

  • We are laughing (verb).
  • Laughing (Gerund) is fun.
  • Jill’s laughing is loud. (Who owns that laugh?)

I encourage your implementing this.


When do we capitalize the words team, mom, dad, boss, president, friend, sister, pastor, father, etc?


  • When they are used INSTEAD of names. (They become the name.)
  • Examples:
    • Tell Dad to call Sister.
    • Good morning, Team.
    • Right way, Boss!
    • Pick up Giraffe and put him in the toy box.

We do not capitalize when they are used as a general title. (Example: Tell my mom to call her boss.  I told the boss I’d do it right way. Pick up the giraffe and put him in the toy box.)

Usually, I see people not capitalizing when they need to. I believe it’s because many of us have forgotten this rule along the way.

Go for it, Friend!


This is, arguably, one of the most important tips of them all.

What did I just say? By using arguably, I either said “questionably,” or “this is susceptible to argument,” or this statement “is very possibly true even if it is not certainly true.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Is that what we strive to say when we use this word?

(“Arguably” also is an embedded suggestion to argue.)

When I hear people use it, most of the time, they either insert it as a verbal pause/filler word or they mean to say “without a doubt.”

Either way, they are misusing it, which is, arguably, a faux pas!


If you’re making arrangements to give a speech, you will appreciate knowing the difference between these two words:

  • If you request a podium, you will get a raised platform.
  • If you request a lectern, you will get an elevated desk for your notes or laptop.

Podium comes from pod—foot. It’s a place upon which we stand. (Think podiatrist or tripod.)

Lectern come from lect—to read. (Think lecture.)

Oh, and request a lavalier or headset mic. You don’t want to be holding a microphone the whole time or constrained by the lectern’s mic.

And enjoy the experience!


Will he or won’t he? Sabotaging our first impression:

I held my breath after the new assistant pastor enthusiastically began his talk with “Good morning” and received a much quieter response.

This is where so many speakers insult their audiences by saying something like, “Now you can do better than that!” And then they repeat, “Good morning.”

Not this young man. Without hesitating, he kept smiling and began his message. He even complimented the audience within the first couple of minutes.

My advice: Strive to connect and not to alienate.


Your input, please: 80% of people are hired for their competencies whereas 85% are terminated because of their lack of leadership or people skills. This according to training development specialist Shirley Fine Lee.

In my consultations and workshops, I focus on positive, confident communicating as well as other people skills such as listening, smiling, being tactful and encouraging, etc.

What people skills are important to you? (This could save jobs!)

Thank you, in advance, for your input.


“I says.” Who says this?!

You would be surprised how “I says” is insidiously inserting itself into the phrases that introduce dialogue.

Even though the conversation may have occurred last week, the person recounting it talks as if it is ongoing—in the present tense.

So, instead of saying “John said” the person says “John says.”
And here is the stunning next step: If that person had a role in that conversation, s/he just might say,” I says.”

“John says… and then I says… and then Alex says….”

These may be the same people who also say, “John was like… and then I go…and then Mary went….”

Please, just say “said.”


Which vs. That.
Use “which” to describe nonessential information—set apart by commas.

  • The phone, which Dan never liked, fell into the hot soup.
  • The XYZ Project, which took months to complete, won an award.

Use “that” to describe essential information.

  • Dan scooped out the phone that fell into the hot soup.
  • The project that won the award took months to complete.

Use “who” for people:

  • The CEO who endorsed the project retired.

Communication Tip #88

90% of emails are skimmed. To ensure most or all of your email is read, I recommend you use bullet points when you need to make several points.

Bullet points:

  • Require fewer words
  • Create more white space
  • Distinguish each thought
  • Summarize your message visually

Grammar tip: The first word of each bullet point needs to belong to the SAME word group. (These are all verbs. You can also begin with nouns, adverbs, etc.)

Using bullet points will make your email:

  • Succinct
  • Clear
  • Readable