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Interpersonal Communication

Illustrated image of a computer showing a number of emails floating around.

Read your emails

Nov 20, 2023

I’m hearing more and more complaints from a wide variety of folks about people not reading their emails. I know we get far too many emails on a daily basis – according to Prosperity Media – the average office worker receives 40 emails per day. I believe that is conservative. Personally, I get over 100 each day. While we need to work, collectively, on reducing the number of emails we receive (and send), it is so important that we read our emails, and not just with a cursory glance, but actually read them.

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Woman of Asian descent looking frustrated as she stares at her laptop

Combatting complacency and burnout

Jul 31, 2023

If you spend any time on Linkedin, you will read many articles on how US workers are feeling complacent, overwhelmed, or burned out. While there are a couple of key structural elements to these feelings, both of which revolve around earned vacation time, this is becoming a broader issue, with consequences. Here are a number of tips to combat complacency and fight feelings of being overwhelmed and burned out.

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7 Types of Rest

Nov 14, 2022

Recently, I have noticed more and more colleagues, students, and friends commenting on a lack of down time. As the holidays quickly approach, down time will be even harder to attain. Then today, a Facebook friend posted on the 7 types of rest. This really resonated with me, and I’ll go into them in a moment, but I wanted to know who came up with this amazing and spot on list. It did not take me long.  Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, MD is a physician and researcher. She wrote the book, Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity. She has been featured on Fast Company, FOX, MSNBC, and in Psychology Today.

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Congratulations Graduates

Jun 10, 2022

I attended the Drexel graduation ceremonies over the past two days not as a faculty member or an Assistant Dean, but rather as a parent. I carefully listened to the words of encouragement and accomplishment, ones I have often delivered, and those words were wholeheartedly deserved. However, I also listened to graduates, deans, and guest speakers talk about this class, the class of 2022, and the resilience shown as this class entered college and graduate school with all the hopes and dreams of those before them. But life had other plans.

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Strategies for Working With Difficult People

Feb 07, 2022

We’ve all experienced difficult people in our lives at one point or another – the feelings and emotions they can evoke with their condescension, aggression, or disrespect can feel overwhelming. But let’s face it, as much as we may want to, we can’t control their behavior, but we can control our reaction and the direction we take to resolve it.

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Image of a black woman in the background with a chart in front of her with silhouetted women depicting a increasing number, i.e. of women succeeding in the workplace.

Advice to women

Mar 23, 2021

This is Women’s History Month – it is definitely a time to celebrate the many achievements women have made, but the reality is that there is still so much more to do. As I have written recently, women have lost ground in the workplace due to COVID, women have made progress in deepening the cracks in the glass ceiling, yet we only hold 6.2% of the CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies. So, instead of writing about our achievements and our progress, I decided to offer advice to women, so we can close these gaps.

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Image of a chalk board with a woman standing back-to, in front of it. THe words on the board read: Self-Confidence

5 Practices To Boost Your Confidence

Jan 06, 2021

I’ve written about the imposter syndrome in the past and one of the major components of it is, especially in women, a lack of confidence. Harvard Business School’s Assistant Professor Catherine Hoffman attributes this lack of confidence in women to gender stereotypes. In an article for HBS, Dina Gerdeman writes about Hoffman’s work, specifically noting that Hoffman argues some of this is related to “occupational sorting” where women tend to choose (or are pushed toward) careers with lower wages than men, but she also attributes this to general confidence levels. For example, after taking a test, Hoffman noted that women when asked about their estimated scores, consistently underreported them versus their male counterparts.

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Image of a 2020 calendar with Coronavirus cells floating over it.

What a year it has been...

Dec 16, 2020

Take yourself back to January last year, before any of this madness started, before the word Coronavirus was a household term we used or thought about every…single…day. Think back to before Kobe Bryant’s helicopter went down killing him, his daughter, and others. Think back before George Floyd was murdered in the street by the very same people who are supposed to protect. Think back to the moment when you were filled with the thoughts of what 2020 would bring, high school and college graduations, births, family trips, gatherings with friends, trips to the gym, marathons, sporting events, or catching the latest greatest movie with a big bucket of popcorn. My intention is not to depress you, but rather to have you see that while 2020 bit the big one in many ways, we should also see it as a period of awakening and also as a period of hope.

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On being grateful

Nov 24, 2020

I’ve been thinking about gratitude a fair amount over the past couple of weeks as discussions about thwarted Thanksgiving plans are tossed about. This year has certainly taught us many lessons, one of which should be gratitude. And it is especially relevant in this season of giving to reflect on all that we are grateful for in our lives.

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Two neighbors talking as they run into one another. Older men, one with a bicycle

Stop saying,"How are you?"

Nov 11, 2020

I came across a CNBC article from May of 2019 and it brought me be back to high school when a classmate complained that people were hypocritical when they asked, “How are you?” When she responded honestly, she was stunned, frustrated, and angered when these strangers looked at her in silence conveying, they were only being pleasant, not really interested in the truth. She railed at the hypocrisy of the question and the expected response.

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The Unintended Invitation From Zoom

Oct 21, 2020

Zoom or other video conferencing platforms are not new, but in mid-March much of the workforce found itself spending the bulk of the day on Zoom meetings, and as such extending an invitation to colleagues, strangers, professors, students, etc., into their homes. But what about the unintended invitation? The intimate view into the lives of our students, professors, peers, colleagues, or clients?

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Yes, design matters

Oct 16, 2020

I am not speaking as a designer, rather I am speaking as a professor and a professional who cringes when I see poorly designed presentations or presentation materials. Keep in mind that poorly designed materials will prevent you from conveying your intended message. Follow these six tips to create presentations and presentation materials that are designed well.

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Please read this!

Sep 09, 2020

Carlyn Ferrari, the author of "You Need to Leave Now, Ma'am: I was mistaken for a prostitute at my job interview," clearly laid out so many issues I have written about, such imposter syndrome, dressing for interviews, and preparing for interviews. But I never wrote about those looking through the lens of a Black woman who also felt the heavy weight of racism being pushed upon her by numerous institutions.

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Illustrated image of a business women with other business folks around her.

Stop using the "B" word

Aug 06, 2020

Okay folks, stop using the B-word – not that one, I’m referring to the word – BOSSY. According to the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) in their recent White Paper entitled, Bossy What’s Gender Got to do With It?, they provided some context for the negativity surrounding the word, “bossy.”

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The Importance of Trust in a Remote Environment

Aug 11, 2020

Trust is crucial in all relationships, but I think sometimes we forget the importance in our working relationships, or we take it for granted. Like any other relationship, elements of trust may be given immediately, but full trust is earned over time. If you do not work to build that trust, you are actively eroding your relationships with your manager or your direct reports. Without trust growth will be hampered, success stalled, and both managers and direct reports will feel unappreciated and undervalued.

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Let's Talk About It: Why It's Good To Talk About Difficult Topics

Jul 01, 2020

Much has happened around us since we rang in 2020, leaving many of us feeling tired, worried, sad, frustrated, disgusted, and hopeful. This myriad of feelings and emotions do not disappear when we open our computers to start our workday. They do not disappear as we respond to emails or sit in Zoom meetings. They do not disappear as we read through reports to discern talking points. These feelings sit with us, hang over us, and dwell within us. We need to talk about them, so let's talk about it.

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2020 Graduates Gain an Unexpected Skill

Jun 03, 2020

To the 2020 graduates across this country – yes, you were cheated of something you worked hard for, you deserved, and there are no words to soften that blow, but if you can let go of the disappointment for a moment, you might be able to see that you have also been given something – a skill – one that will serve you throughout your life.

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Green Post-It Note with the words: Covid Lessons written in cursive.

5 Lessons We Can Learn From COVID

May 19, 2020

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has taken much from us, many lives, many liberties, many experiences, but there have been silver linings as well. Even when a vaccine or cure is found, this virus will have made a lasting impact on all of us. There are many lessons we can take away from our collective experience.

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6 Tips for communicating effectively while working remotely

Apr 28, 2020

Communication is one of the single most important elements to ensure workplace productivity, happiness, engagement, and creativity. When communication breaks down, the ultimate result is a loss on return on investment. Millions of dollars are lost every year due to communication problems. Communication can be difficult under the best of circumstances, and now that most of us are working remotely, it is even more critical to ensure our lines of communication are in place. Follow these six tips to help you and your team communicate effectively while working from home.

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Video Conferencing Dos and Don'ts

Mar 26, 2020

With so many professionals working from home, we explore the lighter side of video conferencing etiquette.

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5 Ways to Recover from Bullying in the Workplace

Feb 20, 2020

While I am not a psychologist, let’s be clear, dealing with the aftermath of a bully boss is a form of Post-traumatic stress disorder. Gordon points out that targets of bullies experience panic attacks, eating disorders, depression, and even thoughts of suicide, in addition to the lesser symptoms which can include sleeplessness, stomach issues, headaches, and general stress conditions.

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Image of a woman with target superimposed over her - she has her hand in her hands with a hand pointing at her in each corner to depict bullying

6 Strategies to Deal with Bullying in the Workplace

Feb 13, 2020

Bullying is hardly a new phenomenon, but did you know that bullying is fairly common in the workplace? According to The Workplace Bullying Institute, 19% of workers are bullied on an annual basis and 61% of those bullies are bosses. Given these statistics, I thought I would be important to examine this topic further.

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Five Tips for Editing Your Own Writing

Jan 16, 2020

Gain tips like reading aloud and using smart tools for proofreading and editing your own writing.

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How to handle conflict in the workplace

Oct 30, 2019

It is likely you have encountered conflict at work at some point during your career. It is more likely you recently encountered conflict. In fact, according to CPP, Inc. - a management consulting arm under The Myers-Brigg Company – through their research, reports 85% of employees experience some kind of workplace conflict and 29% experience this conflict on a “constant” basis. They also report this amounts to 2.8 hours every week being lost to conflict or $359 billion in hours paid. In other words, conflict is highly disruptive.

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A round circle with the image of two hands shaking (as in colleagues) surrounded by the word respect in different sizes with the color of the letters ranging from red, brown, to orange and gold.

How to Show Respect in the Workplace

Oct 17, 2019

I'm big on reflection because, when honest, we get a glimpse into ourselves and how we act, respond, engage, interact, etc. Thinking and reflecting on how you show respect, and disrespect, to your colleagues can be a valuable exercise. Think about your close colleagues, but also think about those colleagues with whom you only occasionally interact with, as well as above and below you on the corporate ladder.

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Social Skills are Essential Skills

Sep 25, 2019

Social skills are soft skills, which are also known as essential skills or human skills. They are important and necessary to make you the most effective co-worker, colleague, and leader possible. They are skills that can be learned and mastered, but it starts with you and your commitment to grow and develop over time.

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6 Tips for Better Active Listening

Aug 01, 2019

Being an active listener is an important communication skill to master, especially in the workplace. Discover the benefits & unlock the power of listening. 

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Cartoon image of a screen with a colorful pie chart in the upper left corner and lines representing text to the right and below to look like a Power Point Presentation.

Advantages and Disadvantages of PowerPoint Presentations in Business

May 30, 2019

PowerPoint has been around since the mid-1980s and has helped business professionals sell their products and woo clients. Over the course of the past twenty or so years, other visual presentation software has emerged, programs such as Prezi, Visme, Keynote and Haiku Deck claim to offer flashier or more creative or personalized presentation options. But let’s face it – not all visual presentations are created equally – and it has little to do with the software, and more importantly, there are pros and cons when it comes to using visual presentations.

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5 Ways Women Can Empower Other Women in the Workplace

May 23, 2019

In the age of the continued gender gap, wage gap, the Time's UP movement, it is imperative that, as women, we actively work to empower one another. Here's how.

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Square with a lime green block at the top containing the words "Soft Skills" and below this are 6 black and white illustrations of arrows pointing to stops and then re-routing, a stop watch, a man speaking at a podium, a silhouette of a man's head with a puzzle piece pulled out, another head with the top lifted off exposing the brain, and a set of hands holding a head, and a pair of hands shaking - all to convey soft skills

How Employers Assess Soft Skills in Job Interviews—And Why They're so Important

Apr 25, 2019

It should be no surprise employers are looking for soft skills in their new hires. In fact, according to LinkedIn’s 2019 Global Talent Trends report, 80% of the more than 5,000 talent professionals surveyed, 80% say soft skills are increasingly important to company success. They specifically identified: creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and time management as the soft skills in highest demand. To be even more specific, 92% of the talent professionals stated soft skills are more important than hard skills, and 89% stated bad hires are usually a matter of poor soft skills.

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4 Tips for Helping Employees with Autism Succeed

Apr 03, 2019

Employers are being faced with the increasing prevalence of a new conundrum: how to approach and assist employees who may (or may not) have autism. Guest blogger, Amy D. Edwards, EdD provides 4 Tips for helping employees with autism succeed in the workplace.

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Woman with a long thick braid of dark hair, wearing a light blue, long-sleeved button-down shirt, with her fists in the air looking very angry

3 Nonverbal Cues You Should Master

Mar 20, 2019

Nonverbal communication is as important as the words you speak. It can convey disinterest, excitement, nervousness, and fear, among other emotions such as joy, sadness, or even arrogance. Sometimes our nonverbal communication is spot on, while other times it does not accurately convey our feelings or emotions.

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The Importance of Saying I Am Sorry

Feb 13, 2019

Brené Brown, in her book Dare to Lead, argues, “While some leaders consider apologizing to be a sign of weakness, we teach it as a skill and frame the willingness to apologize and make amends as brave leadership.” She also talks a lot in this book about vulnerability and there is no doubt that stepping up, in front of a colleague you just insulted or yelled at, immediately makes you vulnerable, but it also is a bridge to honesty and accountability. And without those two elements, there can never be trust.

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Six Best Practices and Tips for Being Professional on Twitter

Jan 30, 2019

Want to know how you can be more effective professionally on Twitter? Follow these guidelines.

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8 Communication Bad Habits You Need to Break

Jan 16, 2019

I’ve written about good communication skills and how to improve communications skills, but I haven’t written about bad ones. There are far too many to list, so I chose eight “big” ones to outline - ones you should correct immediately.

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The Benefits of Being Grateful

Nov 19, 2018

When things go haywire, get hectic, etc. thinking back on your “grateful list,” even if the items are small, can help you get through the chaos and frustration. Did you know there are benefits to being grateful? In a 2015 Psychology Today article, Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist highlights “7 proven benefits” of being grateful.

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3 Ways To Improve Eye Contact Skills

Oct 25, 2018

Maintaining good eye contact is not just about getting the job, it is also about advancing your career. I cannot recall the last time I spoke with someone in a senior leadership position who did not have excellent eye contact skills.

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A sticky note with the word "e-mail" written on it.

12 Tips for Writing Effective Emails

Oct 17, 2018

Since we rely so heavily on email, every email we send should be well-written, and serve the intended purpose to disseminate information, while also being collegial. Effective emails, not only share information in a clear and concise manner, they save time and effort for both the reader and the recipient, which in the long run, impacts the bottom line. Employ the following 12 tips to craft an effective email.

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On Being A Good Steward

Aug 15, 2018

Being a good steward is similar to being an ambassador. A good steward, like an ambassador, is a respected representative, one who acts on behalf of their company, promoting it. They meet and greet and engage with many people, never knowing who might later be a friend or a foe. The build and cultivate relationships.

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3 Ways You Can Foster Inclusion in the Workplace

Aug 02, 2018

Learn more about ways you can foster inclusion in the workplace through my interview with Jesse Krohn, the Associate Director, Education & Prevention in Drexel's Office of Equality and Diversity.

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The 3 Benefits of Using Ice Breakers

Jul 24, 2018

Next time you have a team meeting, suggest using an ice breaker. When this short 10-minute activity is effectively utilized, by choosing the right type and following some basic rules, it can pave the path toward a more functional team by fostering interaction, a sense of community, and empathy.

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6 Barriers to Effective Communication

Jul 18, 2018

Since we communicate with people throughout each and every day, one would assume we'd be fairly good it. I don't believe it is any surprise that we're not. But why? Well, there are six barriers that impede our ability to communicate effectively.

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Five Types of Communication

Jul 12, 2018

In preparing for my Fall course: Communications for Professionals, I’ve been thinking more and more about the different types of communication. In previous years, I have outlined four types of communication, but I believe there are actually five types of communication: verbal, non-verbal, written, listening, and visual.

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Image of a paper ripped with the word transparency behind it.


Jun 26, 2018

Wells Fargo is in the news again for taking advantage of their clients. In full disclosure, I bank with Wells Fargo, but that does not stop me from questioning their actions. Over the past couple of years, Wells Fargo has made the headlines with a series of scandals for the treatment of their employees and their clients. As I read about the latest scandal, I can’t help but think about transparency and Wells Fargo’s lack of it.

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Revisiting The Importance of Soft Skills

May 10, 2018

Soft skills are interpersonal skills. They are the skills that allow you to interact, engage, and collaborate with fellow human beings to foster a relationship. Without these skills it is much more difficult to function within a team, listen to a colleague with empathy, or to evaluate policies, let alone lead. Leaders who lack these interpersonal skills are unable to inspire, build, support, and encourage their team. In teams where leaders lack these soft skills, there is often high turnover.

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THe Downside of Email

Apr 19, 2018

While the first electronic mail was sent and received in the late 1960s, email as we know it did not become commonplace until the turn of the century, which means it is less than 20 years old. There is no doubt email has revolutionized the way we communicate both personally and professionally. But is it always the most effective form of communication?

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Word cloud with words related to adaptability - reciprocity, cooperation, trade-off, fluidity, collaboration

How Adaptable Are You

Mar 14, 2018

Change isn’t easy for anyone. It can stir up anxiety in most people, but to be closed to change, unable to adapt, will not only may be a hindrance in your job over the long run, but it also prevents you from seeing, let along take advantage of, many possible and wonderful opportunities.

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Relationship Building

Feb 28, 2018

I believe in the power of relationships, but I also understand one basic tenant – you can’t expect to receive if you have only taken. A friend once described it like this, “You have to make many deposits before you can make any withdrawals.” Think about it – you can’t ask a colleague to help you out of a bind if you have only been on the taking end of the relationship.

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Image of a man frustrated as he leans over his paper, with an open laptop to his right.


Jan 17, 2018

Another lesson we were taught in Kindergarten that seems to disappear once we reach adulthood is admitting to our mistakes. I could go on and on about the reasons why accountability has been replaced with denials and finger pointing, but the reasons really don’t matter. The truth is, we, as adults and business people, need to be accountable for our actions – both good and bad.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Nov 22, 2017

All of us at Goodwin College, wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving – may you enjoy the holiday surrounded by friends and family, and may your plates and hearts be full.

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powerful words = empowerment

Powerful Words=Empowerment

Oct 18, 2017

At the recent Pennsylvania Conference for Women, I heard powerful words of encouragement from the keynote speaker.

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Benefits of team building

Sep 20, 2017

Team building experiences are not just fun, they provide an opportunity for co-workers to interact with one another in very different ways, see one another through a different lens. We begin to see one another as a fellow human being versus a “co-worker,” someone who has feelings, hopes, and dreams, etc. When we return to the office, we then interact with that person a little bit differently. While we have this shared experience to talk about, laugh about, and reminisce about together, we also are more likely to be supportive, give the benefit of the doubt, or even lend a hand.

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writing for others

Tips for Writing for an Organization — or Another Person

Aug 30, 2017

We write for ourselves everyday, but sometimes the need arises to write under the guise of someone — or something — else, whether it's helping your boss write a letter to constituents or working on copy for the company website.

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How to deal with device distractions

Advice for the Device Dependent

Jun 07, 2017

Mobile devices have transformed how we work and live — mostly for the better. Still, there are some side effects to relying too much on our devices during the workday, including a decrease in productivity.

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Three Essentials to Mastering the Art of Public Speaking

May 31, 2017

I recognize public speaking on any level causes some great anxiety. While some people exude confidence with they speak from a podium or up on a stage, I can assure you, they developed that confidence over time. Let's look at three key elements to public speaking.

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Politics at Work

May 03, 2017

What happens when a political debate unfolds in the office? If the colleagues are of similar mind, then little of any consequence, but what if, especially in this political climate, the colleagues hold different beliefs, voted for different candidates, support different causes?

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Oxford Comma

Why You Should Care About the Oxford Comma

Apr 26, 2017

I get asked every so often what all the hullabaloo is about the Oxford comma, also known as the serial or Harvard comma. I not only use it but am an adamant supporter. Why?

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Mar 08, 2017

How many times have you heard, “Put yourself in someone else’s shoes…?” The ability to understand how another person's beliefs, feelings, and experiences makes them feel is known as EMPATHY. Well, empathy is essential to good leadership. At the end of this post, take the empathy quiz.

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Practice Civility

Feb 08, 2017

In Christine Porath’s article, The Hidden Toll of Workplace Incivility, published by McKinsey&Company in December of 2016, she details the rising trend of incivility in the workplace.

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Are You Listening

Dec 07, 2016

One of the first lessons we are taught in Kindergarten is to listen, but somewhere between those early formative years and when we become adults, many of us seem to forget that lesson. Lee Iacocca, former CEO of Chrysler Corporation, said, "I only wish I could find an institute that teaches people how to listen. Business people need to listen at least as much as they need to talk. Too many people fail to realize that real communication goes in both directions."

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Veterans Are Invaluable Assets

Nov 09, 2016

Finding a job as a vet can be difficult. According to, employers often do not view veterans’ skills as transferrable, they prejudice veterans based on stereotypes, they worry that veteran employees can be deployed again in the future, or they believe veterans won’t acclimate well, especially in corporate America.

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Image of a pile of $1 bills witht he word $37 billion catty corner across it in red.

Poor Communication Has a Huge Financial Impact

Aug 17, 2016

Confusing emails, poor directions, incomplete responses - have you ever thought about the actual cost of poor communication?

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Image of a an old chalk board with the words: Writing Tips for Business, the word for has been corrected

5 Writing Tips For Business

Aug 10, 2016

Business writing, like all forms of writing, can’t be sloppy, unfocused, or lack structure. As a writer, I get numerous questions about writing techniques. It doesn’t matter whether you are writing creative nonfiction, a business proposal, or content for a website, there are numerous tips.

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Game Theory & Interpersonal Communication

Applying Game Theory in Communication & Business

Jul 14, 2016

According to, “Game theory is the process of modeling the strategic interaction between two or more players in a situation containing set rules and outcomes.” Interpersonal communication, like a game, is – or at least should be strategic.

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Soft Skills Wanted

Soft Skills Wanted

Jul 01, 2016

For years, employers have focused on technical skills when making hires, however, that trend is changing. In a recent Forbes article, “9 Skills Bosses See Lacking in New Graduates” Karsten Strauss discussed some interesting data compiled by PayScale.

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