The other day I met my friend Barb for lunch. She arrived at the restaurant first, and the server asked, “Just one?” Barb often eats out alone, and she frowns when she hears that question. This time she replied, “Here is where I should have a snappy comeback, but I...
I received a delightful note when I found my seat at the Arena Stage Theater in Washington, D.C., last week. I was on vacation and visiting the theater for the first time.  An envelope addressed to Ms. Lynn Gaertner-Johnston lay propped on my upturned seat. Inside it were two small...
If you are human, you face situations during your workday that require you to write under pressure. Maybe you have to respond to an angry employee's email. Maybe you seriously disagree with a coworker and need to put your reasons in writing. Or you may have to share constructive...
If you are an expert in your field or industry, you have probably learned a lot of jargon--and you've earned the right to use it. But you don't want runaway jargon to get in the way of successful communication. Here are ways to get control of your language. 1. Understand...
At a park in beautiful Florida this week, I found a great play structure in the shape of a ship. A safety brochure covered the rules (below). Challenge: Can you revise the rules so they make safety sound cool, with a focus on safe fun rather than on regulations? After...
The other day I attended a Christmas pageant put on by amateur actors. Before the pageant started, the emcee said, "This is such a wonderful pageant. You are going to love it!" Last month I decided to patronize a business whose slogan calls it the "world's greatest" of its kind.  A couple...
Many people seem to have adopted the expression "Not a problem" in place of "You're welcome." For example, if I thank someone in email, by phone, or in person for doing a favor for me, the response is often "Not a problem." I am guessing you too have read or heard "Not...
Last Thursday I published a blog post in which I had missed a silly error. I typed reader's instead of readers. Of course, I know where apostrophes belong, but I typed the apostrophe and then overlooked it during several rounds of proofreading. You will not find that error in last...
The other day I was talking to a friend about his professional bio. I wondered why he did not include his experience as a web designer in the bio. To me, designing effective websites requires genius and artistry.  He said, "It was too long ago. I'm a dinosaur." I said, "You were in the...
On a recent Sunday I went out with my family for breakfast at a pancake house. We were seated at a table next to a family made up of a mother, a father, a young boy in a booster chair, and an infant in the mother’s lap.  Before we had...