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6 Surprising Food Facts About America’s Founding Fathers Slideshow

6 Surprising Food Facts About America’s Founding Fathers Slideshow


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Our Founding Fathers had various interests, including food

6 Surprising Food Facts About America’s Founding Fathers

The Fourth of July is coming up soon, and national pride is through the roof. With all the barbecues, parties, and fireworks on the horizon, it’s easy to forget about the work that the Founding Fathers put in to create this amazing country. There is no way they could’ve created the framework for our nation on an empty stomach, so take a moment learn six surprising food facts of America’s founding fathers.

Photo Modified:Flickr/ Michael Allen Smith

Ben Franklin Electrocuted a Turkey

Wikimedia/ Scewing

Franklin is known for discovering electricity, but did you know he also experimented with cooking turkeys using electricity? It was believed to be more humane than current practices, and in 1751, a report was published on Franklin’s electrified dinner. He noted that the turkey was uncommonly tender!

Ben Franklin Introduced Soy and Rhubarb to America

Wikimedia/ Hello World

While Franklin was traveling in Europe in the early 1770s, he sent a colleague who lived near Philadelphia, the horticulturalist John Bartram, soybeans and rhubarb seeds. This is the first time these seeds had been brought to America.

George Washington Actually Loved Cherries

While the old legend about George Washington chopping down a cherry tree has been disproven, it turns out Washington actually enjoyed cherries quite a lot. It’s reported he ate cherries and cherry pie often. So while he never chopped down a cherry tree, he probably picked a few clean!

Photo Modified:Flickr/ Joye~

James Madison and His Wife Served a Lot of Ice Cream

Wikimedia/ Botaurus

At first glance, this doesn’t seem especially notable. In nineteenth-century America, however, there was no simple way to freeze ice cream so creating it was challenging to make and serve. Regardless, James and Dolley Madison enjoyed ice cream and made it a popular dish to serve to guests at the White House.

Thomas Jefferson Ate a Very Healthy Diet

Wikimedia/ Futurist110

While Jefferson wasn’t a vegetarian, people did notice and talk about how little meat he ate. After he founded the University of Virginia, he played a role in creating the school’s menu, and only one of the meals he approved contained meat! Everything else was made up of vegetables and other produce. In fact, Jefferson’s home, Monticello, was an immense plantation, originally growing mainly cotton but converting to wheat and also cultivating a wide range of fruits and vegetables (including, unsuccessfully, wine grapes), some of which he imported from Europe.

Thomas Jefferson Tried New Food All the Time

Wikimedia/ Clindberg

Jefferson traveled frequently on government business and tried new food all the time. Many foods we eat now without blinking an eye were unusual in America when Jefferson tried them. After sampling waffles in Belgium, for instance, he brought an iron home to Monticello. He even made waves when he served tomatoes to guests, because at the time, the fruit, which is a member of the deadly nightshade family, was considered poisonous.


Bananas: 5 Surprising Jewish Facts

In celebration of World Banana Day, discover the Jewish connection to this delicious fruit.

April is a busy month for Jews, as we prepare for the Jewish holiday of Passover. It&rsquos easy to overlook another holiday on the calendar this season: World Banana Day held the third Wednesday of every April. This year, it&rsquos April 17, 2019.

It&rsquos worth taking a break from our Passover cooking and cleaning to contemplate what it takes to grow and market these delicious fruits. The modern banana industry has some surprising Jewish connections. Here are five Jewish facts about this delicious fruit.


Origins of Valentine’s Day: A Pagan Festival in February

While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial—which probably occurred around A.D. 270—others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to 𠇌hristianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.


According to their recent survey Pornhub’s Lesbian category is the leading favourite among women, with Gay (male) following close at second place.

The search term ‘lesbian’ also emerged as the most searched for term by women. But women are also into multi-partner scenarios with terms ‘threesome’ coming in hot at number 2 and ‘gangbang’ in at 4th place.

It’s not just traditional porn

Though majority of women in the Marie Claire survey sought out porn online, 40 percent said they used erotic stories, and six percent said they used audio porn .

“Erotic audio books and podcasts are becoming more popular,” explains Jenny Page. “This has to be a positive trend. You can listen to the action and then let your imagination roam freely. It is a wonderful way to enhance masturbation.”


Stress! Stress! Stress!

HOW DO WE MANAGE STRESS?

There are many stressors in life. We need some stress. It motivates us to eat, to work, to be active. There are physical stressors such as hunger, cold or heat or illness. There are emotional stressors such as death, loss, relationships, birth, marriage, buying a house, moving, conflict and criticism to name a few. There are also cognitive stressors. Cognitive stressors may come from work, school or home. They present a challenge to solve a problem, develop a plan, understand a process or create something new.

Stress is not a bad thing until it tips the scale of balance in our lives. When stressors are in balance in our lives we function at our most productive. When the balance scales tip a little in one direction we will strive to rebalance. Our bodies and neuro-chemical systems activate to return to balance. Long term continuous stress or multiple stressors can begin to move our bodies and emotional and cognitive functioning out of balance and impede our optimum functioning. The longer the stressor continues to overload ones system the more difficult to return to balance without assistance.

Our bodies are wonderfully designed. Our bodies work automatically to return to stasis. As stressors pile on or continue in an unrelenting fashion our systems can begin to break down. We see the evidence of the break down with illness, depression, inability to manage daily life and loss of joy in living. So what can one do to manage stress in our lives and maintain the balance necessary for optimum functioning. Let us take the three realms of functioning I’ve mentioned physical, emotional and cognitive stressors. All three areas benefit from physical exercise, appropriate levels of sleep and good nutrition.

Physical stressors are probably the easiest to remedy and return to balance. Hunger, temperature/climate, and illness can be remedied directly. Food, clothing, shelter and medical treatment can relieve and rebalance these stressors.

Emotional stressors may be the most difficult to remedy. Stages of grief differ in length and duration for each individual. Life events such as birth, marriage and buying a house may be positive but none the less may produce stress reactions. Conflict and criticism may result in interpsychic injury that resists remedy. Physical exercise, good nutrition and sleep are a start. Talking to a trusted family member or friend can assist in working through emotional reactions. Sharing feelings, discussing events and problem solving all may assist the return to balance. If the individual begins to deteriorate and has home life and work impacted it is probably time to seek professional help. Counseling with a trained professional can help to assist in the return to balance. If symptoms become more serious with daily living skills deteriorating or self destructive thoughts or actions occur it is time to combine counseling with the assistance of a Physician to consider medical interventions such as medication or hospitalization.

Cognitive stressors also respond to exercise, sleep and good nutrition. Writers block is an example of cognitive distress. Some suggestions for restarting our creativity are quiet time, thinking time, change of activity or routine, social interaction, play and change of scenery. Sharing ideas and feelings with family and friends may also be helpful.

Stress and it’s roots can often be complicated. Finding ways to manage stress is important.


PINK LADY

A beloved baking apple and also popular for fresh eating, this recipe emphasizes the delicious balance of the Pink Lady sweet/tart flavor.

Hand-Held Apple Pies

  • 3 pounds apples
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar (packed)
  • ½ cup sugar (granulated)
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 dash nutmeg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ¾ cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder (optional)
  • 8oz/2 sticks butter (cut into small pieces, chilled)
  • 7-11 tbsp ice water
  • Egg Wash & Topping
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp light cream (or milk)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon sugar (or vanilla sugar)

Peel the apples core and dice. Toss the apples in a bowl with the lemon juice.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, ½ cup granulated sugar, and cornstarch stir to blend. Add the apples, nutmeg, a pinch of salt, and ¾ tsp of cinnamon. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 20-30 minutes, or until apples are tender and the mixture is very thick. Stir in vanilla extract.
Let the filling cool. If you&rsquore not making the pies right away, store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. The filling may also be frozen for up to 9 months.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ½ tsp of salt, 1 tbsp of sugar, and vanilla powder (if using).
Add the butter pieces to the flour mixture and mix using a pastry blender, fingers, or a food processor, just enough to make a crumbly mixture with some pea-size pieces of butter still intact. About 8-10 pulses using a food processor.
If using the food processor, transfer the flour and butter mixture to a large bowl. Add about 6 tablespoons of the ice water to the flour and butter mixture and toss together until moistened. Continue adding small amounts of water until the mixture begins to form clumps.
Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times until a dough is formed. If necessary, moisten hands a few times, but don't overwork the dough or add more water than is necessary to hold together. Shape into two rectangles about 12 ounces each and 1 inch thick, wrap each in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 45 minutes.
Roll the chilled dough out to a rectangle about 16 inches by 12 inches. With a pizza cutter or knife, cut out 8 rectangles about 4 inches wide and 6 inches in length.
Put about 2 heaping tablespoons of apple filling in the center of the bottom half of one of the rectangles. With your finger, dab a little water around the edge. Fold the top over the filling and pat gently to seal. Take a fork and crimp the entire edge with the tines. Set on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining 7 rectangles. Roll out the remaining dough and repeat for 8 more pies. Refrigerate the baking sheets for about 20 to 30 minutes.
At this point, if you want to, you can freeze all or half of the prepared pies then transfer to freezer bags. On baking day, arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and continue with the recipe.
Heat the oven to 375 F.
Take the pies out of the refrigerator.
Combine the egg yolk and cream. Brush the egg mixture lightly over each pie. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or vanilla sugar and cut a vent or a few vents in the top of each pie.
Bake for about 24 to 30 minutes, or until nicely browned and the filling is bubbly.


Admin Sun 31 May 2015, 6:58 pm

Educating to Hate
Biased textbooks are mis-educating students to hate Jews and the Jewish state.
by Yvette Alt Miller
Dutch teenagers taking a mandatory high school history class have been learning some highly suspect “facts” about the Jewish state.
According to the textbook Geschiedeniswerkplaats (“History Workplace”), Israel’s founding was an utter catastrophe, in which “Jewish militias carried out murders in Arab villages” and is depicted as an unprovoked pogrom of crazed Jews against peaceful Arab villagers.
No mention is made that the UN mandated the establishment of a Jewish State. Nor of the crucial historical detail that five Arab armies attacked the nascent Jewish state hours after Israeli independence was proclaimed.
No mention is made of Arab atrocities against Jews in the pre-state period – nor of the nearly one million Jews from Arab lands expelled following Israel’s founding in 1948 who found refugee in Israel.

Israeli leaders are called murderers and terrorists

Instead, Dutch teenagers are presented with a topsy-turvy view of Israel, in which former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin (winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978 for the peace treaty with Egypt that saw Israel withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula) is called a murderer and terrorist, and Israel’s founders are variously called “radical,” “terrorists,” and described (against historical evidence) as driven by an irrational desire to conquer all the biblical Land of Israel.

The book’s discussion of Israel’s founding in 1948 is illustrated with a modern-day picture of a Palestinian boy throwing a rock at an Israeli tank: the caption describes this as a “small act of resistance.” The book then creates a guilt-inducing feeling of panic and intense moral urgency by saying the boy in the picture was killed nine days after the photo was taken.

Fighting Back
Many Dutch students – and their teachers – read Geschiedeniswerkplaats’ upside-down and horrifying description of Israel without apparent comment – until one Israeli-Dutch 16-year-old, Barak Gorani, was assigned the textbook in his Jewish high school and complained.
Gorani, who describes himself as an “Israeli patriot,” pointed out the book’s many historical errors to his teacher – who agreed whole-heartedly. But, she said, there was nothing she could do: the Netherlands’ Education Ministry required it as a mandatory text.

Outraged, Gorani showed the textbook to his father, who passed it along to the Israeli Embassy. Gorani’s father said he was amazed that no one had formally objected to the textbook which was being used even in a Jewish school! “The Dutch, even the Jews, let it pass in silence.”
Israel’s embassy described the book as “outrageous” and may constitute incitement. The textbook’s publisher, Noordhoff Uitgevers, defended their work, saying: “We believe we carefully handled the facts and in the right context.” But as the story gained notoriety, increasing numbers of complaints poured in from parents and students alike.
As indignation grew, the Dutch Education Ministry began to distance itself from its own textbook, noting the Ministry “does not approve textbooks, they are selected by individual schools."

Deep Dialogue?
Sadly, the case in the Netherlands seems to be unusual only because someone had the courage to stand up and complain. In recent years, schools and education departments in other nations have assigned biased textbooks to impressionable students that denigrate the Jewish state.
READ MORE
http://www.aish.com/jw/mo/Educating-to-Hate.html


Survival or, How My Family Beat the Odds in 1940

It wasn’t easy for an entire Jewish family to escape Eastern Europe in the mid-20th century. Ruth Wisse’s did.

Ruth Roskies and her older brother Ben as children in Romania. Ruth R. Wisse.

We present here the first chapter from the memoirs-in-progress of the renowned scholar and author Ruth R. Wisse. Further installments will appear regularly over the next months.

Ruth Wisse’s books include The Modern Jewish Canon, A Little Love in Big Manhattan, If I Am Not for Myself, No Joke, and Jews and Power. A Hebrew edition of Jews and Power is about to be released by Toby Press in Israel.

I t was not easy for a European Jew to beat the odds in the mid-20th century. When in my teens I began reading accounts of those who did, I wondered how I would have fared had I been in their place. Some who became known as “survivors” ascribed their endurance to qualities of mind and spirit others denied that any special talent or action could explain it.

The art of writing that sustained Anne Frank in her secret attic proved useless once she was shipped to Bergen-Belsen. The intellectual Jean Améry, born Hans Meyer—one of the eyewitnesses I most trust—not only denied the advantage of rational-analytic thinking in Auschwitz but described the ways in which, by reconciling the inmate to the system of his destroyers, such thinking could induce a “tragic dialectic of self-destruction” (my emphasis). We have no depositions from the absent majority of Jews who could not determine their fate. Only the Allied victory permitted those who made it through the war to record their stories, an exercise that itself can tend to magnify the power of personal agency in forging personal fate.

I was four years old when my parents engineered our escape from Europe, so I cannot pretend to have had a big hand in the matter. Had they not managed our flight in the summer of 1940, I would have remained a cute photograph in some Holocaust memorial museum. As we say in Yiddish, moykhl toyves—spare me those favors. I’m not a great fan of Holocaust memorials and don’t much care about the posthumous compassion of strangers. I just wanted to live. But having escaped the ash heap, I remain curious about the ratio of accident to enterprise in our own successful exodus.

Whose idea was it to leave? How close did we come to failure? And was I more an asset or a liability? None of the escape was my own doing, but would we have made it had I not been fortuitously groomed for such an eventuality? These, at least, are the questions I’ll try to illuminate and perhaps even answer in the story I tell here.

In a drawer alongside my expired and current passports is a snapshot of the page in the 1936 city register of Czernowitz—then in Romania, presently Ukraine—that lists Rut, female of the Mosaic faith born on May 13 to Leib Rojskiss engineer (age thirty) and Masza Welczer housewife (age twenty-nine) residing at 43 Yarnic Street. My younger brother David, who recently looked up the Czernowitz register when he visited the city as part of his research into our family history, brought me this souvenir. He knew I might not be keen to make the trip myself. Although I’m the only surviving member of our family who’s originally from Czernowitz, I was always much more interested in exploring Vilna and Bialystok, respectively the Polish birthplaces of our mother and father, than in revisiting mine. I have never yet returned to today’s Chernivtsi and doubt that I shall.

Mother enjoyed telling me about my birth it was one of her few stories that I could not get enough of. On a lovely day in May, she was standing by the window of her bedroom looking out into the garden where the landlord, Mr. Vinovic, was trimming the bushes. When he caught sight of her at the open window, he asked would she like some flowers? She said yes, thank you, and then went into labor so quickly that I was born by the time he arrived with a bouquet.

So I always thought of myself as born on a bed of roses (minus the thorns, and who said it was roses?) in a sunny bedroom with a cheerful midwife tending to a joyful mother. Just to show how incurious I can be when I put my mind to it, I retained this image of my mother’s effortless delivery of me even after my discrepant (and more common) experience in giving birth to three children of my own.

Apart from Mr. Vinovic and the midwife, no one else featured in Mother’s account of that sunny day, not my father or my older brother Benjamin who had just turned five and must have been more than usually concerned about the arrival of this little sister. In addition to the usual reasons for fearing the arrival of a new sibling, Ben had lost another younger sister before me—Odele, who died of meningitis at age two. Mother told us of being so distraught in the last stages of Odele’s illness that she couldn’t enter the sickroom to sit beside her dying child. She thought to spare Ben by never telling him that his sister was dead, hoping he would accept their explanation that she had “gone away” and stop asking about her, as he eventually did (possibly to spare the adults). When I then arrived two years later, he would surely have wondered how long I intended to stay around.

It was different for me, who never knew a world without the assurance provided by Ben—a story in itself, which I hope to tell at a later date. But our parents must have been happy to have another daughter to replace the beautiful child they had lost. “Replace” isn’t the right word, though: Mother always kept Odele’s portrait on the wall beside her bed, the child standing guard over the mother who could not save her. Our baby pictures in Mother’s photograph album look so much alike that I could not distinguish between my absent sister and myself until the blond little girl in the picture became older than two.

Though no one ever compared me explicitly with Odele, her death hugely affected my life. Whether Mother no longer trusted herself to raise a child, or because it hurt too much to be reminded of the missing one, when I was born she hired a nanny who then stayed on as my governess. This guvernantke slept in my room, saw to my needs, and relinquished me to the rest of the family at appropriate times, so that I readily identify with children of royalty who are raised from birth with expectations of disciplined behavior and high performance in return for the unlimited care and comfort they receive.

Royals are required to prove themselves worthy of the benefits bestowed upon them. Mother’s (obviously flawed) recollection that I was toilet-trained at six months reflects Nanny’s perfect discipline rather than mine, but also accounts for my patrician sense of duty. That is partly what I mean by being prepared for an eventuality: I was raised to be flawless, which would then mean behaving like a self-controlled adult.

Czernowitz had been part of the multiethnic Austro-Hungarian empire, and stayed polyglot when it became incorporated into Romania after World War I—polyglot, but no one pretended that its various languages enjoyed equal status. German remained the tongue of distinction as it did in Prague, another multilingual city of East Central Europe. Jews adapted linguistically in order to function economically and survive politically. If the Czernowitz elite spoke German, so, too, did its Jews, and since our parents had become part of the Czernowitz Jewish elite, they prepared their daughter to join its ranks.

Thanks to my nanny Peppi, a German-speaking Jew from Czernowitz who remained a professional governess all her life, I spoke German impeccably. She imparted it so well that heads were said to turn in the street when people overheard me conversing with her. When a visiting friend of Mother’s tried to stop me from following her into the bathroom, I assured her that women need not feel ashamed in one another’s presence, “Frauen zu frauen dürfen sich nicht schämen.” Stories about children often feature such cheekiness Mother’s anecdotes about me also turned on the fluency in German that distinguished me from our Yiddish-speaking parents and from Ben, who attended a Romanian elementary school.

In his Memoirs of an Anti-Semite—the title’s admission of bigotry is meant to enlist our trust—my Czernowitz landsman, the German novelist Gregor von Rezzori, gives us his impression of one of his Jewish mistresses:

But her language, as I was saying: her sing-song, the flattened vowels, the peculiar syntax of people who, although having known an idiom since childhood (in her case, Romanian), remain alien to it, and then the Yiddish expressions interjected all over the place—these things betrayed her the instant she opened her mouth. . . .

If this is how Rezzori writes about a lover, we can imagine what he felt about the rest of Romanian Jewry. Romania was reputed to be the most anti-Semitic country on the continent, yet I feel certain that had he encountered me with Peppi on one of our walks—say, in 1940 when he was a discriminating young man of twenty-six—my German chatter would have aroused in him no such revulsion. Indeed, he might have smiled and stopped to chat with the articulate four-year-old I had curly blond hair, and Shirley Temple was then all the rage.

Of course, nothing turned out as intended. Der mentsh trakht un got lakht. English makes the point smartly—man proposes, God disposes—but in Yiddish God laughs, mocking our best efforts to control our fate. Intended to ready me for a lifetime in Europe, my mastery of German would prove its true value during our escape from Europe. How extraordinary that what you prepare for—in our case, life in a thriving multilingual Romanian metropolis—should yield not a sensible return on a sensible investment but a means of prying you from that life. That is, if you are prepared to sacrifice the sensible investment. When I look for words to describe my parents’ readiness to leave instantaneously the comfortable lives they had built, I find its closest approximation in the Passover Haggadah’s tale of the Israelites’ flight from Egypt with the armies of Pharaoh in hot pursuit.

My father Leib Rojskiss, later Leo Roskies, was a short, slight man with dark tight curly hair and thick glasses who had come to Czernowitz in 1932 to build and run the first rubber factory in northern Romania. His life until that point could have been the stuff of a Fortune magazine profile:

In 1930 an impecunious recent graduate in chemical engineering from Stefan Batory University in Vilna was hired by WUDETA, a rubber factory in the Polish industrial city of Krosno. Fifteen-year-old Leo had left his traditional Jewish home in Bialystok to get a general education, and then went on to university. Intending to study agriculture with the aim of going to Palestine to cultivate the land, he turned to chemistry on learning that the university’s faculty of agriculture was closed to Jews. He married and started work the year he graduated.

WUDETA was named for its owners WUrtzel and Daar and for the city of TArnow where they had founded the business, producing rubber footwear and bicycle tires for domestic and foreign markets, including neighboring Romania. Typically, though the owners were Jews, the plant employed Jews only for management and distribution and never for production. Enoch, an older Rojskiss brother, was thus duly hired for sales. But an exception was made for the newly-graduated chemist Leo, who was hired for production and was expected to learn the formulas being used by the Swedish chemists whom the factory owners did not fully trust and wanted to replace. Leo succeeded at his assigned task and won promotion to chief engineer.

At about this time, Romania imposed restrictions on Polish imports with the aim of developing its own industry, and rather than accept this setback, WUDETA sent Leo to Czernowitz to establish a new factory there. Not yet thirty, Leo oversaw the development of CAUROM (CAUchook ROMania), which became a hugely successful manufacturer of rubber products ranging from rainwear to rubber balls. He adored the industry and set out to produce superior goods under the best possible factory conditions. Among his rewards was a medal from King Carol.

Other Jewish manufacturers in Czernowitz at the time produced baked goods, buttons, candies and chocolate, chemical products, dried milk and processed foods, furniture, hats and caps, hosiery, printed materials, soap and candles, soda water, and of course textiles. With his brother Enoch in the front office as sales manager, Leo worked hard, knowing that the king’s gratitude for their efforts was not shared by all Romanians. Hard nationalists called the Jews predators, while Marxists saw the rapacious capitalist behind every factory owner. Much as Leo appreciated his newfound prosperity—our parents became wealthier in Czernowitz than they would ever be again—he did not mistake his success for security.

Trying to account for Father’s wariness, greater than that of most of the Jews around him, I find a clue in an episode from his student days in Vilna. This little story always beguiled me. Like most of his cohort, Leibl, as he was known to his friends, had started out politically on the left, never formally a Communist but close enough that a Bialystok friend wanting to cross over to the Soviet Union asked Leibl for help. The process was known as shvartsn di grenets—“blacking the border,” i.e., getting smuggled across the frontier separating the newly reestablished Polish Republic from the newly founded Soviet Union.

Vilna Jews appreciated their relative freedom under Polish Prime Minister Jozef Pilsudski, but Poland’s formal democracy also allowed the formation of anti-Semitic nationalist parties. By contrast, the Soviet Union had officially outlawed anti-Semitism and promised international brotherhood. Young people were enchanted by the lure of the red-brick road. To help his friend Chaim reach his promised land, Leibl and a third friend raised the required 200 rubles and gave the smuggler half on account, the rest to be paid when he returned with the password given him by Chaim once safely deposited at his destination.

The plan was conceived in high spirits. The boys chose for their password the Hebrew-Yiddish word k’mat, meaning “almost,” but when spelled differently becoming an acronym for kush mir in tukhes, kiss my ass. How clever they must have felt when the smuggler returned the naughty password for the balance of the cash! But Chaim was never heard from again. This was the fate of many idealists whom the Soviets caught and convicted of spying—which did not dampen local enthusiasm for the great Soviet experiment.

But Leibl was taught his lesson. Chaim’s mother, a Bialystok neighbor of the family, blamed him for the disappearance of her son and threatened to denounce him to the police. Leibl’s father kept a wad of money in the house in case of his son’s arrest. Thereafter, Leibl stayed clear of Communists when he moved to Czernowitz he knew that, should the Soviets ever invade Romania, his chances of survival as director of a factory would be at least as slim as they would be were Hitler to attack from the West. Stalin had unleashed the Great Terror in 1937, leaving no doubt about his murderous methods.

In 1939, one of Leo’s trusted employees (whom I know only by his family name Boncescu) left his job at CAUROM to take a government position near the northern border. Leo asked him to notify us immediately if the Russian troops ever approached or crossed into the country. By the day Boncescu called with the news, in early June 1940, Father was already in Bucharest trying to arrange our exit visas. Mother packed us up and within a few hours we were on the train to the capital.

Mother left behind two items that she had gotten ready and intended to take along in her hand luggage: a framed photograph of her father and a songbook by the Yiddish poet-songwriter Mordecai Gebirtig with an inscription thanking her, a good amateur performer, for how well she interpreted his songs. Whenever she recalled these items, she would add, “But I did not forget to take your potty and your white shoes,” which I understood to mean either that she was distracted by my needs or that she deliberately placed them ahead of her own.

Father never mentioned what he had left behind. Peppi accompanied us to the train, but no further. Were this a work of fiction I would try to make much of the moment of our departure, but I have no idea whether I dreaded leaving or felt pleased to be setting out on an adventure with my older brother. As I have no memory of it whatsoever, I can only record that we left Czernowitz on the same day in June 1940 that we received direct news of the Soviet invasion of Romania, and that I never saw Peppi again.

Why did we leave? Whenever I am identified by my place and date of birth, Czernowitz 1936, it is usually followed by some sentence like “Her family fled the Nazis and came to Canada.” I try to correct the mistake in the cause of truth and because the error is symptomatic of the understandable desire to simplify a complicated history. Though most of Mother’s family and a large part of Father’s were indeed murdered by the Germans, we actually fled the parallel and prior evil enshrined in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 that had divided Poland between the two parallel predators. Leo deduced that Stalin, having invaded Poland, would also invade Romania. By 1940 every Jew knew the hazards of Hitler, but my father did not yield to the subtle moral blackmail concealed in the claim of Communists that they were the only alternative to Hitler. He knew it was possible to have more than one enemy.

Mother’s role in our exodus was less daring than Father’s but no less consequential had she resisted our departure, he would not have organized it. Her readiness to take flight was the more admirable since in following Leo she had already been twice uprooted.

The first time was just after their marriage, when she left her native Vilna and an adoring circle of friends for Krosno, a factory town with no Jewish society at all. That was in 1930. The birth of Benjamin the following year, however welcome, increased her isolation as a young mother. She knew nothing about infants and had no family or friends in Krosno to advise her, not even about the need to burp a baby as part of its feeding. Her memories of her two years there were traumatic, featuring illness (hers), indigestion (the infant’s), and factory intrigue around Leo.

Thus, she was much happier with their second relocation to Czernowitz, known in cosmopolitan circles as “Little Vienna” and in Jewish circles as “Jerusalem on the Prut” thanks to the conspicuous presence of some 42,000 Jews, more than one-third of the population, among them many other young professionals and their wives. Moreover, though German was considered the language of culture, the city also had a special connection to Yiddish, Mother’s favorite of the six languages she knew. She had developed a large repertoire of Yiddish songs that she sang a-cappella or while accompanying herself at the piano.

The multinational Austro-Hungarian empire had conferred on every minority “an inviolable right to the preservation and use of its own nationality and language,” allowing Jews to develop their culture in Hebrew and Yiddish, and had made Czernowitz the logical site of the 1908 founding International Conference on Yiddish. The city remained a Yiddish stronghold when it became part of the Kingdom of Romania in 1918. Masza Rojskiss attended performances of touring Yiddish actors and singers, some of whom she had gotten to know in Vilna, and though she never became a professional musician like two of her older half-sisters, she sometimes sang at the Zionist club Masada, which she and Leo joined and where they found their new friends. The inscribed songbook by Mordecai Gebirtig, praising her renditions of his songs—the book she forgot in the haste of departure—speaks to her success in bringing Yiddish into the Germanic-Hebraic culture of Czernowitz’s Jewish high society. Leo’s status and her liveliness won them an interesting and welcoming circle of friends.

There were servants, a chauffeur for Father, a housemaid in addition to Peppi, and money to help less prosperous family members back in Poland. Nonetheless, Mother, too, did not fully trust their prosperity, especially after Odele died. One of the songs she had learned from her older sister Anna Warshawska acknowledged this distrust: Zol es geyn, zol es geyn vi es geyt, vayl dos redl fun lebn zikh dreyt. Let things go as they must, because the wheel of fortune spins, today in my direction, tomorrow in yours. The song’s plaintive tones, so at odds with Masza’s temperament, seemed to foretell a reversal of fortune.

In later years Mother was sometimes angry, even unforgiving, of those trapped in Europe by the war whom she suspected of having let their possessions weaken their powers of self-preservation: “She wouldn’t leave her carpets!” Her annoyance may have masked guilt over having failed to rescue her beloved sister Annushka, murdered with her husband and family during the extermination of the Kovno ghetto. Anna was a singer on the radio, a woman of wealth, and by 1940 was eager to leave Poland, but unlike Masza’s husband, hers could not secure the necessary papers. Gratuitous guilt would cling not only to most survivors but to those like my parents who had made it to safety. Though I thought Mother’s astringent way of dealing with it terribly unfair, I preferred it to Father’s self-reproach.

In assessing the ratio of personal initiative to luck in our survival, I must include another detail that could almost certainly have prevented our departure from Czernowitz. A couple of years after I was born in 1936, Mother became pregnant again. She herself was one of ten children, and she wanted more than two. Her obstetrician was a member of the Masada circle. When she went to confirm her pregnancy, the doctor told her to ready herself for an abortion: he would end the pregnancy then and there. Masza, having expected a welcome affirmation of her condition, protested, but the doctor overrode her objections, insisting that 1938-9 was no time to be having a Jewish child.

I doubt that our parents would have undertaken so uncertain a journey or managed it as adroitly as they did if they’d had a new infant in tow. Owing our lives to this unborn child as we do, I cannot absolutely oppose abortion, though for the same reason I also believe in having more than just a replacement level of Jewish children.

The person most directly responsible for our rescue from Europe was my paternal grandfather David, who had been blind for the last 40 of his 80 years. For the Passover seder of April 3, 1939 the entire Rojskiss family gathered at the patriarch’s home in Bialystok—all except our branch that stayed in Czernowitz because Ben and I had come down with scarlet fever. It was apparently at this gathering that zeyde instructed the family to buy a textile factory in Canada—textiles being the longstanding family business. He instructed the son and grandson whom he considered the sharpest businessmen to leave at once and arrange for others to follow as soon as they had concluded the deal.

One of my cousins believes that the two men had already been in Canada several months earlier to finalize the purchase of a woolen mill in Huntingdon, Quebec—but in either version, it was our grandfather’s vision that set this plan into motion. He must have learned about the depressed state of Canada’s textile industry and concluded that the government’s concern over the production of woolen goods might outweigh its aversion to Jews. Though the historians Irving Arbella and Harold Troper show Canada to have had the worst record in the civilized world for admitting Jews, in this case the country evidently put its economic interests first.

Thanks to Grandfather’s foresight, all four of his sons made it out of Europe, though one daughter-in-law and two granddaughters, stranded in Poland when war broke out, did not reach Canada until 1945. Doomed in Bialystok were Aunt Perele, the sister who stayed behind to care for our grandfather, with her husband and two children, and the blind visionary himself. The sons in Canada tried to get this part of the family out of Poland in time, but failed.

I thought of this ancestor whom I’d never met when I studied King Lear, a play about old men, one of them blind, who “stumbled when they saw” and developed insight only once they were humbled by the consequences of their poor judgment. I come from different stock. When my grandfather lost his sight, he arranged for a local yeshiva student to come to his home every day and help him study Talmud. I imagined this young student as the Earl of Kent and Grandfather as a regal personage of exceptional wisdom. His wit, however, was unkind and sometimes caustic, especially when it came to his sons’ romantic pursuits. He showed his concern for his children in other ways. What he saw in his blindness was the black heart of Europe.

Literature has not registered a man as perceptive as Grandfather, killed in the Bialystok ghetto.

Bureaucracy can be tyranny’s loyal enforcer. It was the lower-level officials who almost prevented us from escaping Europe and reaching Canada. Our parents had come to Romania as Polish citizens. When Germany expelled its Polish Jews in 1938, Poland, fearing their return, decreed that reapplying citizens needed to have their passports stamped anew. This almost completely blocked the repatriation of its expelled and undocumented Jews. The border city of Zbąszyń became a transit camp for Polish Jews who now could not travel in either direction. Effectively it was a ghetto, since, unlike in earlier centuries when Jews could always run somewhere else, the entire world was now sealed against their entry.

In any case, as Father knew, we would have been doomed had we traveled with Polish citizenship: independently of his father in Bialystok, he had already begun making contingency plans for our eventual departure from Europe. Thanks to his expertise in rubber production, he had secured visas for South America but he was not enthusiastic about moving to a place where he had heard there were only rich and poor. He preferred the freer democracies of North America, and since his brothers were already in Canada, he probably wanted to be near them rather than solitary on a continent where he had no kin.

A pogrom was raging in Bucharest as Father tried to arrange our travel in June 1940. Thanks to the medal he had received from the king, the Romanian officials granted us exit permits. We therefore left Romania as stateless persons, heading for Athens by train. Father hoped that somewhere along the way he would receive entry permits to Canada, secured by the family members already there, and in Athens the precious documents reached us. By the time we boarded the ship at Piraeus, headed for Lisbon, we could say that Montreal was our final destination.

We were refugees masquerading as tourists. My white shoes that Mother remembered to take with us when we left Czernowitz figure in a group photo taken in front of the Parthenon, where we are all in stylish attire. Mother would later tell me that during our travels they took to calling me Fräulein Hoffentlich for the way I spiced my sentences with the word “hopefully.” They placed me in front when we came to checkpoints, confident that my confidence would render us passable.

As we traveled, the political situation grew worse. By the time we reached Lisbon in September, France had fallen, touching off what the historian Marion Kaplan calls a “stampede” of refugees to the city, many of them similarly in transit. We were among approximately 80,000 Jews who found temporary asylum in what centuries earlier had been the launching pad of the Portuguese Inquisition.

Anyone who reached Lisbon had already run the gauntlet of officialdom. In our case this included border guards at ports in Italy and Gibraltar, who reserved the right to sequester improperly documented persons. The Italians did not remove any passengers from the ship, but the British did, and though they spared us, it was the arbitrary cruelty of those officers impeding refugee flight that forever complicated our thinking about the British, already tainted by what we knew of their refusal to grant desperate Jews entry to Palestine.

The most threatening point of our journey was the least expected. It occurred at the American consulate in Lisbon. Father had secured us passage on the Nea Hellas, a Greek ship that was to depart Lisbon on October 4 and dock in New York nine days later. From there we were to travel to Montreal with our recently issued Canadian papers. But we needed transit visas for the period between landing in the United States and boarding the train to Montreal, and these the American consulate would not issue without medical tests that included an ophthalmologist’s assessment of Father, who wore thick glasses.

When Leo (as named in the visa) went to the appointed medical office, he was informed that the doctor was on vacation and would not return until after our ship’s scheduled departure. Back we all went for a referral to another doctor, but now the consul denied Father’s request and said he would have to wait for the authorized doctor’s return. Father exploded: “You are a crazy man! Our ship sails this week! Will you throw away the lives of these children? Give me the name of another doctor or I will kill you!”

I am going by Mother’s description of this outburst, which convinced her that we were now doomed. As I do not recall Father ever raising his voice to us, I like to imagine him shouting in his recently acquired English. His unlikely eruption had its effect, however. The consul said that I reminded him of his own daughter and issued us the visas. End of episode.

The manifest for the ship that the Roskies family took from Lisbon to New York in 1940. The family is outlined in yellow near the bottom. Courtesy Ruth R. Wisse.

Sometimes I have imagined this scene from Ben’s angle. While throughout our journey I was the featured adorable mascot, he was under strict orders never to say anything unless directly spoken to, and then never to reveal anything he knew. He spoke only Yiddish and Romanian and was just learning English. Had he tried to say something, he would have betrayed his alien status. Already a semi-adult at age nine, he listened to Hitler’s radio broadcasts and understood the menace in those lunatic ravings.

I would later learn from Ben about a point in our journey when our parents searched hysterically for documents they had misplaced. I can imagine the effect on him. Because I recall nothing of those months, I don’t think I ever lost the sense of security imbued in me since infancy by our lives in Czernowitz. If Ben had ever felt the same sense, it must have ended that day in the consular office when our father almost cost us the lives he was working so hard to save.

Father’s out-of-character outburst can serve as yet another warning against trying to match input to outcome. Families with the best laid plans were betrayed and doomed after successfully hiding for years the bravest ghetto fighters fled through the sewers and emerged in open air only to be executed by tipped-off Stormtroopers survivors returning to their native towns were axed and stoned by their former neighbors. By lucky contrast, Father’s uncalculated eruption parted the sea for us.

We set sail on the second day of Rosh Hashanah 1940 and arrived in Montreal via New York on October 19. In later years I read somewhere that the Nea Hellas was torpedoed on its return crossing, but from the Internet I’ve recently learned that in fact it was decommissioned for use as a British troop ship during the war and then returned to service.

All that I remember from that period in my life is a little green leather purse that Father bought me at an outdoor stand in Lisbon. It was square with a clasp at the top and a leather strap. I still had it in Montreal when we moved the first time, but then it disappeared and I long mourned its loss. Everyone has had dreams of the kind I dreamed about losing that purse. Maybe I had to lose it, as a stand-in for all the things I did not remember parting with.

Fortunately, Mother did take with her most of her photographs, so that I grew up with images of her brothers and sisters, friends in Vilna and Czernowitz, her courtship and marriage, our vacations in summer and winter, and so forth. Apart from the formal studio portraits, her brother Grisha was a talented amateur photographer and many of the snapshots are his. Our home in Montreal displayed pictures he had taken of me and Ben but I never saw a picture of me with Peppi.

In 1985, Guy Descary, the mayor of Lachine—today a borough of Montreal—decided to name the new local library for Saul Bellow, the township’s most famous native son, whose name and birthplace he had discovered on a list of Nobel Prize laureates. With his eye on the next election, Descary thought he could parlay the dedication ceremonies into good publicity, and he drew the Montreal Jewish community into his plans. Norma Cummings, a local lover of the arts, arranged a party for the celebrant in her home and garden.

It was an enchanted evening. I sat for a while beside Saul’s then-wife Alexandra, of whom I knew only that she was a mathematician (no hope for conversation there) and a Romanian, a detail I had learned from reading Saul’s novel The Dean’s December, much of which is situated in Bucharest. I told Alexandra that she and I had something in common: I, too, was born in Romania. Had she by chance spent any time in Czernowitz?

Yes, as it happened, she knew the city well. It was the home of her parents’ very close friends, a Ukrainian doctor and his Jewish wife who was also a physician: an obstetrician. She thought of this woman, Rosa Zalojecki, as her godmother. During the war, the Christian husband had refused to divorce his wife and died in prison. But Rosa and her son survived and after the war they immigrated to Israel, where she kept up her medical practice into her eighties. Alexandra and Saul had recently visited her there. (I thought: this must have been the trip chronicled in Saul’s To Jerusalem and Back!) Alexandra asked whether my parents might have known the Zalojeckis.

From what I knew of our parents’ life in Czernowitz, I said it was unlikely. They had arrived from Poland only in 1932, and while the local Zionist circle included several doctors, I did not recall them mentioning that name. I told Alexandra that my parents had socialized mostly with other Jews, but that I would ask. The next morning, I put the question to Mother: had she known a Rosa Zalojecki in Czernowitz?

Mother said, “Of course. Rosa Samet.”

“Zalojecki,” I corrected. “She was an obstetrician and gynecologist.”

Mother then corrected me: Rosa was a Jewish girl from Poland. Zalojecki was her married name. She was married to a Ukrainian—also a doctor—but her maiden name was Samet. “Of course I knew her. She gave you your name. When you were born, you came out so suddenly that I began to hemorrhage, and the midwife was afraid for my life, so she called in Rosa Samet and told her it was an emergency. Rosa was known as the best obstetrician in the city. She came right over and stopped the bleeding.”

So much for the storied ease of my birth!

Mother went on with her tale. Because Rosa was afraid of complications, she stayed for several hours and during that time she asked what Mother intended to name me. Mother said “Tamara,” after a girl with lovely braids who had lived in their Vilna courtyard. (I was kept in braids for many years.) But the good doctor advised her against it, saying that she herself had suffered from being named Rosa and this was not a time to burden a Jewish child with a recognizably Jewish name. “She told me to call you Rut, a good Romanian name. I took her advice and told Father to register you as Rut.”

The Czernowitz registry that I cited early on confirms Mother’s account of my name—but without Alexandra, I would never have learned what lay behind it. Mother recounted all of this as though she had never imprinted in me the image of the bouquet tendered her by the landlord as she lay in her sunny bedroom attended by a cheerful midwife—my bed of roses. It could be that she saw no contradiction between hemorrhage and bouquet, but had simply given me the happier version.

I am clearly not qualified to question memory, having (as I’ve said) no memory of my German-speaking childhood. Ben, however, remembered Peppi, and in the 1960s looked her up on one of his business trips to Paris, where she had accompanied another family from Czernowitz and thus survived the war. He thought that Len and I should bring her over to be the nanny of our firstborn son, but nothing came of it.

It is curious but fitting that Saul Bellow should have figured in securing the facts of my birth. My copy of Herzog falls open at the scene where the hero, tortured by the knowledge that his wife has been cuckolding him with his closest friend, is looking for sympathy among the people he knows. He visits the lawyer Sandor Himmelstein, seeking help in fighting his wife over alimony and custody of their child in the ensuing divorce. Instead of helping his friend, Himmelstein is provoked by this show of weakness, and his cynicism goads Herzog into an angry counterattack:

“Do you know what a mass man is, Himmelstein?”

“A mass man. A man of the crowd. The soul of the mob. Cutting everybody down to size.”

“What soul of the mob? Don’t get hifalutin. I’m talking facts, not shit.”

“And you think a fact is what’s nasty.”

“You think they’re true because they’re nasty.”

Himmelstein is annoyed by the naiveté of this grown man, and wants to teach him the score: a wife who has spectacularly betrayed her husband would certainly get the better of him in court. But Herzog will not tolerate the reduction of realism to excrement. Truth can be nasty, but the nastier version of the facts is not necessarily the truer.

So, too, with Mother’s revelation. Normally a staunch member of the Himmelstein camp of realists, she would insist that “life is a war,” that “kindheartedness to the cruel is cruelty to the kindhearted”: a rakhmen af gazlonim iz a gazlen af rakhmonim, in the Yiddish version of this talmudic aphorism. But if she remembered my birth as a gift of roses rather than a river of blood, so much the luckier for me. In the same hopeful spirit, maybe I could say that I helped her and Father a little during our exodus by taking her mind off what was happening in the rest of Europe, and after the war by taking their mind off what they had not managed to do for others.


Does The Illinois Workplace Wellness Study Say What Everyone Says It Says?

Seems like every month, the University of Illinois workplace wellness study re-enters the limelight, and earlier this month Aaron Carroll, MD really shoved it center stage in his New York Times piece, Workplace Wellness Programs Don’t Work Well. Why Some Studies Show Otherwise.

This was a randomized controlled study of an employee wellness program. To date, the study results have shown no improvement in health behaviors, health care costs, or productivity. To date.

You can read the full study paper published on the Bureau of Economic Research website. But if you’re not one to wade through a swamp of statistics, check out the study’s very own website for info, updates, and bar charts galore.

Does Feeling Valued Count?

Rather than cherry-picking the facts, allow me to just suggest questions to consider as you learn more about this study:

What does “doesn’t work” mean, anyway? Work to do what?

The study found that the number of program participants who believed their employer was committed to their health and safety increased significantly as an effect of the intervention. Is this important?

In the study paper, how many times do the researchers make the claim that has captured the imagination of Dr. Carroll and many others in the business and health care media, that “wellness doesn’t work”? (You can cheat by using your browser’s “Find” function. Or take a guess. It’s somewhere between -1 and +1.)

Was the study published in a peer-reviewed journal?

“I heavily favor peer-reviewed work.”

How many employers, and how many different kinds of wellness strategies, were included in this study of the University of Illinois wellness program (called iThrive)?

Let’s say you’re running a program for a global manufacturing company or a tech start-up. How comparable is your employee population to the employees at University of Illinois?


Re: AISH

Admin Thu 10 Dec 2015, 7:48 pm

http://www.aish.com/sp/pr/The-San-Bernardino-Massacre-And-Prayer.html?s=mm
The San Bernardino Massacre And Prayer
Why those who think “God isn’t fixing this” are wrong.
In the aftermath of the horrific terrorist attack in San Bernardino a new phrase – prayer shaming – has made its way into the coverage of much of the media. In its own way, it too is an attack on the spiritual values that define our civilized society.
“Prayer shaming” describes the reaction of a significant number of commentators in the press and social media to a response to tragedy that in the past would almost certainly have been greeted with respect and reverence. The blazing headline of the NY Daily News illustrated it most starkly. Following a caption in eye-catching red “14 dead in California mass shooting” a super large font screamed the message: “God isn’t fixing this”. That was trailed with these words: “As latest batch of innocent Americans are left lying in pools of blood, cowards who could truly end gun scourge continue to hide behind meaningless platitudes.”

Just in case you don’t fully understand the paper’s intent that prayers are no more than platitudes, that turning to God in a time of crisis is a cowardly reflex achieving nothing other than the avoidance of personal responsibility, the headline sarcastically adds quotes from four politicians offering prayers on behalf of the victims and their families in order to mock them as archaic and pious sentiments which have no place in the real world confronting evil and terror.
Our nation’s Pledge of Allegiance speaks of one nation under God. Prayer-shamers, however, don’t believe the Almighty “can fix” anything and any mention of His involvement in our affairs and any call for His assistance is nothing less than an abdication of our own obligations.
What an incredible perversion of faith and lack of understanding of prayer.

Man becomes truly powerful only when he comprehends his human powerlessness.
In a remarkable passage in the Torah we find the perfect paradigm for the relationship between prayer and personal responsibility, between our dependence on God and our recognition of the need for us to exert our own efforts to the best of our abilities. When Amalek attacked our ancestors shortly after the Exodus from Egypt, Moses instructed his disciple Joshua to form an army and fight the enemy. But at the same time Moses, aided by Aaron and Hur, son of Miriam, ascended a hill overlooking the battle in order to fervently pray for victory. The link between prayer and battle, divine assistance and human effort, was profoundly illustrated by what happened next. Whenever Moses lifted his hands in prayer the Jews gained the upper hand in combat. Whenever Moses stopped beseeching God, the tide of war shifted in favor of Amalek. Once understood, Moses didn’t stop praying for even a moment – and that is what assured victory.

Man needs God – and God wants man. Man becomes truly powerful only when he comprehends his human powerlessness. Prayer is the link between the creator and his creations. Without prayer man thinks he is God – and that unwarranted sense of ego insures his defeat and destruction.
And that is the meaning of faith. Faith is not knowing what the future holds. It is knowing who holds the future.
Faith is not knowing what the future holds. It is knowing who holds the future.

Prayer defines us. Prayer gives us hope. Prayer puts into words the values we hold most precious, the people we most treasure, the ideals for which we live and for which we are prepared to give up our lives.
When the survivors of the San Bernardino massacre realized they were saved they did what countless generations past did in similar circumstances. They prayed. They prayed because they could not help but express gratitude for their deliverance. And together with all those who heard of this calamitous event they joined in prayer for the souls of the victims. Those who perished will find eternal reward in the heavens above – and our prayers will keep alive their memories for us here on earth.

Prayers are not pointless. All prayers are heard by the Almighty. And all prayers are answered in God’s own and inscrutable ways.

So yes, God is fixing this - and the answer to the evils of Isis and the terrorists of our times is what it has always been, the partnership between our efforts and God’s intervention. For the first, we need to do battle for the second we need not to shame but to share in a collective groundswell of impassioned prayer, the kind of prayer which will convince God that we truly deserve God’s redemptive intercession.


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Four Healthy Communication Habits For Virtual Meetings

Usage of video meeting apps is skyrocketing Zoom reported a 369% increase in sales for quarter four of 2020 alone. According to a recent Upwork survey (via CNBC), one in four Americans is expected to be working remotely by 2025, a staggering 87% increase from pre-pandemic levels. Many of us are getting used to virtual meetings as the norm rather than the exception in our work lives.

Keeping It Real This carries with it the real concern that the more we meet in virtual settings, the less "real" our communications become. I've found that meaningful in-person interactions can be big engagement motivators at work, and 2010 Gallup research found that social time can contribute to lower stress levels. It also fulfills the intrinsic psychological needs we all have. I believe that personal experience can lose fidelity when we're interacting via screens behind layers of technology. “Zoom fatigue” and “Zoom burnout” are becoming common terms (although the symptoms

Communication Lessons Learned From Prince Philip

What would you do if you were one of the most powerful men in the world, without any actual power? This was the role of the recently departed Prince Philip, the trusted husband, confidant and advisor to Queen Elizabeth.

As I looked into this unique man's history and role in shaping that history, it stood out to me that there were many lessons an organization or individual could pull from his life experiences. As a member of the royal family, Prince Philip was always expected to portray a bright, sophisticated, classy demeanor. He was always under very close watch and was not necessarily entitled to much privacy. Attempting to uphold such a pristine reputation was obviously an overwhelming task, but it had to be done in order to protect

May the words be with you: What writers can learn from ‘Star Wars’

After more than 40 years, the Force is still with us. "Star Wars" is everywhere. And so is its influence on the craft of writing.

Among the journalists we know, none is more knowledgeable about the creative legacy of “Star Wars” than Jason Fry. As an independent author, Jason has written more than 30 “Star Wars” books and short stories. He is also the author of his own space adventure series, “Jupiter Pirates,” published by HarperCollins. Before his literary journeys into space, Jason spent 13 years at the Wall Street Journal online as a reporter, editor, columnist, and blogger. He has been a frequent contributor to Poynter, serving as a writer, editor and visiting teacher.

Here’s why students don’t revise what they write – and why they should

When high school students get into the habit of revising their writing, it has a positive impact on the quality of their work.

Despite the proven benefits of revision, students often resist making changes to the initial versions of what they wrote – because it requires additional effort. Or, if they do revise, they only do it in a mediocre way. Finding ways to motivate students to revise their writing is crucial given that only 27% of 12th graders in the U.S. write at a level that is “proficient.” Proficiency in writing refers to correct spelling and grammar, logical presentation of ideas and appropriate use of details and evidence. Learning how to revise

Writing As Thinking: Why Writing Is Still A Critical Skill In Business

Today’s industry leaders can empower their employees, themselves and their organizations by promoting this powerful skill. I believe those who do will elevate their own reputation and success in commerce and society.

I was a science kid in high school I loved physics and mathematics. When I learned my senior year that I was assigned to the English teacher with a reputation as the most rigorous in school, I dreaded a year of struggle outside my strength areas. Unexpectedly, that class changed my life. She taught me how to think in a way that laid the foundation of my success not only in undergraduate liberal arts but also in science, business and leadership. I leaned on that teacher’s instruction as I pursued

Internationalisation means more than just teaching in English

It was crucial for East Asian universities to put on more courses in English, but now they need to rethink their pedagogy, says Benjamin Tak Yuen Chan

Many East Asian universities have been remarkably successful in their internationalisation efforts over the past decade. There are now 14 universities from the region included in the world’s top 100, according to the latest THE rankings. One significant factor has been the use of English in teaching, which has facilitated the recruitment of overseas students and staff, as well as the expansion of student exchange activities with international partners. The target of Japan’s Top Global University Project to enrol 300,000 foreign students was achieved a year ahead of the 2020

The internet is excluding Asian-Americans who don’t speak English

For millions of people on the wrong side of America's language gap, technology is creating barriers rather than removing them.

Jennifer Xiong spent her summer helping Hmong people in California register to vote in the US presidential election. The Hmong are an ethnic group that come from the mountains of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand but don’t have a country of their own, and Xiong was a volunteer organizer at Hmong Innovating Politics, or HIP, in Fresno. There are around 300,000 Hmong people in the US, and she spent hours phone-banking and working on ads to run on Hmong radio and TV channels. It was inspiring work. “This was an

Figures of Speech: 40 Ways to Improve your Writing

Figurative speech plays an important role in our ability to communicate with one another. It helps create compelling narratives, and evoke emotion in readers.

With this in mind, this periodic table graphic by Visual Communication Guy groups the 40 different figures of speech into two distinct categories—schemes and tropes. What’s the difference between the two, and how can they help improve your writing? Types of Schemes In linguistics, a scheme is language that plays with sentence structure to make a sentence smoother, or even more persuasive, using syntax, word order, or sounds. Here are four different ways that schemes fiddle with sentence structure. Balance This is especially important when trying to make a sentence

Is It OK When Passive Voice Is Used?

Here’s what you need to know about the passive versus active voice so you can avoid the sort of writerly mistakes I made in college but definitely never make anymore.

Even when you think you’ve got a handle on grammar, you might not realize how easy it is easy to unwittingly venture into lexical territory that would rile your freshman year English teacher. Certainly back in my college days, I had a few teacher’s assistants who would get on my case for using the passive voice. Bright red marker underlined heaps of my prose, with an all-caps warning noting that my argument would be made clearer if I’d only adhere to the active voice when writing papers. At the time,

Finding Your Nonfiction Writing Niche and Understanding Why This Is So Important

Why specialize? It's a question many nonfiction authors face. Author Rick Lauber explains how focusing in on one subject can help your writing create a bigger impact—and even widen your audience.

When nervously venturing into the world of freelance writing many years ago, I began by accepting any story assignment … I was pleased to write, see my name in print, and collect tear sheets of my published work. By casting my net wide, I became a generalist and thought that my being able and open to writing about anything would be beneficial and appealing. Thanks to my aging parents, I’ve since changed my mind. My conclusion came when my parents were diagnosed with respective health conditions (Mom had Parkinson’s disease

The Computers Are Getting Better at Writing

Whatever field you are in, if it uses language, it is about to be transformed.

Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” has a famous opening: “One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin.” The rest of the story follows, logically and ludicrously, from that original degrading miracle. Gregor struggles to get out of bed. His mother tells him that it’s time to go to work. His boss, the chief clerk, shows up and demands that he return to the business no matter what shape he’s in. He cannot. Finally, his father, in a fit of furious

The Six Keys to Positive Communication

Communicating better can help you achieve your goals and deepen your relationships.

When I was 15 years old, I enrolled in a program to study English in what seemed like the middle of nowhere, also known as Iowa. Having grown up in France and Switzerland, I spoke zero English. In Iowa, I couldn’t understand what people were telling me, and I couldn’t express myself. I couldn’t connect with people, I couldn’t create interactions, I couldn’t build friendships. I faced some of the most difficult months of my life because I was in some ways mute, and in some ways deaf. But that

3 Tips For Writing Like A Leader

It is no mystery that certain literary genres call for specific writing styles. If you are writing for a digital audience, keep it simple, short and snazzy.

Textbooks, written primarily for students, ought to cram as much information as possible, not try and trick the reader. Whether or not your paper is accepted into an academic journal has everything to do with how well the journal’s editors believe the essay matches the ethos of their journal. Your success as a communicator hinges on how well your writing matches with the purpose of your genre. It is unlikely that even a talented textbook author would have much success at writing the latest TMZ dish. This is not because

7 outstanding tips for writing content that boosts sales

To establish your position in the niche, you need a powerful magnet that pulls consumers towards your brand. That magnet is content.

Your writing creates the bridge that connects you to your target audience. Compelling sentences can make people feel understood. They can begin to trust you and feel more open to the idea of spending money on your brand. Turn your content into the best sales agent that never goes off duty. Here are some tips on how to transform your writing into a sales-boosting tool. 1. Address and Describe Consumers’ Pain Points Think about this: Why do people buy products? Because they see some form of a solution in them.

Tower Of Babble: Nonnative Speakers Navigate The World Of 'Good' And 'Bad' English

Decades of research show that when a native English speaker enters a conversation among nonnative speakers, understanding goes down.

Picture this: A group of nonnative English speakers is in a room. There are people from Germany, Singapore, South Korea, Nigeria and France. They're having a great time speaking to each other in English, and communication is smooth. And then an American walks into the room. The American speaks quickly, using esoteric jargon ("let's take a holistic approach") and sports idioms ("you hit it out of the park!"). And the conversation trickles to a halt. Decades of research show that when a native English speaker enters a conversation among nonnative

Why reflective writing is a powerful wellbeing tool

One writer explains how journaling changed her life

Every evening after I finish work, while my mind is still whirring with tasks and stresses, I sit down with my notebook and I write. I don’t think about what to write in advance I just let the words tumble from the tip of my pen. I write about the errands I’ll need to run tomorrow. I write about a problem at work I’m still figuring out, plus some possible solutions, followed by a motivational affirmation to myself: "You will get there!" I write a gift idea for my partner’s

A Secret Feminist History of the Oxford English Dictionary

Pip Williams’ Alternate Story of the English Language

In 1901, the word bondmaid was found missing from the Oxford English Dictionary. By all accounts, bondmaid was the only word to be lost from the first edition. No one knows how, and that is enough for a story, but there are other reasons I wrote The Dictionary of Lost Words. Words, for me, have always been acquaintances rather than friends—I recognize them most of the time, but can’t always describe the detail of their features. I’m prone to mixing metaphors, and in my final year of school I had

The easy way to effective and accessible writing

If you want to write crisply and clearly, effectively and elegantly, not to mention accessibly and impressively, this simple tip will help you with how, says Simon Hall.

Writing styles have changed enormously in recent years. When I attended school, a long period way past, styles tended to be more formal, upright and aloof, as portrayed, I might contend, by the stiffness of this sentence. No longer. Now the world's become much more informal. Short, sharp and simple. Sentences abound which are far from fully formed. With writing like this. It's that which got me thinking about writing styles. Look how informal my writing is for the Cambond website, in the picture. Some of the changing nature of

Making Money With Writing For The Internet

The possibilities with writing for the web are practically endless. You can sell products or services, write an e-book, create content for a website, or just be a general writer.

Writing for the web has become more popular over the years. Thanks to social networking and online content sites, many people around the world now have access to the written word. The possibilities with writing for the web are practically endless. You can sell products or services, write an e-book, create content for a website, or just be a general writer. If you're interested in online copywriting, the following are some of the basic skills that you'll need to master: – Learning how to write a headline is crucial. Without

The way around essay writing

The main aim was not to learn English, but pass the examination.

A few days ago, a seven-year-old student in the US wrote an adorable letter to a clothing company, expressing her disapproval of girls' jeans with fake pockets. 'I want front pockets because I want to put my hands in them. I would also like to put things in them.' The company immediately accepted her suggestion and even sent her a few pairs of jeans and shorts with pockets. She wrote the letter as part of her school assignment for writing persuasive letters. The assignment was very thoughtful and the exercise

Here are five ways that having a well-marketed business book can support the needs of your company and brand.

Getting organic traffic is an important part of any Digital Marketing strategy. And the best way to increase your traffic is by getting better rankings on Google.

A solid SEO strategy will help you with that, but there’s more than applying on-page and off-page SEO rules to your blog. SEO writing is a must, and it will guarantee that you’re not neglecting the user experience in your pages. After all, the page experience is one of the most important ranking factors. If you want to better understand SEO writing, keep reading! SEO writing is a way to write content so that it is easy for search engines to see what the content pertains to and whether it

Five Ways Writing Your Book Supports Your Business Success

Whether you are just beginning to outline the chapters of your first book or you have a bookshelf filled with your powerful words, as an entrepreneurial author, you will want to leverage your writing to make an impact on your company and brand.

Here are five ways that having a well-marketed business book can support the needs of your company and brand. 1. Garner credibility as the 'expert.' Having a well-written book that you authored positions you as the go-to person in your field. You can demonstrate your knowledge while adding to the reader’s deeper understanding of the topic. Books can give you the ability to teach and lead through your written word. Personally, I find great joy in being able to tell the world about my expertise, which I was able to

5 Things to Do Before Writing Your Nonfiction Book

These five steps will pull your idea together.

So, you've been hit with the inspiration to start writing a book, and you're ready to hit the keyboard running. This is normally where I would say "go do it" and cheer you on as you begin writing your first sentences. However, if you can take a little bit of time to pull together some extra research before you jump into the writing, you'll be setting your book up for success before you even have the first words written. Whenever I sit down with a new client to start planning

7 effective techniques to build proficiency in English language

Today, students face challenges while learning the English language at a multitude level. Check effective techniques to build proficiency in English language.

The English language contributes to the holistic development of education, employment, technological advancement and bringing communities together, especially in a country represented by linguistic-culture, where it can be a common ground for communication. To communicate eloquently, it is crucial to understand basic grammar rules including tenses, punctuations, articles, parts of speech, which are often overlooked at the foundational level, while learning the language. Today, students face challenges while learning the English language at a multitude level. For instance, for lower grades, the mistakes in language learning often involve the use

A writer’s guide to overcoming procrastination

The next great novel may be at your fingertips—if only you could manage to stop watching YouTube videos.

Storytelling is in our nature and even helps with our mental health. So it’s not surprising that every day people are challenging themselves to finish writing books, essays, or movie scripts. They do it even knowing it can be a daunting task. Because writing is not easy. All the new products from Apple’s’Spring Loaded’ announcement event And as someone who does it for a living, I can confirm that, sadly, there are no hacks or shortcuts. To get some writing done, you actually need to sit down and do the

Content Writing Tips, Tools and Resources

What is content writing? If you want to get answers to this question and want to learn about the best tools and tips that can help you create quality content, this is the perfect post for you. In this short guide, we would explain the basics of content writing. We would also shower some details about the top-notch resources that can be utilized today to create all sorts of content.

Content writing is the process that includes research, writing, proofreading and editing textual content. This process can result in web content, assignments, digital marketing and other relevant purposes. It also includes the writing of blogs and infotainment articles. When you hear ‘content writing’, you would often think about writing articles. Writing articles is indeed a part of content writing, but this process doesn’t only revolve around blogs. Rather it is considered to be important for different types of formats, including: Video scripts Newsletters Speeches Podcasts White papers Web pages YouTube/Facebook

4 keys and a practical exercise to improve your communication as a leader

As a leader, you will know that one of the main challenges that the position presents is being able to communicate efficiently with our collaborators.

The lines that follow can be safely considered a tribute to the great Paul Watzlawick , a pioneer in the theory of human communication. Thank God, the work is much easier to understand than his own surname and today it continues to guide us in understanding this complex and multidimensional phenomenon. I want to introduce you to four of his axioms and then check all their value in relation to leadership. 1. It is impossible not to communicate I propose a simple exercise. Try to stand next to a person

How To Streamline Communication At Your Virtual Office

Virtual offices are now commonplace, especially if most of your customer interactions and transactions take place online. But with this change, we’ve realized that there are plenty of unique challenges that come with working with people that you don’t see face to face every day.

If you’re like most small-business owners, you want to streamline the way people communicate at your virtual office. Stronger communication leads to improved morale and fewer misunderstandings, which contributes to better performance in day-to-day operations. Plus, when your team works hard and works well together, your customers get top-notch service. The bottom line is this — it’s nearly impossible for you to do your best if there are frequent communication breakdowns between individuals and departments. Our goal today is to help you organize the way you interact with everyone on

Eight Strategies To Help You Communicate Effectively And Be A More Influential Leader

Communication is easy to request and tough to deliver. Today we have the most pathways for communicating — face to face, email, phone, text, voicemail, videoconferencing, app platforms (such as Slack) and social media. Communication includes not only the words we use and our body language it’s also the intention behind those words, the history I have with you and the mindset we each have behind those words at the time we say them.

For an environment of trust, respect and safety to exist, leaders must master the skill of communicating honestly, empathetically and decisively. There are eight strategies you can use to create messages that are impactful, transparent and motivating. 1. Get at the heart of the issue. It’s vital, especially during times of change, that people actually experience your passion, conviction and care. Your caring can touch something in others that inspires them to care as well. Show who you are in your communication through your sincerity and spirit so your message

Leveraging The Power Of Communication In Tech Companies

The remote world has set new trends. In addition to the next generation of business models and hybrid approaches, I also urge companies to reinvent their communications.

I see a dire need for a personalized human-to-human approach in times when physical distance has grown to levels we haven't seen before. Communications help to convey the added value of a business, and therefore, it's important to use them properly. When they apply new communication strategies, companies can see how seamless interaction impacts overall performance. A strong link between internal and external communications is evident to me. There are two complementing elements of brand consistency. According to a 2019 survey from Lucidpress, brand consistency can increase a company's revenue

Why Written Communication Is Important When Working Remotely and Other Productivity Hacks From the Best Remote-First Startups

What has your company been doing to adjust to this new normal?

2020 was a year of disruption in so many ways (no kidding!), one of which was shock therapy in remote working, especially for those who weren’t used to home-office life. Many leaders who were skeptical at first, quickly realized the potential of this new era and reacted by improving own and teams' quality of life, launching new products and services, and generated major cost savings. If you are leader who is looking to implement best practices in your company while working remotely and on a global scale, here are three

Can AI Computers Write Essays Better Than You?

It's possible for artificial intelligence engines to generate content without plagiarism, and it can be hard for you to tell the difference. The content generated by AI is entirely new and will pass a plagiarism detection system.

The world is changing faster than we can keep up with it. It's all happening in the digital age, and now artificial intelligence has become a part of our lives that's difficult to escape. AI is being used for everything from self-driving cars to making food recommendations - but what does this mean for education? There are many benefits that come with implementing AI into classrooms such as increased efficiency and accuracy in grading essays or research papers however, students could use AI to write essays without their teacher knowing!

Cross-Cultural Communicating

When English is the client’s second language, communication can run into snags, and misunderstandings can innocently develop.

Many of us speak more than one language. As our developing world has expanded and transportation has shortened the distances among differing cultures, our communities have become more diverse – and more interesting. While there are many advantages in being able to speak more than one language, and understand translation of its words, we think in our original and first language. Literal translation, unfortunately, does not deliver all the goods! There are simple expressions typical of each language, there is “slang,” there are variations in the usage of the same

Why you have to dive head-first into English to master it

Scientists whose first language is not English need to speak and write it constantly to gain fluency and become comfortable, says Lia Paola Zambetti.

I had made it — or so I thought. After fulfilling all the requirements, including passing the English test, I moved to London to start my master’s degree. Sure, I had never lived in a predominantly English-speaking country before, but if I had passed the test, I clearly had enough English to live and to thrive on my course, right? Wrong. A couple of days were enough to disabuse me of the notion that passing an English test equated to being able to survive in an English-speaking country. I struggled

English is the language of science — but precision is tough as a non-native speaker

Scientists with a different first language could benefit from mentoring and support to help them communicate their research clearly for global audiences, argues Roey Elnathan.

English is the international language of science, for better or for worse, but most of the world’s scientists speak it as a second language. We shoulder an extra career challenge: not only must we gain command of our science, but we must also be able to write to professional standards in a foreign language to communicate that science. Junior researchers who are not native anglophones will greatly boost their career prospects by finding a good language mentor, and hiring them for important jobs. It’s worth every penny, and it’s a

Jo Ann Beard: What We’re Writing When We Write Personal Essays

In Conversation with Maris Kreizman on The Maris Review Podcast

On writing personal essays: If you write personal essays, you’re really not intending to write about yourself. You may use your own personal experience to launch the piece, but truly what you’re trying to do is make some sort of meaning or sense out of something that’s more universal than it is personal. And so when you sit down to write a personal essay, you’re casting around in your mind for the things that are pivotal moments in your life, or events that had a life-changing aspect to them. On

What the Hell Is Method Writing?

There's always some new way to write better.

What are some tips and tricks you use to write features and pilots? There are lots of ideas floating around the internet that get people excited to sit in the chair and crank out their magnum opus. But not every idea is built the same. Not everyone is worthy. I cruise around looking for these ideas because I am always trying to shake up my routine and challenge myself. Recently, I ran into this idea of "Method Writing," and I wanted to share it with you today. Method Writing Definition

Women Are Writing Themselves Back Into History on Wikipedia

Biographies of men on Wikipedia outnumber those of women by more than four to one. A group of volunteers is now trying to fix this gender gap in the digital historical record

This story originally appeared on LX.com If you were on the internet in April 2019, you may recognize computer scientist Katie Bouman, who went viral after her team captured the world’s first image of a black hole and her thrilled reaction was captured on camera. That breakthrough prompted a Wikipedia volunteer to draft her biography for the digital encyclopedia. But the same day, it was nearly pulled by someone else who thought she wasn't notable enough to be included. This incident points to a bigger problem: women feature in less

Reading is a lifelong adventure so is writing

Books can captivate you. I am sure that my love of reading was extremely helpful as I went through college, law school and graduate school

March. The third month. The month named after Mars, the Roman god of war. What does the month mean to you? For some it is the beginning of spring. For the Irish among us, it is the time of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. For me, it is the March Hare. The March Hare is the imaginary creature in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” who is the host of an outdoor tea party that Alice attends. I am sure that readers are familiar with this creature. I was not a reader

Are writing skills being left behind during the pandemic?

Writing assessment has come a long way, and students need timely and insightful feedback to hone the communication skills that will carry them through college and career

According to the most recent data from the National Assessment of Educational Performance (NAEP), two-thirds of K-12 students are not writing at levels expected for their grade level. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, writing had not received the same attention as math or reading. Now, as teachers struggle to manage a combination of remote and face-to-face instruction, it is difficult to imagine how students are being encouraged to write regularly. These unique times call for new approaches to writing instruction and assessment. Why is writing so important? Writing is a

How the Simple Act of Daily Writing Can Dramatically Improve Your Mental Health

Research has linked expressive writing to a number of positive health benefits, including fewer stress-related visits to the doctor, improved immune functioning and reduced depressive symptoms.

This story originally appeared on LX.com Can a daily writing practice change your brain? The science says yes. Allison Fallon is an author and the founder of Find Your Voice. Fallon's book "The Power of Writing it Down" focuses on the healing that can come from expressive writing. “The biggest thing that writing does for us is it helps us access another part of our brain that we're less likely to use on a daily basis,” Fallon said. The part of our brain used in the writing process is the

Five Tips For Native English Speakers When Working With Global Teams

The future of work is not only remote it is also global.

The future of work is not just about more remote work and virtual teams. The shift to remote work also means a greater ability and opportunity to work with people worldwide. The future of work is not only remote it is also global. We will increasingly be collaborating with—and competing with—colleagues and partners from other countries. Getting better at working across cultures is a skill that we need to develop, and understanding how to interact with non-native English speakers is central to that. Yet, it is a skill that many

5 rules for writing a killer resume that you’ve probably never heard before, from a top wealth manager

Throughout my decades-long career as a wealth manager, I’ve read thousands of resumes, many of them from young job seekers. Almost all of them are plain and boring: Education, work experience and skills — that’s it. The vast majority of them get tossed in the wastebasket. So what should you put on your resume that will actually help you get the job, or at least land an interview?

They’re the things that may seem trivial, but that jump out at the person scanning the resume. And despite what you may have heard from career experts, they’re the little details that possibly have nothing to do with where you worked or went to school. Here are my top five resume tips that you’ve probably never heard before: 1. Include at least one unusual thing about you Instead of padding your resume with lots of menial tasks, like “client interface” or “presenting sales materials,” save room for at least one

Gerry Goldstein: A time for talking up our language

April just happens to be National English Month, with the 23rd annually set by the United Nations as “U.N. English Day.

You’ve got to sympathize with people who set out to learn English. The well documented pitfalls of our mother tongue can be summed up by this waggish, head-spinning advice to those who try: “English is difficult. It can be understood though through tough thorough thought.” And how to explain to an English-language newcomer that a house burning down is also burning up? Or that “fat chance” and “slim chance” mean the same thing? It might also stump a novice to learn there’s grammatical logic in the sentence, “All the faith

Grammar Moses: When that extra comma really matters

Newspapers generally eschew the Oxford comma as vestigial, but we're not above using it when it adds clarity to a sentence. What kind of clarity? When it creates an undeniable separation between the final two items.

I view Oxford comma afficionados as belt-and-suspenders people. They'll tell you how adding a comma after the penultimate item in a list is how it's done in literature and how it provides clarity (using it even when it doesn't add clarity). It's there, you know, just in case. Perhaps I just like to live dangerously. After all, I haven't worn a belt or suspenders in more than a year now, because the elastic waistband on my business casual sweatpants fulfills the mission. Newspapers generally eschew the Oxford comma as vestigial,

In good writing, author and reader are witnesses

The pleasure of reading includes experiencing what the narrator observes

The core role of the writer is witness. A position that places the writer as seer, processer and responder. A cumulative action that is far from passive. In fact, the documenting, the response, is the very action many moments need to come alive. Like a tree that goes down in the woods to only make an unappreciated sound, moments that are not witnessed are only partially alive. To write, to create, is to be the vessel that celebrates and reveres the existence of that or those being observed. Whether it’s

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Neglecting Research

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is neglecting research.

Everyone makes mistakes—even writers—but that's okay because each mistake is a great learning opportunity. The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them early in the process. Note: The mistakes in this series aren't focused on grammar rules, though we offer help in that area as well. Rather, we're looking at bigger picture mistakes and mishaps, including the error of using too much exposition, neglecting research, or researching too much. This week's writing mistake writers make is trying to

The 11 extremely common grammar mistakes that make people cringe—and make you look less smart: Word experts

No matter what type of work you do, good grammar is relevant for all organizations, and it can make a big difference in your career path.

As Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, an online repair manual company, wrote in a Harvard Business Review article, “if job hopefuls can’t distinguish between ‘to’ and ‘too,’ their applications go into the bin.” A bit harsh? Sure, but he’s not alone. Again and again, we’ve heard managers complain about employees not knowing how to write a correct English sentence. Here’s a look at 11 of the most common grammar mistakes — the ones we, as word experts and podcast hosts of NPR’s “You’re Saying it Wrong,” have heard about the

How To Get More Done With Fewer But Smarter Communication Tools

With remote work here to stay, it's time for companies to reevaluate hasty implementations and streamline communication tools.

The rapid shift to remote work last year forced businesses to make equally rapid decisions about the tools and platforms that they use to help employees stay productive and collaborative—some of which were not enterprise-ready and many of which overlap. With remote work here to stay, it's time for companies to reevaluate hasty implementations and streamline communication tools.McKinsey's recent report on "The Next Normal" reiterated this point: "The Covid-19 crisis has created an imperative for companies to reconfigure their operations — and an opportunity to transform them. To the extent

Gender bias in the workplace starts with communication during recruitment

Eighty percent of jobs are communicated to people informally and these communications are often riddled with gender bias, providing a female (versus male) candidate with a less positive description of a leadership position, especially when the decision maker is more conservative. These are the findings of a new study by Ekaterina Netchaeva, of Bocconi University's Department of Management and Technology, looking at the role gender bias may play in the leadership gap between men and women.

The persistence of a gender wage gap indicates that while discrimination is ending, bias lingers. The World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2020 found "there is still a 31.4% average gender gap that remains to be closed globally." With this in mind, Prof. Netchaeva teamed up with two colleagues on a research project to look at the role gender bias may play in the leadership gap. In the private sector, women occupy only 29% of senior-level executive positions despite comprising 48% of the entire private sector workforce. "We wanted

10 Measures That Improve Internal Communication

With so many workforces remote, it's time to fortify and improve channels of communication.

With the majority of the population working from home and socially distancing to stop the spread of Covid-19, boardroom meetings have turned into Zoom calls, office friendships have moved over to Slack and WhatsApp, and there is an enormous physical separation between colleagues. This past year has upended the corporate office structure as we know it and has brought on many unique challenges that, if not overcome, can negatively contribute to the long-term success of a company. Entrepreneurs leading fast-growing companies with expanding workforces need to ensure that they adjust

The struggle of studying English in the 21st century

The current state of “cancel culture” has sparked the debate over whether or not we should hold people and media from the past to the same standards we have today.

It’s become normal to open Twitter nowadays and see a person, a movie, a TV show or a book from the past exposed for being problematic. The current state of “cancel culture” has sparked the debate over whether or not we should hold people and media from the past to the same standards we have today. Many people say, “things were different back then” as a way to excuse some of the behaviors that are deemed inexcusable today. The response to that statement is usually, “why are we celebrating people

How To Be A More Inclusive Leader: Improve Your Communication

Want to be a more inclusive leader? You need to communicate in an inclusive way.

Inclusive communication indicates that you value and respect every person’s background, viewpoints, beliefs and contributions, whether they’re employees, customers or other stakeholders — which is a basic definition of an inclusive leader. And, in doing so, you’ll set yourself apart. That’s because even with all the emphasis on how leaders need to be more inclusive, very few leaders talk the walk. Yes, you read that right. Even though many leaders say they want to be more inclusive, their actions — including the language they use — tell a different story.

How To Learn Academic Writing Skills: A Comprehensive Guide

Academic writing is a formal, organized, and concise form of writing providing factual knowledge backed up by evidence and logic and directed towards a scholarly audience. If you are a student, researcher, or professor in any discipline, you will use academic writing to convey your ideas and thoughts formally.

Academic writing is a formal, organized, and concise form of writing providing factual knowledge backed up by evidence and logic and directed towards a scholarly audience. If you are a student, researcher, or professor in any discipline, you will use academic writing to convey your ideas and thoughts formally. Some typical academic writing examples include research papers, essays, thesis, dissertations, reports, literary analysis, and abstracts. In this article, you will find all the necessary detail to learn about academic writing its types, features, skills required, and ways to improve your

Grammar Guy: A discourse on cursing

The verb “swear” comes from the Old English word “swerian,” which means “to take an oath.”

I've been contemplating a new parenting tactic: pre-emptively teaching my son bad words. Miles is 7, and he will someday know all the same expletives as I do. Because of this, I surmise that he ought to learn the words in context from his dad. That’s why I’ve started a spreadsheet in which I rank bad words from the tamest to the most profane. I’ll teach him two words per year with proper context and word origins, and keep instructing him until I exhaust the list. While this may be

Writing jobs, you can do from home that are fun yet simple

Becoming a professional paper writer who is also passionate about what they do is quite fulfilling.

Most people, when they have to select a profession as a writer, is to get their bread and butter from it. They have absolutely no passion for it. Paper writing is one of the professions in which you never succeed with passion. I’ve seen plenty of people who are not successful in this field due to a nonserious attitude. Here we will discuss some key points for being a successful writer and the different sorts of paper writing. In order to strengthen your skill as a paper writer, I would

Why The MENA Needs A Workforce That Is Proficient In English

The foremost driver of employability and the most sought-after skillset for employers in the MENA region is English proficiency. Yet, the MENA region unfortunately boasts the world's lowest English proficiency rate.

Before founding Englease.com to tackle the English proficiency gap in the MENA region, I led learning and development for a global company where I was responsible for upskilling over 15,000 people. One of the biggest lessons I learned during that time was that we need to acknowledge, accept, and learn how to live with one of the most unfortunate biases in a work setting, which is what I call the communication skills bias. The communications skills bias is one’s assumption of a communicator’s IQ, capability, and potential based solely on

5 tips for successful digital communication

Are digital communication challenges leaving you and your network lost in translation? Here are five tips for getting it right.

When we talk to each other face-to-face, we rely on a variety of visual and behavioural cues to communicate our feelings and interpret others’ reactions. With so many of our in-person interactions replaced by virtual meetings and digital communication channels, we have to rely on reading body language, postures, emotions and gestures through the screen. In the early stages of the pandemic, it seems most workers coped well. It is when we rely purely on text, via email, text messaging or Slack conversations that we lose the personal touch. Tone

Freelance writing: The gateway into the world of professional writing

Every aspiring writer has their dream of publishing their breakout hit. Whether you are a journalist, magazine writer or a blogger, you want to get your name out and have an audience for your work. It can be tough to figure out where to start your writing career, but there is a way you can write about the things you want to and make money: freelance writing.

As the name suggests, freelance writing allows you to operate as a freelancer for different organizations, meaning that you will be your own boss and determine when and with who you work with. However, this isn’t as easy as it sounds, as it will require a great deal of patience and time management skills. Good for you, though, we are going to break down the things you need to know to start off your freelance writing venture. The first step to freelancing is getting your name out there. That means

FRANK TALK: Good people who edit good

Today, there’s an offer for an intellectual product that would make a mockery of the centuries-long struggles of editors to use an ellipsis properly (for God’s sake, you treat it like a three-letter word with spaces fore and aft).

The cold metallic-like menace of artificial intelligence taking away the jobs of happy-go-lucky Homo sapiens never worried me much. I toiled away in blissful ignorance, never concerned that AI could possibly imitate what I do – let alone replace me. Well, the self-aware, artificially intelligent chickens have come home to roost. Sure, AI could one day perform surgery, create breakthroughs in astrophysics, and even solve many of the universe’s mysteries due to its ability to learn. All well and good. But what about something important, something vital to humankind? What

Stephen King is asking for grammar help on Twitter

Top-selling, highly prolific and award-winning writer Stephen King reached out for writing help on Twitter. In doing so, he addressed a mystery.

King, whose works include “The Shining,” “Misery” and “It,” suggested Sunday night that the country needs more films featuring tap dancing. “What America needs are more tap-dancing movies,” King tweeted. “You can’t be sad when there’s tap-dancing going on.” About an hour later, the 73-year-old horror author followed up his statement with a question. How many times have we fallen for this? Unable to let it go, King then called for assistance. “Help me, Grammar Police,” he wrote. Sure enough, his Twitter followers responded to his 911. One King fan,

Incisive, informative and impressive writing

If you've got a something important to write, this is the way to get it noticed, appreciated and ensure it has impact, says Simon Hall.

One of the most common, and saddest failings I see in professional life is: - The Death of a Good Idea This blog runs through why it often happens, and how to prevent it. Don't get me wrong. Having a great idea is a good start, but alone it isn't enough. What's the point if you can't communicate it well, meaning no one hears it, understands it, and puts it into action? This is how to write to ensure your idea makes a mark, gets taken seriously, and means it's

To Have Better Remote Meetings, Create A Team Communication Charter

Who enjoys meetings? Even before Covid-19 upended how we work, meetings were one of the most dreaded aspects of the working day. ince Covid-19, we have been having more meetings, but they have been shorter, with the net effect that we spend 11.5% less time in meetings every day. That is welcome news!

But we still need meetings. To ensure that meetings occur in an atmosphere of productivity, clarity, and enjoyment, teams need to discuss how they will run their meetings. This discussion can be done by verbal agreement or summarized in an email, but the best approach is to create a Communication Charter. A Communication Charter is a short document that sets out how the team will communicate to get its work done. It defines what tools the team will use in meetings and other communications, how those tools will be used

Teen Writers Deserve Better Than the Teen Writing Scene

Trying to be a young phenom was terrible for my self-esteem—and even worse for my writing

A few weeks ago, I spoke on a virtual panel at Phillips Academy Andover called “Life After Teen Writing.” This title might seem confusing—how can there be an after to a life that has barely begun? But for many ambitious young writers, it can be hard to imagine what comes next after you age out of the circuit of high school writing contests. This wasn’t the first time I’ve spoken on a panel like this—these discussions of what comes next after teen writing are more common than you’d think, given

When writing about race, abuse follows. Especially for journalists of color and women.

It leaves reporters in a no-win situation: Either write about important subjects and face hate, or leave crucial subjects unexplored.

The harassment and hate directed at national news outlets in the “fake news” hasn’t trickled down to smaller markets. It’s always been there. Virginian-Pilot reporters know when the abusive emails and virulent voicemails are coming. If a story touches on race or other disparities, the abuse is sure to come. And they know who will be targeted the most: Black sources and subjects, reporters of color, women. Racial slurs, made-up insults. Wishing harm on reporters. The hate stops journalists in their tracks. They wonder about the person who sent it

Twelve creative tips from Women’s Prize winning authors

From Eimear McBride to Kamila Shamsie, we asked previous Women’s Prize for Fiction winners what key tip they would give to others writing creatively.

Read on for valuable insights for anyone trying to be creative in 2021, but especially if you are entering Discoveries, our new writing development programme. Discoveries is now open for submissions until January 17th 2021, seeking the most talented and original new female writing voices in the UK and Ireland. To enter, submit the opening (up to) 10,000 words of your novel and a one-page synopsis of up to 1,000 words. Find out more about the prize and how to enter here. A M Homes (2013 winner with May We

Five Tips For Writing Effective Email Subject Lines

It makes sense for email marketers to put more than a little thought into crafting an effective subject line.

Many email marketers consider the subject line to be the single most important factor in an email campaign’s success. I’m not sure I would go quite that far, but it is a key factor in whether your email is even opened — and generally, if a recipient doesn’t open your email, they can’t exactly engage with the content. Much like trying to catch someone’s attention in a conversation, the subject line may be your one chance to spark interest and begin a conversation. Your email content still needs to deliver

Why women should be writing emails like their male colleagues (that means getting rid of exclamation marks and kisses)

It might be time to go easy on the exclamation marks.

Writing emails is an artform, especially in a year where communication with our colleagues has been completely virtual thanks to WFH. For women especially, we can often feel like the way we write emails needs to reflect our manner. This is why we tend to sign off our emails with a ‘x’ or pepper it with exclamation marks to let the receiver know that we are in! a! friendly! mood! Apologising profusely is our forte, saying ‘sorry’ before we ask the receiver if they can do something that is part

Writing is great for business. Here’s how you can get good at it

Many entrepreneurs swear by the power of writing. It clarifies your thinking. Here’s how you can get good at it.

Writing forces a certain clarity in thinking. That’s why it’s such an important part of how some of the world’s largest companies work. Marketing guru Seth Godin writes a blog every day! It is not only a great tool in the entrepreneur’s arsenal but also helpful for everyone including employees who work in marketing, engineering, or sales. It’s super useful for people who are looking to create a personal brand as well. If you got to this paragraph, it means I haven’t lost you already and that’s good enough for

Why Writing is So Important

In 2021, the easiest way to communicate is through text. Since cell phones and computers arrived, it seems the urge to hand write anything has almost become obsolete. When in reality, writing is one of the most important things we can do.

Often times we hear people dismiss writing because they feel it takes too long or they feel it’s useless. But it’s been proven that writing helps in more ways than we can think of. Writing has been a very important part of history and always will. I personally enjoy writing and encouraging others to write because there’s many benefits. Self Awareness Writing your feelings, your plans, and your struggles can really help. When you write things down, you can see things from a more clear perspective. You’re able to assess

The 5 Best Communication Tools for Digital Marketing Agencies

Between distributed teams and the shifting channel preferences of clients, digital marketing agencies have faced serious communication challenges in 2020. To overcome them, the right tools are indispensable.

This post explores some of the best communication tools currently available for digital marketing agencies - from all-in-one solutions like NextOS and staples like Zoom to dark horses such as Nifty. Whatever your agency’s communication pain points are, these solutions can address them. Identify Communication Needs and Pain Points Before you get down to the gritty business of looking at tools and comparing them, you need to clearly define your communication needs. What are your agency’s pain points? Juggling different channels for marketing and customer service? Or ensuring effective communication

Writers need to learn and practice the principles of clarity

A language virus, rampant in our culture, may not be deadly, but it fogs the mind and conveys a meaning contrary to what a writer intends.

Flash back to almost two weeks ago, when the top story in the national news was the car crash that almost cost Tiger Woods his life. His car went out of control, left the road and rolled over, leaving him trapped inside the wreckage. Now consider this sentence, delivered by a veteran reporter for the flagship newscast of a major TV network: "Showing no signs of impairment, firefighters used an ax to extract him." That sentence says firefighters showed no signs of impairment. In fact, the sheriff said it was

How Improving Communication Can Drive Financial Agility

Achieving and maintaining greater adaptability is critical to companies’ growth. And experiences with Covid-19 have prompted businesses to become more agile.

In late 2020, Forbes Insights conducted a survey on behalf of Capital One in which 1,001 U.S. mid-market executives were asked about the importance of agility within their organizations. How effectively did their companies adjust their business models when necessary? How well did their employees handle the transition from in-office to remote? The vast majority (82%) agreed that achieving and maintaining greater agility is critical for their firms’ growth, and that their experiences with Covid-19 are prompting their enterprises to cultivate agility (83%). While fewer than half of the respondents

Making ‘Less Is More’ Your Communication Mantra

People have a highly limited capacity to handle data—so why would you ask them to process more and more?

Over our 30 years of experience in industry, we consistently hear a clear, collective cry from leaders: Communication within their company is poor, and it’s hurting the business. The engineering team persistently fails to provide timely notifications of design changes to the shop floor. Then, to add insult to injury, the shop floor fails to inform the sales team of late deliverables. And then, where the rubber meets the road, customers are left high and dry, with some eventually taking their business elsewhere. Many companies attempt to address such communication

Great Ways To Enhance Your English-Speaking Skills If You’re Not A Native Speaker

There’s always room for improvement.

There is no doubt that the English language is pretty complicated. Though in terms of grammar, it is relatively more straightforward than many languages around the world, but when it comes to pronunciation, many find themselves stumbling. After years of carefully studying this language, you would have expected your conversations to become effortless, but it’s possible that many still do not understand what you are trying to say. Some of this might be due to the presence of a heavy accent, the difference in the speed of your speech or

12 Best-Kept Email Writing Secrets Of Communication Pros

Among the many specialized skills communications professionals rely upon every day, one is the ability to put their own unique touch on every piece they create while staying true to the brand.

Of course, blog posts and press releases don’t require the same level of personalization that emails do to capture the reader’s attention. So how do professional communicators craft more intimate and personable email messaging while adhering to a brand’s voice, tone and style? Below, members of Forbes Communications Council discuss 12 of the best-kept email writing secrets that they’ve leveraged in their own work. 1. Let Your Personality Show Make it personal and let your personality show. Especially if it’s a pitch, do research on the outlet and the contact

HOW TO AVOID JARGON WHEN WRITING ABOUT A TECHNICAL PRODUCT

These five tactics will help simplify and clarify your technical copy.

What is jargon, anyway? In a literal sense, jargon is simply a word or phrase that requires specialized knowledge for the reader to understand. For our purposes — which include helping people at technical companies write clearly about their offerings — that definition isn’t practical. Most of us only think of the word “jargon” in a negative sense. It’s something we’re supposed to avoid in our writing at all costs. But that’s not quite accurate. After all, good writing and technical writing are not antonyms. If the audience on your

The Importance of Improving Communication Skills in 2021

Communication is a skill effective communication is an art. Those who can master it know that there is no hurdle they can’t overcome in life. This was made all the more apparent to us after we fell face-first into the 2020 dilemma – COVID-19.

Accept your virtual self When your physical being betrays you, learn to rely on your virtual self. Yes, learning business communication skills are crucial in 2021. We can’t forget the past try to relive a pre-pandemic life. All the communication inefficiency you came across last year is a lesson for the future – it’s something we need to work on. This one’s all about the importance of improving the way we communicate. Getting to know useful software, getting educated online, and utilizing technology for your own good – that’s what

How To Keep Teams Communicating: 11 Proven Strategies

In addition to trust, clear communication is foundational to any professional team’s success. If its members have problems communicating with each other, it will not only reduce the team’s overall effectiveness, but could also damage morale, individual performance and even the bottom line.

As their manager, you can help pinpoint issues with a team’s communication, but it is up to the team members themselves to fix those problems. To ensure that the process of identifying and solving a team’s communication problems won’t devolve into a blame game or result in further miscommunication, focus on strengthening practical communication skills. Below, 11 professionals from Forbes Agency Council look at the most effective ways to locate and fix the issues hindering communication between team members before they cause a ripple effect. 1. Get To The Root

Eight ways writing improves academic performances of students

Writing stimulates the brain and boosts the academic performances of students. Also, writing boosts the IQ of students.

Writing is an activity that cannot be avoided by students in school. Whether it is a term paper or an analytical essay or even the highly regarded thesis or dissertations, every student will always be required to write something at one point or the other. While the internet is populated with writing agencies like wissessays.com that offer quick solutions to your writing needs as a student, writing on your own will boost your abilities and capabilities in several ways. Writing stimulates the brain and boosts the academic performances of students.

How to Write a Gratitude Letter

Concerned about a friend or a loved one who may be feeling the winter doldrums? Try writing them a gratitude letter.

If you are looking to make someone — even yourself — feel better during what has been a hard winter of the pandemic, consider writing a gratitude letter. You can think of it as a slightly longer and more meaningful thank you note, but instead of offering thanks for a physical gift, you are offering thanks for something that was done or said. There are two excellent reasons for writing a gratitude letter: It will make you feel really good, and it will make the recipient feel great. Among the

IT skills: Why communication is key in 2021

In times of great change, strong communication skills are essential. Here's why – and how to develop them

Today’s evolving IT landscape and the disruption we all experienced over the past year have made communication skills more important than ever. For new IT hires, the ability to communicate and build partnerships with all departments is critical. Mass automation leads to mass change, and this can be challenging at scale. We are an Robotic Process Automation (RPA) company, and intelligent automation is at the heart of our IT strategy. For this reason, we hire people who are exceptional at communicating and partnering with their peers as well as others

3 Top Skills SEO Content Writers Need to Succeed

It takes more than just great writing chops to create search-optimized content. Here are the top SEO content writing skills it takes to succeed.

I’ve been working with other SEO industry professionals of all stripes, from technical SEO specialists to web developers, for decades. I feel that every individual in an SEO setting needs to bring some innate skill to a role, but there is also expertise that is often learned best on the job itself. SEO content writers know this as well as anyone. If you want to enter digital marketing as a content marketer, you might be surprised that strong writing skills are necessary but not sufficient. There are plenty of core

HOW I TEACH — WRITING

Professor Délice Williams makes UD’s writing requirement fun and engaging — even for the non-English major

Editor’s note: First-year students, prospective students (and some of their parents) wonder and worry how they will handle the academic transition from high school to college. In a series of stories, UDaily speaks with University of Delaware professors who teach courses commonly taken by students during their first year on campus. In this story, Délice Williams, associate director of composition and assistant professor of English, explains how she teaches writing. The class, called "English 110 - Seminar in Composition," is the only course required for every UD undergraduate. A universal

Now Is Time To Help Students Learning English As A Second Language, Experts Say

Luther Burbank High School senior Emili Carrillo is finding ways to learn English — but lately, school isn’t making that easy.

The 17-year-old moved from Mexico nearly four years ago with her dad, and works part-time as a cashier at a grocery store. “Working has helped me a lot, because I have to practice my English,” Carillo said about chatting with customers on the job. But learning English at her South Sacramento school — an entirely computer-based activity since last March — is another matter. “It’s been hard for me,” she said about attending classes online, which eliminates opportunities to practice English with peers. “When we were at school … we

Changes in writing style provide clues to group identity

Small changes to people's writing style can reveal which social group they 'belong to' at a given moment, new research shows.

Groups are central to human identity, and most people are part of multiple groups based on shared interests or characteristics -- ranging from local clubs to national identity. When one of these group memberships becomes relevant in a particular situation, behaviour tends to follow the norms of this group so that people behave "appropriately." The new study -- by the University of Exeter, Imperial College London, University College London and Lancaster University -- demonstrates that group normative behaviour is reflected in a person's writing style. It also shows that assessing

4 Ways Writing a Book Will Transform You

Why writing a book is a powerful marketing and differentiation conduit for entrepreneurs.

In the fall of 2005, an unexpected conversation with Lee Huebner and his sagacious advice laid the foundation for my skill diversification, and successful stint as an online news media and publishing entrepreneur. An alumnus of Harvard University and Northwestern University, Lee had served as the publisher and CEO of the Paris-based International Herald Tribune, considered the first global newspaper. He had also chaired the American Chamber of Commerce in France. Lee’s advice on the benefits of becoming an author and its cogency in strengthening the entrepreneurial brand deeply influenced

It’s Time to Embrace the Singular ‘They’

Grammar snobs may shudder in disgust at this idea, but it’s time to normalize the use of they/them as singular pronouns. It’s 2021 no more of this “he or she, his or her” stuff.

It’s perfectly reasonable to use gender-neutral pronouns in casual conversation—both written and verbal—and as it turns out, it even makes perfect grammatical sense. Though the use of these words as plural pronouns is a hardwired trait, you won’t be defying traditional grammar convention if you decide to upend the rule. You may, however, have to endure the righteous hand-wringing of certain grammar purists who insist you’re committing a horrible faux-pas. The only thing is, they’re the ones who are wrong. If somebody wants to refer to a person whose gender

Empower Employees To Share Their Communication Preferences

When lockdowns began in March 2020, millions of Americans started working from home almost overnight. Organizations leaned on technology and digital tools to maintain productivity and social connection and to address the mental health needs of employees.

Today, many have been working from home for nearly a year, and our personal lives have largely gone ‘remote’ as well. Zoom meetings are ubiquitous, even for friend and family gatherings telemedicine is increasingly popular, and many have stayed physically fit thanks to new availability of virtual classes and training programs. Digital tools have delivered significant value to the working population. This trend shows no signs of stopping. Studies estimate that 36.2 million Americans (1 in 4) will be working remotely by 2025, an 87% increase from pre-pandemic levels. However,

Tips to improve your writing skills

Reading more, developing outline and avoiding plagiarism are few tips that falls under the skills

You might never have thought of yourself as a writer. But consciously, or unconsciously, you do write a lot. Think about the time you wrote a text message to a friend on WhatsApp or a birthday post on Instagram. However, these are informal and personal forms of writing. More often than not, most of us feel the need to polish our writing skills when faced with writing a piece for a formal occasion, be it an email or an essay. If you are such a person, we have got you

How difficult is it to learn the English language?

The great Wurlitzer of language, the most perfect all-purpose instrument

DEAR RICHARD: Congratulations on your wonderful “Tense Time with Verbs” poem and its eminently well-deserved display at the Planet Word Museum. I’m glad visitors to the museum will get to enjoy it. The verb tenses in your poem make me reflect that the English language is just impenetrable for anyone not born to it! —Judith Leggett, Escondido The English language gains its reputation for difficulty largely from its spelling inconsistencies. For example, manslaughter and man’s laughter, each containing the same letters in the same order, are pronounced very differently. In

Focus on precision in your writing

Make what you write say what you mean

Years ago I ambled from my backyard to a neighbor's and told him I admired the trellis he was building. He wheeled toward me and said, "You work much with teak?" I erupted into laughter, but stopped short and said: "No offense, Jack. I was laughing at myself, because I don't work with anything." Except words. I have no handyman heritage in my family. Yet I've been working with and loving words ever since my mother taught me to read when I was 4 she had me sound out the

Slow Down and Write Better Emails

Misunderstandings are rampant in today’s workplaces. While poor communication habits may feel inevitable with colleagues, we should always strive to engage with clarity and empathy, especially as we come to rely more on remote work and digital communication. What is a good first step to improving our habits? Relearning what it means to read carefully and write clearly.

Not so long ago, we shared information with our colleagues across a table, listening to people’s ideas and responding accordingly. Today, so many of those exchanges happen in written (or typed) form — think email, text, IM — meaning that listening in its traditional sense has been replaced by reading text on a screen. The problem with this, according to the linguist Naomi Baron, is that we comprehend less when we read on a screen than we do when we read print we devote less time to reading something in

New Ways of Surviving: Writing Through a Global Pandemic

while in the midst of horror - we fed on beauty—and that, my love, is what sustained us. —from “Transit” by Rita Dove

It is hard to pinpoint time. The nadir of the pandemic seems to keep descending lower and lower with new outbreaks and mutated strains of the coronavirus across the globe. I’m trying to trace the beginning. Maybe it starts with March for me. I remember barely being able to move off the couch in the spring of last year. My classes were being switched to Zoom. My court date for my divorce was being pushed back, also due to COVID-19. Back then none of us knew how long this pandemic

My boss’s writing is full of errors, and I want to help her improve

Technology can help, but human intervention may be the most efficient way to help the boss get her message across

Reader: I recently joined a small team at a nonprofit. My supervisor is knowledgeable, hard-working, well connected, full of ideas and kind. Unfortunately, her documents are peppered with typos, and reading her emails is like solving a puzzle. As her program’s support person, I spend a lot of time deciphering and correcting her grammar mistakes. I don’t mind it, but I’m trying to come up with solutions to help her communicate more effectively. Our team is constantly buried in work, and fixing this one issue would make everyone’s life a

How To Rebalance Communication In The Post-Pandemic New Normal

Simply restoring your culture after the pandemic is doomed to fail. You have to evolve it.

Most of you shifted from in-person to virtual communication during the pandemic. Once you’re released from the pandemic restrictions, you’ll shift back. But you won’t shift back far enough or fast enough. And, as discussed last week, simply restoring your culture after the pandemic is doomed to fail. You have to evolve it. How you communicate is a core plank in your culture. Write for one-way communication. Call or video for two-way. And be in-person to build or rebuild relationships based on active listening, trust, and respect. Writing, texting, or

Why digital writing tools are a ‘double-edged sword’ for dyslexic kids

Technology has been incredibly helpful for students with the learning disorder, but some parents and educators worry about children becoming too reliant.

After watching his youngest son beg to draw on a family friend’s iPad, father Joseph Turner grabbed a screenshot of the alphabet and uploaded it to a drawing program on his Surface laptop. Then he handed his son a stylus and showed him how to trace the letters. Turner is an adult with dyslexia and already sees signs of his learning disorder in his two little boys. The digital tracing activity, designed to help his son learn to write, was a hit. Unlike all the paper activity books lying in

Want to sound smarter? Avoid mixing up these 11 most commonly confused words in English

English is filled with words that look alike or sound alike (or both), but mean very different things — so it’s easy to get confused and use the wrong word at the wrong moment. As “word nerds” and podcast hosts of NPR’s “You’re Saying it Wrong,” we’re constantly on the lookout for these mistakes. And we’ve seen them everywhere, from corporate reports, resumes and cover letters, to major publications. But if you’re aware of the different meanings of these words, you won’t fall into the same traps. Here’s a list

10 Ways to Improve Customer Communication to Make More Sales

Communicating with customers is key to converting sales and growing your business. And there are many ways to improve your communication strategies with customers and prospects. Learn how to make the most of your marketing with these tips from members of the online small business community.

Find the Best Lead Magnets for Your Marketing Effective marketing requires finding relevant leads who may turn into recurring customers. Lead magnets help to bring in these potential customers. So what are the best lead magnets for marketing a small business? Ivana Taylor of DIY Marketers dives into the topic here. Increase Contact Form Conversions Contact forms are commonly used by customers who have questions about products or services. And the way you communicate with people after that initial contact can make a major impact. Learn how to increase conversions

Amy Gentry: On Writing Thrillers and Following Your Gut

Thriller author Amy Gentry shares her experience writing her latest novel, Bad Habits, and why it's important to take full ownership of your work.

Amy Gentry is the author of Good as Gone, a New York Times Notable Book, and Last Woman Standing. She is also a book reviewer and essayist whose work has appeared in numerous outlets, including the Chicago Tribune, Salon, the Paris Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the Austin Chronicle. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago and lives in Austin, Texas. In this post, Gentry shares her experience writing her latest novel, Bad Habits, why it's important to take full ownership of your

Novelists are writing for TV more than ever. How it’s changing the industry

In recent years, novelists have been warmly welcomed — in some cases, energetically recruited — into TV writers rooms. And as much as publishing has changed in the past two decades, television has changed even more.

In 2013, Sheri Holman had just turned 47 and her life was falling apart. Raised in Virginia by a struggling single mom, Holman had bootstrapped herself through college to earn a theater degree, then moved to New York City to pursue acting. When that plan proved unworkable, Holman took a series of temp jobs in publishing, eventually becoming an assistant to an influential literary agent. Throughout the early 1990s, when book advances were soaring, Holman wrote her first novel, “A Stolen Tongue.” Published to raves in 1997, the book built

Guest op-ed: The horror that is academic writing

There is considerable debate in academic circles about whether those with advanced degrees should be given a great deal more respect and money or be given straitjackets in their school color. Being married to one of these people, I can say with all the love and respect in the world that the straitjacket wins, no question.

The problem lies largely with the rules that govern academic writing. There are many, many, many rules and, as far as I can see, their main purpose is to give the writing the joyful zest of a flat tire. But if you want an advanced degree, you must and will be initiated into the dark world of formatting. For example, when you are accepted into any program that uses the popular APA formatting style (brought to you by the American Psychological Association — the same people who specialize in abnormalities

The Quick Tip: Which Writing Routine Will Work for You?

Even well into your career, you may still be figuring out a productive writing practice.

The internet will have you believe that writing 15 minutes a day is the only way to be productive. That may or may not work for you. Other advice suggests that you “write anything, just write” as a way to get your creative juices flowing. Perhaps the best advice: Try a lot of strategies, and adapt them for your goals, your process, and your life context. Here are some ways to stay motivated and writing as you work out which writing habits best suit you: Expand your definition of writing.

Why Writing Is An Asset

The art of writing should be on the endangered species list. Think about this if you are working on getting your message out to the public.

At its foundation, writing is communicating an idea to a reader in an engaging and clear manner. It doesn’t matter if you are writing the next Harry Potter-type blockbuster or instructions to your staff. Good writing shows your mind, and if you are trying to win over an audience, the concept of “you only have one opportunity to make a good first impression” applies. If you look at emails you receive from a variety of people, you will probably observe that many people are in a world of trouble. You

To succeed in an AI world, students must learn the human traits of writing

Our children should no longer be taught just formulaic writing. Instead, writing education should encompass skills that go beyond the capacities of artificial intelligence.

Students across Australia have started the new school year using pencils, pens and keyboards to learn to write. In workplaces, machines are also learning to write, so effectively that within a few years they may write better than humans. Sometimes they already do, as apps like Grammarly and Rephraser demonstrate. Certainly, much everyday writing humans now do may soon be done by machines with artificial intelligence (AI). The predictive text commonly used by phone and email software is a form of AI writing that countless humans use every day. According

Far Away But So Close: Boosting Global Communication With Clients And Staff In 2021

You would probably agree that most aspects of life have been tough during the last 10 months. People barely remember how to hug. This so-called new normal widened the distance between businesses and their audiences. Human communication today is totally different from what we saw some 16 months ago. It has acquired a new form and meaning.

To remain competitive, many companies entered new markets and started considering building even more multicultural teams. When it comes to the global market, one of the biggest challenges for any organization is embracing cross-cultural communication. Yes, Some Good Things Happened In 2020 I keep saying that the world of IT marches to the beat of its own drum: Locations and the distance between them have never been an obstacle, but rather an opportunity to gather the most talented people — wherever they are. Think of an orchestra where musicians use

Michael Perry: Award-worthy writing requires both inspiration and perspiration

Awards invite scrutiny, and scrutiny makes me sweaty.

Today at sunrise I received a text from a friend: “Congratulations on your recent award!” This was news to me, and as does news in general, it made me nervous. Awards news even more so. Awards invite scrutiny, and scrutiny makes me sweaty. Ironically, I once won an award for a magazine article I wrote about being sweaty. The trophy is propped atop a pole barn girt overlooking my workbench. It is covered in sawdust and needs a polish. Mostly it serves to remind me that I probably shouldn’t be

Judd Apatow on the Painful Art of Writing Personal Comedy

Judd Apatow — the prolific filmmaker and producer responsible for the R-rated comedy boom, the latest entry being the dramedy The King of Staten Island — could never comprehend the benefits his comedic compatriot and Saturday Night Live maestro Lorne Michaels felt from taking a stroll for an hour or more each day. That all changed with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 'King of Staten Island' director and co-writer reveals his talent discovery process (Pete Davidson, Melissa McCarthy), the habit he picked up from 'SNL' boss Lorne Michaels and the aftermath of Trump: "I'm definitely nervous." Apatow, 53, started walking two hours every morning. “It has kept me as close to sane as I get. I’ve always heard that Lorne would take a walk for an hour, hour-and-a-half, every day at lunch. And I would think, ‘Oh my gosh, that sounds so boring, taking a walk, what is that?’ But I

When do you have enough material to start writing your book?

The leap of faith from a shorter work to a full-length book comes with many potential pitfalls including procrastination and self doubt. A new book has tips on how to make that jump with confidence.

The short answer to this is: you will not know until you try. We assume that writers are the ones who have a drive to write and will turn up at the desk no matter what. This doesn’t mean that turning up is always easy. Procrastination can be self-doubt in sheep’s clothing. So can the sense that one does not yet have enough material to begin. But ultimately, the only way to know whether you do or don’t have enough material is to start writing. The fascination with ideas and

Grammar Moses: When in doubt, write around it

The headline is a window into a story. It's also one of newspapering's most interesting (and fun) challenges. How do you convey the nuance of a story in just a few words? How do you alert people that an Anthropologie store is moving into Schaumburg, all in a one-column hed (which is newspaper jargon for "head," which is short for "headline")?

We have a bunch of award-winning headline writers on staff who constantly amaze me. But sometimes even they get stumped. Neil Holdway, who heads up our night copy desk operation, wrote me an overnight note about a particular challenge: "So we struggled with my panel headline on the Illinois vaccination rate, where I said Ƈ in 12 Illinoisans have their first dose.' Looks OK at first, but really, should it be "1 in 12 has . '? And then you have 'their' to deal with." Depending upon where you fall on

Writing rejuvenates the brain as much as pumping iron rejuvenates the body

Health experts say that pumping iron – lifting weights – is good for you. So is pumping words, I hasten to add. I pump them both as part of my ongoing regime.

At 86, I have become fanatic about staying alive. I don’t mean just breathing. I mean trying to make each day a good one and the next one marginally better… or at least only marginally worse. Use it or lose it. Devote part of each day to staying healthy – both mentally and physically. Let me share my day with you, particularly the role that writing plays. I warm up each day, sometimes while it’s still dark, with mental gymnastics. A half hour or so of online Trivia Crack in

Are you 'writing,' or 'keyboarding?'

Typing becomes the tool to achieve what your brain desires.

I’ve been rummaging around lately thinking about “writing” which is a fairly common adjective, versus “keyboarding” which we all can do pretty much robotically. Older sages, such as myself, like to comment on kids nowadays having fantastic thumb muscles. I cannot remember when I started learning typing (the skill that predated keyboarding) but it was probably as a senior in high school. It is a skill I am glad I learned. It is a tool that is still valuable. Writing using a phone keyboard may become a more popular tool

When It Comes To Writing Your Executive Resume, Start With What You Don't Want To Do

Many senior professionals can often have a hard time separating what they can do from what they truly want to do when looking at their next step.

Senior professionals and executives with 20-30 years of experience often have a treasure trove of achievements to bring to a potential employer. These richly experienced people have found themselves in situations ranging from visible and positive to those situations that are unexpected and loathsome. But these individuals typically take it all in stride, like the professionals they were trained to be, and work through these situations most often triumphantly and with dignity. What often happens, though, is these executives and senior professionals have a massive list of achievements. Some of

The Puzzling Gap In Research On Writing Instruction

There isn’t much good research on writing instruction. And the research that does exist has overlooked a key question: Should we teach students to write sentences before asking them to write at length?

Writing may be the hardest thing we ask students to do in school. Studies have shown that writing places a huge burden on “working memory,” a term used to describe what happens in the mind when it processes information. Inexperienced writers may be trying to juggle everything from forming letters of the alphabet (if they’re young) to choosing words to use, spelling them, structuring sentences, and generally organizing their thoughts. Working memory can hold only about four items for perhaps 10 to 15 seconds before becoming overwhelmed. The best way

Actor And Author Ethan Hawke: Writing 'Forces You To Think Through Things'

The novel is called A Bright Ray of Darkness and the author — Ethan Hawke — is someone who might know a thing or two about what life for the main character is like.

A famous young actor's marriage to a pop mega-star is crumbling. To get away from the real-life drama, William Harding immerses himself in the role of Hotspur in glittering Broadway production of Shakespeare's Henry IV. The novel is called A Bright Ray of Darkness and the author — Ethan Hawke — is someone who might know a thing or two about what life for the main character is like. This isn't Hawke's first novel — early in his writing career he tried to steer away from autobiographical fiction, and was

How Ineffective Communication Costs Businesses — And What to Do About It

Business success hinges on how well companies engage with their customers. Interactions must be clear, concise, and consistently on-brand to deliver remarkable experiences and instill brand loyalty.

When customer interactions do not meet these standards, it is often because the best-intended communications strategies break down. This happens frequently and creates tremendous costs for companies by eroding the customer experience (CX), making it harder for employees to do their job, and causing delays in meeting business objectives. For example, even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts estimated that poorly written communication costs businesses a staggering $400 billion annually. The pre-pandemic challenge facing businesses already pointed to the need to improve communications between companies, customers, and employees.

How communication tools can fuel burnout—and what to do about it

Juggling too many types of email, messaging, and project management tools can cause inefficiency and tech overload. Here’s how to rein in the chaos.

Think about the number of communication tools you use in a workday. In addition to checking email, you may be logging on to an instant messaging platform, as well as using a project management platform, content management system, or another collaboration platform. You probably are asking colleagues and clients whether they prefer phone calls or video chats. So it’s no wonder that when it comes to tracking down a document, or an exchange you had with your direct report last week, you find yourself searching your inbox, Slack DMs, and

How To Become A Respected Leader — 3 Communication Skills

As a leader, communication is a necessary skill that can break or make an organization.

If you aim to become a leader, are transitioning into a leadership role, or are struggling as a leader currently, you need to master these three critical skills. Consistency: When someone approaches you with a question or turns to you for guidance, they should be able to trust that you will respond in a positive and reliable way. Failing to be consistent with your words, behavior, and demeanor can damage trust relationships. As Hanna puts it, “I don't ever want anyone to ever wonder what kind of mood I'm going

Writing emails proves most valuable professional skill

Writer, Haleigh Cadd, describes the process of effective communication via email

In a virtual world, communication has become more challenging for students whose opportunities to connect 1:1 with professionals in their goal-industry. For instance, job fairs aren’t happening, and the first impression students used to be able to make can’t happen, either. That is, unless you can convince the professional that you’re a superstar right off the bat in your initial email to them. Thus, here are a few golden rules that can guide your email creation–regardless if you’re sending a ‘Hello’ email to potential employer or a ‘I need answers

Better Business Writing at Your Fingertips

Following are some simple tips that will help your writing stand out and bolster your professional image. Master these few guidelines and catapult your business writing skills to new heights.

I write fairly regularly as a columnist for the SHRM HR Daily Newsletter, and some of you may know my books, many of which focus on proper workplace documentation: how to draft stronger performance reviews, corrective action notices and scripted tough conversations, and even "wordsmith" books that help you find the right phrase for those difficult-to-describe situations. So I'm probably a little over the top when it comes to appreciating grammar and excellent writing practices, but for this article, that's likely a good thing. As HR professionals, we can all

3 Communication Strategies That Make The Bill And Melinda Gates 2021 Letter So Compelling

Every year I look forward to the Gates Foundation letter because Bill and Melinda Gates are serious students of communication. They use a variety of writing and delivery techniques to make complex information easy to understand and compelling to read.

The 2021 Bill and Melinda Gates letter delivers data-driven information about the pandemic in an engaging way. Engagement is critical because if people don’t understand science, they’ll be less likely to act on the information. 1. Use simple language. Real simple. Most experts try to impress people with how much they know. They use big words and arcane jargon that few people outside of the field can understand. Effective communicators like Bill and Melinda do the opposite. The more complex the topic, the simpler the words they use. For example,

3 Ways Leaders Can Improve Their Communication In 2021

Whether addressing the nation or tackling a problem in the workplace, leaders can use some simple communication techniques to build rapport, diffuse workplace conflict, and smooth the way for a mutually successful outcome.

Over the last year, the UK government has been accused of sending mixed messages about the Covid-19 pandemic. Christmas was on, and then it was off. In early January, parents were told to 'absolutely' send their children to school before directing schools to close the next day. Now, vaccine efficacy is in the headlines due to the government's decision to delay the second Covid-19 vaccine from three to 12 weeks. Difficult times lead to difficult decisions. Rapidly shifting situations often mean communicating a hard decision today, which could be right

Communication Lessons From A Maddening Year

As a professional communicator, I've learned a lot during this quarantined time. I think we can all relate. Life lessons have been full of hard moments and frustrating instances. Then again, when we've least expected it, the good and bright and merry have peaked through and reminded us that there's hope to cling to and to give away.

Nine months after the pandemic started, I find myself tucked into my home office — something that's become a sought-after mainstay since Covid-19 entered the scene and my company went home to stay safe from it all. I remember those early conversations when planning for "what might be" or "maybe even could be" took up the time I didn't think I'd ultimately have to give away. But then it all became real-life. And, well, here we are in the middle of the winter season working from home during a Covid-19

Embracing Imperfection: On Writing in a Second Language

Kaori Fujimoto Recounts the Challenges of Finding Her Voice in a Different Tongue

More than twenty years ago, walking into a foreign bookstore in Tokyo, the first thing I noted was a slightly musty yet soothing scent. It came from the paper used for these books and magazines, which had been shipped from overseas—the paper either thicker or thinner, and certainly rougher, than its counterpart in Japanese publications. Breathing in the unfamiliar smell, I walked through the dimly lit aisles lined by stacks and shelves with a somewhat disorganized feel. I had ventured into this well-known bookstore to buy a copy of The

Top 5 Resume Writing Tips

Texas Career Engagement offers tips and tricks to get your resume in tiptop shape for job and internship hunting

As summer approaches and graduation nears for the Class of 2021, students may be beginning to look for jobs and internships. In applying to these positions, you typically need a resume that summarizes your professional experiences and is usually one page in length at the start of your career. Regardless, whether you are a soon-to-be-graduating student or seasoned professional, having an updated and tailored resume is important should opportunities arise. Here are some helpful tips from Texas Career Engagement to get your resume ready and in tiptop shape: 1. Be

4 Ways to Always Have Fresh Writing Ideas

Strategies to ensure you always have something worthwhile to say

Often, when people say, “I don’t know what to write,” they really mean one of two things: They haven’t spent enough time formulating their ideas, or they’re trying to write something they don’t really believe in. Many years ago, I started writing fiction — or rather, I tried to start writing fiction. My attempts never amounted to anything, and for years, I didn’t understand why. It wasn’t until I read an essay on writing by Arthur Schopenhauer, the German pessimist, that it finally clicked. “There are above all two kinds

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN UX WRITING AND COPYWRITING?

At a glance, copywriting and UX writing may seem closely related — but really, they’re about entirely different things.

“One main goal of copywriting is to get attention, to be memorable,” Rachel Radway, a UX writer at the digital workspace MURAL, told me. The best UX writing, meanwhile, is forgettable. When done well, it guides the user through an online experience step by step, whether it’s getting logged on or depositing a check. The language is clear and concise, and it strives to make the experience as frictionless as possible. WHAT IS UX WRITING? UX writing aims to create a seamless experience for users through effective labeling. Clear and

HOW WRITING HELPS YOUR TRAINING AND PERFORMANCE

I believe writing can be a key to better triathlon performance, a reduction in stress, and greater enjoyment of the sport. Thoughtful writing will help you to focus like a laser on executing the race and performing well.

I have read many articles on swim training, cycling, running, transitions, strength training, nutrition, and sleep. However, I haven’t read much about the benefits of writing. So, I've outlined four writing assignments for triathletes: An equipment checklist (If you’re only going to do one, this is the one!) A race day setup checklist A post-race assessment for each race A pre-race plan for each race The equipment checklist It seems like every time that I have gone to USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships, I have heard a pre-race announcement

Editorial Article: ‘A scientific discovery is only as good as its communication’

Meet this week’s Reviewer in the Spotlight, Dr. Noelle Cutter, a humanitarian who loves helping people whether it’s patients, students, or scientific peers through her reviews

Lab product reviews can change the world by helping other scientists find the best equipment to accelerate their vital work. Here at SelectScience, we are dedicated to promoting peer-to-peer communication that will make the difference - but we couldn't do it without our esteemed reviewers. In this regular new feature, we put the spotlight on some of our most dedicated and impactful reviewers and find out what inspires them to keep sharing their knowledge with the global scientific community. For this week’s ‘Reviewer in the Spotlight’, we speak with Dr.

Words That Define The COVID-19 Pandemic With Grammar Girl

Both Merriam Webster’s and Dictionary.com named “pandemic” their word of the year for 2020. On March 11, 2020, the day the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the word fueled Merriam Webster’s single largest spike in dictionary traffic in 2020, an increase of more than 115,806% over searches the same day in 2019. By ALL SIDES STAFF • JAN 25, 2021

Advice For Writing Your Success Story From Award-Winning Playwright And Author, Trey Anthony

On October 14, 2007, Trey Anthony’s ‘da Kink in My Hair debuted on Global Television. It was a historic moment. The show was the first primetime program to be created, written, and produced by a Black woman for a major Canadian network.

But Anthony’s success story started long before that. ‘da Kink in My Hair was originally a stage play that debuted in 2001, breaking box office records in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. The play earned Anthony four NAACP awards, including Best Playwright. Since ‘da Kink in My Hair, Anthony has created and produced another wildly successful play, How Black Mothers Say I Love You, worked in production for Women’s Television Network (now known as the W Network), and developed her career as a motivational speaker and lifestyle coach. This

3 ways communication will change after the pandemic

How will we speak to each other when we are all back together? A communications expert makes some bold predictions.

Much has been written about how work has changed since the start of the pandemic. We’ve all read plenty about adjusting to virtual communication and how work hours have become undefined. Even the workweek has shifted (note that I’m writing this on a Saturday). I have observed social clues from clients and peers in this “new normal,” and I’ve started to think about how communication will be different when (and if) we go back to in-person meetings and workspaces. Here are a few predictions: OVERSHARING AND UNDER-PRODUCING During the first

Five Trends Signalling A New Era In Communication

It is crucial that companies not only pivot their communication strategies to continue growing but also find a way to adapt to the new trends and stay relevant during times of change.

Public relations (PR) has always needed to be nimble to adapt to the ever-changing business landscape and its audience. As such, PR strategies are constantly evolving– and 2021 will see the beginning of a new era of communication. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, businesses were forced to find new ways to operate, transform, and communicate with their customers effectively. Against this uncertain backdrop, it is crucial that companies not only pivot their communication strategies to continue growing but also find a way to adapt to

Want To Grow Your Career? 6 Surprising Ways To Write Your Future

January can be a long dark month. Winter is dragging on and so is the pandemic. But you want to recharge and re-energize your career in the new year. You may be in need of something just a little unexpected.

This is it. With devices, keypads and voice recognition, handwriting is becoming a thing of the past and a lost art. But the one thing we still write by hand is our signatures. Just in time for National Handwriting Day on January 23 (who knew there was a day for acknowledging handwriting?), you will want to know your signature can betray key elements of your personality. The timing is good. With the beginning of a new year, now is the time to consider who you are, how you want to

The Tenth Commandment Of Strategic Planning: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

There is a great saying that if all you have in your toolbox is a hammer then everything will look like a nail. Knowing how to communicate is a learned skill and often times we have to choose our skill sets very carefully based on the situation.

In all my trainings and coaching one very critical piece that many CEOs need help with is their communication style. While some are very direct (which can cause pain) most are not direct, nor open nor honest for many reasons I've written about previously. Today, I’d like to share various communication strategies that can be very effective when done properly and for the right reasons. One such strategy is "radical candor." Author Kim Scott coined this term when her then-boss at Google, Sheryl Sandberg, used very direct, open and honest

12 Practical Ways To Ensure Effective Communication Among Multicultural Team Members

Businesses need to ensure that all team members can communicate and collaborate regardless of time, language or cultural differences—but how? Below, 12 members of Forbes Human Resources Council share ways companies can promote good communication between employees from different locations and cultural backgrounds.

One of the benefits companies find when embracing remote work models is a sudden expansion of the available workforce. When a physical location is no longer a limiting factor, hiring teams can seek out the best new talent from around the globe. International hires can bring invaluable new ideas and capabilities to a team. Still, there are new contingencies companies will need to prepare for, including varied time zones, cultural norms and communication barriers. 1. Ensure each team member’s culture and language are respected. Create a culture of transparency and

A Word, Please: Where there’s a there’s, there’s controversy

It’s hard to mess up subject-verb agreement when the syntax is so straightforward.

What do you think of the sentence “There’s multiple opportunities for youngsters”? How about “There’s many people who wish to travel”? How about “There’s a lot of students who wish to travel”? If you’re like most English speakers, you’re fine with it. Chances are, you use these forms yourself. Nothing wrong with that. But if you’re like me or reader Elaine in Long Beach, you’re not a fan. And there’s nothing wrong with that, either. Don’t see the issue? Compare the above sentences to these slightly modified versions: “There are

4 Ways to Significantly Improve Your Essay Writing Skills

Essay writing is something that anyone can do if they understand the writing basics. An academic essay should be presented consistently and logically, whether written by the student or the essay writing service providers.

The key to writing persuasive, informative, and valuable academic essays that can allow you to get high grades in the university is to have the right skills. You can improve your essay writing skills in the following ways. Create an outline The best essay writers are the ones who ensure that they have an idea of what they want to write before they begin writing. The simplest way to break down an essay and create a compelling argument is to create an outline before you write. Understand what you will

Want to Write a Book This Year? These Tools Can Help

We spoke to two award-winning authors for their tips on how to make it from start to finish. Here's how they take notes, organize chapters, and—yes—get comfy.

2020 WAS NOT the year I wrote my first book—but it was the year I started thinking about it. And in typical freelance writer fashion, I decided to take advantage of my position and get some advice on how to go about it from people much more accomplished than me under the guise of researching this article. Here’s what I managed to learn. A Way to Take Notes Apparently books don’t spring fully formed from the ether. You kind of have to work on them, brainstorming different ideas, doing research,

How to Begin Writing Your Lead-Generating Non-Fiction Book

A non-fiction book, written by an entrepreneur or professional, can boost status and authority, but it can be difficult to know where to start

Writing a book. It’s one of the most commonly held aspirations, yet is somehow perceived to be one of the most overwhelming and problematic roads to navigate. And when this life goal is coupled with the knowledge and recognition that a book can also mean huge business growth and enhanced levels of authority and status for business owners, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, coaches, mentors, thought leaders and speakers (just to name a few), frustration can reach an all-time high when the pathway seems unclear. All too often, this can mean that the

HOW CAN I WRITE MORE EFFICIENTLY?

For those who are looking to write more efficiently, there are a few tips to keep in mind.

There are a lot of people who are wondering how they can become more efficient when it comes to writing essays. One of the major fears about writing is that people are unsure of exactly how long it is going to take. Most people have a general idea of how quickly they read. Most people also understand how quickly they can work math problems. On the other hand, depending on the topic of your writing, it can take anywhere from a few minutes to several days. For those who are

Five ways to improve your writing in 2021

For anyone who would like to get better at writing in 2021 there are a few steps that would be of immense help if one were to follow them judiciously and if you already have some tips that would be great. With the known fact that no man is an island, the first step maybe would be to look outside for some help from professional writers.

Plan your work The foundation to anything is very vital to its success or failure. With writing, the story isn't that different. Most times we are of the view that our basics might be enough but being able to read and write to be honest is never enough. The basics here would involve spellings, punctuations, grammar and so on. Of course we all had English classes or else writing and reading this article would be impossible but there is more to writing which is the reason there are still seminars

The power of a budget plan in grant writing

Ethan Wilk, who begins an undergraduate programme this autumn, explains how a detailed outline of his proposed expenses and timeline helped him to win a competitive award to study endangered trout.

I awoke one morning last June to a blaring bedside alarm that nearly gave me a heart attack. That shock, however, paled in comparison to the one that followed when I read my e-mail — I had won a Harvard CBE Sustainability Grant, an environmental award of up to US$20,000 that is typically conferred on a cohort of students and faculty members at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I’m an 18-year-old high-school student. I had applied for the grant to support my research into the use of blockchain technology for

You’re probably making these common communication mistakes. Here are 3 ways to fix them

The founder of On Point Speaking says that for many of us, communication is confusing—especially now.

For many of us, communication is confusing—especially now. There is a reason why so many companies are now investing in soft skills and communication training. “In a survey of 2,800 senior managers at U.S. businesses,” the Wall Street Journal reported, “just under 40% said strategic changes prompted by COVID-19 required more frequent communications from leadership and improved collaboration within and across teams.” Yet a recent McKinsey Global Survey found that “87% of executives said they were experiencing skill gaps-but less than half of the respondents had a clear sense of

How Expressive Writing Can Help Reduce Stress in Patients with Cancer

In an interview with CURE®, Dr. Lawrence An discusses how expressive writing can be a tool to reduce stress in patients with cancer.

When dealing with a cancer diagnosis, an individual may find themselves spending more time in a “fight or flight” state, which, in turn, can have negative impacts on stress levels and even the immune system. That’s why researchers at The University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center created a new expressive writing tool called “Making Meaning” that aims to help patients put their thoughts and feelings into words. In an interview with CURE®, Dr. Lawrence An, co-director of the Center for Health Communications Research at the cancer center, explained why the

WRITING A FINANCE RESEARCH PAPER: TIPS FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS

Finance research papers are assigned to help students build their research skills and assess their grasp of course concepts. While all assignments can be challenging, finance research papers are relatively more demanding than most projects. They require extensive knowledge of course theories and concepts and a good understanding of the rules of research, formatting and citations.

Effective finance research papers are created based on unique and interesting topics. You will be expected to consult works done by authorities in your field at this academic level, using credible evidence to support arguments. There will also be other requirements, including those that determine whether to include tables, graphs, and mind maps for your assignment. Don't panic if you doubt your ability to create an impressive finance research paper. Here, we present some important tips on how to ace this important assignment. Start by Reading the Requirements From the

Writing to Win: How to Quickly Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged

“The reader is impatient,” says Glenn Kramon, Stanford GSB lecturer in management and editor at the New York Times. “Start with the most important conclusion and then explain how you got there.”

Matt Abrahams: Emails, slack messages, technical documentation, memos, product pitches, the ability to write well is critical to business success. Yet many of us feel insecure about our writing ability, while others simply don’t spend any time thinking about it. I’m Matt Abrahams and I teach Strategic Communication at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Welcome to Think Fast. Talk Smart, the Podcast. Today we are so fortunate to be joined by Glenn Kramon. Glenn has been an editor at the New York Times for close to 35 years. He also

The Efficacy of the Incorporation of First Language in ESL English Grammar Learning

English is a language possessing 1.75 billion speakers, including 375 million English-as-a-second-language (ESL) learners across the globe, according to the British Council

Learners are dissuaded from incorporating their first language (L1) while learning English due to the belief that the best means to acquire a new language is to learn it monolingually, which has been proposed since the late nineteenth century (Hall & Cook, 2012). However, this assumption has been in dispute by numerous scholars who identify the efficacy of the incorporation of L1 in English learning (e.g. Brooks-Lewis, 2009 Wach, 2016). Schwarzer and Luke (2001) listed the various roles of L1, encompassing “L1 as a collaborative tool, L1 as a scaffolding

Why does grammar matter?

After 20 years of teaching academic writing to both native speakers and English language learners, I can attest that at some point, just about everyone asks me why, or even whether, grammar matters.

There is more than one way to define grammar. Linguists – the people who study language – define “grammar” as a description of how a language operates. Though some people use it to bully people for making mistakes, grammar is not a way to decide if language is right or wrong. Everyone makes mistakes, and the English language is amazingly flexible in how its pieces can be put together and understood. That’s because English is a “living” language, actively spoken by people worldwide. It grows and changes, picking up new

Improve yourself in 2021 by improving your writing

Most of us can improve ourselves by improving our writing. For a quick start in this new year, let's highlight a few trouble spots.

A friend of mine collects self-improvement books published more than a century ago, containing wisdom their authors had gleaned long before modern gurus borrowed from them and flooded the market with workshops, retreats and videos. Most of us can improve ourselves by improving our writing. For a quick start in this new year, let's highlight a few trouble spots. In my bookcase, one collection that focuses on the craft of writing, "How to Write a Sentence" by Stanley Fish, offers this formula: "Sentence craft equals sentence comprehension equals sentence appreciation."

Grammar Guy: From ‘adorkable’ to ‘zhuzh’: words you’ll be surprised to find in the dictionar

The 21st century is an uncharted landscape of post-postmodernism. Truth can be whatever we want it to be at any given moment — or whatever. It’s up to you.

After consulting with a handful of the top dictionaries (including Merriam-Webster, the Oxford English Dictionary, the Macmillan Dictionary, dictionary.com and Oxford Dictionaries), I have found the following word entries in at least one of them. After all, dictionaries don’t decide which words are words — they simply report on which words are being used out in the wild. Here’s the unbelievable list. Adorkable. This word made it into the OED’s latest addition of words in December 2020. It’s an adjective that means “unfashionable or socially awkward in a way regarded

4 SEO Techniques for Promoting Your Growing Business

Search engine optimization (SEO) has become an essential part of modern marketing. Basically, this process’s end goal is to increase the foot traffic of a certain site or page online. It assists in making your business’s online presence effective to the highest degree possible. In the age of constant internet usage and rampant e-commerce, this presence is vital to nurture.

So, here are four SEO techniques for promoting your growing business. 1. Accumulate Content As your business grows, the amount of information about it should expand as well. Therefore, you need to be producing more content than before. This can come in many different forms. You could create blog posts or even humorous videos surrounding your company. These don’t need to be purely promotional either. In fact, it often looks better if the content is objective and simply mentions your name and purpose. This creates more trust between the writer

How SEO Can Boost Customer Experience

SEO is about optimizing websites for machines: search engines. But search engines serve human beings. And some of those human beings are your customers. Improving your SEO can, in turn, improve your customer experience.

However, much like customers, search engines are fickle. They use a number of factors to determine how to rank sites for certain terms. And what one user sees may not be the same set of results another does, depending on their individual search histories. SEO isn’t just about getting your website in front of people, though. It’s also about providing searchers with reliable, up-to-date information and a solid user experience. Search engine algorithms can distinguish between helpful sites and those packed with keywords for the sake of luring traffic. Because

Our Words Matter: Writing in the Age of Communication

We may lack the talent to match these commanders of language, but most of us, once taught, are capable of handling words with care in order to put together sentences and paragraphs that might aid us in every written endeavor from love letters to office memos.

In the fall the war was always there, but we did not go to it any more. It was cold in the fall in Milan and the dark came very early. Then the electric lights came on, and it was pleasant along the streets looking in the windows. There was much game hanging outside the shops, and the snow powdered in the fur of the foxes and the wind blew their tails. The deer hung stiff and heavy and empty, and small birds blew in the wind and the wind

8 Tips for Students Who Hate Essay Writing

Even if you hate essay writing, it's a critical component of higher education. Discover eight top tips for students who despise writing.

So you’ve never been a fan of writing. Nor do you enjoy reading books for pleasure. You don’t even understand why people enjoy it. As life would have it, though, you need to write dozens of essays and tests in order to get a degree there is no other way than to find a solution to get you through the dreading writing tasks. The good thing is, you are not the only one who feels this way. And consequently, there are a few tips your predecessors took upon to handle

As a Writer, I’m Not Ready to Throw in the Towel

Parkinson’s entered my life at 34. Along with writing, I journaled daily. Journaling was my way of working through hard things in my life and the lessons learned from those trials. It was also my way of keeping track of the blessings granted to me.

Ever since I can remember, I have loved to write short stories, articles, poems, novels, essays, and more. I entered some of my writing into contests, won a few (mostly in the short stories category), and received a few awards. As a young teenager, I asked my grandmother to read a story I wrote for school. When she finished, she praised me for how good she thought it was and told me I should be a writer. A few years later, my creative writing teacher in high school told me

Mameve Medwed on her intuitive writing process: ‘I just kind of follow my pencil’

In “Minus Me,” her sixth novel, Mameve Medwed sketches a happy marriage between competent Annie and clueless Sam, one threatened only by a dire diagnosis facing Annie. Keeping the news to herself, Annie begins writing a life manual to help guide Sam after she’s gone.

The book wasn’t the product of an outline. “It would be so boring if I knew exactly what I was going to do. I’m always sort of two sentences ahead of myself,” Medwed said. “I just kind of follow my pencil.” One thing she does decide before she begins writing: the book’s geographical setting. That’s often been Cambridge, where she’s lived for several decades. “Minus Me” takes place mostly in the writer’s native Maine, in a fictional small town — smaller than Medwed’s hometown of Bangor — where Sam and

17 Approaches for Encouraging Students to Revise Their Writing

Six ways to answer the magic question: How do we get students to want to revise their writing?

The new question-of-the-week is: How do you get students to want to revise their writing? "Authentic audience" 1. Offer them authentic assignments, not arbitrary prompts. I find that when my students are invested in the assignment, they are much more likely to care about their writing and want to make it better. Let them take a stance on a controversial issue that matters to them for a debate, propose a solution to a real-world problem as a TED-talk script, or have them choose two high-interest topics to compare/contrast. 2. Have

Writing From the Heart: Realistic resolutions

Drop the sugar, embrace the gratitude.

Every year I make New Year’s resolutions, and every year I give them up by Jan. 6. The list has gotten shorter and shorter as time has gone by, but always at the top is no more sugar. By about Jan. 4, my coffee without honey (which as we all know is just another form of sugar) is not fun anymore, and I am missing spaghetti to the point of having withdrawal symptoms. Pasta is white flour (which as we all know turns into sugar). So by Jan. 5 I

The Writer’s Desk: Off-beat advice to improve your writing

Happy New Year. Hopefully you’ve adjusted to the new normal, found your rhythm, and are able to write again. Below are some uncommon tips I use when the words won’t flow.

Look for ideas on Post Secrets In order for a story to captivate your audience the stakes must be high. Everyone has secrets, and you’ll find plenty of high-stake ideas from other people’s secrets. On PostSecret, people anonymously mail-in their written confessions on a postcard, and selected secrets are posted on the web page. Many of the secrets shared are heartbreaking, yet also demonstrate resilience. For example, “I am so poor that when I’m driving, I actually look for places that would be good to live in if I ever

12 Smart Ways To Create The Most Engaging Email Newsletter

Newsletters have always been a reliable format for company communications and marketing. However, a newsletter will only serve its purpose if it is engaging enough to tempt recipients into opening and reading it.

With so many people working from home these days, professionals are relying on their inboxes to bring them news, information and entertainment more than ever before. Consequently, email newsletters are seeing a surge in popularity. How can a business craft an email newsletter that excites and hooks readers, leaving them wanting more? Here, 12 members of Forbes Communications Council share their insights into how to create email newsletters that draw readers in effortlessly. 1. Be Consistent And Make It Useful Being consistent by sending your newsletter on the same day

The Cost Of 'Natural' Business Communications For Multilingual Entrepreneurs

Though English is not my first language, it's the primary language of my professional life and has been for many years. At times, this has brought unique challenges — a central one being the problem of sounding "natural."

As a company founder, earlier in my career, I needed to write English communications that sounded credible enough to sell our product to established — and at times rather traditional — organizations. My grammar and mechanics were excellent. I scored high on English aptitude tests like the GMAT and TOEFL to get into graduate schools. In some ways, I had a better command of English than most native speakers. However, something was off. My MBA classmates said something about how the way I wrote didn't quite feel "normal," equating it

How to create the perfect CV for 2021

“Many job seekers will be switching industries in 2021, due to the impact of COVID-19 on the job market. For this you will need to repurpose your CV — but it’s not as hard as you think”

This year has been a difficult time for job seekers. The unemployment rate in the UK surged to its highest level in over three years in the summer, as the pandemic continued to hit jobs. Meanwhile, redundancies rose to their highest level since 2009, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Many businesses have put a hiatus on recruitment, and those which are hiring are receiving huge numbers of applications. It might be tricky to get your CV noticed and land a new job, but it isn’t impossible. The

Excel At Written Communication For Admission To Your Dream University

beautifully written essay may help a student create a compelling story for their university admissions. A mediocre work product with unclear thoughts and grammatical errors may affect a young professionals' chances for promotion.

Give a man a fish, he will eat today, but teach a man to fish and he will eat forever. - Ancient Chinese proverb. The college admission season is here again. Like other years, several students and parents are stressed about writing high quality essays, motivation letters and statements of purpose. While their urgency is understandable, good writing skills are developed over time and provide a lifelong advantage. A beautifully written essay may help a student create a compelling story for their university admissions. A mediocre work product with unclear

Communications in a post-Covid era: what 2020 has taught us about how to communicate better

In a year unlike any other, there have been many stand-out moments where the power of communication (both good and bad) has proven to be critical in uniting or dividing us all around a common challenge or issue.

From the global pandemic, to the US election and the Black Lives Matter movement, some of the most important events in recent times will be defined by a single quote, tweet, press conference or image, reinforcing the critical role of communications for brands, politicians, celebrities and leaders, particularly in times of crisis. Here in the UK millions gathered around their TVs for daily news briefings from the Prime Minister and health advisors in the early days of the pandemic, and the success or failure of these communications went on to

The web must change its business model if it wants to become truly global and multilingual

The dominance of the English language on the web is fueled by an ad-supported Internet, writes Samir Patil—but direct payments to content creators could help fix that.

The multilingual web emerged within two years of the birth of the standards in 1994 that created the web as we know it. The motto of the internationalization task force was “Making the World Wide Web world wide!” But despite that early vision and commitment, today English is the dominant language of the Internet. It accounts for about 60% of all web content, and incredibly, this percentage is growing despite the fact that a vast majority of new Internet users are from non–English-speaking countries like India and China. The main

If you write this word in an email, it could cost you the job

Before you press end on your next email or jump in a Zoom conference call with your higher-ups, make sure you never say “whatever” unless you want to annoy them.

Finding the right language to use in an email or in meetings can sometimes feel like skating on ice. There are moments where familiarity could make you feel comfortable and become less strict with the words you use, whether it be telling a joke or saying what you have to say however you feel. But before you press end on your next email or jump in a Zoom conference call with your higher-ups, make sure you never say “whatever” unless you want to annoy them. “Whatever” has been coined as

8 Ways To Get Your Personal Brand Ready For 2021

To truly hit the ground running in 2021, you need to take stock of your personal brand right now. Follow these easy steps to upgrade up your online presence and prepare for your outreach, so when you start networking in 2021, you're looking fresh as a daisy.

I know what you're thinking. It's year-end, and it's time to relax from the hideous year that was 2020. You have a lot to do in 2021, but you'll do that heavy lifting in January! Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I am assigning you some homework due on January 1st. To truly hit the ground running in 2021, you need to take stock of your personal brand right now. Follow these easy steps to upgrade up your online presence and prepare for your outreach,

Buffett to graduates: ‘There’s never been a better time’

Billionaire investor, philanthropist and Husker alumnus Warren Buffett told the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s December graduates to look for careers they’re passionate about and to keep learning.

The chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, who graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1951, recently participated in a recorded phone conversation with Chancellor Ronnie Green that served as the keynote address during the university’s virtual graduation celebration Dec. 19. Buffett said he enjoyed every minute of his time at Nebraska. He transferred to his home-state university after two years at the Wharton School of Pennsylvania and said he had terrific professors at Nebraska who not only imparted knowledge, but had a rapport with students. He said the business

The future of travel writing in the post-pandemic world

2020 has forced writers to experiment with new storytelling formats, focusing on staycations, sustainable tourism and diversity. Some of these changes are here to stay

With governments imposing lockdowns, planes grounded, and travel corridors continuously opening and closing like a revolving door, this year the travel writing industry has been paralysed by the pandemic. Despite this, many writers have found innovative ways of continuing their work. "Dream now, go later" From reflective pieces on past trips to features on destinations that we can look forward to visiting after the pandemic, the world of travel writing has come up with new ways to tell stories. Some travel writers experimented with more news-oriented articles that examined the

This is the best way to write that post-interview thank-you note

In a new report from TopResume, recruiters admitted caring less about employment gaps, and more about cover letters and thank-you notes than before the COVID-19 crisis.

According to new data from TopResume, a little gratitude can have a big impact—on your chances of getting a job, that is. Surveying over 300 hiring managers, recruiters, and HR professionals to find out how their hiring practices have changed since March, TopResume discovered that employers care even more about interview thank-you notes now than before the COVID-19 crisis. The majority (68%) of hiring professionals agreed that the interview thank-you has become more significant, one-fifth (20%) were neutral on the topic, and a mere 12% disagreed. In-person interviews are not

Four Ways To Effectively Personalize Your Marketing Emails

If you’re like many business owners, you want to use email marketing to grow your company. Emails are an excellent way to get to know your audience and build customer personas. At the same time, you can use what you learn to create targeted promotions to lead to more sales and engagement.

The key to building a highly effective email marketing strategy is personalization. Consumers expect businesses to use what they know to create and showcase relevant content, offers and messaging. Failure to meet this standard could result in people leaving your site who may have otherwise enjoyed your product or service. Today, I'm going to help you add personalization to your email marketing campaign. To accomplish this task, we will explore four effective ways to add a personal touch to your marketing emails. 1. Personalize The Subject Line The subject line

4 tips on writing the perfect holiday card during COVID-19

Cards are a great way to check in with friends and loved ones, says designer Erin Leroux

Sadly, many holiday traditions just can't happen during COVID-19: Big parties, crowded dinners and kissing under the mistletoe are all recipes for potential disaster amid the second wave of the pandemic. But one activity that is still allowed is the simple act of sending a card through the mail. It's a long-standing tradition that artist Erin Leroux said is particularly well-suited to our current moment. "It's a really easy way to send a simple message to your friends and family," said Leroux, founder of the Kitchener-based card and stationery company

The Art of Writing Strongly Worded Emails

Have you ever worked with someone and wanted to express your feelings towards them in an unfriendly manner? If not, you are lying to yourself.

Indifferences at work are not just common but rather inevitable and if you’re very unlucky, insufferable. The more involved you are, the more opportunities there are to discover that everyone might not be on the same page as you. Thankfully, Zoom enables us to keep one from indulging in indecent or violent behaviour as otherwise you might have a case of sore punches, broken fingers, and an expired career. It’s common knowledge that when such indiscrepancies occur, they stem from either lack of appropriate framing, grave miscommunication, or a pure

5 Principles for Setting Up an Excellent Business Communications Infrastructure

Good communication means better business. There are few industries in which the effective sharing of information isn’t crucial. Making communication frictionless and efficient, though, is often easier said than done. Especially if you don’t have the right communications infrastructure to start with.

A business communications infrastructure is the technology that facilitates commercial communication. It can include everything from a simple desk phone, to cold calling software, to smart devices connected to the Internet of Things. Your infrastructure needs to cover your present communication needs and keep you covered for the future. Research states that 98% of executives consider ineffective communication to be the main cause of failures in business. Companies with unclear or inaccurate business communications are far less productive than those with a proper system set up. So how can you

11 Tips for Proofreading Emails

Email lets us communicate — or miscommunicate — at the speed of light. That’s why proofreading email is so important. Grammatical errors, bad links, and missing attachments signal a lack of professionalism, and a confusing sentence can send the wrong message altogether.

A solid email marketing strategy is at the heart of most digital marketing campaigns, so it’s important that your emails always look professional and polished. This guide to effective email proofreading can help — as long as you follow these tips: Take a break Know your usual mistakes Use a proofreading tool Check subjects and headlines Verify names and pronouns Read out loud Check links and attachments Verify facts and dates Check your tone Simplify Bring in support 1. Take a break It’s hard to correct errors while you’re still

5 Ways You Can Be More Direct In An Email (And Get The Answers You Need)

Being direct does not mean you have to be abrasive. Being direct means being clear. When you communicate clearly, work gets done. Make it a priority to be clear, particularly when it comes to work email.

Email language and the back and forth messages that often ensue can undermine your productivity, as well the productivity of your teammates. You have the ability to make email work for you. Here are five tips to help you be more direct in your written communications at work: 1. Ask a question if you need an answer. Questions beg answers. Reserve questions for information you need from the recipient. Use statements only for information you want to share but to which you don’t need an answer. To illustrate, write, “Who

GOoD ENgLiSh? WTF Is That? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

LMAO, WTF, TIL and TLDR aren’t just an exasperating farrago of digitalese. Internet patois carries a subversive social power.

Of the many apologies I owe for my years of being an idiot online, the first is owed to my childhood classmates. Somewhere on some Silicon Valley server, bey­ond my own reach, are early-2000s MSN Messenger chats in which I have, with proper title-casing and punctuation, accused them of complicity in the downfall of the English language. Their crime: using GTG and LOL. I didn’t know, at 12 and 13, that living languages exist in a permanent state of such downfallings, constantly welcoming new additions as new shared experiences call

Want to Win Someone Over? Talk Like They Do.

What does it take to become a more convincing communicator? New research suggests that linguistic mirroring — that is, adjusting your communication style to match that of your audience — is an effective tool to increase your ability to influence others. In this piece, the authors describe four key dimensions of linguistic mirroring, as well as several tactical strategies for leaders looking to win over a client, judge, or other important evaluator. Ultimately, they argue that building genuine relationships with key evaluators is the best way to gain insight into their linguistic preferences — but it’s up to all of us to make sure that we use the power of linguistic mirroring for good.

Whether you’re pitching a big client, presenting to an executive, or attempting to win over a judge, a strong preexisting relationship with the person who’s evaluating you is likely to make you much more effective. Why is that? In our recent research, forthcoming in Administrative Science Quarterly, we found that preexisting relationships give people greater insight into how their evaluators think, reason, interpret, and process evidence, helping them tailor their messages with a process we call linguistic mirroring. For example, if you know that your evaluator favors linear, logical reasoning

Write for Rights

Every December, people around the world write millions of letters, emails, tweets, Facebook posts and postcards for those whose human rights are under attack, in what has become the world’s biggest human rights event.

“Write for Rights is all about individuals helping other individuals, and this way of expressing our shared humanity has never been more important and relevant.” “The power of individual action to save lives and hold governments to account must never be underestimated. Year on year we see the powerful impact that simply writing a letter or email can deliver.” Write for Rights mobilizes hundreds of thousands of people around the world to change the lives of individuals at risk through taking action. Amnesty International's Write for Rights campaign will run

Presentations And Presentation Skills In The Age Of Virtual Meetings

Since Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other similar virtual platforms have transformed corporate life — possibly forever — it’s time to get with the program.

Many lessons that we teach about how to construct and deliver an effective, memorable presentation are obsolete in the virtual meeting age however, many of the techniques and tools that we’ve shared with clients for decades are even more important. Since Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other similar virtual platforms have transformed corporate life — possibly forever — and it’s time to get with the program. Here are a few pointers about what’s changed and some ideas for solutions. Our clients and contacts are asking how best to make eye contact

Six Ways To Write A Press Release That Gets Noticed

You can create a brilliant press release even if you didn’t do great in your composition class.

A well-written press release is an introduction to your company and increases your visibility as an industry expert within your community and beyond. You can create a brilliant press release even if you didn’t do great in your composition class. These are the six facets of a well-written press release. Falling short on just one could have a negative effect on your success. Luckily, there are simple steps to follow. The Most Important Question Does this really deserve a press release? A press release highlights the story. It's newsworthy and

Being polite in work emails is more important than ever

2020 has upped the value of the polite, swift and considerate email

Last week a 14-word email landed in my inbox from someone called Greg who did not like a column I had just written about green investments. “Grass is green,” it said. “You going to invest in that too? What a goofy article.” There is much to admire in an email like this. It was short. It had a point and its meaning was more or less clear. Alas, it fell down on another measure. It was unpleasant. This comes with the territory if you are lucky enough to be paid

16 Ways To Maintain Client Communication

Modern companies that rely on repeat business can't afford to lose contact with their clients, and as consumer behavior continually shifts, engaging clients and prospects can be a tricky business.

Many businesses have a communication problem—whether by not having enough channels to engage customers or by using too many channels to maintain effective communication across all of them. In either case, client communication suffers. Modern companies that rely on repeat business can't afford to lose contact with their clients, and as consumer behavior continually shifts, engaging clients and prospects can be a tricky business. If a business needs to maintain its client communication channels, it needs to be more proactive and deploy specific strategies to improve its approach. Here, 16

Writing For SEO: Seven Tips To Rank Higher On Google Organically

Writing without SEO in mind hurts your business. Google one of your services or products. Are you on page one of the search results, hopefully ranking in the top five positions?

If you’re not in the top five organic (not paid) positions, you’re missing out on 70.4% of traffic. According to Search Engine Journal, a study that took into account 80 million keywords and billions of results reported the following clicks on the top positions: 1. 28.5% 2. 15.7% 3. 11% 4. 8% 5. 7.2% Nowadays, browsers are wise. They trust a top organic result for a search query over the top paid Google Ad. Anyone with a huge budget can consistently rank at the top of Google Ads. Much more

5 ways to improve your English proficiency as a non-native English speaker

Speaking and understanding English is not the same for native and non-native speakers.

When you're a non-native speaker of English, it can be hard matching the standards set by the true owners of the language. On the one hand, there's the issue of accent - your native accent might be totally different from that of native English speakers. And on the other hand is the issue of getting acquainted with the language - understanding the rudiments of the English language. In short, speaking and understanding English is not the same for native and non-native speakers. However, as a non-native speaker, there are things

5 Marketing Emails That Drive Sales

While often the goal of email marketing is sales, the first priority is building a relationship with customers, which in turn can lead to many sales over time.

Email marketing pays off, in a big way. Connecting with customers through email earns between $30 and $50 for nearly every dollar invested, according to the UK-based Data & Marketing Association. Emails that customers find useful and interesting to read keep your subscribers wanting more and incentivize them to stay subscribed to your list. While often the goal of email marketing is sales, the first priority is building a relationship with customers, which in turn can lead to many sales over time. Each email should have a clearly defined goal

How To Build Hype Around A New Product

If you want to find success with your next big release, you must know how to build hype around your new product.

Businesses around the globe are always making new products. Some of those products catch on, while others disappear into obscurity almost instantly. Odds are, you would rather be in the former category. You want to design a fantastic new product and get tons of sales and engagement. If you want to find success with your next big release, you must know how to build hype around your new product. You have a whole host of marketing channels that you can use to spread brand awareness and get people invested in

4 Best Apps for Academic Writers

Convenience and comfort when writing an essay have greatly bolstered writing essays, all in the account of the recent tech advancements.

Students now can enjoy a hassle-free editing and writing process, which enables them to deliver every course work with ease and within the stipulated time. Besides, everyone can access these apps irrespective of their geographical location, provided they have a phone, laptop, and secure and reliable internet connection. Besides offering stress-free writing and editing features, the software help students deliver error-free native-like content, which bolsters their chances of getting better grades. That said, there are many apps to use, but here’s a brief look at the top 4 apps for

Your grammar guide to the 2020 election

Even if we don’t know exactly who won yet in the elderly man popularity contest known as this year’s presidential election, you at least want to sound smart when you’re talking and/or writing about this year’s contest.

Great job, you voted! You exercised your right as a non-felonious adult American citizen to democratically elect the people who will represent us in our state and federal governments for the next few years. Even if we don’t know exactly who won yet in the elderly man popularity contest known as this year’s presidential election, you at least want to sound smart when you’re talking and/or writing about this year’s contest. Here are some tips on how to sound like a regular Doris Kearns Goodwin while chatting about politics. First

Top Business Skills for Success on the Job

Improving your business skills will help you succeed in your career.

AT THEIR CORE, businesses are basically groups of people working toward a common goal. The more effectively these people can work together, the more successful a business can be. If collaboration is the wheel that helps the business progress, business skills are the lubricant that keeps the wheel turning smoothly. No matter what your industry or job, strong business acumen will help you succeed. This guide explores the top business skills everyone should have and how you can improve your business acumen. What Are Business Skills? Business skills are a

AI-POWERED LANGUAGE APPS ARE THE NATURAL EVOLUTION OF E-LEARNING

Distance learning and remote teaching have increased reliance on tech making it a reality, and able to traverse borders with less regard for physical geo-locations.

Learning Language Online is now seamless with AI-backed Language Apps There are numerous restrictions that prevent online learning from being ubiquitous such as internet accessibility, access to learning platforms, adequate attention for learners individually, and language barriers. Video-based learning could be enough for urban pupils, but for rural areas, connectivity becomes low, less reliable, and interrupted lessons. For international students, pursuing higher education or probably taking vocational courses, a lack in fluency in English or any other intermediary languages can play a significant role in limiting proper online learning. Learning

Building blocks of language evolved before humans split from chimps and monkeys

The ability to piece together relationships between word groups appeared at least 40 million years ago.

The building blocks of human language were around at least 40 million years ago, long before humans evolved, scientists have discovered. Researchers recently found that humanity's last shared ancestor with great apes and monkeys — our closest primate relatives — had evolved the ability to detect relationships between groups of sounds, a foundational skill for understanding language, according to the new study. Structurally, language is made up of sentences, and in a sentence, every word has meaning. But meaning also comes from grammar, or how the words are arranged. Being

4 Common Grammar Mistakes in Writing to Avoid

What are the most common grammatical errors in writing? This is a question that many people ask when they are writing an essay, report, letter, or even an article. A lot of people would think that they are the only ones making mistakes, but that is not true. All sorts of errors in writing exist.

The biggest problem that most writers face is the fact that they do not pay enough attention to the grammar rules. This is a very important aspect of writing because when you write and have to proofread your work, there will be no point in editing your work if you do not take care of your grammar. If you want to be an effective writer then you need to learn and apply the correct grammar rules for your topic. If you learn the rules of writing in English then you

You’re Better Off Not Responding To These 4 Types Of Emails

In certain situations no response is probably the best response.

Responsiveness is certainly one of the golden rules of teaming and simple workplace professionalism. Indeed, responding promptly to emails (ideally within 24 hours) even if just to confirm receipt of a task or clarify that you don’t have the requested information is a best practice that everyone should embrace. But the truth is that in certain situations no response is probably the best response. Let’s explore four of these situations where you may be better off not responding at all. #1 – Contentious Group Emails Have you ever been included

Science’s English dominance hinders diversity—but the community can work toward change

These types of struggles often live only as anecdotes and as harsh realities of the job among nonnative speakers. But Ramírez Castañeda’s results add to a small yet growing body of work providing concrete evidence of how language barriers affect nonnative English speakers and hinder diversity in science.

When Valeria Ramírez Castañeda was a biology master’s student at the University of Los Andes in Colombia, the thought of writing her thesis in English gave her a headache. Writing it in Spanish would fulfill her graduation requirement—but if she wrote it in English, it would be far easier to turn it into a paper she could immediately submit for publication. Ramírez Castañeda tried, but after weeks of frustration she gave up. “It was impossible,” she says. “With the little time I had and with all the mental effort it

The Top 10 Communication Lessons An Entrepreneur Can Learn

Every successful business leader needs to know how to communicate effectively. Both written and verbal communication skills are crucial if you want to build and maintain strong relationships with your employees, customers and partners.

These essential communications insights are often learned throughout an entrepreneur’s journey, and sometimes they can come to you through unexpected career situations. That’s why we asked the members of Young Entrepreneur Council to share the best communication lessons they’ve learned during their careers so far. Here are their top 10 lessons and why each was so impactful. 1. Be Transparent Above All Else Transparency is incredibly important in building trust with internal and external stakeholders. Withholding and hiding information leads to feelings of distrust and opens the door for false

Email Marketing: Still The Most Powerful Tool To Take Your Business To The Next Level

The key to running a successful business is enticing customers and clients to do business with you. So whether you’re scrambling to lure customers back during a global pandemic or expanding your markets during “normal” business times, the question is, How do you do that? What are the best ways to get customers to come to your store, website, restaurant, office, etc.?

We all know the answer: it’s marketing. But marketing is not a simple process. There are various practices, tactics, and strategies that are part of an overall marketing plan—and they are constantly evolving. It can make formulating a marketing plan for your small business overwhelming. To help simplify the process, there is one marketing method that has maintained its claim to fame. Email marketing still promises to deliver the highest ROI of all marketing channels—$42 back for every dollar you spend. That’s not to say email as an industry, and

5 Words You’re Probably Using Incorrectly

Did you know “anyways” is not a word? And “factoid” doesn’t mean a small piece of information?

ANXIOUS Wrong meaning: Excited, eager Right meaning: In a fit of nervousness, considering all that could go wrong If you say you are anxious to get your new puppy or to start your vacation in Florida, you are saying you are anticipating these things with dread, fear or — as the word implies — anxiety. You are likely just eager to do those things. Use eager when you are excited for or about something: “I’m so eager for my week off at Christmas!” and anxious when you are dreading something:

Grammar Guy: Through the ears

Oronyms are words or phrases that sound similar that you mishear in a sentence.

Do you ever think you see something but it’s really something else? I’m not talking about mirages, rather, sometimes our eyes just fool us. For instance, I have a beard, and for weeks now it has looked as though I accidentally shaved too closely on this spot under my chin. As a result, it looks like there’s a chunk missing from my beard. Since I’ve been wearing a face-covering at work and in public, I haven’t seen the spot in many mirrors, however, I caught a glance the other day,

13 Smart Strategies To Write Better Copy

All professional copywriters have certain "tricks of the trade" when it comes to hitting the mark with copy. From creating the right idea to developing it into full copy with its own voice and tone, each of these experts has a method they apply to ensure that the composition fulfills the creator's requirements.

As easy as copywriting might seem to business professionals, dedicated copywriters know it's a learned skill with its own required talent. All professional copywriters have certain "tricks of the trade" when it comes to hitting the mark with copy. From creating the right idea to developing it into full copy with its own voice and tone, each of these experts has a method they apply to ensure that the composition fulfills the creator's requirements. What are these secret tricks and tips that pro copywriters use to analyze and refine their

12 Best And Worst Communication Practices From The Second Trump-Biden Televised Debate

In addition to making their best arguments why they should occupy the White House for the next four years, the two political leaders provided business leaders with several examples of best and worst communication practices.

In their last debate before Election Day, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden showed their true colors — again — before a national television audience. In addition to making their best arguments why they should occupy the White House for the next four years, the two political leaders provided business leaders with several examples of best and worst communication practices. In crisis situations, executives should embrace the best practices — and avoid the worst ones at all cost. Best Practices Connect With Your Audience Biden directed many

Send This Email to Have a Better Day

The key to falling back in love with your inbox is as simple as writing one email every day: a thank you note.

Hello, my name is Amy and I have 8,888 unread emails in my inbox. I know! But between marketing pitches for publications where I worked three jobs ago (update your lists, people!) and increasingly dramatic calls to sign political petitions (I admit signing up to textbank for campaigns was a bad call for this reason), I really can’t keep up. I tend to meet every “new message” notification with a shudder of dread. Of course it wasn’t always this way — I used to love email! These days, however, I

6 Ways to Promote Effective Communication in the Workplace

Whatever your walk of life, being a great communicator is a critical skill. But why is communication in the workplace important?

In a recent survey, employers listed their top five most in-demand skills for new hires. Four out of five skills were speaking, listening, writing, and presentation. This shows a clear focus on our ability to engage others and discuss ideas. The way we interact has evolved too. Video conferencing has increased. So has the reliance on workplace messaging apps. As a result, connecting with colleagues in different locations is our everyday experience. As technology plays an ever-growing role in our workplace communication, how do we take the benefits and avoid

Star Trek: Is The Phrase "To Boldly Go" Grammatically Incorrect?

Star Trek's intro infamously includes the phrase "to boldly go," which is a split infinitive - but are split infinitives bad grammar or not?

Is Star Trek's iconic introduction quote - "to boldly go" - actually grammatically incorrect? The line features at the front of episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation, spoken by their respective Enterprise captains, and arguably sounds a lot more poetic than the alternative, "to go boldly," might have. Despite this, it's actually been a subject of some controversy among grammar enthusiasts. In English grammar, the phrase “to boldly go” is a split infinitive, which English classes warn to never write. A split infinitive,

Writing Email Subject Lines That Get Opened: 5 Tips To Get You Started

A successful email campaign starts with a great subject line. The best subject lines are often descriptive or personal, giving the reader a reason to read the rest of your content. But capturing the attention of your subscribers is easier said than done.

If you’re struggling with low email open rates, here are five surefire tips that you can use to write email subject lines. If you want your emails to be opened, and read, spend 4 minutes watching the video, or read on for the tips 1. Be Descriptive Your email subscribers are busy – often too busy for subject lines that don’t contain any information about the email’s content. Generic email subject lines don’t give your readers any incentive to click on them. No matter how good the content of the

4 ways to build trust with employees (especially when you can’t see them)

These days, you may not speak to your employees in-person, but you can still promote a trusting relationship.

Now that working remotely has become the norm, supervisors are realizing the challenges of leading a team they can’t see. It makes sense that they’re struggling: After all, managing employees remotely requires different skills than managing them face-to-face. The sudden arrival of the pandemic meant they had precious little time to prepare. Different industries will face different challenges when it comes to managing staff from afar. But whether you’re in charge of a team of engineers, designers, or bread bakers, there’s one element that’s absolutely critical: trust. A lack of

Is English the lingua franca of science? Not for everyone

For much of the world—in particular, the global south, where English is not a common second language—English limits entry into the the world of science and limits public access to scientific results, even when they pertain to a person's own country.

English has become the de facto language of science: International conferences are held in English, the world's top scientific journals are in English and academics in non-English speaking countries get promoted based on their publications in English language journals. Even scientific jargon is in English—most non-English speakers use English terms and don't bother inventing equivalent words in their native languages. Yet, for much of the world—in particular, the global south, where English is not a common second language—English limits entry into the the world of science and limits public access

On Vocabulary in Writing

Bad writing bamboozles readers with highfalutin gobbledygook. Don't you want all the Latinate words (e.g., bamboozle, highfalutin, and gobbledygook) in the previous sentence replaced with easy Anglo-Saxon words?

Back in the mid-90s when I was majoring in English literature at a public university in Dhaka, Bangladesh, I was a cricket buff. For the Bangladeshis, cricket was a transnational love affair in the 90s. We didn't have a national cricket team of international standard the way we do now. Most of us used to root either for India or Pakistan, though some used to savor the brutal beauty of Caribbean cricket. India was my favorite team. Watching India play was not enough. I became curious about the players. I

Why Your Startup Needs An Email Newsletter

Marketing isn't always a top priority in the pre-launch phase of a business startup. Your plate as a founder is beyond full. Your offering is still in development. People need to get to know you even when it's early. This is where starting an email newsletter can help.

Marketing isn't always a top priority in the pre-launch phase of a business startup. Your plate as a founder is beyond full. Your offering is still in development. People need to get to know you even when it's early. This is where starting an email newsletter can help. I can hear you from here. Email? Really? Hear me out. Adobe found the average consumer spends about 2.5 hours checking personal email on a typical weekday. More than three-fourths of marketers reported seeing an increase in email engagement in 2019. And

Communication has become way too impersonal

We live in an increasingly impersonal world dominated by technology. Technology is wonderful when it works.

Writing a newspaper column is not as easy as you might think. I’ve started and stopped this week at least three times. I’ve erased — excuse me, deleted — my words more times than I want to admit to you. I guess that means I’ve put a little extra thought into this space this week. The first effort was entirely too personal and I got about five paragraphs in and didn’t like the way I was whining. I’ve always worn my feelings on my sleeve and I suspect that by

Grammar Guy: A slightly more perfect present

This year has been rough, especially for the U.S. The country has been on fire, we’re dealing with a global pandemic, and both racial injustice and political unrest continue to dominate the headlines. So, my question is: was the past better, or will the future bring us brighter days?

To be honest with you, that’s above my paygrade. I can’t guarantee the quality of your past, present or future, but I can help you understand the present perfect tense. Yes, times are tense, but learning about the present perfect tense can be fun! The present perfect is a verb tense that is used in two different ways: to indicate something has happened at a time in the unspecified past and to show something has happened in the past that continues to occur in the present. Clear as mud, right?

7 Basic Ways to Improve Your Academic Writing Skills

Academic writing is one of the most critical and repetitive activities in a college. If you are a student at a university, you must be familiar with academic writing. However, many students continuously struggle in producing quality academic papers that the professor requires.

Use Active Voice Using active voice in sentences is one of the most basic rules you should follow while academic writing? For example, the statement, “The maid cleaned my house,” should be termed as, “The maid cleaned the house.” Using active voice instead of passive voice is that it helps in the clarity of the document. Having a clear and unambiguous writing style is very important to craft a well written academic paper. An active voice achieves clarity because it becomes clear for the reader about who is taking action

A shortcut to help you write anything

Today’s tip is a tool to get your creative juices flowing: the writing plan spreadsheet.

How it works: Whenever you need to tackle an ambitious writing project — a speech, a screenplay, even a lengthy email — begin by mapping out the structure in a spreadsheet. Use one column to create your skeleton, listing the rough sections or points you want to hit, and then use a second column to flesh out each one. If you’d like, you can keep adding additional columns that get increasingly granular, sketching out subsections or certain lines or details you’d like to include. Why do it? The hardest part

Do You Love Writing or Receiving Letters?

Snail mail is making a comeback during the pandemic. Have you written any letters lately? Do you think that now is a good time to start?

Have you ever received a memorable letter? If so, what was it like to see an envelope with your name on it? What did you feel as you unfolded the letter and began to read? Did it feel different than getting an email, phone call or text? Why or why not? Conversely, have you ever written a meaningful letter to someone else? Why did you choose that old-fashioned form of communication over a quicker and more convenient one? Snail mail and handwritten messages are on the rise during the coronavirus

Eight ways to vastly improve your communication skills

Truth is, even those of us who are good communicators aren’t nearly as good as we think we are.

When it comes to communication, we all tend to think we’re pretty good at it. Truth is, even those of us who are good communicators aren’t nearly as good as we think we are. This overestimation of our ability to communicate is magnified when interacting with people we spend the most time with. Researchers at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business put this theory to the test and what they discovered is startling. In the study, the researchers paired subjects with people they knew well and then again

Creating culture during the chaos of Covid

COVID-19 HAS CAUSED CHAOS TO HOW MANY BUSINESSES ARE RUN, WITH ORGANISATIONS GRAPPLING WITH CREATING OR MAINTAINING A CULTURE IN AN EVER SHIFTING AND CHALLENGING ENVIRONMENT. FROM EMPLOYEES THAT WORKED THROUGHOUT THE PANDEMIC TO THOSE RETURNING FROM FURLOUGH, OR STAFF THAT ARE STILL SHIELDING OR RETURNING TO SOCIALLY DISTANCED WORKSPACES – BUSINESSES NEED TO SUPPORT A VARIETY OF EMPLOYEE SCENARIOS TO FORM A COHESIVE CULTURE. EMPLOYEES WILL HAVE DIFFERENT CONCERNS WHICH EMPLOYERS NEED TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT, AND GOOD COMMUNICATIONS WILL PLAY A CENTRAL ROLE IN HOW WELL THIS SITUATION IS MANAGED, PARTICULARLY NOW AS SCHOOLS START TO RETURN, STAYCATIONS ARE COMING TO AN END AND MANY WILL BE LOOKING TO RETURN TO WORK – EITHER IN PERSON OR REMOTELY.

Keen to kickstart: Some employees will be keen to return to workplaces, particularly if they experienced isolation and loneliness during lockdown. Coming into contact with colleagues and clients again can be important in maintaining a sense of community – especially in SMEs, where workplaces often have a more familial feel. Making sure that workplaces are carefully assessed for Covid safety measures, and communicating steps taken – such as socially distanced desks and sanitising stations – is an important element of employees returning. Multiple benefits can be reaped from returning to

5 Tried-and-True Ways to Boost Traffic to Your Website

You may have high-quality content on your website but unless you can get visitors to read it, it will serve no purpose.

There are many different ways to get more traffic to a website, some of which are more successful than others. The following five ways to get more traffic have been successfully used by most top bloggers. 1. Add new content constantly Having a product review app on product pages is a great way to constantly get new reviews so the search engines see regular activity and new content on these pages. Removing stale, outdated content from webpages and adding new sections is also necessary to keep pages relevant. Blog writing

A Unique Approach To Writing A Better Company Bio

Your words on that about page need to carry your visitors from start to finish. Tell them a story so engrossing they’ll keep reading to the end.

When I used to attend live events, I always enjoyed listening to the speakers’ bios. They were more than just their names and what they did. Their bios were crafted to resonate with the audience and, often, the event they were speaking at. That got me thinking about a company's about page. We’ve all got one, but they’re often pretty dull. They describe what your business does and maybe your mission or values, but that’s it. What if you could create a company bio that was engaging, compelling and maybe

Curtis Honeycutt | Grammar Guy: Breaking the rules: Starting sentences with conjunctions

I'm here to tell you it's time to let coordinating conjunctions be the star of the sentence. Let them bat leadoff in your unstoppable word lineup.

I've never been to a "con." What I mean by this, of course, is a major "convention" (unless you count the Southern Baptist convention back in 2004, but that's a story for a different column). I'm talking about conventions such as Comic-Con, Dragon Con and the D23 Expo, a convention devoted to all things Disney. I'm not enough of a fanboy in any of the above categories to travel great distances in order to buy a limited-edition comic book. Today, I'd like to suggest a new convention for all the

Three Reasons CEOs Should Write A Book

Self-published books can be just as effective at growing your business and your brand — and increasingly so, as more and more resources for authors become available.

Over two decades in the communications industry, I've worked with many CEOs and executives to help cultivate book ideas, develop their audience and use their book to speak directly to that audience. I've seen how these books have opened up new opportunities for both the authors and their organizations. One misconception among CEOs and executives is that if you write a book, it needs to be a bestseller (or it needs to be published by one of the big five) to be successful. But self-published books can be just as

The New Normal: Remote Work Requires New Skills And Old Values

If we are going to be leaders of the future, we must be agile, resilient and intentional. And the current working environment during the pandemic exemplifies the need for these values more than ever.

With the pandemic entering its seventh month and no end in sight, it’s essential to adapt to the demands of the public health crisis if we are going to stay in business. That means we have lost the liberty to be purists. We must adjust. We must change the way we work. We have two choices, or a combination of the two. We can demand that all employees report to the office in person and make appropriate changes to keep them safe, such as spreading out to maintain social distance

Do you want to improve your communication skills? Here are 8 ways to do it

These tactics include how to listen, when to ask questions, and connect emotionally.

When it comes to communication, we all tend to think that we are pretty good at it. The truth is that even those of us who are good communicators are not as good as we think. This overestimation of our communication skills is magnified when we interact with the people with whom we spend the most time. Researchers at the University of Chicago School of Business put this theory to the test, and what they discovered is surprising. In the study, the researchers paired the subjects with people they knew

15 Tips That Will Improve Your Writing Today

Learning how to write well is a process that can always be improved. Apply these 15 tactics to elevate your writing to the next level.

Back in 2007, freelancer writers like myself were paid crap per piece of website content. Due to the youthful tastes of search engines and digital content, algorithms were much simpler to conquer. The goal was the more content, the better. More content equals better rankings. Better rankings equal stronger profit. “The more content, the better” remains a significant saying across websites today. Back then, the game plan was to pump out as much as possible, which typically resulted in zero quality. For me, that meant $5 for rewritten press releases

Three Actions To Raise Your Visibility While Working From Home

Being future-ready means knowing how to improve skills like communication and relationship-building. It means selling ideas, practicing empathy and giving constructive feedback, all while working remotely.

As if dealing with a pandemic wasn’t enough. Worldwide, conversations with my clients have revealed there also lurks an emotional health crisis, a jobs crisis, a consumer behavior crisis, a data analytics crisis and a purchasing power crisis. Yet, we know that a crisis brings both danger and opportunity. Our opportunity is mixed in with the myriad of changes in the way we live, educate our children and work. Being visible in your organization still matters. It’s just the way you go about it that looks different. Being future-ready means

How to Become a Copywriter

Everyone writes. But not everyone's a writer. It's a distinction that copywriters have to make every day.

Copywriting is both an art and a science. You want to get your idea across to your audience as quickly as possible – but each and every word choice can make or break the entire message. So, what is copywriting? "Copywriting is a type of writing which focuses on marketing or promotion of a product, service or event," said Mary SanGiovanni, an MFA adjunct faculty member and a longtime freelance writer. "The tone of the language and the word choice are geared toward interesting others in what is being marketed.

4 silent exercises to improve your listening and communication skills that you can easily do from home

Over the years, to improve my communication skills, I've tried every trick in the book. From both my own experience and those of my coaching clients, the four silent exercises below have the most potential to add weight to your spoken word.

Growing up with a severe speech impediment and social anxiety, I was terrified of meeting new people. That changed, however, when at the age of 23 I took a sales job to overcome this fear. At the time I didn't have any intention of staying in the job for long. My plan was to simply get in front of as many people as I could in the short-term to learn how to better connect with people in the future. As I expected, for the first months on the job I

Want to improve your English for International studies? Follow these 5 tips

When they say English connects the world, they are not farther from the truth. It is a language that permeates through all political, social, and cultural barriers and has found a place in one way or another in our lives.

However, there are clear disparities so far as fluency in English is concerned. Many countries such as Japan and Germany do not have a large English-speaking population, and even English-speaking countries such as the United States of America may not have fluent speakers. English, like any other language, requires attention and practice. If you want to study abroad and come from a country where English is not a native language, English will come really handy and should be practiced. This is also important for those who come from English-speaking countries.

9 Valuable Skills You Can Learn at Home

The COVID19 pandemic made various changes in society. People started to work from home. There is also a schedule for going to the grocery store. Furthermore, some students are studying from home.

Most families also decided to homeschool their kids, which means that they will have less time to study and learn. It is because kids have different attention span and processing. Therefore, through homeschooling, they can even learn more. If you are a parent homeschooling his or her kid, a high school or college student who is spending most of their time at home, the following are nine valuable skills you can learn at home and teach your kids or younger siblings. 1. English English is a universal language that everyone

How does grammar help writing? And who should teach it?

A recent report into Australia’s NAPLAN results showed that in 2019 close to a quarter of boys and 10 per cent of girls in year 9 were not meeting the minimum standards. These figures suggest something is seriously wrong with how we teach writing in high schools.

In response, many commentators, including former NSW premier Bob Carr and a former head of the NSW Education Standards Authority, Tom Alegounarias, have called for more explicit teaching of writing in high schools and for teachers to be trained in grammar at universities. However, amid this debate, there has been little discussion of what grammar is and how it helps writing. For many, grammar conjures up vague memories that prepositions are things you should not finish sentences with – or, better still, with which you should not finish a sentence.

The more you learn about grammar, the less grammary it becomes

What is grammar? For those who might choose to skip over this article, the answer might well be "who cares?" And who can blame them?

For many Australians, grammar wasn't taught in school. That doesn't mean their English is poor. They can communicate well enough without knowing who from whom. But many of us do care. We develop a curiosity about the English language. And luckily there's a ready-made answer to this question: Grammar is the rulebook of a language. In our eagerness to know more about grammar, it is only natural that we want to learn the rules. And they're not hard to find. Reference guides, Google, your well-spoken neighbour. The rules are accessible

Three Essential Digital Marketing Channels In 2020

To say 2020 has been a challenging time for marketing professionals would be an understatement. While some companies and industries are affected more than others, every marketer has needed to take a step back and reevaluate their marketing strategies to adapt to a suddenly changed landscape.

Many companies may take this opportunity to jump on board the newest platforms and marketing channels to engage with their audiences in entirely new ways. There are certainly good reasons to test new communication channels, but when you are reassessing your marketing plan, don't ignore some of the more tried-and-true digital marketing strategies that already have a track record of success. Here are three well-established digital marketing channels that you should consider either adding to your strategy or ramping up. Email When it comes to digital marketing, email is the

5 effective ways to communicate with customers

It goes without saying, but customers are the cornerstone for any business. This is why your company must go above and beyond with its customer service. The more satisfied your client base, the more sales you’re ultimately going to rack up.

To keep your customers happy, one big step to take is to ensure your communication methods are on point. You don’t only want it to be easy to send out messages to your customers, but also vice versa. Your customers shouldn’t have any issue getting in touch with your business. Before the internet rose to prominence, there were three main methods of communication: telephone, snail-mail, and in-person. These days, however, there are many ways to get in touch with people. There’s just one question: Which communication methods are the best

10 Tried-And-True Email Marketing Tactics That Actually Work

Despite the numerous digital communications channels available today, email is still one of the best ways to get and stay in touch with your customers. Email marketing is notorious for its high return on investment, and with nearly 4 billion active email users, there’s a huge potential audience waiting to receive your messages.

However, email is only effective if you follow a well-planned strategy—one that doesn’t involve bombarding your subscribers or sending sales pitch after sales pitch. If you want to improve your email marketing efforts, follow these 10 tried-and-true methods recommended by the members of Young Entrepreneur Council. 1. Write A Good Subject Line Writing good email subject lines is helpful to any email marketing campaign. You can have the best content in the email, but it’s doing you no good if you send it with a poor subject line. Use power

Getting bad news early is good news

In the business world it may seem odd to say that it’s good to get bad news.

As managers, certainly we would always prefer to receive good news, but unfortunately we all know that’s not always the case. The concept of this week’s column is that when bad things happen, such as a project running late, a tenuous meeting with a customer or an expense item that is over budget, as the manager, the earlier you are informed of the issue the easier it is to solve or at least minimize its effect. Having an early working system within your organization is hard to create and often

Why the words we say matter

Great communication plays a vital role in solving almost every problem in the workplace. How well leaders communicate has everything to do with how well employees engage in their work, how they take feedback, and whether or not they feel a sense of meaning and purpose. This type of communication is incredibly hard. It doesn't come naturally to most.

Remember, in all communication, there is a sender and a receiver. Both are coming from different places with different points of view. And great communication is not just about people understanding what you are trying to say (although that is a big part of it). It's also about how people react to your words and how they feel about you afterward. Great communicators are great influencers. They are powerful culture-builders. They are masters at managing relationships, attracting and retaining talent, and, ultimately, driving performance inside their organization. This is why

The storytelling system that sits behind good content marketing

Even in B2B communications, we can use gripping storytelling to maximise impact - and it turns out the formula is reasonably simple.

Sit down and let me tell you a story. No, not the one about that lad with the oversized vegetables. Nor the one about a wonderful house made out of biscuit. Or even that one with the irritating talking snowman. This one’s about how something that might seem more suited to the playground can actually help to make your marketing a lot more effective. Predating many other forms of communication, storytelling was the most effective way for our ancestors to share important knowledge those people who told the best stories

Grammar Guy: You'll flip for these types of words

If I started to tell you about something called “ambigram,” you might think it’s one of two things: either a new graham cracker that doubles as a sleep aid or a new social media platform for people who are can use both hands equally well. In fact, an ambigram is neither of those things. Let’s figure out what it is!

Unlike a palindrome such as “racecar,” where the letters are the same if the word is reversed, an ambigram is a word that can be read as the same word from different angles. Other names used for ambigrams include vertical palindromes, designatures and inversions. For today’s lesson, I’d like to discuss my favorite type of ambigram, the “natural rotational” ambigram. In order for this to make sense, let’s start with an example. The word “dollop” (with a lowercase “d”) is a great example. If you rotate the word “dollop” 180

How leaders can introduce effective communication in the workplace

In uncertain times, it’s more important than ever for managers to both demonstrate and encourage effective communication in the workplace

Poor communication can result in distrust, conflict and even employee turnover. On the flip side, strong employee communication can be a great retention tool — this is key, as 81% of employers are concerned about holding on to top talent, according to recent research commissioned by Robert Half. Good communication can boost morale and productivity and engender loyalty. Do you find some members of your team seem to be constantly frustrated? Is there suddenly an unhealthy amount of office gossip? Is morale suffering? These may be signs that the lines

So you think you can write?

How its and it’s, the singular they, subject-verb disagreements, inconsistent tenses, and other elements of bad English drive us crazy

Mind your language. And I don’t mean it as an idiom, meaning to speak politely. But if you must pepper your language with invectives, the more you need to mind. Mind your tenses, your subject-verb agreement, your noun-pronoun agreement, your spelling, or else the expletive you hurl out will bounce right back at you. I once witnessed an altercation between two co-workers. And one of them, the feistier of the two, hissed, “Peace off!” The other used it as an opportunity to hit back, “It’s piss off, stupid!” That was

Try These 4 Easy Steps To Start Learning English Today

If you are reading this article, chances are you want to speak better English. Whether you are trying for a job in your own country, looking to move to an English-speaking nation for a better life or even if you want to just learn a new language, congratulations! For you have made a great decision to learn this language.

English has the highest number of non-native speakers in the world. This makes it the perfect language for business, because of its global reach. If you learn English, you can communicate with people from over 90 different countries. With so many benefits to learning the language, the only question right now is ‘how do I do it?’ Here are four ways you can learn English in only 30 days. Business success With over a billion speakers in the world, English is a dominant language for business and can help you

Business communication in 2020

COVID-19 has transformed the world as we know it. Masks and social distancing are now part of our daily lives along with video calls. It’s no longer business as usual and overnight, companies have pivoted to survive in these unpredictable times.

COVID-19 has transformed the world as we know it. Masks and social distancing are now part of our daily lives along with video calls. It’s no longer business as usual and overnight, companies have pivoted to survive in these unpredictable times. More than ever, clear lines of communication are essential. Simply put, communication is key. It’s even more important when you’re running an international business. Here are two ways to show your customers around the world that you care. More than ever, clear lines of communication are essential. Simply put,

16 Ways Employers Can Create An Effective Virtual Onboarding Experience

The business world is migrating online. As a result, companies will need to develop new onboarding practices that cater specifically to remote workers.

With shelter-in-place orders requiring myriad workers to start telecommuting, several businesses have found this preferable to having employees come in. A problem arises when a company decides to hire someone new, while still relying on the in-person onboarding exercises that they've utilized for so long. It's impossible to onboard a new hire virtually using an in-person methodology. As a result, companies will need to develop new onboarding practices that cater specifically to remote workers. Sixteen experts from Forbes Human Resources Council offer their insight to how employers can establish practical

Six Tips for Sending out a Streamlined Message to Staff

Patrick Donadio has a simple phrase that sums up what he feels is the importance of good communication: “What people aren’t up on, they’re down on.”

And that’s just the beginning. That small seed of doubt breeds assumptions and fear begins to take over, which can wreak havoc on your staff and shop culture. That’s only more exacerbated by the rampant anxiety and uncertainty that 2020 has ushered in for many people. "We’re in a less connected environment in that we can’t see each other,” says Donadio, a communications coach and author. “When you can’t manage by walking around, remember the value of keeping people informed. The more people are informed, the more they’ll be connected.”

How to Maintain Soft Communication and Consistent Touch Points with Your Professional Network

It’s so easy to be forgotten today when we are not seeing each other in person on a regular basis. That means the onus is on you to maintain relationships with your professional network with the tools you have – and right now that’s virtually.

The most compelling reason to contact someone in your professional network is to provide them with something useful — and, trust me, people really want to hear from others, especially during this very isolating time of the pandemic. Your goal right now should be to keep in touch with your professional network and to provide information of value to them that enables you to showcase your expertise without being boastful or salesy. If you do this right, you’ll never have to sell anything or use an elevator pitch. Very often



Comments:

  1. Talar

    In my opinion, he is wrong. Write to me in PM, discuss it.

  2. Kana

    Sorry, but I need something completely different. Who else can suggest?

  3. Inerney

    .. Seldom.. It is possible to tell, this exception :)

  4. Pwyll

    Don't give me the minute?

  5. Mogore

    I agree - if with censorship :)



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