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Welcome to Ubiquity’s Communication Corner

 

The Communication Corner is dedicated to helping you better write and speak about your professional specialty. It is a monthly feature, programmed to help you progressively acquire the skills of professional writers and speakers.

Each monthly installment will have three parts: An essay on a fundamental aspect of effective writing or speaking, a do-it-yourself exercise to help you practice the topic being discussed, and an invitation to submit your exercise for a possible (but not guaranteed) commentary on your draft.

Philip Yaffe, a retired journalist for the Wall Street Journal and a member of the Ubiquity editorial board, is the moderator of the Communication Corner.

We invite you to subscribe via the signup box at the left.  We will send you announcements of new installments of the Communication Corner, approximately once a month.

Readers who subscribe will be able to download a free PDF copy of Philip Yaffe's book The Gettysburg Approach to Writing & Speaking like a Professional.

Communication Corner

  • Professional writing tips and techniques

    Each "Communication Corner" essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay.

    Good writing is not easy, but these 12 tips and techniques makes things easier.

  • How to do a naked presentation

    Each "Communication Corner" essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay.

    A "naked" presentation solely relies upon good storytelling. Learn how to enrapture an audience without the use of visual aids.

  • If you write it better, you will say it better

    Each "Communication Corner" essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay.

    Preparing a good text for reading and preparing a good text for speaking are often considered to be unrelated activities. This is incorrect. A good text for reading and a good text for speaking are distinct, but they are not alien. They are complementary.

  • How to avoid death by powerpoint: Steve Jobs' secret weapon

    Each "Communication Corner" essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay.

    Bite the bullet and learn how to organize your presentation slides to get the greatest effect.

  • Why visual aids need to be less visual

    Each "Communication Corner" essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay.

    Public speaking is not only about communicating your ideas orally, but also visually. Too many presentations are undermined by poorly chosen slides. An outstanding presentation is one that addresses two fundamental objectives, with the end goal of leaving a lasting impression on the audience.

  • How to instantaneously improve your speaking voice

    Each "Communication Corner" essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay.

    Although we spend much more time speaking than we do writing, the fact remains that most people speak very poorly. Phil Yaffe provides some tips on how to purposely redesign your articulation.

  • Silence is golden, especially when you need to say something important

    Each "Communication Corner" essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay.

    How well you speak will always be an indicator of how well you know the subject at hand. And while nerves can often lead novice speakers to resort to distracting sounds and placeholders, a second or two of silence will help focus you as well as your audience. In this installment, Philip Yaffe reminds us that silence is golden.

  • How to untie your tongue

    Each "Communication Corner" essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay.

    Communication is not only the written word. In this installment, Philip Yaffe shares tips and exercises that will help improve your skills in both writing and speaking.

  • The 7% rule revisited

    Each "Communication Corner" essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay.

    In this installment, Philip Yaffe debunks the myth of verbal versus non-verbal communication.

  • Banishing the fear of public speaking

    Each "Communication Corner" essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay.

    In this installment, Philip Yaffe explores how speak to a crowd.

  • How to make dull information exciting

    Each "Communication Corner" essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay.

    In this installment, Philip Yaffe explains how to give the reader what they want.

  • First write like you speak, then write like you write

    Each "Communication Corner" essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay.

    In this installment, Philip Yaffe introduces a two-step plan to create well-written text that will not only impress the reader, but also engage the reader to digest and comprehend new ideas or concepts with ease.

  • How to say what you mean and mean what you say

    Each "Communication Corner" essay is self-contained; this week learn how to construct truly effective sentences. For best results, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay.

  • Why writing short sentences may be short-changing your reader

    Each "Communication Corner" essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay.

  • How to improve your writing by standing on your head

    Newspapers provide the best examples of clear, concise writing you can find anywhere. Learning how journalists work their magic can help you write better, and it all begins with the "inverted pyramid."

  • The three acid tests of persuasive writing

    Each Communication Corner essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, if you have not already done so, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay sequentially.

  • How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan

    The thrust of the Communication Corner is to offer step-by-step advice to help you become a better writer and speaker. This first essay explains how Phillip Yaffe went from being a very poor writer and speaker to being a recognizably good one, almost despite himself.