Tag Archive for: effective communication

Improve your speeches and deepen your family ties

Want to improve the expressiveness of your voice when you speak? Try the technique that my speaking coach taught me. It livened up my speeches. Plus, an unexpected benefit was that my twist on her technique also deepened my relationship with my husband.

Read children’s books to improve your speeches

ozma of ozOzma of Oz sent me on the path to better speaking. That’s the first book I borrowed from the library after I got my coach’s advice.

Her advice? Read children’s books out loud with exaggerated expression. Somehow it’s easier to speak in an extreme way when imagining a little kid listening. Plus, it’s more fun to ham it up with “You’re in a pretty fix, Dorothy Gale, I can tell you!” than with a dry statement about asset allocation or financial planning.

“Practice makes perfect,” as they say. My expressiveness grew with this technique. Of course, there was still room for improvement. But I wasn’t going to make Oz books a staple of my reading. What to do?

Read newspapers to improve your speeches and your relationships

I had an inspiration. While on a longish car ride to a bicycle trail, I asked my husband, “Can I read articles from the newspaper’s travel section to you?” We both love to travel, but my husband often doesn’t get through the entire travel section.

It’s a win-win. I practice my vocal expression; my husband absorbs travel stories he might otherwise miss. Also, it keeps the two of us talking when I might otherwise read a book.

YOUR speaking tips?

If you have tips for improving one’s speaking skills, please share. I enjoy learning from you.

By the way, if you’re looking for a speaking coach, I highly recommend Cheryl Dolan.


Disclosure: If you click on the Amazon link in this post and then buy something, I will receive a small commission. I only link to books in which I find some value for my blog’s readers.

Make an email sandwich for introverts

Quiet influence: introvert's guide to making a differenceIntroverts like to think things over before they speak.

If you cater to their needs with an email sandwich, as suggested by Jennifer Kahnweiler in Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference, you’re likely to have more productive exchanges.

Here’s what Kahnweiler suggests when you schedule a meeting or phone conversation:

Step 1. Write and send in advance an email with “all necessary background information for a discussion.” This lets your readers think about your agenda or ideas prior to your conversation.

Step 2. Discuss the topics with the other person in person, on the phone, or in some other “live” format.

Step 3. Send an email summary of your conversation’s key points. This helps the reader reflect “before committing to action,” as Kahnweiler says.

This email sandwich creates “thinking space for others,…especially…introverts,” says Kahnweiler.

As an introvert, I heartily endorse the email sandwich. I wish everyone would use this technique.

On the other hand, crafting an effective email sandwich takes time. You may choose to reserve it for high-stakes meetings or discussions that benefit from reflection. In addition, sometimes a quick phone call works better than an email.

If you’ve used an email sandwich with clients, prospects, or other important individuals, has it worked for you? I’m interested in learning from your experience.


Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book.

Dear husband, please stop

You can learn a writing lesson from my dear husband.

It drives me crazy when he says to a restaurant’s hostess, “You don’t have a table for two, do you?”

I nag him afterwards, saying “Ask a positive question, not a negative one! It’s easier for the listener to understand what you want.”

The “go positive, not negative” rule applies to statements as well as questions.

Here’s an example of a negative statement that sticks in my mind due to my having earned a Ph.D. in Japanese history.

“The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage…”

This is how the Japanese emperor announced in 1945 that Japan had lost the war. Did you understand that?

The Japanese prefer roundabout sentences. Americans do not.