Communication

Reserve judgment when you hear new ideas

December 1, 2009
If you’ve participated in an improvisational comedy class, you learned never to negate what you hear. The three magic words of improv are “affirm and add.” The same rule applies in a brainstorming meeting.

Prepare great meetings

December 1, 2009
If you hold a meeting and nothing gets done, what’s the point? To avoid wasting time, begin by setting a clear expectation.

Tell stories in four chapters

December 1, 2009
Great speakers tell great stories. Illustrate your key themes with vivid, visually arresting anecdotes that capture a specific time, place and activity.

Rise above negative thought patterns

November 1, 2009
You want to listen well. But as much as you try to pay attention, you wind up missing the speaker’s main message. What’s going wrong?

When to confront, when to withdraw

November 1, 2009
At the early stage of every conflict, we make an important decision: Do we play hardball and address the core source of concern or do we avoid it?

Skip the cliches, make your point

November 1, 2009
Swimming teachers urge youngsters to jump into the pool. Don’t pace along the edge. Don’t stand there getting scared. Don’t dip your toes to test the water. The same rule applies to speakers.

Oversell at your own risk

November 1, 2009
In your eagerness to sell your idea to your staffers, you list reason after reason to build a convincing, airtight case. The only problem? You talked too much.

Ditch speeches, spark dialogue

November 1, 2009
If you talk too much at staff meetings, you won’t connect with employees. They might pretend to listen while pondering their next meal or weekend plans. Next time, engage them in dialogue.

The lost art of plain speaking

October 1, 2009
Spend enough time in big American organizations and you may start talking like a know-nothing robot. In the absence of straight talk, everyone babbles, but no one understands.

My peer, my rival

October 1, 2009
Michelle, a vice president at a global drug company in Massachusetts, disusses her run-ins with a scheming colleague.