Archive for January, 2015

A question can have many answers depending upon how the reader interprets it:

“A job seeker at my office was filling out an application. After writing in his address, he was asked ‘length of residence?’ The applicant wrote ‘One acre.’ ” – Jennifer McNeil in Readers Digest Humor column

Quote of the Week

Posted: January 27, 2015 in Quotes
Tags: , , ,

“Comfort makes sense for your home, car, your clothing, but you need a little discomfort to grow professionally.” – Elizabeth Olsson, lead designer Google

Communication breakdowns occur when the parties involved use vague or emotional language to communicate. We see this happening a lot in news reports. For instance a person says “The community feels like there is a cover-up going on.” It’s the use of the word “feel” when expressing a thought that creates the breakdown. That’s because the speaker is invoking feelings, but not saying what the feeling is. A cover-up is an observed event, not an emotion. So what we need to know is the emotion. Instead if the person had said, “The community is angry because we think there is a cover-up going on.” the listener would have a much clearer sense about the situation.
Using the word “feel” to express thoughts muddy the communication waters and may lead to undesirable conclusions. This applies to both our personal and business lives. Imagine if a manager says to an employee, “I feel like you aren’t working hard enough.” What does he mean? Is the employee supposed to read the manager’s mind? All he or she can do is assume what is meant. That leaves the meaning to the imagination, which, in this case, creates a communication breakdown between employee and management!
But you also have to be aware that the person speaking may not be able to articulate what they are actually feeling. Feelings or the inability to express them clearly is only one way communications can get derailed. Here are some tips on how to avoid a communication breakdown:
• Monitor yourself for times when you communicate using the word “feel”. Catch yourself, and identify your underlying emotion, restating it by saying something like, “I feel (the specific emotion), because I think (give the observation)”.
• When you’re in a conversation with someone who expresses a thought with the word “feel”, ask them what emotion is behind the “feel”. You might have to tease out the emotion behind the word.
• Vagueness, with or without emotional terms. Ask the person what they mean by their statement, prefacing it with “I don’t quite understand what you mean by…” so as not to put them on the defensive.
• Bullying language where the individual wants to ramrod you into doing something. Call the person out on what they are saying and state “your repeated demands are not getting us any closer to a solution, let’s try to explain what both of us really need.” Or ask them to explain what they mean, repeat back what they said, and ask for a further explanation. Eventually the bully will either tire of this or give an honest reply.
• Jumping to conclusions both on the speaker and the listener’s part. Take your time and let a person speakthen ask for clarification. Repeat back to the speaker what you think was said so there is no misunderstanding.

Clear communication, communication that says what it really means, is the best way to avoid breakdowns.


Once A Pun A Time


This post is thanks to

“The Marketing Minute”

     by Marcia Yudkin, Marketing Expert and Mentor


 Earlier this month, the Chinese government banned puns in its country’s ads and news. Apparently puns had been making
the rounds that were either subtly insulting to Chinese high
officials or politically inflammatory. 

In English, puns are more likely to come across with a
playful wink. Often they signal to an in-group that gets the double meaning that a product or establishment is meant for them.

For instance, The Merchant of Tennis, the name of a tennis
shop in Toronto, falls flat if one doesn’t know the similar-sounding title of one of Shakespeare’s comedies. The same
goes for a used bookstore in Seattle called Twice Sold
Tales, a pun on a title of stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

While puns are often derided as “the lowest form of wit,” they actually make complex demands on our brains, which
have to simultaneously grasp two meanings of an ambiguous
word or phrase and convey the unexpected juxtaposition so
we either smile or groan. 

The New York Times advises its own writers: “The successful
pun pivots on a word that fits effortlessly into two
contexts. [But] when no song bursts forth, start

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”  – Albert Einstein


Where you place a phrase can sometimes change the whole meaning of a statement!

“While I was planning a trip to Nova Scotia, a Titanic related tour caught my eye. The description: Learn of the Titanic tragedy along with a guided visit to the Fairview Lawn Cemetary, where 121 victims art still buried on a deluxe air conditioned motor coach.”

– Christine Peckham, from the Readers Digest Life section

Quote of the Week

Posted: January 5, 2015 in Quotes
Tags: , ,

“You have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyonce.” – on a coffee mug featured in the November issue of Glamour