Year-long remote work may have caused us to forget our social graces.

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While it is very possible that, in the wake of the coronavirus, your company has decided to switch to long-term remote work, some of us are returning full-time or in a hybrid format to the office.

This transition may have you gleeful, disturbed, relieved, or worried. Many of us have had to get creative with our workspaces at home and may be desperate for a real desk. Others of us have found it both pleasant and difficult to have some new, furry coworkers. …


Strategies for being an effective public speaker any place, any time.

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Public speaking is often framed as a skill where success is talked about in terms of tips, tricks, and secrets. But this can become overwhelming and you may find yourself asking, “Which tips should I focus on?” or “Do these tricks work in all settings?” It may be more beneficial to reframe this.

What if we imagined ourselves as public speakers who adopt strategies — or critical success factors — that are essential to our goal: being an effective public speaker any place, any time. If the focus shifts…


“Hope this finds you well” needs to go.

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Finding the right words to say that acknowledge how strange it is to do work in a pandemic is a delicate matter. When sending emails, being too cheerful or opting out of a greeting completely can be offensive or seem distant. At this time, it is important that we extend our good wishes, show compassion, and encourage one another at work.

We may not know how each person is struggling at the moment. Still, we can take some time to craft a warm or sincere message as a way to stay connected and authentic with one another.

Intentional communication when…


How to express yourself as a grieving person.

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There are a lot of misunderstandings and myths about grief as an experience and process. People who have not lost something or someone that they love dearly often expect grieving persons to move on quickly. Many times others will try to relate to the pain in ways that ultimately hurt, rather than help. Think of statements like, “I know how you feel,” or “There is a reason for everything.”

Meanwhile, the popularity of the five stages of grief created by psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross have led to her work being oversimplified. …


Tales of an online adjunct professor in the midst of survival.

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With long video conferencing calls and the berating of bad news surrounding COVID-19, it is no wonder we are all feeling tired. Studies show that what we are experiencing is not just general exhaustion, but is a direct effect from an overload of Zoom calls in the backdrop of a pandemic.

Video calls are draining because they require more effort to focus than in-person meetings. In fact, researchers from Stanford University have found that “Zoom fatigue” results from trying to stay synchronized to speakers through an online format. When persons communicate with each other they synchronize their talk, gestures…


Using the “drive-through talking” technique from Gary Smalley.

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Talking with other people is downright difficult. The Harvard Negotiation Project notes this in their book, Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most. Authors Stone, Patton, and Heen list all the topics we wish to avoid when speaking with others, from gender and sexuality to race, politics, and religion.

Difficult Conversations are Common

Difficult conversations can happen more often than we think. The authors define them as occurring whenever we feel vulnerable, when our self-esteem is impacted, and when we care deeply about what is being discussed or whom we are discussing with. Even without controversial topics, communication is personal. …


Studies show it is the communication mode we use the most.

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Over the years, communication scholars have wondered which of the communication modes — listening, speaking, writing, or reading — do we spend most of our time doing. Study after study regardless of the targeted population (whether students, employees, or homemakers) show that listening is the activity which people do the most. A 2009 study conducted by Janusik and Wolvin even adjusted for use in technology and said that daily 24% of time is spent listening, 20% speaking, 13% using internet, 9% writing, and 8% is spent reading.


Because communication isn’t always common sense.

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I remember when I told a friend of mine in high school that I planned to major in communication studies. His response was, “So you want to be one of those blonde news anchors?” I could not tell you what offended me more: that he knew me and still assumed I wanted to be on TV or that he emphasized the word “blonde.” Either way, I know he was teasing.

That was the first of many confused responses I would receive. Not many people know much about this growing field, other than the stigma that it is a “phony major”…


“Is freedom the permission to do what you like or the power to do what you ought?”

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As the United States surpasses 2.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, the CDC recommendation for Americans to wear face masks in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus becomes urgent.

While face masks are not required by all state and local authorities, many restaurants and businesses are requesting they be worn by customers. …

Lindsey Laverty

I write on professional and interpersonal communication to inform how to relate to one another. My Master’s degree is in Rhetoric & Philosophy of Communication.

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