Kickstart Your Writing with Speech

Blog posts go beyond 9-5 communications and include my dog Miller, who teaches me about communication without words. For work related posts only, use the work  tag  or say hi on LinkedIn.

As anyone who faces a blank screen knows, that big nothingness lacking words can be very daunting. There it is, waiting for your brilliant pitch; research tables translated into an audience-engaging format; or perhaps the best leadership speech that will capture how much you believe in your team’s work and serve as inspiration. (A great practice for everyone: tell your team you appreciate them).

If the blank screen is screaming, talk to it.

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Welcoming Imperfection for Excellence

Blog posts go beyond 9-5 communications and include my dog Miller, who teaches me about communication beyond words. For work related posts only, use the work  tag  or say hi on LinkedIn.

 

I used to have a collection of quotes on the bulletin board in my office, among them “Excellence does not require perfection.” A co-worker read this aloud one day and said crisply, “Yes it does!” As a perfectionist, I had to disagree.

I’ve been thinking about this lately, in light of the start to a new year and the word I’m going to choose as background.  Intrigued by Melinda Gates’ approach of choosing a mindset rather than a resolution to guide her through the year, I chose a word for 2017. When I look back over the months, the word really did play a part, even though it wasn’t always at top of mind. For the coming year, I’m going with imperfection.  Read more

Twitter Limits and Literacy

Blog posts go beyond 9-5 communications and include my dog Miller, who teaches me about communication beyond words. For work related posts only, use the work  tag  or say hi on LinkedIn.

 

Twitter’s introduction of a 280-character limit may not have received the best response, but people are using it. I’m glad it’s here to stay. It is going to boost connection and reach, I hope. This new limit will expand Twitter’s microblog style and leave some annoying elements behind. Like comprehension, for one.

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Eyes Over Words: the Photo 365 Challenge

Day 25

Blog posts go beyond 9-5 communications and include my dog Miller, who teaches me about communication beyond words. For work related posts only, use the work  tag  or say hi on LinkedIn.

As blogs do, this one is evolving. I started with the best of intentions: once a week, possibly twice a week. I have two teenagers, a partner, a full-time job and a dog. Guffaw and roll your eyes with me: what was I thinking?

I write every day on the job, often producing blogs at speed and managing social media. I love it, and to keep at it, I need to get away from words. I’ve been thinking about the recharge needed to bring my best to my work, and was inspired when a friend told me about a photography challenge. If this inspires anyone else, wonderful, but please don’t pass it on as a chain challenge. Read more

Six Word Dog Memoirs

Blog posts go beyond 9-5 communications and include my dog Miller, who teaches me about communication beyond words. For work related posts only, use the work  tag  or say hi on LinkedIn.

I love the Six Word Memoir Project. It’s just what it sounds like: a life in six words. In my last workplace, one of the pieces of my job was to help our clients write their stories to share with peers in a newsletter. It helped them reflect on what they felt was was important and helped to build community. In six words, I’d describe my role:

Word worker honoured to highlight lives. Read more

My Favourite Typos

Blog posts go beyond 9-5 communications and include my dog Miller, who teaches me about communication beyond words. For work related posts only, use the work  tag  or say hi on LinkedIn.

 

I was reading an article about dogs this morning and all was going well until I hit rolls when the word should have been roles. (I always take things with a grain of salt when reading about dogs and dog behavior, because there is a lot of information out there that promotes old ideas about dominance training rather than evidence-based research on animal behavior. But I digress.) This morning’s read was an interesting article and had solid citations to back up its points, so I didn’t hold rolls against the writer. Read more

The Quiet of Late Summer

Blog posts go beyond 9-5 communications and include my dog Miller, who teaches me about communication beyond words. For work related posts only, use the work  tag  or say hi on LinkedIn.

Summer smells tired. Wafts of blackberry and caterpillar have taken over from blossoms straining to attract bees. The wasps (yellow jackets for more Eastern folks) are clumsy and mean.

I’ve been trying to be quiet this summer, slowing down to the season as much as possible even as work hums along. I’m trying to listen better and more often. I’ve taken a break from word-based social media and focusing on more on visuals of Instagram; looking for details. Yesterday I was walking in an industrial area and  looked up and there was a jet flying across behind  a stretch of barbed wire. I loved that juxtaposition.

Late August is gently edgy, hinting at things to come. The air has a moisture that was missing even a few weeks ago: dew. The morning sun is long and I’m tempted to take photos of  Miller, our short dog seeming a giant in the shadows of the light.

The roll downhill to September is inevitable now. My friend’s son was proudly testing out possible back-to-school-Day-One outfits today. My son gave me a look when I said “Back to school”. He likes school, but after summer dedicated to eating, sleeping, and growing, he knows September will feel like a flurry.

I look forward to the exciting upswing of September. It’s always been the start of the year for me, with January a pale and cold second. Work-wise I have plenty to look forward to; it will be a busy fall. In the meantime, I’m holding onto quiet as much as possible.

 

 

The Adopted Dog Reveal

Blog posts go beyond 9-5 communications and include my dog Miller, who teaches me about communication beyond words. For work related posts only, use the work  tag  or say hi on LinkedIn.

Happy Miller-versary to our beloved, curious long-low-white! He loves toys and his inner circle of select beings. He is fearful and crabby to strangers, 999/1000 dogs, scooters, skateboards, the mailman, any and everyone that squeals “He’s so cuuuute!” (I warn those that start to lean over.)

Miller was adopted 3 years ago today and we’ve learned and loved this guy so much. He is, in a word, earnest. He throws himself into the Search For The Disgusting on every walk and wander. He plays hide and seek with a smile; rips toys apart with great joy except for the first one we gave him, which he is very enamoured with, still.

If he’s curious about something he is all in. If he’s afraid, ditto. The typical reaction to stress can be fight or flight; Miller puts the fight into it with gusto, barking and lunging to distance things that alarm him. He also will fool around – the mouthy grab of a leash, for example. (Learn more about the four Fs of Fear.)

Over three years Miller has wonderfully shown what I call the Adopted Dog Reveal. Patricia McConnell talks about 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months in the settling in of a newly adopted dog (and three ways to prevent problems); in our case I’m noting 3 years. So much has happened over a slow period of time with Miller. Read more

Sunday Morning Spiritual

Blog topics go beyond 9-5. For work related posts only, click the work tag or say hi on LinkedIn.

There are days when I want few words and a lot of walking in nature. I’m very fortunate to live in a city that is nudged up against nature everywhere you turn: mountain trails studded with rocks that lead to spectacular views; canyons with so many shades of green they seem unreal but to the people who live here; flat river deltas with herons, eagles, ducks, geese, kingfishers, red winged blackbirds and many more. It’s as common to see an eagle soaring as it is to see a robin; something visitors find amazing.

I have lived and travelled across Canada, but the West Coast is my heartland. It was an Ontario friend who introduced that concept to me. We were looking out on a deep green lake in Southern Ontario at the end of a summer, and when she heard I grew up in Vancouver, she asked about it. She admitted she wasn’t that interested in visiting; the ocean didn’t draw her. Canadian shield country, she said, this is my heart land. I’d never heard the term before but I recognized it. The West Coast is mine. Read more

The Tired Teacher

Blog topics go beyond 9-5. For work related posts only, click the work tag or say hi on LinkedIn

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I bumped into my friend Lynn the other night as I was out on a walk.

“Are you just coming home now?” I asked. Lynn leaves early for work; I often see her heading off when I take out Miller around 6:30.

“Yes!” she said, obviously tired. “I don’t like to complain, but this is a busy time of the year.”

Lynn is a teacher, and as anyone who has kids in school or is in the education system themselves can attest, this is a busy and yet listless time of year. Teachers are tired; kids are tired. June can seem awfully long. Read more