Blog Categories: Communicaiton

Don’t believe everything you read on social media and 7 other tough lessons of the decade

Posted on January 12, 2020

This article highlights many lessons learned over the last decade regarding digital technology — both positive and negative.  A good review of how fast technology is growing and, with that, our growing dependence on it.  Important points here on –  privacy, our health record, news which can be deceiving and, the importance of getting our heads “out of the clouds” to remember who we are and what WE think.

The post ends with a great quote reminding us that we are human beings with an ability to reason and choose:   “As we grow even more dependent on our phones in the next decade, remember to lift your face from the screen, step away from your devices and spend time making connections that matter right where you are.”

Here’s how to avoid “Death by PowerPoint”

Posted on May 31, 2019

We have all been there:  presentation coming up, need to develop slides, how to make them interesting, not cluttered? Where to begin, end? What is too much and what is too little on a slide?  How many slides are needed? Here is an article written by an expert on Powerpoint who offers advice and, introduces new technology in PowerPoint, e.g., morph, reuse slide, and text icons–all of which can support efficient and interesting slide deck development for a presentation.

Communicating with Difficult People: Some Simple Tips

Posted on November 15, 2009

“You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.”

-Indira Gandhi

This is the title of a workshop that I frequently give when asked to speak to a group of people within a business or organization.  Why?  Because each and every day we are all faced with challenging people and difficult work situations.  Keeping our sense of purpose, intent and clear communication skills are all points to remember in such situations.

A review:

  1. Stop wishing that they were different: Spending time “wishing” that the difficult person or situation would go away is a waste of energy. Better to begin formulating, and practicing, a plan of action.  Shift away from blame. Move to managing and changing what YOU can to work with the person.
  2. Get some distance between you and the difficult situation/behavior:  Gain perspective, see the patterns and understand the source in order to begin formulating a strategy.  Gaining distance helps free you for a more productive and caring response.
  3. Focus on changing your own behavior: Step out of the scenario and see how your own behavior was elicited by what you thought the other person had or had not done. Remember:  you can only change you.
  4. Formulate a plan: Devise a strategy and, remember the behavior of human beings is highly interactional. Difficult people tend to act in ways that manage to get the worst out of everyone—but they also have positive responses in their repertoire.  Structure the interaction so as to encourage positive, more productive response so to cope more successfully with that individual.

Perl: Practice clear communication skills when dealing with a difficult person or situation.  Think of the word  –  STABEN when communicating:

S= Go to the source. Avoid talking to those who are NOT part of the issue (unless it is to get clarity, gain insight or support).  Communicate directly with the person with whom you are having difficulty.

T= Time and Place. Pick a private and safe place that is comfortable for all parties.

A=Amicable. Present an amicable approach. Smile. Start the conversation with a compliment or, empathize with the person, see the world through their eyes.

B=Objective Behavior. Start with describing the behavior as an objective phenomena-just the facts.  “When you did not introduce me at the meeting…” or “Yesterday at 5:00pm you asked to borrow the files and as of today they are not returned…”

E=Emotion. State clearly your emotion as a result of the behavior.  “I became angry and confused…”  “I was disappointed…” Use “I” communication.


N=Need. State clearly what your need, desire or request.  “I am requesting that you introduce me at the meetings as your associate. “ Or  “I need to have the files returned to my desk by 3:00 PM this afternoon.”

Finally, attempt to create or discover a common purpose or a way that they two of you can work together to achieve the same goal.  If no common purpose can be found, sometimes it is best to walk away. Accept the person as they are.

Take away: In any difficult situation or in a conversation with a difficult person, maintaining inner balance and managing your stress is most crucial.  Practice the STABEN method, a good communication tool no matter with whom you are communicating.  Get some distance and, remember-don’t take anything personally!


Servan-Schreiber, David.  The Instinct to Heal. Rodale Press, 2004.

Rosenberg, Marshall.  Non-violent Communication, Puddler Dancer Press, 1999.