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Welcome to Ubiquity’s Communication Corner

The Communication Corner is dedicated to helping you better write and speak about your professional specialty. It is a monthly feature, programmed to help you progressively acquire the skills of professional writers and speakers.

Each monthly installment will have three parts: An essay on a fundamental aspect of effective writing or speaking, a do-it-yourself exercise to help you practice the topic being discussed, and an invitation to submit your exercise for a possible (but not guaranteed) commentary on your draft.

Philip Yaffe, a retired journalist for the Wall Street Journal and a member of the Ubiquity editorial board, is the moderator of the Communication Corner.

We invite you to subscribe via the signup box at the left.  We will send you announcements of new installments of the Communication Corner, approximately once a month.

Readers who subscribe will be able to download a free PDF copy of Philip Yaffe's book The Gettysburg Approach to Writing & Speaking like a Professional.

Communication Corner

  • If you write it better, you will say it better

    Each "Communication Corner" essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay.

    Preparing a good text for reading and preparing a good text for speaking are often considered to be unrelated activities. This is incorrect. A good text for reading and a good text for speaking are distinct, but they are not alien. They are complementary.

  • How to avoid death by powerpoint: Steve Jobs' secret weapon

    Each "Communication Corner" essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay.

    Bite the bullet and learn how to organize your presentation slides to get the greatest effect.

  • Why visual aids need to be less visual

    Each "Communication Corner" essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay.

    Public speaking is not only about communicating your ideas orally, but also visually. Too many presentations are undermined by poorly chosen slides. An outstanding presentation is one that addresses two fundamental objectives, with the end goal of leaving a lasting impression on the audience.

  • How to instantaneously improve your speaking voice

    Each "Communication Corner" essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay.

    Although we spend much more time speaking than we do writing, the fact remains that most people speak very poorly. Phil Yaffe provides some tips on how to purposely redesign your articulation.

  • Silence is golden, especially when you need to say something important

    Each "Communication Corner" essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay.

    How well you speak will always be an indicator of how well you know the subject at hand. And while nerves can often lead novice speakers to resort to distracting sounds and placeholders, a second or two of silence will help focus you as well as your audience. In this installment, Philip Yaffe reminds us that silence is golden.