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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

  • How to untie your tongue

    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.

    Communication is not only the written word. In this installment, Philip Yaffe shares tips and exercises that will help improve your skills in both writing and speaking.

  • The 7% rule revisited

    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.

    In this installment, Philip Yaffe debunks the myth of verbal versus non-verbal communication.

  • Banishing the fear of public speaking

    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.

    In this installment, Philip Yaffe explores how speak to a crowd.

  • How to make dull information exciting

    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.

    In this installment, Philip Yaffe explains how to give the reader what they want.

  • First write like you speak, then write like you write

    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.

    In this installment, Philip Yaffe introduces a two-step plan to create well-written text that will not only impress the reader, but also engage the reader to digest and comprehend new ideas or concepts with ease.

  • How to say what you mean and mean what you say

    Each "Communication Corner" essay is self-contained; this week learn how to construct truly effective sentences. 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.

  • Why writing short sentences may be short-changing your reader

    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 to improve your writing by standing on your head

    Newspapers provide the best examples of clear, concise writing you can find anywhere. Learning how journalists work their magic can help you write better, and it all begins with the "inverted pyramid."

  • The three acid tests of persuasive writing

    Each Communication Corner essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, if you have not already done so, 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 sequentially.

  • How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan

    The thrust of the Communication Corner is to offer step-by-step advice to help you become a better writer and speaker. This first essay explains how Phillip Yaffe went from being a very poor writer and speaker to being a recognizably good one, almost despite himself.