Thinking Out Loud

Helping People Get Along Better

In third grade, I helped a kid who always got into trouble. I befriended him and coached him in how to get along with the teacher. I used eye contact, smiles, and directives about what to say and what not to say and told him when to apologize. This was an eight-year-old’s version of helping people get along better. Over the years I’ve gained more sophistication and communication skills but some of my early instincts still apply. Read More

It’s Different For Each of Us

I had a conversation with a friend recently about watching professional baseball games. My friend, Lou, said “I can’t stand all the spitting. That’s all I see is constant spitting. Doesn’t that bother you?” My answer was simple, “No.” Read More


Recently I’ve been talking about curiosity as a communication skill—and, perhaps one of the most important communication skills. Why?

Imagine that every time you engage in an important conversation you remain curious. What impact will this have on the other person and the outcome of the discussion? . . . Think about it. . . . Remaining curious requires an open mind, an open heart, and a genuine interest in the other person. If you have that, those you’re conversing with will feel this and most will respond positively, likely resulting in greater openness. Read More


Although this may seem overstated, misunderstanding is the norm. I don’t mean that pessimistically. The process of giving and receiving information is complex. We use words as a primary vehicle for communicating ideas, information, and personal experience. Those words are like brush strokes on a canvas, gradually illuminating a picture that has literal elements as well as an essence and mood that are invisible to the eye. Read More