communication

  • communication

    Advent: Joy in the Darkness

    Depression. Anxiety. Crime. Suicide. Darkness. If you’ve watched the news at all during the past 3 years… if you have teenagers…. if your teens have friends…. There’s not a lot of talk about joy. But there’s a whole lot of talk about how hard life is.  So how do we talk about joy at Christmas? I’ve recently asked myself that very question. My husband of 36 years this month is gone. He’s never coming back here. I know he’s out of pain. I know he’s in a better place. But where does that leave me?  Mental health professionals tell us the holidays are the hardest time of year for many…

  • Hope of Christmas
    communication,  faith

    Advent: A Story of Hope

    I thought and prayed a long time before deciding to write an Advent series again this Christmas season. You may know my husband David passed from this world to his eternal home on September 21st – just weeks ago. As I write, the grief is still fresh. It’s surreal. I keep thinking he’s going to call asking what’s for dinner…or if we could go to dinner. (We talked a lot about dinner!) At the same time, I’ve been thinking a lot about hope these past several weeks.  “And now, dear brothers, I want you to know what happens to a Christian when he dies so that when it happens, you…

  • communication,  education

    5 Ways Being Ready to Speak Will Help Your Student This School Year

    For 25 years, my organization, The Institute for Cultural Communicators, has been helping the next generation get ready to speak. With all the needs in the world, why is this our focus? Being ready to speak in any situation is a foundational skill for success in education and in life. It prepares students for every stage, gives them tools for whatever comes their way. Here are five ways communication skills help your student at school and beyond. 1. Your student is bully resilient.  Though they can look very different from the class bullies we grew up with, bullies are still a reality in the lives of many school-aged children. They…

  • Woman and Child Looking at Laptop Screen Together
    communication

    How to Make the Most of an Online Event, Class, and More!

    As I write this, online meetings are becoming an increasingly common part of our regular routine. Kids participating in online classrooms. Parents working from home. Church services livestreamed. Medical consults, therapy sessions, and business meetings offered via video conferencing platforms. During the past 8 years, my team and I have learned online events and meetings can be just as transformational as in-person experiences – even moreso, if you come in properly prepared. My organization, the Institute for Cultural Communicators, has conducted dozens of live local and global events through our online platforms. Countless families around the world have been touched by these events, participating and interacting to experience genuine, life-giving…

  • Family of all ages preparing dinner in kitchen
    communication,  education

    Everyday Ways to Practice Communication

    Communication at home can be hard. This struggle has been a hot topic among parents throughout the pandemic, and with a new school year and new routines looming, tensions and old habits often sneak back in. My organization conducted a survey of parents which showed us that communication at home is harder now than ever – and in many cases not happening at all. After months of sharing the same space with family (and for a good while, only family), teens generally turned inward and struggled to find anything to talk about. Grief and loss felt heavy, and otherwise tiny frustrations mounted. When we see our students pulling away and…

  • Pink and White Sherbet in a glass cup
    communication,  education,  leadership

    Sherbet, Speech, and Skills for Success

    This story is an excerpt from my book Vital Signs: Five Essential Skills Every Student Needs for Success in Education and in Life. Enjoy! I remember my first time meeting Janai. The shy little girl was gripping her mother’s skirt, hiding behind her back as we chatted. She only peeked out to say a quick “Hi” when prompted. Then she was right back in her hiding spot. When I first announced that I was starting a public speaking class, Janai’s parents signed her right up — to their daughter’s horror. I coached the timid girl for a year, watching her grow and grow and grow as she learned the foundational…

  • Woman Walking Outside
    communication,  education

    Getting Your Steps In

    As my two boys got older, they developed this amazing sixth sense about when to disappear. They could anticipate when my SUV would pull up the long driveway stocked with food and household supplies, and suddenly they were nowhere to be found. Getting groceries from the car into the kitchen begins with 2 flights of stairs. Sometimes putting items away means 2 flights up, then 2 flights down, then 2 flights back up. I used to get so frustrated. It was physically taxing, tedious work and foot travel between the car and the kitchen. And even when my boys grew up and moved out, I’d keep finding myself in that…

  • Woman Typing on Laptop
    communication,  faith,  leadership

    The “Reply All” Faux Pas

    One of my priceless colleagues is currently transitioning out of her leadership role in my organization. (Insert saddest emoji here.) She has been a true visionary for us, someone who has greatly influenced everything we currently do to serve our mission. So, naturally, I wanted to break the news of her transition in a thoughtful, well-planned way to the rest of our global organization’s leaders and community. She crafted a letter of transition, and my team and I began editing it to incorporate into the announcement. After much discussion, my Chief Influence Officer, Mary, sent it out to all our leaders. I saw it pop up in my inbox, missed…