EppsNet Archive: Communication

Some Links on Listening

Are you a good listener? Find out (Quiz) Psychology Today, “Listening Skills Test.” Are you a good listener? Find out (Quiz) Mind Tools, “How Good are Your Listening Skills? Understanding Someone’s Entire Message.” Active listening and attending behaviors (Video) “Active Listening: Katie Owens at TEDxYouth@Conejo,” YouTube video, posted by “TEDx Talks,” 3:18, January 21, 2013. Getting past roadblocks to effective… Read more →

Some Links on Effective Communication

Busting myths on gender differences in the brain (Article) Nora Caplan-Bricker, “The Idea of a ‘Male Brain’ and a ‘Female Brain’ Is Likely a Myth,” Slate, November 2, 2015. Challenges and strategies for creating safe communication spaces at work (Article) James R. Detert and Ethan R. Burris, “Can Your Employees Really Speak Freely?,” Harvard Business Review, vol. 94, no. 1 (January/February 2016):… Read more →

Management Tips From the Pros: Put the Best Employees on the Drive-Thru Window

If you manage a fast food restaurant and you’re reading this, I beseech you to put your best employees at the drive-thru window to mitigate problems that wouldn’t arise in a face-to-face transaction. For example, I drove through Del Taco today for lunch . . . after the obligatory “Hi, welcome to Del Taco, would you like to try our… Read more →

How to Talk to Anyone: 6 Rejoinders for All Occasions

You’ve got no one to blame but yourself. Just like a typical [man/woman]. I can read you like a book. Why? Because I said so. Who’s sorry now? If I were you, I’d . . . Read more →

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

Recruiters who write job descriptions with requirements like this: Great Communication – must be able to speak very clear Read more →

Tips for Effective Visualizations

I’m taking a Social Network Analysis class on Coursera . . . The first week’s lecture included advice from Edward Tufte on visualization and graphic design. I thought I’d already posted this a couple of years ago after attending a Tufte course, but after further review, I see that I haven’t, so here it is.   The success of a… Read more →

Osmotic Communication

Does it take you 30 seconds or less to get your question to the eyes or ears of the person who might have the answer?   Osmotic communication means that information flows into the background hearing of members of the team, so that they pick up relevant information as though by osmosis. This is normally accomplished by seating them in… Read more →


What actions you take, you believe in. What commitments you make, you keep. What resources you have, you use. What words you say, you believe to be true. What you create, you intend to be great. — Jim and Michele McCarthy Read more →

The Safety to Express Ideas

Teams must intentionally create an environment where it is safe to express all ideas. — Jim McCarthy Read more →

Presenting Data and Information

Looking over my notes from an Edward Tufte course . . . Details lead to credibility. Every paragraph, chart, etc., should lend credibility to your argument and give your audience a reason to believe. Great design disappears; it gives itself up to the content. There’s no “right way” to display data. Try a few different approaches. Tables are often better… Read more →

Communication Bandwidth

As I’m writing this article, I’m trying to formulate ideas, understandings, and experiences into words. When you read this article, you try to understand what I’m saying within the context of your experiences. In the process of narrowing my bandwidth to words, and you trying to expand the bandwidth from words to your understanding, a lot is lost. No matter… Read more →

Crucial Conversations

I know my son had a history test today, and that history is a make-or-break class for him. I want to ask him about the test but we’re having a delicious family meal at Olive Garden and I don’t want to break up the festive mood in the event the news turns out to be bad. I decide to ease… Read more →

No One Listens to Me

My wife is on the warpath this morning . . . “Can you believe this?” she says to no one in particular. “I hate that printer. I’m throwing it away. It ran out of ink again! I’m trying to print something and now I have to go buy more ink!” So I say, “You print a lot of documents. Do… Read more →

The Downside of Effective Communication

What I re-learned in Crucial Conversations class is that you can have “better” conversations with people if you’re able to control your initial emotional reactions and apply some learnable communication skills. I say “re-learned” because I got the same takeaway years ago from reading How to Win Friends and Influence People and Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.… Read more →

You Don’t Say

One of our exercises in Crucial Conversations training was to “think of a person who is really frustrating to work with,” and to describe in writing a recent interaction with that person in terms of what was actually said, and what you were thinking or feeling but didn’t say. My responses included the following: What I Actually Said This project… Read more →

How to Destroy Creativity

Always pretend to know more than anybody else Police your employees by every procedural means Have your professionally-trained staff members do technicians’ work for long periods of time Erect the highest possible barrier between commercial decision-makers and your technical staff Don’t speak to employees on a personal level, except when announcing raises Be the exclusive spokesman for everything for which… Read more →