The Feedback Sandwich

How often do you find yourself in a position requiring you to provide feedback to someone else, either for a writing project, or a speaking assignment? If you are a teacher, coach, mentor, or editor, you probably do this regularly. Whether this is a regular occurrence, or an infrequent one, there are better ways than … More The Feedback Sandwich

Add Humor (Day 19)

“Knock, Knock.” “Who’s there?” It’s me! Here again to talk about adding some HUMOR into your communication! Do you know that person who always seems to have a clever quip or can remember funny stories and jokes? How easy is it for you to add humor into your conversation, writing, or speeches? It is not … More Add Humor (Day 19)

S.T.E.P.- “Exemplify” – Day 17

We are in the middle of a mini-series on communication tips, specifically a process called “S.T.E.P.”  S.T.E.P stands for “State, Translate, Exemplify, Prove”, and is explained in the book Secrets of Great Communicators by Dr. Jeff Myers, a process that Dr. Myers credits learning from Dr. Lee Polk at Baylor University. Yesterday, I discussed the … More S.T.E.P.- “Exemplify” – Day 17

The Core (Day 15)

In writing cases for Team Policy Debate, I encourage students to be able to explain their entire 8 minute case into one sentence; or better yet, an even shorter “bumper sticker” phrase. It is quite a challenge – but not impossible. Once they are able to identify that core message or thesis statement, then the … More The Core (Day 15)

October Elegy (poem)

  October Elegy   October enters surreptitiously Calmly separates leaf from scion Trees relinquish clasp— and foliage Obeys the call—  scatters asunder Browned, crunchy, dispersed— Elegy upon the grass Rest in peace.   10/16 ©Prasanta (Acrostic poem) * * * *  

Delivery (Canon Five)

So far, we have considered the canons of Invention, Arrangement, Style, and Memory, and today we reach the final canon in this mini-series: Delivery. (The series began here.) Delivery is how you choose to communicate your message.  It includes the following elements: Gestures Body language Tone of voice Speed Volume Effective use of pausing Proper … More Delivery (Canon Five)

The Arrangement Phase (Canon Two)

After Invention, the next canon is Arrangement.  Arrangement is the process of organization of a speech or piece of writing. Arrangement is divided into six parts: Introduction (Exordium) Statement of Facts (Narration) Division Proof (Confirmation) Refutation Conclusion Introduction includes two parts:  1) Introducing the topic, and 2) Establishing credibility. Introducing the topic means that you … More The Arrangement Phase (Canon Two)

Five Canons of Rhetoric

Organized by Cicero, the Five Canons of Rhetoric are a system of creating powerful speeches and writing. 150 years after Cicero, Quintilian explored the Five Canons in greater depth. A couple of thousand years later, here we are still examining these words, albeit in a small blog and an even smaller blog post. :) What is rhetoric? … More Five Canons of Rhetoric

Connect with Logos

  Today we will briefly examine the third of Aristotle’s “artistic proofs”: logos. Logos is an appeal to logic, or the ability to connect with the audience or reader with reason or logic. The Greek root “logo” or “log” means “word”, and the word “logical” is derived from this Greek root. As a communicator, you … More Connect with Logos

Connect with Pathos

Today, we will consider the second of Aristotle’s “artistic proofs” (i.e., means of persuasion): pathos. Pathos is the emotional appeal, or the ability to connect emotionally with your audience. Pathos is the Greek word for “suffering”, and related English derivatives include  words like “empathy” or “sympathy”. As a communicator, you may wish to draw sympathy from … More Connect with Pathos

Connect with Ethos

Would you like to communicate more effectively with your audience? Starting today, for the month of October, I’ll be sharing one tip per day, to help you communicate your ideas more effectively with your audience, through speech or writing. To start off this series, we turn to what I consider a primary source document on … More Connect with Ethos


  Finally   A road gravel Gray, brown, quiet Leading back to home Dust stirred up by walking   I waited for words to be spoken Maybe the leaves would whisper Or I’d hear through the crunch of gravel I thought, at times, it echoed in the trees, When I walked alone.   It was … More Finally

On the River

On the river, anything can happen. A beautiful, picturesque day can quickly turn cloudy. A mistake in boating can result in misery. The river changes; one day, the levels are low, the next day, after a heavy rain, the levels can be high. It is never the same. The river is a source of many metaphors…. … More On the River

Lake Song

I discovered the lake that summer Deliberately arriving to see stars at midnight Reflecting like white diamonds In silken waters   I heard the crickets Familiar, comforting sound Lulled me to sleep as a child Like a soft, summer rain   Under lacy pines nodding in the wind Lake responded calmly to questions With answers … More Lake Song


It was a snap-decision Pretty soon fog and mirrors Multiplied I couldn’t discern the way out Something true, something lovely, Something good, something excellent Existed – outside the fun maze. From where had I come?   Mazes are lonely places A strange sort of path To be stuck in for – What seems like forever. … More Carnival