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Communications Skills

Moneyball Your Communications

Have you seen the film “Moneyball”? Or read the book? It turns out that winning at baseball is a lot like winning at conversations.

Chris Graham - August 6, 2018

Nym Words: Sufferin’ Suffixes

Words with the suffix “–nym” pop up regularly. Some are common, but many of the 46 words with this suffix are not. “Nym” derives from the Greek word for “name” or “word.” Don’t include obscure –nym words just to show off; that just confuses ...

Theda C. Snyder - July 11, 2018
man reading on a laptop

Write Like People Read

Have you noticed that the way you read websites, emails, text messages — even magazine and news articles — has changed over time? A growing body of research suggests that the internet is changing how people pay attention to writing. The most ...

Chris Graham - July 9, 2018

Why Lawyers Are Redundant: History Is Destiny

Now lawyers use every term they can think of because some court somewhere once said the language in the contract didn’t cover the dispute. Sometimes that’s a good reason, but often it is not. Rather than a considered approach, most lawyers start ...

Theda C. Snyder - June 12, 2018
tennis ball and public speaking

Watch the Seams: Speaking Lessons from Tennis Stars

Do you get nervous before speaking in front of people? Even worse, do you have trouble letting go of your performance once it's over? For lawyers especially, it can be hard to shut off your mind. So it’s useful to think about another context ...

Chris Graham - June 7, 2018
Business person writing a courtroom Brief

Want to Quickly Build an Impressive Reputation in the Courtroom? Write Impressive Briefs

As a judge reviews your brief, they’re evaluating your argument and your professionalism. Consider the words of the Hon. Raymond M. Kethledge, a U.S. Court of Appeals judge, in an article he wrote for the ABA.(1) “When I read a brief, the first ...

Thomson Reuters - May 22, 2018
reading fiction fictional characters and flowers

Can Reading Fiction Help Lawyers Develop More Empathy?

A growing body of research suggests that reading fiction increases your capacity for empathy. The basic idea is that imagining the emotional world of fictional characters is good practice for empathizing with actual humans. For example, have you ...

Chris Graham - May 7, 2018
tech tips

Tech Tips to Improve Your Client Communications Strategy

Margaret Atwood, the author of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” has frequently noted that with all technology, there is a good side, a bad side and a stupid side that you weren’t expecting. With major advances in technology, like the internet itself, ...

Jim Calloway - May 4, 2018
Man with index finger pointed up Get to the Point

Making and Using Too Many Words

As you edit your work product, pay special attention to instances where a stronger verb could replace a verb and its direct object. Besides being less persuasive, weak verbs plus explanatory words lengthen your writing [not, “make it longer”].

Theda C. Snyder - April 11, 2018
emotions and communications

Your Emotions Rule How Effectively You Communicate

Our emotions are dynamic, changing all the time, and these changes are amplified by pressure and stress at work. Ignoring how we feel isn’t reliable or sustainable — or effective, given the tendency for our emotions to “leak” into conversations ...

Chris Graham - April 10, 2018