Can it be “truly unique”?

A blog-azine subscriber, Jerry Dunn, politely and correctly called to my attention a usage error I had posted in my entry that is now titled “Now, this is unique.” Originally, the item was titled “Now, this is truly unique.” (Don’t look for the mistake--I’ve already corrected it.) Jerry wrote ”unique can’t be modified--it’s either unique or it isn’t.” He further explained, “so-called ‘incomparables’ are words that express absolutes and therefore can’t be used with comparatives (such as more) and superlatives (such as most).” Jerry added, “other examples of absolutes are eternal, equal, and fatal.” He’s absolutely right, and I wish I had caught it, except for the fact that my error gave me another teaching point. Jerry is the author of The National Geographic Traveler: San Francisco. I can’t say it’s truly unique...but I bet it’s worth a look.

Read all entries in The Written Word
Posted Friday, April 04, 2008 | Link to entry

4 Fundamentals of speaking

In a previous post (1-11-08) I said you must determine what you want your audience to think, feel, or do as a result of your presentation and be able to write that desired outcome on the back of a business card. So once you’ve succinctly defined your desired outcome, you must decide what techniques you’ll use. There are hundreds of techniques, but they all fall under an umbrella of four fundamentals: you speak to 1) inform, 2) persuade, 3) inspire, or 4) entertain. It can be any one, or a combination of two, three, or all four of these, but it must be at least one. Therefore, your business card statement of purpose will read: “I will persuade the audience to (complete the sentence),” or “I will entertain the audience by (complete the sentence),” or “I will inform the audience of (complete the sentence),” or “I will inspire the audience by (complete the sentence).

Want to learn more? Consider Connect With Any Audience and my speaking skills seminars Elements of Eloquence and Eight Essentials of Effective Speaking.

Read all entries in The Spoken Word
Posted Monday, March 31, 2008 | Link to entry

Now, this is unique

Everybody has a story according to one of my audio programs. But some have better stories than others.

I had the privilege this week of spending time with a young man whose story is unique. His name is Sean Aiken and he’s almost finished with a year-long project in which he has held a different job every week for the past year. Actually, he just completed week 50 as an association executive in Austin, Texas. Next week he “enlists” in the Canadian Air Force and in his concluding week he will be Mayor of his hometown, Port Moody, British Columbia.

I encourage you to read about his grand year-long adventure at To read about his experience in Austin with my family and me, read his March 20, 2008 blog entry titled Discovering the Land of Associations. If you’re like me, you will be impressed and inspired.

Read all entries in Dave's Raves
Posted Friday, March 21, 2008 | Link to entry

Featured on Reuters

The day following the Clinton-Obama debate in Ohio, several international news services, including Reuters, distributed an article by Toastmaster Magazine Editor Suzanne Frey that featured my commentary and analysis. Also featured in the article are past International Director Ann Hastings and fellow World Champion Lance Miller. Carried by numerous publications around the world, the article, A Slugfest of Speaking Skills: Toastmasters Declare Obama Winner of Debate can be read here.

Read all entries in In The News
Posted Sunday, March 16, 2008 | Link to entry

Comma before “and”?

Which is correct: “The flag is red, white, and blue” or “The flag is red, white and blue”? Actually, both are acceptable. However, as a general practice the recommended business style is to use the comma before “and.” This comes straight from the Gregg Reference Manual, my favorite grammar dispute settler. According to Gregg: “When three or more items are listed in a series and the last item is preceded by and, or, or nor, place a comma before the conjunction.” However, many newspapers and magazines prefer the “non-comma” style, and that is also acceptable. But what is not acceptable is to use both styles intermittently. Pick one style and stick with it. Otherwise, you look careless.

Want to learn more? Consider my two writing seminars: Business Writing in Plain English and Goof-Proof Grammar.

Read all entries in The Written Word
Posted Sunday, March 16, 2008 | Link to entry

Page 2 of 6 pages  <  1 2 3 4 >  Last »