posted recently about speech patterns that undermine women’s professional authority.  This Wednesday, I’ll be speaking on a panel on communication skills for women attorneys.  The panel is part of the New York State Bar Association’s annual Women on the Move conference. (Love the name!)

My panel is Communicating Effectively: Being Heard Loud and Clear. I’m excited that the organizers thought to include legal writing in the discussion of key communication skills for women lawyers, and that they invited me to address that topic.

Spread the word! I’d love to see you there.


Actually, we can speak with confidence and professionalism

Actually, we can speak with confidence and professionalismOctober 25, 2012 Spoken Word

I have like totally noticed professional women at all levels undermining their authority by (unintentionally) “up-talking,” that is, turning their statements into questions. In a recent post titled How to Kill Your Inner Valley Girl, the Careerist identifies this habit and other common ones that professional women should be aware of and avoid. The Careerist’s list comes [...]

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Why do we need hyphens?

Why do we need hyphens?October 9, 2012 Grammar

The wonderful tweeters at Grammar Monkeys shared this photo, citing it as clear evidence that we do indeed need hyphens to clarify meaning.  I agree. The crawl reads: OBAMA’S NEW ANTI-HUMAN TRAFFICKING PLAN Yikes.  That’s alarming. Here’s the deal: Anti-human trafficking plans are trafficking plans that are anti-human. Anti-human-trafficking plans are plans that are against human trafficking. Let’s hope [...]

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Body language and the debates

Body language and the debatesOctober 3, 2012 Spoken Word

Check out this fantastic interactive New York Times piece on the candidates’ body language and what message it conveys to voters. Wonderful insights for speakers!

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Come “Bridge the Gap” with me

Come "Bridge the Gap" with meSeptember 28, 2012 Legal writing

  You may have heard some of the recent hubbub about law school graduates’ lack of preparation for the real world of law practice. Well, just in time for new associates to get the training they need to hit the ground running, PLI is offering a “Bridge the Gap” training program this coming Monday. (I know [...]

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Taking instructions way too literally

Taking instructions way too literallyAugust 3, 2012 Just funny

We’ve had some fun with cake wrecks before, and it looks like it’s that time again. My son Levi’s 6th birthday is this weekend, so I couldn’t resist sharing this gem, via I am all in favor of following instructions, but really? Sheri with an eye?! The glass-is-half-full me finds it touching that the cake decorator [...]

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The audacity of punctuation: Word nerds stopped by Obama slogan, ‘Forward.’

The audacity of punctuation: Word nerds stopped by Obama slogan, 'Forward.'August 2, 2012 Grammar

Forget the audacity of hope — Obama’s real audacity is grammatical. Obama has ruffled some feathers recently, but not exactly the same feathers he regularly ruffles. This time it’s the word nerds, and even more specifically, the punctuation nerds, who are displeased with the President. The source of their displeasure? A period. That’s right, a [...]

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Kill the zombies, free the verbs

Kill the zombies, free the verbsJuly 26, 2012 Grammar

Thoughtful legal writers generally do a good job of eliminating unnecessary uses of passive voice. So why is their writing still so abstract and dense? The culprit is nominalizations, or zombie nouns, as the beautifully named Helen Sword calls them in a post at the New York Times Opinionator blog. Just as insidious as passive voice but less [...]

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The generational split on infinitives

The generational split on infinitivesJuly 13, 2012 Grammar

So, lawyers ask me pretty regularly what the deal is with split infinitives. The deal is this: splitting infinitives is perfectly acceptable according to every respected style authority. (Grammar Girl has a nice explanation of what a split infinitive is.) But (yes, there had to be a but) plenty of very, shall we say, senior [...]

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We don’t need no education!

We don't need no education!July 9, 2012 Just funny

Oh my. I knew that schools no longer teach grammar and diagramming the way they did back in the day. Now I’m thinking that’s for the best. Better to let kids pick it up on the streets than have them learn from the educators responsible for these doozies, as reported by Daily Writing Tips.

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