Honing your message is essential

Coworkers talking about a project together.
Coworkers talking about a project together.
Photo: Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

It may seem like a no-brainer that you must have a point before you try to make one, but you’d be surprised by how many people talk and talk without first thinking through what they’re trying to communicate.

To have impact, you want to propose something of value, says Joel Schwartzberg, a strategic communications trainer, author, and professional speechwriter. “People won’t remember the specific words you’ll say, but they will remember what you meant… if you have a point,” Schwartzberg says.

Here’s Schwartzberg’s framework for finding your point and making it land with your audience.

Remember, a point is an…


These guidelines take out the guesswork for feedback that sticks

Two young coworkers reviewing work and giving each other feedback.
Two young coworkers reviewing work and giving each other feedback.
Photo: mapodile/E+/Getty Images

Giving constructive criticism is an important communication skill, especially in the workplace. As with any other skill, your effectiveness will depend largely on your process.

Deborah Grayson Riegel, an executive communication coach and business school instructor, tells me there’s a tried and true method for delivering feedback. She’s taught these best practices to top CEOs across the U.S. and at elite business schools like the Wharton School. And they’ll work for you, too:

Set the stage. Ask the person whether they’re open to receiving feedback. If they are, then set up a specific time to do so.

State your intention


Time management is actually attention management

Woman checks her watch to see the time while sitting on the couch.
Woman checks her watch to see the time while sitting on the couch.
Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

Balance is as much about managing your attention as is it about managing your day. A little bit of planning goes a long way. Creating a strong outline for a sustainable schedule not only allows you to catch your breath, but it also ensures that you’re aware of how and where you’re allocating your time. The bestselling author, national news anchor, and podcast host, Nicole Lapin offers the following strategies for crafting the perfect to-do list:

  1. Prioritize your to-do list by looking at what’s already scheduled for the day and identifying nonnegotiables.
  2. Procrastinate. Put things that aren’t time-sensitive on the…


Specificity is key

Young Black girl reaching for the sky, aka a salmon-colored circle in the sky.
Young Black girl reaching for the sky, aka a salmon-colored circle in the sky.
Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

Resolutions — made right — can make a huge difference in boosting happiness,” says Gretchen Rubin, host of the podcast Happier With Gretchen Rubin and the author of several books on happiness. The “made right” is important. Resolving to make a change won’t make the change happen on its own. In order to follow through on your goals, you will need to frame them in a way that supports your success. Here’s Rubin’s advice for making resolutions you’ll actually keep, and becoming happier in the process:

It might be having more of something good (fun with friends, time for a…


Even when you’re feeling pressured to say ‘yes’

No left turn sign with a one way right turn sign.
No left turn sign with a one way right turn sign.
Photo: Simon McGill/Getty Images

Making the best use of your time means knowing when — and how — to say no. The time-management expert, author, and regular contributor to Forge, Laura Vanderkam puts it like this: “The question isn’t would I rather do this thing or nothing, it’s would I rather do this thing or everything else in my already packed life that I’m currently living.”

To make the most of your time, you will need to say no to things that aren’t particularly aligned with your personal or professional goals. Clear your calendar and energy to say yes to the big stuff, the…

Erin Zammett Ruddy

author of The Little Book of Life Skills (September 2020), contributing editor at Parents and longtime magazine editor and writer. @erinzruddy on Instagram.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store