Having Better Conversations

Because communities are stronger when they possess diversity of thought, culture and ability. Building healthier workplaces, neighbourhoods and social media spaces begins with having better conversations.

Three Ways to Sustain Thanksgiving Gratitude

Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday and it just happened. In addition to the spectacular food and drink (thanks, Auntie Sharon and Uncle John!), I love spending time reflecting with my community about what makes us thankful. Expressing gratitude enhances human...

How to Give a Proper Apology

Saying sorry is hard and most of us suck at it. Apologies are uncomfortable, difficult and they can be embarrassing. They can also be healing, transformative and satisfying. Great apologies are authentic and about the wronged person’s feelings, not yours. They work as...

Why You Should Spend Less Time on Social Media

Social media is a wonderful medium for connecting and informing communities. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, however, ask for too much of our time, erode our relationships, and often cause us to be addicted to the distraction of push notifications and...

Five Ways to Maximize the Potential of Small Talk

Most of us don’t like small talk because it kinda sucks. For introverts it can be terrifying. For people with big ideas it can be frustrating. For intellectuals it can be boring. During my undergraduate experience I made a friend named Andrew. He was – and still is –...

The Potentiality’s Summer Reading List

Summer time means reading time. Some folks dig into books at the beach while soaking up sunshine and others soak in literature under a blanket in a dark, air conditioned basement. Others enjoy audiobooks during long or meandering road trips. My favourite place to read...

How to Give Feedback

A focus of this blog is to help you have better conversations. Enhancing dialogue at work, in classrooms and throughout neighbourhoods makes our communities more engaged, diverse and healthier. Accepting and offering feedback are essential elements of great...

How to Ask for Feedback

A focus of this blog is to help you have better conversations. Enhancing dialogue makes our communities more engaged, diverse and healthier. Accepting and offering feedback are essential elements of great conversations. Giving and receiving praise or criticism isn’t...

Four Tips for Dealing with Awkward Holiday Conversations

  Holidays bring families from all over the country and world together. This can sometimes be recipes for awkwardness when your gun-toting, freedom loving, conservative uncle breaks bread with your gay, socialist brother. The inevitable train wreck of a...

Three Professional Lessons from Barber Shops

I go to Uptown Barbers in Vancouver’s (Mt. Pleasant ‘hood to get my hair cut every six weeks or so. Marco and Ben – the two barbers who I most often visit – deliver haircuts as good as the banter in their shop. Being able to start and sustain great conversations while...

Three Ways to Realize the Potential of Dialogue

THE POTENTIAL OF DIALOGUE Meaningful dialogue is an elusive thing in our communities. Having a respectful conversation with someone about something on which we do not agree isn’t common. Yelling opinions over someone else or building a newsfeed that reinforces your...

How to Compromise

Meaningful dialogue is an elusive thing in our communities. Having a respectful conversation with someone about something on which we do not agree isn’t common. Yelling opinions over someone else or building a newsfeed that reinforces your worldview are common in a...

How to be a Good Listener

THE POTENTIAL OF DIALOGUE Meaningful dialogue is an elusive thing in our communities. Having a respectful conversation with someone about something on which we do not agree isn’t common. Yelling opinions over someone else or building a newsfeed that reinforces your...

How to Suspend Judgment

The potential of dialogue Meaningful dialogue is an elusive thing in our communities. Having a respectful conversation with someone about something on which we do not agree isn’t common. Yelling opinions over someone else or building a newsfeed that reinforces your...

Why Conflict is a Good Thing

The Potential of Dialogue Meaningful dialogue is an elusive thing in our communities. Having a respectful conversation with someone about something on which we do not agree isn’t common. Yelling opinions overtop of someone else or building a newsfeed that reinforces...

10 Better Things to Say than “Be a Man”

“Be a Man”. We’ve heard the phrase jabbed at a dude caught in a circle of dudes (sometimes women are there, too) who are using peer pressure tactics. Or it’s a classic movie line aimed at motivating male protagonists to realize their potential. Some of us might’ve...

What I am Learning from Dinner Conversations about Gratitude

Having dinner together as a family is one of the simplest things that you can do to build a healthy community at home. Whether you share a meal with one person or twenty, taking time together to reflect on our experiences enhances everything from happiness to...

Six Professional Game Changers from Improv

I’m part of a team that is delivering a big piece of work using agile methodology, which I’ve written about before. With our project moving and changing so quickly we find ourselves reacting to new circumstances and having to improvise on the spot a lot. So it made...

Four Tips For Asking Great Questions

Asking good questions is an important quality of a friend, a partner and a co-worker. It’s also particularly helpful in a work setting. Whether you are meeting with colleagues or attending your monthly board meeting, asking good and insightful questions without fear...

In Praise of Silence and “Stillness”

We are bombarded by media and noise all the time. On the bus, many of us are plugged in like zombies, imbibing a steady stream of google music and podcasts in a desperate last ditch effort to battle back the silence (and accompanying boredom) of a long ride home. At...

Three Ways to Write Your Professional Journal

Writing makes your life better. Fast Company’s Drake Baer has his reasons for why writing cultivates knowledge, wisdom and a powerful personal narrative. For me, writing is the thing that slows down my thinking, sorts out my ideas and goals, and sets clear context for...

Five Ways to Achieve Focus Through Listening

I’m on a journey to become a better listener. This journey will make me a better leader, dad and partner/friend. For the most part, my listening skills are fine; this said, I am an enthusiastic talker who loves to fill silences with questions, anecdotes and...

Five Steps for Becoming a Great Listener

You and your partner are locked in verbal battle. No matter how you express it, they don’t seem to get it. Instead they seem to be waiting for the last word to come out of your mouth so that they can jump in with their counterpoint. It pisses you off. You aren’t able...

How Talking to Strangers will Enrich Your Career

On Saturday I celebrated the life of my grandmother, Virginia. One of the themes from her memorial service was how my grandma loved having conversations with anyone and everyone about anything and everything. So, I thought it fitting to write about how talking to...

How to Maximize the Art of Reflection

Yesterday was Remembrance Day in Canada. It’s specifically designed for people to reflect on conflict, specifically the First World War, and make meaning of the events of 1914-1918 in the context of our lives today. While somber, I love Remembrance Day because, at its...

Five Tips for Having Difficult Conversations

The difficult conversations in our work and personal lives are challenging. Sometimes it is easier to veil the truth of what you want to say in generalizations to soften the blow and sometimes people outright avoid a conversation altogether. Being able to directly...

Building Community with #theGoodMoneytalks

Today is Vancity Member Day at The Fair at the PNE and I’m excited to focus this article on building community with #theGoodMoneytalks because you can experience them at the PNE today! Inspired by dinner table conversations, #theGoodMoneytalks are focused on sharing...

Three Better Questions than “So what do you do?”

"So what do you do?" Recently, I read an article by 99u’s Sarah Kathleen Peck called, “Answering the Dreaded ‘So what do you do?’ Question.” Amazing. For nearly a decade, Kurt Heinrich and I have pioneered a micro-social-engineering initiative designed to eliminate...

Three Tips for Engaging Elevator Conversations

Engaging Elevator Conversations Conversations in elevators can be some of the most uncomfortable and awkward examples of human communication. This article will provide you with three tips for engaging elevator conversations. Three months ago I joined the legions of...

Five Tips for Engaging Online Communities

After a month of intense campaigning, The Potentiality earned the third most votes in CERIC’s National Career Challenge. Our submission, Career Swap, finished ahead of a university, several college career centres as well as a number of community-based organizations....

How to Give an Awesome Compliment

People often tell me that I’m generous with praise. Hey, you’re doing an absolutely fantastic job of reading this blog post, by the way. See, I know how to give an awesome compliment! People’s assessment of my complimenting nature is either meant as critical feedback...

Kick it Old School with Phone Calls, Not Email

We live in a world of emails and text messages. And frequently our electronic correspondence can ignite conflict due to misunderstanding or misinterpretation of linguistic and non-verbal signs that have evolved in cultures over thousands of years. It’s an issue that,...

Pitching a News Story: The Phone is Your Best Friend

In this email saturated world, it’s difficult to penetrate the din and connect with a journalist about your story idea. Granted, you probably have a great idea that includes many news elements or is a perfect fit for the media you’re pitching, but if you aren’t able to communicate it effectively to your targeted audience, your idea will sit by itself on your blog and/or be discussed amongst your colleagues around the water cooler.

Developing Successful Storytellers

This is a story about stories and storytelling. Its purpose is to inspire you to, first, give a copy of your favourite children’s book to a kid and, second, support A Good Book Drive if you live in Vancouver. Why? Because stories are the most powerful communications tool that we, as humans, have at our disposal.

Communicating to Different Media

There are many stories out there. Some are so important that every media outlet in your area, region or country will want to cover them. Other stories are of more limited interest to particular media groups. Identifying which stories will be attractive to which media will save you a great deal of time when it comes to communicating your idea. It can also significantly aid you in the development of your story pitch and allow you to be much more convincing when you are on the phone speaking with a journalist or producer. Here are some simple things to consider when you are deciding what, and for whom, is newsworthy.

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