Tips to Work While on the Road


Hitting the road can be fun, but not for all. Some people travel and bring their workload along for the ride. I am not going to lie, sometimes when I travel I take my work with me. However, this is more based on the flexibility my teaching, consulting, and writing profession offers me.

A few years ago we were on a family vacation in Sils Maria, Switzerland.


Located in the Engadine region in Graubünden, the region may be most recognized by avid skiers and hikers who head to the “Roof of Europe” to hit the slopes of St. Moritz. Sils Maria is a quaint village situated approximately 6 miles southwest of St. Moritz, high up in the mountains and still untouched by some modern technologies. Perhaps, that was the reason Friedrich Nietzsche spent his summers there in his retirement. In fact, we were fortunate enough to stay right next door to the Nietzsche Haus.


Nietzsche Haus

(*For a bit of history click here: ).

It’s wonderful to go on vacation and get away from it all, but if you still need to work while “getting away from it all” there may be some challenges. For example, not one place in Sils Maria accepted my American Express (so much for business write-offs). Also, the Wi-Fi only worked well in the lobby of our hotel; not the best place to focus and complete tasks.imagesCAB9T3VA

Nevertheless, productivity can be an issue for most when working on the road.

In order to be productive, you will require loads of self-discipline to overcome the lure of distraction. For example, people watching,  watching movies or venturing outside to play in a new town. Are you panning to take your work on the road? Then let me share the key steps in my process for travel and work success with you.

4 Tips for Travel and Work Success
1. Prepare – prepare – prepare

You need to have full preparations for all eventualities that may disrupt your normal work schedule. There can be a multiplicity of factors weighing against you. However, that does not mean you need to give up because people involved in small businesses cannot afford to be lackadaisical in their approach. Thus, you must not rely solely on Wi-Fi connectivity to get your job done because that is most likely going to leave you in a bind sometime or another. Have backups in the form of hard copies of important documents that are necessary for conducting business deals, otherwise you run the risk of making your entire business trip unproductive.

2. Organize your travel tools for work

You have to admit that you are not going to be as efficient on the road as you are in your office space. However, you need not make your productivity scenario worse by carrying a tablet instead of your regular laptop. Trust me when I say that this is going to prove immensely helpful when dealing with long presentations and complex spreadsheets. Moreover, remember to pack the lightest laptop available and one that is not a power guzzler. You should also try being resourceful by investing in a MiFi. Further, Many companies will provide you with a MiFi if requested.

MiFi is a small and portable wireless device that gives its carrier a permanent Wi-Fi hotspot wherever he/she goes, thereby remaining connected to the Internet. Developed by Novatel, the MiFi device is also called ‘intelligent mobile hotspot’.

Many smart phones these days can be used as mobile hotspot too (usually there is a service fee with your cell phone provider).

3. Contact the hotel ahead of time

You should thoroughly research the accommodations you are staying/booking for your trip. This is because the location of the hotel and the services it provides such as Wi-Fi connectivity can play an extremely significant role in making your stay more productive. Moreover, you can improvise with the items present in your room in case you do not have satisfactory writing arrangements by using anything from a side table to an ironing board as a flat surface.

4. Schedule your time and stick to it!

Make sure that you stringently stick to the work schedule that you have drawn up for your trip to be the most productive. You may face intense temptations to spend time visiting places on interesting destinations, but you should know better how to control that wanderlust. Stick to the schedule to make the most of what the business trip promises to you and your business.

5 Travel Tips you Should Never Forget


Traveling to any destination can bring about a great deal of benefits. From allowing you to explore new cuisine, to enjoying a bit of a change of pace from the daily grind of work.

You’ll find that there is nothing quite as grand as leaving the comfort of home and finding a new place to walk through. – Ellie Parvin


Even if it is for a short time, traveling makes you feel brand new, but sometimes the actual process of travel can be hectic. When you’re amidst delays, bumpy plane rides, or trapped in a car for hours on the open road, things can boil over and cause your balance to shift into a whole new frenetic chaos. Not to worry. Much of the stress that may arise from travel can easily be avoided with a little planning.

The following are a few of my personal travel tips to help you not only enjoy going to new places, but can also keep the balance of peace through whatever may come at you.

5 simple travel tips:

1.) Pack Smart (Think About It)
Do not wait for the day before to pack, instead, make it a gradual event. Make a List! Think about where you are going, check the weather, local news, and consider what you may or may not need. There are some obvious choices like clean underwear, socks, and things of that nature, but also consider your personal items. Are you prone to indigestion, gas, colds? You never know what is waiting for you, so make sure that you take your time and truly think about where you are going far in advance so that packing becomes a smart thing and not one of haste.

2.) Gather Your Identification and Make Copies

Don’t forget your passport!

(*If you are unable to view the Friends clip above click here: )

Whether you’re visiting a war torn country on assignment, or you’re visiting your grandmother in another state, consider gathering all your identification and making copies of it. Make copies of everything and put it into a folder that is in your luggage. This may seem like you’re opening up yourself for an identity theft, but it’s not. It’s to cover you in case you lose your wallet, purse, or identification. You absolutely never know what could go awry, or where you may place your items. This can help you get by a little while you get duplicates, or travel back home.

3.) Smile and Be Kind
Yes this is an important one for me, your friendly communication expert. Wherever your trip may take you, don’t be disgruntled or show signs that you’re jaded about the travel process. Smile, be kind, be gregarious, and you’ll find that the service industry within the travel world will become far easier to navigate through. Even if the workers themselves are jaded, don’t worry, put on a smile and be nice. You’ll find that it will be welcome and infectious. I believe this to be one of the best kept secrets of travel. It very well may even come to your advantage, when you least expect it.

4.) Take on Adventure
Life is short, get a sense of adventure and try something new. Try new food, try a local favorite, do something that you normally wouldn’t do at home and you will find that you will enjoy your travels far more than most. Don’t play it too safe, instead, go out and enjoy something grand, visit a new museum, something different than what you’re used to. This will pay off dividends in terms of experience, and will give you something unique to write home about.

5.) Emergency Contact Information & Travel Insurance
One last thing to remember about traveling, and perhaps one that most people forget about is in regards to the unknown. Get your emergency information, contact information off of your phone and put it in paper, get a small card for your wallet, and make sure that you have it with you at all times. If you get into trouble, or you’re in an accident it could very well save your life, and get friends, family and others informed about your status.

Trust me I am speaking from experience. In fact, my “travel insurance” tip is a new on my list. We learn from experience, yes? In December 2013, I had a snowboarding accident in a small alpine village in the Bernese Oberland: Frutigen, Switzerland. There was only one hospital in the region and no time to take me two hours with traffic down a winding alpine pass to the main hospital in capital city of Bern.

In short, I had emergency surgery, overnight stay, along with parting gifts of crutches, titanium plate and screws, a fancy hi-tech boot, prescriptions and a bill due in full in CASH upon my departure. Yes that is a bill due in cash for a foreigner with no insurance. And they don’t accept credit cards or checks. {Heavy Sigh} lesson learned. Contact your insurance company prior to your travel to see if you will be covered or purchase some travel insurance. Otherwise your trip could have some big unintended expenses.

Planning ahead makes all the difference, and this is one mistake you don’t want to make while traveling.



5 Tips to Make a Life While you Make a Living

Do you own or have you seen those motivational block quotes? You know the ones that are black or colored wooden boxes with “house rules” or other words of inspiration and value that you can set on a shelf or hang on the wall. I own three of them. Scratch that I just bought one for my office shelf that makes four. However, the first one I bought sits on the mantel in my home as a daily reminder to work for balance in life:

“Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” 

The old adage is true today more than ever. Statistics are showing that more and more people have forgotten all about “making a life.” With more and more people working 40 hours or more, time for relaxation, and balance becomes thrown out the window. Yes, there is a part of all humanity that needs to survive, but there is a tipping point where survival becomes hindered by our constant need to work, or make money. It’s a hard one to argue too, because many are struggling in these wonky economic times. I know, both my husband and I have been titled as “workaholics” by family and friends.

Regardless of where you are with your finances, there are a few things that you can do to sustain balance, and maintain focus on making a life, not just a living.

How to Make a Life

1.) Create a scheduled break in your week – Everyone in the world gets seven days a week and 24 hours for each day. Within that time frame there must be a point where you can relax, and step away from responsibilities. If you are adamant that you do not have time, then perhaps you need to create a schedule and break down your 24 hours. Start with a log of what you did the previous day and itemize it. You’ll find that if you adjust a few things you will edge out an hour or even more with time that you can focus on your own projects, or simply meditate for a minute or two. Finding the time takes effort, and it will help you achieve greatness, whatever it may be for you.

2.) Throw out your smartphone – Ok, maybe you shouldn’t just toss it in the trash, but there should be times when you do not use it. Whether it’s at the dinner table or anywhere else, find a way to eliminate the need to be connected for a portion of your day. Unless you’re a doctor, or an emergency service provider, there has to be time dedicated to yourself and your family. Without this, you will find that media consumption will consume your personality and will eventually lead you to losing moments in life that would normally make you smile.

3.) Get some exercise – The dreaded “E” word, and it is right here for you. The requirement for adults to sustain manageable weight is not a curse. If you can get 30 minutes of exercise, three times a week, you will be doing the bare minimum required to help offset caloric intake. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend money and join a gym, instead it means to find something fun to do and just do it for 30 minutes.

4.) Plan a date night – If you’re in a long term relationship, or you’re married with children, find a way to incorporate at least one night where you are alone with your significant other. This may be a challenge, but if you get in the habit of scheduling it (like you would for important appointments), you’ll find you can make it happen. Connecting and communicating on a regular basis with loved ones or even with friends gives you a semblance of peace from life’s worries.

5.) Go out of town – Every few months make it a point to leave town. Go somewhere remote, or go somewhere fun, just go anywhere that is not your home. This will help you balance out your thoughts, recharge your proverbial batteries and give you a bit of balance. It’s easy to busy yourself with so much work that you forget to have fun, so don’t let that happen, find time to enjoy living life to the fullest. It will be well worth your efforts, guaranteed.


 five tips to make a life while you make a living. —by Ellie Parvin … Mentor for the T.K. Dennis Society and featured at

Exploring Communication Inspiration in Switzerland


Don’t forget to stop for a moment… find and see the wonderful things you have in your life, whether they are right in front of you or close to your heart and mind.
Often I find communication entertains many commonalities and differences in other countries and cultures. The more we learn from and work to understand both helps to grow our skills and benefit our relationship and communication with others. However, this brief  post will be more about how I am inspired to become a better communicator, than a “How To…” on how to communicate internationally.
Currently, I am on vacation with my wonderful husband and visiting his (and of course now my) amazing family! My husband grew up in the picturesque country of Switzerland. I am fortunate enough to come and visit here with him. Most people when they think of this country several ideas come to mind: Chocolate, cheese, the Swiss Gaurds outside The Vatican, The Matterhorn and other snow covered alps, Heidi, yodeling, cows, Ricola cough drops, etc. Indeed it’s a wondrous place. 
When I come here, I get the opportunity to carve that extra time to get in touch with nature, my thoughts and my self, providing time for reflection and growth.
I took this photo above during our hike in the alps of Canton Glarus on Monday. I must admit it’s one of many pictures, but I can’t help but see, breath and feel the inspiration and wonder everywhere I turn here and this truly captures Swiss-inspiration.
We got up at 6am to venture to the Glanerland for today’s hike with my hubs and awesome in-laws it doesn’t get more Swiss than this: Watch this video…

Reflecting, I realize am truly blessed to have grown up with so much love in my family, as it helps me to appreciate all the love and beauty my husband and his family have to offer! We both grew up with a “family first” mentality. As such, we both support each other in family endeavors and adventures whole-heartedly. Although, I must admit that from my perspective his family makes it very easy!

Your friendly communication expert wishing you communication for success, health and happiness from Switzerland!



What’s the State of Critical Thinking? Thoughts…

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Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” ― Margaret Mead

I saw this quote the other day and I was reminded of a recent class I taught where one of my learners (This is how faculty refers to students at Ashford University) had difficulty comprehending one of the writing assignments. Even though I provided links, examples and further explanation, in the end the learner just asked me “what specifically should I write about? It doesn’t say exactly.”


Finally, I explained that “there is no exact topic or thesis. You will develop one and write your paper based on the assignment directions, grade rubric and what we have learned in class — and here is where you utilize your critical thinking skills, which is the best part, you get to choose your topic.”



Often I see as children grow they are taught NOT to question their teachers, parents, or such and do what they are told, be obedient, color inside the lines, etc. I perceive that this tampers with their critical thinking skills. As they grow older and start to work in the real world (usually at larger companies/corporations), I have observed that this pattern continues; where people are again told (in a professional way of course) to be obedient, do  their work, develop an aversion to challenge managers, higher-ups, and the like.


Question for Professors/Teachers:

I wanted to get a consensus from my scholarly peers on your thoughts regarding “critical thinking” in their classes (online and virtual).

Do you have to push or work to reprogram your learners/students to utilize their critical thinking skills?

Question for Business Owners/Managers:

I wanted to get a consensus from business owners and managers on your thoughts regarding “critical thinking” in their classes (online and virtual).

Do you have to push or work to reprogram your employees to utilize their critical thinking skills?

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One of the things I love about teaching Business Communication courses at Ashford University, is that the curriculum helps me to push for reprograming of obedient minds.  I get to teach them communication “best practices” so they can re-connect and communicate utilizing critical thought and ultimately succeed as employees and as people. I love that I can use my experience working for Chalene Johnson at her old company Powder Blue Productions too. There she reminded us on a regular basis to challenger her processes or ideas and develop stronger solutions: Use critical thinking!


However, for some of the learners in their first year I notice they need a nudge to guide them or push them to feel comfortable using critical thought.


In regards to my discussed above about one of my students, once she knew I wasn’t going to hand her the answer on a plate, it pushed her to start thinking about it. Ultimately she nailed the assignment and ended up with an A on her paper. However, it was her growth in the class and her feedback to me (sent via email after she received her final grade) that brought me the most joy.


I would love to hear your thoughts on the state of critical thinking today! Please share below.


Also if you are looking for ways to exercise your critical thinking skills or want to help someone else you can use the 6 Critical Questions below inspired by the official “5 W’s and 1 H) questions of the ancient art of journalism (yes I am going back to my San Francisco State University/BA Journalism roots):


Customer Communication Via Social Media


I am going to presume that the last time you looked at your smart phone it wasn’t to check for a missed call or text.

Most likely you were checking one or more of your social media outlets: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.


Companies these days are astute to their consumers daily habits and thanks to companies like Facebook, they perhaps know even more about their likes, dislikes an such.

Studies in the past year have show 72% of all internet users are now active on social media and it’s not just the young people:

•     Age 18-29 year olds have an 89% usage

•     Age 30-49 bracket sits at 72%

•     60 percent of 50 to 60 year olds are active on social media

•     In the 65 plus bracket, 43% are using social media


I’ll never forget in 2011 the time my former, social media savvy boss sent me a text regarding a customer complaint. Since I was the customer communication specialist for the company, I was surprised the customer didn’t contact me or our office.   I thought, what complaint? I checked the email, voicemail messages, etc.  She explained that an alert/word search she had set up on her Twitter account brought the tweet to her attention. When she glanced at the customer post she noticed the issue. images

Sometimes customers don’t want to hassle with calling or emailing out of fear they will be ignored, run into conflict or have their time wasted.  It becomes much easier for them to complain or vent on social media platforms.

After getting her information from twitter post I contacted her.  Or I freaked her out. She seemed surprised when I called regarding the issue. Nevertheless, the issue was quickly resolved and to add we fostered a new and improved customer relationship!


Social Media Contact Produces Results
        • Of the 68% who were contacted following a negative social media posting,
        • 34% deleted their original negative review
        • Another 33% turned around and posted a positive review
        • And 18% became a loyal customer and bought more customers.

These figures mean that 85% of customers who posted a negative review of a shopping experience and were then contacted by the retailer wound up taking an action that was positive for the retailer.

Two-thirds (67%) of them took an action through social media directly negating their original negative posting.  All equating to customer retention!


Social Media Statistics

Here are some quick facts showing the tremendous role of social media in today’s business world, as per 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report:

        1. A significant 86% of marketers said that social media was important to their businesses.
        2. By spending as little as 6 hours per week, 64%+ of marketers see lead generation benefits with social media.
        3. 75% of marketers reporting positive results in terms of traffic increase as one of the major benefits of social media.
        4. A significant 89% of all businesses that have a dedicated social media platform as part of their marketing strategy reported an increase in their market exposure.
        5. More than half of marketers who have used social media marketing for over 3 years reported an increase in sales over that period.

Social media is no longer just a part of casual social communication; if you have a business it’s time to get innovative with social media. Perhaps thin about creating a “social media care department.”




Storytelling: How to Tell a Good Story


(*Don’t forget to read last week’s blog post Storytelling: A New or Old Trend?)


Reflecting back on times when I have been inspired, motivated, moved to action and/or learned something that stayed with me, often this originated from a story.


To date my most valued storyteller is my father. In fact, my earliest recollection of his gift of storytelling is what convinced me to go to bed and entertained me during long road trips. I still remember lying in bed and my dad asking me which book I wanted him to read to me? I would reply, “No daddy, I want to hear one of your stories.”   He would recount adventures he experienced traveling with his father for work (a highly regarded Doctor in Iran who, who not only spoke seven languages, but traveled all over the Middle East to work with other hospitals as an executive physician with UNICEF International, and conveniently delivered all four of his children in their home).

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The best way I can describe my dad’s storytelling is to compare it floating on calm, ocean waters. His words pull you along as the ocean starts to swell, you drawn up the face of the wave and glide down over its peak.


Some of my favorite stories:

One he got lost and fell down a mountain through cactuses and it took more than a day to find him (one reason I never wondered off after hearing this story – always tell your parents where you are going kids).


Another, he wanted to be an engineer and like to play with electronics and dreamed of building rockets for NASA. Well it’s kind of long story, but my dad got into some big trouble after setting the roof of his house on fire with his homemade rocket attempt.


Baba-joon & Mali-joon

Baba-joon & Mali-joon

Also, there is the one where he was age 11 or 12 on a business trip with my Baba-joon (equivalent of grandpa in the U.S.). It was during a terrible storm. The kind where there is so much water you appear to be driving on a river.   They were not able to go home because the road/pass home had been flooded by the river. They were about to turn around, until Baba-joon shouted to the driver “Wait! There are people there.” (Okay so he said this in Farsi, but that’s my dad’s translation to me). The water had risen so fast there was a car trapped in the middle of the road pass over the river and a family clinging to the top of a car. To make my long re-cap of the story a little shorter, with the efforts of the driver, my Baba-joon and my dad they rescued the family! My dad told me at the end of the story that this was very lucky and that God put them there right at the right time. But sadly, shortly thereafter they saw another car with people on top rushing by and going under, for the storm had worsened and the water had risen too high.


Finally, my favorite story that is my inspiration to persevere and work towards my goals is his story of coming to this country at the age of 17 to become an engineer (he didn’t want to be a doctor which is what he would have had to do if he stayed in Iran). It’s a remarkable story and one that it far too long to account here, but gist of it is there was no internet, Skype, easy or affordable way to communicate with family overseas. He went to school full-time, worked three part-jobs (the kind you see on Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe) and today works for Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL)/NASA. He isn’t building rockets but he LOVES his job (he still works 60+ hours a week at age 70). He would say that he had the opportunity to live the “American Dream” and believes in this country and its freedoms —  But you have to do the work, freedom doesn’t fall on your lap.

Mauna Kea 011

My father is still my favorite storyteller today and the funny thing is I don’t even care if I heard the story a hundred times, each time he tells it it’s like the first.



But I don’t have a Story?!

According to research found by Kristi Hedges, a Forbes Contributing writer, most people don’t believe they are good storytellers for the following reasons:

  • I never think of it
  • I tend to ramble and lose the point
  • I have a hard time gauging interest
  • I am never sure how much detail to use
  • I don’t have good stories to share

Yes you do!

Now I don’t have my father’s gift for storytelling, nor is my story as inspiring as his. But that won’t stop me from working on it because we all have a story (or stories) inside us to tell or share.


Where do we start? What is our story or stories? How can we learn to share them?

How to start and develop your story (or stories):



Remember the power of putting pen to paper. It’s much easier to find and develop a story if you have a list to go to. Get in the habit of noting content that would make for a good story – highs and lows, challenges, times of persistence, etc. Sit down and spend a half-hour thinking about experiences you’ve had where you’ve overcome hardship and made yourself (or others) proud.

Make this a bi-weekly or monthly habit.

2. Connect Key Points with a Story

Here is a good place to reference your notebook (or smartphone) where you are housing your stories.

3. Practice your Stories

Practice – Practice – Practice. Remember storytelling is a skill and you want to practice it just like you would for any craft. 4. Don’t seek Perfection

Don’t let the push for perfectionism paralyze you. (* For more on see my blog post: How to Be Perfect)

5. Use a Story Structure.

A good story is simple. Structure helps the framework and flow of your story. For example:

        • Clear moral or purpose
        • Personal connection – involves you, or someone you are connected to
        • Common reference points – the audience understands the context and situation
        • Details: Characters and imagery – allow the audience to “See” and connect.
        • Conflict, vulnerability, or achievement we can relate to
        • Pacing – there’s a clear beginning, ending, and conclusion referencing the main topic


Need More Help?

In April, I attended a 3-day seminar organized by Team Johnson & CEO Chalene Johnson (Motivational speaker, New York Times Best Selling author, and fitness celebrity): SMART Success Live! There are so many things I learned, but one huge takeaway for me personally was that we must allow ourselves to be vulnerable to truly connect with others. This happened because each speaker shared their amazing story superbly and connected with me and the audience.



Hire Experts

When you have tried everything and you just can’t wrap your arms around the creation of your story/stories or even finding them, you can turn to hiring experts or take a class!

For example, Bo Eason is an expert in storytelling and so much more (Bo Eason’s Bio )

Bo Eason

When you have time watch this: (40 min)

Bo Eason on the Power of Personal Story


Some stories are hidden deep within us and it takes someone gifted like Dr. Mcayla Sarno who at times I perceive as an archeologist of emotions and memories that can help you navigate through your mind to find what you have suppressed or forgotten (ie. Often times this is your story). She is a remarkable EMDR specialist who has even developed products where you can get her guidance in the comfort of your own home.


Remember, just because something feels uncomfortable, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It will feel awkward at first, but with practice each story will become easier, stronger more impactful and allow you and your message to connect with others and improve your communication skills.

Bo quote


For More Watch:

NPR’s Scott Simon: How to Tell a Story NPR video






Storytelling: Old or New Trend?


Life is a Story

The other day I came across one of my graduate application essays written in 2007. The thing that caught my eye was a quote I wrote that expresses a term that I have been hearing and seeing this year: Storytelling.









Here is an excerpt from the essay:


Ellie A. Parvin

Life is a story. In fact, storytelling is historically one of the most powerful of human capabilities. How we recount a story, whether it is our story or someone else’s, can make a positive or negative impact or no impact at all.  - Ellie Parvin


When was the last time you picked up your local paper and felt what you were holding in your hand was an honest to goodness piece of Journalism? Sure, the articles we read today are entertaining, interesting and informative. However, are writers today telling these stories with balance, objectivity, honesty, compassion and most important ethics?


These qualities are not only taught to communications students but are key traits that have shaped my life.


My goal is to share, educate and reinforce these guidelines with future communication students in the early stage of their curriculum. My dream is to further develop an “ethics in mass communications” course for future students to measure and balance each situation more clearly than today we see today.


Getting a Master Degree from ***University Name Here*** is a key in accomplishing my goals and dreams. I believe mingling education with life experience continues to provide me with tools for success.


As not to bore you lets cut to the end shall we…


The tools I have gathered in different industries in my career are valuable and can be applied to almost any company. However, implementing balance, objectivity, honesty, compassion and most important ethics are valuable attributes that endure. They are not something that you get credit for in collage or get promoted for in competitive environments,


In humanity’s infancy, all families, tribes and societies need resolute storytellers to constantly encourage, inspire and guide their people in a positive moral manner! I hope to continue this tradition in our modern day society not only for myself, but for the future of communications in the mass media.


Storytelling:  What’s New?

It’s so interesting that new ideas and new trends are often just re-vamped ways people did things historically.



The reality of what makes the trend of storytelling shiny and new is that found in the utilization of a fantastic new medium: Technology!


In order to move forward with ethics in storytelling and take advantage of “new trends”, sometimes it’s important that we understand the origin of rhetoric.

Origins of Storytelling

Since I study communications (and obviously obsessed with it), I can’t help but think about the history of communications and storytelling. I recognize similar patterns of how society receives and accepts information (or news) from sources that we as a society are accustomed to (leaders, parents, news, mentors, authority figures, etc). It helps to think of story telling as a form of sharing and passing on information. Sometimes it has value (or not), sometimes it’s just for entertainment and sometimes it’s presented as both.


For example, many centuries ago (B.C. in fact) before the written word, the general public relied on orators to inform them and educate them on news via rhetoric. These orators/storytellers were highly respected and regarded. You better believe they never uttered the words, “I am not good at remembering names.” The orators during this time surely could influence and be influenced by others; a pattern that started way back then that has continued through the centuries and appears to be in effect in the present.untitled 23.1


Finally, many psychologists and historians consider storytelling is one of the things that define and bind our humanity. Humans are possibly the only animals that create and tell stories.




Now all you need to do is learn how to tell your story  (featured in next week’s blog post)!



For more information Read:

The Science of Storytelling:   Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains by Leo Widrich


The Whiteboard History of Story Telling:

Boost Your Mood with Body Language


Stand Tall


If you are reading this, do me a favor:  Stand (or sit) tall.

        • Take your shoulders back
        • Lengthen your spine
        • Look up to the sky or ceiling and smile
        • Ahh don’t you feel stronger, uplifted and better than you did a few seconds ago?
 Personal Persuasion of Posture

The other day I was working at my desk – okay this is not so unusual. Nevertheless, I was hunched over my laptop typing away and after a couple of hours I began to feel heavy, weighed down. I said out lout, “Sit up straight, shoulders back, and pick-up your chin.” Immediately I smiled and felt lighter for no reason other than changing my posture. Seriously, try it right now, I’ll wait. You are smiling aren’t you?images


Most people know that body language is a powerful communication tool. However, it does more than non-verbally express your mood and/or thoughts to others. In fact, scientific studies show your own body language can also affect your own personal mood.


Chemically Induced Positive Mood-maker (no drugs or alcohol required) 

A study by researchers from Columbia and Harvard Universities showed that body language symbolizing supremacy can even affect our decision-making, subconsciously.85b8e651bd63a389d93c8762c9742b33

The researchers measured the appetite for risk of participants in either expansive, powerful poses, or constricted poses (occupying minimal space, keeping limbs close to the body). Those who were in the powerful positions not only felt more powerful and in control, but were 45% more likely to take a risk.


Further, the study used saliva samples to prove that expansive positions actually altered the participants’ hormone levels—decreasing cortisol (C) and increasing testosterone (T).

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This neuroendocrine profile of High T and Low C hormone levels have been consistently linked to people who show resistance to disease and demonstrate leadership roles.


Therefore, if we alter our posture and body language, we can subconsciously influences our decision-making and thinking.



Power Posing

On Ted Talks, Social psychologist Amy Cuddy explains how “power posing” (a standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident) can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.

Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are:


I can’t think of a better reason to practice the habit of sitting tall and walking tall. In the end we control our own success with self-communication (verbal and non-verbal)!

For more information on the Power of Posture Read This:

10 Simple Postures That Boost Performance by Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog. His latest book is “Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick”

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10 Benefits of Meditation


Ahh the power of meditation. Meditation is not only a physical, but a mental challenge for me personally. I have always had so much energy, it’s hard to tie me and my busy brain down!

d824e156b0add7a61fd1f4a3184261bdTo be honest, I could never imagine or simple sitting there in one position to meditate or taking a Yin Yoga ( class and focusing on one simple thought, my breath or what have you.

Before I starting teaching mind-body, I was introduced to yoga in my late twenties. Oh my gosh, I couldn’t wait to get out of there! My thoughts were running around like crazy (I was use to cardio until you die; you can’t think – must focusing breathing and not dying was mantra with cardio). I felt I had too much time to think and I didn’t feel the benefits at all.


In hindsight, I probably didn’t know what I was doing.


However, many years later I challenged myself to develop meditation practice/skills. Skills that essentially helped me get through my graduate program, while working full time, teaching fitness classes part-time, getting married and moving.

What is Mediation?
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Meditation has a few meaning when you “Google” it.imagesCADFLZKX

imagesCAONB6M2To me meditation is tied in with communication. The way we communicate to others and ourselves. Why? Because communication is about what is going on inside us and how that effects the way we verbally or non-verbally communicate with others and effects the messages we communicate to ourselves. In my world if we want to be successful, communication is key!


imagesCA9861MQAccording to the growing number of scientific and psychological studies, there are a variety of benefits to mastering meditation. Some of those benefits are as follows:

Meditation Benefits

1. Reduce stress/tension/anxiety (Thank you)

2. Boost immune System

3. Increase fertility

4. Improve self-acceptance

5. Increase self confidence

6. Foster creativity by releasing blocks in the mind

7. Cultivate clarity and assist with decision making

8. Improve concentration

9. Benefit relationships (of course

10. Promote healthy COMMUNICATION!


Repetition Reaps Results

Of course, there are more benefits to mastering meditation than those listed above. Also, one must keep in mind that with any practice, consistency breeds benefits (ex. Exercise: working out one day a week, doesn’t make one fit. The practice should be on a regular, scheduled basis).


Meditation 101

By no means do I proclaim myself a master of meditation. Therefore, I’d like to point you in the direction of where to get started if you are interested or know someone who is interested in cultivating some inner peace.

Read This:

Watch This:

Beginner’s Guide to Meditation Learn To Meditate in 5 Easy Steps

Guided Meditation for Beginners – Entering the Formless

Yin Yoga: