Happy New Year! While we won't be suggesting any New Year's resolutions, now or ever, we know that many of you have made some professional ones of your own that center on becoming a more effective communicator. While some are intent on mastering the composing process or improving platform delivery, others have resolved to refine interpersonal skills or to use Powerpoint differently. All are worthy achievements, not only because each strengthens performance but because each facilitates the completion of tasks. Everyone benefits from a successful and smooth workday.

Keeping a resolution throughout the year is a difficult task, as some of us know all too well. But we at ECG are certainly going to try our best to give you the tools to succeed. With all that is happening in the world around us, a smoother workday sounds like a little piece of perfection.

We'll continue to help by offering ways of negotiating the many issues that arise in communication. One of the first will be multitasking, a concept that seems to be more popular than practical. We'll address interpersonal communication, a topic of daily concern. One-on-one conversations often demand skills and practices that differ from those required during presentations. We'll outline some of those differences and suggest techniques for boosting your interpersonal effectiveness through maintaining balance, showing emotion, and listening well.

Also on our playlist is multicultural communication, an awareness of how members of various cultures act and react as they communicate. While the world happily contains so many cultures that each cannot be addressed individually, we will help you determine expectations and how to meet them. Not surprisingly, such expectations form an intricate web among speaker, listener, and message, a web whose gossamer strands offer strength and connection to the strategic communicator.

We'll return to storytelling, suggesting ways of incorporating stories not only to make your presentations memorable but to provide them a structure that emphasizes messages. Starting with a story engages interest and provides building blocks for your content. It offers, too, a powerful conclusion as you return to it at the end of your presentation, a capstone in the arch of meaning you construct and deliver.

The successful use of PowerPoint eludes many speakers, even the most experienced. It's an aspect of presenting that causes trepidation and worry, so we'll devote some Speak Previews® time to it. We'll examine some of the concerns technology poses for effective communication as well as collaborative processes that interfere with the clear formulation and delivery of messages. And, to assist you in your quest for productive meetings, we'll be looking at methods of agenda design and meeting facilitation that help participants reach stated goals.

But as important as addressing critical communication issues is ensuring that we are supporting you—if not to keep a New Year's resolution, then at least to ease your workload from time to time. A worthy goal, indeed.

So please send us your questions and concerns. Our goal, always, is to help you achieve yours. Sounds something like a resolution, doesn't it? We'll keep it.