The JULY QUIZ is here!

  1. You may refine your search by selecting a specific “Event Type”.
  2. In addition, he is a Certified Trainer and hold a Credential for Leadership Training.
  3. Alan is an international creative thinking consultant with 40 years hands-on experience around the globe.
  4. If your chapter chooses to get involved you contact a local school you feel may need help.  Ask them what the kids need most and they will give you a “wish list”.

    Last year hundreds of XYZ Chapters across America helped thousands of school kids have a better back to school experience.

  6. Add what the chapter can purchase if they have extra in their chapter checking account and you’ll have a pile of school supplies!
  7. Have you ever worked out with a trainer, and as you’re lifting weights they remind you to steady your breathing to make sure you don’t pass out?
  8. Bring water to help quench any pre-or-during presentation thirst, and avoid sugary drinks as they can have the adverse effect.
  9. If you feel moved to give back to local kids this is an easy and fun way to do it and the timing is perfect.
  10. (Get updates in your inbox when new blog posts are published (typically on Monday, Wednesday & Friday’s). )
  11. From uniforms & scrubs to t-shirts & hats, we have thousands of apparel & accessory styles to choose from.
  12. We are constantly striving to do our best to satisfy each and every customer that comes our way.
  13. Example: “Business of fly fishing 101”, “Change for change’s sake”, “Accounting for ethics”, etc.
  14. With over 30 years experience behind the scenes in the mining industry, we know how challenging it can be to position yourself powerfully as a woman so you can get your message out and make the difference you came here to make.
  15. We invite you to join us in this collaborative, conscious “movement”; a growing sisterhood reaching women in 120 countries on 6 continents transforming how you get yourself and your message out into the world.
  16. “I show career-oriented women who struggle with letting go of behaviors that hold back their careers (i.e. over commitment,perfectionism, lack of focus) simple ways to experience career breakthroughs.”
  17. He hold an Advanced Toastmaster designation and has won numerous speaking contests.
  18. He is past vice president of the Michigan Council for Self-Esteem, past area governor for Toastmasters International.

Please don’t do this!

This is a biggie. Are you sitting down?

Our group is comprised of professional speakers who are enthusiastic, dynamic and want to elevate our businesses to the next level.

No, no, a thousand times no! Never, ever say “comprised of.” It’s “composed of” in this situation: a large thing is “composed of” smaller things.

A group is composed of members.

A jury is composed of jurors.

You use “comprised” when you’re talking about the small things that make up a large thing.

Jurors comprise a jury.

Pages comprise a book.

And, please, can we stop saying “to the next level”? It’s as 2014 as “thought leader.” If you are still using the term “thought leader,”  that’s one thing you definitely ain’t.


Disaster off the Keys

You know, I like Key lime pie. In fact, it’s my favorite flavor of pie, but I only eat it if the graham cracker crust is homemade. No store-bought Key lime pie for me!

So I was pretty excited about a Key lime pie recipe I found in a local magazine. Until I read the introduction, that is. If the pie is as good as the writing, it must be awful. Take a look!

“Even as a Florida native (Fourth generation, actually), I can’t tell you exactly where the genius of Key lime pie originated. There are tales of late 20th century sponge fishermen out at sea off the coast of the Florida Keys whipping it up from what they had on their boat (presumably cans of sweetened condensed milk, Key limes, and eggs—weird, right?). Or perhaps it was the brilliant Bahamian cook known only as Aunt Sally who invented it for her boss, the first Florida millionaire, William Curry. I even found mention of a botanist being the first to make Key lime pie.

“Whoever it was, we are forever in debt to them for creating Florida’s favorite and best dessert. A few things about it are for certain: It must be made with sweetened condensed milk (No substitutes! Trust me, I tried.). The only acceptable topping is meringue, forget about whipped cream, sorry.”

It goes on a bit, but the last few sentences are, surprisingly enough, error free.

Here’s what I see:

“Even as a Florida native (Fourth generation, actually), I can’t tell you exactly where the genius of Key lime pie originated. There are tales of late 20th century sponge fishermen out at sea off the coast of the Florida Keys whipping it up from what they had on their boat (presumably cans of sweetened condensed milk, Key limes, and eggs—weird, right?). Or perhaps it was the brilliant Bahamian cook known only as Aunt Sally who invented it for her boss, the first Florida millionaire, William Curry. I even found mention of a botanist being the first to make Key lime pie.

Whoever it was, we are forever in debt to them for creating Florida’s favorite and best dessert. A few things about it are for certain: It must be made with sweetened condensed milk (No substitutes! Trust me, I tried.). The only acceptable topping is meringue, forget about whipped cream, sorry.”

So maybe eight punctuation and grammar mistakes in two paragraphs aren’t really enough to write home about, except…this is a magazine. You know, like, professionals are writing and editing this material. This ain’t rocket science. Let’s talk about it.

  1. “Even as a Florida native (Fourth generation, actually), I can’t tell

Rule: When you start off with parenthetical information inside a sentence, start with lowercase unless your first word is a proper noun.  I don’t care if you’re going to write a full sentence inside the parenthesis, unless it’s a proper noun, the first letter is always lowercase. If  you do have a second sentence following that, then uppercase the first word in the second sentence, BUT! unless it’s a proper noun, the first word in parentheses is always lowercase.

2. tales of late 20th century sponge fisherman out at sea off the

Rule: 20th century is a compound adjective modifying the phrase “sponge fisherman.” There’s no way you can avoid a hyphen here: 20th-century.

Plus, why the phrase “out at sea”? Isn’t “out at sea” basically the same thing as “off the coast”? I just edited a manuscript where the author was constantly larding up the text with phrases like “precious and valuable” and “thankful and appreciative.” It’s like wading through muck! Use the best word or phrase and let the other stuff go! In this case, “off the coast of the Florida Keys” is all you need to know.


This is actually not a mistake, but a comment about writing style. This next sounds like a 12-year-old’s diary, like, so, like, sixth grade:

…weird, right?).

A chirpy sixth grader. A chirpy sixth grader who tells me something is “weird,” and then demands that I agree with her. (It’s a “her” writing.)

Spare me.


3. “Whoever it was, we are forever in debt to them for creating

OUCH! Multiple mistakes here!

First, “whoever,” This should be “whomever.” You know why? Here’s the rule: Use “whoever” if you can switch up the sentence and use “he,”; if you switch it up and have to use “him,” it’s “whomever.” Naturally, this does not make sense unless you have the sentence first.

The sentence is…We are in debt to…him.

Whomever we are in debt to.


So, it’s “whomever.”

And maybe an even more profound mistake is the noun-pronoun confusion. “Whoever” is singular (the “it,” you see). We’re good so far because the writer uses “it.” Singular. But the pronoun is plural: them. Wrong!

The sentence should read “Whomever it was, we are forever in debt to him (or her!) for…

The (or her) is my attempt at humor, since we aren’t sure of the sex of the person, and both sexes are mentioned in the text. You could certainly do away with the parentheses.

4. certain: It must be made with sweetened condensed milk (No

Here we have an interesting situation. When you are citing a rule after a colon, generally the next word is capitalized. I’m not keen on the capitalization we see here; I’d feel better if the “rule” said “Key lime pie crust must be made…” That’s a rule, in my mind. You can take away the introductory phrase and the “rule” stands alone. But with the “it,” not so much. This is where I’d talk about “good writing,” as opposed to “this is a really bad mistake” because the colon is absolutely necessary, but I’d reword a little to justify the capitalizing.

But, the capitalized “N” in “no” at the end of the line is a for-sure mistake. Remember what I said about the first letter in parenthetical material inside a sentence. This is the second time this writer has made this mistake.

5. meringue, forget about whipped cream, sorry.

This is not surprising, especially after the “…weird, right?” line. I hate this chirpy tone. It’s juvenile.

Here you need a break between the “meringue” and the “whipped cream,” a much more definite and complete break than is afforded by a comma. Then you’ve got that aside in “sorry.”

There are a couple of different ways to slice this.

meringue—forget about whipped cream, sorry.

meringue—forget about whipped cream (sorry).

meringue (forget about whipped cream, sorry).

meringue (forget about whipped cream). Sorry.

You’ve got a command voice in the “forget about the whipped cream” and then the aside voice in “sorry.”

I think I’d go with

meringue—forget about whipped cream (sorry).

I still don’t like it, so how about this?

meringue (to all you whipped cream fans…sorry!).

Or, because you think you are asking your prose to carry too heavy of a burden, how about

meringue—forget about whipped cream. It’s meringue or go home.

I happened on this particular page. I don’t want to read further. I’m not going to read further. I’m not going to read the recipe, another article, the ads, nothing. No mas. It’s too…irritating.









Ah, the old “fewer” versus “less” confusion…again.

Hey, everyone!

Are you confused about when to use “fewer” and when to use “less”?

Here’s the way I remember the difference:

Fewer snowflakes, less snow.

“Fewer” is used when you can count something, and “less” is used when you can’t. Simple? Simple!

So these two sentences are incorrect:

For books with 130 pages or less, we strongly recommend a blank spine.

Blank spines are required for books with less than 101 pages.

And, yes, the sign in the grocery store that reads “10 ITEMS OR LESS” is incorrect.

I have forgotten who said the snowflakes/snow thing, or whether someone said it or I read it, but, whatever, thanks to the person who made it up because it’s certainly worked for me!


June quiz with answers!

This is one disgusting group of sentences, and, frankly, I wish I’d never laid eyes on ’em. Makes me grumpy.

  1. He wrote:  “Diabetes And Your Diet” (#1 best seller and International Book Awards 2017, Winner), “How To Be A Healthy Vegetarian” (now in it’s 2nd edition,  a best seller and two-time finalist of 2 Indie Book Awards, and awarded finalist in the International Book Awards, and North Texas Book Awards).

You know, I read this kind of content and I just flat out don’t believe this person. It’s not so much the “it’s,” which is inexcusable, it’s the totality of the illiteracy that bothers me: the colon after “wrote,” the combination of italics and quotation marks, the comma after the parenthesis, the comma after “awards,” and all other things; not to mention the fact that the sentence doesn’t make sense. How can this be????

2. This film show how a whole food, plant based diet is the optimum approach to preventing, treating and reversing chronic diseases, as well as addressing the issues of environment and economy.

Geez. The “film show”? And where’s the hyphen in “plant-based”?

3. She is well-versed in the art of health and nutrition, having studied with world renowned Doctors and nutritionists as well as having received certification from various Institutes and Universities including: Certified Health Counselor by Columbia University Teachers College Graduate and Certified Health Counselor of The Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Board Certified Health Practitioner with The American Association of Drugless Practitioners

Where’s the hyphen in “world-renowned”? Why is “doctors” capitalized? (And “institutes” and “universities”!) Why is there a colon after “including”? I mean, who does that? Where’s the punctuation in the list? Ugh!

4. This makes perfect sense because a Coach can help executives see a bigger picture and focus on what really matters to become great leaders of organizations.

Why, pray, is “coach” capitalized?

5. Unlike training, Coaching focuses very specifically on the issues that an executive wants to work through, thus it becomes a speedy way to improve skills and to achieve personal and professional objectives.

Why is “coaching” capitalized?

6. A client approached XYZ to assist them in building their leadership team’s abilities.

Major noun-pronoun problems here: a “client” is singular, so you cannot use “them” or “their” here.

7. A New York born Chinese who has over 30 years experience in the organizational development field, he consults local and multi-national companies on management, sales, and customer service strategies.

New York-born Chinese: you got to have that hyphen; plus, you just got to have an apostrophe after “years”: 30 years’ experience.

8. Good news and bad news – as Training and Human Resources becomes branded as Human Capital, the our function is becoming more firmly aligned with Finance, and we have to sell our value to the CFO.

“…the our function”? Excuse me? And why are all those words capitalized? And, man, oh, man, you need a colon, not a dash, after “news.”

9. For over 15 years his clients have included: Fulton County Schools, the Coca-Cola Company, Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Boeing, McKesson, AT&T, American Express, the University of Pennsylvania the U.S. Army, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and more.

This list is littered with mistakes (and I’m not going to bother to look up all these names), but the main thing is the colon after “included.” It’s so wrong.

10. Feel like you need just a little something to help ‘kick start’ your day, your week, your life?

Double quotes here, people. You’re an American company!

11. Engage your team with solid content, humor, and a fresh perspective that will inspire them to go from “OK” to “Awesome”.

Oh, do I hate this! “Team” is a collective noun, and therefore is singular. “Them” with “team” is incorrect. Plus, in American English, quotes are placed outside periods and commas. There are no exceptions. None.

12. The Soundbite Coach–journalist and crisis communications expert.

What’s that dash doing there? Sounds fishy to me.

13. It all started with his father’s family-owner business.

Um, you mean “his father’s family-owned business”?

14. She published her first book, “Whatever – a 14 Stage Whatever to Grow Your Business” in 2011.

(The “whatevers” are mine.) Okay, first thing: book titles get italics, not quotes. Second thing: you need a comma after “business”—that’s what you call a parenthetical phrase.

15. In 2017, she released her 2nd book, “The Whatever Tune Up – a Whatever Model That Will Whatever the Lives of Small Business Owners”.

Again, book titles in italics, and then there’s that nasty quotation mark-inside-the-period thing. And you say you’re an author?

16. Note: if you are bringing a guest you will need to register them separately.

Noun-pronoun: guest is singular; them is a plural pronoun.

17. He is a recognized thought-leader in the business industry that is called upon to show businesses how to make the best use of social media and marketing.

Baloney. This sentence is a hot mess. And if anyone uses the phrase “thought leader” again, I’m going to puke. (Sorry, mom, I know you’d hate me using that word.)

18. There is a lot of noise out there with these new buzz words “Social Media” and “Social Networking”.

If you say so. To me, they sound trite. And why, why, why are your quotation marks inside that there period?

19. Obsessed with lead generation, he works with Executives, Experts, Academics & Trusted Advisors to leverage their Thought Leadership to become trusted influencers in their industry.

I wish, for all our sakes, that he was more “obsessed” with his punctuation and grammar! Why are these words capitalized? This guy is an idiot!

20. Now as a Bestselling author, and International speaker and business consultant, she has developed a Global leadership program that has impacted audiences and organizations worldwide.

She’s a BESTSELLING author, an INTERNATIONAL speaker, with a GLOBAL leadership program. Yeah, right. I ain’t buying.

21. Her award-winning presentations and unique speaking style holds his audience’s attention and provides teachings to help them achieve personal success.

I love this sentence. It seems the author had a sex-change operation smack dab in the middle of this sentence! And, let’s not forget that audience is a collective noun, so you just can’t use “them” with “audience.”

22. Envision a more secure company Internet with Cyber security expert and Author, So-and-So.

Please stop this capitalization. It doesn’t make you look smart; no, it makes you look stupid!

23. She is one-of 5 in the nation of Department of Defense Certified Internet security Experts  who is deaf.

I’m not picking on this person, I’m merely pointing out that there are multiple mistakes in this sentence that really ruin her credibility. The hyphen where you don’t need it, the missing hyphen when you do; the inappropriate capitalization…if you don’t know this stuff, then hire someone who does!!!

24. Sets the tone, for the entire event.

Why is that comma there?

25. Every business needs to establish a connection with their clients.

Every business = singular. “Their” is plural. No can do.

26. Original content, designed to engage your audience on the topics that interest them most – when they want it most.

Audience = singular. “Them,” “they” are plural pronouns. No can do!

27. Our email campaigns are designed, written and published with attention to detail and open rates

Well, I’d like a serial comma after “written,” and forgetting the period sort of ruins the “attention-to-detail” claim, but my main problem is with “open rates,” which, while I know what the author is trying to say, I still find confusing. This is better:

Our email campaigns are designed, written, and published with attention to both detail and open rates.

Well, I don’t like that as much as this:

Our email campaigns are designed, written, and published to generate high open rates.

or this:

Our email campaigns are designed, written, and published to generate one thing: high open rates.

29. Our eBooks and white papers are well-researched, developed and written with your goals in mind.

“Whitepapers” is one word, folks.


The hyphen versus the dash.

Ah, the old “hyphen-versus-dash” confusion reared its ugly head again, and again, and again at a conference I attended this weekend. And, friends, it was ugly indeed. There is a vast gulf between a dash and a hyphen, and so I am going to set the record straight, right here and right now.

Let’s see. First off, they are two different marks of punctuation, with two completely different functions: a dash (—) separates; a hyphen (-) joins.

A hyphen joins words in what’s called a compound noun: spic-and-span, break-in, set-up, rip-off.

(Interestingly, and not to make you crazy, in the verb form of the compound noun, you don’t use a hyphen: I was ripped off.)

You often see a hyphen (-) when you join two adjectives. Hyphens join two, heretofore unrelated adjectives and create a whole new taste sensation, like, well, mint-chocolate. You take your mint,  you take your chocolate, you mix ’em up, and voila! You got yourself some mint-chocolate! Yeah, but here’s the deal, you only use the hyphen when this new combination is placed before the noun (stay with me here!) you’re modifying. So, it’s

mint-chocolate ice cream, but

the ice cream was mint chocolate.

Example: I love chocolate-covered cherries. (I really hate ’em. Yuck!)

But! I love cherries that are chocolate covered.

See? You use a hyphen when the two adjectives are placed in front of the noun, but there is no hyphen when the adjectives follow the noun.

Another example:

Liz hopes to become a well-known author. (Well + known modifies author.)


Liz hopes to become an author who is well known.

If you say these two sentences out loud, you can actually hear the hyphen, and you can hear when you don’t use it. Try it.

Here’s an important fact about the hyphen. You never hyphenate an -ly adverb. Never. So all these terms are WRONG:

seriously-flawed,  heavily-decorated, flawlessly-cut, perfectly-centered

I know they all sound okay, but it’s wrong. Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

There are some prefixes that require a hyphen, regardless of whether the terms are before or after the noun they are modifying. A good example is “self,” which always takes a hyphen. (I look this up in my book all the time.)

Here’s a super-cool rule (a rule that’s super cool) about the hyphen: the suspended hyphen rule. If you have two or three words that use the same prefix or suffix, you suspend the hyphen: pre- and post-event, brothers- and sisters-in-law, right- and left-brained. This rule even works when there’s no hyphen! Example: Air Force One and -Two, bridesmaids and -matrons, upper- and lowercase letters.

Okay, now to the dash. A dash (—) can be created in two ways: you can hold down the ALT key and press 0151 on the number keyboard to the far right, or you can type a word in Word, press hyphen hyphen NO SPACE type the next word, and, when you hit the space key, your dash is created! Wow! Like, magic!

A dash creates a complete break in the action. In fact, if you remove the content after a dash or between two dashes, you should have a sentence that makes sense.

Here’s an example of a dash in action.

Liz flawlessly demonstrated the use of a dash—leaving her audience speechless.

Here’s another example:

My cousins—Tina, Jeff, and Kim—arrived late and left early.

I don’t use a space in front of or behind my dashes. I see people doing it, and I don’t mind, just as long as a) there’s a space before and after, and b) you’re consistent.

Last thing: two hyphens do not a dash make. There was a “ghostwriter” at this conference, and, naturally, I immediately went to the company’s website, to see how good this person really was, and I was shocked—shocked—to see two hyphens used when what she needed was a dash. Twice. Honestly. And don’t get me started about the fact that she used directional and nondirectional quotation marks…in the same sentence. Yes, I know you are shocked, but it’s true. I turned away in disgust.