Author: Jennifer Holzapfel-Hanson

#WordtotheWise: “Lay/Laid” vs. “Lie/Lay”

These are perhaps the most confused set of verbs, but it is really pretty simple. Use an object with the word "lay." You must lay something somewhere. Or if you did it in the past, you laid it there. Lie means to recline. So you do...

#WordtotheWise: Innovate/Create/Develop

Innovation is good, right? It implies leading the way, at the cutting-edge, new! Does a “creation” or a “development” seem more neutral because the result could be viewed either way, from positive to flat, while an innovation has intrinsic value?  Perhaps—but that is no reason...

Crisis Management: Working with Bees

I’m a beekeeper so I’m very comfortable around bees, and I’ve proudly managed to (mostly) avoid getting stung from the two hives in our yard. I attribute this to having a plan and a sense of steadiness around the bees that works the majority of...

#WordtotheWise: Double Trouble

I recently received an official government document about protecting my identity by securing my PIN Number; my personal identification number number. You know, the one I use at the automatic teller machine machine. When I lived in Indonesia I found the repetition of a word...

#WordtotheWise: Is ‘Unique’ Unique?

A pessimistic editor once told me to never to use the word “unique,” because advertising has diluted its meaning. I don’t fully agree with her, and I like to think it is because I take a more optimistic approach—some things really are one-of-a kind.  Who...

 #WordtotheWise: e.g. vs. i.e.

Since these abbreviations are both Latin, let’s ensure we are not speaking Greek. The Latin phrase “id est,” means “that is,” and can be abbreviated “i.e.,” (not “t.i.”) to further explain something. The abbreviation of “exempli gratia,” meaning “for example” is useful when you want...

#WordtotheWise: Use vs. Utilize

We just had a little discussion in our office about how using the word “utilize” in place of “use” is good when it comes to pretentious buzzwords, but in all other cases the word “use” will do. Internet consensus also shows that “utilize” may be...

#WordtotheWise: Critical/Crucial/Key/Vital

When is “important” important enough to be critical, crucial, vital or key? Or, to take the reverse, why is it not enough anymore to be “important?” It is! VCP, VVP and VKP just don’t have the same ring to them as VIP. While synonyms offer...

“Hell-on-Wheels” Crisis Communication Strategies

Three Strategies For Moving Forward I just returned from my fourth annual Cycle Oregon trip last week.  If you are not familiar with Cycle Oregon, you should be. The organization coordinates a week-long trip for more than 2,000 bicyclists each September through a different region of Oregon (often...

Company Lessons for a Crisis Simulation

The Crisis Training "Top Seven" A few weeks ago we managed a mock crisis simulation at one of our client’s premises to test their crisis communications plan. Not only is this a good practice for any company, but repeating the training at regularly scheduled intervals can...