Friday, June 3, 2011

Around the Word

Commencement 2011. . . The good, the bad, and the lengthy. Our friend Fletcher Dean, one of the top speechwriting pros around, deploys his fine-tuned ear to flag the best and worst of this graduation season's speeches -- and what professional communicators can learn from them. Some speakers -- like Denzel Washington and broadcast journalist Robert Krulwich -- soared and scored by engaging their audiences and keeping their anecdotes snappy. Less impressive were Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and New York Academy of Medicine President Jo Ivey Boufford, who spent large chunks of time fixating on policy instead of giving concise, relevant advice to grads.

For more Commencement 2011 highlights, check out the Huffington Post's video slideshow of some of the most high-profile speakers for this season. From Amy Poehler's hilarious Harvard routine to Michelle Obama's speech at Spelman to Tom Hanks at Yale, you can get some instant grad-ification and experience the best of class among 2011 speakers. Have your own favorites to share? Post a note in the comments below or email us at:

The book club goes global: Next time you're reading and have an OMG-moment, try turning to Twitter -- chances are there are other bookworms in the Twitterverse discussing the exact same title. In fact, publishers are beginning to take advantage of this insta-community by attaching a hashtag to printed books in order to facilitate an ongoing digital discussion. The ladies at Women on Writing are among the leading evangelists for the concept, since it enables readers to connect with a much broader universe of like-minded literary lovers. Though book hashtags still have some kinks (what to do about spoilers?) it's definitely another way to bring traditional print into the digital age #thefutureishere.

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