“What have you done to sabotage your message?”
According to Fort Wayne resident Elizabeth Nulf MacDonald, that statement always surprises participants when she asks it at her communication workshops.
“We all have much to say, but many times people can't hear our messages because they are drowned in a sea of extraneous nonessential verbiage,” she said. “The nonessential verbiage include cliches and mindless phrases, such as awesome and cool.”
MacDonald, who grew up New Haven, has served as an impassioned communicator most of her life.
After earning a degree in secondary education from IPFW, she became a broadcaster for a TV station in Norfolk, Va., and with WANE, Channel 15.
MacDonald worked in marketing and communications for Fort Wayne Community Schools for six years before teaching English at South Side High School from 2003 to 2007.
Today, she is a self-employed communication coach for her business, The Verbal Edge.
“At my website (www.theverbaledge.com), I offer a blog that focuses on correct uses of grammar,” she said. “I love teaching vocabulary, having honed those skills as a reporter.”
MacDonald also hosts a program on Access Fort Wayne called “The Verbal Edge.” Since April 2010, when the show first aired, she and a crew of volunteers have produced 80 shows, most of which feature local professionals in the area of communication. MacDonald's guests have included Troy Ganser, owner of The T.A.G. Art Company; and DeShawn Moore, CEO/publisher of Moore Gospel Magazine.
“I feature accomplished communicators on my show who present themselves effectively,” she said.
The shows are produced free of charge in studios at the downtown Allen County Public Library. Excerpts from MacDonald's shows are available on her Facebook page (The Verbal Edge) and on LinkedIn.
MacDonald also teaches workshops on facets of communication, including professional email formatting and texting.
“Effective email messages permit salient points to be noticed,” she said. “Writers may think it is just a note they're writing when they compose an email message, but it is also an expression of who they are.”
MacDonald, who attends Fellowship Missionary Church with her husband, Greg, is just as impassioned about telling people about her Christian faith.
“I work it into conversations because I want people to know about salvation through Jesus Christ,” she said.
The MacDonalds have two daughters.
MacDonald will teach a session on communication at Tapestry for Women on April 26 at Memorial Coliseum.
“Each time I have the opportunity to awaken people's awareness of how they can speak and deliver messages, it's thrilling to me,” she MacDonald said.