I met Elizabeth Nulf MacDonald a few years ago through a mutual friend who was interested in communication skills. Elizabeth has interviewed me on her public access TV show which focuses on perfecting communication skills. She is an artist at what she does and it was a thrill to turn the tables and interview her. What communication errors do you believe needs to change in your speech?
“What have you done to sabotage your message?”
According to Fort Wayne resident Elizabeth 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,” she said. “Our messages are drowned in a sea of extraneous non-essential verbiage by clichés 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 Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne, she became a professional broadcaster for a TV station in Norfolk, Virginia, and with WANE TV Channel 15.
From 2003-2007 she taught English at Southside High School and worked in communication and marketing for Fort Wayne Community Schools.
Today, she is a self-employed communication coach for her business, The Verbal Edge. “At my website (http://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 Linked In.
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 admitted she does make one exception for correct grammar. “Twitter has a limit of 140 characters so I allow for that,” she said.
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, one of whom is a reporter and broadcaster for the Air Force in Turkey.
MacDonald will teach a session on communication at Tapestry for Women held April 27. Sissy Spacek is headline speaker for the event. “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 said.
The Verbal Edge