Getting the message across




Fearless improvisers, frustrated young tech workers and local do-gooders — all are fodder for Kathy Condon’s imagination, and for her blog.

Condon, a former Columbian columnist, shares career-oriented lessons drawn from observations of Clark County life at Communication Pro, which we’re now hosting and featuring on The Columbian’s website at

“I’m trying to illustrate how communication takes place in all aspects of our life,” Condon told me. “I’m looking primarily at the workplace. However, as I go out and about in the community there are illustrations all over the place that give perfect examples of how communication is or is not happening.”

An improv show might just offer lessons that carry over into the office, Condon said.

At Vancouver’s Magenta Improv Theater, she noted:

• Expressions and body language are crucial to an effective performance.

• Actors must listen carefully and take cues from one another.

• Improvisers support one another, and congratulate each other on success.

• Fun is important to the show’s success.

These observations offer lessons for anyone looking to work closely with a group, even those of us who would never get up on stage in front of a group of strangers.

Among other subjects Condon’s written about over the past two months:

• The elements of a good handshake — it’s important to be firm and make a strong impression. The rules are the same for men and women.

• Older, less technological workers who slough off computer-related tasks to young tech-savvy colleagues aren’t doing anyone any favors. Younger workers get overloaded, and older workers never learn to do it themselves.

• Even if you’re not overloaded by a deluge of daily emails, the people you’re writing to may be. Staying focused and communicating clearly will make email more efficient and help your messages rise to the top of the recipient’s priority list.

Condon has the credentials to back up the lessons she posts. In addition to her years of experience helping groups and individuals, she’s the author of “It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask,” and is about to release her second book, “Face to Face Networking: It’s All About Communication.”

That background, and her ability to consistently contribute clear, helpful, local blog articles, led Web Editor Libby Tucker to select Communication Pro to become The Columbian’s second featured community blog.

Condon joins Steve Pierce, who writes about the weather at Soon we’ll also be adding Allen Wilson, who will write about gardening.

There will likely be more featured bloggers to come, said Tucker, who’s looking for more subject-matter experts to feature. We’ll keep reporting, for the print and Web, as we’re doing now, but these bloggers provide another way to stay connected in Clark County.

“We want to be the single top source for local news,” Tucker told me. “Having community bloggers on our site is part of that effort.”

Courtney Sherwood is The Columbian’s business and features editor. Reach her at 360-735-4561 or