Top 3 lists from Andrea and Talk About Talk, including the top 3 Talk About Talk podcast episodes and newsletters, Andrea’s favorite podcasts, plus communication insights from 2020 and focus areas for 2021.

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Top 3 most downloaded Talk About Talk PODCAST episodes

#1 is NETWORKING with executive coach Sharon Mah-Gin.

Sharon Mah-Gin on networking - Talk About Talk


#2 is COMMUNICATION SKILLS OF EFFECTIVE LEADERS with executive coach Heather Stark

Heather Stark - Talk About Talk

#3 is COMMUNICATING WITH CONFIDENCE: Mental Preparation, where I share the 4Ps of mentally preparing to communicate confidently

communicating with confidence - Talk About Talk

Top 3 most clicked-on Talk About Talk NEWSLETTERS

#1 is “Talking Taboo

Talking Taboo - Talk About Talk

#2 is “Words Matter: Racism & Taboo Topics

racism - Talk About Talk

#3 is “Talk About Introverts & Extraverts

extraverts introverts - Talk About Talk

Andrea’s Top 3 COMMUNICATION INSIGHTS from 2020

  • Growth Mindset – Talk About Talk is grounded in a growth mindset. A growth mindset is critical for communication superpowers: listening, storytelling and communicating with confidence. (If you’re a Talk About Talk follower, chances are YOU have a growth mindset!)
  • Online Communication – The increased prevalence of online media means new skills required to excel in this online world. The online environment is now the paradigm for every communication context and topic.
  • “How are you?” – The question “how are you?” has a whole new meaning and focus in our conversations. What used to be conversation-filler is now a genuine question. (This is a silver-lining of COVID!)

Top 3 FOCUS AREAS for Talk About Talk in 2021

  • Online communication – The digital domain is now the default. We need to step-it-up in terms of our online communication.
  • Online workshops – Talk About Talk will be offering more online workshops for firms who are investing in their people’s development.
  • Personal Branding – Stay tuned for your opportunity to identify your compelling, customized, personal brand, then learn to communicate it confidently to the world!


Talk About Talk & Dr. Andrea Wojnicki

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Hey there – I’m your communication coach, Dr. Andrea Wojnicki (please call me Andrea!) Welcome to Talk About Talk.

I founded Talk About Talk two years ago to help ambitious managers catapult their careers by improving their communication skills. Of course, some people make communication skills look easy. But here’s the thing – communication skills are a SKILL, not a talent. The good news is that we can train and learn how to become … extraordinary communicators.

So at Talk About Talk, we focus on communication-skills-topics like networking, personal branding and communicating with confidence – all across a variety of media or resources so you can choose what works for you – there’s online corporate training, 1-on-1 coaching with me, online courses, the free weekly communication-skills newsletter, and, of course, this bi-weekly podcast.

Welcome to episode number 66! You can find the archive of the other 65 episodes on the website or on your favourite podcast player.

This episode is a little different. 2020 is drawing to a close, and I’ve been doing some thinking and some analysis. What a year, right? I mean there’s the whole global pandemic thing. I remember picking up my kids from school in March and telling them to empty their lockers because it might be a few weeks till they go back. Uh huh. On March 9, 2020, the Dow Jones industrial average suffered its worst single-day point drop ever. 2020 has also been the year of racial unrest, Kobe Bryant’s sudden passing, along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others in that horrific helicopter crash, devastating wildfires in California and Australia and elsewhere, and the Harvey Weinstein verdict and the Jeffrey Epstein fiasco. Harry & Meghan also quit the royal family. Personally, I don’t care so much about that, but to some this qualifies as a travesty. Then there’s the death of a few folks with famous initials, including RBG and EVH, OH – and of course…. don’t forget… the murder hornets. You thought I was going to say TRUMP, didn’t you? Like I said, what a year.

We’re all ready to say goodbye to 2020. But before we do, I want to remind you of some good things that happened.

Let’s start with a few positive effects of COVID. The global response to this pandemic acted as a catalyst in education, in medicine, and in communication, and flexibility in where and how we work. I’ve heard several times that we advanced by ten years in just 8 months in all these areas.

So we’re all online now. And Talk About Talk podcast downloads are way up, as are the free newsletter subscriptions. I guess that’s not a surprise, but I’m delighted. And now I’d like to share with the results of my year-end analysis. I’m going to present to you a bunch of “top 3s”. This is like the gold, silver and bronze medal ceremony for several categories:

First – trends. There’s the top 3:
• most downloaded Talk About Talk podcast episodes and
• the most popular newsletters this year

Then I’ll share with you some of my observations and insights. Specifically my top 3:
• communication insights from the year,
• focus areas for Talk About Talk in 2021, and last
• My 3 favourite podcasts that I recommend to you.

Alright, let me start with what’s been trending with Talk About Talk. This is interesting for all of us, because it can give us some insight into what people are curious about or maybe what skills they think they need the most help with.

Let me start with the top 3 Talk About Talk podcast episodes. These are the top 3 most downloaded episodes according to Blubrry, the podcast hosting platform that I use.

#3 is 58-communicating with confidence – where I share the 4Ps…
#2 is 52-communication skills of effective leaders with executive coach Heather Stark
#1 is networking with executive coach Sharon Mah-Gin. I think this one is #1 for a couple of reasons. First, networking is an important topic for all of us, right? And networking isn’t easy. Also, I have to say, this was just a great episode. Sharon and I respect each other very much and I think our conversations are engaging. So I’m guessing people might recommend this episode, in particular, to their friends.

The other category that I looked at in terms of trends is the most clicked on newsletters on the Talk About Talk website. To measure this, I used Goggle analytics for the period from Jan-Dec 2020 and ranked the organic clicks to al of the 100+ weekly newsletters that are archived there. So What are the top three topics?

#3 – /talk-about-introverts-and-extraverts/ For this one I think people are just curious. They may know where they stand on the continuum, and they’re curious what that means in terms of optimizing their communication.
#2 was from the summer of 2020, when I wrote a blog called /words-matter-racism-taboo-topics/. This newsletter is probably found by people who are searching key terms associated with racism. I’m thrilled that this newsletter is being read!
Now then, the #1 most click on newsletter is called “Talking Taboos”. In this newsletter I define what is TABOO, I list several taboo topics, I highlight 5 suggestions to respond to when people start talking about taboo topics.

I find it quite fascinating that TABOO TOPICS is the most clicked on newsletter of all 100 topics we’ve covered. I guess people are generally curious about taboo topics. But also, several of the Talk About Talk podcast guests have helped us with advice for various taboo conversations that we have, or at least that we should have, including talking about money, talking about mental health, talking to your doctor, talking to our grieving finds, and OF COURSE there’s the profanity episode when I interviewed University of Calgary Linguistics professor Darin Flynn about profanity.

So those are the top trending topics on Talk About Talk: communicating with confidence, communication skills of effective leaders, networking, introverts & extraverts, talking racism, and talking taboo. I find these trends fascinating!

Now let me move on to my personal observations and my non-quantifiable assessments from the past year. First, three unique communication insights from 2020. In no particular they are “Growth mindset,” “Online” and “how are you?

First, Growth mindset. I guess it was about 6 months ago, when I first started to realize the significance of a growth mindset in effective communication. Certainly the term “growth mindset” is very popular these days. Having a growth mindset means we seek to learn from our past mistakes and triumphs, we seek to try new things. We are dedicated to lifelong learning. Well, I realized something fundamental. I realized that the conception of Talk About Talk assumes a growth mindset. If you’re engaging with Talk About Talk, chances are you have a growth mindset and you believe, like I do, that success is contingent on learning and effort. And if you put in the effort, you will be rewarded. So fundamentally Talk About Talk is grounded in a growth mindset.

I have a quick story for you about this notion of a growth mindset. I was delivering an online corporate training session a few months ago on COMMUNICATING WITH CONFIDENCE. We were on Zoom, and at the end of the workshop a did an open Q&A. Someone at the firm ask me how to deal with questions or concerns from clients confidently, particularly if someone asked a Q that they hadn’t considered. You can probably guess that my answer was to adopt a growth mindset. If your client has an important Q that you can’t answer confidently in the moment, then rely on your growth mindset. Says something like “that is an AMAZING question. And an important one. Off the top of my head I’d say ABC but let me think about that. I will get back to you.” Here’s the thing. If you truly have a growth mindset, you’ll always be in learning mode, and not having a pre-determined answer to every Q won’t compromise your confidence. It probably won’t even compromise your authority – because people will respect you for learning and sharing the answer.

When I think back to this Q that was asked of me in the context of confidence and then my “growth mindset” answer, I started thinking about what I call the 3 communication superpowers: listening, storytelling and confidence. And I realized that a growth mindset is fundamental to all 3 of these! Perhaps not coincidentally, I interviewed legal veteran Norm Bacal about both listening and storytelling. And he certainly has a growth mindset. In terms of listening, the most effective, active listeners have a growth mindset, As Stephen Covey said, they seek first to understand, then to be understood. And the best storytellers often tell stories of their personal experiences where they learned life lessons. They value and reflect on their past experiences. This is a growth mindset.

So that’s my first unique communication insight from 2020. The significance of a growth mindset in our communication skills You know what? I think I’m going to do a whole episode on how having a growth mindset makes us better communicators.

The 2nd communication insight from 2020? The increased prevalence of online media and the new skills required to excel in this online world. Everyone’s looking for advice on how to communicate effectively online. There’s the basics: how to set yourself up for your virtual meetings – your background, your camera, even what to wear. But now we are stepping it up to the next level. How to set up productive and engaging online meetings, how to encourage interaction from online meeting participants. One of my favourite Qs I got this year was from a young manager who told me he is quite junior and therefore doesn’t get much airtime in meetings. Now that those meetings are online, he feels even more self-conscious. So I gave him some tactical tips to help him out.

The point here is that the online environment is the new lens that every communication context, ever topic we discuss, has to consider.

That reminds me, for the next Talk About Talk podcast episode, #67, I interview Sharon-Mah-Gin again. She’s the executive recruiter I interviewed for episode #45 focused on NETWORKING, the #1 most downloaded episode to date. Guess what we’ll be talking about for the next episode? ONLINE networking. Of course networking is different when you can’t meet for lunch or coffee and there are not live networking events to attend. So stay tuned for that episode coming up in two weeks. Again, the online lens is relevant for all communication contexts, even networking.

SO the first two communication insights for 2020 are the significance of the growth mindset, and the online context. The 3rd insight? I call it “how are you.” This is actually a silver-lining of COVID. Previously, “how are you” was like a filler Q, wasn’t it? It was a conversation-starter. How are ya? Fine. Ok, let’s get down to work. Have you noticed that since our lives have been turned upside-down by COVID and we’ve been cooped up in our houses, that when someone asks, “how are you?” they REALLY want to know? They truly care how you’re doing? Or maybe you yourself have asked someone “how are you?” and when they say “fine.” You respond, “REALLY?” Personally I hope this genuine care for one another stays long after COVID is gone.

So those were my 3 communication insights for 2020 – the significance of a growth mindset in effective communication, the prevalence of the online context for our communications, and the new significance of the “how are you?” Q.

Next I’m going to take you through 3 things that I’m super excited to be focusing on in 2021 and I’ll conclude by sharing 3 of my favourite podcasts with you.

By the way, if you ever have suggestions for what I should be focusing on more, please bring it on!

Based on what I was just sharing with you in terms of the increased prevalence of online communication, the first thing that you might notice in 2021 is – just that! We’ll be talking more about online communication. Starting with the next episode, as I said, when you’ll get some helpful advice from Sharon Mah-Gin about online networking.

The 2nd thing I’m excited to focus on in 2021 is doing lots of online corporate workshops. I’ve been finding these incredibly fulfilling. I guess teaching really is my happy place. But I know that firms, leaders are finding these helpful too, as they’re seeking ways to keep their staff feeling connected, and also showing them how much they’re appreciated by investing in their development. I’ll be doing online corporate workshops focused on topics like communicating with confidence, conquering your email, listening skills, and personal branding.

And speaking of personal branding, this topic is something you’ll be hearing a lot about from me in 2021. By following along with Talk About Talk, you’re going to have the opportunity to establish your personal and professional identity effectively and with confidence.

Whether you choose to do this through an online corporate workshop, the newsletter, the podcast, or an online course, we’re going to run through various exercises to help you first identify and craft your personal brand, then we’ll shift to communicating that personal brand – offline and online. I realized this topic of personal branding lies at the intersection of my areas pf expertise: interpersonal communication, psychology, and strategic branding. So fasten your seatbelts and get ready to nail your personal brand. I can’t wait!

There you go – the 3 areas of focus for Talk About Talk in 2021: the topic of personal branding, the topic of communicating online, and increased offerings of online corporate workshops.

OK now, as promised, I’m going to share my 3 favourite podcasts. This year Apple hit 1 million different podcasts listed on its platform. There are so many to choose from. Fiction and on-fiction, and every niche and genre you can imagine. Anyone who knows me can probably guess that my favourite podcasts are all non-fiction. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever listened to a fiction podcast. (That said, I have been reading or listening to some fiction for my book club and quite enjoying it – but I digress.)

First – Based on recommendations I’ve received from some of my guest experts, including Hilton Barbour and Andrew Jenkins, my new favorite podcast is The Pivot with Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway. They talk technology and current events. They make predictions and I always feel better informed after I listen to them. They’re both so smart, so irreverent, and they have fantastic rapport. I highly recommend The Pivot podcast.

My other 2 favourite podcasts probably won’t appeal to all of you. It depends on our interests. If you’re running your own online business, I recommend Pat Flynn. He has a podcast called “Ask Pat 2.0” where he does a real-time coaching call with an online business owner. Pat is generous and has helpful advice and most importantly, I’d say, he’s not slimy or overly salesy, like I find many of the other online business podcasters.

And speaking of podcasters, if YOU are a podcaster, I recommend Dave Jackson as an amazing resource. Dave is a pioneer of podcasting. Like Pat Flynn, he is generous with his advice. If you’re looking for advice on podcasting equipment, online software, your podcast format, your business model, you name it, Dave has an answer for you. And he has several different podcasts, including my favourite, the school of podcasting with Dave Jackson.

Alright, so those are my 3 podcast recos: The Pivot, Pat Flynn’s Ask Pat 2.0, and The School of Podcasting with Dave Jackson.

There you go. All my top threes. My top 3 most downloaded Talk About Talk podcast episodes, the most popular newsletters this year, my top 3 communication insights from 2020, 3 focus areas for Talk About Talk in 2021, and last, my 3 favourite podcasts. I hope you found some of this helpful or at least interesting! As always, everything is summarized for you, including links to everything I mentioned, in the shownotes on the website. Just go to, click on podcasts and click on shownotes. It’s right there.

Now, if you have a minute, I have three asks. I know, usually it’s just one. But this is the top three episode. So I have three asks. Honestly, if you did just ONE of these three things, I’d be thrilled.

First, do you have friends who might also have a growth mindset and be interested in improving their communication skills? If yes, PLEASE tell your friends about Talk About Talk!

Second, if you enjoy the Talk About Talk podcast, please write a review on Apple or whatever podcast player you use. Reviews definitely help with visibility in the crowded space of podcasts.

Third and last, if you’re not signed up for the Talk About Talk communication skills newsletter, please do! This is your chance to get free communication skills coaching from me every week in a simple to digest email. I promise no spam and no more than one per week. Just go to talk to sign up or email me directly and I’ll add you to the list. You can email me anytime at

That’s it! Here’s to a FANTASTIC 2021.

THANKS for listening – and READING!

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