The Qualities of Great Communications, Both Large and Small

A Delightful Moment A dear friend, Michael, just wrote me. He was covering a few topics, but in his email he also forwarded as an attachment a very touching announcement he had received on the passing of a beloved, elderly family member, Harry. He told me to open it and look at the departed’s final […]

“How did he come up with that?” The Key to Creativity

Recently I was building a sales pitch for a corporate client where one of the important concepts was “Visibility is critical to your business.” The team brainstormed a bit on how to convince audiences of this idea through a powerful illustration. It was fun, and we came up with various possible analogies involving magnifying glasses or foggy days […]

Be More Interesting Than Your Refrigerator

We’ve all been there. You’re in a meeting, maybe an important one, but the speaker is speaking in a monotone. And your mind drifts off to an unrelated topic…and after an indeterminate amount of time, you suddenly realize that the speaker has stopped talking…and is looking right at you – clearly expecting a response to […]

Where Cute meets Incomprehensible – The Hidden Perils of Insider Language

I just landed in the U.S., flying back from Edinburgh, Scotland. There’s not a whole lot to do in the baggage claim area at the Newark airport, and maybe that’s why a sign caught my eye. It was a poster reminding visitors not to use unlicensed cabs. Quite an important message, delivered simply via a […]

How Much… or How Memorable?

My first job after graduating from college was in sales. This was in the early 90’s, so it was a few years before I was introduced to PowerPoint presentations… but I eventually succumbed to the siren song and was guilty of crushing the souls of customers and prospects with bulleted PowerPoint decks. But along the […]

20 Questions to Answer Before You Craft Any Message

We think we know everything we need to start crafting a message or pitch. But the obvious questions — who are you talking to, what’s the topic, etc. — aren’t the only ones. To really connect with a customer or audience, we need to know much more about them, what they already know, and what […]

Jack Welch on the importance of Presentation Skills

I’ve always greatly admired Jack Welch. Like all our heroes, he’s a blend of virtues and flaws, but the reason I admire him so much is for a specific attribute I’ve heard from many people who’ve worked with him over the years. His ability to really focus on what MATTERS. Jack always had an unerring ability […]

The Hidden Genius of PuppyMonkeyBaby… Or, Why Entertainment Doesn’t Equal Effectiveness

Do you have to like something for it to be effective? Here’s why I ask: Even though Super Bowl 50 is behind us, somehow #PuppyMonkeyBaby – Mountain Dew’s contribution to this year’s Super Bowl advertising – lives on. Love it or hate it (and most people hated it), it was by far the most talked-about commercial […]

The Key to Getting Someone to Make a Decision

Think about how often you have an important request of someone – that they buy your product, change their position on an issue, support an initiative, etc. And you make a thorough, reasoned, logical argument, well supported by compelling facts and data – and this person nods and smiles the whole time…but doesn’t do what you […]

Chimps and Presidential Candidates…Closer Than You Think

I grew up and still live in Washington D.C. And as such, I have a well-developed ability to tune out politics when I want to… …But any article that compares the current slate of presidential candidates to a bunch of chimpanzees is guaranteed to catch my attention. Especially so when the article is in a […]

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