Just talk to me

Have you noticed? Rarely do we have a meeting without slides these days. As soon as we have an idea, we rush to create a lengthy PowerPoint about it. We use slides as a crutch for our story, stuffing them with all sorts of information we might want to use to make our point. As a result, business conversations turn into lengthy sales pitches. Have our organizations lost the ability to discuss ideas without slides?

Don’t get me wrong, I love making PowerPoint presentations for my clients and I love attending an inspiring presentation accompanied by visually arresting slides. And it’s not the fault of the software, either. Keynote or Prezi would not do a better job than PowerPoint. The problem is how we tend to use presentation software, which gets in the way of communicating ideas.

Focus on sharpening and sharing your idea, not on making slides about it. We, your audience, will love you for that.

Read more on how to communicate ideas that will spread.

I did not have sexual relations with that woman

I don’t know about you, but I always get nervous when I hear this:
I want you to know…
To tell you the truth…
Let me be perfectly clear…
As far as I know…
I want to be perfectly honest…

Language experts have textbook names for these guys—”performatives”. Harmless constructions, even polite, right? Unfortunately they may often signal that bad news, or even some dishonesty on the part of the speaker, will follow. 

James W. Pennebaker, Professor and Chair of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, has done an in-depth study of the linguistics of deceit as well as that of truth. When people tell the truth, they usually use I-words at high rates. The one big exception is the performative case, such as when people start a sentence with something like “I want you to know that…” or “Let me be perfectly clear…” Anything that follows can’t be judged as false or truthful. Performatives are a delightful way to deceive while technically telling the truth.

Social media make things even more complicated, because they combine the definiteness of print with the casualness of online communication. Now more than ever before, we need clear positions, frank feedback, honest opinions. Politeness vs. deception, it’s a thin line online.

Read more on presentations.

Be moved

Warning: you will seriously fall for this commercial if you remember your first Sony Walkman.

Sony recently aired a new commercial illustrating how their best products are the result of close collaboration between artists and engineers. It all started with the iconic Walkman and evolved into DJ apps, underwater earphones, video games and cameras. “Be moved” is the tagline of Sony’s campaign, “to make you feel something” their stated mission. There are also several familiar faces starring in the commercial, including film director Spike Lee.

I just love this commercial! Emotions meet technology, beauty complements precision, right brain needs left brain. The story it tells spans three generations of users that will relate to the images, the music, and these great products. Kudos for director Stacy Wall for creating such a powerful and emotional narrative.

From Sony’s slick new website: “We measure our success with the flutter of a heart or a bead of cold sweat”.

Read more on corporate stories.


1000+ thank you!

Something amazing happened to me this week. Three months after I started it, my blog reached 1000 page views.

One thousand views may not sound like much to you. Seth Godin’s great blog counted a mind numbing 4 million views in 2013. But you know what, to me one thousand views is a lot, and that’s all that matters. It means that some people, some real people were interested enough in what I wrote to spend a few minutes of their valuable time on it. These people went through the trouble of sharing it with their friends. And some of  them were even generous enough to share their thoughts with me from time to time.  

If you are reading this you are one of these people. THANK YOU for your incredible support, it means a lot to me!

Photo credit broterham@1996

Nobody said it was easy

Today is Alzheimer’s day. Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease, deeply affecting individuals and their families alike. It is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and the only one we cannot prevent, cure or even slow down in its progression.

The very least you can do is to spend one minute to watch this video to understand just how bad Alzheimer’s is and share it with family and friends.

Science, religion, and the big bang

Social by nature
Enterprise social networks are not just about sharing knowledge or improving communications. Human beings are born within networks of families, cities, societies. Aristotle believed that we could not fully develop our human potential without the support of our social networks.
Why should this stop at the office door? Enterprise social networks are a manifestation of our human nature.