“What’s in it for me?” The most important question.

The three questions a prospective client is thinking (if not asking) are: Who are you? What do you want? What’s in it for me? The last one’s the kicker. Audiences of any kind – whether they’re customers, employees, volunteers or donors – don’t have time for anything else, especially today with so much “information” coming […]

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Seattle’s International Exchanges Spur Growth, Citizen Diplomacy and Friendships

World Learning is a respected non-profit that has, for decades, coordinated international exchanges and educational programs for students and entrepreneurs around the world. They asked me to write a series of articles, like the one here, to promote the benefits of these exchanges to Americans. From economic growth and business partnerships to cultural understanding, citizen diplomacy and lasting friendships –participating communities like Cleveland, Detroit, Seattle, and Tulsa are becoming welcoming centers of opportunity.

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Turning yada yada yada into a great blog

The great philosopher Jerry Seinfeld once said, “There is no such thing as an attention span. There is only the quality of what you’re viewing.”  It’s a wise aphorism that applies to all communications today, including blogs. We’ve all been hounded by “experts” who provide lots of  advice about how to write perfect blogs that […]

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3 Simple Story Formulas that Drive Social Media Interest

The essence of being human. For over 27,000 years, since the first cave paintings were discovered, stories have been the most fundamental communication method. A story in its simplest form is a connection of cause and effect. And that is exactly how we think. We think in narratives all day long, whether it’s about our work, […]

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4 Easy Steps to DECREASE Innovation at Your Company

The term “innovation” is used a lot in business, taking on buzzword status. I’ve heard corporate leaders talk about their company’s “culture of innovation” more times than I can count. But what does it mean specifically? Is it fresh thinking that creates value? Is it new products and business processes that create wealth? Is it […]

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What if Lincoln had been illiterate?

Being able to read has always been a skill that transforms lives, communities and the world. Abraham Lincoln didn’t have more than a year’s worth of formal education, but it was enough to set him on the path to literacy, the first step in his miraculous journey. His father almost certainly couldn’t read, so imagine […]

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Learning How Little We Know

Every Tuesday I look forward to the New York Times’s weekly section on science. But a recent edition stopped me cold, because it pointed to some serious communication challenges about our understanding of health and disease.

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Prisoners of the Metaphor

Metaphors matter. In a study of women who were about to give birth, the mothers-to-be were told to expect a local anesthesia before receiving an epidural. Nurses told one group they were going to get “a local anesthetic that will numb the area so you will be comfortable during the procedure.” Another group was told, […]

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Word Inflation:
 Amazing, epic, disruptive innovation

If every product change or new idea is amazing, epic, and disruptive, what happens when something really significant takes place? Yes, iTunes truly disrupted the music business… but how often do these kinds of revolutions really come along?

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Verbal Hide & Seek: Come Out, Come Out, Whoever You Are!

I feel the same way about the F words “facilitate” and “foster.” Could there be any two words that are more convoluted and vague? Why are these words so commonly used today when just 10 years ago, they were hardly used at all?

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