Strategy. Innovation. Brand.


How much can you say in a 30 minute presentation? How much should you say? What should you say? In what order? The issues that surround content include quantity, quality, and structure. The posts in this category explore these issues.

Will the Internet Cause Dementia?

Liberals go here. Conservatives go there.

Liberals go here. Conservatives go there.

When I walk the dog in my neighborhood, I meet a lot of people. They don’t all look like me but — according to Bill Bishop in The Big Sort — they probably think like me. Bishop argues that we’ve sorted ourselves out less along ethnic lines and more along religious, political, and philosophical lines. We tend to live with and talk to people who agree with us. Bishop argues that’s bad for our country. It tends to exacerbate our differences. We think everybody thinks like us because we only speak to people who think like us. Anybody who doesn’t think like us must be a small group of weirdos who can safely be ignored.

Sorting ourselves out may also be bad for us as individuals. According to recent research, one of the best ways to keep the brain stimulated — and to avoid dementia — is to read or listen to contrary points of view. If we only listen to sources we agree with, we’re simply reinforcing existing pathways in the brain, not creating new ones. What does that have to do with the Internet?  The Internet makes it much easier to find and consume only sources that we agree with. In the old days, we would read the family newspaper and be exposed to multiple points of view on the editorial page. With the Internet, it’s much easier to isolate ourselves in an echo chamber.

So, will the Internet cause dementia? It may already have. Watch the video.

Creativity & Questions

Do you want to be more creative?  It’s often a question of asking the right question. Pursuing a different line of questioning can change your frame of reference and lead to surprising results.  Use your listening skills to hear the questions that others are asking. If everybody else is asking “what”, then maybe you should ask “when”.  It can lead you to a radical new invention — like the air bag.  Learn more in this week’s video.

25 Words or Less – The Consistency Principle

Consumer products companies used to run contests asking people to write down — in 25 words or less — why they liked a particular product.  People who submitted the most creative entries could win huge prizes, like a house or a car.  Contestants focused on the limit of 25 words — how to say something important in a very few words. (Succinct written communication — good practice for Twitter).

But what was really going on?  The sponsoring company was getting thousands of people to write down something positive about the product.  And once you write something down, you’re likely to behave consistently with what you’ve written.  In other words, the sponsoring company induced thousands of people to convince themselves that they like the product.  It’s almost like an auto-hypnotic suggestion.  It’s called the consistency principle and you can learn more about it in today’s video.

Three tips to improve your writing

People don’t have time to read, yet we produce more written content than ever before. What you write competes with what millions of other people write.  To stand out, you need to write clearly, succinctly and in a very active style.  Just watch this video and you’ll learn three writing tips to make your written communication more persuasive — and more competitive.

Keep it moving

What can we learn from James Bond movies? The Bond movies have plenty of visual entertainment — lots of things to catch your eye and keep your attention. Yet they also move very fast. In Quantum of Solace, the camera moved or the scene changed every 1.7 seconds on average. The lesson? Movement holds your attention. Now compare that to, say, 20 slides that you might use in an hour-long business presentation. That’s an average of three minutes each. Compared to what we’re used to in modern media, that’s slug speed. So, better to use more slides with less information per slide. Every time you click to a new slide, your audience’s attention returns. Better to click more frequently — especially in webinars where there’s nothing else to look at.  Learn more in the video.

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