• Jun 23
    2017
    At Communispond, we’re in the business of helping people and organizations achieve effective communication. And we continually encounter the realization that effective communication is about more than clarity and speaking well. It is also about conveying messages that are useful and that are acted on. What is the most common type of managerial communication in a collaborative organization? I think it’s advice. As a manager, your primary activity is giving ...
  • Jun 12
    2017
    Bear with me while I present to you an argument for improving the living conditions of women in 19th century Paris. I promise it’s relevant to our ongoing discussion of business communication. In 19th century Paris, 52% of women lived in tenement housing in the center of the city, 20% lived in the households where they worked as servants, 25% lived with family or friends, and 3% lived on the ...
  • Jun 05
    2017
    In March, I wrote a blog post on how to give a presentation to a small group. A small group presentation is far less formal and far more conversational than a large-group presentation. The advice I offered in that post was on how to interact with the audience: how to make eye contact, how to listen more than you speak, how to use your body language. What are the other ...
  • Jun 01
    2017
    Traditional education came of age during industrialization, which is why you and I most likely spent our childhoods in classrooms devoted to regimentation and efficiency and governed by the clock. Schools were run like factories, and we were unfinished parts to be fitted out with knowledge and skills that were installed by the teacher. Any behavior besides listening, watching, note taking, and responding when called on was regarded as an ...
  • May 17
    2017
    One of my favorite stories from the annals of computing comes from the mid-1960s. Joseph Weizenbaum of MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory created a program designed to hold conversations. He named it ELIZA, after Eliza Doolittle, a lower-class character in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion who was taught to speak English like a member of the upper classes. The user would converse with ELIZA by typing on a keyboard and reading responses ...
  • May 09
    2017
    Does this sound familiar? You’re a technical type or maybe a financial wizard, and you’re giving a presentation at a meeting where you are the Smartest Person in the Room. You have complete command of your subject, and you explain it in considerable detail. Everybody seems to accept your ideas, but as the discussion goes on, you realize they don’t understand much of anything you have said. You command their ...
  • May 03
    2017
    My pet theory is that public speaking is an athletic performance. It relies on skills that are just as physical as those used in sports. Posture. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and distribute your weight equally between them. Don’t pace. Don’t shift your weight from foot to foot. Most people find it difficult to avoid shifting around or making little nervous gestures. But any extraneous movement will distract the ...
  • Apr 28
    2017
    Mortimer J. Adler, who later co-founded the Great Books course that profoundly influenced liberal education in the 1950s, completed Columbia University’s four-year baccalaureate program in three years. But the University did not let him graduate because he didn’t take the required swimming test. We generally assume that educational requirements should match workplace needs. That doesn’t seem be the case for all colleges and universities. Nobody but a lifeguard needs swimming ...