• 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 ...
  • Apr 19
    2017
    You are an internet user, so I am quite certain you have seen the video of a passenger being dragged off a United Airlines flight in Chicago last week. It captured the public imagination, not just because the passenger screamed so plaintively, but because most people never realized that buying an airplane ticket is reversible in that way. Who knew that an airline doesn’t have to honor its commitment to ...
  • Apr 18
    2017
    If you woke up in a good mood today, your performance on the job is likely to be better than it would have been if you hadn’t. You probably already knew that, but recent research shows that a good mood broadens the focus of your attention and increases your creativity. A good mood makes you a more imaginative problem solver. It probably also makes you more compassionate, which makes you ...
  • Apr 06
    2017
    Did you know your Socratic Selling Skills can help manage office conflict, too? When you find yourself in a conflict with someone at the office, talk with that person about it. Use your active listening skills to: echo reflect feeling summarize take notes This strategy has at least two salutary effects. It puts the other person at ease with you since you are listening sympathetically, and it uncovers hidden aspects ...
  • Apr 04
    2017
    As you can imagine, in nearly 50 years, Communispond has seen a lot of changes in the technology of the way people communicate. For the most part, the changes have simply been in media or in the speed of communication. The basic techniques of good communication — thoughtfulness, clarity of expression, good listening — have remained the same. But over the past ten years or so, technology has begun to ...