• Jul 12
    2017
    Does this sound familiar? You send an employee for training to learn a new skill. The training goes very well, and the employee returns to the job — and never applies the new skill. When a training program fails, it’s often not a failure of the training but a failure of training transfer. New skills can be fragile, and there are many ways organizational life can sabotage the transfer of ...
  • Jul 05
    2017
    Most of us divide our work time between concentrative work, which lends itself well to a home office setting, and collaborative work, which lends itself well to a workplace setting. Employers are increasingly taking advantage of this and other benefits of remote work, so off-site workers are appearing in almost all fields and specialties, even sales. Remote sales teams are taking their place in the national workflow, and this is ...
  • 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 ...