• 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...