Be Here Now: A Lesson from Clark Griswold

It’s hard to visit the Grand Canyon without thinking of that scene from Vacation where Chevy Chase runs over to the rim, gives the canyon a quick once-over and dashes back to the car. (The only link I could find is dubbed in Spanish, but fortunately the language of comedy is universal.) Of course, he’s in […]

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Our sincere apologies

The Art of the Bad Apology (And a Lesson from Bill Clinton)

There’s nothing worse than a bad apology. Like the non-apology apology (“I’m sorry if you were offended”), which skirts responsibility and essentially blames the victim for being too sensitive. Or the increasingly popular “I didn’t know I was being recorded” apology, which is another way of saying, “I was just saying what I was thinking […]

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Blah Blah Blah — Less Blabbing, More Thinking

Wherever you go, you can hear them. Their voices blare over the background hum at coffees shops, in airports, on the bus. They sure talk like they have an answer for everything, but when you listen (which is all-too-hard not to do), they don’t seem to be saying much of anything. Now if I were […]

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Connect with Your Audience — the Dustin Hoffman Way

When I tell business people they need to bring out their inner actor in order to connect with customers and employees, someone (usually a lawyer) will inevitably ask, “What do you mean you want us to act? You want us to fake it? To pretend?” Absolutely not. That is not what acting is about. Not modern […]

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Forget the Facts; Win Their Hearts

It’s been said that people buy on emotion and justify with logic. I don’t have any facts to back up that assertion, but I believe it in my heart. Actually there’s been study after study showing how emotion often trumps reason when it comes to decision-making. So tapping into emotion is an important way to connect with audiences […]

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A Lesson From the Book of Mormon About Turning the Other Cheek

I went to see the Book of Mormon on Sunday and it was as hilarious as everyone has said. But I was just as struck by something I saw in the program. It’s no secret that the church takes a lot of heat in this show. And this was their response: a series of full-page […]

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Fewer Inspirational Quotes, More Original Thinking, Please

The Internet has ruined quotations for me. I love inspirational quotes as much as the next guy. I even collected a bunch of them on the subject of communications and put them in a video. But enough is enough. Some people’s Twitter and Facebook feeds consist of nothing but famous quotations, often pasted over stirring […]

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For Lawyers, Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

Such sad news this weekend. Josh Brent, a Dallas Cowboys football player, got into an accident that killed his best friend. On one hand, it’s another all-too-ordinary story of a drunk driving fatality. But something extraordinary happened. Something you hardly ever see when an individual or a company is accused of a crime. Brent immediately […]

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Tweeting in a Time of Frenzy

I honestly don’t know how some social media “stars” keep up with it — tweeting, blogging, Facebooking constantly throughout the day. I’m fortunate to work for myself, and on days when I’m not in meetings or on a hot deadline, I can keep up okay. But in the past couple of months I’ve been traveling […]

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When You’ve Got Nothing to Say, It’s Best to Say Nothing

SNL producer Lorne Michaels once famously said, “We don’t go on [the air] because we’re ready, we go on because it’s 11:30.” I cited that in my book as a lesson for business: big public events drive accountability. Too often it’s easy to let deadlines slide, but when you’re standing up in front of shareholders […]

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