October 31, 2009
October 30, 2009
October 29, 2009
October 28, 2009
October 27, 2009
- If you buy the stock, and it goes up, you shoulda bought more.
- If you buy the stock, and it goes down, you shouldn't have bought it.
- If you don't buy the stock, and it goes up, you shoulda bought some.
- If you don't buy the stock, and it goes down, see, you were smart.
October 26, 2009
October 25, 2009
October 24, 2009
October 23, 2009
October 22, 2009
October 21, 2009
This is akin to the old adage, Stick to Your Guns. In communication, this means acutely understanding and being able to articulate your motivation. No throwing everything up against the wall to see what sticks, to court favor with your listener. If you are persuading your listener to take action, you must believe wholly and passionately in the action for which you are advocating. Anything less telegraphs ambivalence. And ambivalence, on your part, results in your listener distrusting you.
To be an effective, persuasive communicator, follow this additional advice from my Improv Instructor, Pat Shay:
"What sings to you? Heighten it a little bit."
Think about what the action for which you are advocating means to you. How does it make you feel? Now, imagine that emotion saturating your body, "like water moving through a sponge."
"Draw your listeners in and make them care."
"We lay down a mat of context and weave our emotions through it. ...Scene work is the needlepoint and our emotions are the thread."
Facts and data do not cement our argument in our listener's mind; emotion - mindfulness combined with meaning - is the glue that holds together context, data, and calls to action.
October 20, 2009
What was it about this story that made you repeat it? I imagine there are several important attributes:
- The story you repeated is fairly short, probably taking no more than 3 minutes to tell, and most likely taking no more than 90 seconds.
- There is a clear beginning, middle, and end, which assist you in remembering and retelling the story.
- It offers some surprise: an unexpected statement or outcome, perhaps, or an unlikely hero.
- It was personally relevant to you and there’s a reason why the person with whom you shared it would find it interesting.
I know you want to get better at sharing stories. Start by paying attention to the attributes of the stories you choose to retell.
I find this to be a more helpful and purposeful piece of advice than to simply think of the stories you have heard or read and liked. By focusing instead on the stories that you hear or read and then remember and share, you hone in on a crucial element of effective communication: your efforts to connect with your listener.
October 19, 2009
October 18, 2009
However great the initial expense, it would only be a fraction of that required for the world networks replaced, and the running costs would be incomparably less.
October 17, 2009
Communications is changing in that "group action just got easier. ...Media is shifting from being just the site of information, to also being the site of coordination, of action."
Clay talked about wikis as great examples of group action and the presentation and protection of information. "Wikipedia is a process, not a product." I love Clay's description of the m.o. of wiki page editors: "they form a defensive cordon around the value of the information." And he asked us to "imagine a world in which it is easier to take the spray paint off a wall than to put the spray paint on." In essence, "Wikipedia works because it is easier to undo than to do damage." Of course, the number of people who want to defend the information must exceed the number who want to destroy the information.
Clay also declared that "We are living in the largest revolution of personal expression. ...When you buy a computer you get both consumption and production in the same box, now fused with public access."
He summed up his observation that "the Internet is the first medium that is good at 2-way group support", by this pithy statement: "Every URL is a latent community. ...This is a revolution; it can not be contained by the institutions. ...People can now talk directly to each other without asking for permission. ...We now have a medium in which we can have tiny global movements." Prior to the connectivity of the Internet, "we were used to 'global' being the last step after 'really big'."
More pithiness: "Behavior is motivation filtered through opportunity."
He talked about bloggers, when reporting breaking local news, "committing an act of journalism." And he defended professional journalists by reminding us that "amateurs are not little professionals."
The Communications Network is a group of philanthropic professionals focused on communications. Hoping to overcome the fear of change and loss of control that too frequently delay philanthropic organizations from embracing social media, Clay urged those present to "start small and only talk to people who care. ...The whole idea of filter before publish is gone. ...Figure out where the people you want to talk to are, and give them the tools to help spread your message. ...View the Communications Department as not just a mouthpiece, but also a microphone. It's now about 2-way conversation. ...The feedback loop makes the organization smarter!"
He also pointed out that "The loss of control you fear has already happened."
Clay suggested that organizations ready to engage in social media "Find the person with the vision and lock them out of the building! Don't let them back in until they come back with 10 medium ideas or 100 small ideas. ...You can't stomach failure if you are only working on one thing."
To those in the audience who suggested postponing engagement until the value could be clearly measured, Clay replied, "It is an experimental time. The metrics will come. Waiting for the metrics is a lost opportunity, shaping your early death."
This past March, Clay wrote a provocative essay on the future of print journalism, Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable. Representatives from several foundations that fund journalism were present, and questioned Clay about the future of print journalism. His response was especially poignant to me, living in a city where my last elected mayor in under indictment for corruption: "Every city of less than 500,000 in this nation is at risk of rising, endemic corruption because the old watchdogs will disappear before the new ones arrive."
He then stated that "85% of accountability journalism is produced by newspapers." Change, however, will have benefits, since "we never want any one thing to have that much importance! We'd rather have an ecosystem of news sources where the loss of any one thing will not be catastrophic."
[For those of you who may share my intellectual crush, or just want to read more from Clay, I highly recommend his essay, Gin, Television, and Social Surplus.]
"1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
- Sri Lankabhimanya Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, C.B.E., F.R.A.S. (1917 - 2008)
October 16, 2009
In Tokyo in the summer of 1982, I earned some pocket money by editing translators' drafts of an English version of a Japanese encyclopedia. I got paid in envelopes of cash.
The articles were on the flora and fauna of Japan. They had been written in Japanese by Japanese experts on the natural sciences of Japan, then translated into English by Japanese technical translators; my role as a college-educated but non-expert-in-the-field native English speaker, was to make the language less weird. To turn Japlish into English, you might say.
Now, I had drunk deeply of Strunk & White, including "Omit needless words!", a few years before that, and so I eagerly took up my editor's shears to cut cut cut. It is not clear however that my doing so was to the pleasure or perceived short-term benefit of my employer, who was after all trying to fill up an encyclopedia. Cutting things down didn't make the books (there were several volumes) any plumper or more appealing on the shelf. I think, though, that good editing made them better.
My triumph happened when I was reading an article on a mountain goat (perhaps a Japanese relative of the Ja'al or Ibex). I read:
"Very few individuals survive today."
And with a few strokes, I had left only:
Thereby eliminating a majority of the words in the sentence. I took this feat, then, as a great personal triumph.
October 15, 2009
October 14, 2009
Just one sentence from Karl Friston's "primer" entitled "Causal Modelling and Brain Connectivity in Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging" in PLoS Biology:
"Data cannot cause data; data are caused by underlying brain states."
October 13, 2009
October 12, 2009
October 11, 2009
October 9, 2009
October 8, 2009
October 7, 2009
We talked about our mutual desire to expand applied narrative work within the nonprofit sector, to help nonprofits in finding and utilizing stories to help not just in communications, but also in program evaluation, organizational learning and knowledge sharing, and capacity building. We talked about the Army and their use of After Action Reviews, and how this type of immediate, constructive, and democratic analysis of programmatic action contributes to rapid organizational learning and advancement. And we talked about the dire need to expand this low-cost, high-benefit approach to capacity building within the sector, despite fears of fall out from a recessionary economy.
Without training, Bob said, nonprofits are limited in their constructive use of the stories and anecdotes surrounding them. He also talked about the need for organizations to fully vet the stories they are using for marketing and fundraising, to assure that the successful outcomes are also sustainable outcomes.
There's another reason to fully vet the stories and anecdotes that are gathered: so much is learned in the retelling! As you speak with the real-life characters, you not only corroborate the facts of the story, you also learn details that can help make the story more dynamic for future listeners. Small, sensory details help listeners to imagine and emotionally connect with the story. And, with each retelling, more meaning is uncovered, and more understanding is fostered.
x-posted to Advancing the Non Profit Sector
October 5, 2009
October 2, 2009
When I heard that the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine had announced a Reconstruction Contest, with winners to be announced at the society’s 2010 Annual Meeting in Stockholm, my first thought was that it pertained to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a.k.a. “the stimulus bill.” But no, “reconstruction” in this case refers not the economy, but rather to creating images from incomplete data…
[title refers to this]
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- live from Halloween
- Live on Halloween!
- Halloween live!
- live-blogging Halloween!
- this just in...
- Live-blogging Halloween from NeuroCooking's Mid-At...
- "Chance favors the prepared mind."
- offering money is not recommended
- one thing you can say about a difficult subject
- It works fine, but there's a Nobel Prize, for sure...
- Shoulda bought more!
- equality & assignment
- it's okay to make the slit Gaussian
- local time is what matters
- The Benefits and Limits of Storybanking
- just one!
- what is asked for is not always what is wanted (19...
- roads not taken
- What sings to you?
- Lessons from the Retelling of Stories
- Maxwell (1831-1879) & Einstein (1879-1955)
- algebra is easier
- "This is a revolution; it can not be contained by ...
- Clarke's Laws.
- a personal triumph (1982)
- common sense & happiness
- Sounds like a fun guy!
- yes, but in the case of magnetoencephalography, do...
- "data cannot..."
- tom (not Tom)
- the important word here is "absolute"
- part of my job description
- failure is not publishable, so the scientific lite...
- as a courtesy to our readers (& the FTC)
- "...something really remarkable happens..."
- once is never enough (but thrice is a good start)
- Show both!
- That should take a day. So, it'll take two weeks.
- ten plus-or-minus two is completely different from...
- How long did I train for this?
- benefits of story vetting
- the difference between an argument and a fight
- "It's [not] the economy, stupid."
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