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“Yes, And” … The Concept in Business

When actor-writer-director, Harold Ramis, died, I was reminded of a great concept that is applicable in both communications and life. Chris Jones authored a nice obituary for The Chicago Tribune in which he described Ramis as someone who lived a “yes, and” life. So what does that mean? For those who follow comedy and improvisation, you know that improvisational actors are trained to learn and execute those words. Yes, and …Read More

Why Do We Follow Certain Leaders?

What motivates people to follow a leader? We have worked with many leaders in different industries to help them define and communicate their mission, vision, values and business plans to employees. Today’s employee audiences span multiple generations, so smart social psychologists would tell us that these individuals are motivated by different things. Some are loyalists, while others seek to move around for opportunity. Some enjoy teamwork, while others prefer to …Read More

Brand Story + Matching Brand Experience = Trust

This topic is an oldie but a goodie, but is always worth repeating. What do companies need to do when something goes wrong? I’m not talking about a crisis, but rather a day-to-day error that is inevitable in any business regardless of size and scale, a simple error in customer satisfaction that leaves people feeling unsettled about the brand and business. I’m talking about a basic withdrawal from the bank …Read More

Leadership Communication During Times of Change

We were brought in to help a client with a change management project that wasn’t going as well as expected. The project involved process change and new technologies. It also changed how people did their daily jobs. It was uncomfortable for many, but the end zone was promised to deliver simplicity and time. People were stressed despite understanding that the change was necessary. Anyone who’s been through a change management …Read More

Are You Customer-Centric?

My first professional job was in Customer Relations for McDonald’s. Our department functioned primarily as a “call center,” and most of our work involved responding to letters or phone calls. It was 1991, and we couldn’t connect by social media. Customers went out of their way to reach out. In our roles, we were connected with the business, restaurants, other departments, and suppliers. We were a direct connection to customers …Read More

Using the Right Tone When Brevity is a Must

Achieving the right tone of voice can be difficult in face-to-face or written conversations. It’s even more tricky when using abbreviated forums, like Twitter or texting. How do you get your point across without being misinterpreted? How do you answer a question in brief and not seem abrupt or dismissive? When do you select another forum altogether, recognizing that a text or tweet really isn’t the place? Here are some …Read More

Spotlight on Email: Tips for Writing a Message That Cuts Through

I have received the same question from several executive clients recently … “Is email still a good way to communicate with my employees?” Valid and appropriate question given the rise of emails people are receiving and sending on a daily basis. It’s important to know how to cut through the clutter with relevant, prioritized messages. From our perspective, email is still a viable tool as long as it is used …Read More

Guide to Effective Panel Discussions

We have been asked to design, convene and execute a variety of panel discussions. Some of the most interesting were for a professional association to help its membership advance their knowledge base and understanding of topics relevant to their industry. For those we learned the power of finding panelists who could share really diverse perspectives and build on each others’ ideas with ease. More recently, we designed a panel of …Read More

Why We Love LeBron James

“My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.” James’ “uninterrupted” letter to fans through Sports Illustrated is a great study in communications and issues management. The issue remains fresh in people’s minds four years later given all the theatrics that surrounded his departure from Cleveland. Despite hard feelings on both sides, he forgives and and asks forgiveness, showing great …Read More

Good Leadership Communications – Rules of the Road

Today’s corporate leaders must be able to engage their people and have productive dialogue. This is an important skill because leaders must communicate their visions and business objectives in a way that informs and motivates action. They need their people to drive their objectives. Many bodies of research show that effective communication is critical to leadership. Yet in a recent study by Ketchum, only 29% feel leaders communicate effectively. This …Read More

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