Thursday, May 21, 2009

Desktop Background Set - Image 01

I am going to periodically create these computer desktop backgrounds with inspiring images and tips. The current plan is to create a set of 10 over the next few weeks. Keep checking in for more and I hope you enjoy, download and desktop them...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Simple Messages Drive Complex Behavior

People confirm and reinforce their behavior using simple messages. Reasons:

On the message side:
1. Easy to remember
2. Easy to understand

On the behavior side:
1. Simple to explain to our friends, our co-workers, our family and the mirror.
2. Our brains are wired to work like running water - seeking out the path of least resistance. Thus, it naturally goes for the easiest message to remember and understand.

A few examples (with explanations - although they aren't needed):

  • TGIF (Thank God It's Friday) - We use this to define our urgency to escape the drudgery of work and get to the "good life" of the weekend. This is an example of how a simple phrase can reinforce a negative behavior.
  • Fake it 'til you make it - This is used to remind people that sometimes you have to just start something (like smiling) and then you will feel like doing it. This is a positive behavior example.
  • I love you - When sourced from the genuine feeling, this phrase is an extension of one of the most powerful forces in human emotions. Again, based on the context, this is the most positive behavior example.

You can leverage this powerful tool to help put a long tail on your content. Here's the strategy: find the simplicity in the complexity of your message, develop a unique phrase or word that embodies the core meaning of this simplicity and then repeat that phrase/word throughout your presentation, in your handouts, on your visuals and during the before and after connection points with your audience.

(Hit tip -

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Being Prepared to be Original


I have finally started reading The Element by Sir Ken Robinson (of TED fame). It is a book about how to find that magical place where the things you love to do come together with the things you are good at.

It is also largely about how to find and develop our creative muscles. It is a must read for anyone in education or a creative occupation (like speaking).

My favorite line so far is in the section where he is talking about why young people are better equipped to be creative.

"If they aren’t sure what to do in a particular situation, they’ll just have a go at it and see how things turn out. This is not to suggest that being wrong is the same as being creative. Sometimes being wrong is just being wrong. What is true is that if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original."

As a communicator and someone who thinks Authenticity Rules, being original is at oxygen-level importance. However, it is difficult, challenging, frustrating and time-consuming. And it takes the capacity to be wrong 254 times until you finally realize that you were actually spot-on the 158th time (i.e. – your best idea is not always going to be your final one.)

Getting paid to be creative is one of my favorite parts of being a full-time speaker/author/blogger/business owner. Here are a few of my creative outputs from the past few days: