The Power Of The Extreme Example

One of the entrepreneurs I’ve advised called me Yoda, because he said I was always using Jedi mind tricks to persuade him. He must not have minded, since he presented me with a Yoda bobblehead, which I keep on my mantel. One of my favorite tricks is to combine the power of the extreme example … Continue reading The Power Of The Extreme Example

How To Use Humor To Enlighten

As always when I’m at the Enterprise 2.0 conference, I find myself hanging around with the delightful Marcia Connor of the Altimeter Group. In between gossiping about industry scandals and debating the best color for Eileen Fisher slacks, Marcia shared a powerful insight. It’s no secret that I enjoy making people laugh, especially when I … Continue reading How To Use Humor To Enlighten

Education Reform At Last?

“An Inconvenient Truth” represented a major shift in this country’s thinking about global warming. That documentary took climate change from a niche concern to one of the pillars of the green movement (which, incidentally, has subsumed the environmentalist movement–when’s the last time you heard anyone talk about environmentalism?–yet another example of the power of re-branding). … Continue reading Education Reform At Last?

The One Secret To Resolve Argument and Conflict

Professor Todd Kashdan of George Mason offers this wonderful tip on his Psychology Today blog:Researchers at Stanford University tested a simple idea for how to create successful outcomes during tense negotiations or conflicts. The reason that arguments can quickly turn ugly is that people don’t feel as if they’re being understood. Thus, make sure that … Continue reading The One Secret To Resolve Argument and Conflict

Fighting a Rumor? Steal Its Thunder!

We’ve all heard the advice, “Don’t dignify a rumor with a response.” It turns out that this advice is dead wrong. The Boston Globe has a great piece on the science behind rumors. Rumors, it seems, serve an important purpose in human society. The key points: Rumors have always been around, and have always been … Continue reading Fighting a Rumor? Steal Its Thunder!

The Secret Behind Obama’s Speech, and What McCain Must Do In Response

It was Hannibal’s favorite tactic. Alexander the Great loved to employ it. So did Napoleon. And tonight, Barack Obama used it put John McCain back on his heels. The secret? The counterattack. Used properly, the counterattack combines the strength of defensive positioning with the aggressiveness of an offensive attack and the added bonus of surprise. … Continue reading The Secret Behind Obama’s Speech, and What McCain Must Do In Response

Tip of the Day: To Persuade, Focus on Deviations from the Norm

If you want to change someone’s behavior, should you emphasize that the desired behavior conforms to a societal norm, or that their current (undesirable) behavior deviates from a societal norm? Fortunately, this isn’t idle speculation…scientists have already uncovered the answer. Because people often seek to define themselves based on what makes them unique, they are … Continue reading Tip of the Day: To Persuade, Focus on Deviations from the Norm

Is the Blogosphere Changing the Way We Debate? (The Obama-ization of Discourse)

Thesis:The blogosphere is fundamentally changing the nature of public debate. In this new regime, the way to successfully shape the debate is with supported facts, rather than striking claims. Argument:In an interactive and Google-ized world, the old propagandist’s strategy of anchoring the debate with extreme claims and ad hominem attacks is more likely to rebound … Continue reading Is the Blogosphere Changing the Way We Debate? (The Obama-ization of Discourse)

The Foolproof 5-Step Way To Answer Tough Questions

I was having lunch yesterday with some friends, when the subject turned to questions and answers. My friend had attended a conference panel, and complained that the panelists all failed to adequately answer her question. (In defense of those panelists, the question was a difficult one without a clear right answer.) I proceeded to answer … Continue reading The Foolproof 5-Step Way To Answer Tough Questions

How To Persuade Americans, Germans, Spaniards, and Chinese

Fascinating article on how different cultures respond to different forms of persuasion. The bottom line? When asked to do something, Americans ask what’s in it for them. Germans ask if the request complies with rules and regulations. Spaniards consider whether or not the person asking the favor is a friend. And Chinese consider the status … Continue reading How To Persuade Americans, Germans, Spaniards, and Chinese