All in Communications

Lost In Translation

The movie, Lost In Translation, is a cinematic masterpiece. Perfectly paced, thoughtfully crafted and backed by the perfect soundtrack, it explores the idea of human connection, isolation and meaning in a way that is real and emotive without being cliched or preachy.

So much of how we experience in the movie - specifically how we interpret those scenes - is up to us. The karaoke scene with Bob (Bill Murray) singing More Than This.

The Idealism Of Youth...

…Is not a phrase I’m entirely comfortable with.

Sure, there’s a maturity that comes with age - what we can refer to as wisdom. This experience also has a way of tempering our roughest, ‘least-rounded’ impulses which. in so many ways, is not at all a bad thing.

But the idealism of youth brings with it a daring, an audacity that has (more often than not) broadened our way of thinking, pushing our boundaries and forcing us to confront those things that hold us back yet we’ve taken for granted.

“The Bit I Didn't Want To Show...Was The Bit That Mattered"

“How people may emotionally connect with music I’ve been involved in is something that part of me is completely mystified by...Human beings are really different, so why would it be that what I do connects in that way? I discovered maybe around (Radiohead’s album) The Bends that the bit I didn’t want to show, the vulnerable bit...that bit was the bit that mattered.” Thom Yorke

The 1,000 true fans of what you do, the ones who will follow you through hell and high water, aren’t there because they expect you to sell them something. They aren’t interested in you because you’re thoroughly researched, or because you’re crafted to the nth degree.

Fighting False Precision (or A.I. Isn't Everything)

There’s a lot of talk these days about Artificial Intelligence. Much of the buzz behind AI and many of the “digital disruptors” that leverage it (think digital twins, IoT, blockchain applications and more) is well founded. Taken together, these capabilities and technologies will change almost every facet of our lives, from how we live to what we buy to how we work.

Omerisms Turns 3

With all that’s going on, I completely forgot that, 10 days ago, this blog turned 3.

That’s a little hard for me to believe considering that for, so many years, the blog was just an idea. I felt I should write a blog, that I wanted to write one, that I really needed to start one. But as so often happens, I kept putting it in a bin called “later”. 

But during the summer of 2016, I got to the point where “later” felt like “now or never”, and so, in August of that year, I decided to put up (instead of shut up) and launched Omerisms.

It Doesn't Matter What You Think

Perceptions are everything.

If someone believes something to be true, it almost doesn’t matter what the data says. The most reasoned arguments and the most robust set of facts will pale in comparison to their beliefs, values and worldview. 

And as a marketer or salesperson reaching out to current and potential customers, it certainly doesn’t matter what you think. It only matters what they think, how they perceive the facts.

Unplug Yourself

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” — Anne Lamott

It’s almost always a bad idea to try and make difficult decisions in the fog of war, unless we absolutely have to. 

In the midst of the battle, we’re faced with a host of messages and signals coming at us, non-stop, seemingly at random. Sometimes, our senses are heightened and we’re fully attuned to our circumstances, allowing us to make sharp, intuitive decisions. But more often than not, we’re not. Or we aren’t for any extended period of time.

When Our Best And Brightest Stop Speaking Up...

Every organization has that person. The one who raises issues, flags problems, talks about solutions and fixes to move the ball forward.

I’m not talking about the complainers - folks who have nothing better to do, and don’t have any real intent to solve the problem. I’m talking about those who want to get things done and are vocal about it. Very vocal, in fact. Sometimes, they’re in your face. Many times, they’re irritating. Many times, it feels like they’re too much.

"This Will Only Take A Minute..."

Expectations management is everything in business.

If you’re going to do something, do it. If you have no intention of doing it, don’t say you will. That’s pretty clear cut and I think we’ll all agree with that.

The problem arises when we get comfortable in the grey areas, at the edges of “well, this isn’t really a big deal”. We brush off - consciously or otherwise - these little things.

Sometimes The Problem With Our Message Is Us

In my last post, I talked about the importance of simplicity and authenticity in our messaging. Complex, obtuse and, worse, overly clever messaging does a disservice to the point we’re trying to make. And most of the time, it detracts from getting that point across.

Sometimes, though, this just seems impossible. We struggle with distilling the key takeaways or the so-whats. What keeps emerging is far longer and more involved than what feels right.

Regrets, I've Had A Few...

Very early on in my career, I went to meet a senior executive at one of the fastest growing entertainment companies in Asia.

At the time, I was a Marketing Executive in the Consumer Goods space and, while the work was interesting, I wanted to explore what else was out there, especially in this exciting new area that was taking Asia (I lived in Hong Kong at the time) by storm.

The Importance of Valorization

One of the things that I love about the Montessori education system is its focus on developing independence and confidence and instilling self-esteem in children.

In fact, one of the central tenets of that system is Valorization. I was reminded of this in a recent video from the RPMS school (which is where my kids went). Valorization is about:

If You Do Know, Then Say So

I’ve talked about situations where leaders and managers struggle to say “I don’t know” because of their fear of seeming incompetent or not being “in the know”. It’s an approach that rarely works and, more often than not, breeds frustration and angst, because it goes against the reality that real leaders are human, open and willing to be vulnerable.

On the flip side, we also see situations where perfectly competent individuals - individuals who know their stuff and know the situation at hand - are unwilling to say what they think. They remain quiet even when they know better, even when their expertise, experience and gut are telling them otherwise.

Why does this happen?

Get Used To Criticism

If you’re going to do anything different, you’re going to get criticized.

There’s no shortage of folks willing to offer you advice if you’re thinking about a new venture, a new project or a new position. They’ll range from friends, family as well as business colleagues - well intentioned or otherwise. Some of it you might actively ask for, but a lot of it will be offered to you, at no extra cost.

Be The Guide - Not The Victim

Donald Miller is an author and businessman who helps organizations tell better stories. His message is that, in a business world that’s full of noise and clutter, the only way to cut through is to tell stories and engage your audience - in any type of setting.

One of his key themes is that there are really 4 key roles you can play in any story - hero, villain, guide or victim.

Take Your Power Back

We all like the idea of getting along.

In business relationships specifically, harmony is an essential ingredient in successful, long term relationships. If we have harmony, we have alignment, we have consensus (at least in terms of direction), we have the grounds for collective momentum.

The trick is in making sure that the basis for that harmony is real. Harmony isn’t about happiness, hugs and kisses. It’s often hard to get to, many times requiring debate, disagreement and (periodic) discontent. Achieving real harmony is almost always hard work.

Don't Send Me An Email (Sort Of)

I’m old enough to remember a time when we didn’t have email at work.

If I wanted to communicate something, I’d pick up the phone and call that person, or I’d write them a letter, or I’d set up a meeting (by phone) and head over to their office to chat.

Since then, the advent of email has led to more streamlined and more versatile communications. You can not only share a thought or an idea, but you can have entire streams of back and forth, all fully documented for future reference. For example…

Learn The Script - Then Forget It

In any pitch - whether it’s to make a sale, get a job, get a promotion, or fund an initiative - the story you tell is all-important. It has to inform, educate and (many times) entertain and inspire the audience, so that they ultimately say yes, and agree to whatever your “ask” is.

So how you craft that story is absolutely critical. From the key themes, to the overall flow/structure, to the specific messages/story points, to the facts and anecdotes that illustrate those messages, it’s essential to flesh out all of those elements.