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Category: Language

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“Thought Leadership” vs “Thought Followship”

Commenting on an industry issue by itself does not constitute thought leadership. It’s simply a comment on an industry issue. Before going further, I should acknowledge that this remark still has value. If the executive’s comment gains traction in social channels or appears in a publication, that helps to raise the visibility of the company, …more

Words as an Action Film: Ira Glass on Creativity

Who doesn’t like Ira Glass? The man single-handedly popularized the podcast when his NPR show “This American Life” proved that with the right stories, the medium could reach millions. The original premise for “This American Life” was to take an individual who isn’t famous or in the news and build a narrative that captivates listeners. …more

Go-to Songs for Those Who Toil in PR

A few years ago PR Moment asked me to pontificate on a playlist of songs that put a bounce in my step and might — emphasize on the “might” — do the same for others. I decided to play these songs over the weekend during a catchup on loose ends. It turns out that they …more

Living with Language (and Obscure Words)

One’s use of language can change EVERYTHING. Words matter. Which means your choice of words matters. As Exhibit A, consider the seemingly innocuous email wherein the recipient misinterprets guidance as criticism. Capitalizing on the radio voice of Matt Burrows, a member of our Silicon Valley team, we put together an animated video designed to amuse …more

This Is How Many Executives View Anecdotes

Particularly in Silicon Valley where most executives started their careers on the engineering side. Coming from a technical orientation, they tend to think of anecdotes as inconsequential and yes, a bit fluffy. Yet, the science suggests that PR should be sourcing anecdotal content as part of media outreach. We leaned on a couple interns to …more

Storytelling Wisdom from Bestselling Author

I interviewed author Ella Frances Sanders in 2015 after her book “Lost in Translation” had caused quite a sensation and landed on the NY Times bestselling list for four months. I remember thinking how improbable that a single blog post, “11 Untranslatable Words from Other Cultures” could morph into a bestseller. Thanks to over 2 …more

Game of Thrones Depicts the Best of Persuasive Language

I’m not talking about our friend Lord Baelish who discovered that chaos wasn’t exactly a ladder. I simply like the line. With the last season of “Game of Thrones” soon to kick off, it’s a good time to dust off a lesson in persuasive language from the show. Let’s turn our attention to Tyrion’s plea …more

300,000 Books, Let Me In and Pogonophilia

The grab-bag post returns for the first time in 2019. As a refresher, I invented the grab bag as a forum to share three shards on business communications that otherwise couldn’t stand on their own. Here goes.   Who Will Get the Books? Fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld died last month. According to Le Figaro, the …more

The Plight of Auto-generated Emails and How Language Can Make a Difference

Nothing impacts the success of a company more than its ability to recruit talent. Massive investments are earmarked for the cause ranging from websites to research to recruiters to salted caramel macarons for the requisite on-site sugar high.     Yet, the auto-generated email that lands in the candidate’s inbox after submitting a resume is …more