Tag Archives: communication

Content Is Core

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Life’s gotten really busy lately (in a good way) and it doesn’t leave a lot of time or mental energy for writing non-work stuff. Tomorrow I’ll be presenting at UXPA Boston on how to bring behavioral economics into health interventions, so if you’re there come say hello. If you’re not there and you’re interested in the topic, we’ll be reprising a version of the talk the following week as a free Mad*Pow webinar. Continue reading Content Is Core

Empathy: The Wrong Tool?

empathyEmpathy. Understanding. Bridging the gap. A lot of progressive conversation following the election has been around these topics, and how to have productive conversations with people who at best, determined that a candidate’s racism, sexism, and xenophobia were not sufficient grounds to vote otherwise (and at worst, co-signed them). I’ve made some overtures toward that goal myself, and have been following the dialogue around how and whether to do that. One way in which my opinion has clarified in the last few weeks:I don’t think winning hearts and minds is the only goal, and it shouldn’t necessarily be prioritized.

Continue reading Empathy: The Wrong Tool?

Three Classic Social Psychology Findings That Matter Today

three-classic-social-psychology-findings-that-matter-todayWatching current events in the United States these past few weeks, I find myself thinking often of some of the most basic Social Psychology 101 lessons. Even though we’ve gotten much more sophisticated in our research, these foundational lessons describe some of the behavior among American people quite well. Understanding these dynamics, and more importantly, understanding how we can break through them, might be helpful for all of us as we try to move forward. Continue reading Three Classic Social Psychology Findings That Matter Today

“Narrate This Like This Is a Ken Burns Documentary”: 2 Dope Queens on Patient Care

Blurry view of hospital corridor.If you want to hear about some bad bedside manner, I highly recommend a recent episode (“Goo”) of the podcast Two Dope Queens, starring Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson. Williams found a lump in her breast and made an appointment to get an ultrasound to find out what it was. She talks about her experience with the ultrasound and subsequent biopsy, and highlights a couple of unfortunately all-too-common negative patient experiences along the way.  I’d chalk these experiences up to at least two dynamics: Lack of empathy, and lack of communication. Continue reading “Narrate This Like This Is a Ken Burns Documentary”: 2 Dope Queens on Patient Care

From the Archives: Competition, Collaboration, and Writing

From the ArchivesI was browsing through some of my old documents, and came across a piece I wrote in grad school about competition and collaboration in academia, and how academics practice their craft via writing. The course was on creating an academic career for yourself, in the loftiest and most philosophical of ways. The professor was someone I admired deeply; he was generous with his feedback and so smart you couldn’t help but learn from him. This particular paper caught my eye because even though I opted out of academia entirely (no fault of this course!), it presages some of the themes I still think about: Balancing individual and group success. Being authentic. Expressing yourself through writing. Continue reading From the Archives: Competition, Collaboration, and Writing

Brand Personality Done Right: Timely Humor

Brand Personality Done Right- Timely HumorGot personality? Being quirky and unique in communications can pay off big for a brand. Or, it can fall flat if it’s poorly conceived or executed (or if the recipient just doesn’t jibe with it–something Aarron Walter says in Designing for Emotion may be a sign that you’ve successfully created an emotional experience). I just got a fun example of a brand with personality in my inbox, just in advance of a long Independence Day weekend and close on the heels of Britain’s controversial vote to exit the EU: Continue reading Brand Personality Done Right: Timely Humor

How Stories Are Special: Psychological and Neurological Rationales for Stories as Data

How Stories Are SpecialStories are one of the oldest and most common ways of communicating with other people. If you look at some of the most ancient knowledge still available to modern humans, it comes in the form of stories: Myths, legends, fairy tales, and religious texts. In modern times, we see more complex forms of schooling moving toward case-based methods of learning, as in many medical schools, business schools, and law schools. Why, out of all of the tools in the human communication toolkit, do stories have such longevity and power? Continue reading How Stories Are Special: Psychological and Neurological Rationales for Stories as Data

How Social Media May Help Curb Con Artists

How Social Media May Help Curb Con ArtistsIf you live in a big city (or maybe even if you don’t), you’ve likely been targeted at least once for a well-known scam. A well-dressed person near a transit center claims to have fallen on very temporary hard times such as losing a wallet and needs cash for a train or bus ticket home. Could you possibly spare $10 or $20 to help out? They’d normally never ask, and they’ll even mail the money back if you can help them out of a tight spot. Maybe you take pity, only to see the same person telling the same story in the same train station the next week. It’s a con. Continue reading How Social Media May Help Curb Con Artists

Writing As Metamorphosis

Writing as MetamorphosisHow do ideas come into being? How are stories developed? Some people like to talk through their thoughts. Others, myself included, find their way to a conclusion through the written word. Writing, for many people, is not just laying words to paper but sifting through the story to arrive at a “true” telling of events. If the story is a personal one, then there’s also the task of arriving at a true telling of your own character. It can be a painful, difficult process, and relies quite a bit on the ability to rewrite, edit, cut, and change. Continue reading Writing As Metamorphosis

When I Don’t Know that You Don’t Know What I Know: Hidden Profiles and Expert Information

When I Don't Know that You Don't Know What I KnowI’ve been reading Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days. One of the key Monday activities is gathering information from expert stakeholders whose perspective may influence the solution. The authors suggest encouraging these experts to provide a complete overview of their take on the problem to be solved, even urging them to “remind us about” to make sure they are comfortable covering familiar ground. The process reminded me of a line of psychological research about the “hidden profile” and how it influences group decision-making. Continue reading When I Don’t Know that You Don’t Know What I Know: Hidden Profiles and Expert Information