Thursday, April 30, 2009

Steal this Article

Because I had been hearing a lot about attrition in conference attendance, I decided to write an article about how to help potential conference participants put together a business case for attending conferences and events. WOW! What a reaction! I don't think any article I've ever written has prompted so much of an immediate positive response.

I guess this article has proven to be useful to a lot of people. I'm putting the link here in the hopes that those of you who put together conferences and events will find it useful:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Visual Cartography

For almost a decade now, I have been incorporating the use of visual cartography into the meetings work that I do. Visual cartography (a term coined by David Sibbet for this context) is the use of visual images to guide or capture the content of a meeting. Here's a link to a cool animation of some the images David did for the TED conference:

This past Tuesday, a new Twend (that's a friend I made on Twitter -- sorry, but I couldn't resist) of mine named Jay Smethurst did some very cool images of the "No Turning Back" webinar that MPI sponsored featuring me, Susan Radojevic and Jack Phillips. You can take a look at them here:

Jay will be joining us at our WEC session on July 13th in Salt Lake City. You can watch him in action there in our live session on The Case for Meetings (1:45-5:30 pm MT).

The use of this methodology is really particularly well suited to situations where you are trying to make complex concepts easily understood.

I strongly suggest checking out David Sibbet's work. He is a long time friend and colleague and his company has created numerous templates that you can use for meetings even if you're not an artist! Here's the place to look...

Enjoy! And let me know if you have any questions...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Taking time for reflection

In the past couple of months, I've officially become a Twitter fanatic. Because I'm following some really smart people, I always find information that is relevant to my work, and I'm also finding that people are starting to use the direct message function as an alternative to email. So, I've got to check in at least once a day and usually more.

Of course, I get about a zillion emails a day -- like everyone else. And of course I'm on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Skype, Plaxo, etc. and I talk on my cellphone enough to worry about all those electronic waves my head is absorbing. Oh, yes, and I do have clients and "regular" work and I'm writing a couple of books.

Yep, it's official: I'm busy. And I'll bet you are too.

I find that as things get busier, it's even more important to push the "pause" button occasionally. In a communications model I developed, I put "intrapersonal" communication at the center. It's critical to take time for reflection in both your life and your work.

I build reflection time into the designs I do for meetings -- participants need time to digest ideas and develop new ones. I council senior executives to build "white space" into their calendars. And I hold a very small retreat once a year for some of the top senior communication professionals in the world to come and just have a good conversation with their colleagues.

I live in Essex, CT and yesterday I had meetings in New York. I love to take the train so that I can work while I'm going into the city. But yesterday, I decided I was just going to look out the window -- on the way down and on the way back. It was wonderful. I noticed daffodils, a huge line of people at a highway exit hoping to be picked up for day work (much much longer than usual), crumbling infrastructure, unfinished building projects, a Broadway Poster for Mary Poppins (I need to take my son!), the familiar area surrounding the train station in the town where I used to live, the faces of people waiting on train platforms, an egret in a pond right beside the track and much more. Looking out the window for a few hours reconnected me to the world.

So my advice is, "Take a break." Everything will still be there when you get back.

Friday, April 10, 2009

My First Post -- Welcome Readers!

Hello and Welcome to my new Blog!

I've had people hounding me for some time to start my own blog and now I'm finally doing so.

This blog will be about communication and leadership and all the tools at hand to do a better job of both. Many of you will know me from my recent involvement in the meetings industry. I'm convinced that face to face meetings will continue to be one of the most important leadership tools of the next century. So you'll be hearing a lot about how I think leaders need to rethink the concept of meetings.

My work in the area of leadership is focused around how to lead differently in an age of complexity. My award-winning Harvard Business Review article (written with Dave Snowden) is going to serve as the foundation for an upcoming book. You'll see some enticing excerpts from that here as well.

I'm a Twitter fanatic so I'll be posting snippets there that will lead you here.

In the spirit of interactivity, I'm always interested in engaging in a dialogue around the topics that matter most to my readers. So please, send me questions, ideas, or topics for discussion here. I look forward to hearing from you and to sharing ideas with you in the future.

If you want to know more about me and/or my company, visit for more information.