5 Things Steve Jobs Can Teach Us About Writing Emails

Just before the release of  Apple’s first IPad, James Murdoch of NewsCorp and Steve Jobs exchanged a series of emails negotiating an e-book deal.   Besides revealing some of Job’s renowned negotiating tactics,  the emails also demonstrate how Job’s simple, strong writing style helped him dominate the conversation.

Natashia Lekic explains, “Their email exchange offers insight into what to do — and what not to do — when writing business emails. Murdoch’s notes are a classic example of how most of us tend to write: long, with multiple ideas and no clear message. Jobs used simple tactics to dominate the correspondence.”

Read the article by Natashia Lekic.


The Curse of Knowledge

Many sensible strategies fail to drive action because executives formulate them in sweeping, general language.

The Curse of Knowledge


Visual from Communication Fundamentals with John Ullman. Lynda.psu.edu.

In our last class period, we discussed the “Intent-Impact Gap,”  or the disconnect between what we want our audience to think, feel and do, and what they actually think feel and do.

We have experienced examples of this gap in our own communication, both professionally and personally.

Now, Chip and Dan Heath of the Harvard Business Review discuss the science behind the intent-impact gap.  A simple tapping exercise reveals a communication phenomenon, labeled the “Curse of Knowledge.” 

I would love to know your thoughts.  Please read and comment.

The Irresistible Power of Storytelling

People think it’s all about sex or humor or animals, but what we’ve found is that the underbelly of a great commercial is whether it tells a story or not.

Keith Quesenberry, researcher, Johns Hopkins Center for Leadership Education.

Want to sell a product?  Want to explain a complex idea?  Want your audience to actually remember what you said?  Consider using classic storytelling techniques.

These techniques are ancient – dating back to Aristotle – and include literary terms like exposition, complication, climax, reversal and denouement.  Simplified, great storytelling includes a likable main character, some sort of action or complication and a result or ending.

The best stories use concrete language and images, instead of abstract ideas.  They show, rather than tell.

In this article published by the Harvard Business Review, the science behind why people react so strongly to stories is explained, beginning with why Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” ad scored top marks in USA Today’s Ad Meter and Hulu’s Ad Zone as a fan favorite during the 2014 Super Bowl.

Other examples of storytelling techniques:

My Heart Attack Taught Me To Slow Down, by Bill Marriott. Marriott on the Move.

The following scene from The Blind Side:

Your Wishes Delivered: Driver for a Day.  UPS

Please read and comment.