Aug 08, 2013
In the branding world, color psychology is frequently fussed over, but seldom understood in a concrete way. That’s because, like so many facets of marketing and communication, the impacts colors have on audiences are often contingent on the personal preferences, experiences, cultural differences, and context each audience member brings to the table.
Aug 01, 2013
Photo Source: Psychology Today
Audiences are selfish. Listeners care about themselves. Viewers want to be entertained. Meeting attendees care about what the content means for them.
As a speaker, this means that one of the most critical components of communicating is satisfying your audience’s needs. A great way to do this is through empathy. Empathy in the context of communicating is “the ability to be conscious of, and have compassion for, the emotional and intellectual state of your audience.” When you switch from a speaker-centric speech to one that is centered around the audience, you are more likely to engage your audience and encourage them to trust in your message.
Jul 25, 2013
To the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.
- Jerry Seinfeld
Seinfeld’s old quip about the widespread fear of public speaking rings true for many Americans, who often claim they fear public speaking more than they fear death. While the numbers don’t quite support that theory, they are staggering: 15 million American adults suffer from social anxiety, and nearly 30 percent of Americans report that they’re “afraid or very afraid” of public speaking. In fact, this fear is so widely accepted that many scientists researching stress will actually induce anxiety by asking study participants to give a speech.
Jul 19, 2013
Traditionally, training has always been a one-directional process. A coach or instructor relays information to students and then tests them on how well they retain the material. With the recent innovations in online learning such as MOOCs (massive open online courses) and Quantified Self learning tools such as Lumosity, many experts are asking if the one-directional system is a broken one. They argue that without real-time feedback, instructors may not realize their students do not understand the material until late in the process (i.e. during exams) and are therefore not able to adapt to fit the needs of the students. In addition, without some sort of feedback, students cannot know how they are progressing in a course. For this post, we did an exhaustive review of the research on traditional training and feedback to further understand the trends and we wanted to share our findings.
Jun 27, 2013
A recent article from the Wall Street Journal discusses the effects of declining eye contact in the workplace, citing our own research on ideal eye contact behavior, and we wanted to share our further analysis.
As background, we know that because of evolution it is easy for humans to “speak” with their eyes. An article from the New York Times points out “neither chimpanzees nor any of the other 220 species of nonhuman primates have whites of the eyes.” Anthropologists believe that we developed a white backdrop for the iris and pupils of our eyes so that others can easily tell where we are looking. It is believed this serves the purpose of cooperation – we are able to cooperate faster and easier with each other through the use of our eyes.
Jun 19, 2013
Pauses can be an incredibly powerful tool in public speaking, as they provide several benefits to the speaker as well as to the audience. According to our research, the average professional speaks at a rate of 150 words per minute. Yet, according to Colorado State University, the average person thinks at a rate that is at least 4 times faster. So not surprisingly, when giving a speech, our perception of time is often off. What may feel like an eternity is actually a few short seconds for the audience.
Jun 12, 2013
According to the Visual Networking Index Forecast from Cisco, online video will soon surpass Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media in terms of usage. By 2017, 81% of the world’s internet users will also use online video services (compared to 58% of internet users in 2012). The report states that “It would take an individual over 5 million years to watch the amount of video that will cross global IP networks each month in 2017”. Interestingly, a 2013 Internet Trends report from KPCB states that audio communication is positioned to significantly grow in the coming years as well. Either way, it seems that remote communication will be more common than ever before.
May 29, 2013
Exciting to see our analytics in the Wall Street Journal!
Just Look Me in the Eye Already
The Workplace Perils of Staring at Our Phones and Elsewhere; The Ideal Gaze Lasts 7 to 10 Seconds
By Sue Shellenbarger
You're having a conversation with someone and suddenly his eyes drop to his smartphone or drift over your shoulder toward someone else.
It feels like this is happening more than ever—in meetings, at the dinner table, even at intimate cocktail parties—and there are signs that the decline of eye contact is a growing problem.
May 22, 2013
See full-size map here
What does your accent say about you? The above map comes from a website by Rick Aschmann which outlines the geographical locations and characteristics of different North American English dialects (linked above). Rick’s website also includes audio samples of each dialect, and several charts and guides describing how sounds differ between each dialect.
May 14, 2013
The immense power behind big data is acknowledged by most people. It has the potential to objectively unlock solutions to problems that were previously overlooked. We discussed an example of this in our previous blog entry about people analytics and big data’s effect on the HR department. However, the answers available in big data are never obvious. They require statistical analysis and algorithms to help make sense of the numbers. Wired Magazine addressed this issue in a recent article, The Importance of Making Big Data Accessible to Non-Data Scientists. They argue that the basic ability to ask a question of big data in normal language and get an understandable answer “would not undermine the value data scientists can deliver, but instead broaden the user base for data analytics and accelerate informed decision making in ways not previously possible.” That’s because the true value of big data comes from the analysis and interpretation of the numbers. If you can’t analyze the numbers to gain insight, they become meaningless.