language insights

Our take on the most, and least, effective communication.

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July 31, 2014

Women leaders don’t have it easy.  Not that men do, but WOW — listening to the reactions of American’s to women leaders this week during our instant response sessions, I saw firsthand how tough women can have it.  Be too ambitious and women run the risk of being perceived as calculated and heartless.  Too high energy or bubbly and you’re a ditz.  Too aggressive and well, you know the word people use for that…  Too passionate and you’re overly emotional.  The list could go on…

 

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Written by Clint Sievers and Felix Hofmann

 

Natural lines are nothing new in cosmetics and personal care products.  But with its new commercial, Neutrogena Naturals has taken the conversation to a new level.  Standing behind an array of food products, spokeswoman Kristen Bell sweetly asks, “You read the labels on the foods you eat, but do you know what’s in your skin care?”

 

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July 29, 2014

Hillary needs to continue to focus on being authentic—and she knows it.  This is no easy task because she has spent her whole career trying to prove that she is tough enough to be a leader – and now she needs to show that she is human enough to be a relatable.  And for those of us working women out there – we are all too familiar with the challenge she faces.  Because of who she is – and because she carries some baggage – she is going to have to show us who she REALLY is.  Because so many view her as calculated and somewhat cold, she is going to have to sho

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July 28, 2014
On Obama’s Leadership.  Obama made his statement and now folks have had time to process it.  Without having watched it, people were VERY critical of Obama’s leadership before watching him. What was interesting is only about ¼ of the folks we talked to had watched any of his messages live. During the clips we played of him talking, they actually liked what they heard and followed it up with positive conversation too.
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July 24, 2014

From the violence in Gaza to the plane crash in the Ukraine we have seen some sad, sad times this past week.  But what is worse, as Americans we can’t come together even in these times of tragedy.  We are a country divided—and this week has certainly proven it to us.  American’s can’t agree on what our course of action should be – and they sure can’t agree on what they want to see from our leaders.  And, my guess is all of you can relate.  Because if you have family or close friends who lean a different direction politically, you can be sure that is almost impossible to have a civilized con

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By Zach Hecht

 

Could using negative language help a competitor’s bottom line?

 

In our research we repeatedly see that consumers cringe when companies use language that is disparaging to competitors. We also know that voters are increasingly frustrated by the negative language being employed in today’s political arena.

 

However, despite the evidence, many businesses and politicians continue to use negative language and messaging.

 

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When the President stood in the Rose Garden today to make a statement about Ukraine, one could presume that he had something to say.  That as Leader of the Free World, he would only take the time to speak to the public with a determined message that the world needed to hear.

 

In preparing for his statement, he and his speechwriters made conscious choices.  Did they want to sound strong or weak?  Definitive or vague?  Active or passive? 

 

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July 18, 2014

 

How many emails did you send yesterday? I counted mine. A respectable 50. And from what Google tells me, that’s about average for an industrious worker like myself.

 

The problem is that apart from the little reminder notes you send yourself, they’re all going to other human beings. And human beings are judgmental.

 

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July 18, 2014

 

Just about every boss has had to do it.  Announcing layoffs is never easy, and it doesn’t get easier.  Yesterday, Microsoft announced the largest layoffs in its history – up to 18,000 jobs. In advance of the layoffs the company released an all-staff letter penned by CEO Satya Nadella explaining the moves and putting them in context.

 

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July 16, 2014

The folks at GM just can’t seem to get this right.

 

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