July 20, 2015
by Kim Stangle
No, not that Watson. IBM is at it again. Marketers, writers, business communicators, rejoice! Now the same supercomputer that beat Ken Jennings on “Jeopardy” is going to help you analyze the tone of your written communication.
IBM’s Watson Tone Analyzer takes the text you provide and analyzes it using a scorecard approach. The Analyzer provides insights about the tone of your text’s emotional, social and writing/style along with an explanation of which word fits with which tone. If that weren’t enough, it’ll even suggest alternate words to help you more effectively communicate your desired message.
We probably shouldn’t need a computer to help accurately convey the tone of our messages, but IBM makes a business case for it by pointing out that marketing and PR teams could use the service to “automatically assess the tone reflected in the various marketing messages, media mentions and announcements of competitors, or their own companies to flag the ones that need special attention. “
Frankly, I’d be satisfied if the Analyzer could help me detect the sarcasm in emails from my brother.
July 17, 2015
by Kim Stangle
Depending on your age, you may know actor Alan Alda from his notable role on “M*A*S*H” – or more recently – “The Blacklist” or “30 Rock.” I think he has one of the most recognizable voices in television and movies. But, it wasn’t until today while listening to a few minutes of his interview on NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show that I learned he’s also a visiting instructor at a center bearing his name: the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University.
As longtime host of “Scientific American Frontiers” on PBS, Alda’s love of science has been at the forefront, but it’s his desire to help scientists and researchers better tell their stories that I find so fascinating. He told Rehm during the interview about “The Sagan Effect,” which generally describes the biased perception by some that the better you are at communicating science the worse you are at actually being a scientist.
Can you imagine being punished for being an effective communicator for your industry? It’s our job as communicators to break down the most complex information and make it simple. And, that’s exactly what Alda and faculty are teaching at the Center. Through courses ranging from Improv for Scientists to Writing to be Understood, they’re training the next generation of scientists to communicate more effectively.
Emmys and Golden Globes aside, Alan Alda’s contribution to communication deserves the highest honor.
July 16, 2015
by Roger Pynn
The timely reporting of events has always been at the heart of the news business, and yet more and more often I’m seeing the word “recently” – a word that was verboten in my days as a journalism student – creep into news stories. In fact, I counted three in the last week where it was clear the story had been missed … one by as much as a week.
Not so long ago I’d have written a blog post about lazy reporting, but the more you look at this the more it becomes clear it is a matter of total change of focus for newspapers. The transition to “digital first” is happening more and more every day … and resources are being deployed for an era of a different type of reporting.
Our Orlando Sentinel provided great examples this week in its Business Monday section where we were treated in print to several stories you’d already have seen if you were subscribing to their new Growth Spotter – a subscription email product focusing strictly on business stories.
You can subscribe only to the Sentinel’s Web-based product for one fee and they throw Growth Spotter and a lot of newsletters in for “free,” or if you get the good old newspaper in your driveway, you get all the digital products as part of the deal. But you really have to wonder how long the broadsheet will be around. Perhaps one day they’ll give you the paper if you subscribe to the digital product.
But not if Tampa Bay Times Chairman and CEO Paul Tash has his way. This essay published first in his paper and then shared via the related Poynter Institute website is an eloquent sermon on why media companies should do everything they can to sustain the newspaper … as an institution and as a product. Tash acknowledges exactly what I said about resource deployment.
In the end, people don’t buy newspapers – or click open their news websites – for the advertising. They are a collateral advantage of pursuing information and knowledge. People crave to know what is going on … right away, not recently.
July 13, 2015
by Vianka McConville
Last week, C&P VP Kim Stangle shared an email marketing piece that was interesting, to say the least. It sold keys for women to be more confident in the workplace.
Long story short – we’re not buying it. However, here is some free advice to boost the confidence of anyone in the workplace: body language shapes who you are and how confident you feel.
Amy Cuddy shares research on the subject during this 21-minute TED Talk. There are positions of power that chemically make you feel more confident. Watch the talk to find out what they are.
Cheers to good advice for women AND men in the workplace!
July 7, 2015
by Roger Pynn
From the “things you wish you hadn’t said department,” one has to wonder how badly former USA women’s soccer coach Pia Sundhage wishes she had never called Carli Lloyd “a challenge to coach.”
Quips like that ought to be hung on the wall of all who find themselves in a position to be an organizational spokesperson or aspire to political office or are frequently sought out for quotes due to their experience and expertise. You never know a) when someone will have a breakout game or b) when your words will bite you in the backside.
Of course, as this story from Forbes.com suggests, Lloyd not only got the last laugh with her world-class World Cup performance on Sunday, but she’s likely to be laughing all the way to the bank for a long time to come.