The right way to write: A guide for Georgia Tech

I’m excited to spend my lunch today with 50 of Georgia Tech’s brightest communications professionals. My friend and colleage, Katherine Strate, will help me lead a workshop on writing for the Web. As an Alabama grad, I’ll try my best not to be intimidated.

Make it simple: How a differential gear works

Before watching this video, I really couldn’t have told you what a differential gear was. I certainly couldn’t have explained how one works.

But this clever video starts with an example that is easy for anyone to understand and slowly builds one example on the next until finally you truly get how the complicated gear works.

As a newspaper editor I would tell reporters to write so their mom could follow the story. I think this video does an amazing job pulling off that feat with a subject that could easily overwhelm the casual viewer.

Finding focus to avoid the fire drills

Fire brigade: Which fire first?As I get older, it gets easier to focus on a single topic and to understand what needs my attention. For one thing, it’s a huge relief to know that I don’t need to multi-task.

I give credit for my improved focus on years of effort and taking small steps along the way. The bulk of my personal growth has manifest itself primarily because I’ve eliminated unnecessary distractions. I’ve ditched TV, which took several years and multiple stages. I have surrounded myself with supportive friends and healthy relationships, another process that took years. And I don’t concern myself with drama in other people’s lives.

In fact, I have mastered four of five tips provided by the Life Optimizer web site. The personal growth and effectiveness blog offers these five tips for staying focused: [Read more…]

Am I happy? My coach tells me to learn how I feel.

My neice, Saige, feeling sleepy after too much work.

I knew from the very first lesson that things could get a little weird working with my business coach.

Coach Nancy asked me to spend time acknowledging my feelings.

I’m a guy. I’m a cynic. I’m a former reporter. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my feelings. [Read more…]

Put me in Coach, I’m ready to play

Coach Bear Bryant

Photo: Paul W. Bryant Museum

For the past several months I focused intently on my performance and productivity in the office. I did this with the help of a business coach.

The process was not unlike working with a trainer at the gym or a running coach. Over the next few weeks, I will share some of what I’ve learned and give some details about how I’ve applied the lessons to my daily life — both personal and professional.

First, let me say something about my business coach, Nancy Dana. I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive or helpful coach. She was always enthusiastic and prepared.

I’m going to share many of the lessons I learned from Nancy but don’t make the mistake of thinking you can get the full benefit without hiring a coach. The biggest benefit that I saw was having someone point out errors and hold me accountable to my own goals and deadlines.

Another big benefit of using a coach is the consistency over an extended period of time. Instead of heading off to a conference for a long weekend, I worked with Nancy during eight one-hour sessions for just over two months. The difference in the two situations is remarkable. [Read more…]