There's a Priest, a Minister and a Rabbi…

The lights are up, the last Chia Obama ( is wrapped and under the tree and it’s time for the final mailer of the year.

In keeping with the spirit of the season, Father James Martin (the “Official Chaplain to Colbert Nation” and a frequent guest on the (Stephen) Colbert Report) has a new book out called “Between Heaven and Mirth” that you might like. He was on NPR’s “Here and Now” with Robin Young last week. Here’s one of my faves:

Guy buys a car and calls a priest, a minister and a rabbi to bless it. The priest sprinkles it with holy water, the minister has everyone hold hands and sing and the rabbi cuts a half inch off the tailpipe (Rimshot!)

And as long as we’re (loosely) on the subject of the soul, the following link will take you to the most powerful images of 2011. Here’s to a better 2012…I’ll talk to you next year.

Happy Holidays!



The Human Touch

During the past few months, I’ve coached or spoken to several groups of twenty-somethings. This experience has shifted my perspective — communication styles are on trial.

For some smart, tech savvy people who communicate most comfortably with their thumbs, the personal and emotional nature of citizen engagement seems like a foreign concept. Last month’s contribution mentioned (OgilvyOne Worldwide) CEO Brian Fetherstonhaugh’s quote, “How many people have solved a difficult emotional topic via e-mail or text? So far, I haven’t found a single one.”

The following story is geared towards job hunters, but the points are universal to anyone in the public communication biz:


Just Two Questions

We’ve talked so much about the importance of first impressions in this mailer. Now, we find the essence of the subject from research conducted at Princeton University. It seems that people ask just two questions when they meet you:


Crisis Communication — Generally Speaking

Last month, I spent some time talking with a group of smart people about crisis management and communication. In the process of poking around on the Web for some fresh twists, I ran across the following that I thought you’d enjoy.

The first is a quick two-and-a-half minute video from retired four-star General Stanley McChrystal about making your team work best under tough circumstances. The second is a list of what may have been the biggest blunders of 2011 (Herman Cain might be late to this list.) The third is a crisis response guideline according to McDonalds:


“Risk…Risk is our Business!” – Captain James T. Kirk

Rick Jones is a risk manager who’s written about the causes of anger and emotion that we deal with everyday. Risk perception is the personal nature of how we view uncertainty in the things that we experience. This brief article explains it nicely:



Guaranteeing Failure in the Beltway


The failure of the congressional budget super-committee provides valuable lessons for all of us in the decision facilitation business. Following are three clear conditions that guarantee failure and three recommendations that improve your odds. Read on:


You’re Right…They really are Goofing Off

If you’ve suspected that they’re not really doing anything productive in front of the computer, guess what? :


Citizen Engagement Training in Arizona – January 2012 (Average High 67º F)

The five-day IAP2 Public Participation Certificate course will be offered in Phoenix/Tempe during the week of January 23, and the two-day Emotion, Outrage and Public Participation class will be held on January 31 and February 1.

The location is right on the light rail line near lots of great hotels, restaurants and night life. You’ll get plenty of ideas about dealing with the public, and lower your handicap by at least 20 strokes. Come join us!

I’ll be back in Chicago with the Certificate course the week of May 7, and the 2-day Emotion class on June 5 and 6.

I’ll also be teaching the Emotion and Outrage class in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, and Halifax in 2012. For more information about Canadian classes click on:

For the U.S. classes click on:

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