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Archive for June, 2008

In Soviet Russia, ROOM works YOU

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And pretty much everywhere else, too. If you’re looking for a room for a training or conference, not just any old four walls and tables will do. Seth Godin suggests that you think about your audience’s existing anchors:

“What does this remind me of?”

That’s the subliminal question that people ask themselves as soon as they walk into a room. If it reminds us of a high school cafeteria, we know how to act. If it’s a bunch of round tables set for a chicken dinner, we know how to act. And if there are row upon row of hotel-type chairs in straight lines, we know how to sit and act glazed.

He goes on to suggest the size and shape of your ideal room (which may be smaller and narrower than you think it is!) and how to make it work well.

Read the rest at Seth’s Blog: How to organize the room.

Written by Michael DeBusk

June 28th, 2008 at 3:16 pm

I met a survivor

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An old man, stooped and shuffling slowly along, speaking so quietly I could barely hear and so rarely that, until I finally made out something he said, I wondered if he understood English. The other people in the store treated him with a respect not often seen in that context. I wondered who he was.

Then he turned to go sit down, and I saw the numbers tattooed on his forearm.

After he left, one of the store employees spoke to me about him. (I could tell that the employee felt it was an honor to have the old man in the store.) I learned that the old man was, as a boy, in line at the gas chamber, waiting his turn to die, when the American troops liberated the camp. I also learned that only about fifty or so survivors remain alive today, at least in the US.

A good friend of mine used to work in the office of a plastic surgeon. She told me that the German government will pay for the removal of the tattoo from any Holocaust survivor, and that it was rare for anyone to take them up on it. She asked one survivor why she didn’t have the tattoo removed: “Why would you want that reminder?” The woman said, “I don’t want to remember. I want the world to remember, so it will never happen again.”

I mentioned the number tattoo to a dear friend of mine afterward, and was saddened to find that she didn’t know what I was talking about. The more I explained it to her, the more heartsick I felt, too, and I realized that my perspective had changed. You see, before, I knew about the Holocaust, but now I’ve met it. Before, it was a history lesson; now, it’s real to me.

Perhaps it’s time to read Man’s Search for Meaning again.

Written by Michael DeBusk

June 25th, 2008 at 10:46 pm

Posted in Articles

Brevity is the soul

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As I read Randy Cassingham’s fantastic e-mail newsletter, This Is True, I was pleased to find that his “Bonzer Site of the Week” for this week is One Sentence: True stories, told in one sentence.

Written by Michael DeBusk

June 24th, 2008 at 8:43 am

Body position helps you remember

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Once again, we find Milton Erickson was ahead of his time:

A new study adds an unexpected method to the list of ways to spur memories about our past: body position. That’s right: just holding your body in the right position means you’ll have faster, more accurate access to certain memories. If you stand as if holding a golf club, you’re quicker to remember an event that happened while you were golfing than if you position your body in a non-golfing pose.

Cognitive Daily: Body position affects memory for events

Written by Michael DeBusk

June 6th, 2008 at 12:42 pm

To be concise

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The Copyblogger blog recently held a contest:

Just to review, the idea behind the Twitter Writing Contest was simple… compose a story in exactly 140 characters and post it on Twitter. I want to thank everyone who participated, because there are a ton of talented writers out there even at 140 characters.

Ernest Hemingway, in response to a similar challenge, once wrote a story in six words: “For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.” I think that is the ultimate short story, but the winners of the Twitter Writing Contest did really well too. 🙂

Written by Michael DeBusk

June 1st, 2008 at 12:43 pm

Posted in Linguistic