Could a robot pass an university entrance exam? (TED)

We’ve all heard that Artificial Intelligence (AI) could take over a lot of white collar professional jobs.  So could an AI robot pass  the entrance exams of Japan’s top university, The University of Tokyo? The answer may surprise you.  But what’s more interesting is what AI can currently accomplish without actually understanding “meaning”.  And disturbingly, given AI’s performance, how our

Sales sprinter or Marathon Runner? Improving conversions Part 2

Ever met a salesperson who could “sell ice to Eskimos” or “sell sand to a Bedouin?”. Someone who just appears to be a born salesman? Who seemingly and effortlessly closes lots of business? In this article I wrote about if the perennial debate of nature versus nurture would apply to sales. Could there be such a thing as a “born

Why the orphanage model is broken (TED)

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the “orphanage model” so prevalent in developing countries like Cambodia and Vietnam.  Lots of us financially contribute to their upkeep firmly believing it’s in the best interests of the children. But is it? This TED talk by Australian Tara Winkler brings a counter point which may surprise you.  And she speaks from personal experience

How to increase sales conversions – Part 1

Ultimately, the only way an organisation can grow is by increasing sales.  While marketing’s job is to bring prospects to your door, educate and build up trust, if you’re selling high value products or services at some point prospects will want to engage with a live person. And that is where we’ve seen so many organisations go wrong over the

How we hallucinate our conscious reality (TED)

What is the consciousness?  Right now, billions of neurons in your brain are working together to generate a conscious experience – and not just any conscious experience, your experience of the world around you and of yourself within it. How does this happen? According to neuroscientist Anil Seth, we’re all hallucinating all the time; when we agree about our hallucinations,

How to attract 37% more clients

Years ago I heard a talk by the editor of a local newspaper talking about how businesses wasted their advertising dollars when placing ads. In short his argument was a one shot advertisement may only be noticed by someone looking for that solution right then.  But what about the people who weren’t ready, didn’t feel they had an issue at

This doesn’t compute

All great communicators share one trait.  They instinctively communicate in the preferred style(s) of the audience, be they visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic. Over the last couple of articles we’ve written how people process information. Starting with Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic preferences. We’ve related how visually oriented people tend to be fast thinkers, fast talkers and want information presented in a

What you can do to prevent Alzheimer’s (TED – Video)

We probably all know someone with Alzheimer’s.  It’s a horrible disease that currently has no cure.  But what if you could prevent it or at least slow down or remove the symptoms? Lisa Genova, neuroscientist and author of “Still Alice” shares the latest science investigating the disease  and some promising research on what each of us can do to build

Why are you speaking so slowly?

Meet John. Tall, solidly built, he speaks slowly in a low gravelly voice. Over the years I’ve never known him to make quick decisions, always preferring to mull things over slowly and considerately. I once said to him, “John, I think that every time I say something to you it slowly goes all the way from the top of your

Co-Housing – A fascinating concept making us happier

A lot of our contemporaries are looking at retirement living options.  Many choose retirement villages for the sense of security and community.  You can live in your own place, but share meals and other activities when you want to. But why should this only apply to “retirees”? Co-housing is a fascinating concept where people of all ages where people choose

What’s in a word?

Did you know that we mentally process information at the rate we speak?  And that this is related to whether we primarily think in pictures, words or feelings? Fast speakers like Gary we wrote about here make rapid pictures, processing information rapidly.  They’re visually oriented and a picture literally does tell a thousand words. Listening to Gary you’d hear him

Can democracy exist without trust?

Can democracy exist without trust?  And is it the best form of government? We certainly believe it in the West.  But looking at voting patterns, you’d have to surmise that lots of people no longer think it’s a game worth playing. In this TED talk, Ivan Krastev talks about how voter behaviour is changing, what we expect from our governments

How to avoid miscommunication

Ever been frustrated that someone just “didn’t get” what you were trying to explain?  Or vice versa? You’re both speaking the same language.  But it’s like those old movies where the British tourist thinking he’s not understood just shouts louder and louder.  Pointless. Yet it happens every day in sales conversations. You think you’re getting through.  But you’re not.  And

How I fail at being disabled (TED)

Susan Robinson is legally blind and entitled to a label she hates: “disabled.” In this TED talk, Susan gives us five tips to fail at being disabled while poking fun at all of us and herself.  She highlights some of the biases we have and how we often respond to “disabled” people. It’s a short, funny and poignant talk which

Why all your customers are NOT equal

One of the first areas we focus on with new clients is RFM (and no, it’s not the popular acronym you might be thinking of).  I’ll get to why in a second. But first, I’m sure you’re familiar with the Pareto principle. In 1906 Italian Vilfredo Pareto observed 80% of Italian land was owned by 20% of the population. 80/20

How to live passionately

As we get older there’s a risk we could lose some of our passion for life.  Things slow down and just seem harder.  We may become dependent on others to accomplish what used to come easily. But to parapharase the late Zig Ziglar, “Attitude is everything”. At 71, Author Isabel Allende has a few wrinkles and a great perspective on

The 4 quadrant model ALL successful persuaders use

Here’s a quick quiz. See which one of these four behavioural descriptions you MOST vibe with. You want to know “why?” Why should I do this? Why is this relevant to me? What’s in it for me? Why should I listen to you and why now? You rebel against any form of “just do it because I told you to”.

A remarkable result – must watch

How do you go from a 40% to a 93% school attendance in one of the most disadvantaged school districts in America?  Stephen Ritz teaches in the Bronx, NY.  By involving his students in growing lush food gardens, they feed themselves and their neighbourhood, learn building skills, become entrepreneurs and more. Seriously, this is one of the most uplifting 14

How to deepen your client relationships

No matter what the industry, be it professional services, manufacturing or retail, your clients initially want the benefit of your expertise and experience to solve a specific problem. So you do what’s necessary and that’s where it ends. But doing so means you fall short of providing every last ounce of value you can. And short change your clients as

How would you cope if everything was taken away from you? (TED – Video)

How would you cope if everything was taken away from you?  Materially is one thing, but what if you lost almost all control over your body?  Could you see it as a blessing and a way to learn? In 2011 Ronnie Cahana suffered a severe stroke that left him with locked-in syndrome: completely paralysed except for his eyes. While this

Please, please, please, explain the value!

One of the biggest ways you kill a sale is by not explaining or articulating the value of what you’re selling. I’ll get to why in a moment, but first let me set the scene. A while ago Barbara had gone up to the Hunter Valley for a couple of nights. Now for those of you not familiar with Australian

Why your healthcare should be a team sport

When Eric Dishman was in college, doctors told him he had 2 to 3 years to live. That was a long time ago. Eric’s story highlights the risks inherent in medical specialisation where your treating doctors don’t always communicate with each other, let alone you. As we get older and find ourselves needing more medical care, it’s vital we take

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, but you’ve got to give it to them…

Richard Branson did it. Donald Trump did it. The late Steve Jobs did it. Every one of them has created an empire from nothing, boldly going where others feared to tread. Each struck out in their own direction and blasted their way into our consciousness.   Some like Branson via humour, others via outright controversy.  And none of them worried about

How new bionics let us run, climb and dance

Prosthetic limbs have come a long way since Captain Hook’s er, hook. Barbara and I vividly remember watching Paralympic runners at the Sydney 2000 games carrying different artificial legs around depending on what they needed to compete. Technology has come a very long way since then.  Hugh Herr, lost both legs in a climbing accident 30 years ago.  Now, as

Guarantees – your key to success…

Want to become a brand leader?  Have prospects want you over the competition? Give a balls nailed to the wall guarantee. Something that makes you sweat and go, “Oh no! I could never do that”. And then I’d insist you feel the fear and do it anyway. Why?  Because as customers our number one fear is “Will it work.  And

The importance of feeding kids well… (TED)

There is a direct correlation between a full stomach and academic performance.  Former Whitehouse chef Sam Kass relates how schools in America are feeding their students in an effort to help them learn.  Sadly, often these are the only meals these kids get. Education experts now realise the importance of nutrition in development.  Programs like this now exist around the

Are you providing what your clients REALLY want?

Want more business?  I’m willing to bet there’s stuff right beneath your nose if only you took the trouble to ask the right questions of the right people. Start with your current clients.  Call them and ask what it is they really love about you and your service.  And equally importantly, what else they would want.  Maybe there isn’t anything

The global food waste scandal

Western countries throw out nearly half of their food, not because it’s inedible — but because it doesn’t look appealing.  Over the last 3 – 4 years there’s been a big push to stop some of this waste with supermarkets promoting “imperfect” fruit and vegetables.  But this is just scratching the surface. This TED talk by Tristram Stuart was delivered

Reach out and touch someone.

Marketing is all about communication.  But all too often we rely on impersonal ways of communicating.  Email, Twitter, TXT.  Anything to avoid picking up the phone. But there’s nothing quite like speaking with someone.  Making that personal connection. But many people are afraid of doing so.  Especially when the other person doesn’t know you. But unless you make connections, you

Why we should save Antarctica

2041 will be a pivotal year for our planet. That year will mark the end of a 50-year agreement to keep Antarctica, the Earth’s last pristine continent, free of exploitation. Explorer Robert Swan — the first person to walk both the North and South Poles — is on a mission to ensure that we extend that treaty. It’s a powerful

Taking business to new heights (literally)

Every market is a continuum. At one end the people who buy on price from suppliers who’ve become a commodity.  The other, people who are willing to pay premium prices for a memorable experience. Barbara and I were recently up at Jungfraujoch in Switzerland. It’s arguably the leading tourist attraction in the Interlaken area, heavily marketed by Jungfraubahn, who own

The magic washing machine

Could the washing machine be the greatest invention of the Industrial Revolution? Hans Rosling, professor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, expounds why in this very funny, and enlightening talk on how relieving mainly women from the drudgery of washing, leads to economic development and learning.  Watch what happens to the washing machine on stage towards the end of

From Economist to Alphorn Maker????

Meet Heinz Tschiemer.  He’s 35, married with three small kids, has an Economics Degree and now builds Alphorns. Tucked away in the small village of Habkern, about a 10 minute drive from Interlaken, Switzerland, Heinz produces about 1,000 Alphorns a year for an international market which believe it or not includes Japan! Barbara and I spent about an hour chatting

Why do we sleep? (TED Video)

How much sleep do you get and how does it affect you?  Most of us don’t get anywhere near enough and the effects can be quite dire.  Everything from obesity, high stress, insulin resistance (diabetes) and cardiovascular disease. Circadian neuroscientist, Russell Foster shares three popular theories about why we sleep, busts some myths about how much of it we need

The accomplished persuader’s secret weapon

Ever met a truly great persuader?  The archetypical, “Could sell ice to Eskimos”. You might think they’re great salespeople, but the irony is you can’t actually sell anything to anyone.  People only buy because they’re convinced it’s in their own best interest to do so. Given this, masterful persuaders help you answer four questions for yourself in this order. Why

What would a driverless world look like?

Every big city suffers horrendous traffic congestion.  Government’s solution – build more roads or enlarge existing ones!  But what if you completely rethought the problem using biology? Nature, through evolution always finds the most efficient way to accomplish something.  Think of blood cells which travel over 60,000 miles of blood vessels in the human body to deliver nutrients and oxygen

Competing in a commoditised market

40 years ago travel was expensive and difficult to arrange.  Travel agents existed to make booking tickets and accommodation easier. Around 15 years ago, with the internet, everything changed.  Travel has become a commodity.  Go online to compare fares, find hotels, Air B&B and book. Travel Agents faced with airlines slashing or entirely removing commissions went to the wall. Faced

The danger of hiding who you are

We all crave acceptance.  Being part of the tribe.  So many of us will hide aspects of our true selves, exhibit false personas, or act in ways that aren’t us in the hope we won’t stand out and be criticised. But at what cost to ourselves and others? Morgana Bailey speaks about the personal cost to her and possibly even

The blind dancer and his guide dog

Over 20 years ago in Switzerland, Barbara had, in her words, one of the best dance partners ever.  Hans was legally blind, but that didn’t stop him participating in life. Hans went everywhere with the support of a guide dog, which gave him a sense of freedom. We caught up with Hans and his most recent dog, a black Lab,

Would you tell your customers NOT to buy?

Companies are losing control. What happens on Wall Street no longer stays on Wall Street. What happens in Vegas ends up on YouTube. This short TED talk by Tim Leberecht on “3 ways to (usefully) lose control of your brand” puts an interesting slant to an organisation’s need for control of their staff, brand and even customers.  And what happens