Handwriting and cognition is closely related

January 23 is National Handwriting Day in the USm and on the occasion Quartz has an interesting article about the relationship between the physical act of handwriting and the mental act of thinking.

Several scientific studies have shown that the act of putting pen to paper is related to the quality of our thinking. “When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated,” cognitive psychologist Stanislas Dehaene told the New York Times. Stanislas’s research posits that writing by hand actually makes learning easier. “There is a core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental simulation in your brain,” he explained. A 2014 study with the catchy titled “The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard,” supports Dehaene’s research proving that taking notes by typing on a computer actually diminishes our ability to process new information.

Read the article about handwriting here

Beware of attendance obesity at meetings

There is an art to effective meetings, and just scheduling a bunch of people to show up is not it.

Consider for instance the number of participants:

Seven is the magic number for business meetings. Each additional person cuts decision-making by 10%, according to Quartz.

Also, state purpose clearly and reduce time allocation to a minimum.

This is pretty basic, but the abundant horror stories of regular time-suck events at both big and small organizations indicate that the points bear repeating.

Digitalisering tar – og gir

Det går en rett (og strømførende) linje fra 1800-tallets telegraftråd til 3D-printing av ansiktsdeler ifølge en interessant kommentar av Per Valebrokk om digitalisering og fremtidens arbeidsliv.

Ikke vanskelig å være enig. Når jeg tenker meg om har jeg et anseelig antall roboter som utfører arbeidsoppgaver for meg i det daglige. Jeg nevner i fleng:

– En robot leverer posten min.
– En robot leser nyhetene for meg, og gir meg en relevant oppsummering.
– Roboter hjelper meg å finne bøker, filmer, magasiner, duppeditter, klær og andre produkter som jeg antakelig vil like.
– En robot tar oppvasken og klesvasken – og gir beskjed når den er ferdig.
– En robot hjelper meg å ordne banktjenester og en annen besørger investeringene mine.

Og det er bare de jeg kommer på i farten, her jeg sitter og sløver i stua. Life is good.

Det som gjenstår for meg er i grunnen først og fremst å skape mening i tilværelsen for meg selv og andre. Det er det vanskelig for en robot å hjelpe med. Det i det hele tatt ganske vanskelig for enhver.

The Communications Frontline 2014


My good colleague Hanna Svenonius in Stockholm recently wrote a great article on MSL Group’s Critical Conversations blog providing three quick takeaways from the event hosted by JKL where the venerable Paul Holmes (of the Holmes Report shared some insights.

I highly recommend Hanna’s article for the full monty, but here are the three points in short:

  1. PR professionals need to get involved with setting policy, not just defending it
  2. Message control is gone – let it go – and concentrate on building authentic values to guide people in the right direction
  3. Reach and frequency are unfit metrics – use the Net Promoter Score instead. It tells you the number of people willing to recommend your business – minus those who aren’t.


3 steps to better employee communication


MSL Group’s People’s Lab recently published an article on internal communication that I think is well worth noting.

In the article, Julia Christoph from our Munich office suggests five key factors in employee communication. I recommend her article for the full list.

Personally, I would reorganize the list into 3 action steps (easier to remember):

  1. Hone your pitch: People do not magically care about what you have to say simply because you pay their salary. Give them a reason to care. What’s in it for you, for them, for the company, for humanity? Show them the higher purpose. Be specific about what is at stake. (But don’t overdo it, because then they will not listen the next time. Remember the story about the boy who cried «Wolf»?)
  2. Involve your people: Make strong effort to involve all key employees in the communication efforts. Make participation a priority, both by example as well as soft and hard incentives. Ownership is connected to buy-in. Invite comments and dialogue on the subject, preferably through internal social media. (Internal social media enables people across offices and borders to participate on an equal level, at their leisure.)
  3. Tell stories: Grabbing attention is an art. Practice it. Use drama  and real life examples to make your message stick. This is no different in employee communication than other communication. (Also not different: You need to repeat your message. I repeat: Repeat. Your. Message.)

Well, that’s my 2 cents. How would you do it?