Monday Mornings with Madison

Monthly Archives:
December 2015

Boosting Creativity in 2016

Many people focus on make resolutions of things we want to do more, do less, do better or stop doing altogether. Obviously, the goal of resolutions is to use the commitment as an impetus to become a better person or live a better life. But, in truth, most people can just recycle resolutions year after year with little or no changes at all. Typically, those resolutions are broken or forgotten within the first hours, days or weeks of inception. Ideas for how to keep those resolutions fail. Perhaps what is actually needed are new ways to tackle old problems? What is really needed is creativity.

Creativity is the ability to make new things or think up new ideas. Creativity is the tool that is able to pierce the prickliest problems, tackle the most daunting challenges and dismantle the most difficult dilemmas. Armed with creativity, certainly every resolution can not only be kept but conquered. But how does one go about tacking old problems in creative ways if we have no new ideas? Is there really a way to boost creativity? Yes, there is. Continue reading

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Retargeting: Digital Ads that Hit the Bulls-Eye

Have you ever done a search for a product or service and then seen ads for companies that deliver that product or service later on websites that have nothing to do with that product or service? For example, you might have done a search for lenders that handle commercial property loans and mezzanine financing. You clicked on the websites of a few of those lenders. Then later — hours, days or even weeks later — you did a totally unrelated search for hotels in Dallas for an upcoming conference and you saw an ad for a lender you perused earlier offering mezzanine financing on the hotel aggregator’s website. At first, you thought “coincidence.” Then you saw a similar ad for another lender when you searched for an upscale restaurant to dine at with your spouse and clicked on the Opentable.com site to make a reservation. You thought, “Strange.” Then you saw yet another ad for a commercial real estate lender when you checked accuweather.com for the weather forecast for your golf outing on Sunday. At that point, you felt like “Big Brother was watching.” How could such diverse and unrelated websites know you were looking for a commercial real estate lender? How could those lenders know to advertise on sites that you frequent? The answer is retargeting.

Behavioral retargeting (also known as behavioral remarketing, or simply, remarketing or retargeting) is a form of online targeted advertising in which online advertising is targeted to consumers based on their previous Internet actions, in situations where these actions did not result in a sale or conversion. This type of online advertising has been around for a few years and is highly effective and yet not widely used. That makes it a great tool for businesses that want to stand out in the crowd. Continue reading

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The Art, Skill and Gift of Speaking

The ability to communicate verbally is an essential skill for most any occupation. And yet there are a lot of idioms and expressions about wasting time talking, saying the wrong things and talking too much. Chewing the fat. Talking up a storm. Talking out of both sides of one’s mouth. Shooting the breeze. Speaking the same language. Running of at the mouth. Spilling the beans. Big talk. Talking a blue streak. Talking one’s ear off. There are even knick names for people who talk too much or speak when they shouldn’t. Chatty Cathy. Chatterbox. Windbag. Blabbermouth. Perhaps it makes sense that society has so many ways to criticize talk because of the increased amount of babbling that bombards us from all directions including radio, cell phones, television, robocalls, YouTube videos, etc.? Perhaps.

Nevertheless, the ability to speak is one of the greatest skills — and one of the most complex — that a human being performs. Although many animals do make sounds that allow them to communicate with one another, only human beings can manage the complex process of complex talk. After all, fluent speech is based on the interaction of various processing components. We must retrieve appropriate words, generate syntactic structure, compute the phonological shape of syllables, words, phrases and whole utterances, and create and execute articulated thoughts. And, as in any complex skill, there is a self-monitoring mechanism that checks the output. For any professional or business person, being able to speak clearly — choosing the right words and articulating thoughts meaningfully – is a key to success. Are you a good talker? Continue reading

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How Business Sense and Scents Add Up to Dollars and Cents

Almost no one would argue that vision and hearing play a big role in one’s career and professional success. Any person without the ability to either see or hear surely has a harder time dealing with phone calls, reading and responding to emails, interacting with clients, driving to meetings, visiting job sites, reviewing product quality, etc. Vision and hearing are fundamental sense for most jobs.

What about the sense of smell? Most people don’t put much importance on their ability to smell or think they use it much at work. While it is vitally important for a chef, fragrance chemist, sommelier, or florist to be able to smell with discernment, the sense of smell is not considered as important to the majority of business people in most industries. Yet, aromas are powerful influencers of human behavior and people can distinguish between smells with greater specificity than they realize. So just how important is the ability to smell to career success and how much does scent impact business?
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