hearts are with those affected

Our hearts and thoughts are not with you at this time…

By Laura Bergells on

Enough with organizations offering generic sentiments and abstractions. Be specific. Give me something concrete, or don’t say anything at all. Let’s say I’m on a company’s email list. It sends me an email telling me to enjoy a happy and safe holiday weekend. It generously tells my family to have one, too. And then 100 other brands send me something …


How well do you welcome?

By Laura Bergells on

Your “Welcome” mat may be a visual cliché. You may think it’s de rigueur — but is it really making your audience feel welcomed? We’ve reached a point where merely saying or writing “welcome” doesn’t even mean anything. It’s too generic to be useful or inviting. That’s why you don’t see many websites with a welcome …

Yes, But It Was Only a Quiet Two Million

By Laura Bergells on

Back in 2007, I quickly tossed up a YouTube instructional video. It took me about a half hour to make the 4:46 minute video. Today, the video will reach its 2 millionth view. But it’s not a viral video. It’s not hip or trendy. It didn’t get a big spike in viewership and then go …

word mashups

Are word mashups pathetisad or helpfunctional?

By Laura Bergells on

I came across the words smetiquette and framily for the first time in January. I didn’t need to look these words up: I knew what they meant instantly and intuitively. Smetiquette is a portmanteau: a mashup of the phrase social media (SM) and etiquette. Framily is Sprint’s marketing mashup: it means “Friends and Family”. We …

Balaclava Laura

How do you dress for success during a cold snap?

By Laura Bergells on

“We’re enduring a subzero cold snap, so pack warm clothing. Bring a coat, hat, gloves, and boots,” I advised a southern client over the phone. She was planning to fly up to deliver a series of training presentations for her northern clients. I was to make introductions and serve as her co-presenter in my home …

Telecommuting: are you ready for your close up?

By Laura Bergells on

Owing to global weirding, those who can are making plans to telecommute today. If you’re a writer, teacher, or communicator: you might have access to tools that allow you to do your jobs remotely. In a pinch, remote tools can often allow ‘the show to go on’. I remember speaking at an out-of-state conference a …

Please: stop “hiring to cultural fit”

By Laura Bergells on

I bristle at the trendy, thoughtless phrase “hire to cultural fit”. And I’m not alone. Often, you’ll hear this phrase parroted at tech, business, and startup conferences. Generally, it means, “when hiring, consider personality first — consider tech and business skills second”. Here’s the loosey-goosey rationale for ‘hiring to cultural fit’: “Hey, it’s easier to …

sleep is the enemy

7 Reasons Why You Might Not Be Sleeping

By Laura Bergells on

“Help me! I can’t sleep!” I see variations of the “I can’t sleep” post on Facebook almost every week. I know that some friends have serious health problems and need medical help: this post is definitely NOT for them. This is just a “hey, friends — if you’re having a tough time sleeping lately, here’s some …

pro peace

How can you positively frame your core message?

By Laura Bergells on

A number of people and organizations have gone out of their way lately to tell me that they are non-violent. They remind me of people who go out of their way to tell me that they are not racists. Not sexists. Not homophobic. It’s a tell. Let’s take a look at what a person who …

uncanny valley

Beware the uncanny valley of presentation design and delivery

By Laura Bergells on

A performer and presentation can be overly polished and perfect. Creepily so. Borrowing from the world of robotics, I call this phenomenon the uncanny valley of design and delivery. This is when a presenter looms a bit too near perfection. I don’t run into the uncanny valley of presentation design and delivery too often, but when I …