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Influence

On a recent webinar about COVID-19 communications, an audience member asked, “how will leaders know when it is ok to go back to business as usual?” If I was to read between the lines, another way to ask this question could have been, “what the heck are we supposed to be telling our people when we have no clue what will happen or when it will happen or how it should happen?” Looking at jobless claims, small...

The pontiff, who visits the US this week, has effectively used symbols in his communications to change the dialogue about the Roman Catholic Church. Photo by Tânia Rêgo for Agência Brasil, used under Creative Commons 3.0 Brazil license. By Mike Kuczkowski Imagine, if you will, a hypothetical scenario for the 2016 presidential election. After a tough series of primary battles, former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire[i], is drafted out of retirement by enthusiastic Democratic supporters into the South Carolina primary and secures...

The inscription page from the first edition of Ulysses by James Joyce, published in Paris by Shakespeare and Company in 1922. The book was banned for a decade in the United States on obscenity charges. By Mike Kuczkowski Today marks the 111th anniversary of the day on which James Joyce first went strolling around Dublin with his future wife, Nora Barnacle. Also, the date on which Joyce imagined a short story taking place that would follow an ad...

A chart from LaCour and Green's study of voter attitudes before and after they spoke with either a gay or straight canvasser about their views on same-sex marriage. These data are now disputed. (Source: Mike LaCour's web site, accessed May 27, 2015.) By Michael Kuczkowski “… just because the data don’t exist to demonstrate the effectiveness of this method of changing minds, doesn’t mean the hypothesis is false.” This sounds like a weird riff on a famous line from...

A pro-gay marriage rally in Sacramento in 2008. A recent study showed that engaging opponents to gay marriage in a dialogue about the issue was effective in changing minds. Photo by Kelly B. Huston. Used under Creative Commons license. By Michael Kuczkowski Years ago, I was part of a team that was hired to help a pharmaceutical company explain to America why its industry was a good thing. This was not an easy task, obviously. The pharmaceutical industry has...

By Mike Kuczkowski Last week, the coffee giant Starbucks launched a campaign encouraging its baristas to engage customers in a dialogue about race. Baristas around the country were encouraged to chat about race with their customers and write “Race Together" on each coffee cup. It was a bold move, not without risk, and it has drawn both praise and criticism. How do we evaluate a campaign like “Race Together”? I think it give us an opportunity to think about...

The Kinks's songs were often inspired by everyday scenes of British life, like this Waterloo Sunset. Photo by Steve Walker, is licensed under CC BY 2.0 By Mike Kuczkowski In the early 1960s, a band emerged from Great Britain that would change the very face of rock ‘n’ roll. Led by a dynamic duo, this band started its career by recording covers of songs by American R&B and blues artists. In the mid-1960s, they began penning their own tunes. Their third single...

By Mike Kuczkowski After Robin Williams’ death last week, many media outlets produced some fine tributes (and some have done some disgraceful things, too.) If you have not listened to Mark Maron’s podcast with Williams, you should. Having just published a piece about Philip Seymour Hoffman, I didn’t want to write about Williams at first. But, I realized that while people were talking a lot about Williams’ career and his legacy, there was a point to be made...

Last month, to evaluate Philip Seymour Hoffman's acting career, we created a framework called the Awardscore [1]. Here's a look at where Robin Williams ranks. Actor Age Noms Wins Oscar Noms Oscar Wins Awardscore Jack Nicholson 77 71 95 12 3 351 Daniel Day-Lewis 57 35 127 5 3 344 Tom Hanks 58 86 71 5 2 288 Denzel Washington 59 85 73 6 2 281 Philip Seymour Hoffman 46 64 88 4 1 270 Javier Bardem 45 53 91 3 1 260 Sean Penn 54 63 76 5 2 260 George Clooney 53 92 60 4 1 242 Leonardo DiCaprio 39 122 50 4 0 242 Robin Williams 63 60 70 4 1 220 Among the peer set of Best Actor nominees for the past 30 years, Williams ranks 10th. He is also arguably the greatest star to cross over from comedy to drama. While one could make the case that Tom Hanks similarly moved from sitcom acting...