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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...

By Katie Halper-Bogusky Someone hands you flowers as you step up to the top tier of a three-tiered Olympic rostrum. You can hardly hear your country’s national anthem over the deafening cheers from the crowd. You wave to thousands of people in the arena and millions around the globe as your country’s flag is raised behind you. You’ve been here before. In fact, you’ve already done this 27 times. You are the most decorated Olympian in history....

By Diana Dopfel Communicating scientific information is complex. Most of us aren’t scientific experts, otherwise there would be a lot more science in the world. Scientific information is also constantly evolving. Our understanding of the impacts of climate change has evolved dramatically in the past four decades, even if some still question the data. After all, the top scientists in the world once thought the earth was flat, and now we know definitively it’s not. (Though even...

By Mike Kuczkowski The official birth of Orangefiery was 2014, which means we’ve now been in business for five years. Boy, that was quick. A lot has happened, both in business and in life. In thinking about the passage of time, I’ve been reflecting on two sticky notes in my office, each of which has particular significance. The first is a piece of flip chart paper from 2014 that was the result of a one-man brainstorming session about...

By Mike Kuczkowski In 2003, I wrote a 367-word biography of Alexander Hamilton for Columbia University as part of the Columbia 250 celebration. I remember struggling with it and the 30 or so other biographies we had committed to write for the launch of the Columbia 250 web site (an innovative idea back then). How to tell the story in what was supposed to be 250 words of such an accomplished, intelligent, intriguing and comparatively underappreciated figure? So...

By Mike Kuczkowski   It was, according to Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli, “a great business decision that also benefits all of our stakeholders.” Not so fast, buddy. Shkreli was referring to his company’s decision to raise the price of Daraprim, a treatment for toxoplasmosis it had recently acquired, from $13.50 to $750 per pill. Some 60 million Americans carry the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, but most people are unaffected by it. For those with suppressed immune systems, however, like...

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...

To understand Donald Trump’s lead in the polls, look closely at the narrative he’s constructing about himself – and America. Photo by Gage Skidmore. Used under Creative Commons license.   By Mike Kuczkowski It was January 2004, and I was meeting with my boss when a colleague knocked on the door and popped in. “Hey, did you see ‘The Apprentice’ last night?” My boss and I looked at each other and smirked. “No.” The smirk was telling. The program, which was...

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 man, Leopold Bloom, around Dublin. Which, Joyce later expanded into the 18-chapter, 768-page epic novel “Ulysses.” Which, according to the Modern Library, is considered the greatest English-language novel of the 20th century. Which, was...

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...