Lessons from this year’s Portland Communicators Conference

I had the pleasure of attending the Portland Communicators Conference on May 3, presented by the Oregon chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. Here are a few of the many gems I learned that day:

1) Our mind makes 35,000 decisions each day.
2) Today’s children don’t expect to wait for anything.
3) When an organization takes action as a result of feedback from its employees, productivity goes up.
4) When conducting an employee survey, only seek information that the organization can act upon.
5) Anchoring bias is when people tend to believe the first bit of information they receive, even if it’s inaccurate. Therefore, if your organization has news to share, make sure you be the one to tell your employees first.
6) We seek out information that confirms our beliefs.
7) We crave positive news.
8) Certainty kills creativity (we see that when we hand articles to the Legal Department for review).
9) When making a speech, it’s not only the script that matters. It’s also how the words are delivered.
10) There are four fatal assumptions you can make when giving a presentation: A) The audience will actually understand what you’re saying. B) The audience will agree with what you’re saying. C) The audience will care about what you’re saying. D) The audience will take appropriate action based on what you’re saying.
11) Great leaders are adaptive communicators, constantly hone their “how” skills and they make the complex simple.
12) Presenters focus more on the “what” and not enough on the “how” when they speak.

The conference, which I co-founded in 1996, included an excellent keynote panel in the afternoon that featured three members of the Portland Business Journal news staff. I’ll write about the great advice they shared in a future blog.

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