Archive for the ‘Insights’ Category

A couple of email reminders

Posted in Insightson May 5, 2010

Recently I saw an email which was sent out to an entire organization, but it was only meant for that organization’s leadership.  What is bad, is that it contained some sensitive information which could embarrass some people.   These mistakes can be hard to avoid, but it reminds me of three practices which should always be followed when writing emails.

1. Always use a meaningful subject.  The incorrectly-addressed email had a subject of only “Hi.”  It should have had a more appropriate title like, “Leadership Meeting Notes from April 20.”  A meaningful subject helps the reader understand how urgently they should read the email.

2. Always address your audience at the beginning of the email. If you begin your email with, “Hi everyone…” as this email did, then everyone will think that the email is written to them.  If you instead begin your email with, “Hey leadership committee…” then people know if they should be reading the email or not.

3. Avoid emailing confidential information. Emails are too easily forwarded and archived.  Too many businesses and politicians have been burned by something that they emailed.  Once you send an email, you loose full control over who sees it.  It may be better to just say things in person.

Last September as the fall TV season was starting to roll, I made this prediction: Jay Leno’s new TV show wouldn’t be successful in a primetime slot.  My reasoning for my prediction is this, and I’m sticking to it:

In the Tonight Show time slot just after the late-night news, the competition is this: David Letterman (CBS) and Nightline (ABC).  All the shows at that hour are basically budget shows airing 5 nights a week.

Shifting to the primetime slot, 5 nights a week, just before the late-night news, and the competition is: CSI Miami, Castle,  The Good Wife, The Forgotten, CSI: NY, Ugly Betty, The Mentalist, Private Practice, NUMB3RS, and 20/20.

Basically, by airing Jay Leno 5 nights a week at primetime, NBC mistakenly thought that they could create a low budget show every day that could compete with higher budget shows which longer production cycles.

Tree Meeting

Tree Meeting

I’ve been in a lot of meetings that have failed. I’m not sure sure how to make meeting work, but I’m beginning to understand why they fail.

Forget the time cost of meetings. Take the number of people in your meeting and multiply by the time of the meeting. 12 people in a short 20 minute meeting costs the same as a half a day by one person. To make your meeting fail, never consider this calculation; always have the most people in the longest meeting possible.

Have meetings just because. Yesterday’s meeting failed, so there needs to be another meeting today. Have another meeting tomorrow to keep the trend going.  We all know that meetings are essential for work, so make sure you have as many as possible.

Communicate 1-0n-1 in large group meetings. If you have a lot of people to talk to, tracking them down and talking to them individually would make too much sense.  Instead, gather everyone you need into one large meeting.  During that meeting, go around the room and have a one-on-one discussion with each person.  Everyone else will surely be bored to death while they listen in on your discussion with someone else.

Darken the room so everyone can’t see you. You prepared two whole slides to use during your hour long presentation–you better turn off the lights for your whole 30-minute presentation so people can see your slides and not you.  You want to make sure you place undue importance on that slide containing inspirational quotes that probably could be skipped all together.  Making people squint to see you in the dark will help your meeting fail.  Lowering the lights will also have the added bonus of helping people feel sleepy during the meeting.

Avoid assignments. If you want your meetings to fail, about the last thing you want to do is to ask people to prepare for the meeting.  People should walk into a meeting with no idea of what it is about, and with no ideas, topics, or research to share.  Additionally, avoid making assignments during the meeting for work to be completed outside of the meeting.

Don’t read this book: Successful Meetings: How to Plan, Prepare, and Execute Top-Notch Business Meetings by Shri Henkel.  Of all the books I found at the library to improve meetings, this one was fairly short, straight forward, and easy to follow.  Anyone looking to have bad meetings should stay far away from this book.  It is available from or from the Square Galaxy Store.

(Image used under CC license from Flickr).

The shrinking of Halloween

Posted in Insightson Nov 10, 2009

I recently bought some peanut M&Ms that were on clearance at Target. They were in little “Fun Size” packages. Each fun size package contained an average of 8 peanut M&Ms. Wait a minute… getting only 8 M&Ms isn’t fun! False advertising. I seem to remember those little packages having more than 8 M&Ms in them when I was a kid. This is especially bad as there are only 6 different colors of M&Ms–you couldn’t even have two of every color.

So few M&Ms

So few M&Ms

I recently viewed the premier for the new SyFy Channel series, Stargate Universe.  While I generally felt pretty excited about it, I’m cautiously reserved because I think the new series has potential to disappoint–however, I hope I never see that disappointment.

I’ve come up with 5 things that Stargate Universe must do in order to avoid disappointment.
Read the rest of this entry »

All men are created equal

Posted in Insightson Sep 29, 2009

All men are created equal, and let us not forget who the creator is.

All men are free to choose, and let us not escape the consequences of our choices.

Are BYU police slow?

Posted in Insightson Jun 2, 2009

I’m noticing a trend in BYU’s police beats:

June 2:

  • “When University Police arrived, they found no one suspicious on the hill.”
  • “Officers couldn’t find anything upon arrival.”
  • ” The man was gone when an officer arrived.”
  • “The men were gone when officers arrived.”
  • “The male was gone when a university police officer arrived.”

May 27:

  • “Officers were unable to locate him upon arrival.”

May 19:

  • ” No suspects were found when officers arrived.”
  • “They were gone when officers arrived.”
  • “Officers could not find the woman or her children.”

Are BYU police just slow at arriving to the scene?  Usually the suspect is gone by the time officers arrive.  Here is a case where the suspect is found before officers arrive:

An athlete was missing from the NCAA track at the Special Olympics but was found before officers arrived at the site.