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Rob McLean
Guelph, Canada
Clear communication ideas from a writer, teacher, parent, husband, and semi-retired songwriter.
Recent Activity
It’s tough to be in business for yourself. Some friends and family will assume you have no safety net - and they might be right. You’re worried first about survival. Growth is your second concern, and if you’re lucky you may have to worry about managing success. And through it... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2018 at Rob's Blog
Many of my in-laws are professional seafarers. In this modern age I am always impressed by the grit required to seize your existence with the North Atlantic ocean as your essential partner. I was once surprised to learn that most old-school Newfoundland fisherman are completely unable to swim. It's not... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2018 at Rob's Blog
A 22-year-old University student approached me last week looking for a little career advice. Should he go to College after University to train for a practical skill? Should he use his degree to get a job in a company, and work his way up the ladder from there? Or, should... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2018 at Rob's Blog
I really dislike the term "rockstar," especially when it's used in a business context - as in "be a marketing rockstar" or "be a human resources rockstar." I know where my dislike of the term comes from - I was an aspiring singer-songwriter from a fairly young age, and I... Continue reading
Posted Jan 19, 2018 at Rob's Blog
I'm not that old, but I'm old enough that I have friends who are eyeing retirement. I also have friends who are eyeing University graduation, and while I know which side of the scale I'm closer to, I can see the similarities. Those who are approaching graduation have a world... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2018 at Rob's Blog
In the later years of the 2000s, I worked for a beer company that had a fairly successful "light beer" product in Europe, and we considered launching it in Canada too. I was reminded of our brand considerations at the time when I read about Diet Coke's rebranding, which was... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2018 at Rob's Blog
Concise communication can be much more impactful than long, detailed bodies of information. I have always felt that the best songwriters can say more in three minutes than many novelists. I remember trying to read Pierre Berton's books "The National Dream" and "The Last Spike" when I was a teenager.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2018 at Rob's Blog
The first day of class was always a tumultuous experience for me as a student, and it's even more so as a University instructor. The combination of excitement, novelty, nervousness and inevitability on that first day is a legitimate rush. Students may seem aloof and disengaged sometimes, but my experience... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2018 at Rob's Blog
There is much said about "The 1%" in popular culture, and most of it isn't good. In this context, "The 1%" are the wealthiest people in the world, a class that the rest of us in the remaining 99% will never be a part of. And yet, this "1%" of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2018 at Rob's Blog
It really isn't that difficult to earn the trust of others. The first step is to be trustworthy of course, but it helps to avoid saying things like "trust me" or "To be honest..." or "believe me." These phrases are key indicators that the speaker is in fact sharing untruths.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2018 at Rob's Blog
Remember television and radio advertising? It was that annoying marketing drivel that appeared between the songs or the shows, way back in the old days of commercial radio and television. There will soon be a generation that may never understand how broadcast advertising worked. Consumer subscriptions pay for content these... Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2018 at Rob's Blog
Communication is a creative act. There is an art to communication, but remember that art is never purely creative. The greatest artists are guided by a blend of pure creative talent and studied, practiced craft. It takes a lot of hard work, research, practice and understanding to be flawlessly creative.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2018 at Rob's Blog
If you ever want to boost your presentation and public speaking skills, I highly recommend that you jump into teaching. I'm currently entering my fourth semester next week teaching as a "sessional lecturer" at the University of Guelph. This means I'm writing hours of content and pages of PowerPoint slides... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2018 at Rob's Blog
I never thought about how truly random each New Year's Day is until Neil deGrasse Tyson reminded me of it in a tweet today. Great science communicators have a tough job to do. Sometimes they get to reveal things that are fascinating and important, but sometimes they have to kill... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2018 at Rob's Blog
It's New Year's Day, and Twitter is burning with productivity tips that tell you there's not a moment to waste on the road to achievement. I'm doing nothing today, and it's awesome. I'm usually pretty suspicious of advisors that suggest entrepreneurs and professionals should always be task-oriented. I agree there... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2018 at Rob's Blog
It takes hope, passion and leadership to communicate rage. Taking action with rage is easy, reactionary, often destructive, and rarely productive - but communicating rage requires a vision for the the future, coupled with the belief that one person’s words and ideas can effect real change. Communicated rage was a... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2017 at Rob's Blog
I often find it difficult to shift direction from a pattern that I have been following for years, even when my commitment to that path is lacking. I have been a very infrequent blogger over the years. The platform I used (Google's Blogger) was never really inspiring (though that has... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2017 at Rob's Blog
Any good idea grows through one person, one person at a time. Communicate to individuals, not a crowd. Continue reading
Posted Dec 29, 2017 at Rob's Blog
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Dec 29, 2017