Thursday, May 25, 2006

Check out this excellent example of follow up

This month, I gave a talk for the NYC chapter of the Usability Professionals' Association and spent some time beforehand chatting with one of the attendees about all sorts of things. I followed up a few days later via email and he responded with one of the most "usable" or thoughtful messages I've received in a while.

My point is that Larry not only remembered clearly what we discussed but also went out of his way to include more details and links where I can find out more about the resources he mentioned. How often do you do that?

Here is the message I got (his comments are italicized):
> Great presentation. My 2 big take aways were
> 1) making yourself usable == self-promotion
> 2) my company name will come from my clients
> When I heard that you were planning on having a hip replacement, I
> recommended several things:
> a) Alexander technique -- to relearn movement patterning
> b) Rolfing -- redo your structural integration
> c) Laban Movement Analysis (LMA)
> I would recommend Hope Martin for Alexander.
( Hope Martin Studio for the Alexander Technique
39 West 14th St. Room 508, Tel: 212 243-3867 ) While I haven't used her, she comes recommended from my exposure to the Shambala Center (

> LMA is not really a clinical or therapeutic technique but rather a rich awareness that informs many different approaches related to movement. The book I mentioned was: Movement And Making Decisions: The Body-mind Connection In The Workplace
> (

If you're interested, I'll dig thru my notes and find a contact.

> > And there was a reference to the Laban work in Malcolm Gladwell's article in last week's New Yorker article about the Dog Whisperer. Did you see that?
> I saw the article; He has a show on the National Geographic channel!
> Hmm, I just made the connection that, this 'Malcolm Gladwell' wrote "blink" and "The Tipping Point" !
> regards,
> Larry

This is related to an idea I'm developing about "personal usability" -- that is making yourself more usable to others, making it easier to work with you, connect with you, communicate with you. I wrote a short article on the topic earlier this year which was published in the UPA's User Experience Magazine (Volume 5, Issue #1, 2006). That hasn't been posted yet online but if you want a copy, email me at

Do you have other examples of personal usability?


Blogger - Franis said...

I'm a teacher of Alexander Technique, which is how a search came up with your blog posting here. I've written the Alexander Technique article for

Strangely enough, sometimes giving people all the information they need at once is not so constructive - for certain people. Of course if someone has directly asked for such information, it is more than kind to remember to deliver it. Because I have been an information collector with a high ability to come up with creative/useful ideas and suggestions, I have learned to allow people to indicate to me that they are ready for a certain amount of information at any particular time. Delivering some information with an invitation for more contact has become a better strategy for someone such as myself, to lessen the "flood" of information that can overwhelm people.

I've also learned to leave the door open to having the person allow me to contact them in the future by telling them I have more to offer them.

However, I also wanted to tell you about my experience with using Alexander Technique for other objectives than rehabilitation for which it's so commonly used in the UK.

As a student of Alexander Technique, the first application that I used Alexander Technique for was to change my way of talking when the subject came to money. Without my realizing it, people seemed to be reticent to give me my required half of the estimate up front for some mysterious reason that turned out to be my own mannerisms of speaking.
My father was Danish, so I had learned to speak by modulating my voice up and down for dramatic effect as a matter of course. From studying my voice mannerisms via Alexander Technique in a classroom of students, I suddenly noticed how different my natural vocal patterns were from the prevailing culture. This new awareness led me to change my way of modulating my voice and talk in a more controlled monotone when the subject of money came up. With this change, strange business owners suddenly handed their money to me for my services without hesitation.

1:24 AM  

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