The best camera to buy. Ever.

eye-to-eye with a lens

eye-to-eye with a lens

Because I’m often seen as a photographer, my friends sometimes ask me what can be done to improve their photos. And if their questions are about what equipment to buy, I often steer them first toward the debate regarding “photography = science + art.”

For those who haven’t heard that one, photography is a balance between two parts, science and art. The science : light, equipment, and mechanics. The art: composition, timing, light, balance and contrast, and story. My point? Too often, people concentrate on Continue reading

How to break writer’s block – Part 2

Are you curious how our writer did on her writer’s block problem? Yesterday, I posted a blog entry on a writer (whom I’ll call “Jay”) facing writer’s block and impending deadlines.

Today, I checked in with Jay and learned the first draft went out to a first reviewer, at a whoppin’ 1,300 word count! Yeah, I’d say the block was broken.

jay's mindmap

jay's mindmap

Jay appreciated the following tips from our brainstorming and mindmapping session. Jay shared that before our session:

“I was overwhelmed on what was important and where to start. During our session, I was able to spit out a lot of topics and then organize afterwards…By seeing the topics in front of me instead of floating around in my head…it made it easier to focus and prioritize the information.”

So, stay tuned for a follow-up post on Jay’s final production piece, as the deadline to production approaches.

How to break writer’s block – Part 1

A fellow writer just mentioned getting stuck in writer’s block. It happens to all of us. So, I spent 10 minutes helping the writer (whom I’ll call “Jay”) overcome writer’s block. How?

I had Jay list the obstacles on sticky notes. “What is keeping me from crossing that divide between here and the finished product?”

why Jay's stuck

why Jay's stuck

Once Jay saw them written, he/she either (a) knew that it was real and had a plan to overcome it or (b) realized it wasn’t a real obstacle after all.

With that out of the way, I had Jay mindmap the written project. In ten minutes, we had an outline of four key points and the four solutions, an intro, and an ending.

Jay had been stuck on the headline. So we put “headline” as a mindmap topic and left it blank for now.

I’ll write a follow-up post on Jay’s progress in a few days. Stay tuned.

Share. Play nicely!

geewhiz was taught to play nicely.

geewhiz was taught to play nicely.

Do you facilitate training or brainstorming meetings? Read the ten groundrules for participants, and see how the simple geewhizkid brain translated them into three rules for preschoolers.
(simplified on

Geewhiz, I am a geek!

Our Information Technology division is world class! To help the rest of our company know all that they do to contribute to our success, they held a Geek Expo today. I got a pocket protector to show for my efforts.

geek logo by Adrienne

geek logo by Adrienne

Yes, I visited all the booths, learned quite a bit about application architecture, database administration, technology procurement, service levels, capacity management.
But I was most captivated by the PIE. Apple pie. Well, actually one department created a clever TLA (three-letter-acronym) to tell the world that they help us Protect, Innovate, and Empower. Very creative. In keeping with their theme, they wore chef aprons and toques and served slices of pie (and the crust was flakey and yummy).

Oh yeah, like all other attendees, I was entered into a drawing to win a Nintendo Wii, Blackberry Pearl, and other cool geek prizes. Doesn’t it make sense that a winner at the Geek Expo ought to be someone with “Gee” in his name? (hint-hint to the prize ticket puller.)

Tips n Tricks to Power Your Next Project

Good friend and Mind Manager power user Dina Henry-Scott, Sr. Project Manager, was recently featured in Mindjet’s user vignettes.

When asked to complete the phrase “I use MindManager to…” her reply was:

… Plan projects, set agendas & take notes at meetings, brainstorm new ideas for Podcast topics, provide show notes to my Podcast interview guests, map out my life goals, take notes for classes, clear my mind and get my thoughts down on paper … you name it, I pretty much use MindManager to do it.

Brainstorming, thinking, note-taking, idea-capturing, thought-linking, visualization…the list is endless. Apply the practice today and discover the benefits as your team leaps a level in creativity, efficiency, and productivity.

Related Posts

New winter header photo

With the cold night frost turning the lawn a crisp white, I turned my attention to the header photo image on my geewhiz blog.
I was about to put up a photo of a beautiful white forest and lake by photographer Jeff Klassen and suddenly realized I was about to violate his copyright. OK. I’ve deleted the image. But, visit his site from whence this image would have come from. G’head and click that thumbnail image to see his other photos.

Until I shoot my own winter white photos, I’ll leave you with an image of Lisa in the snow.

This is a great time to educate the new bloggers that one of the cool features to look for in a blog theme is the customizability of the photo image in the header. If you have followed Geewhiz through recent blog entries, you’ve noticed I periodically changed the photo in the header. The PressRow WordPress theme I use (thank you, designer Chris Pearson) allows customizable header photos.

So, toss another log on the fire, grab a mug o’ hot cocoa, wrap that blankie a little tighter around your shoulders, and sing along to “Chestnuts, Roasting on an Open Fire.”

Good PowerPoint design

Instead of just “rebranding” our new employee orientation slides, a team is giving them an extreme makeover. I’m excited to report that the team is saying “no more boring bullet point slides!”
I’m jazzed that we’re considering overall presentation flow, identifying key takeaway messages, reminding ourselves of the mental perspective of a new employee, and connecting that audience regardless of their division or department.
For starters, check out Presentation Zen’s summary of (continued)

The Power of Visual Presentations

Coincidentally following my recent post about the poor use of presentation software, I was delighted by the visual style and delivery of our new CEO and his team of presenters at our recent corporate -wide staff meeting.

Gone were the typical bullet points, pie charts and bar charts of regional sales, and overused company-logo-based background themes. Instead, our eyes were treated to high-quality visual images that supported the messages, in non-traditional asymmetric page layouts that intentionally bled images off the edge.

Continue reading

Do you run brainstorming sessions like futbol or paintball?

Why do some creative teams run brainstorming sessions like futbol instead of paintball?


I first thought of this analogy while channel surfing between a futbol match and a paintball game on TV. Both were at world-class competitive levels. In both sports, you could argue that, to win, you must score more goals than the other team.

Surfing to the futbol match, the score was 0-0. On the paintball channel, a quick win, I saw hundreds of paintball splats all over the field (missed shots), and several shots that hit the intended targets, wiping out the opposing team of seven players. Back at futbol, the score was still 0-0.

So how does this relate to brainstorming?

Continue reading

5 ways to reduce PowerPoint overload

Bored by 50-slide presentations that drone on, bullet by bullet, slide by slide? Having a hard time keeping audience interest in your point. Then start practicing these five research-based techniques for reducing PowerPoint overload: Continue reading

Mind your Maps (or is it: Map your Mind?)

What is the first application open on your PC? Mine is not one of the usual suspects (Infernal Exploder, MS Weird, LookOut, Exile, PowerPointless).

It’s MindManager by Mindjet. I mind map everything. My work demands that I brainstorm, analyze, organize, re-arrange, outline, categorize, or present information. MindManager does all of that.

With this tool I can: Continue reading