President, Edison House

Michael Angelo Caruso teaches people how to sharpen their presentations.

He is President of Edison House, a Michigan-based consulting company and author of the 5 Cool Ideas books, the FastLearnerAudio CDs, and the Present Like a Pro DVD.

Whether verbal or viral, communication is a key ingredient to business growth.

Craft the right message, present the content in an original way, and you may even become a recognized expert.

Communication will focus on crafting the right message for your key audience and potential clients.

Being Politically Correct in Metro Detroit

Right now, one of the finest county executives in the country is in big trouble for being politically incorrect.

The city of Detroit is getting lots of media attention these days. 

As someone who lives about three miles from “The D,” I’d like to say that people are buzzing about Detroit’s promising comeback after decades of decline.

Alas, most people are still writing and talking about how much trouble the city is in. Detroit is the largest U.S. city to ever file for bankruptcy. Its former mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, is in prison for a bunch of bad things.

One day last fall, a reporter from The New Yorker visited L. Brooks Patterson, the man who runs Oakland County. Ostensibly, the ...

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Beyoncé Reinvents Marketing (And So Can You)

When I was in the music business, my band — the Caruso Brothers — would do just about anything to get coverage in a newspaper.

In the Twitter age, smart bands and musicians have figured out that they are the newspaper.

Um, correction — there is no newspaper.

Indeed, social marketing is the new frontier, as Beyoncé proved with the release of her latest CD. The campaign was more of a non-release actually, turning traditional marketing upside down and inside out.

For starters, Team Beyoncé did not announce an official release date for the album and she didn’t launch it through traditional channels. The ...

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5 Tips for More Effective Email Marketing

1. Make the Subject line a microcosm of what’s happening in the body of the email.  “SAVE THE DATE!!!” doesn’t inform, it just shouts.

2. The best Subject lines — the ones that get opened — are written in teaser language and often include a positive adjective, e.g., “Hey, save this date — You don’t want to miss this fun event!”

3. Yes, ALL CAPS in a Subject line is not only considered shouting according to standard email etiquette, it’s a spam indicator in most Boolean formulas.

4. The date, the most important detail you want to convey, is not only missing from the Subject line, it’s missing from the body. No doubt your strategy was to get recipients to click ...

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5 Bad Decisions in a Row

Everyone makes mistakes.

While it’s true that any one mistake can have catastrophic results, most bad decisions are of middling consequence.

In other words, one bad decision won’t usually reroute your life too much. But make five bad decisions in succession and you could be on the road to ruin. This is true in business as well as in life.

For example, a couple weeks ago, three local men in their early 20s got together for an evening of fun. We know from what happened that at least one of the guys was bad news, so it can be said that it wasn’t  a good idea to hang out with him. (Bad Decision  No. 1).

The three made a decision to drink in public (Bad Decision  No. 2). They grabbed some beers and ...

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The Art of Being Succinct

Short beats long almost every time. From presidential speeches to blogs, society seems to prefer brief to bellicose. But keeping things short is not easy.

The late Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today, wrote more than 2,000 consecutive weekly "Plain Talk" columns for the newspaper. He did this every week for almost 25 years. Each article was always 300 words or fewer. Nueharth said that his first draft of 500 words or more came relatively easy, but pruning the article down to 300 words often took two or three hours.

There is no short cut to being short. Even famous people struggled with brevity. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said it took him about an hour to write a one-hour speech, but two hours or more to pen a 30-minute ...

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Top 5 Travel Tips For Edward Snowden

I just enjoyed my busiest spring travel season on record.

It culminated with a speaking engagement in Lisbon at an international convention where I addressed an audience of 1,500 people. There I gave a talk titled, “The Amazing Power of Story: Using Narrative to Motivate, Inspire, and Sell.” My talk was translated into five languages in real time: French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Italian.

Yes, the economy back. Yes, people are interested in improving their presentations skills, so I’m getting lots of work. But my larger point is that in order to enjoy travel, you must have a good attitude about it. Sadly, most folks have a bad attitude about travel. For instance, Edward Snowden has been away from home a lot lately. He ...

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Facebook: Only One Tool on the Tool Belt

Use this social media platform to drive traffic to a website that really means something to you, such as your blog or website.  Of course, it's not that you post on Facebook, it's what you post on Facebook.

Video — particularly video that is uploaded to Facebook — will get you a lot of attention.

Check out this interview conducted by Cindy Kainz on her locally produced, “The Bottom Line” TV show (

Of course, that same video can be posted to Linkedin (, TwitterRead more | Comments comments

Not Marketing on Facebook is Often a Selfish Decision

Online marketing can be very effective, especially on Facebook.

Most customers and prospects don't care for traditional marketing, often referred to as direct selling. But Facebook marketing, when done correctly, is a kind of non-direct marketing in that it employs subtle selling techniques such as the "incidental credential" and a concept called "social proof."

Think of it this way. Traditional marketing takes its cues from the once popular door-to-door salesman, who knocked on your front door with his sample vacuum cleaner or a set of encyclopedias. Salesmen only came to the front door of the house.  Today, that man is no longer welcome in your home.

Metaphorically speaking, Facebook marketing visits the ...

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5 Cool Ideas for How to Manage Time

Time was in the news last week when the sequestration deadline caused massive cuts to the Federal budget. Also last week, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder decided that time had run out for the City of Detroit and declared the state’s largest city’s finances to be a financial emergency.

Both instances remind us that time is a precious resource.

I have no timesaving ideas for you. Time, in fact, cannot be saved. Hyrum Smith, founder of the Franklin Planner time management system, tells of a man who approached him to say, "I wish I lived a hundred years ago when they had more time."

Indeed, everyone has the same amount of time and people who manage their time always have enough time. Here are 5 Cool ...

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Why your Boss Determines your Paycheck

Why your Boss Determines your Paycheck

About a hundred years ago,  Henry Ford had a serious problem.

Employee turnover at his Ford Motor Company automobile manufacturing plants was around 400 percent. He was paying workers $2.34 for nine hours of work. In an effort to stem employee turnover and pay Ford employees enough money to buy the cars they made, Mr. Ford raised workers' salaries to the unheard of sum of $5 a day.

Although the higher wage seems a pittance by today's standards, the offer was actually quite generous at the time. The idea worked. Over 10,000 people soon showed up at the company's Highland Park, Michigan facility to apply for jobs.

The $5 per day offer set the tone for our compensation model today. In most modern day ...

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The Six Levers of Influence

Persuasion is part science, which means that by studying the data, you can become more influential and even a better salesperson.

Robert Cialdini, author of Influence, has studied the concept for decades and has identified six ways that you can leverage your power of persuasion.

They are Reciprocity, Authority, Social Proof, Commitment, Liking and Scarcity. To remember them, think “RASCLS.”

1.  Reciprocation
This tried-and-true method of persuasion is as old as dirt. It’s completely transparent to the recipient, meaning everybody knows the trick is being used, yet they engage almost every time. Think about the nice lady in the supermarket who offers you a piece of meat or ...

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5 Cool Ideas for Becoming a Better Speaker

We live in an age of instant gratification, don't we?

When acquiring a skill, it's best to immerse yourself in the discipline and allow yourself to grow into the new skill set through dedicated study, trial-and-error, and by monitoring feedback loops.

But when your boss asks you to assemble an awesome presentation for a major client in just a few hours, you may want to skip that whole growing and discipline part.

Want to be a great speaker, like, tomorrow?

Here are 5 cool ideas that will help you become a better speaker quite quickly.

1.  Search for speakers in your line of work. Focus on people who are  better presenters than you so you can learn from them. If you happen ...

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The Weaker Person Controls the Relationship

It would be nice if relationships with people were always easy and fun like on Mayberry RFD, but they are not.

Psychology, back-stories, and poor communication often complicate friendships. Couples face more serious challenges.

It seems like the Official Relationship Guidebook must be a million pages long. Some strategies only work with some types of people. Some concepts only work once in a blue moon.

A few guidelines are even counter-intuitive.

So why does the weaker person usually win?

One relationship tenant has proven particularly difficult to grasp: The weaker person usually controls the relationship.

How can this be?

Well, for starters, strong individuals do not feel the need to ...

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5 Cool Ideas for Remembering What You Read

Time is valuable. Good information is valuable. That’s why we need to be better at comprehending and remembering what we read. The Information Age assures us that information is readily available but most of us would rather not have to read stuff more than once in order to have it stick. Here are 5 Cool Ideas for remembering what you read.

1. Ask yourself questions as you read.
My brothers and I played cops and robbers when we were young. When play-acting, the “dying” person used to utter the phrase, “All the money in the world is in the  ...” just before expiring. This tantalizing phrase prompted the question, “Where is all the money in the world?”  When reading, prepare your brain ...

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5 Cool Ideas for Dealing With Difficult People

They service us, we work with them, we commute with them, and some of us even live with them. Difficult people are everywhere. In my seminars, I teach people how to deal with specific types of difficult people, which I name after animals because they have  animal traits. Here are 5 Cool Ideas for dealing with difficult people.

1.  Understand and accept your personal power.

Predatory personalities will often try to leverage their influence on you. Bosses will try to leverage their position power. Large people may try to intimidate you with physical power. It's important for you to remember that you have a huge amount of personal power, which can trump all other types of power, if used strategically ...

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5 Cool Ideas for Developing Relationships

Heinz Prechter, the man who brought the sunroof to the American automobile industry, died a while back. He was a tremendous person and I learned a lot from him. In honor of Mr. Prechter, here are 5 Cool Ideas for developing relationships.

1.  People love for you to be proud.
The five most effective words you can use to build a relationship with someone are "I am proud of you." If you do not use these words every day, you are not telling people what they want and need to hear. "Tell me more about yourself," runs a close second. Be proud of everyone. Be proud of your employees and your co-workers and your boss. Be proud of your customers, your vendors, and your associates.


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5 Cool Ideas for Dealing With Critics

When I was young, I toured the country in a rock band. Although our band was popular, we endured the wrath of critics. It seems that everyone has an opinion on music, and I experienced critics that worked in the media, critics in our audiences, and even critics in my neighborhood. As a professional speaker and published author, critics are still in my life. Here are 5 Cool Ideas for dealing with critics:


1.  Patterned criticism can be more valuable than isolated criticism.

Isolated diatribes may contain useful information, but consider it an education when the same types of criticism arrive from different sources. One episode of criticism in February may not be as important ...

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5 Cool Ideas on How to Be More Credible

Being more credible means you will be more persuasive.  You'll be more influential in getting people to do what you want them to do.  This will be helpful if you are in sales, management or if you are the parent of a teenager.  Here are 5 Cool Ideas on how to be more credible.

1.  Read and listen to good information.

Carry a professional development book with you for three weeks.  You don't have to read the book, just be seen with it.  People will almost instantly find you more credible.  I actually read the books I carry.  Every year, I process over 30 books, reading 15 and listening to 25 audio books.  Recent titles include Good to Great (good is the enemy of ...

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5 Cool Ideas on Why Coaching is Better Than Bossing

We tend to coach the people who are most important to us.  Sometimes we coach the people on our work team.  Sometimes we are coaching our teenagers or other members of our family.  Coaching, an informal method of teaching, benefits both parties.  Bossing can be an adversarial arrangement whereas coaching is most likely a relationship based in advocacy.  Here are 5 Cool Ideas on why coaching is better than bossing. 

1.  The “dialogue method” of teaching is fun. 

The “dialogue method” has been traced back to Aristotle.  The Harvard Business School adopted the “dialogue method” of teaching in 1924.  Less lecture-oriented than traditional teaching, ...

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5 Cool Ideas for Sucking Up to Your Boss

If you want your boss to notice you, you must distinguish yourself from other employees. Volunteer for work that no one else wants to do. Send thank you cards. Share information and continue to improve. Here are 5 Cool Ideas for sucking up to your boss.

1.  Continue to make yourself unique and distinct.
All employees have value, but some employees have more value than others. Find strategic ways to create more value in your communication skill set.

2.  Always be the first to volunteer.
Heroes do what no one else wants to do. Always be the first to volunteer. Volunteer for any and all duties. Remember that heroes do things that no one else is willing to do. Constantly ...

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