31 July 17 -

Super8: Eight intriguing articles from July.

Do more, learn more and be better. It sounds so easy, right? The reality is that change can be challenging. There’s a lot of effort involved in evolution, whether you’re just gently nudging things for the better or shooting for wholesale transformation.

Never fear. I’ve curated a selection of excellent articles to help you spread your wings and fly high on the winds of change. From fine-tuning your listening skills to techniques for more potent persuasion, Super8 in July is all about empowering you to improve. Let’s do it.

1. The secret to writing killer product copy.

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  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Dave Gerhardt.  
  • Contributor: Athalia Foo.  

While products themselves seem to evolve at light speed, product writing seems like it’s stuck in the 90s. You don’t need to be a professional writer to write like a human. The key is not in conveying entire ideas, but rather communicating enough so a reader sticks around for more.

Need help keeping it simple? You can find inspiration for customer-driven copywriting from unexpected places where real people are talking: Tweets, Quora and even Amazon reviews.

2. Are you listening?

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  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Gui Curi.  
  • Contributor: Mark Davis. 

Remember the last time you had a really awesome conversation with someone. Be selective. Now, do you recall how that person listened to you? Listening is more than just waiting for the other person to finish speaking.

The quality of our listening has a profound impact on how others feel.

When our ability to listen is so limited, we are certainly narrowing our chances of feeling good, because of course, if you’re not listening to someone, that probably means that someone is not listening to you too.

However, the reality is, active listening can be an uphill battle against everyday distractions and lack of focus. We hear you. Try these techniques for effective listening and improve your personal and professional relationships.

3. Let’s stop talking about THE design process.

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  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Carissa Carter.  
  • Contributor: Daniel Banik.

Design is about solving problems and every problem is different. Each project comes with particular idiosyncrasies, opportunities and circumstances. There’s no fixed, global solution, so the design process should be equally flexible.

What’s the value of doing things differently? How can we avoid straying into formulaic processes? What’s the difference between a cook and a chef? And how is that remotely relevant to design? It’s all here.

4. The three words that make brainstorming more productive.

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  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Leah Fessler.  
  • Contributor: Kurt Smith. 

Some of the greatest ideas come from collaboration. But brainstorming can be a tricky business. If you’re in a session where everyone wants to contribute but the creative juice just isn’t flowing, try asking ‘how might we’.

Ultimately, the best ideas come when we build on one another’s propositions, but this requires active listening, not jockeying for your turn to speak.

The word ‘how’ asks for description, ‘might’ suggests more than one solution and ‘we’ asks for input from the entire team. It’s a simple phrase to encourage ideas born of collaboration, variety and optimism.

5. How to retain user engagement after a website redesign.

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  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Icons8. 
  • Contributor: Jamie Fraser.

If you’re on the cusp of change, whether personal or in the workplace, it’s important to consider the qualities you’d like to retain throughout the transformation. This article outlines five examples of redesigns that failed to meet the mark.

User engagement can be elusive, especially when it’s attributed to an online presence, website or community. Consider analytics, user feedback and the power of incremental change instead of making a radical transition that could be too much too soon.

6. I’ve got three good reasons why you should read this article.

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  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Ameet Ranadive. 
  • Contributor: JD Santiago.  

We’re often inundated with information and calls to make nimbler decisions, so we love an article that helps streamline the process.

Let us break it down for you. It’s a quick, simple read. You’ll learn to sound more structured, confident and decisive when you speak. The Rule of Three is a simple tip to help persuade people to make big decisions.

When applying The Rule of Three, you aren’t perceived as waffling, unsure, or confusing—you are perceived as decisive, certain, and clear.

Piqued your interest? Here’s how you apply it.

7. Pain in the machine.

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  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Little Dragon Films. 
  • Contributor: Aziza Mohamed.

Pain has a purpose: it exists to warn us of danger in our environments. We use pain to respond, survive and self-preserve. But it’s more than a physical response, pain is linked to empathy and feeling.

This complex elixir of emotion is considered inherently human—until now. ‘Pain in the Machine’ is a video by Little Dragon Films that explores whether there’s a way for robots to experience a true form of pain, probing the practical and ethical implications of AI in our world.

8. What’s the point of self improvement anyway?

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  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Mark Manson.  
  • Contributor: Isabel Silvis.

Mark Manson opens this article with a paradox: the ultimate goal of all self-improvement is to reach the point where you no longer feel the need to improve yourself. But before you get comfortable, try a little inward reflection.

The only way to truly achieve one’s potential, to become fully fulfilled, or to become ‘self-actualised’, is to, at some point, stop trying to be all of those things.

How do you approach change? Are you a self-improvement junkie, or just a tourist passing through?

An article that doesn’t view self-improvement as a transformation, but a bandage. You put it on, let it heal you, then move on with the rest of your life.