The Benefits of Coffee, Meditation, Ditching Bullet Points, Saying Thank You and More

We’ll Drink to That

Perk up, coffee lovers — there’s good news brewing on the java front.

If you’re one of those junkies who can’t start the workday without a cup or three of coffee, this should put a little more pep in your step as you pour a little more liquid in your mug: Coffee appears to be useful in fighting obesity.

So says new research published in June in the journal Scientific Reports. According to the research conducted at the University of Nottingham in England, the caffeine in coffee can stimulate your body’s “brown fat,” which — at the risk of oversimplifying things here — is the fat that burns calories. Essentially, coffee can stimulate brown fat in the same way that exercise stimulates brown fat, although, if we’re being honest, a half-hour on a treadmill still is going to be more effective than a third trip to the local coffee shop.

By the same token, doctoring your coffee with, say, four lumps of sugar, a flavored syrup and a dollop of whipped cream probably would offset any benefits you might derive from the caffeine, so drink responsibly and let the caffeine do its thing.


Nifty Shades of Gray

Talk about a case of mind over matter.

Neuroscientists have determined that 50-year-olds can have the same amount of gray matter in their brains as someone half their age by doing one simple thing — meditating. While it’s long been known that meditation can be a significant stress reliever for people of any age, this is something new.

According to the research conducted in 2018 by neuroscientist Sara Lazar of Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 50-year-olds who practice meditation have more gray matter in their frontal cortex — the region of the brain linked to decision making and working memory — than those who don’t meditate. Not only are they defying the normally expected shrinkage of their cortexes as they age, but they’re maintaining roughly the same amount of gray matter as 25-year-olds.

The research also noted shrinkage of the amygdala, a brain region associated with fear, anxiety and aggression.

In Lazar’s study, participants meditated an average of 27 minutes a day, but you can meditate less and still see positive changes.

“It’s a lot like exercise,” Lazar said. “Exercising three times a week is great. But if all you can do is just a little bit every day, that’s a good thing, too.”


These Bullets Can Kill

Here’s a surefire way to ruin your next presentation: Create a list of bullet points, project them onto a screen and read them to your audience.


Seriously, if all you’re going to do is recite a simple PowerPoint presentation, your presentation will lack power, so what’s the point? You’re wasting your time and everyone else’s, too.

Business coach Jason Aten, writing for Inc. in June, denounced such presentations as boring and ineffective.

“Sometimes it’s because of a lack of preparation, or perhaps confidence, but either way, it’s not a good look,” Aten wrote. “It also makes your audience feel like you must not think their time is important or you would have put more thought and preparation into your presentation.”

Aten goes on to offer three suggestions for a more powerful presentation:

  1. Use stories, not bullet points. Stories engage your audience, while bullet points disengage. Bring your points to life with characters, action and feeling.
  2. Show, don’t tell. Photos and graphics are more visually impactful than mere words. “People are far more likely to remember photos,” Aten wrote, “and when they do, they’ll remember what you were talking about.”
  3. Look at your audience, not your slides. How can you connect with your audience if you’re both looking at a screen? Your presentation should be rehearsed enough that you don’t have to stare at the screen. “Look at your audience with confidence,” Aten said, “and tell them the story that will change their lives.”

Hear Them Roar

Working women are on the brink of another milestone.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019 is expected to be the first year in which women constitute a majority of the college-educated workforce. As of the first quarter of the year, the number of college-educated women in the labor force reached 29.5 million, surpassing the 29.3 million college-educated working men.

“This milestone matters for women because educational attainment is highly correlated with income,” the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C., wrote in an analysis of the data. “Women now comprise 50.2% of the college-educated labor force, up from 45.1% in 2000.”

The salary numbers speak for themselves. According to Pew, the typical college-educated woman earns approximately $51,600 annually, compared with only $36,000 for women overall.

“(Women) are making inroads in the upper echelon of the labor market,” Pew reported. “The growing number of college-educated women in the labor force translates into greater earning potential for women overall and could eventually contribute to the narrowing of the gender wage gap.”


You’re in for a Tweet

Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms out there, but do you know who is tweeting and how much?

The Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center took a look, surveying nearly 2,800 U.S. adult Twitter users. And while some of Pew’s results, which were reported in June, likely won’t surprise you, others probably will.

First, only 22% of American adults, or about one in every five, use Twitter. They tend to be younger — certainly no surprise there — and they’re more highly educated, have higher incomes than U.S. adults overall and are more likely to identify as Democrats.

The breakdown of how much people tweet may raise some eyebrows. According to Pew, the 10% of Twitter users who are the most active — who consistently post the most tweets — account for some 80% of all tweets created by U.S. tweeters. That means a small percentage of Twitter users are doing a lot of tweeting. About 65% of these prolific tweeters are women.

How often does the median user tweet? Twice a month. The median user also favorites only one tweet a month, follows 89 accounts and has a paltry 25 followers.

What does all of this mean? For a more in-depth analysis of the results, visit and type “Twitter” in the search bar.

Is “Thank You” Enough?

As a business leader, you probably understand the importance of thanking your employees for a job well done, but it’s not always that simple.

The accounting firm Deloitte, headquartered in New York, released in June 2019 the results of a survey of more than 16,000 professionals, focusing on how employees like to be recognized and rewarded for their efforts. Here are a few of the significant takeaways:

  • Some 75% of people say a simple “thank you” will suffice for their daily work, although 36% of women say they’d like to see that gratitude in writing.
  • Even for larger tasks, money isn’t necessarily the best reward. Most workers say they would prefer a new growth opportunity as their reward.
  • In addition to major accomplishments, employees also want to be recognized for such things as their effort, their knowledge and expertise, and their commitment to the company’s core values.
  • Most people prefer to be recognized privately.

How are you doing when it comes to saying thank you? Whether it’s literally saying “thank you” or rewarding employees in another manner, there’s no question it’s an important way of making them feel they’re important to your company.

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