Sherlock Holmes

The Utility of a Fact Magnet

Sherlock Holmes claimed he saw no more than anyone else. He just knew what he saw. It wasn't the fruit of intuition. it was the result of training his brain to see more than the superficial.

The skill of seeing deeper — and understanding what you are see — is essential to effective public affairs work. Here are some tips to sharpen your wits:

Soak Up Information

In the rush to get a project approved or an idea planted, we are eager to tell our story. We should be just as eager to find out as many facts as possible before we launch our project or give root to our idea.

Holmes appeared like a walking encyclopedia of seemingly random facts. But in reality his mind was conditioned to absorb what he observed — or smelled or touched. He widened his range of experience by deepening his grasp of the obvious.

Being a fact magnet is a great trait when trying to piece together the mystery of why your project or idea has opponents and what it will take to abate their opposition.

Look for Connections The deductive powers exhibited by Holmes are legendary. Some oddly attribute his deductive skill as intuition. It was anything but. His powers of deduction relied on connecting the dots.

The Power of Listening and Observing

Your ability to reach compromises and find solutions will be enhanced by refining your ability to pay attention, listen and observe.Click and Clack, hosts of Car Talk on NPR, have an uncanny knack for translating odd, funny noises made by vehicles into credible car repair recommendations.

Last weekend, Tom and Ray Magliozzi, also known as the Tappet Brothers, were chatting up a caller who had developed a chronic pain in his thumb because of an uncooperative gearshift on his Jeep Comanche. The brothers teased the caller, who described himself as the "outside man" for a Memphis law firm.

But they couldn't diagnose what was wrong until the caller impersonated the sound when he shifts gears. When they heard the weird whirring noise, Click and Clack knew instantly what the problem was.