EVER WONDER HOW TO WIN A CROWD OVER when delivering a speech? Take a cue from Jim Speros, CMO of Ernst & Young, who got a good laugh by polling his audience with questions he claimed were based on the work of industrial psychologists. Speros began his remarks at the Business Marketing Association's What to Expect in 2006 event last week in New York by asking audience members to think of four shapes: a square, a circle, a triangle and a star. He then asked by a show of hands who identified most closely with the square. A few hands went up. A few more went up when he asked who identified themselves with the circle, and one when he asked about the triangle. Finally, when asked who identified most closely with the star, a majority of the room raised their hands. After all, we all like to think of ourselves as stars. Speros then translated the findings: A square indicates a propensity for intelligence, he explained. A circle means the person has a propensity for leadership. The lone triangle, he said, tends toward extreme aggressiveness. And all those stars who raised their hands? They have a propensity for sex, booze and gambling, he said. -Carol Krol
EVEN CUPID CAN USE A LITTLE HELP from the pros, and thankfully, Pitney Bowes came to the rescue. The company set up camp last Thursday in New York's Grand Central Station for its third annual get-ready-for-Valentine's Day event. With love songs such as R&B favorite "When a Man Loves a Woman" piped in as background music, the mailing giant gave away beautifully crafted Valentine's Day cards for commuters to send to loved ones. Romance writers were on hand to help participants craft just the right sentiment, and postage and mail processing were provided gratis by Pitney Bowes. Actress Virginia Madsen, who was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for her role in 2004's "Sideways," was on hand as Pitney's official spokeswoman this year. The event drew crowds of commuters and tourists making their way through the historic train station. A booth was also set up for people to send Valentines to servicemen and servicewomen abroad through a Pitney Bowes partnership with Any Soldier Inc. (www.anysoldier.com). -C.K.