I?m not one to promote other people?s work, but I happened to find myself in Orlando two weeks ago listening to a keynote speaker who was actually giving relevant advice.

Admittedly, this is usually the point in a conference when I start to doze off, daydream, check messages, or search for cool apps for my iPhone (sorry HP? the wireless print app is nice, but it pales in comparison to vlingo, whose Star-Trek-like voice-activated app makes finding the nearest Sushi restaurant as easy as Kirk asking the Computer to ?activate shields?).

The conference was Konica Minolta?s annual Dealer get-together, and the keynote starred Geoff Colvin, senior editor at Fortune Magazine.? Colvin was basically promoting his book ?Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else? but the message he brought the audience was immeasurably more valuable (though I?m sure the book is interesting too).

In elevator-pitch brevity, Colvin?s advice laid out a roadmap for how the rest of us might be able to navigate our way out of a nasty economic slowdown.? Whether our vocation in life is selling printers or selling research about selling printers (and just anything else in between), I found the takeaways from the keynote very heartening.

How the Best Businesses Behave in a Downturn:

1) They face reality the fastest

2) They invest in the core of their business

3) They communicate like crazy

4) They give customers new solutions to address their new problems

Optimism is great, but let?s face it.? Some companies and some leaders are so caught up in appearing