Aristotle’s Finest Contribution to Persuasion

If you’ve not read Aristotle’s Rhetoric, do so. If you’d rather spend time watching TV or reading pulp fiction, that’s okay. But, realize that you’ll be missing something of serious value.

FACT: many of the principle’s laid down in Rhetoric are as pertinent and valid today as they were however many thousands of years ago.

FACT: learning and using his principles will help you formulate fantastic arguments.

FACT: these next five points are seriously awesome, and by using them you will be awesomely smart, because you’ll be following the thoughts of a GENIUS!

So, to create a persuasive argument:

  1. Tell a story or make a statement that rocks the audience into attention. (Cool facts or You statements are always good).
  2. Raise a problem or a question that the audience will want you to answer.
  3. Give a way of solving the problem.
  4. Tell the benefits the audience will receive by adopting your solution.
  5. Tell them what to do! (Call to Action!)

For example…

(Spoken to a room full of dog lovers)

Last year XCR company had six thousand complaints filed against it for it’s poison tainted dog food. Many of you buy XCR’s products to feed your dogs.

Companies that receive the amount of complaints that XCR received last year are wrong. And they should be stopped.

We have the power to stop their ill practices by not purchasing their products & by writing to the Better Business Bureau demanding they take action against XCR.

By acting on these two proposals, we will harm XCR financially, and we will be sending a huge message that poor quality is unacceptable. We will be taking advantage of our government supported protective agencies to do what they were designed to do….protect consumers against the unscrupulous practices of foolish companies who seem to be putting profit ahead of quality. This will ensure a future product and industry that provides high quality SAFE products that we can rest assured will not harm our beloved friends….the pooch.

So as of tonight, stop buying XCR products. Even if affording something different is difficult. Do it for your pooch. And, write a letter to the Better Business Bureau. Tell them you want changes made at once!

Even though the example is a rough draft, it shows an example of the kind of argument you can create following Aristotle’s time tested Persuasion tips.

So….now…..go and do likewise!

The Truth About Persuasion

One day Truth wanted to see the sights, so she decided to go for a walk around town. Truth had long blonde hair, beautiful blue eyes, and a lovely sounding voice. When she walked through the town, however, she noticed that people would turn away from her, close doors to her, and run away from her. She could not understand. She knew she was beautiful, she knew she was sexy, so she failed to understand why people were so rude.

After almost walking completely from one side of town to the other, she was stopped on the road by three nice looking people. At first the people seemed really nice and kind. They asked truth to take a walk with them into the park. Truth, as trusting as she is, decided to go with them. Once they were in the park, the three people began attacking her. They called her names, they spat at her, and finally all three of them beat her up and kicked her face.

Lying on the ground all alone, bleeding and bruised, Wisdom just happened to be walking by. When he saw truth lying on the ground cut up and bleeding, Wisdom felt pity for Truth. So, he picked her up and carried her back to his home. There, he nursed her back to health.

When she was well, Wisdom asked her what happened. Truth told Wisdom about how she wanted to take a walk around town to see the sights and experience what there was to experience. She told him how rude people were; how they ignored her, closed their doors to her, and how some people ran away from her. She finally told Wisdom about the three people who asked her to take a walk in the park. As she described the three people punching her and kicking her, Wisdom began to understand.

It’s because of your beauty, Wisdom said. It’s because you are truth. People cannot handle pure truth. Of you they are afraid and fear for their lives. Why that is, I do not know. But….they are afraid nonetheless.

Truth was very sad. What can I do, she wondered? I want to be loved, I want to be respected. I want people to know me.

Wisdom agreed. He felt people should know her too. She was, after all, very beautiful and very kind.

So Wisdom thought for a moment. Then, he thought some more. He thought a little more. Then, he thought even more. Finally, after thinking and thinking and thinking, he realized the answer.

He opened his closet, reached in and grabbed a beautiful patchwork coat. It had purple patches, blue patches, yellow patches and red patches stitched all over it. When Truth saw it, she gasped.

It’s beautiful, she exclaimed.

I know, replied Wisdom. This is one of my favorite coats, and I’m going to give it to you. The coat is called Story. Whenever you go out outside, whenever you are around people, I want you to promise me that you will wear this coat.

Um, okay, said Truth. But why?

You’ll see. Wisdom said, as he placed Story around her shoulders.

Then Wisdom said, I want you to go back into town. Walk around, and see what happens.

At first, Truth was scared. But she agreed to trust Wisdom.

As she stepped into the town square, she was quickly amazed. From everywhere people began walking toward her. On their faces were smiles, and in their eyes were sparkling lights. Men, women and children came and sat at her feet. Old people, young people, everyone asked her to come to their home and eat dinner with them. Truth could not believe what was happening. Even the three people who had harmed her a few days before, were there listening to her as she spoke.

For here stood naked Truth clothed in Story, once rejected and now acceptable to all.

Learning to tell truth under the clothing of story will influence more powerfully than the naked truth will ever be able to achieve!

--This story was adapted from an old Jewish Parable.


3 Ways to Defeat the Big Hairy Beast called Miss Communication

Never assume anything!

At least that’s what mothers tell their kids.

Of course, it’s pretty darned difficult to avoid assuming. It seems a goofy gift of fate that your brain and mind have an inborn talent for jumping to conclusions, operating from what is a believed common point, or plain ol’ guessing what another is thinking.

To assume: there are many meanings. One meaning is to take over the responsibilities of. Another meaning is to pretend. Particularly, to pretend to know.

All of these definitions are important when we consider assumption in communication.

Playwright George Bernhard Shaw once wrote: “The greatest barrier to communication--is the illusion of it.

He was talking about illusions. Or, to put it another way....assumptions.

To assume: to make an ASS out of U and ME. (Sorry, I couldn't resist!)

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone where you tell them something, they act as though they understand, then they go out and do not do as you’ve told them? Chances are that the reason for it, is because of an assumption. Both the assumption of understanding on the part of the listener, and the assumption of receptivity on the part of the sender caused the mix up.

Assumptions can ruin constructive effective communication. So, to avoid miscommunication, begin practicing these three easy tips.

  • Practice Paraphrasing what the person just said. Say back to them what you heard or believe you heard them say. This way you can work out any problems on the spot rather than after the fact.
  • Ask questions of the person. Doing such also allows the speaker to know you’ve not fully understood. As a speaker, asking questions of your audience allows you to know that they understood you. No, “do you understand?” is not a good question. Often people will say yes, even when they don’t. Never underestimate the power of the ego’s desire to protect itself. Practice asking open ended questions. For example: “Sorry, what did I just tell you? I lost track of my thoughts.” Seek clarity through questions.
  • Finally, accept that 100 % understanding will probably never probably occur. So check your emotions. A riled up feeling of anger is not a good way to try and process information. If someone says a word that you feel yourself angry about, ask them what they mean by that word. Watch your emotions!
Practicing these will absolutely help you avoid the biggest barrier to communication. …so now you know.


3 Massively Monstrous Superbly Awesome Benefits of Social Media

Given all the negative publicity in the world concerning social media—how it’s big brother and a time suck—you should be asking yourself why use this scary privacy killer?

It’s simple.

It’s fun.
Truth is, sitting, writing, playing and informing are fun. Writing about what you do and did are greatly entertaining to you. Whether others care what you say matters only a little. You are guaranteed at least a small audience of listeners and readers. …and this is good. It’s good to be heard, it’s fun to be heard. It’s also fun to look at all your friends photos.

But the fun factor is only an awesome benefit. It’s not a massively monstrous, superbly awesome benefit. …so just what are the massively monstrous, superbly awesome benefits of social media?

Social Media improves communication.
Flat out, writing Twitter Tweets and Facebook updates takes skill. Writing something that is both interesting and understandable is a talent. The rewards of your talent are the little red tags in Facebook and hyper-retweeting on Twitter. (…I’m sure the other media forms have cool things about them too).

Social Media improves relationships.
For the most part, you’ve probably connected with people you’ve not talked with in years. Yes those relationships might not be as tight as they used to be, but at least you’re talking.

Social Media improves positioning.
For those of us who have lots of friends or followers, what we say IS reality. The story you tell yourself about me based on the words I write are powerful. What I say positions myself in your brain. Who I am to you is your reaction to what I’ve written or posted. This is especially powerful with those people who you really never talk to, but read your tweets or updates regularly. It’s kind of fun, actually. Every now and then, throw your network a curveball by saying something really wacky. Keep everyone guessing.


Good question. Just fun, I guess.

Anyhow, social media is not ALL BAD. There are a tonne more benefits too if you want to find them. Here’s a good site that lists some great reasons we should use Social Media.


If You Could Answer 20 Questions About Your Life, What Questions Would You Want to Answer?

People love to talk about themselves. People love it when others ask them personal questions. Of course, not all personal questions are ranked equally. Yet, most people enjoy answering even THOSE questions if the time and place is right.


Because we want to be known. We want our stories told. We want people to truly understand and know us. Disagree if you want, but the bottomline is that there’s something about our humanity that cries out I WANT TO BE KNOWN!!! I WANT TO TELL YOU WHO I AM!

That, and we just plain like talking about ourselves!

So what questions would you love to have someone ask you?

Is there a secret you’re holding on to, perhaps have been for years? Are you waiting for the right person to come along and ask you that perfectly phrased question that motivates you to finally tell all?

Perhaps there is a boy or a girl that you really really wish would ask you something. What is it? What’s the fantasy question that you’re dying to have someone ask you? That exact question that you’ve been rehearsing the answer to all your life?

Questions are so important! They have the ability to raise the dead, to bring back life to a sore soul and a pain-filled life liver. Questions have the ability to drive out demons, bring light into darkened rooms, shower grace on a stormy moment, and add life to an already brilliant day.

Questions rock!

Who is the person you absolutely love the most? What is the most meaningful memory of your childhood? What’s the saddest day of your life? What would it take to make that sad day go away? What is the one thing that if you had it would vastly improve your life?

Are you who you want to be? Whose opinion of you matters most? What’s your greatest accomplishment? What is your secret dream? If you could give one thing to life, what would you give?

These are ten that would probably help someone get to know you better. Answering them in the presence of someone would also help you know yourself better too. It’s an amazing phenomenon that when we speak our story, and when we listen to ourselves tell, that if we’re full of crap we can usually feel the tickle of misalignment within. If we think about that misalignment, if we choose to look at it, we have the chance to ask ourselves the questions…what’s wrong? Am I missing something? Is this concept I just spoke real and true for me? Or is it not? Could it be I’m just parroting someone else?

Questions have the power to reveal truth to you and to another. With such, we can find the greatest gift to ourselves and to another. ….the truth. Where there is truth there is freedom, ladies and gents…..where there is truth, there is freedom.


What Every Smart Writer Knows About Writing Emails

Are you sitting in a comfortable position? Are you feeling relaxed? Because what you are about to hear will completely revolutionize the way you communicate.

FACT: reading long emails sucks.

FACT: reading long emails with lots of different font sizes, colors, styles and shapes sucks even worse.

FACT: most people click delete the minute someone sends an email that’s designed like what was just described.

FACT: the reason people are answering you, “ooops, no, I didn’t.” whenever you ask them if they read your email is because IT SUCKS!

Stop writing terrible emails NOW by following a very simple step.

Smart writers know that effective emails contain one idea. One point.

Smart writers know that the chances of getting your email read quadruple if you keep your emails short, sweet, and to the point!

Smart writers know that getting to the point should be done fast.

Smart writers know that it is just as easy to write five short emails under five different subject headings as it is to write one email that contains five points.

Why is this so? Because it’s smart, that’s why. And because today’s email reader in nearly ALL contexts—albeit the old granny sitting reading forwards and letters from grandchildren—have too much to do. Concentrating on the minute details and points made in a massive splattering of text is too much for a readers info/stress-stuffed brain to handle. Smart writers know this, and so write to the needs of their readers.

Do you want your emails to be read? Do you want to be a smart emailist?

Then start shortening them up. Stop being stylistic. Get to the point! Be polite, but get to the point. ...or else.


3 Vital Communication Tips That Can Radically Improve Your Intercultural Relationships

Dealing with people of different cultures can be difficult. For some reason, some people from some cultures are more difficult to speak with than others. Today’s business climate most likely requires you to interact with a variety of people from different cultures. How can you make sure that you create the best possible relationship with them? Easy.

Most cultures love the same fundamental things: being listened to, integrity, and calmness.

Practicing these three tips can make sure you honor the 3 fundamental ideals listed above.

Stay present. When communicating with people of other cultures, it is easy to allow our side-thoughts to interrupt our concentration. A word, a behaviour, a concept expressed by someone of another culture can cause us to drift off and not concentrate on listening effectively. Someone’s skin color, smell, and the prejudices we may carry can effect our ability to stay focused and listen properly. But, making sure we concentrate past these distractions is a key to maintaining or building a good relationship between you and your cross-cultural conversation partner.

Staying present and listening intently is vital to improving all relationships, regardless of race or culture. So stay present and focus on listening.

Say what you mean gently, but say what you mean anyway. When dealing with people of other cultures, practicing the indirect method of communication or harshly direct method that may be normally practiced in your home culture can cause problems.

Therefore, consider taking the middle ground. This simply involves you saying what you mean in a way that is both direct and gentle. A soft respectful directness will do wonders for your intercultural relationships. It will develop trust. And that way there will be no doubt about the mind of the other. Such will enable you to have a deep understanding of one another, and a respect for the other.

Integrity in communication is always valued. Even if the honest, gentle directness may cause a few uncomfortable moments, generally people value the truth. The truth leaves no room for doubt. And that makes clear action and decision making possible.

What kind of actions are included in soft respectful directness? Well, instead of saying a quick NO, you might pause a moment. Reflect. Then say, "that will not work for me." Or, instead of saying YES when you mean NO. Say, "Thank you, but we have different plans." (No further explanation needed).

Each of these will require practice. But using them can vastly improve the relationship between you.

Think before Acting. It is so easy to react to someone when we interpret their actions through our own cultural filter. Someones directness we may interpret as rudeness. Yet, before we react to a personal interpretation, you should think.

So, pause. Take a moment. Breathe. Focus on your breath. Think. Then act.

Assessing before opening your mouth, or before taking action can save a lot of relationships from entering into trouble. Try to understand the other persons perspective. Allow others to be as they are. Live and let live.

Try not to mind read what their actions may mean. Simply focus on facts. Emotions can create real troubles when you deal with someone from your own culture, and can be very explosive when communicating with someone from another culture.

Remember that we all have our own interpretation machine that’s been programmed by our own culture, and that we should recognize that one way is not necessarily right and the other completely wrong. Both are unique. Perhaps you can practice the concept of AGREEMENT TO DISAGREE.

The same reflection should be considered when the interaction seems favorable too. Sometimes someone's YESes do mean NO.

Bottom line, always think. Then act. (Asking for clarification, "What do you mean?" is a great assessment tool.)

These simple considerations can help you create great intercultural relationships. Practice them and see what becomes of it. You are sure to like what you find. If you have more tips to add, feel free to add them into the comments section.

All for now.


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One Hot Commodity: How To Stop Shyness From Killing Your Networking O...: "So you’re at a networking event. There’s fifty or so people in a room, each milling around and smoozing with one another. All except for y..."


3 Things You Should Remember When Making Speech

As an audience member, there is nothing worse than listening to a speaker who lacks clarity, whose speech is filled with complexity beyond all comprehension, and whose purpose for speaking is merely to receive praise. A few weeks ago, I sat listening to a speaker who had no idea what they were talking about. The person talked a little about the weather, then turned a corner into talking about how the earth is made of iron, and followed this with a transition into a journey they took on a sailboat when they were twelve. The conclusion attempted to piece together the process of recycling, and how we should all do our part to save the whales.

I looked around the room, and people had strings of drool attached from their open mouth to the desk. They, like me, were showing CLEAR SIGNS that the speaker had failed to make their speech either interesting, clear, or memorable.

As a speaker, it’s your job to be good. It’s your job to be interesting. It’s your job to be clear. And it is your absolute job to be memorable.

How do you do this?

Of course, nothing comes immediately. Learning to speak interestingly, clearly and memorably takes time and patience. But, remembering these things will at least begin to make your talks better….for both you and the audience.

Most importantly, know the intention of your speech. If you’re not sure of why you are talking, then don’t talk. Figure this first. Why do you want to talk? Do you want to receive praise? Or do you want the audience to do something, learn something, feel something? If you do not know this, then you’re not ready to speak.

For beginning speakers, I think you should not try to make your purpose too complicated. Keep it simple. For example, the person above was trying to tell us about the process of recycling.

The person could have talked about the process of recycling an alumninum can. The person could have led us along the path of a can being returned to a recycling center, and then took us on the path of what happens after that. The person could have used the step approach. First this, then this, next this, finally this. Finished! Instead, they stood pontificating their wisdom, hoping to God that we the audience will see how brilliant and esoteric the person is, see how well read the person is, notice how amazing the person is.

Sadly, all we saw was how dull the person is.

A clear purpose will keep the dull grey from forming in your audiences eyes. For the recycling idea, the purpose could have been: to describe the process of recycling of an aluminum can.

There you have it. It’s clear. It’s concise. It’s simple. It’s manageable. Ahhh…but you might ask yourself…. “It’s too simple, won’t people be bored?”

That’s where the second tip comes in. Whenever you are writing a speech, it’s vital to ask yourself:

What will the audience leave with? What will they take with them after my talk?

In the case of the aluminum can, the audience will have a clear understanding of the process of recycling….at least, aluminum cans. Will this solve the world’s problems, make people better on earth? I don’t know. Probably not too much. But it will be interesting because probably most people don’t know it. (Of course, if you’re talking to engineers or recycling experts, this might be common knowledge, but…a general audience, say at a Toastmasters meeting, might be interested to learn this tiny bit of information).

So remember, what will the audience take with them after hearing your speech?

Finally, quit the complexity. You may have read a 100 books on the subject you are talking about. You may know a tonne of information about recycling, but so what? So what, unless you can convey to me and the rest of the audience, who know nothing, what you learned?

To convey to us what you learned, you have to accept your limitations. A book with 100 pages of information cannot be crammed into a seven minute speech, a ten minutes speech, a twenty minute speech. (Not usually, anyhow….and especially with not any depth). What can be done is this. You can take a tiny part of that book and a) fully understand it yourself, and b) decomplexify it. Make it so the average person understands. Teach it to us. We won’t know all that you know at the end of the speech, but that’s okay. If you make that tiny little piece clear and understandable, then we will want to know more. …and you will have a job. You will have the job of making more speeches so that we understand more.

When things are so complex that you the speaker can’t convey with clarity, then there is a problem. Usually a person who complexifies their topic does so because they think that that makes them smart. But true genius is the ability to turn complex into something easy for us normal folk can understand.

You’ll find that if you really work on your purpose, that if you focus on what the audience will take away from the speech, and that if you try to talk about a sliver of information in a way that is completely decomplexified, that the reaction to your speeches will improve. They’ll improve because they will become clearer, easier for the audience to understand.

So you should remember these three things to make your speeches more clear, more interesting, and more memorable.

If you’d like more specific information on how to go about decomplexifying, repurposing, or determining the gift that you’ll be giving, write me a request in the comment hole.

Check Out This Site.


4 Super Ways To Find Your Next Speech Topic

Finding a speech or writing topic can be difficult. It sometimes gets more difficult the further along you get. In fact, I believe a lot of people quit speaking or writing because of the difficulty they have finding a topic.

Don't quit! You've got great stuff inside you, and we want to hear and read about it.

There are many ways to find a topic. Today I’m going to tell you 4 SUPER ways.

Of course you've heard of brainstorming. Well, today’s tip is a specific form of brainstorming.

I believe in the power of questions. Questions help me focus my creative efforts. If I have a good question to guide me, usually that does the trick of helping me find a good topic for myself. Not always, but often enough. If they work for me, they will certainly help you.

Here are four questions to help you find a topic.

Got your pens and pencils ready?

  1. What unusual experiences have you had?
  2. What special knowledge or expertise do you have?
  3. What strong opinions and beliefs do you have?
  4. What would you like to know more about?

Answering each of these questions one at a time by writing the first things that come to mind can help you find what you are looking for. Don't edit what you write. Just write. It's what I've done below as an example.

What unusual experiences have I had? (Don’t compare yourself with others). What’s unusual for me? Well, the other night I was in my friends house. In the sink was a strange looking creepy crawly insect that scared me. That might be a topic. Could it make an interesting speech or essay? Absolutely!

What special knowledge or expertise do I have? (Again, don’t compare. “I don’t have any” is not true. It’s only true if you compare it to others. Just think what’s true for you).

I’m a pretty good speaker. I can write a decent speech. Perhaps I can tell someone how to write a speech.

What strong opinions do I have? I hate child abuse! I could write a speech about that. (Of course, some topics you want to pay attention to how they might affect the audience. But… for the most part, don’t worry. Just speak!)

What would I like to know more about? I’d like to know more about finance. So, I can study this and make a speech about some aspect of finance.

So there you are. I’ve given you four questions that can help guide you on a path to finding your topic. Remember not to compare yourself. I find comparisons block me from the right topic for me to speak about.

Of course, once you find your topic, you then have to do the hard work of narrowing it down into a manageable speech topic. On hints about how to do that, check out here.

This post was inspired by Jo Sprague & Douglas Stuart's book.

Do You Make This Speech Writing Mistake?

Finding a speech topic to talk about is difficult enough. All that thinking and working and coming to find what you feel confident talking about can be stressful. But sometimes the stress becomes worse when we realize that our subject matter is too general. I hate it when that happens.

Last week I wrote an article about personal branding. As soon as I started to write, I realized I needed to tighten my focus. Personal branding was too general to write about in 800 words.

To focus my essay, I needed a trick to help me. Once I did, the words flew from my pencil. Whenever you have a limited & focused speech topic, your speech can practically write itself. If you keep your topic general, you’ll keep having the same old troubles.

So, to narrow your topic, practice these tips:

Narrow your subject to one example or one individual that represents that subject.

For example, if your general subject is money, you narrow it to the example of The Thai Bhat. Or you might narrow it to the person Warren Buffet.

You can also narrow your subject to a specific experience.

For example, if your subject is money, you could narrow your subject to The trip you took to the bank last week.

You can narrow your subject to a specific time or place.

For example, if your general subject is Water Shortages, you could narrow your topic to The water shortage in Seoul. Or you could narrow it to the Korean water shortage of August 2008.

Lastly, you can narrow your subject to a specific type or kind. A condition. Or you can limit it to a specific procedure or process.

For example, if your general subject is Water Shortages, you could narrow your topic to Water shortages caused by drought. Or, you might narrow it to How a water shortage happens.

It’s important to narrow, because it keeps your speech interesting. And, it keeps it easy for an audience to understand, as well as for you to write. If you try and make a speech that has both a specific place and a specific process in it, your speech will be too difficult to manage in a short amount of time. So don’t do it. Keep it simple! Do that and you’ll have great speeches.

So stop making the messy mistake of making things too general. Do better and you’ll soon be better.



What Everyone Should Know About Communication

Everyone thinks. Yes, some think more than others. No matter the frequency of thought, each of you has a mind that pumps out ideas, alternatives, imaginings and whims. It is your imaginings that this article will deal with.

The great general Napoleon once said that imagination rules the world. Einstien claimed that imagination is everything. And author James Allen wrote that our life is what our thoughts make it.

What do these famous people mean when they say what they say?

When it comes to communication, the concepts contained in those quotes are vital to your becoming the best communicators you can become.

It is your imagination that determines how well you communicate with others. Specifically, it is the imagined interpretations of another’s perception that determines in large part how well you communicate in all its forms.

In 1902, Charles Horton Cooley discovered a concept called The Looking Glass Self. The basic idea of this concept is that a person’s sense of self is created out of your interpersonal interactions and the perceptions you form from these. In short:
  1. We imagine how we must appear to others.
  2. We imagine the judgment of that appearance.
  3. We develop our self through the judgments of others.
From Yeung, King-To, and Martin, John Levi. "The Looking Glass Self: An Empirical Test and Elaboration." Social Forces 81, no. 3 (2003): 843-879.
Think about it. If I think you like me, if I think you like the way I look, I feel good. If I am with people who consistently praise me and like me, then my self-concept is formed in a way that is confident and strong. That habit of thinking is reinforced over time. With that reinforcement comes the ability to communicate with strength.

The opposite is true too. If I think you do not like me, if I think you do not enjoy the way I look, probably I will feel poorly. If I am with people who consistently confirm this, if I am with people who constantly put me down, then my self-concept is formed in a way that reflects that. Inferiority, weakness, and timidity become my personality traits. That habit is reinforced over time. And with that reinforcement comes the ability to communicate weakly, shyly, unconvincingly and without emotion.

This is important to understand in your quest to become better communicators.

It is important, because if you have a good trust in the love of others, you can face almost any audience, knowing that in all you will be accepted. You can trust your message, and you can trust your ability to communicate it. If you have formed a positive self-concept, you feel free to speak your truth, regardless of it’s acceptance of people.

The idea of the looking glass self is important too because if you suffer from a weak concept, then the awareness of this as an internal block to your being effective can lead to change. To be a strong communicator, it is vital that you change any negative imaging habits.

Of course, to change is not easy. It never is. All change requires willingness. Mostly, it requires acceptance of the fact that the pain of changing is less than the pain of staying the same. As well, a real desire to be different and better. Finally, it requires a decision to dig inside onself and look at the thoughts and beliefs that block you.

The bottom line is that your communication effectiveness or ineffectiveness is due to how you react to your own imaginations. If I learned to think that people generally do not like me, that thought will flash in my imagination in nearly all my interactions. The effect of that thought, are words that communicate my basic beliefs. My attitude will speak loudly through body language, tone of voice, choice of vocabulary.

You must arrest these automatic reactions to your imaginings, to your assumptions of other people’s thinking. You must learn to stop mind reading, thinking that you KNOW what another is thinking of us. You must stop assuming you know how people are judging you.

(Unless you are confident already, in which case, keep doing what you are doing. You’re well on your way. For the rest of you, you’re lucky. You’re lucky because you have an obstacle in your life to overcome. You have something to work against, to develop your character against. It’s tough and difficult, but in the end—if you persevere—you will find yourself stronger than you ever believed.)

When you assume the judgment of others, you react negatively toward yourself. This is silly.

The truth is, you do not know how others are thinking. You have no right to guess at that. Most likely, your reaction and guess is entirely wrong. And besides, what other people think of you is none of your business. Your business is learning to communicate to the best of your ability in whatever capacity. Your business is learning to speak your truth in a way that people can understand. Your business is to talk, and let the results of your talk be up to God, the universe, your higher power, or nature. Your business is to control your thoughts. Knowledge of Cooley’s Looking Glass Self will help you do that.

The absolute total bottom-line is this: Strong communicators understand the power of their imagination. They harness that power. They use that power. And as a result, they communicate with power.


How To Make Your Speech Focused, Clear And Interesting To Your Listeners

Can you guess the secret of creating a speech that is focused, clear and interesting to your audience? Simply stated, the secret is in learning to ask the right questions.

Let’s back up a bit…

Are you tired of boring your audience? Are you tired of losing their attention immediately after you begin your speech?

Personally, I can think of little worse than watching as an audience, who was at the beginning excited and expectant, begins to drift off and lose their focus on you. I have struggled with this, throughout my short speaking career, a number of times. But, I recently began practicing a technique that really helps me keep the audience interested. The technique is one that will be sure to keep your speech focused, clear and interesting to your listeners.

Of course, we should all be aware by now of the notion that when we speak, we should consider our audience. After all, it is them we are talking to. So, before we even begin writing a speech, we need to ask ourselves what our audience will receive from listening to our speech. If the answer is that they will get a better understanding of you as a speaker, then that is okay for one or two speeches. But, overall, a talking only about yourself becomes boring very quickly.


Because audiences are selfish. As altruistic as they may pretend to be, the bottom line is that an audience is a group of humans—selfish by nature—who are gathered together in the circumstance because they want to get something from the speaker and the speaking situation. We will do WELL to remember this vital, unchangeable, natural law.

That said, we always want to ask ourselves, “how will my speech information help the listeners in their life?” If we cannot answer, then don’t speak about it.
Our speech should have a gift for our audience. (A new insight, a new way of acting, some new relevant information, something for them to think about).

If we can answer the question, then we can proceed.

A speech starts with a topic. …duh?

We need to decide what it is that we will say about the topic. A sentence that contains the topic, and what we will say about the topic is called—one of many names—a thesis. For example, we might be talking about Dogs. Well, what do we want to say about dogs?

Dogs are cute.

Okay. Good example, but a weak thesis. There is no vitality, no real depth to this.

Dogs make great pets.

This is still pretty uninteresting, but it is a little more filled with possibility for discussion. Why? Because there are some questions we can ask of it to define what we mean when we say, “Dogs make great pets.” Can you think of any questions?

For example:

What kind of dogs? Why do they make great pets? What do you mean great? Why should I care?

Choosing and answering these questions in your speech might make it more interesting. For example:

Ladies and gentleman, today I’d like to talk to you about one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. Have you any idea what that gift might be?

The greatest gift we can give ourselves is a best friend, a pal who won’t go away when we are angry, a chum who won’t call us stupid, a friend who will always play with us whenever we feel like it. One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is…a dog.

Dogs make great pets!!!

Now, do I mean just any kind of dog? No. Some dogs are crazy. Rottweilers are psycho, and I don’t mean them. But pretty much any other kind of dog are awesome. And they are awesome for three reasons.

Dogs make great pets because they are loyal. Who doesn’t love loyalty. A dog will be your best friend whether you kick it, call it names, or treat it like a king.

They make great pets because they always eat the left-overs. You never have to feel guilty for throwing away your uneaten food. If you have a dog, you can feel it the scraps. And let me tell you, the dog will LOVE YOU!!!!

Dogs also make great pets because they’ll keep you safe at night. If you live alone in a big city, it can be scary. But if you have yourself a big dog like a German Sheppard or a Lab, then they will bark loudly if someone tries to break into your apartment. This is good.

To conclude, a great pet is one that makes you feel good, one that brings you joy. We all deserve joy. Joy is a great gift to give ourselves, so I really recommend you consider getting yourself a dog. Because dogs make super awesome pets!

Now this is just a silly example. But you will notice that all of my questions have been answered in the speech. Answering the questions makes things a little more interesting, I think.

But what if we take a topic that is a little more involved? Take, for example:

Practicing these 5 tips can help you give a great phone interview.

This thesis begs quite a few questions that can be worked into a speech.

For example:

What are the tips? How can they help me? When do people do phone interviews? What are the differences between real face to face interviews and phone interviews? When and why do people usually do phone interviews?

Of course, you cannot always answer every question that you can think of. But, you can certainly answer some. Learning to ask your thesis questions is a fantastic way to develop a speech. Answering those questions in your speech will make your speech focused, engaging and interesting to your listeners.

So here are two assignments:
  1. Answer the questions to the thesis above.
  2. Make questions to the thesis below. Post them in my comment board. We can talk about your questions, and maybe I can give some suggestions to help you.
Thesis: Love is the answer to so many problems.

In a later blog, I’ll talk about how to make a good thesis.

All for now.


How To Avoid Annoying Your Audience

When you speak, does your audience fall asleep? Avoid eye contact? Pick up their pens and start doodling? Gaze off out the window. Tap their feet in anticipation of your finishing up your speech? If so, you might be an audience annoyer!

An audience annoyer is one of those people who gets up in front of an audience and talks and talks and talks. Usually they speak about a subject that is of no interest to the audience. They often try to engage the audience with a question, only to find the audience is not paying attention.

Or, sometimes an annoyer is someone who works really hard at trying to speak so eloquently that they completely lose the message that they are trying to convey—if in fact they have a message at all.

Often, audience annoyers are users. They just want to use the audience like a dog uses a human leg. They just want you to lie there while they go about their business. “Oh, don’t mind him. It’s best if we just let him go on until he finishes.”

Or they use the audience as a forum, a place where they can prove their lingual brilliance, a place to show off their large and varied vocabulary.

No matter the description, audience annoyers are annoying to an audience. They do not accomplish their goal, no matter what their aim. They forget the maxim: IT'S ABOUT THE MESSAGE FOR THE AUDIENCE! IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU!

For those people who in fact do not just want to use the audience as a sounding board--or as a leg to hump—then this article is for you. It’s for you, because you probably have a general wish to communicate, to share your wisdom and knowledge with the audiences you address. So, how then do you avoid annoying your audience?


Stop using us!

Stop trying to impress us.

If you are using a word that has more than two syllables, cut it out.

If you are speaking a sentence or a question that has more than 10 words, cut it out.

If you are speaking in any tense other than the simple future, simple past, or simple present, stop!

Keep things simple.

Learn the simple.

Cut your main message down to 5 words. (No more than 8).

Now, just for an experiment, take a moment. Count a few of the sentences in this essay. How many words per sentence are there? You will probably find most have less than 10. So should yours. Go, and do like wise!

The days of long arduous prose-like verbiage are over. Abe Lincoln & Dan Webster are dead. They are not coming back anytime soon. So get with the times! Speak simply and clearly. Use simple baby words like most of the ones in this essay.

Have a clear point. If it's not clear to you and at least three other people, then for the audiences sake do not step on that stage. Because without a clear, simply stated message, you’ll be recommitting the ugly sin of humping our leg and expecting us to sit there and wait until you are finished. We hate having our leg humped!

Intercourse should be mutual. It should be collaboration between two people--in this case speaker and audience. It should never be one-way masturbation.

If you need help clarifying, simplifying your message, then do yourself a favor and ask someone for help. If that person doesn’t help, then ask another person.

Buy books on how to write a speech central idea, or theme.

Again, get simple.

Go back to baby school and learn the basics. There is nothing humiliating about humbling yourself to learn the baby basics that you might not have learned the first time around. There is no shame in that at all.

The only shame is the shame of watching as your audiences eyes glaze over the moment you take the stage.

The only shame is seeing them pull out their pillows and blankets right when you start to speak.

The only shame is seeing half the people room start staring at their toes, a quarter of the room staring at the roof, five people doodling in a notebook, and the final three getting up to go to the bathroom as soon as you expose your first point.

So, bottom line: Avoid shame. Do my tips. Or....go here.


How to Tell a Story

by Mark Twain (1835-1910)
The Humorous Story an American Development.--Its Difference from Comic and Witty Stories.

I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told, for I have been almost daily in the company of the most expert story-tellers for many years.

There are several kinds of stories, but only one difficult kind--the humorous. I will talk mainly about that one. The humorous story is American, the comic story is English, the witty story is French. The humorous story depends for its effect upon the manner of the telling; the comic story and the witty story upon the matter.

The humorous story may be spun out to great length, and may wander around as much as it pleases, and arrive nowhere in particular; but the comic and witty stories must be brief and end with a point. The humorous story bubbles gently along, the others burst.

The humorous story is strictly a work of art--high and delicate art-- and only an artist can tell it; but no art is necessary in telling the comic and the witty story; anybody can do it. The art of telling a humorous story--understand, I mean by word of mouth, not print--was created in America, and has remained at home.

The humorous story is told gravely; the teller does his best to conceal the fact that he even dimly suspects that there is anything funny about it; but the teller of the comic story tells you beforehand that it is one of the funniest things he has ever heard, then tells it with eager delight, and is the first person to laugh when he gets through. And sometimes, if he has had good success, he is so glad and happy that he will repeat the "nub" of it and glance around from face to face, collecting applause, and then repeat it again. It is a pathetic thing to see.

Very often, of course, the rambling and disjointed humorous story finishes with a nub, point, snapper, or whatever you like to call it. Then the listener must be alert, for in many cases the teller will divert attention from that nub by dropping it in a carefully casual and indifferent way, with the pretence that he does not know it is a nub.

Artemus Ward used that trick a good deal; then when the belated audience presently caught the joke he would look up with innocent surprise, as if wondering what they had found to laugh at. Dan Setchell used it before him, Nye and Riley and others use it to-day.

But the teller of the comic story does not slur the nub; he shouts it at you--every time. And when he prints it, in England, France, Germany, and Italy, he italicizes it, puts some whooping exclamation-points after it, and sometimes explains it in a parenthesis. All of which is very depressing, and makes one want to renounce joking and lead a better life.

Let me set down an instance of the comic method, using an anecdote which has been popular all over the world for twelve or fifteen hundred years. The teller tells it in this way:


In the course of a certain battle a soldier whose leg had been shot off appealed to another soldier who was hurrying by to carry him to the rear, informing him at the same time of the loss which he had sustained; whereupon the generous son of Mars, shouldering the unfortunate, proceeded to carry out his desire. The bullets and cannon-balls were flying in all directions, and presently one of the latter took the wounded man's head off--without, however, his deliverer being aware of it. In no-long time he was hailed by an officer, who said:

"Where are you going with that carcass?"

"To the rear, sir--he's lost his leg!"

"His leg, forsooth?" responded the astonished officer; "you mean his head, you booby."

Whereupon the soldier dispossessed himself of his burden, and stood looking down upon it in great perplexity. At length he said:

"It is true, sir, just as you have said." Then after a pause he added, "But he TOLD me IT WAS HIS LEG! ! ! ! !"

Here the narrator bursts into explosion after explosion of thunderous horse-laughter, repeating that nub from time to time through his gaspings and shriekings and suffocatings.

It takes only a minute and a half to tell that in its comic-story form; and isn't worth the telling, after all. Put into the humorous-story form it takes ten minutes, and is about the funniest thing I have ever listened to--as James Whitcomb Riley tells it.

He tells it in the character of a dull-witted old farmer who has just heard it for the first time, thinks it is unspeakably funny, and is trying to repeat it to a neighbor. But he can't remember it; so he gets all mixed up and wanders helplessly round and round, putting in tedious details that don't belong in the tale and only retard it; taking them out conscientiously and putting in others that are just as useless; making minor mistakes now and then and stopping to correct them and explain how he came to make them; remembering things which he forgot to put in in their proper place and going back to put them in there; stopping his narrative a good while in order to try to recall the name of the soldier that was hurt, and finally remembering that the soldier's name was not mentioned, and remarking placidly that the name is of no real importance, anyway--better, of course, if one knew it, but not essential, after all-- and so on, and so on, and so on.

The teller is innocent and happy and pleased with himself, and has to stop every little while to hold himself in and keep from laughing outright; and does hold in, but his body quakes in a jelly-like way with interior chuckles; and at the end of the ten minutes the audience have laughed until they are exhausted, and the tears are running down their faces.

The simplicity and innocence and sincerity and unconsciousness of the old farmer are perfectly simulated, and the result is a performance which is thoroughly charming and delicious. This is art and fine and beautiful, and only a master can compass it; but a machine could tell the other story.

To string incongruities and absurdities together in a wandering and sometimes purposeless way, and seem innocently unaware that they are absurdities, is the basis of the American art, if my position is correct. Another feature is the slurring of the point. A third is the dropping of a studied remark apparently without knowing it, as if one were thinking aloud. The fourth and last is the pause.

Artemus Ward dealt in numbers three and four a good deal. He would begin to tell with great animation something which he seemed to think was wonderful; then lose confidence, and after an apparently absent-minded pause add an incongruous remark in a soliloquizing way; and that was the remark intended to explode the mine--and it did.

For instance, he would say eagerly, excitedly, "I once knew a man in New Zealand who hadn't a tooth in his head"--here his animation would die out; a silent, reflective pause would follow, then he would say dreamily, and as if to himself, "and yet that man could beat a drum better than any man I ever saw."

The pause is an exceedingly important feature in any kind of story, and a frequently recurring feature, too. It is a dainty thing, and delicate, and also uncertain and treacherous; for it must be exactly the right length--no more and no less--or it fails of its purpose and makes trouble. If the pause is too short the impressive point is passed, and [and if too long] the audience have had time to divine that a surprise is intended--and then you can't surprise them, of course.

On the platform I used to tell a negro ghost story that had a pause in front of the snapper on the end, and that pause was the most important thing in the whole story. If I got it the right length precisely, I could spring the finishing ejaculation with effect enough to make some impressible girl deliver a startled little yelp and jump out of her seat --and that was what I was after. This story was called "The Golden Arm," and was told in this fashion. You can practise with it yourself--and mind you look out for the pause and get it right.


Once 'pon a time dey wuz a monsus mean man, en he live 'way out in de prairie all 'lone by hisself, 'cep'n he had a wife. En bimeby she died, en he tuck en toted her way out dah in de prairie en buried her. Well, she had a golden arm--all solid gold, fum de shoulder down. He wuz pow'ful mean--pow'ful; en dat night he couldn't sleep, Gaze he want dat golden arm so bad.

When it come midnight he couldn't stan' it no mo'; so he git up, he did, en tuck his lantern en shoved out thoo de storm en dug her up en got de golden arm; en he bent his head down 'gin de win', en plowed en plowed en plowed thoo de snow. Den all on a sudden he stop (make a considerable pause here, and look startled, and take a listening attitude) en say: "My LAN', what's dat!"

En he listen--en listen--en de win' say (set your teeth together and imitate the wailing and wheezing singsong of the wind), "Bzzz-z-zzz"--- en den, way back yonder whah de grave is, he hear a voice! he hear a voice all mix' up in de win' can't hardly tell 'em 'part--" Bzzz-zzz-- W-h-o--g-o-t--m-y--g-o-l-d-e-n arm? --zzz--zzz-- W-h-o g-o-t m-y g-o-l- d-e-n arm!" (You must begin to shiver violently now.)

En he begin to shiver en shake, en say, "Oh, my! OH, my lan'! "en de win' blow de lantern out, en de snow en sleet blow in his face en mos' choke him, en he start a-plowin' knee-deep towards home mos' dead, he so sk'yerd--en pooty soon he hear de voice agin, en (pause) it 'us comin' after him! "Bzzz--zzz--zzz--W-h-o--g-o-t m-y--g-o-l-d-e-n--arm?"

When he git to de pasture he hear it agin closter now, en a-comin'!-- a-comin' back dah in de dark en de storm--(repeat the wind and the voice). When he git to de house he rush up-stairs en jump in de bed en kiver up, head and years, en lay dah shiverin' en shakin'--en den way out dah he hear it agin!--en a-comin'! En bimeby he hear (pause--awed, listening attitude)--pat--pat--pat--hit's acomin' up-stairs! Den he hear de latch, en he know it's in de room!

Den pooty soon he know it's a-stannin' by de bed! (Pause.) Den--he know it's a-bendin' down over him--en he cain't skasely git his breath! Den-- den--he seem to feel someth' n c-o-l-d, right down 'most agin his head! (Pause.)

Den de voice say, right at his year--"W-h-o g-o-t--m-y--g-o-l-d-e-n arm?" (You must wail it out very plaintively and accusingly; then you stare steadily and impressively into the face of the farthest-gone auditor--a girl, preferably--and let that awe-inspiring pause begin to build itself in the deep hush. When it has reached exactly the right length, jump suddenly at that girl and yell, "You've got it!")

If you've got the pause right, she'll fetch a dear little yelp and spring right out of her shoes. But you must get the pause right; and you will find it the most troublesome and aggravating and uncertain thing you ever undertook.

From Here


How To Increase Your Awesomeness Factor!

Are you sick of being a lame dude or dudette? Are you tired of being a boring shmoe with no impact on the world at all? Are you a complainer at work? A complainer at home? An all out complainer in life?

If you answer yes to any one of these questions, your awesomeness factor is hovering somewhere around zero on the Awesomeness 0 to 20 scale, which means…..change something now, or forever live in anonymity!!!!!

How? How can you change? How can you increase your awesomeness?

I’ve got about five hundred ways you can work to increase your awesomeness, but for today I’ll share just one!

You can start to increase your awesomeness by getting up out of your chair, going over to your co-worker and turning your depressed frown into what sort-of resembles a smile and saying as passionately and honestly as you can muster…. “I think you are doing a great job! I really like how you handled this (be specific) particular situation (or problem, or something). I just wanted you to know that.” Then repeat. Begin to say cool things to other people, no matter how you feel about yourself or how you feel about what others might think.

A person with a high awesomeness factor encourages others. He or she works their butt off saying good, encouraging, passion-filled words to others. They may get met with some angry reactions, some harsh words, but so what. A person with high awesomeness isn’t doing it for a reaction. A person with high awesomeness is giving people what they deeply truly want: appreciation. And as a result, over time, the gift will begin to reciprocate.

Push yourself to begin encouraging others. To encourage others is to encourage yourself. Try it for a week. Encourage three people a day, and just see what happens. See how you begin to feel. You’re awesomeness will absolutely begin to increase.


Some Really Great Reasons To Write That First Draft

Blogs are great. For some people they are a place to write serious literature. For others, they’re a place to write babbling unfocused turd-like thoughts. For a few, they’re a place to report on findings and cool information. For folks like me, they’re a great place to get started. For we all know that getting started is 8/9ths the battle.

Write the damned first draft, I say. Get it going. Just do it. Stop procrastinating. Write everything as though it’s a first draft.

That last sentence makes good sense. In college, how many of us wrote those final papers in no way like what was suggested? How many of you wrote that final 12 page tome the night before it was due? How many papers did you hand in that were lucky if they at least had been spell checked? How many of you never even bothered to read what you had written before handing it in? Admit it! There had to have been at least a few papers where you didn’t do the best you could have done? There had to have been at least one or two essays where you didn’t take the time to write, rewrite, get someone to check it for you—you know, write your paper “the right way”?

If you didn’t turn in a less than perfectly prepared paper at least once in your college career, I highly recommend going back to school. Clearly you didn’t do college like you were supposed to.

…of course, this is coming from a guy whose blogging for free rather than being paid to write. You might think twice about the credibility of this writer.

Wow…this introduction is taking a really long time. What’s my point? My point is that you really should just start writing. Write the first draft! And do it now. Write it and publish it. If you don’t, you’ll miss out on some really good benefits.

One, not writing your first draft will result in not writing a damn thing at all. Not writing your first draft, shitty or great, will result in your sitting in front of the television feeling like crap about yourself. Not writing your first draft leads you to poor self-esteem. It leads you to crappy self-justifying bullcrap that is supposed to cover over the fact that you just didn’t do the only thing that will get you started….writing the first draft.

Not writing that first draft enables you to never have anything to rewrite and make better. Not writing it ensures that you’ll be without product. There’ll be nothing to make awesome and better. There’ll be nothing for you to develop and play with. Don’t you realize that revision is where the beauty comes? Revision is the shit! It’s awesome. Remember that when you’re writing your shitty first draft. Because no matter what you write, you’re going to eventually turn it into something else, something great, something fantastic. And doing that is the best damned part of writing. So, if you’re not writing your first draft, you’re missing out on the process of fixing what can never be perfect the first time. You’re just being a fool.

Enough said. Write the damn first draft! Stop stalling, and get it down. Tomorrow is another day. Decide, take action, write, and give someone something on paper. Remember it’s not about you whatever you say, it’s about the people you’re helping with your words. So tell the damn story, write the damn essay, finish the damn blog. Just do it! Just write the damn first draft!

For a key to successful communication is the willingness to start somewhere.


How To Talk To Strangers

Bored of the same old conversations with the same old people? Or are you a loner who is tired of being alone? Perhaps you’re just shy, and sick of it? Maybe it’s time to think of trying a new way of approaching life and the people that inhabit it.

Each day most of us pass approximately 100 people, depending on the size of the situation we’re living in. Of those 100 people, we know perhaps 3. That means 97 people are complete, virtually complete, strangers. That’s a lot of people that we do not know.

Ever think about their story? Ever wonder who they are, what they do, whether or not they’ve got the magic answer to the mysteries in your life? If so, you should talk with them.

What???? Talk to strangers? Are you nutz?

Well, that’s debateable.

But, the reality is 97% of the people you meet each day is a really large amount of people. I think it is in our best interests to meet at least some of the people we see. Why not?

So today I challenge you to reap the benefits you can get from talking with strangers. Of course, talking with strangers has some risks. There are the emotional risks of rejection, receiving haughty looks from people we don’t know, from being called or thought weird. These are big risks, but I don’t think they outweigh the benefits we get when we begin to talk with and meet new people.
  1. When you meet new people, you grow in interpersonal confidence.
  2. When you meet new people, you can have a chance to alter the course of your life.
  3. When you meet new people, you can relieve the boredom that fills the majority of our days.
  4. When you meet new people, you might just find an answer to your life.
  5. When you meet new people, you might just have one more person who’ll be at your funeral. (A lot of people at your funeral is a definition of success, is it not?)
  6. When you meet new people, you might have more people at your wedding, which means more presents. …this is good.
The benefits do outweigh the risks. So how do we talk to strangers?

Accept that you might be rejected. Let go of your ego. Realize that rejection is not death. It’s scary and it hurts, but in a city the size of Seoul, for example, being rejected by one person is akin to putting your finger in a bucket of water then pulling it out. There is no change, there is no difference. Rejection is not the end of the world. It’s part and parcel of living an interesting life. The cost of living life in a cool and alive way, rather than in a contentedly bored and safe way.

Just jump in.
Don’t hesitate. “Hi, I’m Michael.” This is a great way to start. If you don’t hesitate, you’ll find people will react in kind. Of course, there are certain places that are better for doing this than others. Coffee shops are good, bars are good. But a straight forward name give is only good in a few places. For places like museums or gyms, you might start by asking them their opinion about the art, or about how to do a certain exercise. Once started, just continue on. What the heck. It can be fun.

Yes, some people will be snotty and ignore you. So what! Do it anyway. Remember, it’s good for you. It’s making you stronger. And it’s better than sitting like a bump on a log wishing life were different. It’s proactive and therefore good.

Yes, talking to strangers can be deadly. We’ve all heard stories of people who’ve met strangers and been damaged. Well, this is a risk. But, reality is, most of the people in this world are not crazed psychos. What’s the real probability that you’ll be the lucky one to meet the psycho?

So of course, you’ll want to be smart. You may not want to give your phone number. You may not want to give your email. Be smart. If you meet someone and they give you the freaky willy icky feeling, stop talking. There’s not rule that once you start a conversation, you have to a) keep it going, or b) make the other feel good. Talking to strangers is for you, and it’s your game. You owe no one anything! So, if they ask you for your phone number, say, “No thank you.”

Make a habit of practicing on a stranger a day. What the hell? Why not. Every day for 21 days. One person per day. Go ahead, try it. It’s scary, but you can do it. It’s good exercise for your soul. And, 21 days is the standard time it takes to make a new habit and to get over the habitual pattern that we are trying to alter. Shyness is the thing we want to change, 21 days will set the ball rolling toward permanent change.

So, if you’re tired of life as it is, and you’re looking for something cool to do to spice up your days on earth, give talking to strangers a try. Use your intuition, and make reasonable choices about the people you try and talk to. Don’t try and strike up conversations with random people while standing at a crosswalk. Coffee shops, bars, museums, trains, buses….these are good places. Give it a try! You might just change your entire life!


How To Be A Person That Can Effect Behavioral Change In Others

There is a common saying that there are only so many things a person can control. People, places and things are three that you and I really cannot control. We can try, we can work hard to achieve control over these things, but in the long run any change we manage to create is almost always only temporary.

When it comes to people, trying to manipulate and control them is often cause for both their resentment toward us and for our resentment toward them.

“Dammit!" we demand, "Just do what I want!”

The bottom line: trying to control people is really hard. In fact, it's a down-right pain in the ass.

But there are some ways that we can produce behavioral change in others. Here are five you can use to work toward the results you wish to achieve.
1) Care. It’s simple, really. Just work toward caring for other people, especially the people you want to change. If you do not really care, the persuasion of love is nil. Love is a persuader. But it has to be genuine. If you don’t care, then the intent of your influence is but manipulative. Care equals desiring the best for the other. People usually respond to another persons care.

2) Let Go. Let go of the result of your attempts to influence. Trying to managed and control the outcome of your attempt is really just that…control. Control is an intent. And to be effective at influencing people, you have to let go of the result of your efforts. Care, but demand not that the person do exactly as you wish! Let go and let God, so to speak. Allow life to live it’s own way. Live your life and let others live theirs. If they want what you are offering, they’ll reach out and grab it. Trust the process, and let go.

3) Avoid the argument. Avoid trying to prove yourself right. In so doing, you’re essentially saying the other person is wrong. Is this not wrong? Every person on the planet has a vested interest in trying to be right. According to the laws of psychology, our ego demands it. Everything we do, we are in an attempt to protect ourselves. To protect our mind, our ego creates a “right” shell. To break past that right shell with argument or force is nearly impossible. Even if you win the argument, the person will defend their “wrongness” as a form of right. …just trust me, arguments like I’m trying to win right now do not work. Avoid them!

4) Model the behaviour. Be the change you want to see in others. But, be prepared to be patient. Being the change means being okay if others think you are a freak. And take no time to tell you that they think such. Work hard at attracting people through your actions rather than through your promotional tactics. Be the real deal, the real MaCoy. Be genuine. Nothing sells like authenticity and sincerity.

5) Listen. The best way to accomplish all of the above and to affect change in others is to Listen. Listen listen listen listen listen. …then listen some more. Stop being in such a hurry to say something. Stop the train of thoughts buzzing, the argument forming, the dreams drifting while others are talking. Focus on the moment, your breath, here and now. Keep the mind blank except for the thing that the other is saying. Form arguments after you have processed the words of the other, if need be. Allow others to be heard. Give them your eyes, your non-verbals, your full and undivided attention. Learn the art of active listening. It’ll make a huge difference in your relationships, and in your ability to influence.

If anything, it’ll be a silencer of you. And the bottom line of influence is keep your mouth shut. Talkers tend to manipulate. Listeners allow for change to occur. Be an ocean. An ocean never speaks. It only listens. Yet, it’s power and ability to effect change is unparalleled.
So, stop trying to control, instead learn to be influential. To be an influential communicator, practice the above steps.

All for today.


How To Give A Review That Excites Your Audience!

I belong to Toastmasters.

I love Toastmasters, and I love everyone who is a part of that fantastic club. …okay, not everyone. But I at least respect everyone. It takes a hell of a lot of courage to get up in front of complete strangers and speak. So, to everyone who joins and participates in TM, you rock!

Every now and then, however, there are people who really struggle with their speeches. They struggle to understand how to make their speeches entertaining. It took me a long time to learn how to put together a speech, and I’m certainly no where near where I want to be. I believe, though, that I know a little bit.

Because of that brazen assumption, I’d like to tell you today how to prepare a mini-speech—sometimes called a Review—that is designed to introduce something to the audience that you, as a speaker, find interesting. That thing can be a movie, a philosophy, a book, a restaurant, a park, or just about anything you feel excited enough to talk about.

Of course, as a speaker who’s excited about your subject, you want to inspire and excite your audience enough to experience the thing you’re discussing. If they go, then you two will have something in common that the both of you can discuss later on.

Knowing this, it’s important that when preparing your review, you consider these 3 points:

First, always always always chose one, and I mean ONLY ONE, unique selling point. Remember that a Review in Toastmasters is only to be two minutes in length. One unique selling point is all you have time to talk about.

What is it that you like about the thing you are sharing with us? What are you certain to be the big benefit that the audience is likely to get from the thing you are sharing. For example, you might be sharing with us a book that you enjoyed. What about the book do you think the audience will appreciate? Think hard. Then, after you’ve given it a good think, decide what the one unique selling point is, and move on to point number 2…

Second, state that unique selling point as a short, concise question that you’ll spend the next two minutes answering. For example, you might ask the audience: “Tired of reading boring books about stupid dumb people?” So what is the USP of this question? The selling point is that the book you are reviewing will probably be a book that is not a boring book about stupid dumb people. Instead, it will probably be about something else. That something else is the thing I’ll describe in point 3…

Finally, answer the question by explaining the unique selling point. The question that you posed in the introduction is actually a problem that needs to be solved in your brief review. This should be easy to do in a simple way within the two minute time frame.

The best way for me to explain this is to write a mock version of a review:

“Fellow Toastmasters and Welcome guests…Tired of reading boring books about stupid dumb people? Well have I got a solution for you! This book is anything but boring. It’s packed with awesome characters who talk funny and creative, who are smart, and are positively cool. It’s the story of Bob who is a really silly man who just so happens to love a unique lady named Veronica. Unfortunately, the woman is in love with only her dog, so she find’s Bob quite ugly.

The ending is unlike anything you could ever possibly expect. It’s exciting and bizarre, and I really recommend it. If you’d like to know more, please ask me during 2nd Round. (If you are unfamiliar with 2nd Round, that’s where all the Toastmasters people go out after a meeting and socialize).

Briefly, you should know that you can buy this book at any bookstore. It costs about 9000 Korean won.

So, do yourselves a favour….if you’re tired of reading dull books about dumb people, try this book. It’ll excite you and entertain you. Mr. Toastmaster…”

So there you have it. Follow my tips, and you’ll be able to create a moderately super fantastic Review.

If you have any additional advice, do yourself a favour and make your own damned blog!

Just kidding! Feel free to leave a comment or eight. Much appreciated.

For more information on how to write good speeches, go here: SPEECH TIPS.