No. 101- Prepare Before You Meet, Talk or Click

You can be anything and do anything with enough preparation and work. To be effective in what message you want to get across to others, you must prepare. If you painstakingly prepare more than most people bother to, it will measurably improve your chances of affecting people the way you want. Some CEOs tell me that for every hour they expect to be in front of someone, they give themselves two to three hours of preparation.

(The rule of thumb of courtiers in Buckingham Palace is that “a one-minute visit with the queen requires three hours of planning.”)

Preparation increases confidence and optimism, and makes you more interesting to whomever you are speaking with. People respond well to someone who is sure of what he or she wants and goes for it.

Before you communicate, ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish in this exchange? What are the reasons to do this—both implicit and explicit? Why should she give a darn? What is the likely outcome of this exchange?”

And then, after it’s done ask, “Did I accomplish what I set out to?”


P.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.

No. 100 – Say “No” But Don’t Take “No”

Be able to say “no,” but don’t take “no” for the answer. First, understand that “no” is the standard answer or response from peers, bosses, and subordinates to test or challenge you, sometimes out of laziness, sometimes for reasons of budget and time.

“No” is a complete sentence, but it isn’t a complete answer. Don’t take it as a matter of course if you believe that it could, or should, be otherwise.

“No” doesn’t always mean “no,” nor do nada, nein, nyet, not now, not ever, no way, negative, never ever, not as long as I live, over my dead body, not even if hell freezes over, not only no but hell no. More often than not it means, “maybe” or “I’m not sure.” Unless you come back and fight for it, your opponents figured they were right.

So take “no” and go on. If you ask for something and are told “no,” accept it; then ask for something different:

“Can you donate $500 million to the new college of business building?”


“Can you buy two tickets for the fundraiser next month?”

“Well, sure.”

The above example is not ‘apples and apples,’ I know. Still, taking “no” is acceptable for some people, but it doesn’t have to be for you. If you get “no,” figure the person you are speaking with just didn’t understand and you have to explain another way.

My point is to keep trying, without being tedious, without just giving up. Ask 3 (or 13) times and in 3 (or 13) different ways before you even consider giving up. When people learn that you only redouble your efforts when you are told “no,” you will get them trained to just saying “yes” right away.


P.S.  If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.

No. 99 – What is a Work Game-Face?

You don’t need a wide smile, a snapshot pose, a big ‘ole rubber beam, or a wolfish grin. Rather, you need just a slightly open mouth with a friendly upturn of the lips—a small smile. The demeanor I’m promoting is an undaunted, comfortable-in-your-skin, shiny business game face. Consider the following:

  • A shiny face from your attitude, not from perspiration, transmits well across cultures.
  • Smiling isn’t about being happy (although I hope you are). It’s about confidence and taking responsibility for the energy you bring to the place.
  • Your small smile makes you look awake, alert, alive, implacable, and approachable.
  • You can have a determined jaw but still have a small smile— your expression will only enhance the keen intelligence in your eyes.
  • If you smile, you can’t as easily chew gum, eat, or drink (which obviously needs to be nixed) because every saliva slap against your jaw is exaggerated in the person’s ear.
  • Not smiling causes inaccurate responses to you. You’ll have an uphill battle without even realizing it.


P.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.

No. 98 – A Little History of Communication Platforms

Posted on September 29th, 2016 by in Effective Communication, Professional Growth

With the myriad audio, video, and digital communication platforms we have today to immediately disseminate more information than ever in history, it’s kind of interesting to look back on how man achieved the same desire to share information….

During an excavation of a medieval road near the Kremlin in Moscow, Russian archaeologists recently unearthed a birchbark letter dating to the fourteenth century. They believe it was written by a servant to his master to describe unforeseen travel expenses on a debt collection journey.

For many years I’ve collected religious artifacts. One of my most treasured items is the teachings of the Bible written in Sanskrit on banana tree leaves bound together by a cord so they can fan out and be read as a learning tool.

Before the birchbark or banana leaves, the Incas in Peru encoded and recorded information with cryptic knotted strings known as khipu. Dr. Gary Urton, of Harvard, writes, “The knots appeared to be arranged in coded sequences analogous to the process of writing binary number (1/0) coded programing for computers.”

And before that, there were petroglyphs etched into cave walls. Petroglyphs, then knotted strings, then birchbark and parchment were “technological” advancements in communication for their times.

What will be interesting to see are the technological advances still waiting for us. An email in the future might seem as old fashioned as the birchbark.


P.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.

No. 97 – The Similarities In Our Differences

Today’s workforce is made up of mixed generations from boomers to millenials and from a multitude of demographics. Despite the differences we are more similar than dissimilar.

I’m an avid cook, and was wondering about a new use of a package of wonton wrappers that I had left over after making dim sum. In a Saturday morning of research I found recipes to use the same “Chinese” wrapper to make maultaschensuppe (a German dumpling), Russian Ramen, Tibetan Momos, Georgian Khinkali, Jewish Kreplach, Sichuan Chili wontons, Pierogi, Ukranian Manti, Slovenian dumplings, Italian Tortellini, and Montreal Peanut Butter Dumplings.

Each recipe had the same “outside” but the insides changed a little with geography, history, culture, tastes, available items, etc. All recipes achieved the same goal of satisfying taste and providing nourishment: the same outside wrapper but different inside the wrapper techniques and ingredients.

There is an analogy to today’s work force. We are humans who are made up of differences on the inside, but with the same outside goal of the pursuit of happiness – whether with food or a career.


P.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.

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