Why Communication Isn’t Influential

“I feel like anytime you’re talking to someone, you’re influencing them.” the pretty woman said to me at a charity function for the Grammy Foundation in LA. 

Her statement started to bother me the next day. What she said was on a continuous loop in my head and I couldn’t figure out why. Finally, it hit me. 

But after sitting with it, I realized that there is a major flaw in that thinking.

Communicating clearly and being influential are related, but not the same.Continue Reading

How to Deal with Squirrels at a Networking Event

I had a very “LA moment” the other day – even though I’m sure a similar scene plays out around the world. 

I was at a conference for entrepreneurs. A wide variety of companies were represented – chiropractic practices, beauty companies, life coaches, and so on. 

The first presentation was a panel of marketing and public relations experts, representing different companies. During the Q&A I lobbed a very professional but hard-hitting question to the PR firms about their business models. 

One of the panelists, an owner of a PR firm, must have been intrigued by me – either for networking purposes or she saw a potential client in me – because when there was a break in the schedule, she made a beeline over to me with her card in hand.networking event

Now, I couldn’t tell you what she had in mind or why she wanted to talk to me…and here’s why.

As she was making her way across the room to speak with me, I was in mid-conversation with an owner of a speakers bureau. (Speakers bureaus are like hollywood talent agents, but for professional speakers.) 

Here’s how it went down.Continue Reading

Effective Communication the Artist’s Way

I can’t draw. Never have been able to. The best thing I can manifest on paper is a smiley face.

Because of my complete lack of ability in this area, it makes perfect sense that I am astonished by people in the visual arts. Making something look like what they see in the real world and in their mind is, in all sincerity, beyond my comprehension. It’s like magic to me.Creative Inc

I earned even more respect for artists, and even found a bit of kinship between us, after I read Creative, Inc. by Ed Catmull, the president of Pixar. 

I picked up the book (aka downloaded to my Kindle app on my iPad) because I had been in a creative drought. The subtitle, “Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration,” made me think that it was a book about creativity. It turned out to be so much more than that.

The book definitely touches on creativity – mostly in one chapter, “The Unmade Future,” where he shares the different mental models his artists and executives have about the creative process. (An excellent chapter!)

Creative, Inc. is actually a book about management, leadership, and communication – with a sprinkle of creative insights. It is one of the best books on management I have read. 

(I sing the praises about Catmull’s book in my article for Entrepreneur Magazine here.)

What I love about Catmull’s approach is that there are no absolutes. As you know from my previous article about the dangerous advice with universals, I am highly skeptical of anyone who touts quick and easy fixes to wildly complicated problems. Catmull thankfully avoids this common management book trap. 

BECAUSE OF HIS BOOK, I HAVE FOUND A NEW CONNECTION BETWEEN ARTISTS AND MASTER INFLUENCERS

It’s no surprise that artists have a different perspective when they look at objects compared to the rest of us. Understanding that difference is where the real magic happens.Continue Reading

“Oops! I Said the Wrong Thing. Now What?”

None of us are immune to accidentally saying the wrong thing. We might have good intentions, but we unfortunately chose the wrong words. When your in a leadership position, the ramifications of saying the wrong thing are even greater. That’s why I wrote this article for Entrepreneur.com – Correcting Leadership Communication Mishaps I want toContinue Reading

Traveling Through Influential Communication

When people are first introduced to this world of influential communication, they naturally feel overwhelmed at first. There are many moving pieces – body language, techniques, profiling, strategies, etc.  It’s like opening up a watch and seeing all the gears at once for the first time. Which gear does what? What happens first? What connectsContinue Reading

Resisting Confidence

  Okay, let’s face it. I’m not really known for being demure or meek. In fact, I’m pretty sure that neither of those adjectives have ever been used to describe me. In my line of work – speaking, coaching, and training – my outgoing and confident nature certainly serves me well. However, that doesn’t meanContinue Reading

Better Meetings Made Easy

Better Meetings Made Easy I have to confess something. I hate pointless meetings. I’m sure I’m not alone in this and yet there are thousands of meetings happening right now and I’d bet that more than half of them are filled with bored, demoralized, and disgruntled employees. If you don’t want people dreading the ideaContinue Reading

Which is More Persuasive: Positive or Negative Influence?

Which is More Persuasive: Positive or Negative Influence? When you need to be influential, chances are you will be faced with the question, “how can I frame my pitch to be more persuasive?”  In this quick video, I give you my best tip on how to prepare for that exact situation.

One Influential Word That Can Make A Huge Difference

  One Influential Word That Can Make A Huge Difference In my recent article for Entrepreneur about The Art of Having a Productive Argument, I outlined ways that arguments can improve and strengthen your corporate culture and relationships. I wanted to follow up that article with a bonus tip for my blog readers. One ofContinue ReadingContinue Reading

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