Some Like ‘em Strong and Wrong

Some Like ‘em Strong and Wrong

Some like ‘em strong and wrong. It seems as true today as it was then. Former President Bill Clinton told the Democratic Leadership Council in 2002, “When people feel uncertain, they’d rather have someone strong and wrong than weak and right.” It was his post-mortem after Democrats went down to defeat in that year’s midterm elections. Fast forward to the present and notice how often you hear Donald Trump’s supporters say they’re with him because, “He’s strong.” “He’s a leader,” and “He fights.” They’re not agreeing with some arcane policy positions, they’re reacting to their perceptions of Trump’s personality. Loud, aggressive, freewheeling. And they like it.

More is Less

More is Less

More is less. They say less is more. They’re right, of course, when it comes to most of our business communication…and a lot of our personal conversations as well. A friend is editing a piece of her marketing material; she mentioned she thought there’s room to pare it down. “You know,” she said, “Less is more.” Absolutely! Also, as I told her, more is less. Sometimes much less. It happens often that the more we say, the less engaged our listeners are and the less they take in, much less buy into, what we’re saying. You know this from your own experience, right?

How to resist the Resistance?

How to resist the Resistance?

How to resist the Resistance. Maybe you’re familiar with resistance? Okay, almost certainly you’re familiar with resistance. I’m not talking about the opposition to current flow in an electrical circuit, measured in ohms, that we learned about in physics classes years ago. I mean the opposition to what’s best for us, measured in agita, that we’ve learned about in business, and for that matter, in life. And that we continue to experience on a regular basis. You might guess, I’m up against Resistance. It does help some to know I’m not alone, and I’m pretty sure I’m not.

Talking with Your Hands

Talking with Your Hands

Talking with your hands My sister and I were chatting with our aunt’s neighbors at a senior residence, when one of them commented on the way I was chatting. Apparently, it involved gestures. Which is not unusual. We all use our hands when we talk. Clients sometimes tell me they think they over-use their hands. They’re usually wrong. The truth is, your hands really are almost as important as your words. And sometimes you can speak volumes with your hands. Using gestures when we speak is not only natural. It’s also highly correlated with charisma. That makes sense, right?  A speaker who stands stock still and doesn’t move their hands will be much less magnetic than a speaker who creates a visual experience for their audience as well as an auditory one. Where? Bottom line: wherever you’re talking, your gestures matter. So what gestures should you use?

Judge not?

Judge not?

Judge not? Funny how the fear of being judged can hold us back from opportunities. Some of us are so concerned, it rises to the level of social anxiety disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health defines it as “an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others.” It seems to me, though, that others are watching and judging us all the time. We know that because we’re watching and judging them too! Colleagues, friends, random strangers on the street – we have opinions about what they’re wearing, the words they say, the expressions on their faces, and so much more. “Judgement” sounds so, well, judgy. And yet …

The What and the How

The What and the How

The What and the How – The headline The Atlantic is a plaintive question. “Do Voters Care About Policy Even a Little?” The answer, contained in the subhead, appears to be a resounding “no.” “Joe Biden turned one of the highest-polling ideas in politics into reality. Few voters have even noticed.” Here’s why the president’s problem matters to you and your business. Maybe … people just aren’t paying attention to what goes on in Washington, even when it tackles problems they’ve been complaining about for years. People are just much more concerned with their own lives than any federal policy. Maybe … other issues are more important to Americans than getting a break on drug prices or getting a job because of those much-ballyhooed infrastructure projects. It’s all about the cost of groceries and gasoline. Maybe … the news media are to blame—they don’t cover what the president has to say unless they can gin up some click-generating conflict, as in the student loan issue. Another bridge being built in another red county? Big yawn. Or maybe there’s something else at work.

Are You Ready to Shine?

Are You Ready to Shine?

Are You Ready to Shine? Some young women have stepped into the spotlight in a big way as millions of us watched the NCAA Women’s Basketball Finals. Ticket prices set new records. Ditto for TV ratings. Women’s sports—they’ve come a long way, Baby. And yet … Some things are slow to change. Interesting tidbit from an ESPN profile of Iowa’s Caitlin Clark. Before she was the nationally known superstar she is now, making millions for her name, image, and likeness, Caitlin tried out for Team USA. “Possession to possession, shot to shot, she played free and bold. Head coach Cori Close, whose day job was coaching UCLA’s Bruins, saw the confidence immediately. ‘Women have been socialized to not want to take all the shine,’ she said. ‘She is an elite competitor who isn’t scared to step into the moment.’” Women have been socialized to not want to take all the shine. Amen, Sister.

The #1 Skill We All Need

The #1 Skill We All Need

The #1 skill we all need. Sitting in church on Easter Sunday, I was thinking about you. And your presentation skills. Okay, not the whole time I was sitting in church on Easter Sunday. But you did cross my mind. Because I was listening to different individuals speak … and feeling their impact on the people in the pews. Here’s what I noticed. There were some announcements and some readings and the clergy and lay people who shared them with us were fine. Then there was a call for children to come up to the front of the sanctuary. And the youth minister talked to them … and us … in a way that was radically different from anything that had come before. His voice was strong. His tone was conversational. His energy was powerful. You could feel his impact on the kids right in front of him and on the adults in the pews as well. The way he spoke enhanced what he said. And it’s like that for all of us.

The Words We Choose are so Important

The Words We Choose are so Important

The words we choose are so important. I met her at a networking event. I mean I intentionally (and quickly!) sought her out after the program ended, because she’d told us she offered a service that very much interested me. I wanted to talk with this woman! Of course, I assumed she’d want to talk with me too. That’s what we’re there for, after all. And I made it abundantly clear that I was eager to know more about what she offers. So, you can imagine my surprise when she said, “What I do with my prospects is set up a Zoom meeting, so if you’ll give me your email address …” as she turned away. Ewwwww. Who wants to be a “prospect”? I certainly don’t

Now you see it …

Now you see it …

Now you see it … Have you noticed? Blue cars are everywhere. For the longest time, you could drive around town and see black cars. White cars. And gray or silver cars. Maybe the occasional red or maroon. No blues, no greens, no nothing. I drove my black Buick for 12 years—so when the time came for a new car, I was more than ready for a splash of color. Not like the Purple Probe I drove in the ‘90s, of course, but at least a little color. And I finally have my new Honda CRV. I got the Sport Touring Package, because I’m so darn sporty.🙄 Okay, really it’s because I wanted the hybrid engine that’s only available with the Sport trim. I also wanted Canyon River Blue because, color. And apparently, I’m not alone. Blue cars are everywhere. I definitely notice more blue cars than I did six months or a year ago. But maybe it’s not because more of them are on the road. Maybe it’s just because I see them now, where I didn’t before. And that’s not about the cars … it’s about the brain.