Self-esteem, self-respect & self-confidence


Self-esteem can be simply defined as having a very good opinion about yourself. 

It comes from within.  No amount of technique or gimmick can put it there.

Self-confidence is knowing you’re right, knowing you can do it, belief in your ability, in your power, in yourself.

Self-esteem is bigger than self-confidence. It’s a high feeling of worth.

But it’s not arrogance which is an offensive display of superiority of one’s self-importance at the expense of others, exhibiting an attitude and actions that demonstrate contempt of others.

Self-respect is honoring your ideas, beliefs, decisions, values, the products of your life, and treating them as important, even sacred. Protecting them and keeping them inviolate, free from violations. 

I can look at someone and see how much self-esteem they have because it radiates in their presence.

Self-esteem drives out fear. 

It also has a big impact on others when they see you have it.  I’ve heard people call it an “aura”.

It creates a definite unmistakable chemistry in all your relationships when you have it. 

It feels good.

People hate to lose it. Certain situations make it tough to maintain.

It’s especially difficult for people to feel a lot of self-esteem when they’re in front of a camera, being videoed making a presentation. They usually hate watching themselves the first time when we play it back. Why is that? Why are they so disappointed in what they see?

Because they’re not demonstrating competence at a level that would make them proud of themselves.

Which brings us to an important point. 

Competence is what raises self-esteem. 

It’s the fastest and most secure way I know how. 

Competence is a range of capacity or ability sufficient to meet the demands of the situation. It includes competent force, competent knowledge, competent skill. 

Demonstrated competence is a direct route to self-esteem.

That’s why I love teaching, helping others increase their competence, seeing their competence grow, followed by the prize of greater self-esteem.

As I write this, I was thinking about an email I received from our Lead Trainer, Janet, about 3 recent students in a presentation skills workshop. This is what she wrote:

"First of all, I’d like to tell you about Mary.  She was funny but extremely self-conscious, nervous and almost hectic. It took her a lot of effort to not have her mind racing all over the place and just be there comfortably. We coached her intensively to take all her attention off herself and to become very aware of, and connected with, her audience. She ducked her head while watching her final video, like she couldn't watch it, and I was concerned.  When I went over to inquire, she was crying. I was even more concerned. She looked up and told me they were tears of joy. She never had believed she could look so professional and relaxed.

"Next, our student named Mike. He is a big gruff guy, an engineer and manager. He presents frequently, mostly virtual. In his first video, he grimly told us to think of him as “Mr. No” because that’s his main answer when people ask him for something.  As we progressed through the training, he relaxed and learned how to make a deep personal connection. He told us that he had crippling stage fright that had ruined his personal life. His dad was a world-class magician. Mike wanted to follow in his footsteps and although he acquired the skills, stage fright had stopped him cold. He thought he would have it for the rest of his life and switched his career to engineering. He was truly blown away and grateful for the coaching that enabled him, for the first time in his life, to handle stage fright. He made a great final video. He warmly shook our hands and said that he found the class “truly transformative”.

"And finally, Aisha. She is a shy data analyst, in her 30's, new to her role in the cybersecurity industry. While brilliant mathematically, she is very insecure and self-conscious. She had many bad interviews and failures before landing this job. In her final video, she was confident and poised, and was literally GLOWING as she watched it. She felt like a whole career path had opened up for her. She could now think of herself as a leader, a goal she had never dared dreamed. She described the class as “life-changing”.

Experiencing and hearing about all the students transformed during these classes is one of my greatest pleasures in life. 

Rock solid self-esteem sits on a foundation of competence. Take every opportunity you can to demonstrate your own competence and watch your self-esteem grow.  I’d love to hear about it.

The eyes tell it all


Body language is created by how you feel, your emotions. If you try to control your body language, or voice tone by themselves, and if they don’t match how you really feel, you’ll look forced, you won't come across as authentic. 

What is in your eyes is THE most important “body language” you have.  Your eyes communicate your innermost feelings. It's all about the way you look at the other person or, if you're talking to a group, how you look at your audience. 

You can think about how the way another person looks at you makes you feel, how important it is, not just THAT they look at you, but HOW they look at you.

If you're not feeling confidence, you're not going to look at anyone with confidence.  If you try to fake it, it will look like you're straining. If you're really afraid, you'll have a hard time looking at anyone at all.

The rest of your body language is incidental to what is in your eyes.

Many people have said they've been told that when their arms are crossed, they look “defensive”.  But I've seen plenty of people with their arms crossed, who have a warm look in their eyes, their eyes telling me they're clearly interested, open and paying attention, they don't look defensive at all. The arms are incidental.

In short, the eyes have it. As one of our ETS coaches says,

It’s amazing how much the eyes communicate when they are actually meant for seeing.

One of the biggest things that’s going to influence what’s in your eyes is whether your attention is on yourself, or what you’re going to say, or whether your attention is FULLY on the other person.

Self-consciousness literally means too much attention on self.

Too much attention on yourself, on what you’re saying or on the outcome you want, messes with your eyes.

I just delivered a workshop on presentation skills where a big issue for participants was learning the art of NOT thinking and talking at the same time, not planning what to say next, but gaining the ability to put all their attention on their audience and deliver the full impact of their communication directly.

Many people think you have to know your material, and what you're going to say, extremely well before you're able to do this, but it's not true.  It's a matter of practice, and even people who know their material very well need to practice keeping their attention on the audience.

Having a strong intention to communicate drives out self-consciousness and this can be seen in your eyes.

The affinity you genuinely feel (or don’t feel) for the other person or persons also shows in your eyes.

When you have your attention fully off yourself, and you have a strong intention to communicate, and you have genuine affinity for your audience, your eyes will captivate and the rest of your body language will fall into place. This is true whether you’re talking 1-to-1 or 1-to-many.

In the workshop I just finished last week, there was a gentleman who learned to take his attention off of planning what to say next and put it squarely on the audience.  As he did so, his hand gestures became powerful and brilliant. I never coached him on his hand gestures and he didn’t even notice them until I pointed out how great they had become.  I coached him on what was going on inside him, and when this was all straight, his hands knew exactly what to do.  As he spoke with strong intention and great affinity for the audience, they said he came across as a Commander.

A very powerful woman was in the workshop.  Powerful until she got up to speak.  She was constantly focused on what to say next and her eyes were flitting around.  However, when she learned how to put her focus on the audience, her eyes really connected with the individuals, her full power came out in a blaze of glory. She now touches your mind and also your heart.

I also had a very polished speaker in the workshop, one who has won many awards for a variety of communications. His presentation was very interesting and in the beginning he was more interested in it than he was in the audience. As he shifted his focus from what he was saying to the people he was talking to, he went from “interesting” to absolutely riveting.

One participant was very nervous and really couldn't look at the audience at all.  When she tuned into the audience, and really experienced them, her eyes lit up with enjoyment. The audience called her delightful.

Authentic goes both ways.  

For sure you want to be authentic with the other person, but the first person you want to be authentic with is you.

That is why you want to tap into that source of confidence within you, your intention, and your natural affinity for people. Tap into it and FEEL it.  Then you are authentic to yourself and you will be authentic to the rest of the world too. 

Your eyes will captivate.

If you need any extra help with this, feel free to email me with any questions you have. I’m more than happy to help you captivate your audiences.

Causative [kaw’-zuh-tiv], adjective:  Making what you want HAPPEN.  Being able to cause your intended effect or outcome at will. 

If you're serious about your goals, our workshops and coaching will give you the tools and skills to achieve them.

We know they work because we’re swimming in client success stories.  They got the promotion, conflict evaporated, the other person changed completely, their vision is spreading throughout the organization, they closed the $400 million deal, they are enthralling audiences, receiving standing ovations and their teenager’s talking to them. 

Most people live their entire lives with this power lying dormant inside of them.  You don’t have to be one of them.

The power to transform any situation or any person begins with your ability to assume the cause role in your communications. 

 Be the cause!

Nothing changes a person faster


Nothing changes a person faster than the way you listen to them.

One of my clients, Carl, has a coworker, Marty, who is loud, stubborn, arrogant, and acts like he's always right, unfortunately even when he's not. He also says, “No” when you ask him for anything.

Marty has managed to alienate just about everyone. When he starts to talk, people run for the door.  If there's no escape possible, they endure it, but it's painful. 

No one has managed to get Marty to listen to them. Every point they make triggers a counter-point that easily turns into an argument if they respond to it.

The problem is that Marty is good at what he does. He's influential and can't be ignored. People like Carl rely on him for resources and cooperation.  Marty's been there a long time, he’s very knowledgeable about what he does, just utterly unwilling to listen to anyone else (because he knows how wrong they are). 

Based on what Carl told me, I knew that Marty lacked even basic communication skills and was unable to receive any incoming communication. 

I also could tell no one was listening to Marty. They “knew” what he was saying was inaccurate and so they would shut him out, they couldn't help but resist hearing him out.

They didn't realize they were doing the same thing to Marty that he was doing that annoyed them.

This isn't unusual. There's a lot of pretended listening that goes on. People shape their facial expressions to look like they’re listening, but inside there’s a lot of internal activity going on and they’re not REALLY listening (or hearing).

The key to real listening is to not think at all while you're listening, to focus all of your attention on simply receiving and understanding what the other person is saying.  Pure understanding with nothing else added.

Easy to do if they’re a nice person or you’re interested in what they have to say. Much harder if you disagree or they push your buttons.

Last week, as part of a workshop, I coached Carl on listening. He developed this skill (and it IS a skill) to the point where his ability to really listen could stand up in a hurricane. To the point where he had no urge to interrupt, he was fully attentive, he was strongly interested, and he had high affinity for the other person regardless of what they were talking about or how negatively they were communicating.

This was a whole new way to for Carl to listen. It wasn’t easy to develop this skill, but after practicing, he really had it.

The first time Carl sat down to listen to Marty, it took a long time. Marty talked for 40 minutes straight. He was arrogant, opinionated, pointing out everything he thought was wrong with Carl and his department. 

Most people would not have made it to the 60-second mark, with just pure listening and understanding, without any thinking, straining, or judging.

Carl listened intently and perfectly for the full 40 minutes until Marty looked very satisfied he had said everything. Carl made really sure Marty was completely satisfied he had said everything that was on his mind. 

Then Carl gave him a very thorough acknowledgment, letting Marty know he fully understood what Marty had said, that he really understood Marty's point of view, where Marty was coming from.  Carl demonstrated his understanding with an amazingly good, extensive acknowledgement. This was not a validation, it was an acknowledgement.

Carl didn't indicate that he agreed with Marty, just that he fully understood.

Marty looked a little surprised but extremely pleased. And then, for the first time ever, he asked Carl what his thoughts were. 

They they had their first good conversation.

Carl continued to do this (listen & acknowledge Marty) over the course of 2 days. Marty's monologues became shorter and shorter and shorter. They also became less critical and accusative, they became more positive. Best yet, Marty became more and more interested in what Carl had to say. 

It was all very natural, organic. It just flowed.

The situation went from being a painfully negative monologue by Marty which was always followed by Marty's rejecting everything Carl said, to a real 2-way conversation, a real dialogue, back-and-forth.  Complete understanding on both sides.

In 2 days the relationship completely changed.

Not only that, but Marty changed the way he relates to everyone. He’s now pleasant, and interested in what others think. Everyone is noticing and commenting. 

Marty still has very strong opinions, but now it's possible to discuss them with him rather than debate or argue.  The struggle is gone. Projects are moving forward. Marty's resources are being allocated more effectively. Marty even agreed to make a project schedule more aggressive, even though it meant he would sacrifice some of his best people to it.

This was all last week. On Monday, Marty sent Carl an email thanking him and telling him their conversations have been “excellent” and he greatly appreciates them. What that says to me is that Marty spent the weekend reflecting on it. Somehow he must've noticed his whole life changed.

This is the power of real listening. I’ve coached this skill for over 30 years and truly the first time someone practices real listening in one of my workshops, it’s difficult for them to get to the 60-second mark before they crack.  It’s a skill to be able to listen and maintain it as long as needed. A skill that pays off big time.

Many people call the skills I teach magic, and I quite have to agree.

You had me before hello


We've all heard the expression, “You had me at hello.”  I firmly believe, when it comes to presentations, that's way too late.  The really great presenters have you even before they say hello.

You see them standing there, before they even say anything you can see there's something quite different about them.  Even before they start, you're intrigued, captivated, leaning forward a little to hear what they’ll say.

It’s their poise, dignity, their self-assuredness, their calm, their focus, it’s the intensity of their presence. 

There are two VPs in a presentation skills workshop that’s running here right now.  Our Lead Trainer, Janet, is leading the session.  I just sat in at the beginning to watch everyone’s first videos.

If you hadn’t told me that either of these two was a VP, I never would have known.  Reason is neither one had executive presence, neither of them communicated with the poise, dignity and elegance you’d expect from a VP level. 

One is a new VP, so you could say that's understandable in their case.  The other has been a VP for a couple years.

In both cases, the material they were presenting, the content, was very interesting.  But the way they presented it wouldn’t have captured you.  You’d be tuning out and only semi-listening pretty quickly.  The audience, trying to pay attention, was fighting a losing battle. 

Both of them sounded very “Corporate” and correct.  They were articulate, but their words weren’t landing or making a difference.  

And that's really the point, isn't it?  When we listen to a presentation, we want what we hear to make a difference, to matter.

I left after their first videos, had meetings all day and went back in at the very end of the afternoon to see their second videos.  Wow!

It’s not what they’re doing.  It’s how they’re being, their presence.  There’s an invisible chemistry.  There’s an aura.  It creates an atmosphere.  It creates a mood.  It creates an expectation, an anticipation.  A promise of something great to come. 

That's how these two VP’s were at the end of the 1st day.  Very changed. 

They had developed presence. Presence strong enough to notice even before they spoke.   Just the way they walked, stood, looked over the audience. 

They each had that unmistakable aura of an executive, the poise, the dignity of a powerful individual who knows what they have to say is important, a comfortable leader, in absolutely no rush, taking their sweet time, self-assured, creating with their presence a promise of a great outcome.

Then, even before they started to speak, the way they looked out into the audience, they made a powerful connection with everyone in the room. Connection made before they ever said a word. 

As they spoke, the connection intensified.  I could swear the audience stopped breathing at a couple of points.

I could feel the audience’s disappointment when their talks were over. They wanted to hear more, but it was gone. You can only imagine the reception they’ll get when they come back to speak again.

It was the same content they’d presented in their first video.  Almost the same words.  Completely different presence.  Completely different connection with the audience.  Completely different result.

Important point – this doesn’t just apply to VP’s.  It’s even more powerful at lower levels.  People really notice.

This really is how to make what you want happen. Have the powerful presence of someone others are eager to know, make a powerful connection with the audience, make them keen to hear your next words, create a never-ending fascination with your message.  Know that it’s not what you say.  It’s how you say it.

Well, that was the end of the first day of training.  I'm looking forward to seeing them at the end of the second.

Wishing you great success with all your communications!

Why Only Genuine Connections Work


Every amazing outcome is built on the foundation of a deep, profound and calming human connection.  Despite what you’ve been told, you can build this connection in a matter of minutes if you know how, whether it’s one-on-one, in a meeting or when you’re in front of a group.

I’ve studied so many books and videos on persuasion, influence, leadership, power, all about how to get other people to do what you want.   And I always ask myself, “Would I want the other person to know I'm using a technique on them?  What would they think if they knew what I'm doing came out of this book?”

Techniques, for me, take the honesty out of the relationship, and then I don't feel like I'm there with all of my integrity.  So I refuse to teach “techniques”.

I believe only genuine connections work.  The true source of powerful communication is trust, affinity, and above all, it's willingness. When you have the other person's full willingness, there's nothing they won't do for you. 

Inside each person is an incredible source of generosity. Most communications aren't good enough to tap into it. True communication does.

There’s this philosophical aspect to it, and then there’s the science behind “how to make it happen”.

Last week I delivered an intensive 3-day coaching workshop on Causative Communication. As occasionally happens, all the participants were men.  No particular reason for this, it's random who registers for our open enrollment sessions.

One of the first things we cover in the workshop is how vital making a deep human connection is if you want to have meaningful communication. This strong connection on a personal level transforms ALL conversations, whether they’re intensely difficult negotiations or personal.

We paired the guys up to do the exercise immediately following this lecture and discussion. The exercise is intended to give them the practice and coaching needed to make this skill real, so they learn how to make a strong connection with anyone, and make it happen immediately. 

All the guys in the workshop were already successful in life.  I’m going to tell you about 2 of them.  They're both extremely competent men. One is in sales and closed a $100 million deal during lunch on the 2nd day. The other is a senior director slated for VP who directly influences 150 locations around the world in an $18 billion corporation. 

As they were doing the exercise, something neither of them expected happened.  First with one and then the other, their eyes filled with tears.  I always have a box of Kleenex in the room because this wasn't the first time.

Although it happened in the first 2 minutes of the exercise, it seemed to happen slowly.  I was watching their faces and noticed their eyes were slowly welling up and then overflowed.

The senior director said, “I've talk to people my whole life, but I've never actually connected with them, not like this.  I just realized how much emotion I have inside me.  I just realized how much affinity I have.  I’ve been pushing it all down.”

He looked at the man he was paired with and said, “You were a complete stranger when I walked in this morning and now I love you.” 

The way he said it was as natural and normal as saying, “I’m glad you’re on the team.” 

What they both were feeling was a deep personal connection.  This kind of connection, unfortunately, is not common today.  I personally want it to be, which is why I teach how to create it.

The amazing thing about this connection is that it's made without words, it's BEYOND words, it's a level of being able to reach people that's way beyond words.  It has nothing to do with what you say.

All the guys learned how to make this powerful connection within the first minutes of a conversation.  They learned this by lunch on the first day.  Then they learned how to use the connection as a launching pad for powerful, meaningful communication.

The guys had so much fun the first evening of the workshop.  After they left for the day, they made strong connections with all the people they encountered.  They amazed and happily stunned everyone they talked to, including business meetings and a variety of people they’d only met for the first time.

The outcomes of their all conversations were extraordinary, including getting “this never, ever happened before incredibly good” results and cooperation in discussions with their boss. 

We celebrated their outcomes the morning of the 2nd day.  They were exhilarated.  Each success sparked a good bit of laughter and spontaneous applause.

Does everyone who comes to this workshop cry?  No.  But they’re all deeply moved, deeply touched by the difference having this beautiful connection makes in ALL their interactions, especially in the big important conversations where the outcomes really matter.

The ability to make this connection is a skill, it’s an ability, it’s not a personality trait, any personality type can learn it. 

It’s so worth making that connection before talking about anything.  Everything just goes so much better.

I know from my own life and from working with thousands of clients, I know outstanding communication gives you a life of ecstasy, exhilaration, joy, a life that is thrilling.   Most people would not call their day-to-day life thrilling.  But it can be.   Making that connection is a big part of that.

I am dedicated to empowering others. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how to create that kind of connection, I invite you to a webinar I’ll deliver next week on how to make what you want happen.  It starts with making a deep human connection and I’ll be covering how to do that. 

Wishing you many meaningful connections in all your upcoming conversations!

The Root Cause of the Fear of Public Speaking

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When I say it was the worst case of stage fright in the world, I’m not kidding.  I’m describing myself.  I was terrified when I first started public speaking.   I don't want you to think it was a normal kind of fear, it wasn't.  The most strange thing would happen. 

I would feel totally confident until I started walking to the room where I would speak.  Then an absolutely paralyzing fear would come out of nowhere and take over my entire body. It was an unthinking reaction, completely out of my control.

Back when I started, we wore silk blouses and business suits.  When you sweat in silk, it makes a big dark mark on the silk.   I could never take my suit jacket off because my sweat made that dark, ugly mark from my arm pit all the way down to my waist.  I kid you not. 

You had to seriously wonder why on earth I wanted to become a public speaker because the amount of stress I experienced was almost beyond endurance.

You might be thinking it went away after the first 5 minutes of speaking.  I wish it were so.  It took about 30 excruciating minutes. 

That kind of fear is totally obvious to an audience.  Trust me, I know. The look of sympathy on their faces was piercingly painful.

30 minutes into my talk, it would go away and I was fine, charming, charismatic (okay, at least that's what they told me).

The evaluations at the end of my talks were not pretty.  I remember in my entire first year of public speaking, the nicest one I ever received was from someone who wrote, “I am sure that someday Ingrid will be a good trainer.”  I wish I could find that person today and thank them for being so nice.

I got a lot of advice from people. The advice fell into two camps.  Half the people told me that if I just kept doing it I would get over my fear.  The other half said it's not something you ever get over. You have to learn to live with it. 

I had one person tell me that you will always have butterflies in your stomach; the trick is to get them to fly in formation.

Well, mine were certainly NOT butterflies.  They were more like World War II bombers and, whether or not they flew in formation, they were dropping bombs right and left.  There was no chance they would turn into butterflies.

It's amazing I persisted. This stage fright lasted for the first 5 years of my career.  I studied everything about stage fright I could get my hands on, read every book, had mentors, studied great speakers, rehearsed in front of a mirror, practiced until I dropped, tried every tip stopping short of medication.

For 5 years there was no change to speak of.  Some days and with certain groups it was microscopically better than others, but overall, it was paralyzing.

People were shocked to see it because I sounded confident before the presentation and then they saw how different I was once the stage fright landed. 

I was determined to learn how to handle it.  I was determined to be causative.

I kept thinking there must be an answer. And I was determined to find it.  What was happening was so IRRATIONAL that I just couldn’t accept that I had to deal with it, live with it, endure it forever.

So I kept looking.

It paid off.  I found the root cause.

This turned out to be important.  All the tips I’d gotten never addressed the root cause.

There are THOUSANDS of tips put out to deal with the symptoms, none of them even mention a root cause.  And none of them worked for me.  When you Google, “how to handle stage fright”, you’ll find many strange suggestions, even from places like Stanford and Harvard. I saw a video posted by Stanford where the woman recommends wiggling your toes.  She's got to be kidding!  Wiggling my toes would've made me feel completely stupid.  The Harvard video demonstrated “power poses” I should try.  They made me look ridiculous. 

If you have stage fright, probably what you’ve been taught about it isn't true. If it were, you wouldn't have it.

It turned out I was resisting the audience, not allowing myself to fully experience them.  I couldn't even face them comfortably. It was really simple.

I actually couldn’t perceive the audience, meaning literally I didn’t see them, they were gray shapes, not individual people with faces. I was so caught up with what was going on in my mind, I couldn't focus on them. 

My entire experience up there was MENTAL.  It had nothing to do with the real world, with the audience in front of me.  In short, I was not experiencing them.

I was so loaded with RESISTANCE it paralyzed me.

When I found the root cause, what to DO about it became obvious.  I realized it was a SKILL SET to stop resisting, be comfortable in front of the audience, face them with ease, not feel judged, get my attention off myself, be fully in the moment and not anticipate their reactions or the outcome, to not be thrown off by the status or importance of the individuals in my audience, to perceive each person with clarity, to fully EXPERIENCE my audience and connect with EACH individual in the audience with complete ease.

I created a series of practice repetitions to master each skill and then mastered them one at a time.  It was not overwhelming because I practiced one skill at a time.

I did these exercises and suddenly the stage fright was gone, ALL the stage fright was gone.  I was able to come out, completely at ease and relaxed, and make an immediate connection with the audience, I was able to make my presentation really good from the first, “Hello."

Soon after, I was asked to speak to a group of 500 CEOs.  Normally I would have been sweating down to my ankles. I couldn't believe it. I walked out front, I was completely calm. I was even laughing about something that had just happened in the group. I made a very relaxed and spontaneous comment about it and then everyone was laughing too. We were completely connected.  Right off the bat.  I felt like a miracle had happened.

I discovered the people who said I had to live with some degree of fright my whole life were, to put it baldly, wrong. You don't have to live with it. You can make ALL of it permanently gone.

I also trained myself, very systematically, in all the other skills that would make me a great speaker.

Now I’m in demand as a speaker and my evaluations are outstanding. 

People don't believe me when I tell them I had no natural ability for public speaking.  They think I'm making it up.  Personally I'm happy they don’t believe it, and even happier that videos of my early talks don't exist because they truly were more awful than I’m even portraying here.

Whether anyone believes it or not, it's the truth.  I had no natural abilities when it came to public speaking. 

Actually, that's not correct. Just like everyone else, I was loaded with natural abilities, but they were buried so deep inside of me, it took an archaeological expedition to get them out.

Once I conquered stage fright, as I saw others present, I thought they could really benefit from what I learned.

There's an incredible advantage I have PRECISELY because I started truly terrible at something and then learned how to become really good at it.  It’s made me a GREAT teacher.

The reason is, I know EXACTLY what it's like to not know how to do something.  I know what it’s like to be terrified.  I am easily in my students shoes looking at the world through their eyes, seeing what they see, feeling what they feel. 

And I know painstakingly well EACH of the steps, mastered little by little, one at a time, that are needed to learn how to become a polished expert at presenting to groups.  I know each of the exact skills you need to master and in what sequence. 

So, I started to teach it and have done so for 30 years.

I used what I discovered about the root cause of stage fright, plus the exercises I did to make it vanish, plus the exercises I did to master all the skills you need to be great, to form the core of a 2-day workshop  I love to deliver.

This particular workshop gives me inexpressible joy every single time I teach it.  Over the years I learned how to take everything that took me well over 5 years to learn and hone it so I can teach it in 2 days and have EVERY student create an incredible transformation in the way they present.

When I started teaching presentation skills, I discovered that just about EVERYBODY has some degree of stage fright.  We all try to hide it, but it is astounding to me how prevalent it is.

Not everyone has it as severely as I did, but many people do. I taught one woman who was seriously trying not to throw up before her presentations.  I've had a number who take medication for it and don't want to.  I've had many who are paralyzed by it, and an equal number who simply feel tense, not at ease or relaxed.  I had one CEO who started not sleeping well the week before a big presentation, and I’ve taught many people who don't sleep well the night before.   I’ve worked with a number of the world’s foremost experts in their field who are terrified when they have to communicate their knowledge in public.

Even Michael Bay, the famous Hollywood high budget, high action film director!  His 1.5 minute stage fright experience has been viewed by over a million people on YouTube:   Michael Bay Stage Fright at Consumer Electronics Show

It’s CRAZY! How many people have it and how bad it can be. 

Many people do my workshop specifically because they have dreadful stage fright.  I'm ridiculously delighted to work with them because I know the relief they're going to experience in the workshop and especially after when they get in front of an audience and experience being FREE of it.

I tell them they will get over their stage fright by lunch on the first day. They never believe me of course, until it happens.

The reason we tackle stage fright so quickly in the workshop is because I need them COMPLETELY comfortable and relaxed before I start teaching all of the other skills that will make them powerful presenters.

Just to give you an example, here is one of thousands of emails I’ve received from students:

“Five years ago I spoke to an audience. Suffering from a horrible bout of stage fright, I lost my place mid-speech. Flustered and scrambling, the audience had to clap me offstage.  I was so disappointed with myself.  I had practiced and practiced – what went wrong?

“Last week I made my first presentation since that embarrassing event.  I presented to an in-room audience of 150 of my peers, and a global televised audience of 250+. I was a success!  I received comments that I was a “natural”, congratulatory emails from across the country, requests to be a mentor, and a huge accolade from my manager!

“Thanks to your Transforming Your Presentation Skills workshop, I feel comfortable and excited about presenting now. The sky is the limit!”

Now I've trained thousands of people, many of them have won major speaker awards at conferences, some of them have an international fan club.  All of them are powerful and amazing, even if they’re only presenting to small groups of engineers.

Because I learned the skills the hard way, I know how to make it easy for everyone else.  So I can't even begin to tell you how thrilled I am that I can teach something that helps so many people.  It’s a joy to teach.

And I’m so proud that my staff do just as good a job as I do when they’re teaching it.  I'm always blown away seeing their work.  So are their students.  It really is a teachable skill.

Handling stage fright is just the BEGINNING of a beautiful journey to becoming an incredible public speaker, where you totally connect with your audience, where it’s so good, you can’t stop grinning.

The most common comment we get at the end of the workshop is, “I can't believe the transformation in me and everyone else in just two days.”

I hope my own experience helps you with your own stage fright.  I WISH I could make your stage fright vanish!  I wish I could do justice teaching you how to make it evaporate in this blog.  I’ve never learned how to write about it so someone can learn how to make it go away completely.  I’d love to be able to do that.  Right now, it's something you need to be in person with me to learn fully.

I teach it in a workshop format because I need to have you in person for 2 days to do the exercises and we need to have an audience in front of you.  That way I can really truly demonstrate each of the principles and skills to you.  You can practice the new skills with an audience in front of you and I can coach you to make sure you're doing it right.  As you do the exercises, you EXPERIENCE the stage fright vanishing and you see exactly what you’re doing to make it go away.  You also see exactly what you need to do to prevent it from coming back.  You gain control.

The hardest thing to do is change mind sets


My clients want to learn how to do 1 thing really well:  make what they want HAPPEN. 

Some want to get through to a boss “who doesn’t get it”.  Some want to land a job that takes them to the next level of their career.  Some have aggressive sales goals.  Some want to influence peers who don’t listen.  Some want to build more effective teams.  Some want to inspire.

An example is Allen, a rising star who works in a very large organization.  His new assignment required him to change the way his part of the organization was operating.  Allen had great ideas, even a clear vision of what should happen. 

He summarized why he wanted my help in our first conversation.  He said,

“The HARDEST thing to do is change mind sets.  I’m in a fight every day because I’m doing something the organization’s never done before.  They’re not sold.  Every time I turn the corner I get resistance.  I’m far from winning the hearts and minds of the people I’m talking to.”

Allen’s boss described Allen to me as a “High potential individual who knows he’s right, but can’t get anyone to listen.” 

When I met Allen he was, predictably, frustrated, feeling defeated by his own organization.  He felt they were facing one of the greatest opportunities in the organization’s history but wasting time arguing senseless points.  The only input from senior leadership was, “Work it out.” 

I love working with people like Allen.  People who are high potential, who have great ideas, who are right in their visions … but they come to find out … being right is no guarantee of success. 

They have a lot of people to convince.  They would give anything to get their ideas adopted, get on with it and make change happen a lot faster.

Each situation seems unique, yet what each person is searching for is similar.  They want to know how to control the outcome without controlling the person

You don't want to control your boss, yet you want to control the outcome with your boss.  You don’t want to control the people in your life, yet you want to control the outcomes you have in those conversations. 

There's only 1 way to do that and that is to communicate so extremely WELL, to create such PROFOUND understanding, that the other person WANTS the same outcome you do. So much so that they AGREE, COMMIT, and ACT on it.

AGREEMENT is key to commanding the outcome.  The degree of agreement you get DETERMINES the outcome.  If you have 2% agreement, you’ll get 2% of the outcome you want.

It takes 100% agreement to get real COMMITMENT.  And then it takes 100% commitment to get ACTION.

Without agreement, it goes nowhere.

Now here's the kicker. You can't MAKE people agree with you.   I know we’ve all tried a thousand times.  But, like me, you probably found out the hard way that it can’t be done.

Whether or not they agree with you is ENTIRELY up to them.   It's a decision THEY make.  You can't control it and you shouldn't even try.  You'll just frustrate yourself and them.

It's also a sign of respect to let the other person make up their own mind about it.  None of us likes the salesman who hovers over us while we’re trying to decide, or the one pushing us to buy.

Even if you're in a position of command, you can't force them to agree.

You can order them to do something, but if they don't agree, it won't be done well.  And if you try to force it, your relationship will deteriorate.  And they’ll stop doing it the second you stop looking.

I can’t tell you the number of senior executives I’ve coached because commanding people just wasn’t working for them.  Being at the top of the organization is no guarantee others are following you.

So getting agreement is critical.  That’s where communication comes into play.

In those situations where you’re not getting the agreements you need, you may be talking, but you’re not COMMUNICATING, you're either not getting through or you’re debating.

Debating usually just leads to more debating. 

What is the BIGGEST influence on whether or not the other person agrees with you?

HOW you communicate.

The key is to communicate so well, that you remove ALL barriers to agreement and the other person comes to your point of view ON THEIR OWN.

This takes SKILL.  Skill is defined as “a great ability to do something well or with excellence”.

When you do it well, it reduces the amount of time it takes for agreement to happen.  If you use solid communication skills you can achieve agreement in 1 conversation not 10.

So it really comes down to your command of the communication process. When you command THAT, you command agreement, not by forcing the other person, but by communicating SO WELL they can't help but agree with you. 

Allen mastered the communication skills he needed to rise to the challenge facing him.  I tracked Allen’s journey through follow-up calls.  The positive results he created were immediate and then snowballed.  On each phone call he was at a new high of exhilaration.

On one he said,

“It’s amazing how everyone’s responding to me now.  I’ve never gotten such a positive response.  I’m presenting the same ideas, but the conversation is going COMPLETELY differently. They are all agreeing with me.  And when people are talking with me, I can SEE it in their eyes - they find extraordinary communication amazing.  It IS amazing!”

Agreement is only created by outstanding communication.  This kind of communication feels like a real DIALOGUE.   A dialogue is defined as “an interchange and discussion of ideas, especially when open and honest, seeking mutual understanding or harmony, done with the spirit of goodwill.”

When you create rich dialogues, agreements can’t help but happen.

How to Command the Outcome Even if You Don’t Command the Person

Communication Man Woman Shaking Hands.jpg

It’s a dilemma you face every day, no matter what you do or where you are in the organization. 

You don't want to control your boss, but you want to control the outcome with your boss. You don’t want to control the people around you but you want to control the outcome that comes out of those conversations. If you’re in sales, you can’t command your prospects, but you’d love to command the outcome as FAST as possible.

It’s a dilemma for you because if you PUSH for what you want there’s a danger you’re seen as demanding, controlling, pushy, argumentative, aggressive, annoying, or obnoxious. 

You can't be any of those things. 

And you can’t give up on what you want. You can’t settle for less. Or let it take a long time.

So, how do you command the outcome in the most DIRECT way possible? Clearly there’s SOMETHING you have to control in order to control the outcome.

It comes down to the WAY you communicate. The way you communicate must penetrate and be irresistible.  If it’s not, you get resistance. 

When it comes to other people, you’re either irresistible OR resistible. 

You’re always going to be MORE ONE than the other. 

What determines which you are?

Your command of communication. 

Teaching people how to command the outcome without commanding the person is my (and my team’s) specialty. And I use the word command deliberately. I’ve taught thousands of people how to do it supremely well in the past 30 years.

Most people do a lot of talking, but they don’t have a COMMAND of communication to the point where they CONTROL the outcome. 

They’re always trying to control the other PERSON without a clue how to STOP trying to control the person and directly control the OUTCOME. (Controlling the other person never has lasting benefit). 

They mostly have a lot of questions about why what they’re doing isn’t working.

As I was putting the finishing touches on an upcoming webinar on how to command the outcome without commanding the person I received an email from one of my readers with a topic request that dovetails. This is what she wrote:

“One topic I’d like to read about in your blogs is negotiating and influencing others to achieve success.  How do you know when to negotiate and when not to? How do you know what the boundary of your circle of influence is?  Is it through trial and error, or is there a less risky way to detect that boundary? 

“The type of situation I have in mind is dealing with someone in a position of more power and authority, such as the boss or hiring manager. How do we balance courage to be hard on the problem with softness with the other person to maintain or build the relationship?”

To answer her question: Yes, preserve the relationship. Giving up on a relationship, or seeing it deteriorate, is a pretty miserable experience for everyone involved. Most people don't intend for a conversation or relationship to go south, it doesn’t deteriorate because they WANT it to, they just run out of skills.

Caring about the person and caring about the relationship form a FOUNDATION for everything else you do.

So, now how do you achieve your goal? What you want to do is KEEP COMMUNICATING, but do it EFFECTIVELY. 

This leads to my answer for her other question about what is the boundary of your circle of influence ….

You (NOT someone else) DEFINE the boundary of your circle of influence by your COMMUNICATION. 

It has nothing to do with your position, age, looks, college degrees or, I'm sorry to say, accomplishments. 

I coached a VERY wealthy CEO of a large corporation who was brought to his knees by his teenage daughter because she was the one person in the world he couldn’t communicate with. I coached a brilliant, accomplished engineer who was constantly overlooked for well-deserved promotions because he lacked communication skills. I could go on ...

Your communication DEFINES the boundary of your circle of influence.

When you stop communicating, your circle of influence shrinks and gets very small.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen people stop themselves. They hit a point and stop communicating. 

Right at that point your influence stops.The reason for this is that communication is how you control EVERY situation you're in. 

I'm not talking about controlling the other person. 

I'm talking about controlling what happens to you, the degree of connectedness you have, the degree of understanding, of respect, of agreement.  

How you communicate controls ALL these. All THESE control the outcome.

One of my clients, Sean, was 1 of several hundred employees in a division of a large corporation. He reported to a Manager who reported to a Director who reported to the Vice President. Sean commanded no one.

The Vice President issued a directive that, after being in place for two weeks, was extremely unpopular within the ranks. Despite grumbling, the division Managers told their people they understood their frustration but to try to deal with it best they could.

Sean was so bothered by this directive, he was seriously thinking of quitting a job he loved and looking for another one. It was that bad.

Using what he learned about effective communication, he asked for a meeting with his Manager. It took a lot of COURAGE to approach her on this topic. 

As he suspected, the Manager knew people were unhappy, but it wasn't totally REAL to the manager. Do you know what I mean by that?

It happens often where the person has some idea of the situation, but it's not as REAL to them as it is to everyone else.

While making sure the conversation maintained the friendliest of tones, Sean communicated what I call a “creative reality” and turned their conversation into a powerful dialogue that lasted 30 minutes. 

The manager was stunned by the realizations of what Sean was telling her. Other people had told her, but not EFFECTIVELY.

Not all talking communicates. As a matter of fact, MUCH of it doesn't.

Within an hour, she had gone to the Director above her and together they went to the Vice President and the VP cancelled the directive. Not only that, the VP was immeasurably GRATEFUL to Sean.

The same day this happened Sean sent me an email saying, “The entire team of hundreds has benefited! This outcome would never have happened if I didn’t go in and communicate.”

Then in 2 weeks Sean sent me another email saying something most people never get to say:

“I almost can't believe this! My BOSS’S BOSS is now coming to me for my opinions.” It was a BETTER THAN HOPED FOR outcome. 

That’s what you should always have.

That's the power of having a command of communication. Most people have been systematically trained NOT to command.

They’re commanded, not commanding

They’re therefore more likely to give up and compromise.

Many people are afraid to command, or mistakenly think that to be commanding means you have to be harsh or militaristic. Yet your ability to command THROUGH SUPERIOR COMMUNICATION is what determines your leadership and destiny.

Make your circle of influence as BIG as you can by COMMUNICATING! Make your communication effective. Make it a dialogue, not a dispute. 

Stay TRUE to your goals. 

When did we first stop being causative?

Ingrid's 6th Grade Report Card cropped.jpg

Causative [kaw’-zuh-tiv], adjective: Making what you want HAPPEN. Being able to cause your intended effect or outcome at will. 

When did we first stop being causative?

Well, if it didn't happen sooner, it probably happened for most of us when we started school and were told to SIT DOWN and BE QUIET for hours at a time. They told us exactly where to sit and we weren’t allowed to leave that seat. 

They made us ask permission for everything, including leaving the room. If we did something without permission, we were bad.

If we wanted to talk, we had to raise our hand and wait to be called on. Raising your hand was dangerous because the teacher was usually asking a question that had a right and wrong answer and if we were wrong, it was very public. Where I went to school, not many hands went up and we became skilled at avoiding eye contact with the person in the front of the room.

We weren’t allowed to talk to each other, only the ONE person in front. 

Everything we did was graded and compared to what everyone else did. We were graded based on one person's opinion of us, a person who might or might not understand or like us. Most of us did not get straight A’s. Grades could easily make us feel that we were mediocre.

We were severely restrained from being causative. For years.

The photo above is my sixth grade report card. 

I felt totally betrayed by it.  I worshiped my beautiful red-haired 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Zinn. My 10-year old self did everything I could in my power to try to please her.

As you can see, she hand wrote Talks too much and checked the Improvement is necessary box for that item 6 semesters in a row, and then, in the last semester, finally exploded with her opinion that I annoyed others. To my knowledge she was the only one I annoyed. I don’t recall ever annoying anyone else. 

The beautiful Mrs. Zinn did everything she could to get me to stop talking. 

Fortunately, she didn’t have much success.

Neither did the long train of other teachers who also tried. I've been a rebel all my life and it's been quite impossible to make me sit down and behave according to the “Sit down and be quiet” standard of good behavior.

I still talk a lot, but now I get paid for it

My profession became delivering workshops and coaching communication. I make a living from talking, and from helping others communicate successfully. I don’t even know how many thousands of people I’ve coached, from professionals to CEO’s. 

The one trait Mrs. Zinn tried the hardest to suppress became my greatest strength, the source of not only my wonderful career but also the greatest moments of joy in my life, both professionally and personally.

My point, however, is that many people were silenced

For years.

Large corporations CONTINUE this trend

I see it all the time with my corporate clients who are constantly seeking permission to speak up. To speak to their boss about a raise, to ask for what they want, to tell people what they really think, to communicate their deeply held beliefs, to tell others what they really need. 

They try and, if they don’t experience immediate success, they too easily withdraw, sit quietly in their chair and let the subject be changed. They hold it in. 

They’re overly concerned about what others think of them, very afraid to say the wrong thing and create a negative reaction. 

Worse, it's been so long since they really spoke up, they’ve forgotten how. So, it’s awkward when they do. 

They overthink it, they’re overly careful, too weak and indirect, or they explode with too much pent up force and energy and overwhelm the other person by being unfriendly, too forceful, too aggressive and then they do upset the other person and make it unpleasant. 

They don't know how to speak up successfully and build a relationship at the same time.

Mostly they're afraid that speaking up will be destructive. So they hold back. I had one person even today say, “I don’t want to bring it up because he’s my boss - I know what he thinks and I don’t want to argue with my boss.”

I want to pass on to you something I've learned from many years of delivering workshops and coaching people to develop the communication skills they need to get what they want, to make what they want happen, to create the reality they really want.

Speak up.

Stop waiting for permission, because no one's going to give you any. 

You don’t need a license to communicate. 

Being causative means you are the source of your own permission. Don’t deny it to yourself just because other people have been doing exactly that to you for years.

Do it gently but firmly, in the FRIENDLIEST possible way, lovingly even if you can, but speak up.  

Truly, make it very friendly, you don’t have to stop being friendly just because you’re speaking up. So, make it very friendly. And speak up. I always make sure I am filled with affinity for the other person when I’m speaking up about a touchy subject. That alone makes all the difference in the world to how the conversation turns out.

speaking up

I recently had a situation where the VP Global Legal & General Counsel of a major international corporation cancelled one of our programs because he didn’t like our license and didn’t see any hope of our coming to an agreement. I was told, “This was discussed with the CEO and senior leadership. The decision has been made and it’s final.”

He works in Boston, 3,000 miles away. I spoke up and managed to get a phone call scheduled directly with him. I did a little research on him ahead of time and discovered he’s been a successful trial attorney for over 30 years. Clearly not an easy guy to persuade to change his mind.

It would have been easy to be angry or outraged by what he did, to dislike him. But even before I met him, I deliberately looked for and found many things to like about him from his LinkedIn profile, and I approached the call with my mind solidly on the things I truly liked and admired about him.

He on the other hand, clearly did not feel the same way about me. 

When he got on the phone his first words were, “This is going to be a very short conversation, less than 5 minutes. Decision’s been made.”

We hung up 2 hours later. The conversation had gone so well, he was willing to keep talking and we had 2 more phone calls and came to a beautiful agreement, not to mention a surprisingly wonderful and lasting long-distance friendship.

At the end he said, “You really made this happen. You did not descend into anything adversarial.  I was surprised by how pleasant you are. You managed to keep it an open line. We listened and respected each other. I found myself wondering ‘Is it possible this problem could be solved?’ And we found a way! How great is that?!”

Then he paid me one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. 

He said, “I wouldn’t say you’re aggressive, but you’re a force.” 

That’s what being causative is all about. Impactful communication without being adversarial or aggressive.

When the program was first canceled, 12 other people felt completely derailed by it and passionately shared my views, but they were afraid of “risking” their careers, so I was the only one who spoke up. 

I never want to be the only one

That’s why I coach others. 

I want everyone around me to find their voice, for you to find yours. 

Speak up!

Especially in those parts of your life where you don’t feel powerful, where you feel like you have not been being causative, about those topics where you feel like you’re at the mercy of the other person or the situation. Speak up!

I guarantee you that if you spend one day, the whole day, truly speaking up, magic will happen in your life and, at the end of that day, you'll fall asleep with a smile on your face. You’ll feel much more free, liberated even.


By the way, I still passionately adore Mrs. Zinn and feel immeasurable gratitude to her.  She introduced me to poetry and fanned a flame of love for it that burns fiercely in me.  My introduction to poetry at such a tender age was a true gift and I love her for it. 

How to Maintain Executive Presence When You Have to Use Slides


One of my clients was recently preparing for a major presentation to 250 senior leaders of a $30 billion corporation.  Let me tell you what was making him nervous.  This is what he told me:

“I’m putting the finishing touches on my slides and I’m nervous.  I wish I didn’t have to use them, but I have slides that MUST be shown.  I want to be able to engage the audience, and ENGAGE THEM LIKE NO OTHER PERSON EVER HAS, but I’m worried I’m not going to come through how I’d like because of all the slides I have to show.”

I understand the problem he was having exactly.  Seen it a million times.

The problem with slides is they can easily BREAK your connection with the audience.  The most important component of your presentation is the deep, powerful human connection you should make with every person in the room. 

If you don’t have that connection, your words don’t sink in.  Instead of penetrating and creating a powerful effect, your words just bounce off. 

How many times have you sat through presentations where the presenter’s words were just bouncing off and didn’t mean anything to you?  You tune them out and start thinking about something else.  Right?

That strong connection you make with your audience is vital because it creates the channel that allows your words to fully ARRIVE and have an impact.

But the question becomes HOW to maintain your deep connection when you have slides?  Very few people have solved this. 

One of the biggest problems I see is that most presenters are more connected to their slides than they are to the audience. 

This causes their communication to lose potency.  And when your communication loses power, so does your impact. 

So, this is how to handle it.  The key is to SLOW DOWN TIME. 

This is NOT something most people know how to do!  Most people feel time is racing by when they’re up there.  Have you ever felt that?  Everything is going by really fast?  Feeling that way makes you look like an amateur even if you’re a seasoned professional.  Feeling that way, that time is racing by, kills your presence.

What you need to do to have executive presence is slow down time.

The way to slow down time is be completely in the moment.  Not have your mind racing ahead, anticipating or ping-ponging all over the place.  You have to control what your mind is doing.  Be fully in the moment. 

That not only will take you out of looking terribly uncomfortable or distracted, out of looking like an amateur, it makes you look like a professional.  But even more importantly, it gives you PRESENCE.  An executive level presence.  And that makes everyone pay attention.

Additionally, STAY in the moment when you’re working with your slides.  Realize that it takes you a moment to put the next slide up.  And that it takes the audience a moment to absorb the new slide. Take your sweet time putting the next slide up. Take your sweet time letting the audience absorb the new slide.  Don’t rush.  Stay in the moment.  Slow down time.

After they’ve absorbed what’s on the slide, then re-make that solid connection with them.  See that their attention is on you and that they’re READY to receive your communication.  Then with that connection in place, only now communicate your next point.  And communicate it powerfully and with poise. 

Whatever you do, do not start talking again until you have that connection again.  Frantically racing to change slides as fast as you can and talking the whole time you’re doing it makes you look clumsy, makes you look like an amateur. 

Do this for each slide.  Take your sweet time in between slides, make sure you have that connection with your audience, and that they’re ready to receive your communication, before you start talking.

Your audience will stay with you the whole time.   

My client gave his big presentation and emailed me immediately after.  This is what he wrote:

“My main stage presentation is done and I felt GREAT!  I gave a 2nd one this afternoon and it went equally as good.  Responses have been so supportive saying I was able to engage them MORE THAN ANY OTHER presenter this week, which was my goal.  I really felt CONNECTED to the audience and didn’t allow the slides to ruin that connection.  I got a lot of really great feedback where people commented on the very strong presence and platform skills that engaged the audience fully.   Without question, I'm EXHAUSTED and INVIGORATED from giving the 2 presentations.  I really felt like I stopped time …”

You can do this too. 

Be in the moment.  Stop time.  

This way you can use slides AND maintain executive presence.  You can also maintain a very deep connection with your audience which, remember, is your channel for communication.  And, remember, without that connection no communication happens. 

With executive presence and that strong connection, your words will sink deep and have a profound impact. 

How communicating like an Entrepreneur will get you promoted

I’ve worked with and have friends who are successful entrepreneurs.  They’ve started from scratch and made millions.  What they have in common is, they know from experience that how far they get and how fast they get there depends on 2 things. The 1st is contributing something of great value that other people want. The 2nd is communicating about it so it’s widely known.

They believe their destiny is in their hands.  They have tremendous initiative when it comes to creating value and letting the whole world know about it.

When you ask them what it is they’ve created and why it’s good, they don’t shut up.  They’ll tell you AND everyone else about it, including total strangers. 

The other thing they have in common is they don’t wait.  For anything.  For anyone.  They’re always looking for what they can do to move things forward.  They’re always looking for the next person to talk to. 

And so, they talk to MANY people about the value they create.  They know this high level of communication keeps them alive.

I recently gave a talk at a conference on the power of truly effective communication.  A woman who works in a large corporation came up to me and said, “I may want to come to you for coaching. I want to get promoted to VP.”

I asked her what she was doing to make that happen and she said, “I’m waiting for my boss to talk to his boss.”

I ran into her about a week later and asked how it was going.  She said, “My boss talked to his boss.  I'm waiting to hear, they haven't made a decision yet.” 

I asked her what was happening during this time and she said she didn’t know.  I asked her what she was doing to move it forward and she said, “I’m focusing on doing a great job on my regular job, and periodically I ask my boss about it.  But I don’t want to bug him too much.”

About 2 weeks later she told me, “They were supposed to get back to me last week but I haven't heard anything yet.  I don’t really know what’s happening.”

The difference between her and the successful entrepreneurs I know is, she’s waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting. 

The dictionary defines “waiting” as “to halt progress, stay in place, and remain inactive until something happens”. 

As far as I know, I haven't run into anyone who LIKES waiting.  It drains your spirit, drains your morale, drains your optimism.

What she was doing is what I’ve seen many people who work in large corporations do that holds them back.  They think they’ve done all they can, said all they can say, and now their initiative is REPLACED by waiting.  They communicate once or twice about what they want to 1 or 2 people and then “leave the decision up to them”.  They put their destiny in the hands of others.  They stop communicating about it.  And they wait.  And hope.

This is the opposite of being causative and will very likely make you feel demoralized if you do it.

Communicating with the mindset of an entrepreneur, even if you work in a large corporation, can lift you out of this crazy waiting and give you the broad visibility and recognition you need to take your career to the next level. 

It takes this mindset and also skill to keep the conversation going, to continue to create interest, to build enthusiasm from scratch for what you want.  It takes intention, it takes knowing what to say and how to say it, it takes finesse. 

One of my clients happens to also be one of my favorite entrepreneurs.  Mary Clark Bartlett (picture above) is the CEO and Founder of The Epicurean Group, which provides fresh, local, organic, seasonal, socially responsible meals to corporations and private school campuses.  This woman knows food, she knows how to run an outstanding business and how to make customers happy.  She’s won many business and culinary awards, has over 400 employees and $30+ million in managed revenue. She started from scratch.

By the time Mary is done talking to you about their barbecued grass-fed beef brisket with sweet red onions served with old-fashioned potato salad, baked Mayacoba beans and homemade dill pickles, you are dizzy with hunger.  She makes it sound irresistibly delicious, you simply feel you must have some, and immediately, please.

I very rarely hear anyone in large corporations talk about their own creations or their value that way.  I've prepared many people for successful promotions and job interviews.  When they first talk about themselves, it's unbelievably dry, uninspiring and corporate-sounding.

This isn't true about them as people or about their work, they are NOT dry or uninspiring.  Quite the opposite!  It's only true about how they DESCRIBE their work and themselves.  And so their potential value isn’t effectively communicated.

If you really want your career to move fast, create the same level of enthusiasm for yourself and your work that Mary creates for her gorgeous Strawberry Dream Cake with creamy mascarpone cheese frosting, which is even more amazing when you slice into it, revealing rows of perfect strawberries.

I’ve often seen people in large corporations who don't feel they have the same freedom to communicate that an entrepreneur has. This belief is not true, it's an extremely limiting idea and it’s a career-killer. 

Entrepreneurs know if they wait for permission to speak, they’ll be bankrupt in no time.

You can speak up as often as you like, provided you do it in a way that makes your communication always welcome.  So when you show up, you are welcomed, not endured or tolerated. 

It also helps you when you communicate effectively, in a way that makes your value real, creates enthusiasm about you, and inspires others about your vision of the future.

When you do that, don't be surprised if your career takes off like a rocket.  I won’t be!

Just as I wasn’t surprised when the woman at the beginning of this newsletter changed her strategy, from waiting to Causative Communication.  After watching her communicate her vision and value broadly and effectively, I wasn’t surprised when she received support for her promotion from MANY sources, nor when she went out to celebrate her big promotion and new future with her husband.

And, even if you don’t get the promotion or new job right away, at least you’ll see progress.  You can even apply this to email.  Here’s an example from someone I helped.  He wrote me: “I’ve been emailing my boss (that I never see) more frequently with even my small accomplishments.  After only doing this for 3 weeks, my boss is already talking about my work with her boss!”

The power to transform any situation or any person begins with your ability to assume a causative role in your communications. 

Be the cause!

The source of all frustration

I remember when a Sr. Director of a large organization walked in and announced, “Communication doesn't work.”  He proceeded to tell me about a recent major re-organization he tried to stop, but which went forward despite his best efforts to re-direct it.  The re-org created mass disruption and confusion.  He was definitely frustrated.

The frustration I’m talking about is the kind that involves other people.  I’m a people expert.  As someone who’s coached and delivered workshops to professionals and executives for over 30 years, you can imagine how many stories I've heard, how much frustration has crossed my doorstep for assistance.  Every kind of situation you can imagine. Take all the frustration you've ever experienced, to that add all the frustration you've ever seen around you, and you begin to have a sense of the amount of, and types of, frustration I've heard about and helped with.  Not just limited to work, but spanning the depths of personal life too.

And I'm expected to provide effective help that produces results in a matter of days, not years.

I'm going to tell you 2 guiding principles and 3 areas of focus that have enabled me to help as many people as I have so you can make frustration evaporate from your own life, replaced by the sweet exhilaration of success I’ve seen thousands of times.

The first of these is, that 80% of what is going on has nothing to do with the other person, it's about you and what you're doing. Before you decide I’m being insensitive, harsh, hostile or overbearing, I’d like you to consider what I’m telling you as a workable truth that has the power to liberate you from any frustrating situation.  Because what it means is that you can do something to change it.   And change it dramatically.  The power to transform any situation or any person begins with your ability to assume the cause role in your communications. 

The second principle has to do with how you’re handling the situation.  You’re in a situation where you want to make something happen or to change something.  It involves another person or people. You try to communicate. Your communication fails to get the results you want.  You get frustrated.

That’s a simple description of what’s happening.  The people I help tell me how communication isn’t working and specifically what about the other person is making it difficult, even what is wrong with the other person.  I often hear, “I tried communicating with them and it didn’t work.”

As soon as you think communication isn’t working, you're going to get frustrated.  Do you ever feel that way?  Feel communication doesn’t work?  You’re not alone. 

Most of the people I help are super achievers and, believe me, even they have many moments of feeling that way.  We super achievers are hard on ourselves and don’t accept defeat easily.

The communication skills I’ve spent years developing, coupled with a unique career that gives me a front row seat as the people I help turn even impossible situations around into victories, has provided me with too much evidence to ignore.   I now know that communication always works.

So, what's the disconnect?

People are eager to tell me what’s frustrating them.  I hear the disconnect as I listen to the stories they tell when they first arrive.  I can clearly see that what they're calling communication, isn't. This, by the way, is true whether it’s about their 1-on-1 communication, meetings, or presentations. 

They think they’re communicating (heck, they really believe it), but what they’re actually doing is not communication. They are talking, persuading, convincing, selling, explaining endlessly, debating, arguing, complaining, demanding, asserting, insisting, challenging, defending, justifying, overpowering, drowning them in details, just putting it out there, scolding, lecturing, posturing, pleading, trying to impress, throwing it out and hoping it lands, dropping hints and leaving clues, being indirect, threatening, forcing, getting emotional, and sometimes outright manipulating. And they are correct – these things do not work. Never have, never will.  When someone is doing even one of these other things, you can be sure the one thing they are not doing is causing real communication to happen.

And, let me be completely clear, not one of these other things is communication.  Not even close.  Not anywhere near the right neighborhood.  No hope of landing success with any of them.  They are communication pretenders.

For example, take the Sr. Director, Bill, who was trying to make the re-org go away.  He started out endlessly explaining why it was a bad idea to everyone who would listen.  When that didn’t work he moved to debating, debates he always lost.  Debating was then replaced with pleading and threatening.  Bill was a loyal, valuable high level director, so others put up with it, but it was all useless in getting anyone to change their mind.  He talked himself blue in the face and had given up on “communication”.

I understand this well myself.  I was a debater until I learned how to communicate.  I could never understand how I could win the debate and lose the issue or the relationship.

“Communication” is one of the most frequently used words we have today, and yet I find hardly anyone really knows what true communication is or how to make it happen. The usual definitions of communication that are casually thrown around are woefully inadequate.  You need to operate with a precision definition to achieve success.

Communication, by definition, is 2-way.  By definition, communication consists of complete clarity, unadulterated listening, and perfect understanding.  By definition, communication requires these to be mutual. 

It's your ability to make true communication, real communication, full communication, happen on a two-way basis, not just for you, but for the other person as well, that determines the outcomes you get.

Bill worked for a very large oil company (I guess they’re all very large actually).  They had announced a re-org that affected thousands of individuals.  The announcement came from the top about a week before I met him.  During the workshop Bill realized that, despite all the talking, he had not communicated his thoughts effectively.  Afterward, he went back and, for the first time, he communicated.  It sounds so simple, doesn’t it?  But he wasn’t doing all these other things any more.  Initially he was told it was too late, the decision had already been made and he had to move forward.  However, Bill went ahead and communicated his thoughts, this time he made it real communication, he communicated effectively, powerfully.  He created understanding at a whole new level.  This powerful and profound understanding penetrated and created a breakthrough. 

Within 48 hours senior leadership retracted the re-org announcement.  I’ve never heard of this before, that a re-org org announcement of this magnitude was retracted 2 weeks after it was made.  It was the equivalent of saying, “We were wrong and we’re changing it back.”  Simply on the basis of, “We understand more today than we did yesterday and, in light of this new understanding, we re-evaluated the situation and our decision.”  Senior leadership was grateful to have a more complete picture of the situation.  Everyone was relieved.  Frustration evaporated. 

The facts never changed.  The level of understanding did.  Bill caused it.  A pure, powerful and profound degree of understanding resulted in a new decision.

What does this mean for you?  Focus in on causing truly effective communication to happen the next time you get frustrated with someone.  Don’t get caught into the trap of doing all those other communication pretenders.  Cause real communication.  Cause:

  1. Complete clarity

  2. Unadulterated listening

  3. Perfect understanding

And make it 2-way, mutual.

The people I help come back to tell me magic happens when they do just that.

They got the promotion, conflict evaporated, the other person changed completely, their teenager’s talking to them, their vision is spreading throughout the organization, they closed the $400 million deal.  I could go on.  I'm swimming in client success stories, so nobody could ever get me to believe it doesn't work.

No tricks. No gimmicks. No sales talk. No debating. No arguing. No persuading. Just pure and profound communication.

That’s what I would love to see happen for you.  Change your approach, make a profound level of communication happen and you'll experience the magic. When you can communicate at a profoundly effective level and get what you want, you won't feel frustrated, you'll feel elated.

The power to transform any situation or any person begins with your ability to assume the cause role in your communications. 

Be the cause!

How to Get Promoted from Director to VP - Executive Insight

If you're looking to get promoted from Director to VP, this powerful checklist will help you prepare to achieve that goal.  Inside the checklist, you'll find a strategic yet practical "roadmap" for making sure the way you communicate with others demonstrates your capacity to step into a VP role. If you're looking to develop that "executive presence" aura that successful leaders have, this free checklist will help you do it.  


I’ve been helping people get promoted for 30 years. Not to mention land big raises too. It's one of the things I most like about my work - helping people achieve their aspirations and dreams.

Recently I’ve had a wave of Directors and Senior Directors I’ve helped become VPs and I thought I'd share 7 key ingredients with you as, for some reason, getting the VP offer seems to be particularly tricky. These ingredients are necessary for ALL leadership roles, yet it seems it’s too easy to get stuck at Director level.

What do you do when you find yourself hitting an invisible wall you can't seem to get through as you're seeking that next step in your career? You come with your innate strategic abilities, you're able to span your attention and efforts across the organization, and you know you can impact key metrics in a meaningful way. Yet, there's that illusive something that seems to be missing.

But the thing I've seen hold people back more than anything is not these items. It's their ability to communicate.

Let's look at why.

As you progress up the organization, your communication skills increasingly go under a microscope.

By the time you’re CEO, you're not only living with this fact of life, you get used to having the magnification turned up to 400X.

What this means is every flaw you have is magnified. So flaws that you get away with as Manager, or as Director, are the kiss of death once you start looking at VP and above.

The reason for this is obvious. Your communication is now going to impact a lot of people. They’re going to read into everything you say and how you say it. There are consequences to even the slightest attitudes you have. Every communication from you matters. It's your main tool for making things happen.

And, most importantly, at these higher levels, it's your communication, and ability to communicate extremely well even under adverse circumstances, that's going to make or break the success of the organization.

What I've seen with my clients is, one for one, when they dramatically improved some very specific leadership type communication skills needed at the higher levels, the promotions not only happened, they happened ahead of schedule.

This is actually true at all levels of the organization, but especially dramatic for the leap between Director and VP.

So what specific skills cause you to rise above and be chosen? The sooner you start manifesting these skills, the sooner your organization organically selects you to be its next leader. It's inevitable. I've seen too much success with these specific skills to think otherwise.

Let me start with a broad statement about the feedback that many of my clients were given prior to coming to me.

I found it interesting that most of my clients were told they needed to develop “executive presence”. 

It's true they did need to develop it, but what was fascinating was they had no clue what it was. To them it was some magical aura that’s invisible but somehow communicates to everyone that you're a leader. It was a total enigma how to do it. They helplessly thought “Some people have it naturally and some (like me) don’t.” They had no idea of the anatomy of this utterly mysterious but vital necessity, which of course put them in a position where there's no hope they’ll ever develop it.

It’s sad that the people giving this feedback don’t themselves know what “executive presence” is. This term is so wildly open to interpretation, it means radically different things to different people. Fortunately, I’ve been helping people develop it for years and can explain, simplify and teach it.

By the way, I love seeing "executive presence" manifest. I feel lucky I get to see it manifest in a very rapid and dramatic fashion in a matter of 3 days because I do “before” and “after” videos of my clients. I just saw it yesterday with my most recent Senior Director. In his first video he looked like a Director. In his final video he looked like an Executive VP and he even had what most people would call an “aura”. 

So, let's look at the anatomy of this aura. 

And how you can start manifesting these skills now yourself to accelerate your next promotion. 


#1. Don't be frazzled.

Frazzled means you come across as overly stressed and somewhat overwhelmed. Being frazzled is an "executive presence" killer. Directors and below are frequently frazzled, with good reason of course. However, while you shouldn’t even do it at the lower levels, you really can’t afford to do it at the upper levels. 

When you're a Vice President, if you get frazzled it freaks people out. A Vice President needs to communicate with poise, calm, be in the moment, not have his/her attention ping-ponging all over the place. The best Executives stop all their mental noise and are calm and in the moment. People walk in to meetings with this kind of Executive full of mental noise themselves and find their own noise calms down and vaporizes in the presence of real self-command. It gets calm.

#2. Senior executives have a strong sense of dignity.

This is a big component of “executive presence”. The last 100+ clients that I asked what the word “dignity” means gave me woefully inadequate or incorrect definitions for it. This is a very important word to know. “Dignity” is the sense of being worthy of esteem and honor. Many of my clients try hard to please others, look to others for approval, let others determine their value, they lose their own sense of worth. Some of them have been hammered by bad feedback and coaching and don’t have a strong sense of their own value. They will say, "I do good work", but that is a far cry from a robust sense of dignity. Dignity radiates from within. It’s not the same as confidence. It’s definitely not arrogance which rubs everyone the wrong way. Dignity is your own sense of being worthy. It's a skill to be able to communicate with dignity. It can be developed. It gives you an aura. It’s vital in the skill set of a senior executive.

#3. Every successful senior executive I’ve seen or worked with communicates with a superior level of intention.

Intention is not effort, it’s not putting energy into it, it's not trying hard. Intention is senior to effort.  It commands attention and understanding. Many people communicate with intent. Executives do it at a superior level. It's the difference between watching someone play tennis on weekends or a champion professional. The amateur doesn’t have the skills to win at the same level, no matter how hard they try or how positive their attitude. This level of communication penetrates, inspires, makes things happen. It is true leadership level communication. 

#4. Give your undivided attention to the person who's talking to you.

Look into their eyes, both when you're speaking as well as listening. When you’re on the phone, make the world go away, tune in and feel the presence of the other person fully. 

Directors and below have so much going on, they’re frequently trying to multitask. With those executives who I would say are very noteworthy, I hear the people around them say, “Wow, when you talk with him/her you feel like you're the only person in the world.” Why is this important? Because people want to be led by someone who makes them feel that way. How you make people feel has everything to do with whether not they want you to lead them.

I recently had someone email me this about his new VP: “I love him! I get 100% of his focus. I feel fantastic talking to him. He’s not rushed. I feel like an eternity has gone by, I hang up the phone and realize it was a 12 minute conversation. That kind of impact in 12 minutes! WOW!”

#5. You need the ability to make deep human connections, to build a warm rapport with anyone.

Your ability to make a deep and real human connection determines how much trust you will enjoy. There's a world of difference between "talking" and making a deep connection, and the difference will have a big impact on your career: Getting others to open up and your ability to listen play a big part in this. I have worked with many people who are trustworthy, but they didn’t know how to make deep connections and people didn't trust them. Once they learned how to make that deep connection, trust grew rapidly. Trust is the basis of the real, solid cooperation you’ll need.

#6. You need to communicate so well that you have the ability to make resistance and conflict evaporate.

The reason for this is because unhandled conflict in the organization will escalate to your level. By the time it gets to you, no one below you has been able to handle it - it will be up to you to make conflict go away.

Of course, the best thing you can do is prevent conflict in the first place. Conflict can almost always be prevented with outstanding communication. Disagreement is a natural part of life when you’re dealing with many viewpoints, but there’s absolutely no reason it needs to turn into conflict. I have seen over and over with clients that conflict is never a result of the issues, it is always a result of communication and understanding breaking down.

While we experience a lot of successful communication, there is nothing in this world that breaks down faster, or with more frequency, than communication …. nothing. As advanced as we are as a civilization, as much communication technology as we have at our fingertips, as breathtaking are our opportunities to communicate to each other and to the world, we still experience communication breakdowns daily, both at work and at home, on a personal, organizational and even international level. You need to be able to rapidly repair it when it breaks.

And when you’re high up in the organization, you’re dealing with so many people, so many multiple viewpoints, so many realities, it becomes important that you can manage all of them simultaneously. It kills your organization if you don't.

Start to demonstrate that conflict and resistance do not happen around you, and that when they do, you confront it head on and make them evaporate and get everything rapidly moving forward, and the people in power will naturally put you in a leadership role very quickly because managing communication, other people's perceptions, realities, expectations, frustrations is an enormous part of a leader's job. 

#7. An unspoken question they’ll ask about you before they decide to promote you is, “Will the organization be happy under him/her?” This is another way of asking, “How good are your communication skills? Are they at a leadership and executive level?” 

It takes outrageously great communication skill to not only communicate well with the person in front of you, but to do it so well that it carries through the rest of the organization.

If you start demonstrating these skills now, I see a promotion in your future regardless of where you are in the organization.

These skills are rare. They will accelerate and raise the trajectory of your career and your income. You’ll feel like this client who recently emailed me:

“I am convinced that the skills I learned have been the biggest factors in changing the trajectory of my career. There is no doubt about it. It makes me smile to compare conversations I had before, where they labeled me as a “strong practitioner” to the daily interactions I have now with senior executives who promoted me 3X in 2 years and treat me like a “high level leader”. I was the only person out of the 500+ of us to receive this many promotions and this particular level of promotion. It is heady stuff and very exciting.”

Get the "Becoming a VP" Checklist

If you're looking to get promoted from Director to VP, this powerful checklist will help you prepare to achieve that goal.  Inside the checklist, you'll find a strategic yet practical "roadmap" for making sure the way you communicate with others demonstrates your capacity to step into a VP role. If you're looking to develop that "executive presence" aura that successful leaders have, this free checklist will help you do it.  

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Why relationships are nothing like driving your car

If I want to take a fabulous road trip back to my hometown of Philadelphia, fundamentally I’d decide when I wanted to leave and arrive, I’d map out the route, plan the stops, pack, get in the driver’s seat, start the car and drive.  I’d go straight when I wanted to go straight, turn right when I wanted to turn right, stay on my route, get out to stretch whenever I felt like.   I’d follow my plan, drive as fast, or as slow, as I liked … and I’d eventually get to Philadelphia.  If I were by myself, there wouldn’t be any conflict.  I’d get the outcome I wanted, the way I wanted it, when I wanted it.

Relationships aren’t like that.

Relationships aren’t even like having a passenger in the car. Any relationship you have, whether at work or in your personal life, is like driving a dual-control car. You’re in the same car, but the other person also has their own steering wheel they can turn, and their own full set of controls, including a gas pedal that can accelerate the car anytime, not to mention a set of brakes.  Two people controlling 1 car.

With dual controls, you're going to have a serious problem if the other person turns right while you're turning left, or if they put their foot down on the brake while yours is hard on the gas pedal.

In a car this seems obvious, but in personal and professional relationships I often see two people simultaneously trying to control where the “car” is going and this creates endless difficulty.  I see them struggle for control, or one just gives up in frustration and lets the other take the wheel.  Not a recipe for happiness.  Bad road trip. 

Managing any relationship is like managing a dual-control car.  First of all, it's probably a good idea to agree on the destination. If I want to go to Philadelphia and the other person wants to just cruise up and down California’s coast Highway 1, one is east, the other’s west, we're going to continuously steer in different directions, making the car look crazy, going all over the road.  And there’s one thing that’s certain. Neither are we going to get to Philadelphia, nor are we going to have a nice cruise along the coast down Highway 1.  I’ve seen many personal relationships that look like this, but also many that my clients have at work in large corporations.

And if you think about working on a team or with a group, it can get even crazier the more people are involved controlling the 1 car.  If you don’t all agree on exactly where you want to end up, you can get stuck in places no one wanted.  Not to mention when trust is missing and you’re not looking, they can step on the brakes or turn the wheel – and suddenly you find yourself on a strange road and you don’t know how you got there or how to get out.

It's amazing how things smooth out once you agree on the destination. So this is a skill it's really handy to have:  the ability to get anyone, in any situation, under any circumstance, to come to an agreement with you regarding the destination. Of course, that's just the beginning, but without this beginning you may never even make it out of the driveway.

Let me give you a real example.  I had a client who was trying to negotiate a partnership between his large corporation and another one.   Both stuck in their ways.  They were so busy arguing about what the other side should give them, they didn’t realize they hadn't really agreed whether they both even wanted a partnership.  The whole thing was coming across like something my client was trying to “force down their throats”.  So, he backed the discussions away from the areas of conflict and got them both to discuss, and then agree, they actually did want a partnership, that it should be a real partnership where 1+1 was much greater than 2, that both organizations should benefit tremendously.  It sounds simple, but it took a couple of skillfully conducted meetings just to get to that agreement to even have a partnership. But once that agreement was solidly in place, everything else proceeded smoothly, additional agreements happened rather rapidly and their partnership was announced in the news.

So, the first question to ask when you’re in this dual-controlled car is – what’s the destination we both/all fully agree on and can commit to?   And then use your skills to make that agreement and commitment real.

By the way, I did several fabulous road trips from Philadelphia to California, where I now live. America is stunning.   Took my time, 3 months.   Appalachian Mountains, Mississippi River, Kansas cornfields, Rocky Mountains, magical New Mexico, Utah’s Lake Powell, Grand Canyon, and up the incomparable California coast Highway 1.  When you do a trip like this, you really have to get along well with anyone in the car with you!

Wishing you good travels and relationships on your journey!


If you want to have these skills, go to:  Causative Communication Live!

Why I'm an Educator

Many people think “education” stops with school and is replaced by “training” in business.  They’re missing the true, very uplifting, definition of education.  I thought you might like this exploration of words and their meanings, the precise words that define a very liberating experience.

I’ve been in the business world for over 30 years.  I’ve been called a consultant, trainer, coach, instructor, and instructional designer.  Because I’ve specialized in working with large corporations, the word “educator” has hardly ever been used.  And yet, that is how I see myself.  Let me tell you why.

The word “education” came from “educare”, a Latin word meaning “to lead out”.  Despite many examples to the contrary, it has nothing to do with “depositing information into another person.”

Education’s not a “putting in.”  It’s a “leading out.”

The real definition of “education” can be found in Webster’s New World College Dictionary which says education is the process of developing the latent faculties and powers of a person.  Let’s take these words apart and see what they mean for you.

“FACULTIES” are exceptional abilities or aptitudes.  Think of faculties as a whole package of abilities that combine to create far beyond ordinary competence.

“LATENT” means present but not actualized.  Actualized means “made actual or real.” Latent means these abilities are there … but are not yet revealed or visible.  You can’t quite see them yet.

“POWER” means a great ability to produce a result.

“OF A PERSON” – “Of” means “belonging to” – this means, these abilities and powers already belong to you.

“DEVELOP” means to take from one stage of growth to another.

“PROCESS” means how you do something.

Good education is the process of developing your latent faculties.  It helps you take your latent powers from one stage of growth to another until they are fully visible and under your complete control.

Your latent faculties or powers can be at any stage of development.  What’s important is that they ARE there inside you already; they belong to you even now.  True education just develops them, one stage to the next, until they are fully revealed.

How latent can they be?  Well, they could just be a seed.  If you’re reading this, you’re at least aware of something inside you that could be great.  That’s a seed.

Or perhaps the seed has sprouted and this ability is growing – underground.  It hasn’t broken soil yet where others can see it.  You can feel it emerging, but right now, you’re the only one who sees it.

Perhaps your plant has broken soil and is now a tiny green shoot above ground.

Or perhaps the plant has grown taller and is starting to actually look like something.

Wherever you are in these stages, a great educator takes you from one phase through all stages of development until you arrive at your own sense of, “WOW!”

The important thing to know is that you already have powers, meaning you have great abilities to produce results, whether that power is a seed or a visibly growing plant … you’re capable of all I’ve written here.

Perhaps someone has stepped on and squashed your plant before it had time to grow.  Education helps you with that too.

True education simply helps you keep developing your faculties and powers, leading them out, until you’re unmistakably powerful.



The Look in Your Eyes

The look in your eye tells me everything I need to know.  I can tell by the look in your eye if you are going to win, barely maintain, or lose.

What is it I see?  I see the strength of your intention.  The strength of your intention tells me how it’s going to turn out for you.

Intention is not generally well understood.  Back when Noah Webster published the first American dictionary in 1828, he stated a great definition for it.  He said intention is:  when the mind with great earnestness fixes its view on any idea, purpose or goal, and will not be called off.  To be in earnest is to be very determined and deliberate in stretching towards an objective. To fix is to establish immovably, without wandering. 

To call something off means to decide it will not happen.  Will not be called off means that nothing – nothing – can make you decide that the outcome you want might not happen.

The word intention comes from the Latin word intentio which meant a stretching out.

Intention is when you have decided the outcome that will happen in advance and this decision is so strong, the only outcome possible is the outcome that you decided. 

Intention is certainty.

I first saw Stephen Curry play basketball in March 4, 2013.  I knew nothing about the Warriors.  The last basketball game I went to before this one was before the turn of the century.  I went to this game because it was a special event for Lithuanians (I’m Lithuanian – the relationship between that and basketball is a story for another day).  That night the Warriors were 2 years from winning the 2015 NBA Championship … with no sign they would win. 

I saw the look in Stephan Curry’s eyes and knew.  I knew he was a star.  I knew the Warriors would go on to win the NBA Championship and that it wouldn’t happen right away (because I didn’t see the same look in everyone else’s eye).  I knew he would uplift the team.  I knew he would uplift the city of Oakland (which you know he did in a big way if you were at the amazing celebration after they won).  I saw that much intention in his eyes.

I wasn’t watching how he played … I was watching the look in his eye.  The intention was unmistakable.  I rarely see that much intention in others and was powerfully impressed.  Look at those eyes.  You can see from the look in his eyes:  he will not be called off.

So, I did something I have never done in my life …. On March 4, 2013 I started following a sports team.  I’ve enjoyed every moment, but I have not been the least bit surprised as the story unfolded and we’ve witnessed the Warriors become one of the best teams in NBA history.  With Stephen Curry as one of the best players ever.

Earlier this week they lost the 1st game of the NBA Western Conference finals to Oklahoma City Thunder.  I wasn’t surprised when this happened either.  I saw the look in their eyes before the game.  I wasn’t looking at anything physical or how they were playing.  Just the look in their eyes.  Intention had diminished.

Yesterday morning, hours before their 2nd game, I read an article by local Sports writer, Tim Kawakami.  He saw the Warriors at practice the day before and wrote:  “Stephen Curry had the look, Draymond Green had the look, Andrew Bogut had the look, Andre Iguodala had the look, Steve Kerr had the look.  Even team Consultant Steve Nash, in a rare practice visit had a unique kind of focused/relaxed/super-alert look on his face at Warriors headquarters.”

I thought, “Ahhhhh …. They’re going to win tonight ….”  And they did.  What a game.

How does this relate to you?  How do you get enough intention to give you that look in your eye?  How do you become the Stephen Curry of your world?

It’s not physical.  It comes from within.

What kills it is uncertainty, doubt, indecision.  Most people have a hard time completely eliminating these from their thoughts.  But that is what it takes.  Making an unwavering decision about an objective and not allowing yourself to be called off.  Very simply, you make a decision and the decision is that strong.  No “maybe yes, but maybe no”.

Don’t confuse this with stubbornness, aggressiveness, force or bullying.  Intention is none of these.  People with these qualities (qualities that drive others away) always have very little, if any, true intention.  Intention is a decision and a consideration – it’s at the level of thought, not energy - and has nothing to do with force.  People with high intention are also capable of extremely gentle and warm communication and very respectful listening – as you can also see with Stephen Curry.

No one can diminish your intention but you.  No one can increase your intention but you.  Your degree of intention has nothing to do with your environment or your circumstances.  We would like to assign responsibility for what happens to us elsewhere because it lets us off the hook. But it’s not the truth.  People had told Stephen Curry he wasn’t going to make it as a basketball player.  He never let it monitor his intention.

His certainty about winning is so great, he doesn’t even turn around to look to see if his shot went in.

The general population doesn’t fully realize how vital intention is.  They don’t realize they didn’t succeed because they didn’t have enough intention.

I’ve worked with losers, mediocre performers and rock stars in their profession, including the world’s foremost experts in their field.  The biggest distinguishing factor is their intention.  I’ve seen amazing stories (and I know you have too) of people, when the world was against them and intention is ALL they had … and they won.

Intention is like a muscle.  It’s one of your greatest capabilities.  The more you exercise it, the bigger it will grow.  You have it in unlimited quantity.  You create it. 

There is nothing you can’t do.  There is no dream that is unattainable for you.  Your intention is powerful magic.  Stretch toward that objective you want.  Make that decision to win.  Decide to have certainty and confidence, complete freedom from doubt about winning.  Don’t be called off.  Use your intention to make it happen.  And win.

The world will see it in the look in your eye … and know that you are a winner.

If you want to have these skills, go to:  Causative Communication Live!

The Difference Between Women and Men

If you asked my father about the difference between women and men, he would have said men were better drivers (something he commented on frequently while driving, my mother, sister and I surrounding him in the car, talking over each other to argue him down).  He certainly did like to provoke us.

In the 1980’s we did a survey and found men thought women talk too much and women complained men didn’t listen.  Now, there’s a recipe for frustration!

Two weeks ago I worked with a group of all women.  Last week I worked with a group of all men.   These two groups made me take a fresh look. 

The women were interested in talking about communication at work.  The men were interested in talking about communication at home with their spouses and children.  Isn’t that interesting?

The women needed more coaching on how to get their communication across, how to be fully understood, the art of delivering a compelling message.  They needed a boost in confidence, were concerned about their credibility and being heard.  One woman, for example, practiced telling her co-workers they need to improve the quality of their work (difficult for her to do initially without shrinking into herself). 

The men needed more coaching on how to listen, how to really give their full attention (and I mean truly undivided attention) and be strongly interested all the way through to the end.  The guys initially had trouble making it even to the 30 second mark before “checking out”.

What was interesting to me was that you could say they did fit stereotypes …. but only at the beginning of the training.  Not at the end.  By the end of the training they were all excellent communicators, each with their own unique style and charisma, no two alike, extremely distinct personalities.  You would look at them and think, “You are truly you; you are truly one of a kind.”

I had a stunning realization.  People fit stereotypes when they are missing communication skills.  An engineer who doesn’t know how to start and carry a conversation gets labeled an “introvert”.  A sales guy who pushes his message without listening is called a “typical sales guy”.  Stereotype labels abound:  emotional, aggressive, geek, insensitive, millennial, etc, etc, etc.  Anytime someone uses the word “typical” a stereotype follows.

But, this is what I see over and over again.  Once they have the full range of communication skills, no one ever again fits a stereotype.  Stereotypes put attention on what is lacking, what is missing in communication.  When this is remedied, the power of a person’s communication defies stereotypes.

You can see this with historical figures who were extraordinary communicators.  Mahatma Gandhi was a typical what?  Margaret Thatcher fits which stereotype?  Winston Churchill was just like whom?  Nelson Mandela is a classic what? 

Even today:  Arianna Huffington is just like which other person you know?  Oprah reminds you of what group of people who are just like her?  Bill Clinton is in what category?  Sheryl Sandberg reminds you of whom?  There is no one like any of them.

Why does extraordinary communication seem so rare?  Because few people master all of it.  Communication doesn’t require one or two skills – it requires the mastery of at least 20 separate skills (I’m being very conservative here) and the ability to weave them all together effortlessly during conversations or presentations, usually while thinking on your feet. 

That’s where training in communication skills comes into play.  Good instruction helps you take your skills from where they are today to exceptional, so that when you communicate, you are truly you, and there is no mistaking that. 

We tend to stereotype or label when we can’t communicate to someone.  Communication is the only thing that opens the door to true understanding. 

Next time you find a label or stereotype filling your thoughts about someone, take a look and see how you can take your communication with that person to the next level to reach the full understanding that will satisfy you.