4 P’s to Competent Communication

Consider the following effective practices to put into place to become a more competent and persuasive communicator personally and professionally:

  1. Pause – Excellent communication starts with stopping first. There are great rewards for avoiding knee-jerk reactions. They call them “knee-jerk” because a lot of times a jerk is exactly how you feel afterwards… Pausing gives you more time (to perceive and predict) which often gives you more options (before you proceed).
  2. Perceive – The additional time that pausing produces affords you more opportunity to truly “see” what is happening in the moment. It’s to your benefit to look beyond the surface; to look just underneath the obvious. Heightened perception often leads to new perspectives that help to better (predict) how best (to proceed).
  3. Predict – Next, ask yourself: “What’s happened just before, or is likely to happen just after this encounter?” Educated predictions about pertinent circumstances or situations leading up to, and/or following your interactions result from first (pausing) and then (perceiving).
  4. Proceed – Once you’ve taken an extra second or two to (pause), sought to really “see” (perceive) the nuances, surmised (predict) what came before and what may come next, it’s now time to take the next step (proceed). Executing the first three P’s FIRST, now position you to make the best decisions and the smartest moves next.

A lot of people do this backwards. When interacting with others they often jump right to #4. They first react and proceed impulsively, and only then do they pause, perceive, and predict how to undo what they did… after the fact.

This cycle then becomes a vicious circle starting over again and again… producing similar results.

To avoid this, the most competent and persuasive communicators are proactive rather than reactive.

Proactive communication requires employing the 4 P’s in order ongoing, within every interaction.

Try it.

Doing so has the potential to make the world a better place one interaction at a time…

Stay tuned-in…

Click HERE for info on my Communichology course.

Get my articles and exclusive content with science-based insights to shiFt your communication from adequate to ass-kicking!



Hard truth: People are self-centered more than they’re not.

Everyone’s favorite subject is themselves; whether they admit it or not. **Think about it: you’re thinking about you and yours, much more than anyone or anything else, the majority of the time. Your day, your job, your money, your family, your friends, your food, your plans, your life…

It’s not negative. It’s normal. It’s survival. You have to think about these things to take care of the business of your life. To survive…

And as such, each and every person is therefore in the “sales” business.

And knowing this, and acting on this, gives you a huge advantage socially and professionally. It’s a core principle of Communichology™ that I write and speak on often.

Those who are truly successful at marketing, promoting, and persuading others understand one key distinction:

Whatever you do or produce has to make people feel something about themselves to get them to respond.

Be it hope or fear, it’s the feelings tied to their emotions that people actually “buy” (literally or figuratively).

Your offering (a product, service, or yourself) must move them emotionally first, before it will move them behaviorally.

Your offering must communicate something that is about them and for them.

If it’s about you or someone else, they’ll care less. They’ll get bored and move on. So if they believe it’s about them, they’ll stay tuned-in and interested.

Most people are most interested in that which relates to them and theirs. To fill their needs by increasing their pleasure and by reducing their pain. To discover ways to better their lives by enhancing what’s already good and/or by improving what’s not-so-good.

**All of life’s pursuits, passions, progress, and problems involve people endlessly searching for ways to fill these needs.

So you “make it” by filling a need and making it feel like it’s about them, not you.

Make someone feel and you’ve now made a fan.

To do this, you must…

Present the universal so that it’s perceived as personal.

Then they will pay attention. Then they will respond.

Which is what you want. Which is also what you need.

Because this isn’t about them. It’s actually about you.

It’s for you:

  • …to use
  • …to do
  • …what you need to do
  • …to feel the way
  • …you want to feel
  • …about you.

It’s a win-win.

And then it comes full circle, and then cycle begins again…

Stay tuned-in…

Click HERE for info on my Communichology course.

Get my articles and exclusive content with science-based insights to shiFt your communication from adequate to ass-kicking!


10 Tenets

By now, everyone knows that in today’s lexicon, the term “rock star” is a figurative expression used to identify someone who is great at what they do. For example, if you’re a “rock star” of plumbers, then you likely fix leaks and clean pipes better than your peers. If you’re a “rock star”  teacher, then you connect with and influence your students in ways that will be remembered long after school’s out for summer…

I used to use this phrase quite a bit in my writings a few years back to describe a way of life; a philosophy and a lifestyle if you will. I called it the RockStarWay. But today, these words are overused in pop culture and have become passe in my opinion. So I shit-canned using it all together in my stuff. But, the 10 tenets I used to describe the skills necessary to rock in the real world are still spot on and always applicable. So these are for the 5% of people who are interested in getting the best possible personal and professional end-results and outcomes by embracing and demonstrating skills in several key areas.

Here are the 10 TENETS (core principles) of Lifestyle Initiative Training:

1) Commit to being a GREAT COMMUNICATOR – Easier said than done. Few are as good at this as they think they are. All transactions with people, places, and things begin and end with communication in all of its various forms, in all types of situations and circumstances. Great communication is complex, multifaceted, and requires continual hard work to master ongoing. Intuitively understanding and applying the art and science of “Communichology™” is a key concept and cornerstone of Lifestyle Initiative Training.

2) Practice being PERSUASIVE – People don’t get lucky, they influence outcomes. The intersection of preparation and opportunity is where movers and shakers consciously place themselves to get ahead. Make others feel empowered by appealing to their needs. Master human relations skills and others will follow you. The successful understand that “success” and “failure” is largely their own fault. The ability to positively influence intention and action in yourself, and in others, is a key concept of Lifestyle Initiative Training.

3) Demonstrate COMPASSION – Those who put others first, ultimately never finish last. Extending an uplifting and encouraging attitude, and hand toward others is contagious. Caring for more than just yourself, your stuff, and the center of your universe is a key concept of Lifestyle Initiative Training.

4) Seek opportunities to LEARN new things – The smartest in the room know what they don’t know. Wisdom is the recognition that there is always more to learn or unlearn. Critical thinking is the rule, not the exception. Answering “Yes” to the “Is it possible…” question is a key concept of Lifestyle Initiative Training.

5) Accept RESPONSIBILITY and seek SOLUTIONS – Living in problems only perpetuates them. Recognizing what’s wrong and then resolving to solve is how excuses become extinct. It’s those who stop blaming everything that truly start becoming something. Being accountable becomes desirable. Admitting mistakes and owning your own honesty is a key concept of Lifestyle Initiative Training.

6) Embrace CHANGE – The only certainty is recurring uncertainty. A person’s success is proportional to the amount of change they can endure. Being flexible and pliable is more than nice; it’s necessary. The ability to adjust on-the-fly and in-the-moment, while still producing top quality is a key concept of Lifestyle Initiative Training.

7) Take massive ACTION – Action is the antidote to fear. Life is full of too many risk-talkers and not enough risk-takers. Following deliberate and diligent planning, systematically executing your plans at high levels is a key concept of Lifestyle Initiative Training.

8) Master your EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE – Beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic, it’s much harder to be “smarter” emotionally. It’s also arguably more important in the big picture. Being aware of both your own, as well as others’ emotional states is a crucial skill-set to develop; and then the to ability to manage your emotions for situational-appropriateness and effectiveness is a key concept of Lifestyle Initiative Training.

9) Be a student of SOCIAL STRATEGY – This is the all-important art and science of understanding human nature within the context of complex social situations. Leaders must study how human beings effectively interact socially to achieve their desired outcomes for maximum benefit. The most perceptive among us gain valuable perspective by “seeing things” and missing less than most. Strategically understanding how to successfully navigate the many varied and intricate social interactions we find ourselves in is a key concept of Lifestyle Initiative Training.

10) Commit to RECOVER – from that which ails you in the form of neuroses, rejection, and/or addiction by being clear-headed, cogent, and conscientious . It’s not if bad stuff happens; it’s when. Winners recognize this and are able to rebound from both internal and external challenges. Neither extreme optimism nor pessimism is necessary. Possessing a healthy realism and a resilience to not only survive, but to thrive is a key concept of Lifestyle Initiative Training.

Acknowledging that these 10 tenets are easy to read and understand, but hard to own and execute is the first step. Being willing to work toward mastery of these areas is a lifestyle worth initiating.

Stay tuned-in…

Click HERE for info on my Communichology course.

Get my articles and exclusive content with science-based insights to shiFt your communication from adequate to ass-kicking!


A Million to One?

million to oneA million to one… are these the odds for success?

Not necessarily.

Hedge your bet by inverting this assertion. It should read one to a million

In radio, DJ’s and hosts are trained to speak as if they’re broadcasting to an audience of just one person (note: not all professional broadcasters in radio I’ve worked with endorse this approach however. Some prefer to focus on a ‘small group’ of people instead of just one. Call it a “niche” perhaps).

Regardless, the idea is to keep the feel of the “conversation” intimate and personal. To establish and keep a connection… This philosophy is sage advice for any circumstance that involves interacting and influencing others.

The target audience needs to begin with just one.

Maybe it will get to one million, maybe it won’t.

Either way, it doesn’t really matter if what you’re doing really matters.

Matters to who?

To you.

Because if what you’re putting out there is important (to you), and if your content is impactful (to others), then the size of the audience, especially in the beginning, is less important than all of the aforementioned factors. If those elements are there, you will eventually attract interest. Many get this whole thing backwards. They’re planning for, and marketing to the big audience before they’re even sure who their small audience is.

Connecting with just one person…

Making a difference to just one person…

Impacting just one person…

Getting through to just one person…

Helping just one person…

… is the ONE thing worth millions.

The world tells us that the numbers matter; the heart tells us that they don’t.

So work toward being one in million, instead of worrying about a-million-to-one odds.

Odds are, the truth of the matter… your truth within the matter… is what really matters most.

Stay tuned-in…

I Want You, Too


If you want people to do things that you want them to do, NEVER start with… “I want you to…”

Here’s a real example of what NOT to say:

“Hey everyone: Just a reminder to come out to __(place)__ tonight. I want you there no later than __(time)__. You can all help do __(this)__ and do __(that)__. Also, I want some of you to __(do this)__. Wear  _(clothing theme)__ and tell everyone you know to come out too.”

The example above contains no fewer than seven commands. COMMANDS are not requests. When you are requesting help from others, you don’t command them. This will piss people off. Just because what you’re doing is your #1 priority, it’s definitely not everyone else’s. This is the opposite of persuasion and influence.

the shiFt:

Communichology™  teaches that you should NOT tell people what YOU want, but instead, first find out what THEY want. Then, build your request around meeting their needs while you get what you want and need simultaneously. Some claim this is common sense, but just look around… it’s rarely evident in the actions of most. People like to help others when it’s presented properly and appropriately. It makes them feel necessary, needed, and valued (what they want). Acknowledging others’ busy schedules and then politely and respectfully requesting their participation is the appropriate approach to get the most bang for your buck, and the biggest ROI for them.

Communichology™ teaches these, and other critical communication nuances to be the most effective leader personally and professionally. Hell, screw being an effective leader, how about just being a cool fucking person.

So, I WANT YOU TO GO CHECK OUT MY STUFF NOW… because, there’s a lot in it for you if you do.

Stay tuned-in…


The Allure of Laugh


The following is an excerpt from my keynote speaking presentation of the same name:

Laughter, it’s alluring. It pulls people in. It gets attention…

We all love to laugh, but did you know there’s something called “laughter yoga?” I first heard about this when I was in Las Vegas speaking at an (unfortunately, yet predictably dry) education leader’s conference. Just about ready to call it day, and hit the strip, I stopped into one more session and came across a guy who had the whole room engaged, laughing, and having fun. The irony is that this presenter wasn’t funny necessarily, he wasn’t a comedian, or a joke-teller, or a humorist, but what I call a laughter-catalyst. He stressed the health benefits of bringing forth lots of laughter, whether real or forced, to change both your internal and external environments. He went on to say that you can even become a “Certified Laughologist” believe it or not. By the end of his session, not one person in attendance wasn’t smiling, not one person hadn’t been laughing, not one session evaluation was negative, and not one person wasn’t changed by the experience… including me.

Who knew?

Laughter provides a physical response or release of an elicited emotion… And this is related to emotional intelligence, so the message is the Allure of Laugh is not about comedy, as much as it’s a tool toward effective emotional communications foster connection with your audience. It’s not about joke-telling, but about genuine well-being.

To be most effective, comedy (or laughter) must complement, not distract from, our communication. More than just fun and games, laughter aids in learning… (think of Sesame Street – presents an effective mix of laughter and learning), boosts participant performance and motivation, and reduces, anxiety. So to foster the most learning, we must also foster laughing.

According to Dr. Ron Berk from Johns Hopkins University: “Most professors think like professors, and you can’t do that,” Berk says. “What I do and how I teach is all about the students,” he says. “It has nothing to do with me. I’m tapping into their multiple intelligence needs and their culture so that they can understand the material in their terms.”

“A growing body of research suggests that, when used effectively, classroom comedy can improve student performance by reducing anxiety, boosting participation and increasing students’ motivation to focus on the material. Moreover, the benefits might not be limited to students: Research suggests that students rate professors who make learning fun significantly higher than others.”


So, infusing laughter into any training, teaching, presenting, or speaking opportunity is not only nice, but necessary.

So here is some compelling information about the benefits of laughter, alongside with my acronym illustrating The Allure of LAUGH:

L-Levity – “lighten up” figuratively and literally

We know to laugh, but we’re slow to laugh sometimes… (like the uptight teachers at the conference were…)

The average pre-school child laughs or smiles up to ~300-400 times a day. That the number drops to only about 15 times a day by the time people reach age 35. Some studies show that as a culture, people used to laugh ~20 minutes out of every day back in the 1950’s. Today, we laugh for only 6 minutes out of every day. What’s changed? We gotta “lighten up,” and go back in time…

Every time you have a good hearty laugh, you burn up 3-4 calories. Laughing for 10 to 15 minutes increases your heart rate by 10% to 20%, which means you can burn an extra 40-50 calories a day, which can melt away 4-5 pounds over the course of a year.

Laughing 100 times has the same effect on the body as being on a rowing machine for 10 minutes or a stationary bike for 15 minutes.

Yes, you can literally lighten up from laughing…

A–Attraction & Attention – Laughter gets out attention, and and keeps it… because laughter is ATTRACTIVE!

The best communicators are those who we “like.” And we “like” those who make us laugh.
We’re more likely to believe what they tell us; we’re more likely to comply, and do what they ask us to do. We pay more attention to those who make us laugh because subconsciously they’re more attractive & interesting to us. Laughter is a powerful persuasion and influence tool to be used positively for personal and professional benefit.

Researchers have found that audiences perceive witty presenters (just people) as being more competent communicators and more responsive to their needs than their dry counterparts.

And laughing is contagious (think of laugh tracks on television shows)… they’re put there on purpose to pull us in and grab our attention.

U-Universal – everyone understands the “language” of laugh…

80% of our laughter occurs within the context of normal, everyday conversations and in normal, everyday social situations.

Cross-culturally, laughter sounds the same. The sound of laughter is so common and familiar that it can even be recognized if played backwards on a recording.

Additionally, people can recognize smiles from up to 300 feet away, making them the most easily recognizable facial expression around the world.

And of course, closely connected to laughter… are smiles. A UC-San Francisco researcher identified 19 different types of smiles and put them into two categories: (polite “social” smiles which engage fewer muscles, and sincere “felt” smiles that use more muscles on both sides of the face).

And studies also show there are positive effects of smiling and laughing whether the smiles & laughter are fake or real… The body cannot distinguish between ‘fake’ laughter that you just start doing on purpose, and ‘real’ laughter that comes from true humor… the physical benefits are exactly the same, and fake smiling and laughing usually leads to the real thing eventually anyway.

G-Gaffe – A good (deliberate) gaffe (blunder) producing a guffaw (burst) of laughter can be desirable self-deprication…

Strategic self-deprecation endears people to us by showing our human side… we all make mistakes, and it’s good to own that and call it out sometimes. But we need to do this sparingly, and be careful not to overdo it and blow it…

“Self deprecating humor disarms people who are ready to pounce on you for the tiniest things. At a deeper level, SDH is a non-conscious signal of inner strength that people feel but don’t see. SDH makes the environment safer for all and you less of a target. Reducing hostility in others makes it difficult for people to be unkind toward you as it spotlights them as a bully. Others hate siding with bullies, so practice the little self pokes and you’ll avoid more of the painful big ones.” ~ Kevin Hogan

Also, it’s been shown that people who tend to laugh at their own mistakes had the smallest increases in blood pressure. However, people who tended to use humor that attacks other people or things had the highest increases.

Which leads to the final letter of our LAUGH acronym…

H-Healthy – laughter is good for both your body and soul, consider these facts:

Laughter causes the body’s level of stress hormones to be reduced. Hormones like cortisal, dopamine and the growth hormone, which heighten stress levels, diminish.

Not only does it de-stress you, it also helps relieve pain. T-cells function better if you laugh often. It has been medically proved that laughter actually speeds the body’s recovery process. Our pain tolerance spikes after laughing. Watching 15 minutes of comedy, can increase our pain threshold by 10%. Laughter increases the pain threshold by releasing endorphins (our “fell good” chemicals) into the body, a chemical 10 times more powerful than morphine, producing the same exhilarating effect as doing strenuous exercise.

Laughter boosts immunity… Infection-fighting antibodies are released into the system. Laughing increases oxygen intake, thereby replenishing and invigorating cells. Laughter expands the blood vessels, enhancing blood flow to essential organs and keeping cardiovascular diseases at bay.

Laughter has also been shown to regulate our sleep cycles and can help to overcome many sleep disorders.

Humor has also been shown to boost brain-power and improve immune-cell function.

If laughter improves your health, it undeniably improves your quality of life.

Oh there’s a lot of allure, and a lot to like about laughter…

It’s been said that “laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”

“Laughter is the language of God. And we can all live happily ever laughter.” ~ Yakov Smirnoff

Stay tuned-in…


Movers & Shakers

You know the type…

Those ambitious people whose actions make it seem like everyone else is standing still. Those who are always going and doing and accomplishing things. Those who consistently make things happen. Those over-achievers who sometimes, if you’re being honest, piss you off.

You know the type, right?

These are the movers and shakers. The action-takers.

“The few who do are the envy of the many who only watch.” ~ Jim Rohn

Why do you think these types bug you at times?

Is it what they’re doing that’s bothering you?


Is it what you’re not doing that’s the real issue?

Love ’em or hate ’em, movers and shakers make you think.

They present you with two choices.

You either:

  1. ALIGN with them… (OR)
  2. ALIENATE from them…

Choosing to align with movers and shakers speaks volumes about you. It demonstrates confidence, security, and big-picture thinking.

Choosing to alienate from movers and shakers also speaks volumes. It communicates fear, insecurity, and short-sightedness.

The majority of people mistakenly and predictably choose the latter.

Their ego won’t allow the former.

True movers and shakers recognize other movers and shakers and jump at opportunities to align with them. They don’t operate in isolation. Part of the reason they are movers and shakers in the first place, is because they intuitively recognize the benefits and advantages of aligning themselves with other ambitious people. They understand that surrounding themselves with other similar, yet different types of talent, will push them to even greater heights. It’s a deliberate and premeditated form of marketing and persuasion. This is smart. And, this is rare.

But, make no mistake: moving and shaking isn’t for everyone. Players pay a price. You gotta feel the shake. It’s a double-edged sword sometimes.

“I envy people who can just look at a sunset. I wonder how you can shoot it. There is nothing more grotesque to me than a vacation.” ~ Dustin Hoffman

It’s hard to turn it off. And it’s hard to strike a balance at times. But it’s worth it, because the alternative is not.

So, don’t alienate the movers and shakers. Embrace them and align with them. Set yourself up to achieve even more by making the smarter moves and shakes.

Stay tuned-in…