Leadership Is Communication

Most of us assume that we are primarily conscious beings with an intellect that plans, weighs objectives and options, and directs action — like having a movie director sitting in our heads. But in fact, our unconscious thought processes are far more sophisticated and influential than we have previously acknowledged.  And this counterintuitive fact has important implications for leadership. Instead of rational beings driven consciously by ideas, we are mostly unconscious beings… Read More

Blarney, Benghazi, and Binders: Takeaways from the Second Presidential Debate

The debate rematch saw a familiar Governor Romney matched up against a newly invigorated President Obama.  There was a lot of testosterone in the room; the two men stalked around the stage and each other doing their best to take up space and intimidate the other debater.  Romney walked stiffly, visibly tense, uneasy in his body, like an arthritic flamingo.  Obama prowled like an angry, predatory cat, waiting to pounce, and when… Read More

How to decode other people’s body language

We are all unconscious experts in reading other people’s intentions toward us. We evolved these skills in the woolly mammoth era because our lives depended on them, and the unconscious mind works must faster than the conscious mind. But we are not very good at making this unconscious awareness conscious. We can react with blinding speed, literally before we can think about it consciously, to duck a punch that some drunken lout… Read More

Choreographing your speech

One of the great questions for regular public speakers is, what will the room look like when I get there? Few of the places we speak have great sight lines, perfect acoustics, and comfortable seating for the audience. We’re usually working with less-than-prime conditions. So it helps to be ready for most of the possibilities. In other words, be ready to answer the question, how will I use this room to my… Read More

Body Language Quick Takes 4 – How to tell when you’re disconnected

We’re living through a disconnected era in our nanosecond-based, 24/7, ADD, mostly virtual world.  Our colleagues and fellow workers nod and smile a lot to show that they’re listening, but it’s not really happening.  Real connection is rare.    Their internal monologues are too intense, too scared, and too far down Maslow’s hierarchy – will I still have my job?  How can I pay my mortgage?  Are my kids staying out of trouble? … Read More

Body Language Quick Takes 3 – Are You Connected?

How do you tell – in body language terms – when you’re connected with someone?  A conversation between two connected people – lovers, friends, colleagues – who are in sync is a beautiful thing to behold.  If you’re one of the parties involved, it may spoil the connection to take time out to notice it, so be careful.  But the basic body language of connection is mirroring, anticipation and handoffs.  People who… Read More

How to connect better with the people around you

For podcast #6 in the series based on my book Trust Me:  Four Steps to Authenticity and Charisma, I talk about connection – step #2.  Specifically, how to connect better with the people around you with the language you use.  Having trouble getting people to pay attention?  Here are some tips that will help.  The podcast is just under 4 minutes.  Enjoy! Trust Me Podcast 6

What goes wrong when you try to communicate?

I spoke last week to an Air Force Special Ops team, and to a pharmaceutical company, about persuasive communications.   Today, I’m talking to a group of Harvard mid-career students from all over the world about the same subject.   Each time I talk I spend some time making sure I understand their particular issues in the realm of communications, so that the advice I give them is focused.  What’s fascinating is that such… Read More

How to Connect with an Audience

Here's a brief video excerpt from a speech I gave last year about how to connect with an audience by using the physical space between speaker and audience.  Enjoy!    

Basic principles of nonverbal communication – 10

Principle X: Authenticity and charisma derive from becoming open, connected, passionate and listening with and to your audience. Authenticity comes from aligning your content – the things you say – with your nonverbal communication – your body language.  Another way of saying it is that you have to align your emotions and your message.  In the end, it’s a matter of believing what you say and saying what you believe.  The alternative… Read More