Tag Archives: Communication

Just Stop Talking


Remember the other day’s post about listening? You can listen while you talk too, in fact, I recommend it.

Watch the audience or the person you’re talking to. Listen to their body language and comment.

It should be clear if they are getting it or not. If it’s not clear, ask.

If there not getting it, start again, reframe your point and see if they catch on.

If they still don’t get it or just don’t care about what you’re saying, stop. Please, just stop.

Your prudence now will pay dividends later. People will see you and say, “See that guy? He doesn’t have diarrhea mouth.”

They might not say that but they might be more receptive to listening to you later.

Courtesy: http://www.improbable.com/2009/11/29/please-stop-im-bored-mug/

Courtesy: http://www.improbable.com/2009/11/29/please-stop-im-bored-mug/

You think I’m listening because I care?


The truth is I do care.  But, I’m also listening for selfish reasons.

I’m looking for a bridge that I need to use to get you to where I need you to be.

While at work, much of the time I have an agenda.  I need to get things done, I need a resource, support or a decision.  My talking points are always in my back pocket.

When I’m listening to you I’m getting to know you more.  I appreciate you and your deal, whatever that is.  At some point during your talking you will present an opportunity for me.  An opportunity to bridge to my agenda.

I will use what you are talking about to insert some of my talking points.  You will see that I was listening (because I referenced what you just said) and feel heard.  You’ll be happy.  You might even listen to me.

I care about what you are saying.  I also care about what I need to say.

Thanks for listening.

The Toothpaste Presentation


I just need some toothpaste.  There are so many choices.  The toothpaste aisle is a dark fluoride forest and I don’t have a map (or fresh breath).

Whitening, Tarter Control, All in One, Mouthwash Combo.  ProHealth?  I thought they were all pro-health?

Worse yet, there are a different set of choices than last time I had to buy toothpaste.  Apparently, 9 of 10 dentists recommend them all.

Why can’t I just find fucking toothpaste?  The kind that cleans your teeth.

You can do the same thing at work, when you’re talking.  If you don’t plan ahead you can give your audience a confusing menu of ideas clouding their understanding of the point you’re trying to make.

Ask yourself:  What’s your brief about?  Why is what your talking about an issue and/or  what do you want from your audience?  What will be solved by getting what you want?

Don’t give your audience too many choices, give them what they need to make the decision and leave.  They have other shit to do like choose toothpaste.

Dolphins: Winning Friends and Influencing People

Awww, look at those two. It’s all part of a huge PR scheme by the dolphins. Genius.
Courtesy of Matthew Meier Photo

Dolphins are expert PR people.  Here are a few reasons why:

1.  Cooperate and win:  Going back to ancient times, Dolphins used to assist fishermen by herding fish in the fisherman’s direction then being rewarded with fish.  Genius; catch your fish but be sure to give me a cut.

2.  Winning Friends and Influencing People:  Dolphins are playful and seem to smile a lot, this is straight out of Dale Carnegie’s famous book.  Humans (the top of the food chain) love dolphins and protect them beyond what is done for many other sea species.  When was the last time you had “Unsafe Dolphin” tuna?

3.  Our allies in combat:  Like many countries, dolphins have chosen to side with the US in conflict.  They work for us as spies and messengers; I wrote about it here.  Whose side do you think we’ll be on in the next sea life war?

4.  Isolate the black sheep:  Did you know that the Killer Whale is actually a dolphin?  Yup, genius branding move by the dolphin elite.  It was especially useful when the trainer was killed at Sea World in 2010 by a “killer whale.”

So, while we watch and cry about Dolphin Tale, the heart touching movie about the tailless dolphin, the rest of the dolphin population swims through the ocean in super pods, protected by humans, and brutally slaughters other fish families by the thousands.  Genius.

The Japanese on the other hand are not fooled by big dolphin smiles or playful wave play.  They are not impressed by the dolphin public relations scheme.  For reasons of which we are not entirely sure, they slaughter tens of thousands of dolphins each year in somewhat of a ritual beginning in early September.   Read more about it here, pictures are graphic.

Read more about our mammal brothers:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolphin

Chick-fil-A and the Homosexual Social Media Dilemma

This sandwich is sexual orientation neutral according to Chik fil A’s Facebook.

My kids like Chick fil A, they like the food and the ice cream that often follows.  I like it too (not in excess, see the More or Less Diet).  The restaurant being closed on Sundays is a little bit of a pain in the ass, but whatever works.

So, their opposition to gays aside; take a look at this disastrous social media venture:


Basically, they made an official statement trying to show that they are not discriminatory and they just want to go back to making good food; well, they got 28,856 comments back (at the time that I checked).

That’s tough.

I’ve been in a similar social media situation.  We posted something supportive of one of our organizational and national initiatives and received mixed feedback, some of it very critical.  Some of the PR guys at our higher headquarters, asked us to delete the critical remarks.

Answer:  No.

The deal with social media is that it has got to police itself.  We edit and delete inflammatory, abusive or offensive remarks but not simply remarks in opposition.  Let the crowds sort it out.  If the host gets into censorship then it’s no longer social media, it’s just advertising and people don’t go on your Facebook page just to look at advertising, they go to join the conversation; however useless it is.

So, my hats off to the Chick fil A PR guy for not locking down his page, although I’m sure many non-PR people suggested that he do so.  If someone did pose as teenage girl, Abby Farle; bad move!  Like I said, social media will police itself, and it did!

Nice move on the Peach Shakes though.

Public Relations?

PR guys are supposed to assist in maintaining or improving the image or reputation of an organization.  By defining this as our role I separate us from marketing guys.  Sure, we need to work together with marketing people but when there’s a problem, PR guys are the only ones that can help…or hurt.

Here is a small but humorous example of things gone bad:

A unit of soldiers lost some equipment.  A typical response is to keep together everyone possibly responsible for the loss until an initial investigation is complete and/or the equipment is found.  Sometimes a soldier will confess and locate the lost items, most of the time the clerical error is caught or the equipment is located somewhere other than where it was thought to be.  An inconvenience to everyone involved for sure, but to be good stewards of tax payer money its important to have good accountability of equipment.

In this case the soldiers have been “locked down” for several days and the media became interested.

Here is how this PR guy handled it:

“The Army takes property accountability very seriously,” Ophardt said, adding there was “no end in sight” to restrictions for the soldiers while the equipment is missing.


Ophardt said base confinement is an extreme measure of punishment meant to elicit information.

AN EXTREME MEASURE OF PUNISHMENT! Meant to elicit information? Yikes.

The missing equipment is not dangerous to the public by itself, since the accessories attach to military-grade weapons and take specialized training to operate, Ophardt said.

“You can’t just attach it and go out and become Rambo,” he said.


No big deal, it happens all the time and I’m sure the soldiers were released soon after this article hit the news.

The full article can be found here:


Just because I feel bad focusing solely on our friend Ophardt, here is a link to an article about the way Penn State screwed up their disaster.


Dolphins: Spies like us

In this interview, Tim Bowman of NPR talked about the situation in the Strait of Hormuz.  Adm. Keating commented (without prompting) on the use of dolphins.  These comments sparked a great deal additional interest in the subject.

Even as a guy that believes in the public’s right to know, I think talking about this with NPR only decreases the effectiveness of our dolphin comrades.  I know its not a secret, but now the subject has been discussed a great deal prompting additional research and queries.

I’m sure the Iranians knew before but now its as easy as picking up the morning paper.

Operational security aside, can the Iranians now just smoke these dolphins at will?  Will our political leaders deem this an act of aggression?

The media changes things.  Last week, if an Iranian killed a U.S. employed dolphin no one would probably bat an eye, but now that its in the press and people care about our fishy friends, if a mean Iranian kills a dolphin our politicians are forced to answer.