Monthly Archives: November 2008

Greedy or Smart Business?


Like you I am paying attention to certain people’s blogs and newsletters. One of my favourite internet marketers is Perry Marshall. His newsletters give away a ton of free advice. I cannot afford any more of his services at this point, but I enjoy the articles. A lot of my business is done through the internet, so you can see why I appreciate his advice.

Here is an interesting communication issue. Perry gave a seminar and afterward people in the group asked to set up a lunch date with him, and he responded with a “sure, as long as you pay my $725/hour fee!”.

A man named Dennis (with poor spelling) emailed him to tell him he thought that was greedy and not a very business-like response.

Perry wrote a response and published both on his blog.
Now a zillion people have commented on the letter/response, offering their own opinion.

I think this letter/response is worth reading, especially if you are a coach, consultant, entrepreneur, sales rep, or just interested in this ethical question.

I will let you make up your own mind ethically. My short response to this is that it is not WHAT you say but HOW you say it. My old boss used to tell me that I could deliver the worst of news but that no one would be offended because of the way I smiled and delivered the news softly and sometimes with humour.

Perhaps a little tact in delivering his message would have saved Perry a lot of time with this, but on the other hand, perhaps the publicity is good. Look at what it has caused me to do – post it here!! (Man that Perry is clever – I love him!)

Here is the post to his blog where the letter/response can be read.


PS I am not affiliated with Perry. I am just a fan.

Communication Workshop NOV 22 for Immigrants

BRASI Presents:

BrasiMPACT: Communication Skills Refinement; Impact & Influence
Focusing on quickly building interpersonal communication skills and public speaking improvement, with a segment on accent reduction. Geared towards professional immigrants who need to deal with clients, suppliers, managers etc. Ric Phillips, Communication Coach, will provide the small-group training.

Saturday, November 22 2008 9am-3pm
North York Memorial Hall (Gold Room B)
5110 Yonge Street
Concourse Level
Toronto, ON M2N 5V7

Contact Aftab Khan
info @

Register NOW for only $185.00!!! No time to wait!

The Complexity and Power of Words

The interesting thing about words is that they have different meanings to different people, even when using the same language, due to the way we process, filter and finally understand information. What does a word mean to you? Does it mean the exact same thing to every member of your family, community, country or language group? You see, words have two meanings; denotation and connotation. Denotation is the literal meaning or dictionary meaning of a word. Connotation is the emotional impact a word may have on you. We will talk about denotation first.

If a person does not know what a word means, they can ask a trusted source or simply look it up online or in a resource book, like a standard dictionary. It is very difficult to argue against the denotation of a word, as the meaning is supposed to be standard. Having said that, we must be aware of cultural differences and idiomatic use of words, depending on the region where the word is used. In other words, Spanish is different in the many Spanish-speaking countries, just as English is different in the English-speaking countries, and so goes the rule for many other languages as well. Denotation just got more complicated! Have no fear, because a good dictionary will indicate the many uses of a single word, and often tell you if it is a regional expression or interpretation. For example, the word ‘lift’ in British English is used as a noun where North Americans would say ‘elevator’, but at the same time, both British and North American English speakers use the verb form of the word lift in the same way: to raise up something, perhaps carry. As most of you know, there are many differences between British and N. American English, and it can be fun and practical to learn them.

Now that we have sorted out denotation, let’s talk about connotation. As stated previously, this is the emotional impact a word has on you. It can be positive, negative or neutral. Here is an example: In British English the word ‘scheme’ is typically neutral, and is used like we North Americans use the word ‘plan’. For example, B.A.’s “Frequent Flights Scheme”. But in North American English, the word ‘scheme’ typically has a negative connotation to it, and is often used to talk about evil plans of villains or the ideas of a bank robber or other criminal, etc. That is why we would use a different phrase, like “Air Miles Reward Plan” instead.

Finally, the connotation of a word can be very personal, not just cultural. For example, in my mind, the word ‘puppy’ is positive, the word ‘death’ is negative and the word ‘pen’ is neutral. Those emotional feelings are based on my childhood, my culture, my language, my life experience up to this point, and other parts of knowledge I may have about those words. However, another person may feel that ‘puppy’ is a negative word, if they feel puppies are dirty, destructive and always biting people, or simply neutral if they do not care for dogs or pets in general. A person may feel that ‘death’ is a positive word if they are ready to die and are looking forward to the afterlife. Another person may feel neutral about the word death, as it is just part of the life cycle. And finally, the word pen which is neutral to me could be positively charged to someone who loves writing poetry or an author who earns money by writing, or it could be negatively charged by someone who was once stabbed with a pen! (Truly mightier than the sword!)  🙂

Words are complex and powerful, and carry different meanings and feelings to different people. Choose your words carefully.

Foreign Accent Syndrome?


I saw this news clip today online, and was so amazed by it, I thought I would pass it on to you. It’s about people who suffer some sort of brain trauma, and when they recover, they speak in a new voice – usually with what seems to be a recognizable regional accent like say British, French or Spanish. Some people think they are faking it, but that is a lot of acting for many years. Watch the video or do your own research if you like – you be the judge. Interesting stuff! Here is the video link:

Or you can read a bit more at Wikipedia:

Use ‘Chunking’ to Help Speak Clearer

Hello everyone,

Whether you have a ‘thick’ accent or whether you are speaking to someone who has it, there is something you can do to assist the clarity of the conversation. Break up your sentences into smaller chunks, or phrases. Many people wrongfully assume that when you can speak English fast, it is a sign of fluency. Wrong! It is no good if no one can follow you, or if they think you are mumbling, or are simply too embarrassed to tell you that they didn’t understand you, right?

Chunk your sentence delivery. Obey pauses (i.e. commas and dashes) in the sentence, and when necessary, add a few other pauses. Deliver your speaking like you are delivering a speech, without as much emphasis of course, but with deliberate attention to your speed and volume. Example – instead of this:

“Hey John do ya wanna go outtathe bar tonight an watch the hockey game overa few beers?”

Try this:

“Hey John, do you wanna go out to the bar tonight, and watch the hockey game, over a few beers?”

I think you get the point. I know it is hard for me to explain this over text, but if you try the sentence yourself once fast, then once slow, you should be able to tell the difference. Try to get something ‘in between’!  Think about most great speakers, for example on TED Talks videos, or most politicians or spiritual leaders.  They tend to chunk up their delivery of information, as well as use medium volume, medium speed, and appropriate stress.  Try to emulate the great speakers, even when you are having a relaxed conversation.  Just ‘dial down’ the public speaking voice a bit.  🙂  Once again this advice is especially useful if you are speaking with an accent.  Go try.  🙂

The Confident Leader

Hello my friends,

I am happy to introduce to you Larina Case. Last year I bought her book “The Confident Speaker” and use it’s advice to help my clients improve public speaking and presentations. Today I am participating in a ‘blog tour’ to help spread the word about Larina’s newest book, The Confident Leader. Here is an interview by Larina, which I think you will enjoy and find very relevant to our cause:

1. What if we come across as too confident?

Many people worry about appearing arrogant and would rather appear less confident than over-confident. In reality, it is often a lack of confidence that makes people come across as over-confident.

When we lack confidence, we tend to overcompensate. And it is the overcompensation that makes people look over-confident (or look like they’re trying too hard) and puts others off.

If someone is worried that he will come across as unintelligent, he’ll try to use fancy language, and will look like he thinks he’s so smart. If someone worries that she will come across as boring, she will try to be interesting, and will look like she loves to talk about herself.

There are exceptions. Sometimes people actually are arrogant and have an inflated image of themselves. You would know if this were you because you’d think that you can do no wrong, your opinion of yourself would be higher than others (you’d be shocked by Bs on papers or performance reviews that were not 100% glowing). You’d dominate conversations and not be interested in others’ viewpoints. If this is you, then these things need to change. If this is not you, then you really don’t need to worry.

2. What are 3 simple things we can do to build our confidence?

1. Develop your growth mindset. This is your ability to ask yourself questions like, “What can I learn” from situations regardless of their outcome and NOT to judge yourself from the outcome.
2. Take on strategic challenges. Push yourself about 20% past your comfort zone by seeking out and taking on challenges (not just dealing with them as they arise).
3. Give yourself credit. Reward your efforts (not your results) when you have done something difficult.

3. Can we build confidence from career achievement?

We know from recent research that self-esteem and confidence are some of the most important predictors of career success and income, and that it doesn’t go the other way around—we can’t wait until we have a thriving career and hope that it increases our confidence. Instead, if we develop confidence, we’re more likely to have a thriving career.

Confidence does NOT necessarily come from achievement. It comes from how you interpret your actions. Two people can achieve the same level, and one feels great and proud of her process of getting there, and the other feels that they could have done better or worries if they’ll do as well the next time. (Guess who’s more confident?)

4. How come being effective doesn’t cut it in today’s economy?

As you know, the current economy is a challenging one and it will separate the true leaders from the simply effective people. The cream will rise to the top and they will be the ones who will be most competitive for the best jobs, clients, and other opportunities.

Ironically, in tough times, most people become LESS exceptional. They get scared. They retreat into their comfort zones. They seek security and play it safe. They want to blend in and fly under the radar. They are afraid to accept responsibility for things that don’t go well. They do not step up as leaders.

You must avoid this temptation! These things will keep you in the average zone (or worse) and keep you from being exceptional and presenting your best.

How can we find out more about becoming confident leaders?

My new book The Confident Leader: How the Most Successful People Go from Effective to Exceptional provides a 6-step formula for taking on key challenges, making difficult decisions, and navigating outside your comfort zone. The second half applies the formula to key business areas such as staying focused and motivated, marketing yourself, standing out, and dealing with difficult people. It includes interviews with business leaders such as Seth Godin, Tim Sanders and Joe Vitale. Learn more by checking out her book and it’s reviews.

Thank you!

How to Introduce a Speaker and How to Be Introduced

(Communication Strategies from David Greenberg’s Simply
Speaking, Inc.® ‘Forget Your Title, We’re All in Sales!’®

Topic: How to Introduce a Speaker and How to Be Introduced

The speaker introduction is an often overlooked, but vitally
important part of setting the stage for a successful presentation.
When you accept an invitation to speak it is usually in your best
interest to provide the person introducing you with your own
introduction. I suggest using a double-spaced, large font,
bulleted list of facts you want the introducer. Send your
introduction a few days before the presentation to give your
introducer time to practice. Most introducers will be glad you
volunteered to take care of this important detail.

Think of it as a “sin” to poorly introduce a speaker and use the
“SIN” formula to ensure your introductions are effective:

S = Subject
State the subject or title of the presentation.

I = Importance
State why the subject is important to the audience, and
state why the speaker is important (the speaker’s credentials).

N = Name
State the speaker’s name (spell it phonetically in your notes).

Here’s an example:

“Our next presenter will tell us about an exciting new tool that
can make each of our jobs easier! This afternoon, we will explore
the advantages of replacing our old accounting software system.”

“This presentation will be important to each of you because each
of you uses the accounting system, to either enter data or generate
reports. We know you’ll want to be part of the decision-making

“Our presenter is highly qualified to recommend a new system. He
is a Certified Public Accountant. He has been with our company for
ten years, and has worked with our current accounting system for
five of those years. He knows first-hand how we operate, and he has
spent the last three months reviewing our needs and speaking with
several accounting software manufacturers.”

“Help me welcome Division Manager Stan Czachowski.”
(Spelled phonetically in notes “Cha-how-ski”)

English Idiom Ebook, If You Like

Hello my friends,

Someone emailed me and asked where I got the “Dead Idioms” from (previous post). I sell a downloadable ebook called “Everyday English Idioms”, and that is where they came from.  I would be happy if you wish to purchase this ebook. Click here to see it, preview a few pages, and then order it online instantly if you wish.

There are lots of idioms and expressions available on the internet. Some are free, and some cost money. Find what works for you. I won’t be offended if you don’t buy my ebook. (On the other hand, if you do, I will love you forever!!)

Take care, and if there are any questions or comments, or if you want me to address a certain ESL issue, please leave a comment here or email me directly through my website.

Thank you.

12 Solutions for Being a Better Leader

Hello all,

I am participating in a “Blog Tour” and have the privilege to introduce this article by Mark Tewart. Enjoy – be a better leader!

12 Solutions for Being a Better Leader
By Mark Tewart

1. Manage things and lead people.
Processes should be defined and managed daily. People should be led by example daily. Management by strict control inhibits star performers and eliminates creativity of intelligent people. Feelings of manipulation are caused by strict control. Control, manipulation, and disrespect keep many dealerships from moving to another level of performance.

2. Speed of the boss = speed of the team.
If the boss has a sense of urgency, the team will, too. The leader sets the tone. Great leaders create an attitude and atmosphere of winning. The leader sets the stage for the proper belief systems necessary to succeed.

3. Coach people more than you manage deals.
If you spend your time coaching people through training, one-on-ones and positive feedback, your people will become less addicted to you. Spend 80% of your day with your team and your customers. The rest can wait.

4. Create a Stop Doing List.
To find out what to do, you must also define what not to do. What are you doing everyday that you should either, stop doing, delegate, or do less of, or at a different time?

5. Practice the 4 D’s of action management.
Dump it, Defer it, Delegate it, or Do it. With proper action management, you will spend less time in crisis and emergency mode.

6. Recruiting is an ongoing process.
Determine an ongoing action plan for recruiting. What channels will you use to recruit and how much time each week to do it. What automated systems can you set up through web sites, job boards, college placement centers, military posts, etc. can you set up to increase potential candidates? Don’t wait until you need people to dig through the drawer to find the help wanted ad that everyone else uses.

7. Set clear expectations.
People need and desire clear expectations of their job functions, behavior, and performance. The days of hiring people and showing them the inventory, their desk, and telling them to get busy are over. For a greater chance of success, people cannot succeed without written and communicated expectations.

8. People don’t change that much, so stop trying.
Do not try to put in what God left out. When a person has reached adulthood, they primarily tend to repeat the patterns either they have created or that are based upon their nature. Grow a person’s strengths, and stop trying to fix their weaknesses.

9. Educate and motivate daily.
Good people want continuing education. Educate and motivate every day. Educating daily creates results; periodical training never does. If you have people rejecting education, then you must reject them. Would a great coach allow certain players to not practice because they didn’t want to?

10. Listen, listen, listen.
Nothing inspires people more than when they feel a manager will actually listen. People need to be respected and heard. A manager’s best customers are the people they coach.

11. Get out from behind the desk.
Lead the team. People want to know that their leader is one of them. Desks can become huge barriers to communicating.

12. Don’t forget emotions.
Behind all goals, dreams, achievements, and failures are emotions. Learn to tap into each team member’s pleasure and pain motivators to better guide them. Coach each team member with this in mind – thoughts become words, words become actions, actions create habits, habits create results, and they are all seeking emotions.

Great leadership is essential in creating great teams. Expect more of yourself and your team will follow. The leader is the final reason for success or failure.

Mark Tewart’s websites include:, and

To read the first chapter of How to be a Sales Superstar and to receive several FREE bonuses from Mark Tewart, visit

Full tour details are posted at