Monthly Archives: August 2011

Jack Layton – A Confident Communicator Gone Too Soon

As we all know by now in Canada and many parts of the world, our fearless leader of the Opposition, Jack Layton, has succumbed to a second battle with cancer. He was only 61.

Jack was a great communicator because he was able to handle himself in difficult discussions (as the 2011 Leadership Debate certainly highlighted) as well as add a soft touch, a human connection to those he spoke with. He could connect with anyone and make them feel important whether it was face-to-face, over the phone or through email. Those close to him commented often on this ability to shift from professional lecturer/debater to small-town folksy chit-chatter. As a matter of fun-fact, before the 2011 election he was voted the guy Canadians would most want to have a beer with, compared to the other 3 federal leaders he was running against, in an online survey. More noteworthy was his ability to be memorable to those he met, for example the security guards at the Ottawa parliament buildings. That was a key concept of effective communication that Jack understood and employed – the ability to be remembered. That is one of the ingredients to having what people call ‘charm’ and ‘charisma’.

Good bye Jack.  You will be missed.

For more information, please visit his page at

Update: Summerhill Spa Responds

UPDATE:  I just got a call from the spa manager’s husband, who wanted to pass on an apology from the spa manager, who is currently out of the country.  They saw the review I made online and wanted to explain that there was a personal problem (I don’t want to go into details) and it accidentally led to the confusion.  They wanted to offer my wife and I a free 90 min massage.  I told the husband that I accepted the apology and we would certainly consider coming back and also amending my online review (He did not ask for this, but I added it.)
Take-home Notes
1 – It is great that they review reviews – every business should
2 – it is great that they apologized, even though we can understand the circumstances were not ‘normal’
3 – Always take care of your returning customers
4 – Give a little now and get more later

I did not write the review to get something for free, and as a matter of fact that is what drives me nuts about this country is that the only way to get listened to it seems is to cry loudly, and then most people expect some free gift for compensation.

At the time of writing this I have not received compensation but I have accepted their apology and therefore will amend my review.

Good recovery Summerhill Spa!  We will see you again!

Keep Your Promise and Call Your Customer Back!

Below is the actual review I have just submitted to, not regarding their service but regarding one of the spas they cater to.  WaySpa encourages customers to write reviews, and I have obliged.  This is the submitted review:

“This is a split review – My wife and I have been to Summerhill Spa a few times before and usually have a pretty good time.  I myself really enjoyed the hot stone massages.  So my birthday was coming up and my wife surprised me with Way Spa gift certs for $100, and suggested I get a hot stone massage with my favourite therapist (Jessica) at Summerhill.  Okay – great idea!

I called the spa around 11 am on the 18th.  Got answering machine.  Left clear, slow, detailed message.  They called back just before 5 pm.  🙁

Person whom I spoke with said I could do hot stone massage with another therapist (not my requested one) on Friday OR they would call me back Fri to book with my favourite therapist for Saturday.  I wanted to have the same good treatment so I decided to have it Sat. with Jessica, my fav.
Guess what?  They never called me back (even up to now as I’m writing this on Sat at noon).

So obviously I’m not going to get a massage there.
WHY?  That’s the question.  They had an easy sale!  They had a returning, satisfied customer (actually 2 of us) who wanted to give them money for a 90 min massage, and we always tip well, and all they had to do was call me back Fri afternoon as promised, or even Sat. morning.  But NO.

Here are some Qs for Summerhill Spa management:
How did that make me feel?
How many other spas are in Toronto that I can choose from?
How do I feel about going back?
Why should I have to feel pressure to call again, when I was promised I would be called to arrange a massage for Saturday?

Yes the massage itself is good and Jessica is excellent, but overall I have been left with a bad taste in my mouth over this lack of customer care and response.  How hard is it to write a note in the system or on paper to remind yourself to “call back the returning customer to arrange his massage”?
That is money they lost, not just today, but for all the other times my wife and I go somewhere else now.
Buyer beware.  As it has been noted before – I expected more from a spa in Yorkville.”

Demographics of Toronto (Wikipedia)

This is some interesting info on the demographics of Toronto.  Not sure if it’s been updated since 2006, but nevertheless – interesting.

The demographics of Toronto make Toronto one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Data released by Statistics Canada as part of the 2006 census indicates that Toronto is more ethnically diverse than Miami, Los Angeles, and New York City. 49.9% of Toronto’s population is foreign-born.[1]

A majority of Torontonians claim their origins from as either in whole or part from England, Scotland and Ireland.

There is a significant population of Afghans, Arabs, Barbadians, Bengalis, Chinese, Colombians, Ecuadorians, Filipinos, French, Germans, Greeks, Grenadians, Guyanese, Hungarians, Indians, Iranians, Italians, Jamaicans, Jews, Koreans, Mexicans, Pakistanis, Poles, Portuguese, Romanians, Russians, Salvadorans, Somalis, Sri Lankans, Tamils, Tibetans, Trinidadians, Ukrainians, Vietnamese, and Vincentians throughout the city.

Neighbourhoods such as Chinatown, Corso Italia, Little India, Greektown, Koreatown, Little Jamaica, Little Portugal and Roncesvalles are examples of these large ethno-cultural populations.[2].

Christianity is the largest faith group in Toronto’s census metropolitan area, with Roman Catholics comprising 33.4% of the population. The Anglican Church and United Church of Canada account for 6.9% each. Other religious groups include Islam (5.5%), Hinduism (4.1%), Judaism (3.5%), Buddhism (2.1%), and Sikhism (1.9%). 16.6% of the population claim they have no religious affiliation.[3]
While English is the predominant language spoken by Torontonians, Statistics Canada reports that other language groups are significant, including Chinese, Portuguese, Tamil, Arabic, Persian, Pashto, Urdu, Spanish, Punjabi, Somali, and Italian. Canada’s other official language, French, is spoken by 1.4% of the population.

For more info please see the original Wikipedia listing here:


Immigrants’ health declines the longer in Canada, especially Chinese: study

TORONTO – The longer immigrants reside in Canada, the greater their risk of developing cardiovascular disease — and that effect is most pronounced among people of Chinese origin, a study suggests.

Doctors have long known that the longer people stay after immigrating to western countries like Canada, the less healthy they become, said principal investigator Maria Chiu, a doctoral fellow at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.

“What we did not know was whether the degree to which this change happened was different for ethnic groups that lived in Canada.”

Using population and health data, Chiu and her co-authors looked at the prevalence of risk factors for heart disease and stroke among immigrants who had lived in Ontario for 15 years or longer, compared to those who had resided in the province for less than 15 years.

They found that longer-term residents exhibited increased risk factors for cardiovascular disease — among them Type 2 diabetes, obesity, smoking and high blood pressure — compared with more recent ethnically matched immigrants.

“And it didn’t matter whether you were white, Chinese, South Asian or black, this trend was seen across all the major ethnic groups living in Canada,” Chiu said Monday. “We also noticed that the degree to which cardiovascular health declined was different across different ethnic groups.”

Canadians of Chinese descent showed the worst decline in heart health over time, she said, followed by whites, blacks and South Asians.

To continue reading this Yahoo! article, please follow this link:

How Do You First Build Confidence So That You Can Speak With It?

I am going to answer that in a second but before we start I just want to give a quick shout-out to the Seneca College Corporate Communications graduating class of 2011, and thank them again for inviting me to be their guest speaker at last night’s ‘Body Talks’ event.  It was an honour to give a talk and demonstrate body language analysis and techniques for them.  We all had a lot of fun!

Okay, back to our main subject – how do you first build confidence so that you can speak with it?  Interesting question.

It is easy for me to tell you that you need to speak, move, act and think with confidence in order to be the confident communicator you want to be.  We can agree that confident people are challenged less, influence others more than often, and build up a network of allies quickly and seemingly effortlessly.  All good.

But one thing that might be missing is the actual transformation; how do we go from shy, unassuming regular person to outstanding, charismatic influential leader?

I’m not going to tell you it’s all in one book, but – I created an ebook that will certainly help.  It’s called “Communicating Confidence Inside & Out – How to Build Confidence, Be Assertive and Succeed!”  It is interactive so it makes you do assessments and quizzes, written and speaking exercises, and a bit of soul-searching as well.

If you follow the instructions of this book and do the homework, you will learn what is holding you back, how to deal with in internally first, and then how to project confidence outwards in your communications.  I guarantee it.

I hope you find the subject of confident communications as interesting and as essential to success as I do, and I look forward to your response.  I wouldn’t put my name on this if I didn’t believe in it.

Have a great day!

Coach Ric
P.S. You can also connect with me here: