Monthly Archives: April 2013

Airline Security Spoof – But How Much of it is True?

This is a funny video spoofing U.S. airline security personnel and the hoops passengers (i.e. customers) need to go through to board an airplane these days.  Even though it seems an exaggeration to me, I wonder if people out there have encountered something similar?  Feel free to leave a comment if you have!  Enjoy!

7 Secrets to Confidence

Are there some hidden secrets to confidence that only the confident, charismatic leaders know and refuse to share with the rest of us?  I doubt it.  If you study the world of confidence, as I do, then I believe you will arrive at similar conclusions as I note below.  Here are a few not-well-kept ‘secrets’ about developing and displaying confidence.  I have chosen to start with these random 7 secrets:

1 – Be calm.  If you want people to listen to you, and follow you, you must show them the way to calmness and security by leading the way yourself.  A confident person has no need to yell, order and argue to convince folks.

2 – Be direct.  Say what you got to say.  Don’t beat around the bush.  You can still say it calmly, and even with friendliness in your voice.  Just make sure there is no confusion.  Be short, sweet and clear.

3 – Have loads of eye contact.  Look them in the eye when you are actively listening to them.  Show respect to gain respect.  Also look them in the eye when attempting to convince them of your opinion or your judgement.  Looking away is not a good way to instill trust. Make a connection by making eye contact – a lot.  Experts say between 70 – 90% in North America.

4 – Your body language should be open and friendly, yet also solid.  We do not want to display threatening, closed or unsure gestures.  We want our body language to be open and engaging so we make sure we have no arms, legs, ankles crossed.  We use gentle but controlled flowing hands, emanating from the ‘truth plane’  – our gut.  We gain a solid vibe by using symmetrical gestures, and having balance in our stance or seated position.  We do not lean awkwardly to one side.  We plant or root our feet to the floor.  A solid base is very important.  Think of yourself like a palm tree – the base is solid but the top flows with the wind and is flexible, so it does not break in a storm.  Be like the palm tree.

5 – Speak with a medium volume voice.  Medium is the rule.  Use medium volume, medium speed, and walk at a medium speed as well.  Match your voice to your pace if walking and talking. Speaking too slowly makes you sound unsure and even boring.  Speaking too fast makes you sound like you are rushing and are not careful or thoughtful.

6 – Be assertive, not aggressive.  Protect yourself and your loved ones, or your team at work.  Stand up for your rights and theirs, but do it in a way that does not undermine your own credibility.  Being assertive means protecting yourself and self-interests.  Being aggressive means bullying to get what you want, regardless of whose best interests it serves.  An aggressive person is always trying to change your mind or force you to do something.  An assertive person is protective and persuasive, yet does not try to force you to agree or change your mind in one sitting. The agendas are different.  The focus of aggressiveness is on the other person, the ‘opponent.’  The focus of assertiveness in on yourself, and your circle.

7 – Trust yourself.  Confidence starts with self-trust.  You must trust your decisions, and your motives behind your actions.  Competence builds confidence, so the more you try, the more you learn, and we all learn mostly through trial and error.  Nothing ventured nothing gained.  Make a decision and go forward.  If you need to revisit it or re-evaluate it later (perhaps based on new data) that’s fine.  A confident person is not blind in their decision-making.  They make the best decision they can, at the time.  They are open-minded enough to consider changes, and if necessary, change course and even apologize.  There is no shame in being wrong.  We all learn from our mistakes.  Part of trusting yourself is also forgiving yourself for being human, and occasionally making mistakes!  🙂

There are more elements to being confident, but for today, these ‘7 secrets’ should get your started in your assessment of yourself and of those around you in leadership positions.

Shame, Shameless and Shameful

Let’s look at the root word ‘shame’ and explore its common uses.
Shame = sad feeling, guilt, or embarrassment.
I’m ashamed (of you/us/myself) = I’m embarrassed and perhaps dishonored.
“I’m ashamed to admit that it was me who stole the winning lotto ticket from you.”
Shame on you!  = Scolding another person for a shameful act.  The meaning is you should feel shame and embarrassment/regret for whatever you just did.
“I see that you have been gambling away all our money again!  Shame on you!”
Shameless = no shame when they should have/feel some.  Opposite of shameful.
“The criminal smiled shamelessly in court as the victims read their impact statements.”
It’s (such) a shame= It’s too bad, it’s a pity.  Not necessarily meant to embarrass anyone; can be used just to politely express disappointment. 
“It’s a shame you can’t stay longer and watch the UFC fights tonight with us.  We’ll miss you.”
“It’s a shame you’re not legal drinking age yet, but next year we can party together!”
“It’s a real shame that you feel you are entitled to better service than us.”  (Meant to embarrass or shame someone).
It’s so shame = This phrase is grammatically incorrect!  Do not use it.

Try them out!

The Body Language of a Warrior

The Body Language of a Warrior

MusashiI’m currently re-reading an old book I have, called The Martial Artist’s Book of Five Rings: The Definitive Interpretation of Miyamoto Musashi’s Classic Book of Strategy, by Stephen F. Kaufman. This was prompted by my recent viewing of The Samurai Trilogy, the 3 movies created a long time ago to tell the life story of Musashi (1584-1645), who was a real samurai or ronin in the olden days of Japan, and wrote his Book of Five Rings to express his feelings, attitudes and strategies of dueling and of being a warrior.
I came across an excerpt that deals with the body language of a warrior, and I thought to myself: “Wow –this is very specific information on how to set yourself up correctly before a duel!” and as I re-read it, it occurred to me that as a coach, I give very specific instructions on body language, stance, breathing etc. when I am helping clients give a better presentation, or make a winning first impression, for example.  The devil is in the details, perhaps, and so the details must be perfected.

Please enjoy this ‘clip’, and then ask yourself if you were going into a big meeting, interview, giving a talk or PowerPoint, what would your body language convey?  Do you think about it beforehand or just ‘go with the flow?’  I think you know that my advice would be to actually ‘plan’ your vibe that you are sending, just like Musashi did, many years ago.  Here it is, found on page 27:

“I always stress form and balance.  If you are lax in your stances and positioning, then you will be unable to perform your technique effectively.  Focus your concentration on only one thing – making the “hit.”  Narrow your eyes slightly and ever so subtly flare your nostrils.  Always fight with your spine erect and unbent.  Keep your shoulders relaxed and lowered.  Tighten your abdominal muscles and root yourself into the ground.  Make yourself bigger in your mind than you are as a manner of intimidating the enemy.  Slowly work your way toward the enemy until you are ready to strike.  Then do so with utmost conviction, quickness, and power.  Keep your weapons ready at all times.  You should practice the proper stances and movements prior to using any fighting technique and in this manner establish your own sense of being through your particular art.  How often have you witnessed so-called experts with no form or balance?”

TTC Gets an A for Effort on ‘Personal Car’ April 1st Video

Many companies and celebrities had fun with this year’s April Fool’s Day, including the TTC – Toronto Transit Commission.  I watched the above video, knowing it was a gag, and felt smug knowing I don’t break any social rules while in transit.  I see plenty of people who do.  I hate their actions.  I don’t hate them as a person, but I hate what they seemingly represent – a nameless member of a crowd who can do anything they want to and they know no one will call them on it – at least in Toronto (because ‘everyone is weird here anyway’, right?)

I give the TTC an A for effort with this video, but a B at best for performance.  No worries – it wasn’t supposed to be an expensive training video – just a gag with a point.  And I love their point.

We as riders love to complain about the TTC staff (drivers and operators) and sometimes they deserve it, but I love the fact that this video illustrates the more pervasive issue on the transit, and that is customer behaviour.   I almost wish (almost…) that TTC employed ‘social police’ that would come around the trains and give out warnings and tickets for fines to the people who listen loudly to their music on their phones (with no head phones), who put their bags all over the floor or in the seat next to them, who stand broadly in front of the doors that people need to exit and board from, who pig out loudly and messily, and those that have inappropriate loud conversations with friends in person or over the phone.  I’ve heard hard-core cursing, racism, sexism and general craziness during my rides over the years!  I’ve seen a dude roll a joint in a busy car at rush hour without a care in the world.  I’ve seen scam artists try to persuade others to give them money.

I’ve also seen kindness, tolerance, patience and happiness, and that is what I mostly see every day.

I am glad to know that I am one of the many positive contributors to a better way on the TTC.  I hope this video helps to create more.  Good job TTC!