Category Archives: Articles and Interviews

How to write a book in under one minute

I was having an inspiring lunch with 2 wonderful people at a Turkish restaurant here in Berlin today and we were discussing projects.  And they mentioned a book that they are working on.

I suggested that there was a short way to write a book and they were intrigued. So they recorded me.

To be clear…. the recording is under one minute, not the book writing! (there is some background noise, but it’s very audible, and who cares? It’s under a minute.)

And these tips may help you start and finish other projects!

ps. Please post your comments below! How could you use these tips in your projects?

Oprah Winfrey’s Speech Analysis

Oprah Winfrey’s riveting speech at the Golden Globe Awards in January 2018 has been analysed by my colleague from the National Speakers Association in the US, Sam Horn. Sam is one of the most creative people I know, author of Tongue Fu and many other works. (See her bio below)

With Sam’s permission, here is her analysis, including links to the speech:

Was the acceptance speech Oprah Winfrey gave at the Golden Globes the BEST 9 minute speech … ever?

Here are my thoughts on why her talk was so masterful and meaningful. I’d love to hear what you think.

1. She showed up to serve. She was there to inspire, not to impress. This was about creating a rising tide raising all involved, not about self-aggrandizement.

2. She spoke naturally and without notes. Oprah invested the effort to memorize her talk so she could connect with her audience and speak from the heart instead of being “in her head” reading a transcript (verbatim) from a teleprompter. This freed her up to be “in the moment” and “in flow” so she could fully focus on giving the speech of a lifetime, the speech she was born to give.

3. Her content was superbly crafted and condensed. I can only imagine the weeks of preparation that went into distilling this message into an “every word matters” momentum that swept us up in its elegance and eloquence. Imagine all the things she wanted to say yet disciplined herselt to edit out.

4. There was no embellishing, no grand-standing. No try-too-hard language that rang false or self-conscious mannerisms that detracted from the message.

5. It had a reveal. Original talks delight us because they introduce something new and meaningful we weren’t aware of before. When Oprah revealed that the investigator assigned to Recy Taylor’s case was none other than … (wait for it) … Rosa Parks, there was an audible “I didn’t know that” gasp from the audience.

6. She started with WHERE. Oprah’s first words were, “In 1964, I was a little girl sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother’s house in Milwaukee watching Anne Bancroft present the Oscar for best actor at the 36th Academy Awards. She opened the envelope and said five words that literally made history: ‘The winner is Sidney Poitier.’ Up to the stage came the most elegant man I ever remembered. His tie was white, his skin was black—and he was being celebrated. I’d never seen a black man being celebrated like that. I tried many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl watching from the cheap seats as my mom came through the door bone tired from cleaning other people’s houses. But … ”

By putting us in the scene of WHERE she was and what it was like watching a black man receive an award, we understood the significance of her (the first black woman) receiving this award. It fleshed out what an incredible full circle Hero Journey story this is. She put us THERE by jumping right into her WHERE.

7. The truth is in the details. Oprah’s specificity of visual details not only helped us see what she was saying, it caused us to conclude she was telling the truth. We don’t believe vague stories. We wonder if the speaker is making them up, and if the speaker is making this up, what else are they making up?

Mark Twain talked about the importance of carefully chosen words: the difference between lightning and lightning bug. She didn’t just watch Sidney Poitier receive his award, she was sitting on the linoleum floor while she did. That one word linoleum made this story real and relatable and viscerally engaged us because we were picturing the linoleum floor of our childhood.

8. She linked historical and current events. She referenced the true story of Recy Taylor to show that brutality has been happening for decades, and then segued into what’s happening now with Recy serving as a metaphor for all people (past and present) who have suffered abuse and have not been heard, seen, recognized or respected.

9. She didn’t call people OUT, she called them UP. Instead of throwing people under the bus and making this about race or gender, (which would only have created further polarizing divisiveness), Oprah’s goal was to bring people together and galvanize us to move forward in cooperation, not conflict.

10. It featured repeatable, retweetable sound-bites and memorable memes that will take her talk viral. Her enduring one-liners “What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.” “Their time is up. Their time is up.” “A new day is on the horizon.” ensure that her message will be shared on social media platforms which means it will reach even more people globally and will remain top-of-mind for a long time. And isn’t that what we want?

11. It was inclusive. She spoke of “phenomenal men who choose to listen” so this was not male-bashing. She expanded the scope of her intended audience by naming diverse industries which increased relevance and the likelihood that people from all walks of life would feel she was talking to them.

She said, “It’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics, or workplace. So I want to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They’re the women whose names we’ll never know. They are domestic workers and farm workers.They are working in factories, in restaurants, in academia, engineering, medicine, and science. They’re part of the world of tech and politics and business. They’re our athletes in the Olympics and our soldiers in the military.”

12. She created an emotional crescendo. Just as a symphony increases intensity to lead to a dramatic finale, Oprah ramped up her energy and vocal volume towards the end. Yet it didn’t feel artificial, it felt authentic. Whatever we want our audience to feel, we’ve got to feel first. If we want people to care passionately and feel empowered, we’ve got to model that by speaking with passion and power. We must launch the emotional bandwagon we want people to jump on in the final minute of our talk.

13. It ended on a note of hope.

She closed with, “I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights. So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘Me too’ again.”

The best talks have book-ends, call-backs and continuity. They repeat and refer back to what was said in the beginning to create a satisfying full-circle experience. Oprah used the words she wanted us to remember and act on in her send-off. She wanted us to believe it’s possible to feel hope when dealing with ugliness, to see a new day in the midst of darkness. So, instead of being subtle about that, she used and imprinted the exact “rally cry” words she wants us to carry forward.

In doing all the above, she delivered what I believe will become this century’s version of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech

What were your take-aways from Oprah’s speech? How did it impact you – as a person – as a leader – as a speaker?

My take-away is that EVERY speaking opportunity matters. There’s no such thing as a throw-away talk. If we’re receiving an award, participating on a panel, presenting a keynote or giving a report at a staff, board or annual meeting; we have a responsibility to honor the occasion and say something that matters.

We CAN make an enduring difference (even in a few minutes) if we invest the time and effort to craft a meaningful message – and if we put our mind to it.

The @YouTube clip of Oprah’s speech is at this link –

About Sam Horn

Sam Horn, CEO of Intrigue Agency, helps people create quality books, businesses, presentation that add value for all involved. Her books – POP!, Tongue Fu! and Got Your Attention – have been featured in New York Times, Forbes, Fast Company and presented to Boeing, Capital One, Intel, Cisco and National Geographic. For more articles and to watch her TEDx talk – visit

Thanks so much Sam!

Please add your comments below.


Top Ten Tips for Improving Your Relationships in 2018

I spent the holidays with my family and therefore had the opportunity once again, to think about relationships and how I contribute to what happens, what goes right and what slips off the rails.
As I began to think about 2018, I have asked myself: “How could I be a better person this year?”

And this list is just what I need!
Thanks to Stephanie Staples, David Gouthro, my brothers, children, and grand-children for your inspiration!

Please take a look and write a comment about what you think and what’s on your list.

  1. Look at beautiful nature around you, and notice how it makes you feel. Research shows this will lower your stress level and make you feel good. And when you feel good, you make your relationships better.
  1. Imagine how you want your key relationships to improve this year. See an image in your mind’s eye of being with each person you care about, listening to each other, being open to each other, laughing and sharing fun activities together. Find examples in the past of when you already were just like you want to be now with them.
  1. Create an anchor (association) for each key relationship, when you see how you want to be with them in your mind’s eye (from 9. above), to recall this image and the feeling it gives you. You can sigh in a wistful way, touch a finger, smile, and feel the smile on your face, or just picture the person and you.
  1. Think about who you need to forgive, and forgive them fully for whatever happened. A new year is a great time to start with a clean slate, and a re-opened heart.
  1. Think about to whom you need to ask for forgiveness; apologize, ask forgiveness, and make amends. There are probably some people, with whom you have been inpatient, dismissive, irritable, cranky, unfair, angry etc. Start with a clean slate by reconnecting, taking responsibility, apologizing and do something meaningful to them to make amends.
  1. Tell and show your favourite people why you appreciate them. Make it short and sweet and true (of course.) Why are you grateful that they are in your life?
  1. Tell and show someone who needs a boost what you respect, appreciate, and love about them. Your words can make a huge difference.
  1. When someone annoys you, breathe deeply, touch your anchor and remember what you appreciate about them. It makes it easier to listen and find out what is happening for them.
  1. If someone is aggressive with you, breathe deeply, touch your anchor, looked concerned and say tell me more! Be in a curious state and seek to understand their point of view. When you delay reacting, and go for understanding their point of view, you are more likely to get their point, even if you don’t share it!
  1. Speak your truth, be kind and helpful. The people you care about will eventually thank you for your candour!

1.a Open your heart and be full with inner strength. Relationships aren’t as difficult as they seem and they are so much more rewarding that we ever thought.

I was a special “secret guest”.

The last time I did that was when I was born. No one knew my Mum was going to have twins until I showed up!

Shockers, eh?

Ingrid Huttary, a German NLP trainer, invited me to participate in an Online German-language NLP Congress. She asked if I could do it in German, and I’m reminded, of course, of my favourite dialogue from The Matrix:

“Can you fly this thing?”
“Not yet.”

“Noch nicht!”
That was my answer. So she graciously interviewed me in English and went to the trouble to add subtitles in German.

The interview is about the latest developments and applications with LAB Profile(r) and my upcoming new online programs.

And you can see the interview and if your German is better than mine, you can also get free access to the video interview with top German NLP trainers.

The interview is available free from this Sunday at 6pm Central European time until Monday 6pm CET. (12 noon Eastern time Sunday to 12 noon Eastern time Monday, 3am Monday Sydney time to 3am Tuesday Sydney time)

Get access to the inappropriate snippets below and register for the free full interview:



I’m wondering why Ingrid chose the snippets of the interview that she did. Or maybe I’m just getting weirder!



How to have a dynamic opening to your presentation

You compete for your audience’s attention. Every 5 to 15 seconds, they decide
if you are more interesting or if what’s happening on their phone or computer is more attractive.
Don’t lose the battle! Here’s how to have a dynamic opening to your presentation.

What do you think? How do you open your presentations to get and keep your audience’s attention?

The Language of the First Debate

What is really behind the candidates’ statements in the first US Presidential debate of 2016? While analyses have been made about who won, who fell into the other’s trap etc., I was curious clinton-trump-1st-debateabout who was using which Motivation Triggers™ and how effective they were. Were they able to use words that change minds, and if so who’s?

Motivation Triggers™ describe what motivates people, how they think, how they make decisions and how they act. They show up, hidden inside the words people use, and in their behaviour.

Here are the Motivation Triggers™ that our patented software, Libretta®, scientifically measures:

Toward Motivation Trigger™

People who have a Toward Motivation Trigger™ need a goal to be motivated. They want to achieve something and focus on where they are heading.

Away From Motivation Trigger™

When people have an Away From Motivation Trigger™, they easily notice what is wrong or should be prevented and avoided. They are motivated to get away from the things that bother them.

Internal Motivation Trigger™

People who have an Internal Motivation Trigger™ decide for themselves, based on what is important to them. They tend to reject ideas when told what to do.

External Motivation Trigger™

People who have an External Motivation Trigger™ are motivated when they are appreciated, recognized and get feedback. When making decisions they are influenced by outside people or information.

Options Motivation Trigger™

People who have an Options Motivation Trigger™ love having lots of choices and alternatives. They start things and often then start another something else, instead of completing the first activity.

Procedures Motivation Trigger™

People who have a Procedures Motivation Trigger™ prefer to follow a step by step process and often believe there is a “right” way to do things. Without a procedure they may get stuck. When they start something, they are driven to finish it.

Using the transcript from the first presidential debate in 2016 I ran each candidate’s statements, topic by topic through the Libretta® analysis.

Donald Trump used mainly Away From language when he spoke about the following topics:
the economy, trade deals, government regulations and cutting taxes. He recognizes what the issues are without focusing on solutions or goals to be met.

When talking about jobs he uses Toward language mentioning that he wants to “create tremendous jobs”, but this is a relatively rare use of Toward language compared to the number of times he used Away From and Internal language.

This indicates that he is much more concerned with problems, things he does not like and the strategies that he does not approve of. The language he uses resonates with people who are angry and upset about unemployment, and economic disparity. They respond well to someone who matches their level of anger and frustration, which Donald Trump clearly does.

Hillary Clinton, in her opening statement used more Toward and Internal language, talking about what she wanted to achieve and the goals she thought were important.

When criticizing Donald Trump, she used Away From and internal language fairly consistently and, particularly when she attacked his attitudes actions and behaviors. Her main Motivation Trigger™ was Internal – speaking from her point of view about what she thought was important for the country, but not in problem terms (Away From) nor about moving toward goals (Toward).

She finished the evening with Toward and Internal language in her closing statement, again speaking to what would be important for her to achieve during her presidency.

When Hillary Clinton used Away From language it was mostly directed at Donald Trump, and only rarely directed at issues that need to be solved. For her to attract people who respond well to Away From language, she would need to express more of the outrage at the issues that are faced by Americans who have not yet decided to vote for her and talk about how people are suffering.

This is the strategy that Barack Obama used in his “yes we can” speech. With the exception of that tagline the vast majority of his speech was identified to be in away from language.

To attract some of the Donald Trump supporters or the undecided voters, Ms. Clinton might consider switching the direction of her language (she can still say the same messages) from Toward to Away From for these particular audiences. Being selective about the language patterns per audience what would help her attract some of those undecided and some of the weaker Donald Trump supporters.

Let’s see what happens!
Please let me know what you think.
For more information on my Libretta® software: go to




Ways to use NLP and the LAB Profile® to get results

I just came across an interview I did with Dianne Lowther, an excellent UK-based
NLP and business trainer, and a friend.

I re-listened to it and realized that we were talking about very practical ways to use NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming) and the LAB Profile® to:

– create a depth of rapport and credibility with anyone
– help your coaching clients’ solve their issues without having to argue with them
– what you have to do to actually apply it
– how to increase response rates for marketing and sales
– how to get agreements sooner in negotiating and bargaining,
– how to influence people through others, when you can’t talk directly to the decision-makers,
and much more.

Have a listen yourself and see what you think!
I hope you get lots of great ideas from this!

If you open this recording on your smartphone, you can listen to it in your car, walking, running, on the train, or anywhere!

Hint Alert: There are lots of ideas in this recording. Remember the key to applying good ideas is identifying step-by-step how to use an idea. First identify your outcome, then the steps to get there. And commit to following your plan! (Is that the hardest part? lol)

ps. If you want to know more about how you can get more business, better results in coaching, solving clients’ communication problems, etc.,
check out my LAB Profile® Consultant/Trainer Program
August 1 to 12, 2016, Paris, France

Have you responded to the GREAT CUSTOMER ATTITUDE SHIFT?

Have you responded to the GREAT CUSTOMER ATTITUDE SHIFT?

As you have probably already noticed, customers have become very difficult to deal with. They now demand products and services of perfect quality, are unwilling to put up with complicated purchasing processes, and want anything that doesn’t work to be fixed immediately at no cost to them. They are quick to jump on any mistakes, will give customer service staff a hard time and will even play one supplier off another to get the best deal. And they want more for less.

Think about your own attitude when you are the customer. How do you feel when you don’t get the quality or timeliness you need? How do you react when one of your suppliers wastes your time when you return shoddy merchandise?

The great customer attitude shift has happened! Customers have become highly Internal to their suppliers. While your company may be spending time and money developing the best products and services for your clients, this may no longer be enough. You will also have to adapt your language and processes to meet the needs of people who take everything you say only as information for them to consider. Notice the skepticism with which clients scoff at your claims to be the best. “Prove it “, they insist, (to their satisfaction).

To sell and provide customer service to people who have an Internal pattern, you need to give them information and let them decide. For all the information you need to decide, call us . Or, I would like you to try it out and tell me what you think. The only way to know if this is the one for you, is to test it out for yourself. That is why car dealerships insist on getting the prospective buyer behind the wheel.

What can your company do about all those tough customers?

There are several solutions! Teach your sales and customer service reps to understand the triggers that motivate your customers and use the right Influencing Language for maximum impact. Do your customers demand an immediate solution to their problems? Use moving Away From language so they don’t get annoyed while you fix their problem. Are your customers asking for straight-forward processes to get what they need? Show them the right procedure and speak in Procedures language.

Success Strategies can conduct the market research you need to diagnose what your customers are really asking for, help you design your marketing materials, and train your staff on how to guarantee continued happy customers. We can show you how to set up systems to ensure you get the input you need from customers and end users; so that you will have an on-going means to adapt to their changing needs.

See other thought-provoking articles by Shelle »

Have you seen Shelle’s CD’s and downloads on influencing and persuasion?

If you have any questions please contact us at [email protected]

Freaked Out or Cool as a Cucumber:

Freaked Out or Cool as a Cucumber:

What is your stress response?

The pressure cooker is on! Longer hours, less patience, more demanding work situations than ever before. How do you respond to the pressures, at work or elsewhere, which are typical for the context you are in? This is not about major life dramas. Almost everyone would have an emotional response to major life dramas. People respond to these “normal” pressures in one of the following three ways.


People with a Feelings pattern have emotional responses to the normal levels of stress at work. They go into their emotions and stay there. High stress jobs may cause them to have stress-related illnesses in the long term. To many other people, they seem to over react to situations or be hyper-sensitive. They are well suited for artistic or creative work where emotion provides the juice. As salespeople, they find it difficult to handle rejection and may not, as a result, prospect as often as they should.


People with a Choice pattern first have an emotional response to the normal stresses at work and then either return to an unemotional state or not as they desire, in a given situation. They can empathize with others or choose not to. They tend to perform well as people managers.


Those with a Thinking pattern do not have emotional responses to normal stressful situations. They have trouble empathizing with others as they themselves do not go into emotional states. They will not panic in most emergencies, but keep a cool head. They are reliable performers in high stress jobs.

Managing Stress and People

Most of the population at work has the Choice pattern (70%). This means, that when faced with a difficult or troublesome situation, they will first have an emotional response. As a manager, you can assist by helping the person disassociate themselves from their feelings, if appropriate, by having them change perspectives. There are a couple of ways to do this. You can distort time by asking them: “Can you imagine what we’ll think about this situation 2 years from now?” You can have them see it from someone else’s shoes: “How do think our customers will perceive this?” Or you can have them view the whole thing from the outside: “If you were a fly on the wall when this happened what would you notice?”

For Feeling people you will probably have to hone up on your conflict resolution and mediation skills. Give them tasks that they can get passionate about and watch for signs of distress and overload of tension. Remember that these people may over-react to situations, and helping them to dissociate, as mentioned above for the Choice employees, may help in some situations. For highly intense reactions, create rapport by also raising your tone while saying something positive or surprising. “I’m so upset about you being upset, that I am ready to tear my hair out!” Saying something like that will get the person’s attention so that you can then channel their energy on a more

Productive path

Thinking people are highly appreciated where there is need for someone with a cool head. These people spend much time already disassociated from their feelings and can be called in when a rational approach is needed. Do not expect them, however to create rapport with others who are in an emotional state, because they will have no sympathy. Thinking people can, however, take the heat and will be able to stay in the kitchen!

What is your pattern?

Click here to see other thought-provoking articles by Shelle

Have you seen Shelle’s CD’s and downloads on influencing and persuasion?

If you have any questions please contact us at [email protected]

Is your Workforce Proactive or Reactive?

Is your Workforce Proactive or Reactive?


Proactive people initiate. They tend to act with little or no consideration; to jump into situations without thinking or analyzing. They may upset some people because they can bulldoze ahead with what they want to do. They are good at going out and getting the job done. They do not wait for others to initiate.


Reactive people wait for others to initiate or until the situation is right before they act. They may consider and analyze without acting. They want to fully understand and assess the situation before they will act. They believe in chance and luck. They will spend a lot of time waiting. Some people may get upset with them because they do not get started. They will wait for others to initiate and then respond. In the extreme, they operate with extra caution and study situations endlessly. They make good analysts.


Proactive people are suitable for those positions which require taking the initiative, going out and getting it done. They would work well in outside sales, in independent businesses or the kind of work where having chutzpah is an asset. If you are advertising for a highly Proactive person, ask the applicants to phone instead of sending in a résumé. (Reactive people will not phone.)

People who have a Reactive pattern in the work Context are well-suited to jobs that allow them to respond to requests. Representatives on customer service desks tend to be more Reactive. Many research and analytical jobs need someone who can spend a lot of time analyzing data.

Most people and most positions require a mixture of the two patterns. When hiring, you will need to examine what proportion of the work to be done consists of Reactive or Proactive activities to determine the kind of balance you need. It is appropriate to profile the others on the team to make sure you have an good balance.

There are some key questions to ask yourself regarding this category when profiling a position. To what degree will this person need to take the initiative? How much of the job consists of responding, analyzing or is dependent on the actions others? You might want to estimate the percentage of overall time in Proactive or Reactive activities.

Golden Handshakes

During the early to mid 1990’s, large corporations and subsequently governments decided they needed to shed large numbers of workers. In order to accomplish these large-scale layoffs, many organizations used the Golden Handshake approach, offering an attractive package to those who would take the money and leave.

Can you guess who took the money and jumped ship? Have you noticed that this period also coincided with the largest ever increase in home-based businesses?

Proactive people jump at the Golden Handshake as a chance to go out and set up their own operations. Organizations lost many of their most dynamic people. One friend told me that her boss said: “Oh, but we didn’t want you to leave!” Too late buddy.

My suggestion to organizations is to plan any necessary lay offs by first deciding which roles to keep. (Easier said than done, I know.) The roles will probably call for a mixture of Proactive and Reactive, as well as many of the other patterns described in this book. I then suggest that particular people be offered the buy-out package; those who do not fit the desired profiles. Also, I believe it is important to offer counselling to those who will be leaving, to help them make decisions and set up their next steps.

If you have any questions please contact us at [email protected]