Category Archives: how to create credibility

Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Blasey Ford

The Clarence Thomas – Anita Hill affair in 1991 polarized America along male-female lines in the same way that the OJ Simpson trial polarized the nation along the black-white fault line, and the debate still rages over what happened.

And without a fuller understanding of what happened then, the chances of avoiding another smashing of a woman victim of sexual assault are minimal.

Suzette Haden Elgin, a socio-linguist, professor and author of the series: The Gentle art of Verbal Self-Defense postulated a reason Anita Hill was never believed, and Clarence Thomas was found credible by the white male senators. In her 1993 book Genderspeak: Men, women, and the gentle art of verbal self-defense, Haden Elgin identified gender-based “Operating Metaphors”; metaphors by which people run their life.

A person’s Operating Metaphor fills in the blank in the sentence “Life is a ……..” and enables them to have fundamental rules about how to run their life.

Haden Elgin found that many men’s Operating Metaphor is “Life is a team sport,” and that most activities are therefore a game, where the objective is to win, even if you need to bend the rules (i.e. stealing a base in baseball). In a team sport everyone has a role to play and you are expected to play your role.

She found that many women run their lives as if Life is a “Traditional Schoolroom,” where if you do the right things, follow the rules, and work hard you will be promoted (pass exams, go to next grade). Failure is a disgrace. Cheating or being dishonest is shameful.

Haden Elgin’s explanation of the Thomas-Hill debacle is that Thomas played the game very well. He played the race card, the victim card and since he played these roles very well, his role in the game being played out was fully understood by the white male senators holding court. For Anita Hill to have had any credibility with these men, she would have had to look the part and play the role of a victim of sexual harassment. In other words, she needed to look downtrodden, beaten-up, her life in tatters.

But this was not her game. She wasn’t playing a game. She bravely did the right thing and stood up against someone who broke the workplace rules. She forthrightly and assertively made her case, without embellishing or cowering under the barrage of invasive attacks by the Republican senators. She most certainly did not come across as a victim.

So they couldn’t believe her —- she was not in the same story as the decision-makers.

If Dr. Ford is to have a whisper of a chance of being believed, unfortunately she will need to demonstrate to the game-players in their terms that she was indeed a victim of Judge Kavanaugh’s sexual aggression. And this in an era where facts are construed as partisan wrangling – once again the game metaphor at play.

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 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN5HV79_8B8

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 www.SamHorn.com

Thanks so much Sam!

Please add your comments below.

 

4 Anti-dotes to stop you from giving up

As we head into 2018 many people are doing their annual planning, goal-setting activities. (Notice I didn’t say resolutions – be it resolved that….. bleh!)

A lot people I know confess to being way too busy and that shows up by not keeping their own commitments to themselves and to others!


Here are 4 anti-dotes to giving up to help you achieve what is important to you!

  1. Say-Do Principle: If you want to have long term credibility with others, apply the Say-Do Principle.

Only say you will do something if you ARE going to do it, WHEN you said you would. Hold your breath and count to 10 before spouting any ill thought-out sentences that others will take as a commitment on your part.

Make this a rule that you follow. If you have to miss a deadline, communicate a new deadline as soon as possible. This will earn you much respect and trust from everyone you care about.

  1. Detail/Big Picture: One of the most important gifts you can give yourself if you want to be successful, is to identify where to place your attention. Often people get lost in the detail when trying to make a decision and lose sight of the larger stakes.

Recently someone I know was stuck about deciding whether to take a job that would mean a move to a region where she wanted to live, because her husband had not yet found a job in this region.  She was bogged down in the logistical details, forgetting that they had decided as a couple that the big goal was to live in the new region.

When she and her husband zoomed out to the big picture, and their overall goal, her next steps were obvious. Take the job! Interestingly when she kept her commitment to their goal, her husband was offered a job almost immediately after she said yes.

  1. Options/Procedures: When people are focused on options, alternatives and possibilities, they have big struggles completing commitments. We call this the Options Pattern from the Language and Behavior Profile (LAB Profile). These folks tend to be very creative but often do not follow through on what they say they are going to do.

If someone has a preference for a step by process when they do things, what we call a Procedures Pattern, they are more likely to follow through with their commitments. In fact, when you hear Procedure language, such as “the next step, then, after that, process, how to get to the end goal”, etc., it may actually indicate that the person IS committed to doing what they said they would do.

To improve your ability to follow through and actually do what you committed to doing, get yourself into a more Procedures mode. An easy way to do this is to schedule WHEN you will do the steps needed to fulfill your commitment right in your calendar. And be a slave to your calendar. Ok, not really a slave as such — but use your calendar to guide your actual work activities, and not only your appointments with others.

  1. Delegate: If you still suck at doing what you said you were going to do; hire someone and give them the task. I do this in my work by hiring freelancers on elance.com to do many of the tasks I don’t have time for. Obviously, if your commitment was about making time for looooove with your partner, delegating this task may lead to some undesired consequences. J

The Power of Commitment

When you only SAY the things you will actually DO, suddenly you have a super power! Others trust you and treat you with respect. You get the things you want from life because you have made the commitment to do what is needed, when you said you would.

A simple commitment: Say-Do, and create whatever you want!

Comments welcome!

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)

Cheers,
Shelle
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

The Motivation Triggers Behind the Scottish Referendum

On Sept 18, 2014, 85% of the Scots got off their duff, and went out to vote in a referendum on the future of their country. They had different desires, fears, unknowns to face, promises to evaluate, and over 300 years of history with Britain behind them.

Wouldn’t be interesting to look behind the positions, the emotions, etc to uncover the LAB Profile Triggers driving each side? This kind of analysis is useful to understand some of the forces driving political, social and military movements around the world.

The Yes Side used a combination:

First moving Away From the inequalities and lack of autonomy over the past. Then moving Toward the aspirations of an independent Scotland. They end with Difference and Options language to talk about the new opportunities of an independent Scotland, including oil revenues etc.

And of course, painting the pictures so that people can See compelling images.

This order is important to create movement. People who are dissatisfied have lots of emotion and energy; they are angry about the injustices they experience and want to move away from these. This is the bus stop where you can pick up them up, using Away From language: don’t want, never again, problems of the past, unacceptable, etc.

This is Push Power: Using words and images that help push people away from the things they believe are unacceptable. Here is an example where a celebrity commentator starts with a positive example to set up the Away From critique of the current UK status.

“Swedes, Norwegians and Danes remain on amicable terms; they trade, co-operate and visit each other socially any time they like. They don’t need a pompous, blustering state called Scandinavia, informing them from Stockholm how wonderful they all are, but (kind of) only really meaning Sweden.” – novelist Irvine Welsh.

If you only use Away From language several issues arise which can prevent this momentum from gaining traction. At some point people will be asking about the alternatives to the past, something to rally behind and move toward. When politicians use only Away From language, as in attack ads, they have no control over what viewers move away from. Often they just don’t vote as a result of the very negativity of attack strategies.

Following Away From words and images with Towards helps people see a desired destination. This is attractive and reassuring and creates Pull Power, pulling people to the outcome. Here is an example of both Pull and Push Power, combining Toward language while reminding people of the negative past in Away From language:

“Scotland’s Future is an exciting, informative and insightful vision of what an independent Scotland will be, without the controls, mistakes and unwanted one-size-fits-all policies of Westminster governments.” – Blair Jenkins, Chief Executive of Yes Scotland.

And of course the Yes campaign is all about selling change (Difference) and possibilities (Options). Check this Yes ad out; even the visual design is filled with Options.

Yes

Their campaign and the polls before the actual vote were convincing enough to panic all three British political parties into making last minute offerings that had never before been put on the table.

The No Campaign

The No Campaign had a different approach to ensure the votes of people who had already decided for No and more importantly to convince the undecided.

Even though their primary slogan was “Better Together”, they used Away From language fairly consistently throughout the campaign, coupled with Sameness and Difference in combinations.

Away From and Difference: for people who are afraid of change and unknowns. “Why would you take a chance with no guarantees and risk your pension?” This is from a video ad from the “Better Together” campaign:

 “I will not be gambling with my children’s future.”

This is from the controversial ad showing a Mum thinking about the referendum.

And of course appealing to people who want things to stay the same; the Sameness Pattern. Here’s an ad that shows all these patterns:

No thanks

The No Campaign also encouraged people to be External (needing outside guidance), by having economists and other authorities clearly state the dangers of independence.

The Scottish people will take a “massive risk” with their economic future if they vote for independence, former chancellor, and leader of the No campaign, Alistair Darling has warned.

In an interview with the Observer, Darling says that if the Scots vote to leave the 300-year-old union and then keep sterling, adopt their own currency, or join the euro, the country will be plunged into unparalleled economic uncertainty.

“The downsides are immense, the risks are amazing, the uncertainties I just don’t think are worth gambling on, Darling said.”There are times when you should gamble and there are times when you shouldn’t.”*

*From The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2012/jan/14/scottish-independence-alistair-darling

We know the end of the story: 55.3% No, 44.7% Yes. This tells us that moving Away From the risks and uncertainties was more popular, but only by a little over 10%.

And perhaps there will be change after all, if the British politicians keep their last minute promises for more devolution of powers.

I was so impressed with the civility of this campaign! An inspiration to dysfunctional democracies everywhere.