Category Archives: Words That Change Minds

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.

The Language of Trump & Kim

Reading what Trump and Kim each said about their meeting, it occurred to me that they were using typical LAB Profile® Trigger Language.

Trump uses Toward language and Kim uses Away From language.
Take a look for yourself, from the New York Times:

“I feel really great,” Mr. Trump said. “It’s going to be a great discussion and, I think, tremendous success. I think it’s going to be really successful, and I think we will have a terrific relationship. I have no doubt.”

Mr. Kim said: “It was not easy to get here. The past worked as fetters on our limbs, and the old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on our way forward. But we overcame all of them, and we are here today.

And then later, as the two leaders reconvened with top aides, Mr. Trump declared of the nuclear impasse, “Working together, we will get it taken care of.”

Mr. Kim responded, “There will be challenges ahead, but we will work with Trump.”

Trump mainly uses language indicating what he wants to gain, achieve or get. This is Toward language.
Kim mainly uses language indicating what was a problem, an obstacle or things to be solved/avoided/prevented. This is Away From language.

What this means, as they go forward, is that even when they are talking about the same things, they are each moving in different directions, one trying to get something and the other wanting to prevent something from happening.

Let’s see what happens next.
Please leave your comments below!

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.

 

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:

Vimeo

Facebook

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

Enjoy!

Shelle

Achieve goals using your own success strategies

Happy new year to you! I wish you all the best!

Here are some quick tips to help you have a successful 2017,
based on your own success strategies!

Find out what your unconscious mind already knows.

If you like what’s in this video, check out my mini e-book,
Wishing, Wanting and Achieving, only $9.99
Read transcript.

How to stay calm when dealing with your family

The holidays are near. Family time! Can you cope? Want some easy tips manage your stress and emotions? Have a look at this and let me know what you think. (But no comments on my hair please !)

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 www.weongozi.com