Category Archives: Communication

How To Be Assertive With A Neanderthal

I was on my way to music class this morning and the peak hour train was a little more crowded than usual. As I headed downstairs to find a seat, I came across a couple of men occupying two opposite-facing three-person bench seats. I wasn't keen on standing for a half hour while two guys occupied six seats between them, so I politely said "Excuse me" to the guy on the aisle end of backward-facing seat, and he kindly moved over to the window to accommodate me.

Closely Related Primate, Also in Genital Display Pose

As I sat in the newly vacant aisle seat, I felt constrained by the man sitting in the middle of the bench seat opposite me. He was sitting forward with his legs spread wide in the classic genital display pose that male primates evolved to demonstrate dominance to other lesser primates. So wide in fact … Continue reading…

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Urgent Warning About Nonviolent Communication

All right. Listen up, people, because this is important. Now, you may have heard of the recent demise of a certain man named Rosenberg. No, not Heisenberg - Rosenberg.

Marshall Rosenberg was a psychologist who became increasingly disillusioned with a modern mental health care system with its ever-increasing emphasis on diagnostic categories and labels for mental disorders which he found actually got in the way of him identifying with his clients' humanity and giving them the empathy that they needed to actually heal their underlying emotional trauma.

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Lie To Me

One of my favourite TV shows is Lie To Me. Tim Roth plays Dr Cal Lightman, an eccentric expert in deception detection who runs his own consulting business primarily assisting lawyers and prosecutors get to the truth. There's always a story behind the story, and the trick is to work out who's lying about it. His techniques combine reading of facial microexpressions, body language, gestures and human behaviour to discern the true emotions of everyone involved; often including his own staff.

Having learned the art of stripping away people's facades to reveal what is really going on underneath, Dr Lightman has an arrogant edge about him, which is tempered by his paranoia and the painful dysfunctional relationships that he finds himself in. He sees through the white lies that other people spin to soften the real truth from him, and relies on his ability to cut through the protective … Continue reading…

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Communication, Public Speaking, and Leadership Skills Development at Toastmasters

I've concluded that our ability to communicate authentically with other people is the most important life skill that we can possess. We often spend a great deal of our education learning how to analyse, think, solve problems, and understand how things work; but tend to downplay the importance of subjects that teach us how to communicate. The ability to communicate, inspire and influence other people is also a key leadership skill. Whether in business, relationships, or just in our personal lives, our ability to communicate our thoughts, feelings and ideas to other people is absolutely crucial to our success... and ultimately our happiness.

Globe with Gavels and Toastmaster InternationalFor the past couple of years, I've been improving my communication and leadership skills as a member of Chatswood Communicators Toastmasters club.  I have to admit that I wasn't really thinking of becoming a world-class communicator when I first came across Toastmasters. In fact, I … Continue reading…

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Writing a book using OpenOffice.org

My first book, on attracting women, was created using the OpenOffice.org 3.1 Office Productivity Suite. I like OpenOffice because it's free, is community-supported, and has most of the features that I really need to get my job done. Here's my experience using it on seriously sized projects of over 200 pages.

I recently finished the 3rd draft of a 450 page book, so I know what it's like to use OpenOffice.org Writer to create and edit a significant work with over 30 chapters, a two-level table of contents, and several pictures. I also used OpenOffice.org Draw for the cover design, and PDF export to generate files to send to Lulu for printing. I was pleased to find that OpenOffice.org was up to the task, but there were a few quirks I had to navigate and some missing features which made the task more painful than I would have … Continue reading…

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I lied to the guy from the phone company today

OK, I admit it. I lied today. I don't normally do that; I'm a terrible liar in fact. I'm sure it goes back to when I was a kid and how my mother could always tell when I was lying. She wasn't the sort of person you wanted to get on the wrong side of. So I'm badly out of practice. But I'm working on it.

Or rather, I've actually been working on becoming a more persuasive and powerful communicator. I've joined Toastmasters. I'm doing workshops on public speaking, sales and marketing. I'm reading The 48 Laws of Power. This last one is all a bit Machiavellian for me, and if taken literally the laws involve a lot more deception than I'm really comfortable with. But I'm learning. And today it came in handy.

I decided that time to get ADSL2+ broadband is long overdue, but there's a … Continue reading…

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Cassell’s Guide To Written English by James Aitchison

I read this book because I wanted to improve my writing by gaining a better understanding of the formal structure of written English, so I would know what the rules are and when I am breaking them. The author makes the point that breaking the rules unknowingly will alienate some of your readers, undermine your authority in your chosen subject area, and just plain distract and annoy more pedantic types; so you'd better be aware of when you're doing it.

The book does an amicable job of covering the various different types of speech, sentence construction, use of rhythm in writing, avoiding repetition and monotony; and more. I found the sections on the deeper intricacies of phrasing almost sleep-inducing; "almost" being a shame because I was suffering quite bad insomnia at the time, and could have done with something that forcibly made me nod off.

The author makes seemingly arbitrary … Continue reading…

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The Elements Of Style by Strunk and White

I'm embarrassed to say that when I decided to become a writer, it was about 18 months before I got around to picking up this seminal work on the craft. To my folly, I had churned out two drafts of my first book, and hundreds of other pages of content for other works before even acquainting myself with the basic wisdom enshrined in this book.

This is a thin book, and deliberately so; one of its main points is that good writing should be concise. "Let every word tell." It's got lots of great advice, but maybe it's a bit too thin, so I suggest you also check out the Cassell's Guide To Written English too.

If you want to be taken seriously in the written word, Strunk & White is essential reading, if only so you can drop the name around other writers and boost your street cred.… Continue reading…

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