Help others help you through courteous communication

Help others help you through courteous communication of your wants and needs. Don’t expect them to read your mind.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Sander Sammy

The Amazing Kreskin — at the age of 89 — is still performing. His TV series in the 70’s was a big hit in both the U.S. and Canada. While conducting feats of mind reading, mind control, and clairvoyance, he never claimed to have any real psychic powers.

He is perhaps best known for allowing a member of his audience to secretly hide his paycheck for a performance somewhere in the theater. If he was unable to determine the location of the check through various mentalist techniques such as pulse reading, body language reading, and analyzing facial cues, he would not get paid for that performance.


Who in your life expects you to be the Amazing Kreskin?

With whom do you expect the same at home or at work?

Where would some simple, straightforward communication take away the mental mystery of what you want and need?

Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way

“Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.”

Charles Bukowski, 20th Century American novelist

Image from Unsplash by National Cancer Institute

My son Dan is a developer working with a top healthcare software company.

His current project involves using artificial intelligence to help medical professionals communicate and summarize complex medical concepts in ways that can be more easily understood by individuals of different ages and educational backgrounds.

With staffing resources in healthcare stressed and strained to their limits, using AI to make communication more efficient and effective is a stroke of genius.


Where in your world are there breakdowns in communication?

How would saying things in a simpler way make a profound difference in your life?

How might some of the new AI resources being introduced be helpful in these efforts?

“It is not the whistle that moves the train.”

“It is not the whistle that moves the train.”

D.V. Rangarajan

Image from Unsplash by Balazs Busznyak

When was the last time you heard the whistle of a train? What thoughts, emotions, and memories do you have from the past about trains?

A few that come to mind for me are:

  • Watching movies about the wild west as a kid
  • Taking the elevated train into the city
  • Playing with toy trains with my friends
  • Taking the Cog Railroad up Mount Washington
  • Riding Thunder Mountain countless times at Disney World
  • Waiting at railroad crossings and counting the cars as they passed, wondering when the train would end

For many of us, trains represent a special form of transportation that take considerable energy and work to move people and things from one place to another. Trains don’t just whistle and stand still. The sound of the whistle lets you know something hopefully good is coming or going your way.


In what ways do or can you offer a whistle or other signal to let others know that you back up your words with significant levels of locomotion?


“Condense it and Present it.”

“Condense it and Present it.”

—Author Unknown

Whether we like it or not, our attention spans are shrinking.

My first attempts at blogging – around nine years ago – met with very modest success. I even found it difficult to attract the eyeballs and minds of family and friends on a consistent basis.

The people closest to me simply told me that my post took them a few minutes to read and their time was in short supply — OUCH!

When I took a close look at what I tended to read and make time for, I too found that a shorter, tighter, get-to-the-point format fit with my “snacking” approach to consuming certain forms of information.

It turned out that in some situations the “sound bite” garnered greater attention and often stuck with people. That became the foundation of The Quotable Coach: Thought-provoking ideas presented as a Quote, a Commentary and an Exercise you can explore in about a minute.


Where in your personal and professional communication efforts would a Condense It and Present It approach work best?

“Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.”

“Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Fran Hogan

In times of considerable uncertainty, I have noticed tremendous bravery in people.

We expect bravery in our armed services men and women, our police force, firefighters, Emergency Medical personnel, and other first responders.

These days medical professions and the array of other “essential” workers that support them are also putting themselves on the line.

What brave conversations must be had to mobilize the dramatic decisions and bold actions taken to protect and serve one another and all of our communities?


What conversations in your personal or professional community are to be had that will make the difference you wish to make?

Select one such conversation in which you will summon the necessary level of bravery today.

“A thermostat is far more valuable than a thermometer.”

“A thermostat is far more valuable than a thermometer.”

—Seth Godin, American Author

Image from Unsplash by Dan LeFebvre

In his book, Tribes, Seth Godin indicates that two critical factors of a tribe are shared interest and a way to communicate.

In the past few months, Kinsa Health has sold or given away more than a million smart thermometers that can communicate through an internet connection, to examine potential hot spots associated with the Corona virus.

Going beyond single data points to large numbers and their trends is increasingly helpful to our leaders in their ability to assess, monitor, and optimize our shared interest in the health and well-being of all people.

As a global tribe of billions, our collective commitments and our connectivity is providing a much more comprehensive set of data points to proactively react and respond to many diverse factors in real time.

We become a global thermostat when we maintain our shared interests and when we communicate.


In what ways can you and other in your personal and professional tribes use and monitor your collective thermostat to make the necessary adjustments in your communities?

“It’s all about your audience.”

“It’s all about your audience.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Gabriel Benois

While walking around my neighborhood the other day I ran into Paul, a friend from my health club when it is not closed due to social distancing efforts.

While keeping our distance, we discussed our families. Mine live in other states, his live nearby. Surprisingly, we discovered that we are both using video chatting platforms to stay connected. He informed me that it was virtually impossible to buy a webcam due to the spike in this method of communication.

In some ways, we have all become video celebrities with our families, friends, and business colleagues as our audiences, and we as theirs.


How and in what ways can you more fully demonstrate just how important these people are to you today, and when we can (hopefully) reconnect in person?

“Every man is a volume, if you know how to read him.”

“Every man is a volume, if you know how to read him.”

—William Ellery Channing, 19th Century Unitarian Preacher

Image from Unsplash by Aaron Burden

How well do you really know the people in your personal and professional communities?

Which ones do you know only on the surface of things, perhaps analogous to a tweet? Or maybe you know a bit more, along the lines of a blog post or professional resume?

Going deeper, you may be familiar with their book summary, or for those who remember them, their Cliff or Monarch notes.

Who do you know on the level of War and Peace, or some other weighty volume?

Who knows you in that level of detail?


Where and with whom is it time to read the full volume of their life story? Perhaps this process will help you write a few extra chapters together in the days and years ahead.

If you must speak ill of another

“If you must speak ill of another, do not speak it. Write it in the sand near the water’s edge.”

—Napoleon Hill, 20th Century American self-help Author

Image of "Time" written in the sand

Image from designtuts

Holding one’s tongue is pretty difficult to do, literally and figuratively. In both cases, it can be slippery and make you look bad, or at least silly.

Awareness of our inner voices can provide a few seconds of buffer time before we put those views or opinions on an external speaker. In many cases, prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure.

The same is often true for e-mail and especially texting, given the rapid turn-around on these forms of communication.


Where would waiting and allowing more time to pass before you speak or communicate through the written word enhance and improve your personal and professional relationships?

In every man there is something

“In every man there is something wherein I may learn of him, and in that I am his pupil.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th Century American essayist and poet

Image of two people talking at a business meeting

Image from Unsplash by raw pixel

There is a wise saying about the fact that we have one mouth and two ears, and should use them proportionately.

For most of us, coaching, teaching, advising, and mentoring others, although with good intentions, plays into the fact that we often prefer to be interesting rather than interested.

Consider yourself an explorer or a miner looking for the gold in “them thar’ hills.” To reap such riches, the only tools you would need would be an open set of eyes, ears, and of course, an open mind.


In what area of your life is it far more important to be the pupil rather than the teacher?

What is it that you most wish to learn to support either your personal or professional life?

Who are the specific teachers in your world that hold the wisdom you seek?