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There are many common phrases that really successful confident people avoid like the plague.  (Umm, overly used phrases like those last four words is one of them. That aside, let us  continue with a handfu of common ones that can tag someone as lower down in the potom pole.) .

One is, as this month’s ezine says, “Thank God it’s Friday.”
“Thank God it’s Friday” is saying “I hate my job.”
“I hate my job” is saying “I’m stuck doing something I don’t like in life.”
“I’m stuck doing something I don’t like in life” is saying “I’m a loser.”

Another is “Let’s kill some time.”
“Let’s kill some time” is saying “I can’t find anything productive or interesting to do.”
“I can’t find anything productive or interesting to do” is saying, “I’m a loser.”

Another is “To be frank about it.”
“To be frank about it” is saying “I’m usually not frank.”
“I’m usually not frank” is saying, “I’m a loser.”

Another is “Don’t tell her I told you this, but . . .”
“Don’t tell her I told you this, but . . .” is saying “I talk behind other people’s backs.”
“I talk behind other people’s backs.” Is saying “I’m a loser.”


In my mini Ezine this month, I wrote about the importance of making people comfortable when speaking with them. (If you missed it, read the August tip, “Feng Shui Your Conversation” on the “Talk with Leil” page) But there’s something else that counts—something that most people, understandably, prefer not to admit. We crave being respected, liked, popular. In short, we want prestige in our world.

I’ve written books and dozens of articles on this subject and the selfless caring ways to accomplish it. Let me now share a subliminal way to win people’s respect that some might call “sneaky.” (I suppose it is but the most important thing is that it doesn’t hurt anybody.)

It’s usually unspoken but, in almost every small gathering of people, there is a most highly respected or revered individual. To subliminally boost your status within the group, place your (soon-to-be-more-revered tush) in the chair directly to his or her right.

If it is a business meeting, this subconsciously plants in the attendees’ minds that you are the head honcho’s trusted advisor, or “right-hand person.” It’s more subtle in a social situation but it still holds. People gazing in the direction of the most popular person will view you more often—and subconsciously connect YOU to their positive sentiments.

So don’t just plop down anywhere, especially at a business meeting. Choose your seat strategically to the right of the biggie. To further increase people’s perception that you are vital to the VIP, occasionally lean toward him and whisper something in his ear. A hushed “Could you pass the water pitcher, please?” works quite well.

“Feng Shui” Your Conversation

There’s a lot more than what you say to make your listener enjoy the conversation–like their seldom consciously considered physical comfort! Most sensitive folks know placing someone across the desk from them can intimidate them, but there’s lots more.

Make sure the light from a window or lamp isn’t in her eyes. If your listener is seated, don’t stand for a longer than a 45-second conversation. (That puts him in a subliminally subservient position looking up at you.) If two of you are entertaining, don’t sit so far apart at the dinner table that your guest has to swivel her head like watching a tennis game to make eye contact with both of you. And finally, don’t sit on the sofa next to your guest. (Well, unless it’s a romantic situation.)  Choose a chair at a comfortable angle so he needn't twist his neck to look at you. How far away should you stand when conversing? Close enough to touch the tip of her nose with an outstretched arm. Farther away is unfriendly. Closer is invasive.

Think of your relative positions like “feng shui” the ancient Chinese art of arranging furniture and other elements to eliminate discordance, even at burial sites! Choose your placement to obtain optimum comfort for your conversational partner. After all, if the Chinese do it for their dead, you can do it for your living friends!

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We all know technology is changing faster than we can say it. And relationships aren’t far behind. It’s tough being a guy today because a woman demands more than ever. She wants a man who can teach her things to increase her knowledge and make her life more fulfilling. She wants a man who will and help her grow, personally or professionally. She wants a supportive man who will help her feel good about herself. Additionally she wants someone she can talk to, have fun with, and be there for her no matter what happens.

At first bounce this sounds good, doesn’t it? But these qualifications are a lot harder than making money. And, although we rightfully applaud self growth, this new woman’s want list could be considered selfish, too “me oriented.” Well, evolutionary psychology marches.

Gentlemen, you’re caught in a transition phase. In your lifetime, in addition to the above, women will still consider your net worth and earning potential. Even though, in 2011 single women earn more than single men, a lot of them still let you pick up the tab on all dates. It doesn’t seem fair, does it?

But before I get too hard on my sometimes not so gentle sex, is it fair that you judge a woman primarily for her looks? That having sex with her is your initial goal. That an especially gorgeous woman is a status symbol?

BUT IT’S ALL OK. Basic needs won’t change — even when the deeper love sets in. Be aware, though, the road will probably get rocky, especially around the third year. But those who are smart enough to weather the inevitable, often terrible, are the truly wise ones.


Practically everyone makes a gratuitous, almost obligatory reference to the recipient In the first sentence of an email messages. Such as, “I hope you had a good weekend.” Or they extend good wishes for holidays past, present, or future. That’s as original as a white wall.

Thanks to the wonders of the World Wide Web, you can now sound more personal, omnipotent and original. For example, if you’re writing to someone in a different state,
Google his or her . . .

Local Weather: They had a big snowstorm? “Hi Brandy, How are you surviving the blizzard?” Or what about a summer heat wave? “Hey, dude, did you melt yet?”

Local News: Is a celebrity visiting his boonies? Did her hometown’s boy genius win third place in the State Spelling Bee? What about his local library’s new exhibition of twentieth-century beer bottle caps? “Hi Brian, did you get to the Beer Bottle Caps show yet? I’d love to hear about it.”

Your recipient will never suspect the obvious. and Google gave you the skinny.

Their Personal life: “Derrick, you never told me about your drive to Disneyland last year. Did the kids enjoy it?”

Their Time of sending the message: Did she send you a business communication from work at 7pm: “Go home, Chrissie. You’re working too hard!”

Their Very Local News
The recipient doesn’t have to be from out of town to use this one. Your search engine can surreptitiously swoop down on every neighborhood and dig up any dirt that a freaked-out blogger has written about their ‘hood.

I once received an e-mail from an uptown colleague who wrote, “Hope no falling bricks hit you.” He was referring to a freshly fallen building in my lower Manhattan neighborhood. This is a common and un-noteworthy event in the Big Bagel — unless it’s yours or a neighbor’s building. His knowledge and concern impressed me

A Digging Expedition for Diehards
What if there is no unusual weather, no news, no old messages, no weird sending time? If you don’t want to give up on personalizing their message, here’s a last-ditch effort. (I know, I know, this is really stretching it, but . . .) Is there a colored background behind the message? Did they write it in an unusual font, say Batang Sans Serif or Mongolian Baiti Condensed? Compliment it, if you can decipher it.

I’d love to credit you with them on the website

Is “Love at First Sight” really “Love BEFORE First Sight?”

Do you remember the big ruckus about subliminal advertising in movie theaters some years ago? Clever Madison Ave types flashed words like “Hungry?” “Get popcorn!”andeven product names like “Lipton tea” on the screen for thousandths of a second during the film. It flickered too fast for the audience to actually “see” the messages. But theaters sold whole a lot more popcorn on those days! And unlike previously, movie goers who just ordered “tea,” now requested it by brand. Lipton of course. Not only was the audience unable to read the messages, they reported they hadn’t seen anything at all! But those milliseconds of words on the screen still made them hungry, and told them what to buy.

So if people can “read” in thousands of a second, do you think they can get a sense of your personality in that amount of time? I was surprised and saddened by one study which took place in our supposedly “enlightened” decade. Researchers exposed subjects to screen flashes of individuals from different races so fast they couldn’t “see” them. It was, as neuroscientists call it, “sensory stimuli below an individual’s absolute threshold for conscious perception.” Yet the viewing subjects had chemical reactions ranging from affection to fear.

The part of your brain responsible for vision is your Occipital lobe. It has the amazing ability to detect form, color and motion — even before the thinking part of the brain realizes that something is up. Mother Nature programmed us that way so warning chemicals will race through our system immediately. For example if something huge and yellow with black stripes is leaping toward you, you run like heck before your brain gets the message that, “OMG a tiger is attacking me!!!”
So is love at first sight really love BEFORE first sight?” Do lovers feel the chemistry before their brains register, “This person is hot?”

But then being CONSCIOUS of that feeling is a different story. How long do you think it takes to KNOW you really have chemistry with this person? Minutes? Hours? Weeks?


Several months ago I attended an exquisite “performance” in which the artist barely moved. The performance artist Marina Abramović just sitting –in a long red gown –in a hard chair — in a barren space — in front of an empty table – from the time at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City opened in the morning and closed at night. One by one, individuals sat across from her table and they made silent eye contact for 5 minutes – 10 minutes – some 30 minutes. Their emotions were incredible. Many cried.

Don’t forget impact of such a “simple” action. It has beauty and power. And you own it. Don’t let it go to waste.

Good Morning? UGH!

I don’t know about you, but hate having to be peppy and conversational when I walk into an office and face the faces I’ll have to face all day. In one particular company I’d been consulting with for a few weeks, everyone was small talk addicted — especially the first 10 minutes of every day. I wished I could be invisibly teleported from the parking lot to my cubicle. However, I usually joined in the meaningless chatter because I didn’t come across as unfriendly, shy, or a human Ambien.

Recently I found the solution! I struck up a friendship with one particular woman who had a reputation of being extremely energetic and outgoing. I shared my dilemma with her at lunch. She said, “Leil, you know how first impressions are so lasting? Well, theyaren’t just for when you meet people. ‘You’re making a “first impression’ every day. If you want to look friendly but not sit around chewing the fat, here’s the trick: Just before coming in the office in the morning, throw your shoulders back, soften your face into a relaxed smile, and give a big lively greeting to everyone. This certifies you as being friendly, energetic and optimistic. And it only takes a minute.

“You don’t need to stay revved up and chatty all day. After that first little burst of effervescence, your coworkers see you as a confident and congenial individual and they’ll hardly notice that you’re not chewing the fat with them later. They’re all thinking about themselves anyway. “

I noticed the next morning, Felicia followed her own advice. She came in with a big hi and a smile and nobody noticed she wasn’t in the water cooler confabs later. Cool.



Every morning, you hear a lethargic “Mornin’” or “G’mornin’” floating around the office, the neighborhood, or the gym. Suppose you wake up tomorrow morning and say to yourself, “Today I feel like going up a notch or two in people’s estimation.” Easy task. To sound smarter, more professional, and cultured, simply pronounce all three syllables of a greeting. “Good mor-ning.” “Good eve-ning.” It’s a no-brainer. And don’t forget to add their name!

Here’s some more shine for your act:
These days, you seldom hear an entire sentence spoken when meeting someone. You’ll hear sentence parts, like “Happy to meet you,” or “Pleased to meet you.” But those mutterings wouldn’t pass a grade school grammar test. Your teacher would point an accusatory finger at you and demand, “Where’s the subject? Where’s the verb?”

To make a good impression in more formal settings, go for it–an honest-to-goodness whole sentence with a subject, an object, and maybe an adjective or preposition thrown in. For starters, try, “I’m happy to meet you.” When you feel at ease with that one, upgrade it: “I’m very happy to meet you.” “What a pleasure it is to meet you” counts as a complete sentence, too, although Emily Post would stick up her cultivated nose at the word “pleased.” So, When meeting people in highly professional or upscale situations . . .

Hit them with a whole sentence!

It should include a noun and a verb. Adjectives optional. Of course I am not suggesting flawless phraseology and Emily Post’s ritual when meeting new casual friends. Keep in mind, Emily died in 1960, and many of her suggestions should be buried with her.


A friend of mine is a used car salesman named Sammy. (Honest! And don’t be prejudiced. They’re people too.) And Sammy’s a nice guy. Anyway, he told me, after the pitch to the customer, no self respecting car salesman would ask, “Well, do you want to buy it?” Instead, he places a pen in the prospect’s hand (between their thumb and forefinger, with the point facing down, of course, to make it easier to sign the contract,) and nonchalantly drawls, “Will you be taking the blue one or the green one?” “By saying it that way, he says he closes lots more sales.

Similar wisdom pertains if you want someone to accept your social or business invitation. If you ask Ms. Big Shot “Are you free for lunch Wednesday?” it is a breeze for her to say, “Sorry, busy Wednesday.” However, if you cheerfully inquire, “What day might you be free for lunch in the next two weeks?” Ms. B.S. would have to be a sharp fibber to wriggle out of that one. Even better, tell her, “I’d like to have lunch with you sometime. Give me a few dates you might be free.” Now that’s confidence speaking! (Between the lines, you are saying, “Of course you want to have lunch with me. I am merely giving you a choice of when.”)

Incidentally, gentlemen, when asking for a date, the tired old “How about Saturday night?” riff practically begs rejection. Try, “I want to check out the new El Romantico Restaurant. WHAT night are you free to come with me?” It’s tough for a nice lady to say “Never!” She knows a guy’s sensitive ego translates that into “I despise you, I can’t stand to breathe the same air as you, and I never want your mug reflected in my eyeballs again.” Bottom line: Don’t ask IF they’re free, ask WHEN!