If you have a “Little Trick,” for sensitive communicating, please send it to me.
If published, I’ll credit you on the web page.

Here is a unique tip to make other top communicators know you are one of them . . .

                                MAKE A GREAT IMPRESSION — THAT LASTS!

Everyone knows the importance of a first impression.  But what about your last impression? That sticks with people for a very long time. Why? Because your friendliness when you part subliminally signals how you feel about THEM.

Think about it. If someone gives you a big hearty “Hello,” you feel great. But, later, if they lethargically mumble “good bye,” you can’t help but subconsciously think they like you less now. Natural paranoia takes over and we feel we disappointed them in the encounter. Don’t do that to people! When introduced to someone, END your conversation even more enthusiastically than you started it. Some suggestions:

At the END of your conversation, tell a new acquaintance, “I’m so happy I met you, Miguel!”
At the END of a chance-meeting, tell your colleague, “Good bumping into you, Barry.”
At the END of a chat, tell your friend, “I always enjoy our conversations, Chelsea.”
At the END of a phone conversation, “It’s so much fun talking to Fiona.”
At the END of a meeting, “I appreciate the points you made, Peter.”
At the END of a date, “It was lovely being with you, Brendon.”

A lively farewell –- LETTING THEIR NAME BE THE LAST WORD THEY HEAR — is like a warm kiss at the end of an evening. A lackluster, low-energy one sounds like a kiss-off.



August, 2009


Have you ever watched American Idol? If so, you know what I’m talking about. When a contestant howls a hard rock song at 120 decibels, he holds his microphone at arm’s length. If he didn’t, he’d be slapped with a class-action suit for hearing loss.

Then, while softly singing near-silent sweet nothings for the swooning viewers and Simon, his lips almost brush the windscreen. If they didn’t, fans would frantically scramble for their remote controls, fearing the TV volume was off.

Now, back to you. You’ve probably laughed loudly at a friend’s jokes on the phone. And whispered undying love to your lambie-pie on your cell. But if you'd held the phone at the same distance from your mouth for both calls, you would blast your friend’s ears off. And cause Lambie-Pie to shatter the sensuous moment by saying, “Huh, what? Wha-did-ja-say?”

SOLUTION: Constantly VARY the distance of your cell from your lips. Push it away – bring it back. Stretch it far – pull it close. Be sensitive to your volume and your listener’s ears. Incidentally, a quick cell pull-away works wonders to mask coughs, burps and other unseemly noises emanating from your mouth.


July, 2009


Trading business cards? Don’t just hand yours to the recipient like a worthless piece of cardboard stock. I’ve seen people swap cards as though they were dirty Kleenexes.

Don’t demean yourself like that! You are giving someone a representation of yourself. When you handle your card with reverence, it shows you take pride in your profession. Here's how: Take your card out of an attractive carrying case and present it HORIZONTALLY, WITH THE SCRIPT FACING THE RECIPIENT. Hold it just a bit HIGHER than usual—not in his face—but at a height where he could almost read it in your hands. If you show respect your work, others will, too.

Now she’s giving you her card? Do not just glance at it and quickly stash it in your pocket or purse. First, hold the card with BOTH HANDS and gaze at it as though it were a small piece of art she had hand-painted on rice paper especially for you. Then switch it to one hand, but continue holding it at waist level or just below. Give her card a RESPECTFUL GLANCE FROM TIME TO TIME. You are now making her feel especially esteemed and valued.


June, 2009


First, attention ladies: Whenever you go to a restaurant with a man, whether he's a client, boss, husband, main squeeze, first date, or just plain friend — let HIM have the chair facing the door. Is this being sexist? No way. It's simply being savvy about the confounding neurological verity that males of our species are not at ease with their backs to the door. Don't ask me why. Maybe it comes from the old West when the cowboy never knew what gun slinging outlaw was going to kick open the saloon door and blast him in the back.

Now, gentlemen: Sure, go ahead and make a nose dive for the facing-the-door chair. That is, if you want to make a power-play or express superiority. But be sensitive to the fact that it's a subconsciously male-coveted seat. Are you with a client, prospect, male boss, or a good buddy? Let the other dude face the door if you want him comfy enough to buy from you, promote you, or just feel good vibes in your presence.


May, 2009

NO EXCUSES (Well, at least not immediately!)

You're late to the meeting, the party, and the appointment, the anything. Natural instinct is to slink in with a mortified expression, and immediately blurt out an excuse . . . before even sitting down! "The traffic was terrible." "My dentist's appointment ran late." "I had to take my pet to the vet," or "my kid to the doctor" ad nauseam.

Don't demean yourself like that! Don't slink in like a panting dog brandishing an excuse between his teeth. A gracious "Excuse me" suffices. Don't worry that the crowd is smirking, "Well what's his/her excuse?" Simply proceed proudly as though you are early.

Then LATER in the proceedings, find an unflustered way to honestly allude to the terrible traffic, the delayed dentist, the afflicted animal, or the sick little shaver. You come across as far more sincere, secure, and not obsessed with their opinion of you. (This definitely makes it go up a notch or two!)


April, 2009


I'm sure you've had this conundrum: You're chatting with a friend or colleague, and they start repeating a joke or story they've told you before. Yikes, now you have a tough choice: 1) Do you interrupt and say they've told you before? Nah, that's rude. (2) Do you let them continue with their joke, and then fake a laugh? Nah, that's insincere. (Besides, halfway through, they might remember that they told it to you before. Now they feel foolish and think you're pandering them.) So what's a civilized person to do?

Here's salvation. Simply let them finish the story and then say, "That's a GREAT story!" (This is appropriate whether you heard it or not.) Your reaction pleases them, and you're freed from being rude or faking a reaction.

"But, wait," you might ask, "what if, after their story, they remember you’ve heard it?” They ask why you let them continue. No problem. Simply say, "I enjoyed the story so much the first time that I wanted to hear it again!"


March 2009


How many times have you sent a message to someone and ZAP, this comes back: "I am currently out of the office for the remainder of this week. If you need immediate assistance in my absence, you may contact Jane Doe at . . . Blah blah blah

Automatic responses like that make them sound just that – – – blah. First of all, they should kill stilted phrases like "remainder of the week," "immediate assistance," "to insure prompt action" and "in my absence." Who talks like that? And, horrors, "This is an automatically generated response." That adds insult (of your intelligence) to injury.

So, next time you'll be out of the office, try something like, "I'm sorry I couldn't receive your message. I won't be here the rest of the week but, if you need anything in a hurry while I'm away, Jane will be happy to help you." After you let them know how to contact Jane, end on a friendly note, perhaps: "I look forward to responding to you when I return."


February, 2009


Whenever most people hear the voice on the phone asking, “Are you able to hold?” they mumble a begrudging “Yeah” or “OK” There is a better way! The next time you are asked, “Can you hold?” say cheerfully, “OH SURE, I’D BE HAPPY TO!” After the initial shock, they’ll manage to pick their jaw up off the desk and gratefully thank you. Then, when they come back to the line, you’re sure to get priority treatment. Plus you’ve made someone’s day a little bit happier.


January, 2009


Have you ever been chatting with someone in their office and Brrring! Their phone rings. They answer, listen for a second, clear their throat, and say “Um, er, can I call you back?” They’re sure you suspect they’re dodging the police, the IRS, or a past lover. (More likely they just didn’t want to mollify a grouchy Mom while you were listening.) Or perhaps they do talk to their caller — but your presence cramps their style. Don’t do this to people!!!

The moment a friend, colleague, boss or anyone you’re talking to has a phone call, RUN! Pretend you are intensely interested in the hideous painting hanging just outside their office; Or you’re dying of thirst and welcome the opportunity to head for the water cooler down the hall. Or (an all-time favorite,) you suddenly develop an urgent need for the restroom.

Don’t return to their office until their conversation is over. You’ll see their grateful smile as you come back — AFTER they’ve hung up!


December, 2008


No, not the baby’s one — the office meeting one. It’s sounds devious but it’s really not. It just generates more respect for your ideas. Arrive at the gathering early and scan the room for the highest chair. Then place your soon-to-be-more-respected tush upon it. All the chairs the same height? If they’re the spinnable type, spin yours up to the highest position. Or, if there is a couch in the meeting room, nonchalantly sit on the arm. The goal is to be the highest participant in the room so, when you speak, people must look up to you. Just be careful if you think your CEO knows this trick. Then take the second highest seat!


November, 2008


When introducing a subject, your colleague asks you “Have you ever heard of . . .so-and-so?” No matter how obscure the person, place, or thing your questioner is referring to, you feel like a dummy. Don’t do that to others! Save them the humiliation of having to confess their ignorance.
Amend that to “You may have heard of so-and-so,” then go QUICKLY into your point before they are forced to blush and mumble “no.” Or lie about the extent of their knowledge . . .”


October, 2008


Sure, everyone loves hearing their name. But if you say it at the beginning of your phone, email, or live conversation, it loses 90% of its power. Save it for near the END, and it gives much more punch. It’s especially powerful with customer service people. Scribble their name on a pad when you first hear it. Then don’t use their name until the END of the communication when you can say something like, “Thanks, you’ve been a great help, Bob." (You can bet Bob is going to give you even better service now!) And using a friend's or new acquaintance’s name at the END of your conversation creates a warmer and deeper bond: “It’s been wonderful taking with you, Patricia.”


September, 2008


The next time your day is interrupted by a telemarketer, interrupt and say, “Go ahead. I teach telemarketing. I want to hear how good you are.” The next thing you’ll hear is “click.” They almost always hang up!

My conscience doesn’t bother me saying that because I actually do train people in telephone skills. But don’t worry about your teensy white lie. Crossing your fingers and telling them that is only fair — considering how many lies telemarketers tell you!


August, 2008


Try it! Re-read any e-mail you’ve recently sent. Then delete the word “I” as many times as you can. The message is still clear. (For example, “Want to confirm our date” rather than “I want to confirm our date.”) The fewer times you use “I” in your messages, the more relevance and punch it has for your reader.

In fact, even in conversation, say the word “I” as seldom as possible. Therapists calculate inmates of mental institutions say “I” and “me” twelve times more often than residents of the outside world. As patients’ conditions improve, the number of times they use the personal pronoun also diminishes. In other words, dropping the word “I” is a pretty smart thing to do!


July, 2008


You receive a gift, a favor, a sacrifice, an anything that you want to (or must!) thank someone for. Of course they appreciate (or expect) a thank-you note or E-mail. But here's a way to thrill the giver as well (as get on their "extraordinary people" list.)
Two weeks after your first thank-you note, ponder the pleasure their present gives you. Then write a SECOND thank-you communication. It will warm their heart — and their feelings for you!
Now, lest that sound self-serving, sending a second thank-you is, well, a very nice thing to do. Making people happy, even it hadn't make you special in their eyes, is well worth the effort.


June, 2008


When agreeing with someone, most (unenlightened) people bow their head first down, then up. What’s wrong with this choreography? Unfortunately, a bowed head subliminally signifies subservience, sadness, humiliation. I call it the “Beat me again master” position.

Conversely, when your head is held high, you exude self-assurance and energy. Think about it. You throw your head back when laughing, when winning, when feeling full of pride.

On to your notable nod: When you want to nod to show agreement with what someone is saying, don’t nod your head down and look like you’re eating humble pie. Starting tomorrow, nod your head UP from neutral, then back down to parallel. Now you are not humbly bowing to them. You are confidently gracing them with your agreement.


May, 2008


“Everyone? That’s impossible,” you rightfully protest. I agree, it sounds like an outlandish exaggeration. But it’s not. Read on.
The technique is similar to “The 6 Second Kiss” which is, quite simply (though seldom practiced,) planting 3 kisses a day on your spouse or partner – each lasting 6 seconds. (Gentlemen, forget the “peck” when you’re going to or coming home for work – give her the full six seconds!)
But we’re not talking partners, kisses, and 6 seconds here. We’re talking about almost everybody, warm gazes and 3 seconds. When, say, a colleague or employee enters your office, immediately stop what you’re doing and reward them with a deferential 3 second gaze. Shine that 3 seconds of sunshine on a passing acquaintance, the pharmacist who fills your prescription, the gas station attendant who comes to your car to pump gas.
And, of course, don’t forget your spouse. Put down that newspaper or tear your eyeballs away from the tube when he or she comes into the room. A respectful 3-second gaze can make a world of difference in all your personal and professional relationships.


April, 2008


“You too.”
“You too.”
“Have a nice day.”
“You too.”

That knee-jerk reaction to “Have a Nice Day” is so embedded most people’s tongues that only surgery could extract it.

Want to turn your response from ordinary to original, dull to dynamic? Here’s how.

The next time someone mumbles “Have a nice day,” let your eyes light up, give them a sincere smile, and turn directly toward them as though you’d never heard that inspired salutation before. Then happily exclaim something effervescent like, “Why, thank you very much. I really hope you have a nice day too.” You’ll leave them speechless and pleased at their own originality for having wished you a nice day.

But say it with sincerity and warmth. Don’t go overboard lest they think you are sarcastic — and sadistic!


March, 2008


Does your outgoing voicemail message say, "I'm either on the other line or away from my desk?" Whoops, please change it! Some very smart callers told me, "Leil, it makes you sound like a slave who is chained to her desk — and must make apologies for escaping the trap momentarily! And besides, it's OBVIOUS you're not there — so why waste my time telling me?" With much embarrassment, I immediately changed it to the friendlier, "I'm sorry I missed your call." Try it, you'll find people leaving YOU much friendlier messages.


February, 2008


You know how you pass people in the hall every day at work, look at each other fleetingly, and slightly smile as you pass? Well, here's a simple takes-a-split-second-only technique to increase everyone's respect (and affection) for you. Whenever the two of you pass, let your eyes be the LAST to break away from theirs. They continue walking — but with subliminal warm ‘n fuzzies — because they feel you were genuinely interested in them. (And then a funny thing happens. Because you acted like you were more interested in them, you BECOME more interested in them!)


January, 2008


Sure, everyone likes to receive a compliment from you. But why not make it a double-whammy for them? Give them . . .

1) The GRAPEVINE COMPLIMENT Do not bestow a compliment directly upon the receiver. Choose one of their friends to be the "carrier pigeon." Here's an example: You tell Darlene (who is Diana's best friend) that you think that Diana is a dynamic woman. Rest assured that Diana will hear of your admiration before the sun sets. It has traveled straight to her heart through the most reliable information highway in history – the grapevine! And the beauty of it is that she can't accuse you of being a flatterer – because you didn't compliment her. You told her friend!

2) The HEARSAY COMPLIMENT. This one thrills the recipient. Suppose Jill says something complimentary to you about Jack. Run, do not walk, to Jack and say, "You know, Jack, the other day Jill said . . . whatever." Now Jack feels doubly good because both you and Jill know he's a great 'ol guy.

OK OK, just one more — the IMPLIED COMPLIMENT. This one is very subtle. You don't compliment. You merely imply the listener's magnificent qualities. Try saying something like this to them, "Well, Paul, a person as perceptive as you . . . etc." Or, "Susan, someone as slender as you . . . etc." I fell for it once when a man about my age said, "Leil, you're much too young to remember this, but . . .” I was deaf to the rest of his sentence because I was so delighted with his mistake. Er, I mean, implied compliment.


December, 2007


You're dashing to a date, an appointment, a something-or-other. Rats, a chatty colleague spots you and drawls an untimely "Well, hello, let's chat for while" grin.

Usually poor souls ambushed like this furrow their brows; blurt out rapid excuses while prancing in place like a horse being kept from his feed bag; then gallop off. That wins you about as much respect as "Alice in Wonderland's" frenzied White Rabbit – and makes them feel like the Mock Turtle.

No, here's your strategy. As soon as you spot your colleague, come to a smiling and screeching halt. Then YOU give that leisurely "Let's chat" smile. And, yes, do chat — for about ten seconds!

Then, so you don't look like you're making a prison break, gracefully explain your rush and take your leave unhurriedly. However, when you're just a few feet away, pick up your pace to practically a sprint — to support your story. Now they feel valued, you retain their respect, and it doesn't take any longer than doing the insulting white rabbit break dance.


November, 2007


If your company permits, do not have your direct line or phone extension printed on your business card — and definitely not your cell. Why? Because it makes you look humbly accessible to anybody. Instead, hand-write it and say, “Here is my direct number (or extension) which gets you right through to me.” This makes the recipient feel honored that you’re helping them bypass the militia of gatekeepers who protect you from common callers.

A final caveat on business cards: When someone gives you theirs, never just plunk it in your purse or pocket. Read it slowly as though you were inspecting a rare gem.

Then respectively tuck it away in a safe place like a hundred dollar bill.


October, 2007


All right already. I know this one sounds subjective and snooty. Not to mention pretentious. But bear with me, we’re only talking semantics here.

Of course, all of us who work at an office have our "lunch hour," — an hour more or less to eat. But, instead of saying, "during my lunch hour," substitute "at lunch," or "during lunch," or "about 12:30" — anything except "my lunch HOUR."

"Why?" you understandably ask. Because, by saying "HOUR," you are diminishing yourself. Between the lines, the listener hears that somebody above you dictates your schedule.

But, by using one of the suggested substitute phrases, you sound self-directed, not directed by someone else. No matter what professional position you hold, or how structured your day, you have the liberty to think and speak like the Captain of Your Own Ship. And Captains aren't told how long they have for lunch.


September, 2007


Everyone? That’s impossible you rightfully comment. I agree, it does sound like an outlandish exaggeration. But it’s not. Read on.

Have you heard of the “6 seconds Kiss” in a marriage or love affair? Quite simply (though seldom practiced,) it is giving your partner several kisses every day that last at least 6 seconds They are most effectively bestowed when greeting or saying goodbye to your partner if you’re going to be away more than a few hours. . It can be to/from a trip; to/from work; – – -or anytime just to show your love.

But we’re not talking just about partners, kisses, and 6 seconds here. We’re talking about almost everybody, warm gazes and 3 seconds.

You can grant this respectful 3 second gaze to, say, a colleague who enters the room in a meeting; a cashier who takes your money at the pharmacy, the gas station attendant who comes to your car to pump gas.

And, yes, your significant other. Put down that newspaper or rip your eyes away from the tube when he or she comes back from having spent some time in the other room. Look lovingly at your partner of at least 3 seconds.
(Just don’t get this suggestion mixed up and kiss the gas station attendant for 6 seconds.)


August, 2007


Say someone phones you and, as often happens, you have no idea who the heck this caller is.
He says, "Hi, this is Peter."
The normal reaction is, "Uh, um, oh, yeah, Peter WHO?"
Instead, try this little trick to save their ego, and hide your memory lapse.
Hi says: "Hi this is Peter."
You say smilingly, "Hi . . . I know TWO Peters. Which one is this?"
When he gives his last name, sound like you are pleased that it is THIS Peter, not that OTHER one."
But, whoops, suppose even his full name doesn't kick start your memory? Then proceed to Step 2. Say, "Hello, Peter, good to hear from you! It's been a long time. Remind me of what we were last talking about." If you really do know the guy, you've saved him the humiliating task of explaining who he is.
But, what if their name is Ichabod, Ellsworth or Esmeralda? (It's not too likely that you know two Ichabods, Ellsworths or Esmeraldas.) In that case, skip step 1, and proceed directly to step 2.
This little trick is not 100% fool-proof. But it's a heckuva lot better than,

"Uh, um, WHO???"


July, 2007


You’ve just emailed someone who is a Very Important Person to you.
They don’t respond immediately? “No big deal,” you say to yourself.
2nd day: No response. “Hmm,” you surmise, “maybe he’s out of town and just not checking his messages.”
3rd day: To boost your faltering ego, you speculate. “His spam catcher must have caught it by mistake.”
4th day: Insecurity sets in. “Well, I guess I’m pretty low priority to him.”
5th day – Paranoia engulfs you, and you feel miserable. But, as usual when our self esteem is attacked, it turns to resentment against the perpetrator of misery. “How do you like that? The *#@! rat is ignoring me!”

Don’t be one of those thoughtless non-responders. Remember, YOU are a VIP to certain people, and your E-mail is important to them.

Never let the sun set and rise twice before acknowledging someone’s msg – even if it’s just a few words. You ask, “But what if I don’t have the time to deal with it just now. “But don’t I somehow lose “prestige” if I answer immediately? Answer: Definitely not if you shoot back just half a sentence, “Hi Linda, received your msg. and will respond shortly. Thanks.” How long does that take? Use your own words, of course, but you get the idea. You ask, They will greatly appreciate it – and respect you for your thoughtfulness. (Then, if you take the 5 days to give the more lengthy response, they’ll know it’s because you’re busy. Your half sentence shows them respect.

If you’re REALLY busy and don’t have time for even a one liner, make a “stationary” response you can click on. How about, “Hi, I received your msg and look forward to responding in a few days. I’m a bit under the gun right now” – or something like that in your own words or degree of formality.


June, 2007


It is my obligation to alert you that when you hug someone, he or she subliminally senses your sincerity. Basically there are two categories of hugs. There is the sincere kind that long-lost friends give each other when reunited, — and loving spouses share when celebrating their anniversary. Young lovers discovering their newfound ecstasy express their affection with this genuine embrace.

Then, unfortunately, there is the counterfeit category. It’s the kind of insincere clasp that cutthroat competing employees assault each other with at the company holiday party. We’re practically all guilty of giving this fake hug to so called “friends” when meeting or parting. fix

So how can you tell if an embrace is affectionate or artificial? Here’s where the rubber really hits the road in hugging sincerity: UNCOMFORTABLE HUGGERS PAT EACH OTHER’S BACKS!

When you throw your arms around someone and seconds later your hands transmogrify into flippers on your hugee’s back, it signals, “OK, times up. Let’s end this hugging bit. I’m not enjoying it.” Hand flapping discloses discomfort with the closeness.

Hug or don’t hug. But don’t hug and pat at the same time. It mitigates the authenticity of your embrace and makes you look like a hypocrite to people sensitive enough to read your body language.


May, 2007


If someone asks you the same question twice, don’t embarrass them by answering with precisely the same words. Rescue them from that mortifying moment when they realize, “Whoops, I already asked that.” For example, someone inquires, “What year did you graduate?” You answer, “In 1986.” Forgetting they had asked, later in the conversation, they again pose the question, “What year did you graduate?” Don’t repeat 1986”“. That makes it obvious to one and all that they weren’t listening.

Save their face, (and their friendship,) by answering their repetitive question with different words. This time answer “Ten years ago.” They now happily carry on the conversation oblivious to the fact they had screwed up by asking you twice.

Yes, you are being kind by rescuing them from their embarrassment. But it redounds to your benefit as well. Why? A funny thing happens to people. Even though they’ve made the big blooper, their well deserved humiliation later turns to subconscious resentment of you.


April, 2007

IGNORE THE VIP . . . sort of

There you are, congenially chatting with a small circle of people, only ONE of which is a Very Important Person to you. To the knowledge of all (including the VIP) he or she can hire you, fire you, promote you, make you rich, famous, or a star. Or perhaps this VIP is a celebrity, or can get you into the country club you've been salivating to join. No matter, this VIP knows you want something from them.

Should you fawn all over them? Definitely not. Should you play up to them? Of course not. But, wait a minute; shouldn't you at least pay a little more attention to them than the others? And the answer is – "NO!" In fact, give more deference to some of the others in the little gathering. You are now elevated to VIP status yourself.

A bonus of paying equal attention to everyone in the group is that you make them feel good, and you earn the affection and respect of all.


March, 2007


If you want to win esteem in embarrassing moments (theirs,) simply “don’t notice” your friends’ mi nor spills, slips, fumbles and blunders. Obviously ignore burps, coughs, hiccups, and all other signs of human frailty in your fellow mortals. If one of your companions suffers the humiliation of audibly passing gas, and should you wink, chuckle, hoot, or show any recognition of his biological blooper, he may return your cheap smile with a humiliated one of his own. But, you’ll lose points in his estimation.

And, say at lunch, a rushing tide of their spilled Coke is flooding across the table for a direct hit, and it will be impossible to ignore by the time it floods your lap. Simply deftly flip your napkin to obstruct the tabletop tidal wave, and try not to miss a syllable of the sentence you started before their mortifying gaffe. On such small sands the castles of respect are built.