Archives for February 2014

Do You Understand?

We all know someone who uses big words.  You may understand them, you may not, but they risk being misunderstood.  And being understood is the point of communication.  “Know your audience” is a cliché for a reason.

It may not be big words, but the words of your profession or trade.  It could be me talking about equitable subrogation (yes it’s a real term, and no, most of you have no need to know what it means) or a mechanic talking about your car’s camshaft or a doctor explaining a medical condition.  In the right situation I may start with using the term equitable subrogation, but I am going to make sure I go on to explain it in terms my client can understand.

And if your lawyer, mechanic or doctor talks in a way you don’t understand, ask what they are saying.  Make sure you understand.  No one wants to act like they don’t understand what they have been told. But the goal of the speaker is to be understood and the goal of the listener should be to come away understanding what they heard.

If the person you are speaking with doesn’t understand what you said or vice versa, both parties to the conversation lose.  If you remember to communicate to be understood, hopefully this won’t happen to you.

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Machine Gun of Awesomeness! (Or Support People on Your Team and in Your Network)

So I was watching the Olympic coverage last night and saw the women’s snowboard halfpipe competition.  First, these women are fearless, flying into the air on 22 foot high walls, spinning and flipping and making it all look easy. Second, as the final runs were happening and medal positions were being determined seemingly on each run, all of the women in medal contention were supporting each other and congratulating each other. No sour grapes (whether they felt that way inside or not).

Now this is a solo event aside from the idea of women from the same country being on the same “team.”  But whether they were from the United States, Australia or China, the support and camaraderie was apparent.

On her gold medal winning run, Kaitlyn Farrington of the United States, threw down one great trick after another.  When the television announcer said of her run “That was a machine gun of awesomeness,” my first reaction, and that of my family, was to laugh. But upon reflection all of us can have our own machine gun of awesomeness.

I have two partners finishing a four week jury trial.  How cool will it be if they can look back next week and say that the run of presenting their witnesses and cross-examining adverse witnesses was a machine gun of awesomeness? Or if that gal you know who has been working to land the big deal described the work she did to land it and the results as a machine gun of awesomeness?  The point is that any of us can work hard to achieve a goal or have a great result that is worthy of an entertaining catch phrase.

And when that happens, and you have your own machine gun of awesomeness, remember it usually takes more than just you, so remember who you need to thank for their support.  Or when you miss out on your machine gun of awesomeness, whether by a hair or more, provide support and good words to your “team” and honest congratulations to whoever deserves it.

Her is link to a short AP video on the women’s snowboard halfpipe competition:



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Appearances Don’t Matter; Never Assume!

We all run into people who appear to be successful.  It can be how they carry themselves, the car they drive, the clothes they wear or the words they say.  Some are. Some aren’t.  Fake it till you make it, the saying goes.

Of course, some of the most successful people won’t look like many of us picture success.  How about Sam Walton driving a pickup truck his whole life despite starting what is arguably the biggest business in America, Walmart?  Or in your world, what about the mechanic with grease under his fingernails?  Maybe he owns a chain of garages. Maybe not. Maybe he owns one garage, but is successful enough to live comfortably or more and that business put his children through college.

That mechanic may be a great client for me or you. He may need help whether from a lawyer, accountant, financial planner, etc.  Maybe he needs your company to help with SEO and boost where he shows up on Google.

If you make assumptions based on appearances you may miss out on a great connection, client, or even making a new friend.  Of course it is not always so easy to know who to speak to first at an event or gathering.  It shouldn’t take too long to figure out whether the person you are speaking to is someone you want to know or not. Look for real substance and true success.

Try to choose wisely, or move on…

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