Category Archives: Fun

Improving Email Communications with ToutApp


We all know how important email communications are, so I’m not going to belabor that point here.  The way you handle outgoing messages and manage your inbox says a lot about how you conduct yourself professionally.  Sending the right message at the right time can result in leads, sales and more – while the wrong combination of these elements can tarnish your reputation and affect your career in a negative way.

So if you feel like your inbox has gotten the upper hand in your relationship, it’s important to look into solutions that’ll help you manage your email communications as effectively as possible.  ToutApp is one such tool that offers a combination of different features – from email scheduling to CRM tracking and more – making it a great option for busy professionals who are feeling overwhelmed by the email monster.

In the interest of full disclosure, the ToutApp team reached out to me to write this post.  I’m not being compensated for it in any way, but I do think it’s a legitimately cool tool that you should check out if you want to improve the efficiency of your email communications.

Anyways…  That aside, the following are a few of the different features that I think make ToutApp worthy of your consideration:

Email tracking

There’s nothing like sending off an email to a hot new contact and then waiting (impatiently) for a response.  If that return message never arrives, you’re stuck wondering what happened with your once promising lead.  Even though the answer may be something as simple as your message being buried in an overly-cluttered inbox, it’s hard not to read more into delayed email responses.

For this reasons, one of my favorite features on tools like ToutApp is email tracking.  Tout’s particular email tracking program allows you to see – in real-time – who’s opening your email messages and when they’re doing it.  There’s no more watching and wondering – just the data you need to make informed decisions about your business relationships.

Email templates

Another great feature that ToutApp offers is email templating – which, if you send as many email messages as I do, is a pretty big deal!

Basically, email template programs allow you to save the chunks of text that you type over and over again as templates that can be called up and personalized with a few quick key strokes.  There’s no more painstaking re-writing of similar messages – all you need are a few clicks to automatically pull up message templates and CRM info using ToutApp.

Email scheduling

Email scheduling is another “big deal” feature that I love seeing in programs like ToutApp.  This service allows you to compose email messages whenever you have time and then schedule them to be sent out later.  As an example, if you have an important message to share, email scheduling allows you to avoid sending it during periods when your contacts’ focus will be low – say, on Monday mornings at 9:00am.

It might seem like a pretty simple thing, but the ability to have your message delivered at the exact right point in your contacts’ days shouldn’t be underestimated!

Gmail and CRM integration

One final ToutApp feature that I want to give a shout out to is its suite of different integrations.  Not only can you use the program from within a number of popular CRM systems, ToutApp will automatically sync your CRM database with contact information (depending on how you’ve set up certain parameters).  These integrations can save you a serious amount of time when it comes to both contact management and email communications.

If you pay for some of the service’s professional plans, you’ll have access to a ton more features than I have time to go into here – including website tracking, custom link domains and analytics reports.  The company also offers plenty of great training products designed to make your email communications as effective as possible.

Initially, my biggest concern about the tool is its cost, which seems to be much higher than the prices offered by competitors like Yesware.  According to the company:

“Yesware is a good tool for basic view and click tracking. However, with Tout, you’ll not only get view and click tracking, but we take it a step further with Website Tracking, Presentation Tracking, deeper integrations into the CRM, ability to group contacts and send them emails with a click and even meeting scheduling. Enterprise teams also favor us because of our white-labeling options around email tracking. If you’re looking for basic email tracking, Yesware works. If you’re looking for a complete sales communications platform, you use Tout.”

So I’ll leave it up to you.  If your email tracking needs aren’t that complicated, Yesware might be able to provide all the features you’re looking for at a lower cost.  However, if you want to get more in-depth with your email management processes, the added functionality of Tout might be worth the extra expense.

In addition, keep in mind that ToutApp offers a free “lite” version that should give you a feel for whether or not the service is right for you.  If any of the services described above sound interesting, I’d recommend taking a look at the company’s website in order to determine whether or not this particular tool will met your email management needs.

7 Business Books You Must Read

I don’t know about you, but I know plenty of people who have wound up in business-related fields without any type of formal training in the subject.  Sure, I’ve worked with a few MBA grads in my day, but for the most part, the people who wind up in management positions come from a more diverse variety of backgrounds than you might expect.

As a result, plenty of today’s corporate leaders lack a full understanding of the foundational principles of business.  While they may have picked up enough on the job to be successful, chances are they’ll still benefit from knowledge gained by reading through the following classic business books:

Book #1 – “Good to Great” – Jim Collins

“Good to Great” is a seminal business strategy book written by industry authority Jim Collins.  The text focuses on case studies of companies that have made the leap from “good” companies to “great” companies, in addition to sustaining these results for at least fifteen years.  By comparing successful institutions like Coca Cola, Merck and Intel, Collins was able to draw conclusions on the leadership styles and corporate cultures needed to achieve greatness – making this a fascinating read for managers at all levels.

Book #2 – “How to Win Friends and Influence People” – Dale Carnegie

Let’s face it – we could all stand to be a bit more persuasive in our careers.  That’s why I’m always quick to recommend Dale Carnegie’s classic text, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

Inside, you’ll find expert advice on how to communicate more effectively – which Carnegie sees as a more important predictor of business success than great ideas or instincts.  It’s a great choice for anyone who struggles to connect with others (and therefore misses out on the substantial business benefits of being able to do so).

Book #3 – “Think and Grow Rich” – Napoleon Hill

In “Think and Grow Rich,” author Napoleon Hill shares the sixteen lessons he learned from studying individuals who became self-made successes throughout their lives.  Even if your primary goal isn’t to become financially wealthy, you’ll still find plenty of great information on how to achieve greater success in all areas of your life within this classic, Depression-era book.

Book #4 – “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” – Steven Covey

Surely you’ve heard of Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” before, as it’s featured on nearly every list of “business books to read” ever written.

But even if you’ve seen it mentioned before, how many of you can say that you’ve not only read it, but are actively implementing the positive habits described in the book?  Chances are, we could all use a refresher on the guiding principles of effectiveness outlined in Covey’s text – not to mention the kick in the pants needed to put them into action!

Book #5 – “The Magic of Thinking Big” – David Schwartz

The first four books on this list have been mostly strategy-oriented – that is, you should read them for concrete ideas on how to improve your personal productivity and business growth.

However, Schwartz’s entry to this list – “The Magic of Thinking Big” – is a little different.  Instead of focusing on business success, this book provides both the motivation and the specific techniques needed to help you achieve satisfaction in all areas of your life.  If you’re feeling stuck in your current career path or find yourself unable to get out of a rut in your personal life, it’s an absolute “must read!”

Book #6 – “Awaken the Giant Within” – Tony Robbins

As with “The Magic of Thinking Big,” Tony Robbins’ classic text, “Awaken the Giant Within” is based on the idea that we’re all innately powerful and talented, but that we occasionally need help channeling this inner power into tangible benefits within our lives.

“Awaken the Giant Within” is a long book, and the amount of research covered can feel a bit technical.  It’s also one that you need to be ready to apply to your life in order to get the greatest possible benefit from the book.  However, if you’re willing to make the slog through it and implement the principles described within Robbins’ book, you’ll find yourself better prepared to tackle major challenges that arise within your life.

Book #7 – “Getting Things Done” – David Allen

Finally, add another entry to the “read and then implement” category with David Allen’s book, “Getting Things Done.”  “Getting Things Done” – or “GTD” as it’s referred to by its practitioners – is a method of organization and task management that’s widely praised by both users and productivity experts alike.

If you find yourself struggling to maintain order and clarity within your business and professional lives, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this classic book today!

Are there any other books you’d like to see added to this list?  Share your own business book recommendations in the comments section below!

How Mitt Romney Won His First Presidential Debate

No matter what your political persuasion is, it’s hard to argue with the fact that Mitt Romney soundly defeated incumbent Barack Obama in the presidential candidates’ first debate meet-up on October 3rd, 2012.  In fact, according to a CNN/ORC International poll conducted immediately after the debate, “67% of debate watchers questioned said that Romney won.  One in four said Obama was victorious.”

That’s a pretty big margin for a candidate going up against a man known as one of the strongest orators of his generation!

Interestingly, Romney’s win can be largely attributed to his debate style.  His victory didn’t come as the result of a battle of wits (political organization ThinkProgress found that Romney told 27 myths in just 38 minutes) – and it certainly wasn’t the result of a detailed, well-articulated vision for advancing America (as nearly all political pundits agreed that Romney’s assertions and promises were pretty slim on actual substance).

Instead, Romney won by simply appearing more presidential than Obama – a fact that offers some interesting lessons for people who are trying to become more persuasive in their personal and professional lives.

Throughout the October 3rd debate, Romney aggressively attacked President Obama’s statements – even going so far as to interrupt moderator Jim Lehrer on several occasions in order to call for the time owed to his rebuttals.  While some viewers interpreted these behaviors as arrogant and condescending, most viewed Romney’s mannerisms as assertive and, well, presidential.

This came in sharp contrast to President Obama’s performance.  While Obama usually comports himself in a similarly eloquent, self-assured manner, his behaviors in this first debate were described by pundits as listless and lethargic.  Though some believe that Obama’s intention was to appear stately and dignified, the overall effect was of someone who’s been beaten down by the rigors of the country’s toughest job – certainly not as compelling a character as Romney presented.

So what conclusions, if any, can be drawn from the candidates’ performance and applied to our personal lives?  Here are three lessons that I believe should be addressed:

Lesson #1 – Style matters

Surprisingly, the winner of the October 5th presidential debate wasn’t determined based on the number of falsehoods claimed by either candidate, nor the visions for America’s future as presented by Obama or Romney.  In fact, Romney was hailed as the winner largely because of the style of his performance.

Where Obama was lackluster, Romney was fiery.  Where Obama’s body language signaled defeat, Romney’s showcased a man ready to take on a leadership role.  Again, it doesn’t matter which political party you support – either way, that’s some powerful stuff!

Keeping in mind the performance by both candidates in the debate, think about how your body language, tone and posture all contribute to the impression that people hold of you.  Whether you want to be perceived as authoritative, educated, free-spirited or competent, take these elements into consideration to ensure that your outward appearance matches your inner desires.

Lesson #2 – Perfect practice leads to perfect performance

Entering this first presidential debate, Romney did hold one significant advantage.  Throughout the rigorous Republican primary season, he participated in nearly 20 separate debates – all of which gave him the opportunity to hone his oratory skills and his ability to fire back when challenged.

Obama, of course, hasn’t had to participate in a debate since his first election in 2008 – and it showed!

From this, you should take away the importance of preparing for the challenging situations you expect to encounter in the future.  If, for example, you plan to ask for a raise in the future, which do you think will produce better results?  Approaching your boss to make your request without any prior planning, or taking the time to rehearse your pitch with several friends and family members before asking for the salary you deserve?

By building experience in these challenging situations, you’ll be better able to execute your ideas in a way that’s easily understood, without all the nervous habits that might otherwise betray your confidence.

Lesson #3 – Sound bites are valuable

Finally, keep in mind how powerful sound bites can be in the political sphere and attempt to capture this benefit in your own life.  To see how to do this, take a look at the following statement made by Mitt Romney in the first presidential debate:

“[M]y number-one principal is, there will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit. I want to underline that: no tax cut that adds to the deficit.”

This statement is so memorable and well-crafted that it’s virtually guaranteed to stick in the minds of debate viewers.  Whether or not it’s actually true doesn’t matter as much – the statement’s real value lies in how likely viewers are to retain the message.

The same principle can be applied to your own communications.  People love to listen to stories, and we respond well to short, powerful statements like those used by Romney in the recent debate.  While it can be tricky to do this well when speaking normally in everyday life, it’s worth practicing conveying your thoughts in simple, to-the-point messages that are likely to stick with your listeners and bring about the changes that you want.

Do you agree that Mitt Romney won the debate?  Share your viewpoint in the comments below, as well as any other lessons you feel can be drawn from the two candidates’ performance.  (Just be sure to keep it civil – this is a blog on becoming more persuasive, not a place for heated political discussion!)

Image: Austen Huffold

10 Great Lessons from 10 Great Leaders

Usually, this site consists of me giving you guys advice based on my own personal experiences in business and in life.  But today, I want to turn the tables and share some of my favorite business lessons from some of the greatest leaders throughout history.  I hope you find them as motivational and inspiring as I do!

Lesson #1 – “Whenever you can, act as a liberator. Freedom, dignity, wealth–these three together constitute the greatest happiness of humanity.”  –Cyrus the Great

We’re all working towards something in our personal lives, whether it’s a corner office, a better title or a higher salary.  But while it’s fine to have these goals, I think it’s also important to keep these things in perspective.  Pursuing wealth is fine, but should be done in the context of providing liberation, freedom and dignity whenever possible as well.

Lesson #2 – “America is too great for small dreams.”  –Ronald Reagan

From time to time, I catch myself thinking too small.  The world – and this country in particular – is full of opportunities, so it’s important to keep in mind that thinking small serves no one.  Shoot for brilliant, inspiring, passionate projects – that way, even if you fall short, you’ll still have accomplished something worthwhile.

Lesson #3 – “As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate … When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!”  – Lao-Tsu

There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing newly-annointed leaders in their first professional managerial roles trying to bludgeon others into accepting their authority.  I love this quote because I believe it underscores the true role that leaders should play in their positions – supporting, challenging and motivating others without letting their egos cause them to disrupt group productivity for personal gain.

Lesson #4 – “The price of greatness is responsibility.”  –Winston Churchill

Responsibility isn’t always a fun concept to wrap your mind around, but it’s essential.  While I’d love to stay out late every night, eating rich foods and drinking good beer, I also have to accept that the other priorities in my life make this a bad idea.  It isn’t always fun to acknowledge these competing priorities, but I also recognize that it’s the price of achieving greatness in other areas of my life.

Lesson #5 – “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”  -John F. Kennedy

Realistically, you’re never going to reach “the top of your game,” because your game should be changing as you continue to grow, learn and reach new heights in your career.  However, even if you’ve attained the leadership roles you always envisioned, it’s important to keep in mind just how important learning is to continued growth and success.  Never stop learning!

Lesson #6 – “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.”  –Richard Branson

I can’t tell you how many great ideas I’ve had – and then failed to act on…  And yes, while it’s easy to get down on myself for missing out on these opportunities, I try to remind myself that there will be more chances in the future.

Lesson #7 – “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.”  –Steve Jobs

I truly wish that we, as a nation, could get over the crippling fear we have of failure.  If anything, failures are lessons that help us to achieve greater things down the road – so they should be celebrated, not despised!

Lesson #8 – “The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.”  –Confucius

Although this lesson might seem “wordy,” what it really boils down to is that it takes practice and consistent effort to succeed in the long run.  When approaching any new challenge, I try to remember that it takes approximately 10,000 hours to attain mastery in any subject – and that those 10,000 hours of tool sharpening are just as important as reaching my final goals will be.

Lesson #9 – “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. Thoughts are things! And powerful things at that, when mixed with definiteness of purpose, and burning desire, can be translated into riches.”  –Napoleon Hill

I love the idea that “thoughts are things.”  While I’m not going to go down the whole “Secret” route (really, I’ve never heard a bigger load of BS), I do think that mindset matters when it comes to success.  If your thoughts aren’t in-line with the business priorities you’ve set for yourself, you need to either reevaluate your goals or get your thoughts on board with your aims.

Lesson #10 – “It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.”  – Adlai Stevenson

A big part of achieving great things in your life – whether in your business activities or personal endeavors – is visualizing yourself in your desired role.  If you can’t even take this image seriously in your mind, how can you ever hope to make it a reality in your life?!

Of course, these are just a few of my favorite lessons.  Now I want to hear which ones motivate you!  Share the business or life lessons you’ve used to guide your career in the comments section below.

Are You Intriguing? 3 Ways to Seem More Exciting

Boring people don’t go very far in their careers.  Boring people don’t get invited to the best parties.  And boring people definitely don’t get to go home at the end of the night with the best looking singles in the bar.

Long story short – if you’re boring (or, even if you simply come across as boring), chances are good that you aren’t living the life you could be!

Think about the people in your life that seem exciting or intriguing.  What perks do they have access to, simply because they appear to be doing more with their lives?  Maybe they’re offered more interviews or promotions, simply because people want to be associated with them.  Or maybe they have an easier time meeting new dates, as their larger networks make it possible for them to receive more recommendations.

If you don’t feel like you’re as exciting as you could be, take a look at the following three tricks on how to seem more intriguing:

Trick #1 – Do something different

The fastest, easiest way to make yourself seem more exciting and confident is to simply do more stuff.  Sounds too easy to be true, right?

In fact, what often makes people interesting is the activities they involve themselves in.  The cute girl down the hall might not seem nearly as intriguing if she didn’t spend her nights salsa dancing, while the fact that the guy in the next department over spent his vacation surfing in Australia gives him definite brownie points when it comes to being exciting.

So if the key is doing something, what should you do?  Here are a few options to consider:

  • Do charity work for an organization you support
  • Take a cooking class
  • Learn a new language
  • Take up a new instrument
  • Attend dance classes
  • Try new restaurants in your area
  • Join a book club
  • Travel to somewhere new

Really, your chosen pursuit doesn’t need to be glamorous.  As long as there’s something that’s captivating your attention and providing fulfillment beyond going home at night and watching TV, you’ll automatically seem more interesting to your peers.

Trick #2 – Meet new people

The second key to coming across as more exciting is to meet new people.  Here’s why…

As adults, many of us fall into ruts.  We hang out with the same people and we do the same things over and over again.  As a result, we know pretty much all there is to know about our chosen companions – and this loss of excitement threatens to make our relationships boring.

The obvious solution is to get out and make new friends.  When you have different groups of friends, you’ll naturally appear more intriguing, as you’ll occasionally find yourself in the position of having to turn down invitations to events.  And when you turn down these requests for your company, people tend to assume that it’s because you have bigger and better things on your plate – thus, making you more exciting by comparison.

Fortunately, meeting new people is easy and will likely occur as a result of taking up any of the activities described above.

If, however, you find that invitations to get together aren’t forthcoming from the groups you’ve decided to join, don’t panic – you have two other options:

  • Check out any groups in your area.  This service offers tons of different get-togethers – from hobby groups to outdoor enthusiasts to business networking clubs – all of which have been expressly formed to help people meet others.
  • Be the first to suggest an activity.  You never know who in your life is simply waiting for an opportunity to do something fun, so don’t be afraid to be the person who puts an invitation out first.  Remember, the worst thing your new friends can say is “No,” which leaves you in no worse of a position than you were in before you made the request!

Either of these options will help to broaden your social calendar and make you seem more exciting compared to your inactive peers.

Trick #3 – Keep your ego in check

Finally, keep in mind that – even if you’ve followed these recommendations and immersed yourself in new activities and new groups of friends – part of being intriguing is keeping things to yourself.  Really, there’s nothing intriguing about the guy who spends all Monday morning holding court by the water cooler and sharing every detail of his weekend exploits!

Though it can be tempting to berate your colleagues and acquaintances with tales of how exciting you’ve become, keep your new experiences close to the vest.  Don’t brag about all of your newfound passions, and don’t bully your way into conversations in order to showcase your new hobbies and friends.  Sharing your pursuits in a modest way – and only doing so when it’s appropriate from a conversational standpoint – is the best way to automatically appear more intriguing.

Small Talk 101: How to Make Conversation with Anyone

There’s no arguing with the fact that situations requiring polite small talk can be incredibly uncomfortable.  Whether you’re trying to chat up a new business contact at an industry networking event or simply make casual conversation with distant relatives at a family wedding, finding the right words in a nerve-wracking situation can put some people off of socializing informally entirely!

Don’t be that guy!  Because the strength of our connections often determines how successful we’ll be in our business and personal lives, it’s important to learn how to make conversation with anyone.  The following are a few steps to follow if the thought of making small talk leaves you shaking with fear…

Step #1 – Set Reasonable Expectations

The first thing you need to remember about making appropriate small talk is that nearly everyone feels uncomfortable while doing so.  Sure, you’ll encounter the rare chatterbox who’s as comfortable making conversation with strangers as he is tying his shoes in the morning.  But for the most part, the people you find yourself conversing with are likely every bit as nervous as you are when it comes to speaking with strangers.

So what does this mean for you?  Basically, it’s important to keep in mind that you don’t need to be the most eloquent conversationalist in the world in order to make small talk successfully.  If everyone feels uncomfortable about making polite chit-chat, your conversation partners will likely be so grateful that you’re taking the lead that they won’t even think about judging the topics you’ve chosen!

Step #2 – Identify Environmental Cues

So now that you’ve set your expectations, what should you talk about?  Probably the easiest way to find topics of conversation for use in small talk is to rely on environmental cues.  For example…

  • If you’re at a business networking event, you could ask a new contact, “How’s business going for you?”
  • If you’re at a sporting event, ask your conversation partner, “How often do you come to these games?”
  • If you’re at an industry conference, consider asking, “What do you think about the latest new [product, company or service] announcement?”

If possible, try to stick to topics that require your new contact to expand beyond a simple “Yes” or “No” answer.  Doing so will prevent the conversation from stalling out by giving you the information necessary to expand further on your chosen topic.

Step #3 – Stick with Safe Topics

Of course, in addition to relying on your physical environment to provide clues for your conversations, there are a few topics you’ll want to avoid in all situations.  These include:

  • Anything related to politics
  • Anything related to religion
  • Anything related to issues of race
  • Anything too personal

The idea here is to keep your conversation on a level that all participants can feel comfortable with.  If you don’t know someone’s political preferences or religious background, prying into these areas may result in painful moments.  As an example, asking in-depth questions about a person’s family life may force him into discussing sickness, infidelity or other serious issues that have no place in casual banter.

Step #4 – Ask Questions

While learning to become a better conversationalist is an important part of making good small talk, try to keep your chats from becoming entirely one-sided.  Small talk should be a two-way street, so if you fail to bring the other person into the conversation, you risk coming across as too self-involved or self-interested.

Unfortunately, new and unfamiliar contacts are often hesitant about jumping into the conversation.  To compensate for this, get in the habit of asking questions.  No matter what your contact says throughout your conversation, pay attention to the small details your contact shares that could be used as jumping off points for future questions.

As an example, if – continuing with one of our previous examples – your conversation partner states that, “Business is going well, thanks to our most recent marketing campaign,” you could follow up with additional questions on the elements involved in the campaign, the type of clients its attracted or what partners were involved in the creation of the marketing materials.

Step #5 – Smile

One final tip when it comes to making small talk is to simply smile.  People want to interact with those who seem happy and confident, and a smile goes a long way towards making a good first impression and helping to form these initial connections.

Of course, it’s important not to get too enthusiastic.  If you smile like the Joker or laugh maniacally while attempting to make polite conversation, you’re going to clear the room as quickly as you would with an off-color joke or inappropriate comment.  However, by maintaining a pleasant appearance and demeanor, you’ll be better able to make your contacts feel at ease, resulting in successful, engaging small talk.

Lessons in Persuasion from the 2012 GOP Candidates

As you might expect, political primary campaigns are rife with examples of the nation’s highest ranking politicians making use of classic NLP techniques in order to advance their agendas and persuade voters to sympathize with their positions.  Considering the tremendous amount that’s at stake during these campaigns, politicians and their staff members often utilize any technique that might help give them an edge in a competitive caucus or primary election.

Today, we’ll dissect a few of the most interesting examples in order to see how NLP techniques can be applied across a national scale:

Mitt Romney and Health Care

One of the major challenges facing Romney’s 2012 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination is the 2006 Massachusetts law he championed that required nearly all citizens to obtain health insurance or pay a tax penalty – a bill that’s strikingly similar to the “Obama care” policy most Republicans oppose.  Romney’s challenge, therefore, is to distance himself from accusations of supporting “socialized medicine” without appearing to “flip flop” on the issues that matter to the conservative base.

In a stroke of genius, Romney offered the following statement in the January 26th debate in Jacksonville, FL:

“If you don’t want to buy insurance, then you have to help pay for the cost of the state picking up your bill, because under federal law if someone doesn’t have insurance, then we have to care for them in the hospitals, give them free care. So we said, no more, no more free riders. We are insisting on personal responsibility. Either get the insurance or help pay for your care.”

Romney’s statement highlights the power of an NLP technique known as “conflict integration”, in which two competing, incongruous ideas are rationalized in order to prevent cognitive dissonance from occurring in the mind.  Cognitive dissonance is especially dangerous in the minds of voters, as unresolved feelings of conflict can lead to overall negative impressions of a given political candidate.

In this case, Romney has taken two competing ideas – both that he has supported similar legislation in the past and that he does not support Obama’s implementation – and rationalized them through the use of a third variable.  By spinning the health care debate in terms of personal responsibility and by framing the topic in light of the Republican push for smaller government, Romney is able to minimize potential cognitive dissonance through the use of the conflict integration NLP technique.

Newt Gingrich and the Role of the Media

A few days prior to the January 19th, 2012 Republican primary debate in Florida, Newt Gingrich’s ex-wife, Marianne Gingrich, gave an interview to ABC News in which she revealed secrets that – at least according to media reports before the interview’s release – seemed poised to derail the Gingrich campaign once and for all.

But the fact that the interview’s “big revelation” turned out to be Newt’s somewhat innocuous request for an open marriage isn’t nearly as interesting as how the politician addressed reports about the scandalous nature of the interview’s content in his opening statement at the January 19th debate.

When asked by CNN moderator John King if he wanted to address the allegations of impropriety surrounding the interview’s content, Gingrich responded with the following statement:

“I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office, and I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate with a topic like that.”

In this case, Gingrich’s statement demonstrates a masterful approach to an NLP technique known as re-framing.  Just as picture frames provide the borders by which we interpret the content of a photograph or painting, mental frames exist that give us context for how to perceive the events occurring around us.

Prior to the debate, the media frame being imposed over Marianne Gingrich’s forthcoming interview was one of the “victim wife”, abandoned by a husband whose insatiable lust left her in her time of need.  Rather than try to dispute the charges leveled against him, Newt Gingrich instead re-framed the terms of the discussion to instead paint himself as the victim of an overzealous media given to sensational stories.

By changing the “enemy” in the discussion to the media, Gingrich was able to successfully use NLP-reframing to smooth over those who sympathize with the plight of his ex-wife.

As we’re still months away from having a clear-cut Republican primary winner, it’s likely that we’ll continue to see plenty more examples of NLP techniques being used in political campaigns in order to differentiate the candidates and provide evidence of electability.  Keep your eyes out for more interesting case studies, as it’s almost certain these campaigns will continue to use tried-and-true NLP techniques in order to break away from the pack and clinch the nomination.

Top 50 Blogs on Persuasion


If you are looking to make money, communicate effectively, or build a powerful network of successful people, then these are the blogs or websites you should be reading on a consistent basis:

1. Copy Blogger. It is a blog that provides advice for the other bloggers and marketers on how to be more persuasive in work place.

2. Self Growth. It is a database of information on self improvement (including persuasion) written by famous experts.

3. Harvard Blog. Harvard Business Review brings its readers original research and firsthand perspectives from leading business thinkers around the world.

4. Wev Credible. If you wanted to know how to give a persuasive idea on your website, you should visit Wev Credible.

5. Changing Minds. This blog mentions the inner secrets of persuasion and changing other people.

6. PSY Blog. PsyBlog is an academic psychology blog discussing current research and theories on Persuasion.

7. The Steve Rubel Streem. This blog discusses the Influence and persuasion from the marketing point of view.

8. Personal Branding.  They say that this blog is #1 resource for personal branding and influencing online.

9. Persuasion. The blog discusses persuasion from an experienced eye.

10. Brand Yourself. It is an award winning toolset that helps you proactively manage your online reputation and promote yourself effectively across the social web.

11. Fresh influence.  This blog is specialized in public relations and influencing of people in marketing for the healthcare and technology industries and public affairs.

12. Forum one (Influence). Influence covers innovations in communication, Internet technology and strategy to generate influence on important public policy issues.

13. Terry Dean. Terry Dean gives important information on internet business and advertising persuasion.

14. Sources of insight. This blog isn’t not only about persuasion, but it also is about sharing of knowledge between users.

15. Personal Development blog. This blog offers idea for readers on how to develop their personality.

16. The NLP Company. A blog which gives training in NLP skills and techniques as well as persuasive skills.

17IFTF. IFTF deals with the history, techniques and future of Persuasion.

18. Persuasion Blog. This blog provides Informative articles on how to master speech, focusing on what speakers say and how they present themselves.

19. Earthling communication. This blog provides information on Effective Communication Skills including persuasion and influence.

20. Marketing wisdom. This blog has articles on world leading marketers and how did they persuade their clients.

21. Inside influence. This blog has many Articles about Influence and Persuasion Science and Practice.

22. Site Brand. If you want to be more persuasive and be able to use e-marketing in your favor, this blog is the right start for you.

23. Selling and persuasion techniques. This blog provides you with the Persuasion techniques and selling techniques to boost your income and influence.

24. Check Mate.  This blog provides detailed information and advices for persuasive people who want to be more persuasive.

25. Success Strategies. This blog provides many important techniques of successful influencing on people.

26. World Copywriting blog. David Garfinkel’s cutting-edge copywriting tips, tricks and tested techniques to get you higher response, more sales and increased profits!

27. Better Communication Results. It contains courses and podcasts about influence and Persuasion.

28. Success Technologies. This blog provides Ideas and Information to improve individual’s Business and Life.

29. Dr, Nancy Snow. This blog has series of article about principles of persuasion.

30. Wining Content. This blog answers and important question on how someone makes their content more influential.

31. Internet Influence Magic. This blog offer advice to bloggers on how to make the reader more influenced by the blog’s idea.

32. Healthy Influence. This blog’s goal is to provide updates and applications of persuasion theory and research.

33. The Power of Influence. This blog discusses how the famous companies have their influence on consumers, and how they created this influence.

34. A public speaker blog. It’s the weblog and website of a public speaker, which includes public speaking and persuasion tips.

35. FayZ Space. Discusses the Asian persuasion techniques and applications.

36. Paw Persuasion. This blog is concerned with the persuasion techniques with animals and how to communicate effectively with them.

37. Say It Better. A blog which is about acting in different situations.

38. Compelling Persuasion.  Compelling Persuasion helps you to learn to use Persuasive Communication strategies, tactics and techniques.

39. Influence People. The blog’s name describes its content; it’s a blog that teaches you the method of positive influence.

40. David Stirzaker. David Stirzaker gives some advices and notes in his blog and his book about persuasion and influencing people in marketing and life.

41. Subliminal Persuasion. It is a blog written by David Lakhani to market for Subliminal Persuasive technique and his book on it.

42. Psychology blog. This Oxford University blog identifies influence on people and studies it from a psychological point of view.

43. Net Persuasion. It’s about writing persuasive articles and maintaining websites that is useful for persuading clients.

45Terry Oreilly.  This blog teaches you how to master the art of persuasion by studying the human nature and knowing numerous gales and undertows that effect communication.

46. Tower of Power. Free articles and training in communication and influencing people.

47. Open to Persuasion. It is a social venture that combines argument visualization with collaborative wiki editing to make the best arguments on all sides of every complex aspects of the world.

48. Moving Minds. This is a political and psychological blog which provides much useful news.

49. The Art of Change.  Communication skills and life skills from bestselling author and coach Dr. Rick Kirschner.

50. Coding conduct. It’s about Internet persuasion and designing methods.

If there are other blogs on persuasion that belong on this list, leave a comment below.

5 Steps to Reprogram Your Brain With NLP

Has there ever been a time in your life where someone said something to you that hurt you? Maybe it was someone really close, maybe not, but whatever was said still affects you today? Most people have had some kind of experience in their past that actually prevents them from getting the results they want now, in the present, which ultimately affects their life in the future. Fortunately, our minds are like VCR tapes, they can be recorded over on. You can literally replace an event that’s happened to you in the past with something different or modified.  Can you imagine how much less resistance you’ll have to move forward if that particular event didn’t affect you the way it did?

The following are the 5 steps that you need to go by to reprogram your brain. You can do this yourself, but it would much better if someone did it to you. I’ve written the steps like a script so you can just read it verbatim to yourself or when you do it to someone else.

Step 1

I want you to go back and experience the last 40 seconds of an event that has happened to you in the past that still negatively affects you today. I want you to see the person who is saying the things they are saying. I want you to hear the person who is saying the things that they are saying. I want you to feel the feeling that you felt when the person was saying those things. Close your eyes and begin…

  • What feelings did you get as you played the event in your head? Hurt? Sad? Angry?

Step 2

This time do the same as Step 1 with a few changes. I want you to think you are sitting in a movie theater and watching the event unfold on the movie screen. Change the following about the person who is saying the things that give you the negative feelings you get.

  • Change this person’s nose to a big red clown nose.
  • Change the voice of this person to sound like Mickey Mouse or the Chipmunks.
  • Picture this person picking their nose while talking.

When ready to play the movie, make sure that those three things are happening at the same time… Let’s play the movie!!

Step 3

Now let’s play the movie in slow motion. You see the big red clown’s nose and the person picking their nose. You also hear the Mickey Mouse or chipmunk voice as the person is saying the things this person said.

Step 4

I want you to float out of your movie seat and go sit by the projector. I want you to observe yourself sitting in the seat watching yourself on the big screen as the incident is playing. Everything is the same as step 2. The big red clown’s nose, Mickey Mouse or the Chipmunk’s voice and picking his or her nose while saying the things this person said. I want you to fast forward through the film.

Step 5

Now think of the same incident again. What feelings are you getting? Your sad, hurt, and angry feelings should be gone  and transformed into some kind of humor or amusement.

The 10 Most Persuasive Dudes in Movies

Sometimes it’s a persons looks that gets them ahead in life, sometimes it’s their money, and hey sometimes it’s their family. One skill a person can learn no matter how ugly, fat, stupid, or poor you are is the ability to persuasive. Imagine if you had the ability to be as smooth, charismatic, charming, and linguistically talented as some of the actors below:

Chris Gardner (Will Smith) in Pursuit of Happyness

Don Ready (Jeremy Piven) The Goods

Chris Varick (Vin Diesel) in Boiler Room

Tommy Callahan (Chris Farley) in Tommy Boy

Blake (Alec Baldwin) in Glenngarry Glen Ross

Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) in Jerry Maguire

Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckahart) in Thank You For Smoking

Joey O’Brien (Robin Williams) in Cadillac Man

Jim Young (Ben Affleck) in Boiler Room

Trent (Vince Vaughn) in Swingers

You can get used cars, stocks, or just  pick up on girls, but learn the art of persuasive communication you’ll be able to anything you want ;).