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Improve Your Communication Skills before School Starts

Parent Effectiveness Training: The Proven Program for Raising Responsible Children by Dr. Thomas Gordon shocks the reader into an entirely different mindset. There are two main reasons why people fail to implement the principles of Parent Effectiveness Training. Either they feel that they cannot afford to “surrender” their position of power in the parent-child relationship or, the idea of putting so much effort into a new pattern of communication is too exhausting.

The Tuesday Book Club is spending the month of August studying Parent Effectiveness Training. There are free weekly teleconference discussions and if you are in Austin, a free live meeting on the Third Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at Laura's Library at 6:30 PM. Last week our teleconference focused on the front matter and first two chapters. Click here to listen and catch up.

Here are some discussion questions for chapters three through five
that will help you start to use the language of acceptance that is so necessary in a successful relationship.

Parent Effectiveness Training Chapter 3: How to Listen So Kids Will Talk to You: The Language of Acceptance

What example do you have of a child refusing to talk to a parent?

How is unacceptance communicated?

Name two ways to communicate acceptance non-verbally. Try these and record your results.

Write what your exact verbal response would be if your child came home and said:

“School just isn’t for me. I’ve decided not to go to college. There are so many other ways to succeed these days.”

“I wish I could figure out what is wrong with me. Susie used to like me but now she never comes to play. Every time I go to her house, she is playing with Brianna. They have fun and I just feel left out. I hate them.”

“How come I have to mow the lawn? Sam’s family has a gardener to do that stuff. You are not fair! This is child abuse! Nobody works as hard as I do!"

You are having another couple over for dinner. Your five year old burst into the room as you are enjoying the after-dinner conversation and shouts:
“You are all a bunch of stinking fish heads! I hate you and wish you never came here!”

Classify your responses according to the categories in Chapter 3. Do you tend to communicate acceptance or the opposite?

How many meanings does a typical verbal response carry?

Name three “door openers” you are willing to try. Record what happens when you try them out.

What is active listening?

Try it out on a stranger and record what happens.

Why should people learn the skill of active listening?

What are the six requirements for Active listening to be genuine?

What are the risks of active listening?

Parent Effectiveness Training Chapter 4: Putting Your Active Listening Skills to Work

What is the most important action a person must take to master active listening?

When is it most appropriate to use active listening?

What three classifications apply to any situation encountered in a relationship?

Why is it important to classify situations?

What does active listening help the child find?

Name five common mistakes to active listening.

Parent Effectiveness Training Chapter 5: How to Listen to Kids Too Young to Talk Much

What two requirements must be met to use active listening effectively in children less than 4 years old?

How do you “learn to listen accurately to non-verbal communication”?

What can a parent give a child if the parent listens accurately to non-verbal communication?

What do most parents do instead?

What is the long-term result of this choice?

An Unofficial Reader's Journal to Parent Effectiveness Training, based on the 1975 edition of this classic is available as a free resource to you. Please join us Tuesday, August 3 at 7 PM CDT (512) 501-4531 enter the code 121014# for a live discussion of some of these questions and your experience as you read this manual on communication skills that will revolutionize every single relationship in which you engage.

Your comments and questions are welcome below. Remember, all it takes is one idea to change your world.

In friendship,

Lori L. Barr, M. D.
Vice President, MindTamers

Five Loyalty Killers To Stop Now If You Want Your Customer's Ear

Loyalty Killers
Five Behaviors That
Inhibit Customer Allegiance


Excerpted from The No Bull Branding Course Companion, a workbook by Lori L. Barr, M. D., International Health and Lifestyle Expert.  The workbook covers the curriculum of the No Bull Branding Course offered at Wizard Academy, a non-traditional business school in Austin, Texas.   

Just as some habits bolster intra- and inter-organizational loyalty, there are inhibitors that stifle allegiant environment. Below are five inhibiting behaviors contrasted with the steps of business innovators that deepen the bonds.

A fear-based individual or corporate culture can only lurch forward toward goals.  The Board of Directors smothers a bold ad they fear will offend a segment of the customer base.  A web designer is afraid of losing clients if she doesn’t play it safe with SEO.  What one is afraid of does not matter.  Fear is chaotic.  It inhibits coherent decision-making.   Customers buy products and services to minimize their own fears.  They intuit fear much like a horse senses a nervous rider.   They have enough of their own fears.  If they cannot feel the faith a company has in its own solutions, they will keep looking for another answer.  Business innovators weed out ideas and routines that inject fear into their production line.  As a result, they glide along the path to their goals.

Blur Reliability and Predictability
Customers want reliable solutions to their problems.  They want a pain reliever to work as well tomorrow as it did yesterday.  Reliability is key in helping the customer develop repeat purchasing habits.   Predictability, in contrast, is a magic cloak that renders a service invisible to the client.  The business leader who underestimates the mind as an adept at ignoring the boring is doomed to invisibility.  Small business owners are tempted to spend their entire budget on one great ad and then use it everywhere all the time.  When it is overplayed, the customer’s mind searches elsewhere.  Innovators seek ways to add novelty and surprise to their presentation without a sacrifice of the product’s reliability.

Misunderstand a Brand
Entrepreneurs and inventors may focus inward as they deliver an idea from conception to production since this is “their baby”.  Advisors encourage them, “Establish your brand!”  Those mentors fail to remind their protégés of the historic use of brands and how that impacts a customer’s thinking.  Ancient Egypt was the birthplace of livestock branding.  Human slaves and animals were branded so that owners could easily recognize their belongings in case of co-mingling.   Savvy business owners don’t mind it if their customer wanders in the competitor’s territory as long as he or she comes when called.  They nurture the relationship and pay attention to the customer’s journey.  They serve as the shepherd and protect their flock from the wolves.

Kick Back and Get Lax
Remember back to dating days.  If a guy didn’t call regularly, then the girl was harder to reach.  After a certain level of success is attained, there is a trend toward complacency in business practices.  Resist the urge to rest on past successes or to take for granted that conditions change.  Innovators embrace forward momentum and instigate needed change.

Failure to Create Competition
Try to capture the size of a whale while scuba diving or a mountain while hiking.  If there is no human-sized object to add scale to the image, then the viewer doesn’t grasp the magnitude.  Customers need a reference point to judge the merits of exceptional products and services.  Apple products become bluebonnets when PC’s are as generic as dandelions.  Innovative leaders encourage competition.  Everybody wins when the best products and services reach the customer.

From The No Bull Branding Course Companion, a workbook by Lori L. Barr, M. D., International Health and Lifestyle Expert.  The workbook covers the curriculum of the No Bull Branding Course offered at Wizard Academy, a non-traditional business school.

The next No Bull Branding Course is Tuesday, May 25, 2010 from 9-5 CDT.

"Your imagination is a time machine.  It takes you to the future where you enjoy the rewards of your labors."

- Lori L. Barr, M. D. Author of Tame Your Mind, Save Your Life

Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads Parts 3 and 4 High-jack Your Mind

Roy H. Williams reached best seller status with Secret Formulas of the Wizard of AdsPart 3 Side Door into the Mind and Part 4 Turning Lead into Gold supercharge your ability to rapidly enter a new idea into your mind or someone else's mind.  

When you read pages 68-137 you will find communication tools that really let you high-jack the mind.  Roy imprints the frequency and curiosity facts that you need to know to keep the mind engaged.  The Tuesdays at Seven Book Club will talk about Parts 3 and 4 on Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 7:00 PM CDT.  The hour long discussion will start with these questions:
  • How does the composition of human thought presented here differ from your definition?
  • Why should you saturate your mind with poetry?
  • What four things of power should be used with care and why?
  • What does wisdom live in?
Join us via teleconference at 512.716.6511 and enter the code 973640#, Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at  7:00 PM CDT.   You'll increase your awareness of how your communication is hitting the mark.  If you want to take action and improve the skills, consider the No Bull Branding Course at Wizard Academy in Austin, Tuesday May 25, 2010.  It is a day full of delights for the mind and challenges to your paradigms.

Keep taming your mind and living your life vibrantly.

Lori L. Barr, M. D.

Read One Book Now and Connect Like Never Before

"I thought it was just a book about advertising!"

"No!" I said, "It is a book about communication."

Spring and summer are the communication seasons.  April showers plus a little sun translate into spectacular bluebonnets.   Young leaves dance the breezes like leprechauns.  Birds, bees, spring and summer buzz.

What's the buzz?  There is no buzz if there is no one to hear and help move the message.  So how do you become a master message crafter?  Become a great story teller.  You can improve your story-telling skills with three easy steps.

  1. Listen to and read great stories.  Attend an event like the National Storytelling Conference.  Listen to your favorite uncle who always has a great story.  
  2. Build a portfolio of your own stories.  Actually write them down.  Edit your writing so your messages zings into the listener's ear.
  3. Increase your awareness of what makes a message lodge into the subconscious mind.  May is full of opportunities to level up.  Here are a few ways to increase your awareness that center around one book and one location.
Roy H. Williams is a master story teller.   In his second best seller, Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads, he probes the power of words and the connections they must forge in the mind to be memorable.  Grab a copy of this book and take a summer ride with the top down.  MindTamers are reading this book this month as a part of the free Build A Book Club program.  You can read it with us or with your own group using these simple steps:

  • Read about 80 pages per week.  Don't worry, there are lots of pictures.
  • Think about the answers to questions that personalize the book for you. (Keep reading for a few starter questions for Part 1 and Part 2.)
  • Meet with other folks doing the same thing once a week.  Call in to (512) 716-6511 and use the conference code 973640# at 7 am CDT on Tuesday, May 11, 2010 if you want to join other MindTamers reading this book this month.
Here are some of the questions we will discuss on Tuesday's call for Part 1 and Part 2 of Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads:

What question does the publisher ask the reader to answer and what is your answer?

Give an example of how the "most powerful force ever" makes a difference in your life.

Where was the American Dream born and what two forces fueled it?

How are you using the "bridge of magical fire" in your life today?

MindTamers will meet two other times by phone and one time live to discuss this book:
  • May 18, 2010 at 7:00 pm CDT same conference line, same conference code to discuss Parts 3 and 4 
  • May 25, 2010 at 7:00 am CDT same conference line, same conference code to discuss Parts 5 and 6 (We will be calling in from Wizard Academy itself for this call!)
  • June 1, 2010 at 6:30 pm at Laura's Library in Austin for the First Tuesday Book Club.
  • All of these are open to the public.
  • If you would like to meet the Wizard of Ads himself for free, go to the free public seminar on May 21, 2010.  Don't delay, this event sells out every time it is offered.
Here's to more successful connections in every aspect of your life.  If you like this idea of a master mind book club, you can learn how to build your own successful book club or join ours as an insider.

Buzz Buzz!

Lori L. Barr, M. D.
Vice President, MindTamers

Four Obstacles Bar Experts From Local Recognition

by Lori L. Barr, M. D.

© 2009 Lori L. Barr All rights reserved.

Intellects study the unconscious habits of successful individuals and consciously teach those habits to students in memorable ways at this school. Want to attend?

My son explored the campus one day last summer in plaid shorts. Richard said, "This is Disneyworld for your imagination!" Amazingly, more international students pay to attend than do locals. Just last week, the Chancellor closed the campus to the public due to repeated acts of vandalism and disrespect.

Tempted to condemn the ignorance of the immediate populace? The individual who envisions the future and speaks to those who cannot hear is a recurring theme in human history. Homer mentions the gift of prophecy Apollo granted to Cassandra, princess of Troy for her beauty. She spurned his love; he gifted her again. Listeners suffered selective hearing loss when she prophesied.

History confirms the expert's difficulty at home. The gospels of Mark and Luke recount the attempt of Jesus to bring His understanding and application of the Torah to his own country. Mark says the people were offended. Jesus said, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, and among his own kin and in his own house."

In 1847 physician Ignaz Semmelweis, the father of modern antiseptic technique was dismissed from his hospital, ostracized by the Vienna medical community and believed to be insane when he suggested that hand-washing by physicians performing both autopsies and deliveries could prevent deaths of birthing mothers. He died in an asylum.

World-renown radiologist Leonard Swischuk revolutionized x-ray recognition of childhood diseases. In 1985, I learned the art of pediatric radiology from him in Galveston. He was better recognized on the island as a tennis racquet stringer and shirt monogrammer.

You share Cassandra's frustration and despair. Create a great idea and as fast as you show it to family, they remind you why you cannot profit from it. What four obstacles must one overcome to locally be recognized as expert?

1) Memory Entrapment. Human memory contains complex snapshots of encounters with other individuals. As a result, you earn a specific place in the mind of another over time. When your new idea is incongruent with their memory of you or even with your own memory of yourself, disbelief is the only logical result.

2) Complacency. In traditional education we play "Follow the Follower". We learn to be comfortable as a part of a herd. We want to wear what our friends are wearing and do what our friends are doing. Many adults freeze their awareness at this level. When you decide to think differently, the herd senses danger. Herd members work to pull the straggler back into the fold or, if matters become extreme, to cull the deviant for the sake of the herd.

3) Fear of Criticism goes unrecognized within one's own mind and kills the desire to create. Fear results in alibis and excuses that smother your idea before it has time to grow. Napoleon Hill studied over one thousand successful individuals and many more failures. In Think and Grow Rich, he states, "People refuse to take chances in business because they fear the criticism which may follow if they fail. The fear of criticism in such cases is stronger than the desire for success."

4) Familiarity. The more familiar we are with another, the more likely we are to find something we dislike. Experiments by Norton et al found that if one dissimilarity between two people surfaced, subsequent information is perceived as supportive evidence for dissimilarity. Dislike cascades. Individuals discount ideas from people they dislike.

Bob Proctor is right, "What other people think about you is none of your business." Your business is what you think of yourself and how you choose to nurture your new ideas. The choice you make and your ability to overcome these four obstacles within your own mind correlate with expansion of your sphere of influence.

Corporations hire "experts" to stimulate productivity. This means someone from outside the immediate metropolitan area who has an impressive presentation. Savvy leaders suspend their paradigms about their employees and the surrounding community. They look for locals who understand how to bridge the knowing/doing gap and also grasp the significant contribution the business makes to the community.

Uncover hidden treasures in your family, corporation and community. Who can you listen to and view outside of your preconceived notions? Recognize them as an undervalued local expert here with a comment. If you would like my list of ten undervalued local experts, drop me an email.

Less is more: The lure of ambiguity, or why familiarity breeds contempt. Norton, Michael I.; Frost, Jeana H.; Ariely, Dan, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Vol 92(1), Jan 2007, 97-105

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