Category Archives: Bits & Pieces

Whatever your profession, you also need to be a professional communicator. ETC is pleased to share these essential Bits & Pieces to help you polish those skills.

Random Eye Contact

In my Presentation Skill training and coaching engagements, I regularly recommend holding eye contact on one person at a time for 8 – 10 seconds or to complete a thought. Then, moving to a new person in silence in a random pattern. After reading one of my articles on this topic, a reader asked why I recommend that technique. Read More »

Battling Giants

‘David and Goliath – Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants’, Malcom Gladwell, Hachette Audio, 2013

My latest audio ‘second helping’ of this amazing author. This time, he explores in detail the myths about advantages and disadvantages.


Less is More

“No one ever complains about a speech being too short!”   Ira Hayes: Native American US Marine who helped raise the flag on Iwo Jima during World War II

“No one can remember more than three points.”  Philip Crosby: 20th century businessman, author and quality management expert

“Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much. ”  Robert Greenleaf: 20th century author, consultant and founder of the ‘Servant Leadership’ movement

“Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening.”  Dorothy Sarnoff: 20th century opera singer, actress, author and acclaimed speech coach


‘Blink’, Malcom Gladwell, Time Warner Audiobooks, 2005.

Another audio ‘second helping’ of this amazing author’s in-depth analysis of the art and science of making snap decisions, or‘thin-slicing’, in the blink of an eye

My Best Advice

I recently responded to a LinkedIn entrepreneur group discussion question asking for the best advice we’d been given about starting our own businesses.  So, here are three of ‘Phil’s Faves’ – advice I regularly share in my workshops and coaching engagements that I learned from a combination of input from colleagues and expert authors:

  • Do what you love and love what you do. All the rest is just details.
  • Plan your work, then work your plan.
  • Your customers are not always right, but they are always your Customers. So, take good care of them by meeting their reasonable expectations and make a profit doing it.

Take Pause

” The most precious things in speech are the pauses.”   Sir Ralph Richardson, famed 20th century English stage and film actor

“Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech.”   Martin Farquhar Tupper, 19th century English writer and poet

‘The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.” – Mark Twain

(Wish I had said that … actually, I have.  A ‘Phil’s Faves’ often heard in my presentation skill workshops and executive coaching engagements is ‘Harness the Power of the Pause!’. And, … you can quote me.)

Forget the Cheaters

A reader recently asked a question about using speaker notes when delivering a presentation -  ‘I need to use reading glasses to see my notes and that makes it difficult to focus in on audience members’ eyes. Now what?’

My Answer – Simply create actual speaker notes instead of a copy of your outline, or worse, a verbatim text. Notes should be short and simple with a few key words.  Increase the font size to 18 point and make the text bold. You ought to be able to easily see them without your cheaters. Try to make the type large enough so you can even leave them on the table in front of you and still easily see them.


Phil’s Faves – You Can’t Save Time

Some of my favorite often-heard comments from over 30 years of facilitating Time Management workshops:

  • You can’t save time – you can only spend it. So, spend it wisely.
  • Don’t say ‘I don’t have time.‘, because you do have time. Instead say ‘I don’t want to spend the time … ‘.
  • You’re in charge of how you spend your time – no one else is.
  • Start each day with a ‘To Do’ List – plan your work, then work your plan.
  • If you paid yourself $1,000/hour, would you get your money’s worth from each task on your list? If not – dump them.
  • Ask yourself ‘What’s the worst thing that can happen if I don’t do this thing today … or ever?‘ Then, act accordingly.



An Interesting Collection

‘What the Dog Saw’, Malcom Gladwell, Hachette Audio, 2008.

Gladwell is the best-selling author of ‘The Tipping Point’, ‘Blink’ and ‘Outliers’. This book is a most interesting collection of the best of his writing from over a decade with the New Yorker. I enjoyed a second helping of it, especially because he narrates it.

Avoid Dumber, Slower, Expensive Marketing

‘Smarter, Faster, Cheaper – Non-Boring, Fluff-Free Strategies for Marketing and Promoting Your Business’, David Siteman Garland, Gildan Media Group, 2011.

Lots of good and simple ideas for marketing and promotion that avoid being dumber, slower and expensive.  A fun listen by an entrepreneur, speaker and author.

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