How to learn communication and manipulation? The answer: „Thanks for letting your light shine”

One friend recently asked me how should he/she learn communication and manipulation. What are the best opportunities to learn this in Romania? She plans to change the world for the better.

My first answer to this will be spiritual: Nicolae Steinhardt, a writer I admire, says that people these days are hungry for two things: love and life meaning. („De ce îi este omului de astăzi foame? De iubire și de sens.”)

My dear friend, wanting to change the world for the better with communication / manipulation aims for both two things – you want to give life a meaning, and you do so by loving others.

Hold to with this thought, now we’ll leave spirituality and go down, down below. There’s darkness, don’t worry, at the end things will be fine. Hold tight, it’s a bumpy ride.

I’ll answer this question rationally by avoiding the question so much that when I’ll finally answer your mind will be influenced by the other stories I will tell you.


Note: the image above was with me on an online forum for years, many years ago.

I was around 13 years old when I thought about someone telling me I’m a stupid/sucker (in Romania, the word has more than one meaning, also including „simple man”). It was not the first time I’ve heard this, but it was generally easy to ignore it. I was one of the best pupils, teacher’s pet, I was reading some books, I knew some stuff. How could I be stupid?

But around that age I really started thinking about being stupid. Was I really stupid? And I started thinking about other people who told me I was stupid. I felt so bad.

And I started, since 1995 until in the recent years, to work on this. Initially, I focused on being more evil, not kind at all. That didn’t work out very well, so I stopped it. „You are stupid” sentences continued.

But, on another level, I also started to become smarter. I had various approaches during the years.

Today, if you place me in a conversation with someone who is very good at some specific things, likely I will look silly in comparison with that person. But, all-in-all, I can generally hold a conversation with someone without appearing stupid, and in the past years I’ve heard the sentence much less often (this is also caused by the fact that kids tell you you’re stupid much easier than adults, but I hope it’s not just that).

At some point, I discovered with surprise that my fight all these years, for not being called stupid, was pretty futile. The persons in my childhood who have called me stupid were mostly referring to not being naive, a sucker, a person easy to fool. Well, these characteristics, while perhaps not pleasant to hold, are also the mark of being a gentleman and kind person. I don’t claim I am such a person, I’m just saying I worked a lot to stop being naive, and that work might not have been so good.

The people in my childhood weren’t referring to either my general culture or my ability to connect things, but I thought they did and tried to improve myself. After a while, I discovered two things:

  • I needn’t have done all this work, it was un-necessary.
  • Although un-necessary, it was very useful for me to develop my intelligence, it’s not a bad quality to hold. (note – I don’t claim I’m smart, I’m just stating the process of trying to be better at it yielded good results)

Although the initial claim „you are stupid” was referring to naivety, I tried to fix this by working on intelligence/general wisdom. After I understood the feed-back better, I liked the path I was on so much, that I still wanted to become smarter, even if the initial reason was gone.

So, the first thing I would tell my friend, based on the assertions above, is to have a really good look on the reason to improve communication and manipulation – where does the need come from? Did someone ever tell you lack good skills with these? In that case, are you sure you understand the reasons behind the assertions?

The second thing is about this article, please read it to understand the situation: Din ciclul „Experienţe de neuitat“ | Dilema Veche
„Dar era, certamente, victima unei educaţii de bază deficitare, a unei neglijenţe pedagogice, cu efecte din ce în ce mai neplăcute printre cei mai tineri. O asemenea educaţie te învaţă să faci, încă de la o vîrstă fragedă, diferenţa dintre „ce se cade“ şi „ce nu se cade“, dintre ce se cuvine şi ce nu se cuvine, dintre pudoare şi neruşinare. O asemenea educaţie te învaţă să te gîndeşti de două ori înainte de a da drumul primului impuls, primei trăsnăi care-ţi trece prin cap. ”

One of the conclusions of this article is that modern people start with the implicit assumption that they deserve things. In the article, the lady invites Andrei Pleșu to come to the birthday of a common friend to cheer him up. In the „old” times, Andrei Pleșu states, the person’s self-criticism would have prevented asking for such a question. In modern times, the request seems appropriate.

So, when you want to learn „communication and manipulation”, I think you should also consider this thing – is it worth it? Would you become a better person if you know it? Should you have other things to consider, at the same time when you learn manipulation and communication? Is it possible you might learn, along with communication, some things which would make the world a worse place than it currently is? Are there bad consequences of such an approach?

As you, see, until now I haven’t answered the question at all. I only said – „are you sure the persons who told you lack this know what they talk about?” and „are you sure that the «improvement» in communication / manipulation is, overall, a good quality to have?”.

I will not digress even further from the question. I hope you’ll understand at some point that I’m actually trying to answer the question, but in order to do so, I must open lots of lines, close them, and finally get to the question in point.

I was very young (I think I was in first or second grade at school, 1989-1992), when I was supposed to sing a song in a concert room. I was sharing the song with my brother, he had some parts of the song, I had others (it was a classic folk patriot, very known in Romania – Veta Biris – Tu, Ardeal; my father is from that part of the country). Prior to entering the scene, the organizers told us to improvise a bit at our entry (to say we are a „surprise” appearance), and that we should hurry up when singing. As you imagine, it was my very first public appearance on a stage. I had mix-up, I switched one stanza with another, and I corrected this by skipping a stanza altogether. But it wasn’t that bad, and, although I was very nervous, the result was OK.

Time passed, and for various reasons (being called stupid was one of them, but not the only one), I wasn’t very communicative. In school, I rarely had to communicate with other than close friends/colleagues and some teachers. Almost no public speaking, almost no work in groups, very little leading projects.

At some point, in high-school (1998-2000, something like that), my best friend from that time introduces me to readings on seduction community. I read it with a lot of interest, but I thought it was un-ethical, and, after a while I stopped reading it. It remained in my mind, by I deliberately ignored the readings. I first found about NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

In the 12th grade (last year of high-school, 2000-2001), I was to give a presentation on Physics. I had no problem with writing the document, but when presenting it in front of the classroom, I was very nervous. I was just reading it, but very nervous.

When graduating high-school (2001), I had an exam in which I had to present my thoughts to a teacher. I knew the subject very well, but I was lacking the exercise of public speaking. Anyhow, I got a good grade, but I worried – why was so hard for me to present my ideas in public?

First college year (2001-2002) – A. I wanted to be a group representative (around 25 people). People accepted this. I though this would help my ability to communicate well.

First college year (2001-2002) – B. I want to be a representative of my colleagues (300 people). I hold a speech, very large room, I was very nervous. Very few people voted me.

First college year (2001-2002) – C. I hold a presentation to my colleagues and a teacher. I was very nervous. I presented decently, I got a good grade, but I was very nervous when speaking.

At this point, I started reading about communication and going a lot to conferences. And I mean „a lot”.

Second college year (2002-2003) – A. I joined an NGO focused on making you a leader (Leaders Foundation), mostly, by organizing conferences. I mostly joined them because I was hoping to see Jim Bagnola again (he came to Romania, and I had a chance to see him in 2001). So, I had some experiences in NGOs / communication / self-development.

Second college year (2002-2003) – B. I joined a theatrical company, but I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do three things well at the same time – school, Leaders, theater, so I left after a while. I took part to something like 20 classes in there (give or take), theatrical exercises, singing, plays.

Second college year (2002-2003) – C. I hold a presentation to a large room of people. I tried to innovate, I was speaking about NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming), so I thought that, instead of just presenting, I would communicate with the audience. The audience was very negative about my speech. I later thought back about this and understood that they were my competitors (you win – I lose), and I shouldn’t have taken it personally. But for a lot of years, it bugged me.

Things were not going well, my readings and conferences seemed to actually have decreased my ability to communicate.

Second college year (2002-2003) – D. I joined another theatrical company. I mostly did theater plays and exercises. I took part to around 30 sessions, something like this. At some point, they told me something like „we don’t like your skills”, so this didn’t end well.

In the summer of 2003 I joined a summer school on theater, and for one week I did only theater exercises.

After that, I went to some conferences, I went to some theatrical plays as a spectator, but I didn’t take part to other exercises for a while.

Third college year (2003-2004) – I held the second presentation to a large room of people and this time I wasn’t so nervous. Also, I picked a subject which didn’t involve communicating a lot with the audience.

I kept going to conferences and theater plays.

In 2005, after I graduated college, I joined another theatrical company. They wanted more commitment than I was able to offer (I wanted part-time, not long-term), so this didn’t work out in the end. I took part to about 10 sessions.

I then joined another theatrical company with which I stayed quite a few years, I don’t remember very well the timeframe, but something like 2006-2008, sometime in there. I did lots of rehearsal with them, I was on stage 5 times. At some point, I didn’t like one thing, so I left. It wasn’t a smart decision, looking back.

I started going to lots of self-development classes. On two occasions, I did firewalking.

In 2009, I took an acting class with something like 10 sessions.

In 2009, I started giving presentations, at first with lots of emotions, with time less so.

I also, from time to time, gave full-day training.

In total, I held 20 presentations & 5 full-day pieces of training until now.

In June 2010, I went to class on creative writing. In the room, there were around 10 people. We were supposed to write a phrase based on three words. Some people read their texts. Others claimed they didn’t have inspiration, which was very surprising to me – how difficult could it be to compose a text based on 3 words? The facilitator kept giving praise „wow, great text, you’re so good with writing”. I thought he was just flattering everybody, without a real basis. Then he gets to me. He said something like „your style of writing is so plain, no metaphors, no emotions. You’re void of all emotions” and talked for a while based on this. After a while, he said „I’ve had a former student who was a lot like you. She wrote a book.” (at this point, I was feeling optimistic) „Rarely have a read a poorer text, no emotions, no personal feelings.” Looking back, the people in the room were mostly people who worked a lot with words / books than I did. I also didn’t get the initial intent of the person, I didn’t know we were supposed to write an artistic phrase, I just wrote a phrase based on 3 words. But for a lot of time this characterisation remained in me.

In 2011 I did another summer school in theater.

In 2012 I co-wrote a book about branding for MDs (I co-wrote a part about Internet marketing and managing online reputation). This year, one person named it as a good book to read (book of the day) „Cartea zilei: Cine esti tu, doctore?„.

Since January 2013 until the winter of 2014-2015, I joined another theater class.

Other training than those listed above:

  • European Training: „Quality peer training against discrimination” (August 25-29, 2014; Wexford, Ireland)
  • Grundtvig Training: „Literacy Opportunities for Adults in Rural Areas” (November 10-17, 2013; Gaziantep, Turkey)
  • Youthpass: „The art of Diversity” – Train the Trainer seminar for antibiased education using arts as a method (July 15-22, 2012; Hutten, Krolpa, Germany)
  • Youthpass: „Enjoy the colors of my society” – Cross-cultural dialogue (March 19-28, 2010; Subotica, Serbia)
  • Training: Teamwork (July 25-August 2, 2008; Paraul Rece, Romania)
  • Training: Project management (February 20-26, 2008; Predeal, Romania)
  • 4 courses in communication: NLP Professional for training in Coaching & NLPt, from NLP Professional Association (May 11-15, 2011; Bucharest, Romania).
    Beginner course in communication: NLP Professional for training in Coaching & NLPt, from NLP Professional Association (February 21-22, 2009; Bucharest, Romania).

In total, more than 350 conferences attended which are public and accountable (Foto + video evenimente – – de Olivian Breda). I think I’m over 500, considering those I didn’t mention on my blog. Also, these are split between – all day conferences, two-three hours conference, seminars, workshops, training. I’ve done it all.

I think I’m in top 1% percentile of people attending conferences. For a non-professional theater person, I also took part to a lot of conferences. I read a lot of jokes. Summer schools – I’m not in top 1%, but I’m not far from there.

My biggest success? At one point, I was on stage and had to hold a speech. Then, to interact with the audience and make them laugh. I had a good result with this.

My recent presentations are not in top 5%, they’re also at least average. Not the best, yes, but certainly you can watch it and not feel very bad.

I also read some books on communication / self-improvement / psychology.

I tried a lot, as you might see, to improve on two things: communication, in particular, and thinking „better”, in general.

I’m not a professional communicator, I’m still on the path to learning to become better. But I try a lot and focus on becoming better.

Recently, I came back to the seduction thing I told you earlier, by reading The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists. I like the book not only for the positive parts reflected in there, but for showing that there’s always a downside.

Some tips?

  • See the process as long-term. You start today, you will finish much later, if ever.
  • Consider some sort of ethics system when working with yourself. Politeness, as a minimum. Otherwise, you’ll tend to do things which break human convention. Have a list of „I would never …”.
  • Read and tell jokes. Once you understand the system behind them, it might help you a lot in communication. This is a top read. With time, you’ll tell good jokes, but it takes quite a lot of practice to pick a good joke from an ordinary one. Time will tell, at first just read a lot.
  • The best thing I know about communication are: NLP Presuppositions – basic beliefs and assumptions. These are the basic rules I try to abide by when communicating. I also liked this book quite a lot: The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
  • At some point, I was fascinated by this book: Essentials of Understanding Psychology (9780077861889): Robert Feldman: Books. I’ve re-read it in the past years, it’s not so good. It’s an introduction to various things in psychology. It’s not so relevant today, but, still, a good read.
  • You should be reading a lot, from various fields, about self-development, even if you just want to improve communication. There are some basic things in self-development, which refer to: eat well, sleep well, exercise. You should know the basics of all these. I like, for this aim, to read around 5 articles per day from Lifehacker. Do this for a few years in a row, and you’ll know a lot.
  • Things to develop (I would work on them in this order:
    • How to look for information online (be a resource destination, you should have lots of resources).
    • How to have critical thinking (read a lot on this).
    • How to be healthy (you need this if you are to communicate, you can’t communicate well if you’re tired, don’t eat well and are unable to stand upright for two hours).
    • What are the cognitive biases in thinking (what your mind tells you, but you should avoid – List of cognitive biases).
    • How to listen (more than how to write).
    • How to write.
    • How to speak.
  • Don’t waste your time. In a lot of the theatrical companies I’ve been part of, wasting time was the main subject. The starting hours weren’t kept, lots of breaks, lots of fun and less work. Right now I am more OK with having fun, you learn while doing so, but try not to waste your time, whatever solution for self-development you choose.
  • As I see it, there are 3 ways to improve your communication: theater (general improvement on communication), public speaking (practice and do it) and general self-development courses (things like communication, psychology, therapy, creative writing, more or less spiritual). I suggest you try them all and find out what fits you best. My feed-back on them:
  • During my quest to improve myself, I’ve met a lot of people. Some impressed me, some didn’t. Various reasons. I like a lot: Jim Bagnola (Jim BAGNOLA – the best trainer I’ve seen) and Cătălin Zaharia (Cătălin ZAHARIA – inspirational model in structured communication, for me; and top speaker), for various reasons. At some point, I liked Bruno Medicina (Bruno Medicina – the trainer whose coaching abilities I like most) and Nigel Risner (Nigel RISNER – One of the best trainers I’ve seen). You should read my reasoning behind my choices. Looking back, I can tell you one thing – you need a critical thinking system in place. If person X tells you about how to sleep, you should have some knowledge on the matter. If person Y tells you to use some words, you should have read about the matter. If you don’t have this in place, improve your googling skills, and be a good person on researching information online. You should find out if taking a measure will help or not. For example, when I’m interested in learning about leaht, I read the links and videos from this article: Schimbător de vieți? Despre zahăr, video în engleză, 90 minute (cu alternative de non-vizionare) and, on a recent time, I read what mr. Cat/Pisoi says here: X Forums. If you tell me to eat oranges and bananas for health, I know how to handle this, I put it in a sytem. It’s not easy to fool me. Similarly, I have some lectures on sleeping, and if you tell me to sleep only 6 hours per night, I have some readings on the matter. If not, I’ll google it.
  • A lot of people try to improve based on some bad experiences, rather than an aim to be successful – if X tells you you’re bad at something, you want to compensate this. This can be good or bad. Read this on the matter – How To Stop Feeling Guilty, 5 Secrets Backed By Research. I tried to improve myself based on various feed-back in my life that I’m not doing OK. I’m not an expert, and I don’t think I’ll ever be, but I’m pretty good with some thing I tried to develop during the years. Various people have told me various things during the years. Initially, I thought myself – „these are smart people, interesting, they know what they speak about” (Seth’s Blog: Are you interesting?). So, based on various feed-back, I tried to improve myself. In the end, it proved that trying to be better is not such a bad quest. But the initial reasons might have been wrong. So, what should have been a better path?
    • Filter a lot – there’s the joke in which a rabbit meets a wolf and tells him that him, the rabbit, has just met the fox. She invited him to her house. Then, the fox made some food, they ate, then the fox got naked, laid down and told the rabbit to take her most precious asset. So the rabbit took the TV set.
      „Într-o zi trecea iepuraşul prin pădure cu un televizor color în braţe. Se întâlneşte cu lupul.
      – Ia uite, şmechere, zice lupul, un televizor color, de unde ai făcut rost de el?
      – Pai să vezi cum a fost, zice iepuraşul. Mergeam eu aşa prin pădure şi dau peste vulpe.
      Şi ea spune ce mai faci iepuraşule, că nu te-am mai văzut de mult, ia hai pe la mine în vizită. M-am dus, vulpea a pus masa, am mâncat, după aia vulpea s-a dezbrăcat, s-a întins pe patul cel mare şi a zis:
      – Gata iepuraşule, acum poţi să-mi iei ce am eu mai scump pe lume!
      La care eu m-am uitat în jur şi am luat televizorul.”
      You need critical thinking to know what to take from other people’s feed-back. Even if repeated, even if told by different people, you need a lot of judgment to pick from options A or B.
    • Just take some things. I mentioned above some people I like. For each of them, I clearly state the reasons for which I like them, what is their area of expertise. Person X is good at A, B, C. I generally take that person’s advice on A, B, C situations. But not on everything. And to get to the point for me to trust my life in your skills, it really takes some abilities.
  • Life has various results. You might do some good things with poor results, you might do some poor things with good results. There are no magic recipes. To me, it was useful to learn about communication. I don’t think it should be a general path.
  • A lot of the things on self-development are about not caring, being egoistic, taking the larger pie, being powerful in detriment of others. To some extent, this is good, as power is taken, not given/offered. Just be aware that by trying to do self-development you risk developing selfishness.
    In my opinion, one great way to become a better communicator is to listen more, as opposed to talking more: This Is the Key to Building Emotional Intelligence | Don’t interrupt, focus on what the person says, ask questions, don’t provide solutions all the time – these, all, help.
  • I was 13 when I really started to think „I am stupid, because X said so?” Had someone tell me today that thing, I would try to understand the reasons for that saying. You see, I try to put people in boxes, in order to understand their behavior. For example, some people are negativistic, while some people are positive. Some people focus on excuses, other people find opportunities. Some people are good with some things, while not-so-good with others. And the list continues. If you know some things about the persons who tell you something, you are better at evaluating the circumstance. The person who told me I’m stupid when I was 13 tended to give similar feed-back to other people. Another person I had in my mind was always aggressive. Should I change my life based on that person’s feed-back? Also, are they competent enough to tell me so? I like to put people into boxes. For example, when presenting excuses for something, some people take accountability (it’s my fault), others blame external factors (it’s your fault).
  • Try to be polite in all communication, as a minimum. Optimal is try to do good. But, at least, be polite.
  • In my opinion, it’s good to read novels / short stories / even jokes, I think. They tend to help with the ability to understand other people’s emotions better.
    I suggest you do some composition, at times. Try to create things. Write (as opposed of just reading), do movies (as opposed to just watching them), do sports (as opposed to just watching), and the list continues. About the videos – they’re a general advice, I wouldn’t advise to do so yourself. But writing – yes.
  • What I like to read?
  • Off-line, on self-development: read books. I tend to like Andrei Pleșu & Nicolae Steinhardt.
  • My suggestion on what to read and who to follow is to try to find some people who would generally not say things you would disagree with a lot. You should have some basis of comparison, but, generally, try to aim high. The thing is, I find most self-development gurus not worth reading. For example, they tend to have good results for the wrong metrics.
  • There is a fear I have – as opposed to not getting to be a person like them, the fear I have is that I will.
  • At some point, you’ll get opposite feed-back from people on the same issue. On other times, you’ll get 10 people telling you the black is white, although you know for sure it’s white. It’s good that for both of this scenarios you have some ways of dealing with the situation. You need critical thinking.
  • Google claims they „do no evil”. There are some people who try a lot not to make mistakes, at all. When I wrote „Nu plânge, Olivian!” spuse, repetat, domnul datorită căruia am ajuns în Londra. Ei, acum că am ajuns, cum e pe aici? – – de Olivian Breda, I worried for some things in there. I hesitated about posting the article online, and, then, about keeping it. The thing is, I’ll inevitably make mistakes. Some people complained that my grammar and spelling wasn’t 100% perfect. That’s fine, it’s OK to annoy some people. I’ll put some warnings at the beginning of the article, I’ll explain my position, then go with the flow. Some people will be upset, some people will like it. Before I left Romania, this year, I made a presentation to an SEO audience. Intentionally, I put in there some things which were atypical / strange / funny. Some people laughed, some people thought it was embarassing. That’s just fine.
  • Another thing – the things which are in control of you are generally in a low percentage. Life is random to some degree. You can insist, you can be better, you can try to do well. But, all in all, there are lots of things you can’t control. I tend to like to go with the flow.
  • Some people tend to consider that aggressiveness and evil also implies some smart actions. I knew one guy when I was little who was very street smart. He was better at me in most things about communication, sports and generally was street wise. I played chess with him once, he had some experience with it. He was one of the 3 people I’ve beatean in exactly two moves.
  • Andrei Pleșu writes on his blog differently than he writes on his books. On the blog, the language is adapted to a general audience, his book are more specific. A lot of self-development gurus write for general audiences, from time to time they write beginner guides (I have one, too – Ghidul începătorului în optimizarea pentru motoarele de căutare (SEO) sau ce ar trebui să știi în SEO dacă începi de la zero – – de Olivian Breda). The problem is not that, the problem is that they cannot write the advanced thing. Think about this – would you follow someone who is unable to create advanced content on a subject he is supposed to be a master in?
  • To me, it’s a big problem if X claims he’s an expert, but can’t write at expert level, and only addresses a beginner audience. You want me to grow, and get where? At the beginner level? The ethical level of someone asking for money to help other people get from zero to beginner level is not so high, to me.
  • One person wrote me sometime that I tend to be too rational, as opposed to being more with the flow, creative, free. He suggested I read poetry, I draw, I write by hand. I followed his advice just partially. But I did remember that life has two main parts – one is rational, the other one is metaphors, beauty, emotions. Consider this, when trying to self-develop.
  • The thing I like most about self-development is breaking your spirit to become something else. If you are generally shy, try to speak. If you speak too much, try to shut up. If you’re too open, try to close. If you’re too close, try to be more open. If you’re positive, be more critical. If you’re too negative, try to open up. This is what I like best. The other party, the other you, the unknown you. Some people like to travel on the outside to develop their personality and to see beauty. I like to travel on the inside.
  • Also, self-development for public speaking should be the final result, the most awaited prize. But you should also work on the logic, critical thinking, knowing things, etc. You should work not only on how to say things, but on what you say. So, don’t just work in speaking better, but also work on what to speak.
    I would focus on the long-term, not short term. Work so that you are better, not to get small wins. I did karate, and never taken an exam for a karate belt. I was the only one in there not interested in belt. This happened in two different classes. I jog but rarely go to marathons or events. I did more theater than I did plays. And the list continue. Short-term is fine, long-term is better.
  • Everything you do has upsides and downsides. Read this about Andreea Esca: „Andreea Esca » Seara„. At times, with the best intentions, you’ll do mistakes. It’s fine, but just be aware that it might happen.
  • Communication and manipulation are close to having a knife. You can give it with different purposes, but even with the best intentions, they can still do lots of harm. Handle with care.
  • I’ve seen once a self-development guy who said – „look, I’m good, I’m great, I rarely had a failure”. It was like he was considering that communication was getting from 0% to 5% then to 50% then to 90% then to 100%. And he was close to being at 100%. I see things differently. Communication works with people and even talking to two people or just one person is a very complicated thing. The same assertion can bring different emotions in different people. You can have the perfect speech annoying people and making a few people happy. Is this a good or bad speech? I don’t consider communication an A to B process, but one with lots of ramifications, and one in which you have to understand the audience well. (and admit you’ll likely never get to 100%)
  • I think growth comes by going through fire. Internal, external, it’s a fight. You can ‘sweeten’ it, but, to me, it’s a fight. (Where does “passion” come from? – – de Olivian Breda)
  • When I was in the 7th grade, I was having self-confidence issues. At one time, one teacher came to supplement another teacher’s class. She came just once to our class. She was self-confident, cool, she talked with my colleagues. She was against the educational system, although she was part of it. At one point, she looked at the faces of my colleagues and told us who, she thinks, are the smartest people in the class. I wasn’t in that list. It affected me. I don’t think the teacher meant anything bad, but it affected me a lot. I was a good pupil, I had good results, yet, by looking at me, you wouldn’t think so. I once went to army recruiment in Romania. They gave us some tests. At one point one official lady, a doctor or a psychologist, something like that, looked at me and asked me – are you the nerd of the class? I was, but I still don’t think that this an OK thing to ask. I once held a presentation on social networks. At some point, one participant didn’t agree with something I said, and contradicted me. I entered a defensive state, but answered as good as I could. A person who is considered a guru by a lot of people was next to me, with a presentation on communication. He used me as an example, and people started commenting, live, on my body language when answering the question. I think all of these are, to some degree, mistakes. I also know they affected me, perhaps for good, perhaps for bad reasons. Anyhow, even the best prepared and with good intentions communicators make mistakes.
  • I find it simpler to have some basic rules / filters for things in life. It helps me process lots of information and feed-back quickly. But the solution is to be flexible, and to leave your skin.
  • If I would try to improve communication, I would: read, write, talk. But, most of all, do, it helps a lot with communication.

About your initial question – two things:

  • There’s an implicit assertion in there that you are better than others, that you ethics and code of honor is above others, and that, by communicating and manipulating them, you’ll help others reach your level. Are you sure that’s a correct view?
  • Also, implicit in the question is that you are better than others. Sure?

Close to final note – you have two option – grow or not grow. Develop or stay the same. The thing is, you’ll never know what’s behind the door you don’t choose. Another thing – as a general rule, developing yourself generally pays off on the long term. There are no guarantees, but it’s the closest you can get to them. For me, personally, I think (see how much I repeated – me, personally, I; and I think it’s a good thing to do so) learning about communication helped more than learning about other more specific work-related things.

Final note – It pays more to be positive. On the long run, you should be optimistic. Try to ignore what I said here and might have disheartened you. Be positive, keep a good spirit and you’ll move the world. For the better, as you plan to. Be brave & happy! Let your light shine!

First PS after the final note: help others grow and you’ll grow yourself. Writing this article reminded me that it’s OK to make mistakes, to be imperfect, to annoy some people, at times. That’s fine. It helped me be more open.

2015.11.22, PS:

Seth Godin: „And that’s one reason why so many people claim to not like engaging in marketing. Marketing is the empathetic act of telling a story that works, that’s true for the person hearing it, that stands up to scrutiny. But marketing is not about merely sharing what you, the marketer believes. It’s about what we, the listener, believe.”

Seth’s Blog: A reason persuasion is surprisingly difficult

2015.11.29, PS:
NYPD Hostage Negotiators On How To Persuade People: 4 New Secrets

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