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March 2016 Newsletter


Communicate with Courage and Confidence in 2016!


Don't peak too soon. If you have read any of Herbie's Hints over the years then you probably have read this one. My Dad used "don't peak too soon" in regards to sports as well as preparing a horse for national competition as well as the campaign journey. As I observe the presidential primary debates I am struck by many impressions. One of them, just one, is don't peak too soon. A challenge in the primaries is that a candidate needs early momentum in order to set a tone and earn delegates. Another and very different challenge is that a candidate can't peak too soon. In 2012 Rick Santorum peaked too soon as did Mike Huckabee. If you go back to the 90's Bill Clinton was called the "comeback kid" for an early comeback in New Hampshire. Trump peaked early. Did he peak too soon or is it there time for others to peak?

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Leslie Ungar is the Toast Whisperer

Toast Whisperer is a play on words like Ghost Whisperer or Dog Whisperer or Horse Whisperer. Anyone giving a toast for any reason can benefit from a Toast Whisperer, someone writing the words and/or coaching the "toaster". It was on one of the few really snowy mornings this year that I was to be a guest on Cleveland 19 News at 7 am! Heather and I toughed it out to get to the downtown Cleveland studio.

mishmash of value

1. Etiquette & Civil Rights

One would think that these are two very divergent concepts: etiquette and civil rights. Upon the recent death of 92 year old Mildred Moss, these two concepts come back together in a course she called Social Usage. In the early 1960's the Grambling Project was framed by the college president, head coaches and student athletes to enable players to embody dignity on and off the field or court. Moss was a professor of Home Economics who created a program for student athletes that included place settings, cutlery, how to change planes and stay in nice hotels. In short, she gave players courage; she gave them "dignity."

Lesson Learned: She handed out diagrams that showed the correct format for table settings and thank-you notes. She deciphered menus and taught her students how to cut meat, take their seat, tilt a soup bowl and shelter a girlfriend from passing traffic.Traveling to a tournament may have been the first time these athletes saw non-African Americans and the first time NON- African Americans saw African Americans in fine restaurants and boarding planes. While the civil rights movement was helping to change lives, her work was helping to change attitudes. What can you do to change attitudes?

2. The Weight of One Hit Wonders

Out of the 144 players who teed up in a PGA Tour event in February, 28 of them have won a championship ONCE. This statistic begs the question, who much do you have to win to be a winner? In the NBA, success is measured by championship wins. We are all pretty sure that no one will surpass Jordan in number of rings. So then what? Peyton Manning had to win a SECOND Super Bowl in order to be considered super at all. How is success measured?

Lesson Learned: One PGA player had this perspective, "you can be a really successful golfer, and live comfortably, fly private and have a nice house, nice car, and never win."

Another player said, "I feel like winning is everything" It appears that it is not whether or not you are a one hit wonder. It is how you define success for yourself. At one end of the genre is Harper Lee who basically only gave us To Kill a Mockingbird. But she gave us Scout and Atticus Finch. At the other end is John Grisham, who has written one book a year for a total of about 29. How do you define success?

3. Magnify a Mistake

I listen to sports talk radio often. One day I was listening as one of the hosts fell on his sword over a poor interview question he had asked the day before. He kept playing the bad question over and over and over again until I was forced to change the station and actually have music play from the radio. Two days later the same clip was still being re-played and re-played.

Lesson Learned: Perhaps the most famous chef ever, Julia Child, taught her students to NOT point out their mistakes. Same with any form of speaking. Half your audience didn't hear the mistake anyway so why tell them? The challenge in speaking is to connect with the audience by bleeding a little, but not too much. Re-playing the bad question over and over was way too much blood. Maybe it was funny to the host. Was your last formal communication audience driven or speaker driven? Did you say what you wanted to say or what the audience needed to hear?

4. What Can You Add to an Interview?

Think about it. Why are you called in for an interview? If your whole life is in the resume, then why do you need to be interviewed? What can you say at an interview that is not in your resume?

Lesson Learned: You have to do the hard work. In my Rules of Communication, rule #52 and #53 are that audiences are lazy and selfish. The speaker has to do the hard work. In an interview the interviewing committee is the audience. You have to give your audience a gift, something they could not have known without meeting you in person. Give them something more about you than they would have known. What can you share about you of value? Come to our April 13 Master Class on Interviews.

5. Practice Being Out of Your Comfort Zone

Many people prepare themselves for an interview. What does prepare mean? Often it means prepare by getting online, downloading possible interview questions and maybe even practicing them out loud. Some may even prepare by thinking about the questions they most dread. How many people prepare by thinking about questions they would never expect to be asked?

Lesson Learned: If an interviewer is good they will ask some of those downloaded questions that interviewees prepared to answer. If an interviewer is great, they will ask questions that the applicants never thought about such as: could you do stand-up comedy or have you ever thought about joining the circus, or how do you flip pizza dough? You need to be as good when a question debases you as you are for the prepared questions. What would debase you? Come to our April 13 Master Class on Interviews.

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Forum 360 with Leslie as Moderator

Upcoming Shows:
THE Shul Boys: Jews on Motorcycles
Guest: Bob Cohen and Bruce Ente
Showing week of April 3

Watch/ Listen to Forum 360:
Western Reserve Public Media, PBS-TV, PBS Fusion Channels 45 & 49 (Time Warner channel 993) - Mondays at 8 pm and Saturdays at 5:00 pm. After the show airs, you can download it here.

WONE FM 97.5 Sunday 6 am
For online streaming go to and click Listen Live.

WAKR AM 1590 Sunday, 5:00 pm, Monday 12:30 am
For online streaming go to and click Listen Live.

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Recently I observed two first time candidates for the U.S. Senate. Their styles could not have been more different although they shared the common goal to get elected.

Candidate #1 had an anecdotal style. She used her background as an activist as her resume. Her qualifications were her real life stories and real life experiences.

Candidate #2 had a strong legislative style. He knew facts and figures, policies and particulars. He gave us no real life stories or experiences. If my crystal ball worked and I could see the future, this is what I think I would see: Candidate #1 will add policy ideas to her anecdotal and activist resume. Candidate #2 will add a human quality to his policy wonk style.

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April 13 - Interview Effectively for the Job, Promotion or Client You Want The interview/presentation is a communication challenge. He or she who communicates most effectively gets to move forward in process. There is no such thing as the most qualified candidate. The candidate who communicates their value most effectively wins.

The May 5 Video & You will have a Cinco de Mayo theme! It is the first dinner video session of the year. We will be decorated for the Mexican holiday, come and join us for this great one-of-a-kind session.

May 21 is Camp Next. If you are between 13 and 38 come to this Saturday event featuring 4 experts to catapult your journey!

Email us at for further information or to RSVP to this boot camp. For more information visit our website


Ask me about my 10 in 10!
In 2016 we wipe the slate clean
and start a new list topped out at 10.

Connect with Leslie!