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May 2016 Newsletter


My Dad used to say it doesn't matter what they say about you as long as they spell your name right. It's always nice when someone else considers you an expert. In fact I remember in Jr. high (not called middle school yet) I was running for student body president. As I was hanging a vote-for-me sign a teacher walked by and said, "it is always better when someone else says something nice about you than when you say it about yourself."

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When Channel 19 invites me to their studio as a communication expert, it's nice to have someone else see you in that light. On my most recent visit to the their morning show, the topic was how to answer interview questions for high school students, recent college graduates, or anyone facing the dreaded interview. Click below to see the news clip.

mishmash of value

1. Finger Lickin' Nail Polish

About 7 years ago I developed my horse program that I named HorseTalk: Lessons in Leadership. I was using horse analogies in my one-on-one coaching with clients. I saw and heard the value that horses have as an honest mirror to people's communication and leadership skills. As I developed the program I was like a blindfolded person. I thought I was going in the right direction but I did not have a map. Miraval in Tucson's Sonoran Desert has had an equine experience for about 20 years. I have wanted to participate for the last few years. I finally did.

Lesson Learned: How do you assess success of a new product? As a nail polish it is transparent, has a really short life span, and the color does not look on one's fingers like it looks in the bottle. The buzz on social media is that many are anxious to try it and think it would be fun to have finger lickin' nail-paintin' parties. As a nail polish it may not make the Hall of Fame. As a marketing strategy, it could be genius. How do you evaluate your ideas?

2. Why Believe You?

In March I had the opportunity to hear all of the presidential candidates. All except for Bernie Sanders who although invited, did not come to this conference and speak. Donald Trump kept saying over and over again, Believe Me. That was his logic, his evidence, and his qualifications, just a simple BELIEVE ME. After about the 100th BELIEVE ME, the audience just laughed when he used this mantra as rationale. New Head Coach Hue Jackson used a very similar rationale when explaining the decision to forego their higher draft pick and not take an elite quarterback in the draft. He said, "you've got to trust me on this one."

Lesson Learned: Belief is a trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something. Trust is defined as a faith or confidence in someone. Hue Jackson is a rookie coach who has not won a game for C-town. He has not earned my trust. Trump has held no public office, made no public policy, selected no Supreme Court justice or VEEP. To me these people don't deserve trust, faith or confidence. They owe it to their audience to share why their choices are made, what their thinking was in skipping Goff and Wentz, they have not earned TRUST ME as their answer. Have you earned TRUST with your staff, clients, customers, guests, patients, and centers of influence?

3. BFF Karl Rove

In March I found myself at the Cleveland City Club, standing at the head table with Karl Rove. Just me and Karl. No one else was within shouting distance. While some might see Karl (architect of George W first election and first term) and I as extreme opposites. I was sure I could take advantage of that brief moment in time and ask something and learn something. I didn't understand the level of preparedness of the GOP candidates. They appeared unprepared when they first announced and they appeared unprepared in the debates, they just seemed not ready for prime time. So I asked.

Lesson Learned: Karl Rove answered without hesitation. He didn't question or challenge or disagree. He simply said, "apparently they didn't go to graduate school. It's as if they woke up one day and decided to run for president." He went on to explain that W starting preparing years before his first run. He gathered experts in domestic and foreign policy, debates and kissing babies (ok I added that one). The point is that he was prepared out of the gate. Are you prepared or do you think you can learn along the way?

4. It's Hard to Ask for Help

Everyone can identify the poor speaker: the one who either bores you to death or sweats to death. There is another category of poor speaker I have run into lately. This speaker has been identified by others, not me. This category of speaker has been identified by mere mortal audience members not communication experts. This category is people who think they are better than they are at formal speaking. People who turn down help because they think they are "there."

Lesson Learned: It's one thing to know you aren't good at something and want to muddle through. It is another when you think you are better than you are. In communication your audience decides your competency level, you the speaker don't get to decide. The speaker does not get to say, "I'm good or I'm so much better than the last time you heard me". The audience decides. The only way to know is to look in the honest, objective, usually outside mirror. Someone on one's payroll is not an honest mirror. Do you benefit from an honest mirror?

5. It's Your Couch

With Benji, the half lion - half dog puppy I apparently am raising, I find myself back at puppy obedience school for like the 100th time in my life. I started attending obedience classes with the family poodle when I was 5. Out of all the instructors I have had in the myriad of classes I have taken, I keep remembering one piece of advice from one particular instructor. Someone asked him if their dog was allowed on their couch. The instructor said, "I don't know, it's your couch."

Lesson Learned: It may seem like innocuous advice at first glance, but it really applies to so much advice that any professional - attorney, CPA, doctor-gives their client/patient/dog owner. Basically what he was saying was, it's your house and you make the rules. What is not said here but later implied, whatever your rule is, just be consistent. It's not fair to the dog or the employee or client if one day they can figuratively or literally be on the couch and the next day they can't. How consistent are you with your own rules?

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Leslie in Person

October 13 - MISHRM, 7 Absurdly Simple Ways to Communicate Your Value
November 21 - WIN, Develop the Diva Within: Weapons that Empower Women to Speak and Lead

Forum 360 with Leslie as Moderator

Upcoming Show:
Constitutional Questions and Our Lives
Guest: Martin Belsky, Former Dean UA Law School and Current Professor

The Lone Soldier
Guests: Miri Kogan and Randie Ostroff Sass

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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I am introducing this new section for a couple of reasons. This section most recently was The Road to the White House. As much of a political junkie as I am, even I get tired of politics at a point. The point has arrived.

Secondly, with the addition of a puppy to the house hold, it brings a new dynamic and therefore new lessons to be learned. So if you like dogs or animals, keep reading. If you don't, the lessons learned apply to 2-legged creatures also.

The first few weeks of Life with Benji went along fairly smoothly. There was the oh-so-irritiating-bark that of course he didn't display until he was home, but he slept most of the night in his crate and we saw progress on the horizon. Until that horrible night in week 4 when he started pooping in his crate at night. Every night. To be honest, I did kind of think of myself as a dog whisperer. Having a barn full of horses when I grew up, we also had multiple dogs. Sometimes 4 and 5 at a time. So I have probably had 25 dogs in my lifetime. And then there was Benji.

This sudden relapse into horrible behavior prompted a return visit to the vet. New tests showed no medical reason for this lovely gift I was presented with each morning. So the vet referred me to an animal behaviorist. Who knew there was such a thing?

There is always help available to you. Are you reaching out and using the help that can help you?

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Saturday, May 21 from 9am - 3pm

Camp NEXT - Our biggest event ever!
Thank you for your response to preparing our next generation of leadership!

June 21 from 12pm - 5pm

Speak Like a Pro: Put Together and Deliver a Stellar Speech to Unleash Your Inner Rock Star

An innovative and unique Fourth of July themed program to kick start your relevancy as a professional with the ability to deliver a career defining speech. Excel when the spotlight is on you: when you give a speech, a presentation, a PowerPoint or Prezi. An intense program full of expert advice to catapult you levels beyond your present status.

July 1 from 8:30am - 5pm

HorseTalk: Lessons in Leadership
Join us in the pasture for a day like none other you will experience! Learn from our four-legged mirrors how to lead a group, a team, or a company. A horse won't follow you if you don't know where you're going!

July 6 from 5pm - 7:30pm

Video & You Happy Hour Event
You will have the choice to recite a paragraph of a famous speech, be a TV guest, or conduct a job interview. We will Video and immediately play back what we recorded.

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!