Last week's Conversation Camp in London took a fun twist. A client and I met some people and ended up spending much of the day together. The artist invited us to the private club Shoreditch House which was near where we run the Conversation Camp there in London at the Ace hotel. Shoreditch house was great fun and there's no place like a private club for meeting cool and attractive people. :)

Before that though, we were goofing around and filmed some video or myself and the artist, Tamer Nakisci juggling his art. I just bought a new iPhone and was keen to try out the slow-motion video feature so I ended up editing it all up to music when I got home. 

In any case, conversation skills are great at getting things you want, like dates with attractive people and success in sales and business. But they're also great for random, fun adventures with strangers. 

Here's the story I wrote with the video at the end. Enjoy!

- Wayne



This is the true story of four strangers meeting in a cafe.

The storyteller sits at the next table to the artist. They are strangers.

The artist pulls out a bright object and says, “I have these cubes. They’re the basic building block of our lives.”

“Interesting,” says the storyteller. “Why not a ball?”

“Balls are wonderful but they’re literally, worlds to their own. You can’t stack a ball or build structures with them like you can the cube.”

The storyteller rubbed his chin. “I never thought about it that way.”

The artist made a show of offering the cube. “Will you accept this gift?

“Yes. I’ll set it right here next to my tea and later try to give it a good home.” And so he took the cube, not knowing that would change the course of the day.

“What’s that?” said the technologist when he showed up.

“A building block of creativity,” said the storyteller. “The cube is like any of the elements of a story. Think of it like a character, or an action shot or a reaction shot.”

“I see,” said the technologist. “I want to learn more about stories. The three sat together appreciating the cube.

“Its color is striking,” said the technologist.

“Yes,” said the artist. “I worked hard to get that just right. “It’s not quite orange which would make you think of fruit. And it’s not quite red which would make you think of fire engines and street lights. The color lies somewhere in between - not familiar, but not strange either.”

The technologist and the storyteller nodded their heads as if the artist had discovered something profound.

Just then a Marathon Runner showed up. She wore fast shoes and smiled easily.

“Is this table taken,” she said.

“Please,” said the artist, gesturing grandly for her to sit at the next table to the group.

“What is that?” she asked.

“Our technology is made up of discreet units,” said the technologist. “Your phone for instance, in your pocket is made up of cubes. There are cubes within cubes within cubes. This cubes represents all those cubes.”

“You’re right I’m sure,” she said. “But I don’t know what the cube means to me. Running a marathon is very circular with no sharp corners at all.”

“Ah yes,” said the artist.

“Good point,” said the storyteller.

“Oh well,” said the technologist.

They sat in quiet for a moment, each contemplating the meaning of this conversation.

“But,” said the Marathon Runner. “I like the color.”

Everyone smiled and agreed on that. The conversation ran on to other things and, in a short time, they became friends.

“What shall we do to keep the fun going?” asked the artist.

“Let’s go shoot some video of the cube outside on the street.”

“Yes,” said the artist. “That’s where the cube belongs - with the people.”

The storyteller did not know if the artist was joking. But they all went outside and filmed themselves playing with cubes.

Random Conversations #5

By Wayne Elise

In the hotel lobby, waiting for the Conversation Camp to begin here in Chicago, I make eye contact with a group of black people wearing gold-studded baseball caps.

Me: "Are you the group presenting at the Bit Coin convention?"

"No. We're international best selling artists."

 "That explains the bling."

 "Yep. This is my Nigerian super model girlfriend. Ain't she skinny?"

"Like a pole. Can I buy you all a coffee?"

"No thanks. You all right though. Have some tickets to our show?" 

"Will there be other skinny Nigerian models there?" 

"Anything's possible." 

"Hmmm... I like those odds."  

Morale of the story: Never underestimate a dumb question.  


My Wayne Dyer Experience


By Wayne Elise

I had a breakup when I was eighteen with a girl named Anita. I thought she was special, but looking back, I wonder why I felt that way. She used to make out with her Shih Tzu.

But back then, I was inconsolable, so my dad threw a coffee-stained paperback at me. "Try this," he said. "I won it in a card game at work."

The book was called Your Erroneous Zones and at first glance people thought I was reading a sex book. "It's not what you think," I told them. "It's just a similar spelling. Honestly, I'm not a perv."

Well, I was a perv. But I didn't want them thinking so. So I took to reading the book under the table. 

Your Erroneous Zones taught self-actualization and was packed with tips on managing relationships with people. I must have read that book and Wayne Dyer's other early stuff a hundred times. "It's brilliant," I told people. "Made me a new man. Just don't read it in public."

His ideas on self-empowerment helped me forget my emotional woonkiedonk and direct my energy towards self-improvement. I even bought his books for friends who read them, and then did questionable things like end long-term relationships (for the best) and quit jobs to go to clown college (probably also for the best). Wayne's ideas were dynamite. 

In a sense, these books inspired my career later in life. And also I enjoy seeing personal transformation and also Wayne looked so content hanging out in his robe, drinking a Coca-Cola. He made guru seem a viable career path.

It was around that time I dragged my dad with me to see Wayne Dyer give a talk in Detroit. "I just win books in card games," my dad said. "I don't really read them."

"Well I do," I told him. "Trust me, this is going to be great. Wayne's a genius."

Boy, was I disappointed.

I expected an intense, go-getting, run through-the-wall type speech. Instead I got a guy wearing robes and talking about spiritual stuff, forgiveness, our souls... Who cares? I wanted to hear more tips on handling the sarcastic cashier at Kroger. 

But I had to admit, he held the crowd spellbound and was one of the most naturally charismatic speakers I've seen. In hindsight, I learned a lot that night about speaking, performance and how to handle yourself as a thought-leader without being an arrogant prick. 

Flash forward twenty three years later to 2010 and I had mostly forgotten about Wayne Dyer. My inspirations had become things like Modern Shakespeare Interpretation and soaking in the tub for a long time.

And so I was surprised when I was sitting in Madison Square Park in Manhattan, minding my own business, sipping a Starbucks and tweeting a photo of my foot, when Wayne Dyer walks up and stands in front of me, talking into his cellphone. 

I think this is kinda an odd moment considering he was my guru when I was 18. He looks down at me, I nod politely, and he covers the receiver and says, "Talking to my daughter," as if it's the most natural thing to mention to a stranger. I say, "You're Wayne Dyer. I saw you speak in Detroit in 87."  He says, "I'll be right back." Twenty minutes later he walks back, still on the phone and hands me two DVDs of talks he did for PBS or some such and walks away. I am again disappointed in my Wayne Dyer experience. "I'd rather have had a photo," I mumble to myself, "than some stupid DVDs. Who gives out DVDs anymore anyway? Just weird."

I never opened the DVDs and re-gifted them to a friend of a friend. Surprisingly, this woman ends up loving the DVDs, and in turn offers me crash space in her loft in NYC as I was desperately looking for an apartment then and burning money staying in a hotel. It was a life saver.  And being in NY enabled me to later meet my lovely wife on the lower East. 

So years later, today, at my Conversation Camp in Chicago, a client asks me for any books I've read in self-help and I tell him the truth. I told him most self-help is crap and I avoid reading other people's stuff for the most part because I want my ideas to sound original and be representative of experience and real-world testing, and not just theory. "I like to work things out for myself even if that can be a torturous route sometimes." But then, for some reason Wayne Dyer pops into my head and I tell him about these very old books that I read years ago. 

The client has indeed heard of Dyer, so I tell him the story of the strange meeting in the Madison Square Park. 

We finish the camp and I get back to my hotel here, and check Twitter and I see Wayne Dyer has, this very day, passed away at his home in Hawaii. 

I'm again disappointed in my Wayne Dyer experience. 

RIP Wayne Dyer