Never Met A Verb I Didn't Like

By Wayne Elise

Effective conversation is about capturing the imagination of other people.

Try this exercise. Close your eyes and imagine a banana. If other thoughts intrude, go back to the banana. It’s yellow. It grows in a tropical climate. It’s what your mom sliced up and droppled into your Rice Krispies. Just keep thinking about that banana. If other non-banana thoughts intrude, push them out and go back to your fruit.

5… 4… 3… 2… 1…

Okay, you can stop now. I apologize. This is an impossible exercise. With all due respect to Buddhist Monks, if you’re like me, your mind just refuses to hold a constant, unmoving, static, boring image in mind for very long before it starts to wander.

We crave movement and change.

Now let’s try a slightly different exercise. Imagine a banana. But this time, do something with it. Peel your banana. Walk your banana over to a vat of boiling chocolate and dip it. Pull it out and watch the steam rise off the chocolate as it cools and hardens over your banana. Put your nose close and sniff.

Now imagine taking a bite. Chew your banana and swallow the mash. Feel it make it’s way down to your stomach and quench your hunger. Smile in satisfaction.

Okay. Chances are you stayed with our banana story the entire time. Your mind didn’t wander much.

People naturally focus on movement. Like most predators, our eyes are forward facing. That's so we can use ‘binocular summation’ to detect the smallest movement ahead in the bush. We are geared to detect and pay attention to movement. If we want people to listen to our conversation we should strive to stick more action in them.

Comedians often talk about Jokes Per Minute - JPM. They always trying to pump up their JPM. We can create a similar metric and call it Verbs Per Minute - VPM.  This is a metric to help us judge the quality of our conversation and storytelling.

This week let's try to focus on increasing our VPM. Here are some suggestions to help enable that:

* Make a conscious effort. It's easy to forget to work on our conversation skills once we arrive at work and the day gets busy. Try tagging a reminder in your calendar: '4 O clock meeting with IT team. Yo, use more Verbs to inspire.' 

* Rework your ritual conversations. We all recognize and participate in ritual conversations daily: "How are you?" "Fine, how about yourself?" "Good." "Good weekend?" "Yes. You?" "Splendid."

 Few people spend much time thinking on making these conversations more interesting. But it's a good place to start because you can work up something more 'verby' ahead of time. 

"How are you?"

"If you were to measure it on a scale from one to ten, you can write me up as an eight. Thanks for asking."


"Welcome to Starbucks. What can I get started for you?"

"I'll have a chocolate latte please, and if you can sprinkle in some extra love that would probably make me smile."

* Put in more Reaction Shots too. AKA, talk in the same way a film director films a movie. There are only a few type of shots in movie making. After the director hits us up with a few shots to establish the setting, she sets about showing us a series of Action and Reactions Shots. 

These two type of shots help each other. An action shot (man drives his car off a cliff) gives rise to a reaction shot. The people standing on the edge of the cliff cry out or they smile or they just stare expressionless. The flavor of their reactions tell us the meaning of the action we just witnesses. When a movie editor gets the raw footage from a director his primary task is to match action and reaction shots. 

Often we forget the importance of saying how we (or other characters in our conversation) feel. Instead we speak in judgements. "Holland Park is great." Right. That may be true, but that's a judgement. A judgement is an opinion disguised as a fact. It doesn't carry the personality of an emotion which is individual. Better to say, "I love Holland Park." This then leads to the natural use of more action in our conversation. We can then show how we love it. "I like walking my dog Betsy at seven o clock in the morning and enjoy seeing all the Russian nannies struggling to juggle their Starbucks and prams."

Okay, hope you enjoy these ideas and putting more verbs in your conversation. If you want to know more just page through the posts here on the site or come to a Conversation Camp and learn from me in person. I'd love to help.

All the best,


Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know

Mad, bad and dangerous to know. That's what they said about Byron the poet. He was a hell-raiser who seduced innocent, young women, made enemies, fought duels, slept with his cousin - that sort of thing. I think we need more of that type of behavior around here. An informal poll of women I know reveals a taste for men who are mad, bad and dangerous to know.

"They're sexy," says Kelly.

"I like a man who lives by his own rules," says Kim.

"I think it's hot when a man wears eyeliner," says Shannon, " Is that what you're talking about?" Sometimes it is, Shannon, sometimes it is.

My friend Mike personifies the modern Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know Man. (not to be confused with our instructor Mike who works at Charisma Arts, and who's also pretty MBD)

Mike is someone I got to know because one day we realized we rode the same model Vespa - instant connection.

Let's take a look at his qualities.

MAD: Sometimes Mike trims his hair baby-short and wears a dog collar. This makes him look scary. He and his girlfriend are taking part in a clinical trial in which they don't brush their teeth for three weeks. Today he quietly handed me a note that said he was not speaking today - for fun. That's just the sort of antisocial behavior that gives him the reputation of being mad. Completely mad. And mad can be sexy.

BAD: Mike breaks rules. His girlfriend is 26 years younger. He attached the license plate to his Vespa with velcro to avoid parking tickets. He doesn't mind telling someone to f*ck off. He once had sex with a girl on her boss's desk, who was a raging feminist, just for the irony of the act.

DANGEROUS TO KNOW: Mike likes adventure and might just drag your ass into one. Goth night at the nightclub? We're going. Talking to the intimidating hot girl? No worries. Comfort zone? Let's bust it. When you least expect it, Mike swears to emphasize his point. He likes pushing your buttons. He has the aura that he might just do something you don't expect at any moment.

Mike's also unafraid to tell you what he thinks. He lives by the motto: Those who mind, don't matter and those who matter, don't mind. It's exhilarating having a friend who doesn't play life safe.

The flip side of being Mad, Bad and Dangerous to know is that Mike is a great friend. He introduced me to a hot, model friend of his (and I teach how to get girls). Most guys would have hit on her themselves. But not Mike. There's always more where she came from for him. He lives a life of abundance. People are drawn to his strength instinctively. They know that only the strong can be generous. He is the opposite of most people who are sniveling bags of selfishness. Mike can be KIND because he is so MAD, BAD and DANGEROUS TO KNOW. And that my friends is... SEXY.

If you want to learn how to be more Mad, Bad and Dangerous to know, take one of my events or sign up for phone coaching with me.

All the best, Wayne

Grooming 101: What to do about nose hairs.

Okay, let's get down and dirty. Or up and nasty, depending on your point of view. I want to talk about nose hairs. Once upon a time I paid no attention to nose hairs. I was young and blissfully unaware. Other than the occasional stuffed-up variety of nose, I mostly ignored my appendage, counting on it to just go wherever I did and do it's thing without any advice from me. But something unexpected happened on the way to middle age. Hairs began sprouting out of places I'd never expected. One night, after being rejected from my attempted make out with a friend, of a friend, of a friend, I took a look in the mirror and talked to myself, "That girl liked me. At least from afar. But when we got close, SHAZAM, nothing. What happened?"

I breathed on the mirror. Hard to tell, but my breath seemed okay. I looked for other clues. True, I was pastey white. And I needed a shave. And I was a DUDE. How could any girl want to make out with a dude anyway? Yuck.

Okay, I was getting off track. I moved closer, and that's when I spotted them, peeking out like paintbrush bristles. Their roots buried up somewhere deep. Nose hairs! And, oh my sweet Buddha, some were snow white. Made me think of my father who has never trimmed his nose hairs, ever. They just grow down and merge with the hairs of his mustache. Neat, huh?

But in other news, nose hairs DO NOT turn women on. Grooming is IN. Men are shaving their chests for Pete's sake. A girl I know claims to only date men who shave their arm pits. The world has turned. Lumberjacks and burly men no longer run things. It's the hipsters and the Robert Pattersons who are considered hot.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen a client show up for training with us who has under-groomed in the nasal region. This necessitates a tough conversation. I have, a few times, on the spot, marched a guy down to the pharmacy to buy a trimming instrument of desperate, nose-hair destruction. If we don't take care of the grooming essentials we may as well not be in the game. What game? The game of love, sex, life. Don't leave the house with visible nose hairs. It'll distract people at your work, walking down the street, babies will cry and wolves will howl. Your chance of getting 'lucky' is reduced by 82.5%.

Okay, now that I've made you suitably paranoid about the topic, let's move on to talk about how to take care of those prickly rascals.

My first attempt to get rid of my nose hairs was to pick up a pair of tweezers and yank the suckers. But pulling a nose hair, root and all, will make your eyes water, create an unfulfillable urge to sneeze and want to rub your nose along the floor like a puppy. I've got the rug burns to prove it. Not cool.

I tried battery-powered nose hair trimmers but they suck. Because of their design they can't get in there close to the skin at the center flesh of the nose. Guys who claim to use them, always have visible 'hairage' if you look closely enough. And girls do, if they're up in your grill, about to make out.

I've always said, if you want a job done right, you gotta get in there and swipe at it yourself with a sharp instrument. I recommend using cuticle scissors (see above pic). These are designed to trim toenails but they do an excellent job of trimming nose hairs too. The blades are curved and wicked sharp. That curve will help you get in there close to the skin without poking yourself. Buy the most expensive pair you can find. There's nothing as frustrating as isolating a stubborn nose hair only to botch the job with dull blades.

Technique: In each nostril there are two regions that must be attended to. Hairs grow from the middle, nostril-separating flesh and another variety grows from somewhere up in the no-mans land of deep in the nose.

Step #1 Find a mirror with light that you can shine in your face. You will need light from slightly below nose level. You may have to bring a desk lamp into the bathroom with you. Or buy one of those lighted, magnifying mirrors they sell to old ladies to help put on makeup.

#2 Push the tip of your nose sideways and slightly up, exposing the middle flesh on one side of your nose. Use the scissors to cut the hairs growing out of this region as close as possible to the skin. It will be apparent which way to turn the curve of the scissors once you get in there.

BE CAREFUL! As I mentioned before, cuticle scissors are sharp. The blood vessels in your nose are close to the surface. One inattentive slice and you will bleed, and bleed, and bleed. If you get in a fist-fight you can be proud of a bloody nose, but you will feel stupid telling an emergency nurse you cut your nose with cuticle scissors.

#3 Repeat the last procedure in the other direction.

#4 Now use a thumb to pull a nostril up and outwards, like extremely flairing it. This will expose hairs that grow down from above. Trim these. You won't be able to get near the roots of these suckers because they grow from deep inside, so just trim them up as close as you can. Once you release your nostril to normal position you'll get a couple weeks of growth before they start to poke down visibly again.

#5 Repeat on the other nostril.

Tip: Only go after the visible hairs. You need some nose hair to filter out dust and debris from getting sucked into your lungs.

Congratulations. Now that you've mastered your nose hairs you are now sexier and happier. I know that I am.

Until next time, All the best, Your friend and guide to being a sexier DUDE, Wayne Elise