Connecting Beneath The Surface

I’ve recently been digging into influence. Could the quality of your attention determine another person’s destiny? Perhaps.

In the process, I’ve been engulfed by metaphors for what’s under the surface: what’s hidden and often unnoticed, and yet fundamental?

This week I went even deeper, asking my Facebook network the question, “What’s the opposite of ‘word’?” Cue trances all around – followed by a fascinating discussion.

And at the same time, I’m aiming to keep my presentations practical.

  • At Aginext on Friday I was helping teccies to bridge communication barriers – to talk to managers, customers, HR, finance departments and so on.
  • On Tuesday my topic is “virtual leadership secrets” at Digital Project Managers London meetup.

“What’s the relationship?” asks Roy Marriott. Good question!

The relationship isn’t obvious, because the stuff I’m talking about isn’t obvious.  And yet, it’s really, really important: the very stuff of thought, the very stuff of communication. It’s the roots from which businesses grow. It’s the foundations on which families are built.

In both presentations, the actual content was/will be similar: “the nearest thing the FBI has to a Jedi mind trick”. Paying attention. Directing attention. A couple of Clean Language questions.  Once I’ve got a roomful of people, the content just works.

I get feedback like this from David Tanzer: “I tried some of the techniques from your talk later that day, during the farewell drinks. The conversation was amazing, I loved it. And that person might be interested in hiring me for a few days, so I might be back in London in summer (that’s, of course, not certain at all yet). Thanks again for your great talk!”

My challenge, consistently, has been finding a title and promotional words that will 1. get organisers to book me to speak or to lead a workshop and 2. encourage people to actually turn up on the day.

People are generally attracted by highly-specific titles, which seem to apply very closely to themselves. They are quite legitimately suspicious of anything involving “hidden secrets”, “mysteries” etc, because that can smack of snake-oil.

And as for me, I’m not comfortable doing a bait-and-switch job. I don’t want to get people into rooms under false pretences.

So, I’m hunting for titles that sound unusual and interesting, and which appeal to a lot of people, and which draw attention to this communication channel that hardly anyone knows is there. Like the internet of honey fungus, or the interstitium.

To do that means using metaphors. But not just using metaphors. I’ve realised that the best titles out there have an elegant twist.

That wacky question, “What’s the opposite of ‘word’?” crowdsourced a suitable twist. Thanks Justus Paiewonsky and everyone involved!

Golden Keyholes: Unlocking Enlightening Conversations is the latest title, for DevOps North in June. What do you reckon? Please comment below. And where else could I go with this?

5 thoughts on “Connecting Beneath The Surface”

  1. @Marjan lots of suggestions! The image on this post collects them all into a word cloud

  2. One thought is since word is Energy and Energy Creates then opposite of word might be no Energy which means I must be present- still – Clean of judgments about myself and about the other = as you said paying a attention which allow the Clients energy to flow so that their cognitive system can recognize the word(s) and bring it out of metaphor into a new creation

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