LNC 48 | Art Of Communication


Communication is an art, whether you’re selling something, talking to a friend online, or doing a business deal in a foreign country. Proper communication is a skill and it’s not just about talking. It’s about getting to know people, which is slowly disappearing now with the rise of technology. Learn the ways of communication with your host John Solleder and his guests Keith Hooper and Dr. Nancie Celini. Learn how communication is very important in business. You need to be able to communicate what you’re selling or else no one will buy from you. You will also need to talk to foreigners and this is where non-verbal communication comes in. Learn all that and much more in today’s episode. Master the art of communication today!

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The Art Of Communication With Keith Hooper And Dr. Nancie Celini

I want to welcome my two esteemed colleagues and friends. One happens to be not only a friend but happens to be my sister as well. She is not on here because of that, she is on here because of her communication skills which are vast and which we’re going to be talking about. Let me introduce Keith Hooper and Dr. Nancie Celini. Welcome to the show. How are you both?

I’m well, John. Thanks for having me.

Thanks for having me and including me with your much smarter sister on this episode.

I invited her based on merit, not based on bloodline. Some of our bloodlines, I don’t think you’d want to interview. They have a lot to say but you might not understand them.

I’m honored to be here, knowing her background and all the stuff she has accomplished in life and bring information. The best way to succeed in life is to help other people. She has been somebody that’s done a tremendous job with that.

Thank you, Keith. Back at you.

Before we get into the topic which is the art of communication, which I feel is being lost with all the social media that exist now. I’m a social media fan. I used it in my business. Being a podcaster, I use it every week. It’s somewhat been lost. I think back to some of the great communicators. I was looking online and so many people come to mind. I’ll mention a few but there are more than this.

According to the internet, the ten greatest communicators of the modern era would be John Wooden who’s been a basketball coach at UCLA for many years, Sir Winston Churchill, Dr. Billy Graham, President Reagan, Jack Welch from the business world, Dr. Martin Luther King, and Walter Cronkite. To me, when the news was actually news, Walter Cronkite was the guy I would listen to when I was a kid. I grew up listening to him.

LNC 48 | Art Of Communication

Art Of Communication: When people talk about the computer revolution, few people talk about the Palo Alto Research Laboratories. They gave people the graphic user interface and the mouse. This is why words matter.


Also, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former Prime Minister of Israel. I had the privilege of living in Israel many years ago when he was the prime minister for the first time. He’s a great speaker and a very brilliant man. Whether you agree or disagree with his politics, you’ll love to listen to him speak because he has such command of communication skills. Oprah Winfrey certainly would be on that list and there are many others.

When I think about those great communicators, they had some commonalities. One of those commonalities was that you knew what they were saying and they were very clear. Whether you agree or disagree with what they were saying, perhaps they were in politics and you did or didn’t like what they were saying, but at least you understood what they were saying.

How is that relevant for us in network marketing? There is an old saying, “What you’re not up on, you’re down on.” If people don’t understand what it is you’re trying to communicate, no matter how well you think you’re communicating it, how many books you’ve read, how much information and how much detail, if you are not clear and concise in your message, you’ll lose the person’s interest. They’ll mentally turn off. They might be polite but you’re not going to earn your business. That goes not only in network marketing, but that also goes into the corporate world, ministry, and in every other thing where you need to communicate, which is every business.

How come in every business, there are dominant players? I think back to my days in New Jersey. Nancie, you probably remember a guy who I used to hang out with. His name is Richie. He was one of the most successful lawnmowers and snowblower dealers in the entire United States. How come he was super successful while other guys with the same brand struggled? He was a very good communicator. Not only did he know his brand well but he knew people well. I think of the life insurance business that I was privileged to spend a couple of years in. I got exposed to a gentleman named Joe Gandolfo. I don’t know if Joe is still alive or not, but he was a legend in the life insurance business.

Joe was the first person in history to sell $1 billion of life insurance in one year. He did that many years ago. The premiums were much lower. I think of a book that Joe wrote that I own. It was Selling is 98% Understanding Human Beings and 2% Product Knowledge. What is that saying? Understanding human beings, their needs and wants, and then communicating to them how you can help them achieve those things. There are many other examples.

Dr. Celini, why don’t we start with you? I know a lot of your background but even as my sister, I know you’ve been in the corporate world, technology sector, and the medical world now. You have at least two careers plus being a mom and many other things. Share a little bit of your background and some of the companies that you’ve presented and worked with over these many years.

Express what you're doing in simple terms so that others can identify with what you're doing. Click To Tweet

Thank you, John. Thanks for that nice intro. My career has been rather eclectic. I did start in technology. I started very young. I had a ringside seat to the computer revolution as we know it. A lot of that was very foundational for me because I got to work with people. You described that list of the top ten. I got to see people in action who were not on any top ten lists but they were brilliant when it came to communicating their ideas. Unfortunately, I worked for a company that could not communicate its ideas.

When we think about computer technology now, it’s an interesting introduction and avenue to come into the writing and communication topic that you want to talk about. When we talk about the computer revolution, unless they know the history, a few people think of Xerox, Palo Alto Research Laboratories. Unless you’ve watched Triumph of the Nerds, this is a classic case of why words matter. It’s that whole description you laid out about someone being articulate in conveying what they are selling and being a huge success as a result of it. Xerox was in a Wall Street Journal article that I’ll never forget. “Too much, too little too late” was the tagline that described their contributions.

It’s sad to me because technologically, few companies contributed as much as they did, bringing us the graphic user interface and the mouse by observing preverbal children. They contributed to this widely and yet, why did they not become the household name? People like Bill Gates come to mind when we think of computer technology and who put it on the map. There were many others before Bill Gates. It’s central to this idea, not only of how I started in my career, but also to get us to the topic and very close up and personal with it of why being able to express what you’re doing in simple terms so that others can identify with what you’re doing and say, “I need that,” is critical.

Not every company has been masterful at it. Some companies who are very high-tech and have contributed to the tech-based on how we have this brilliant array of technology maybe were happy with having that little bit of a backseat. I don’t think anyone could refute Mr. Gates’s stellar success. What was the difference? The difference was that in one case, you had a group of very brilliant engineers who were attempting to design something they didn’t even understand what it was going to do. These inventions led to the internet as we all know it.

When I first walked into my first green screen room at the DARPA office that I was assigned to, because I had a government assignment for quite a long time, I saw this green screen. A very lovely scientist from DARPA explained to me that this was a communication system to keep in touch with all the military bases. They thought it had a lot of application beyond that. Who knew? That was the beginning of the internet as we know it. What’s the difference between all these brilliant inventions and being able to become a household name?

You’ve coined it and I’ve watched it from the tech perspective, sitting on those sidelines. It is the ability to communicate what you are selling and whether you’re directly or indirectly selling. Every one of us is trying to make a case for why what we’re doing is important and why it warrants someone’s attention. From my technical days in system engineering, I was assigned by the mothership Xerox at the time to what was called a GEM assignment. I thought, “That’s cool, gem. That’s a precious thing.” It stood for Government Education and Medical.

Long story short, it was a sweet assignment. I didn’t realize it at the time. I was so young. I didn’t have the context. I had people tell me that not keeping my laboratory job at the time with International Playtex was a mistake because this computer field was unproven. It probably wasn’t going to go very far. I had people say that to me. Fortunately, I did not listen. From, there I got into supporting government sites including DARPA. I worked on a live munition basis. It was a fascinating time because I saw how the technology was being applied.

LNC 48 | Art Of Communication

Art Of Communication: You need to make people understand the good that can come from the change in technology. It’s all about taking complex ideas and boiling them down into things that people can get excited about.


I worked in the education sector and with the school for the deaf and blind in New Jersey. We’re looking at ways that technology could assist those who were hearing or visually impaired. Both are tremendous industries. How did I know the value of that context? The one that struck me and called to me was my medical sector. That meant that I had all of the pharmaceutical medical device companies up and down the New Jersey corridor at the time. Unless you live here or worked within it, a few people know that at one time, New Jersey was the pharma capital of the American world. That has changed since.

From there, I got into this very different world. It was about drug development, clinical research and working with patient populations. The industry at that point was at its tipping point. There was a lot of change going on. From there, I decided to devote myself to the healthcare field. It called to me the importance of the research that was taking place and the background that I had. I would then go on to earn my degrees in Public Health. I still consider myself a health technologist who has a deep passion for how we keep populations or maybe help populations get healthier and stronger.

As you know, John, a lot of our work with you, Keith and our other colleagues has been focused around that. That is how I got here. What I do in the biopharmaceutical sector, which has changed dramatically. We’ve seen companies come and go, and larger companies buy smaller companies. I don’t think there is anyone who can refute the speed of research, and the agility that some of these companies have developed in the research field. It’s very different from when we had to wait fifteen years to see a product or drug that might be assistive in helping people get healthier. Those timelines are getting shorter.

I do something called Organizational Change Management, which is why I have that background there. “Think OCM,” that’s my motto. When I’m talking to people, I want them to think about change not in the household way it’s become. I don’t care where you look or what you read. Everybody is saying, “We’re in a time of change.” We all agree on that, given the events of these past months and years. Change from a very deep level has to have more meaning. That is my job to convey to people why are we making this change in technology, process and structure. It’s a hard profession, I won’t lie to you. It’s all about communication, and taking complex ideas and boiling them down into things that people can get excited about.

First of all, I love that acronym, Organizational Change Management. That’s a mouthful but it represents something. The acronyms are something that people communicate with now. Maybe because of memes. Maybe it’s because the younger generation is growing up with memes. Keith, share a little bit of your multifaceted career on your end too. Both of you are fascinating people. For our audience’s benefit leading up to some of the skills that they are going to get off from this interview about communication, you’ll understand that both of these individuals are not network marketing people. They both dabble in network marketing and make a little income in network marketing, but they both have had big careers doing other things. Keith, share a little bit about your family, origin, and anything you want to share.

Our topic is communication. I’m thinking, “What are we talking about? Why is that so important?” If you want to succeed in life, you better be able to communicate with your spouse, your children and grandchildren. We don’t think about that but it’s learned. The beautiful thing about communication is it’s learned. We’re farmers. My background is in agriculture. Between my junior and senior years in college, while I was working for my father and uncle, they said, “You’re enrolled in the Dale Carnegie class in Fresno.”

I’m nineteen years old. I’m in this class in Fresno in the Dale Carnegie class. There isn’t a person in the room that’s under the age of 40, except me. Everybody else was over the age of 40. We’re in the farming business. Why would my father and uncle want to get me to go to Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People class? It’s because communication is in everything you do, whether you’re communicating with your employees, people you’re either buying or renting land from, selling or buying crops, which we were doing. We were buying from other people. Whether you’re communicating with your bankers, you better have those communication skills.

Communicating is not about talking. It's a skill that you can learn. Click To Tweet

They sent me through that class when I’m nineteen years old and I’m a farmer. Everybody else is in there trying to be salespeople. I’m some farm kid. We’re there and we went through that process. When we think about these communication skills, it doesn’t matter if you’re high-tech or low-tech. You better learn how to communicate with your children, grandchildren and family.

Dr. Celini was talking about these high-tech people. In the late ‘70s, early ’80s, I had the pleasure of attending a function. There was a gentleman there by the name of Russell Giffen. No one here will know that name but Russell Giffen was the world’s largest irrigated farm owner in the world. I had never met or seen the man. He spoke at this event of about 700 or 800 farmers. When you walk in and you see the little deal that says Cotton Incorporated or the little cotton ball on all the sheets, Russell Giffen was the one who created that.

Russell Giffen’s communications skills would have been hugely successful even if he owned a shoe store because he could communicate and command attention. It was interesting watching the people from Cotton Incorporated couldn’t get close enough to this guy. The Wall Street people that were there were hanging on every word that this man was communicating. When we’re talking about these communication skills, the good thing about this is it’s a skill. You can learn. We were talking about Mackay’s book Swim With the Sharks. That was about being able to communicate.

It doesn’t matter if you’re high-tech or low-tech. I’ve got a gardener that comes in and takes care of my yard. He’s got a couple of people that work for him. I’ve got another friend of mine that’s down in Southern California that has 1,000 people that work for him, and he is in the gardening business. He airlifts plants into people’s backyards with helicopters. The helicopter belonged to him, but he is in the gardening business. He is a great communicator. Communication skills are going to go throughout all of your life. Most of the time, people say, “I know how to talk.” We’re not talking about talking. We’re talking about communicating and it’s a skill that you can learn. That’s the best part about what this show is about. It’s being able to acquire these skills to be successful with it.

If it’s an art, only a handful of people can do it. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the gardening business, a doctor, in the computer business, or if you’re trying to do it on social media, you better look at your communication skills. When you look at somebody and they go, “I don’t know what you mean.” That’s not on them. That’s on you because you didn’t communicate your thoughts to them in such a way that they could accept it. Look at that, evaluate it, and invest in yourself in some great communication tools.

For our young people, there was a time when the internet did not exist. Nancie, Keith and I all remember those days. We probably got better lives because we didn’t have the internet constantly. King Solomon said, and I’ll paraphrase what he said, “Accurate communication allows progress.” If you think about it, King Solomon who lived thousands of years ago said that, but he didn’t have telephones, newspapers, internet and television. He told something to maybe a small group of people, and they had to carry that message to the next town or city, and communicate that to the people there.

LNC 48 | Art Of Communication

Art Of Communication: When talking to people who don’t speak English, you have to speak clearly. Don’t use acronyms, terms, or jokes that you would use in the United States. You also need to be human.


Communication has always been at the top of most human beings’ list of priorities, yet many of us don’t do it well. That’s the purpose of this episode. I wrote something else down too, “To dominate, communicate.” That’s my new acronym. Nancie, you’ve been in front of people internationally. You’ve done business in Japan, as well as in European countries where your audience is not necessarily listening to you in their native tongue.

You’ve got to communicate that much better when you’re being translated. I’ve been in that situation, so was Keith with our business. You’ve been in places where you might know three words of the language and you can’t even fake it well, where you have to communicate. How do you take a foreign audience, Japanese for example, and make your point so that that guy, gal or executive in that company knows exactly what your company is trying to communicate with them?

I teach a class on cultural awareness. We call it a cultural tune-up for new people. I see the deer in the headlights look from all of them the first time that they have to go to Japan. For anyone who’s been in Tokyo, very little is in English. The native tongue there is not English. A couple of rules of the road here, our colleagues in Japan are some of the hardest working people I have ever known on the planet. They love humor and being human beings. I’ve seen a lot of nervous professionals go in front of them with the 400 slides because they like details and data.

The thing that works the best for me is to speak clearly, no acronyms, no terms that we would use here in the United States that have meaning for us. Even when you’re trying to be humorous, if it’s a US thing, they are probably not going to find it humorous. You’ve got to try to link your humor more to a very simplistic type. Being human is one of the most important things. For cultures, organizations and audiences that do not speak English as a first language, they all put us to shame as Americans. I’m going to put that out there. I know fewer Americans are multilingual by large numbers than I do in my foreign colleagues.

Often, they do speak English. I went through this with the linguists to understand because I worked not only in Japan but also in Thailand and India. It’s important to understand the brain activity they’re using to listen to you in English and convert it into their native language. It’s amazing when you meet someone who’s trilingual and beyond that. I always try to give credit to know that they understand a lot more than we give them credit for. It’s talking slowly, using pictures and pausing saying, “Does that idea make sense?”

Japan, in particular, are extremely respectful. Nobody’s going to shout out like our American audience does. If you give them the opportunity to interact, they respect you for it and it works. I’ve been working with companies in Japan for many years. I remember the first time having a whole room full of primarily Japanese businessmen, and the interpreters were there. I’m going, “Oh my.” Because I’m not a linguist and I don’t know Japanese, I had to resort to the only thing I knew. It was sticking to why I was there and what my purpose was for my presentation, and I kept going back to that.

That also is something that I see on a lot of speakers in the spoken word, even in English speaking audience where there are no language barriers. They lose their way. It’s learning how to be clear and concise. I was taught, and some of you will remember this, to tell them what you’re going to tell them, and then tell them what you told them. It sounds silly but John, I’m here to tell you about a revolutionary product. I’m going to take you through some data points. I want to show you how people are using this and responding. At the end of this presentation, we’re going to have a discussion and I’m happy to answer your questions.

Non-verbal communication comes through in everything you do. Click To Tweet

You go through your points and then at the end, I say, “John, I told you about our product. I showed you some real-world examples. What do you think?” If you follow Jack Welch, he wrote one of the most brilliant things. It stuck with me all these years. It was in a book written by a man named Trout. He was writing about the downfall of companies that became too complicated. One of the companies he cited was Volkswagen. Do you remember all those other cars they had? When Volkswagen went beyond the Beetle, they plummeted.

He was talking about other companies as well. Jack Welch inherited a mess when he took over and had to sort that out. When the author interviewed him about, “What makes you respond to somebody coming through the door, telling you about a newfangled idea?” I will paraphrase but he spoke about, “Nervous people who are insecure tend to bring in massive amounts of slides with massive amounts of words.” At the end of it, he says, “The most powerful communicator and the most successful people are those who are unafraid to be simple.” I’ve never forgotten that.

It brings to mind on my end a company in Texas, not in our industry. They sold the company to Warren Buffett. One company that wanted to buy this company came in with a 100-page proposal and all sorts of different tax breaks, and this and that. It’s very complex. The people who started the company were pretty basic people. They were successful and they were making a very basic product.

Buffett and his guys came in with two paragraphs. He said, “Here is what we’ll buy the company for. Here is when we’ll buy the company. How would you like us to pay?” They looked at the two deals and the one might have been a better deal, but it was so complex that they walked away from it. They took Buffett’s deal and it’s still a very successful company in this part of the country. It’s a company that makes a product for home use.

I’m listening to Nancie talking about Japan. In the little communications part that we did, we became the largest exporter of Alfalfa in the world to Japan. Every month, twelve months out of the year, busloads of Japanese dairy farmers came to our operation here in California. What was interesting was none of us spoke a word of Japanese. The tour buses would come and they would come over with their stuff. They were coming for this specific deal to come to our operation.

What was so interesting with this was two things. The communication that mattered was all nonverbal. It was all the smiles, handshakes, appreciation, and understanding of what was important to them. One of our general managers for that particular business was a jolly boy. He was a couple of years older than I am and he’s a jolly guy. He didn’t speak a word of Japanese at all but every year he went to Japan for two weeks. I’m surprised he didn’t starve to death because he didn’t know enough Japanese even to order. He was a person that appreciated them. It’s that nonverbal communication that came across between that. We became the largest exporter of Alfalfa in the world to Japan because of our communication skills.

Some of our competitors bought the product from them. They turned around and ran it through our marketing mechanism and shipped it to Japan, but the Japanese wouldn’t buy from them because they didn’t like the way they communicated with them. There are a lot of these communication skills that are nonverbal and people say, “The nonverbal part doesn’t matter anymore because we’re doing it through texting and Facebook.”

The nonverbal comes through in everything you do, including everything you type in an email that comes through. Nancie would pick that up. Even when you’re typing a message in an email and sending it to that, there is an underlying nonverbal communication that’s coming through. If you’re not aware of it, it very well can stump you into the ground. It is not taking advantage of that. Right, Nancie?

LNC 48 | Art Of Communication

Art Of Communication: There’s an underlying non-verbal communication that goes through typing an email or a text. If you’re not aware of that, it can very much stump you into the ground.


Absolutely. John, you probably want to get into some practical side of where we are and what we will do about it but Keith just hit my nerve. Being a professor at a medical school, teaching highly technical topics with students who do not believe they ever have to write a single thing, it’s very interesting to deal with generational differences. “I don’t have to write anymore. I text everything. I’m head down. I don’t have to make eye contact.” Young doctors have to be trained on how to talk to people and look them in the eye. There is nothing more disrespectful.

Keith, no wonder that gentleman who mastered the art of the nonverbal with our Japanese colleagues. As I said, they are the most respectful people on the planet. If you show respect and an effort, they appreciate it. What do you do when you’re facing a room full of burnt-out medical students who are sitting and they’re on their phones. You know they’re texting to get pizza later on or for exam grades that are far more important to them. I would tell them, “Your mathematical skills in health economics in some cases were brilliant. No problem, but explain to me how you came up with that. I want you to do it in a paragraph.”

They thought I was torturing them. In ways, I am because I know that what Keith just said is so important. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are and how smart you are, one day you are going to be held accountable for your words that may be in a text, email or completely nonverbal. Somewhere, someone is going to catch up on it and it’s embarrassing. We can all cite some examples of that for people who thought they never had to humble themselves to be human beings. I am a technologist, so you have to know this is from my heart and soul. It’s a little hard to say, having grown up with this stuff, that in some ways, it has set our society back in intelligence, the ability to want to search and read a book versus sitting on their phone all day long.

The family dinners with everyone around the table, texting each other, that’s sad and tragic. The art of being able to say to someone, “Keith, tell me about your background and what that was like,” there is nothing that can replace that art. I’m glad Keith brought it out because he talked about face-to-face and nonverbal communication. Now we hit the topic of, how are your writing skills? What and where are you writing? Are you thinking when you’re writing? The thought process has gone out the window.

Let me ask you. Do you agree with this, “Never write an email when you’re mad?”

Absolutely, and we’re tired or had been drinking.

Also, when we’re over-exuberant or over happy. It’s either one of those. Think about it. Often, we’re in that instant communication, which means instant train wreck. We’re not even talking about car wrecks. We’re talking about train wrecks occurring because people don’t think about that. Put a mirror up in front of you when there’s communication. When you’re typing that text or email, you look in that mirror. Make sure there’s a smile on your face and all these nonverbal things.

You go, “That can’t possibly matter.” The difference between our successes in business was a smile on our face, and how we thought and communicated to our customers when we were selling Alfalfa to them, to the people we were buying Alfalfa from, to the processing people, to the guys who were working for me, and to the trucking company to haul the stuff to the port. All that communication stuff happens so quickly that if you don’t train yourself to it, it can cause a major problem.

Now, all you’ve done is that the danger area has gotten much bigger because of instant communication. Something happens and it sets you in a position where you want to respond to it in the moment. That’s not a good idea. Think about it. Get in front of that mirror and talk to that person on the other side, “Self, is this something that I should be doing?”

Keith, no matter how many times we tell people that the words you write now in a fit of anger, frustration, maybe it’s being just you, you’re at home you and you’re in a work situation, they are indelible now. When they go through legal discovery, companies are still being sunk with huge fines when they find people writing about things in email, websites, instant chat and instant messaging, which is so prevalent these days. That’s the stuff that sinks companies. It’s not what you tell me that you said. It’s what you didn’t tell me that your employees were saying. We continue to see it.

It’s gotten better but email and text messaging are a little bit like that angry driver on the highway who flies by you and gives you the salute. You think you’re never going to see that person again until you pull in the rest stop and they are the cashier behind the counter. They go, “I know you.” We have to start to value our words and how we present ourselves. There is a very incriminating video that came out about someone being caught. You can’t undo these things.

Your written word is a representation of who you really are. Click To Tweet

I know we’re not going to talk politics, but I’ll pick on politicians because they think they are not going to get caught saying these horrific things. You will get caught and the whole world will see it. Are you proud of that? Your written word is a representation of who you are. That’s what we have to remember. Keith, thank you for bringing that up, about stopping.

We’re talking about becoming successful and communicating to build your business to succeed in life. It’s that communication skills, whether you’re the gardener, a guy driving the garbage truck or owns the garbage company. John and I know a lady in the Northeast that is extremely successful who owns a garbage company. She’s got a lot of garbage trucks out picking up stuff. When we look at this, understand that your communication is going to determine your success in life. It’s your ability to communicate and learn the skills to do it effectively. That’s what is good with what John has here with this show, it’s developing those skills. John, we’re going to go ahead and let you re-engage in your program.

Let me make three points for everything you guys talked about in no particular order. Russell Crowe, talking about road rage because it’s a serious problem. I had a guy cut me off and give me the finger. Russell Crowe made a movie called Unhinge that I watched. It’s about road rage and how serious this can get. He is a great actor. To Nancie’s point, you pull up in the gas station, and you don’t know the guy behind you. Worse yet, Nancie and I have a sister that gave our uncle the beeper one time. He was beeping at her to say hello in traffic at a stop sign. That’s a long time ago. It could be your pastor, priest, accountant, lawyer or mother behind you, who knows.

The next point is about smiling. Think about Starbucks. I’ve not drink coffee in many years. I don’t even like coffee, but I will go to Starbucks occasionally if I am having a crummy day. I’ll have a hot chocolate or a bottle of water. Howard Schultz, the great CEO, bought the company and developed it. They have a policy. They only hire friendly people who know how to smile.

If you’re having a crummy day, the last thing you want is the person who is selling you a cup of coffee to have a crummier day and reflect that. You get that smile and maybe whatever it is, you’ve forgotten. He took that concept from Il Giornale over in Italy, which is the little bistros that they have all around Italy when you walked around. You go in and it’s raining. You read the newspaper, listen to a little opera, have a cup of coffee, and go back to your life. It’s a great concept. It’s worked here in the States and throughout the world. That smiling is the real key.

The other point is you’re talking about the Japanese. The Japanese understand nonverbal communication so well. Think about it. They took a product that they developed cold, wet, dead fish wrapped in rice, and came up with a name. It’s called sushi. Even though I don’t no longer eat sushi on a personal level, sushi is all around the world. They took a concept of something that you would otherwise probably find disgusting and they turned it into a brand that is in every country, probably in the world that you can buy inexpensive and premium products. They understand that communication.

Let’s stay on that topic. How do I take something technical and make it simple? Let me give you a couple of examples that come to mind in my brain. Henry Ford, way back, took the idea of the assembly line. He took all of these different cars and moving parts. He created an assembly line system that has evolved in every manufacturing industry. He also had a concept that he wanted the men who worked for Ford to afford the product they were making. That they would be the one to have a premium product.

That was taking a very technical problem. He simplified first the economy of scale to create the product, and then the ability for people to make a living wage to be able to afford that product. When you think of the computer, I worked for Metropolitan Life back in the early ‘80s. Nancie will probably remember this. Our late good friend, Nick Donato, who I worked for is a great mentor of mine. When I worked for Nick, I remember we had a huge Honeywell computer. I had to go to somebody’s house and accumulate all of this data, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, mortgage and retirement account, whatever they had.

I would have to take all that data on a Monday night and take it back to my office, and run it through that big, huge Honeywell computer system. It would give me documents that I then maybe on Tuesday night or Wednesday night, went back and saw that couple. I went through all that data with them. It was a two-step process. Now, insurance agents have their cell phones. They can do it right off of their desk. They took all that data. With these little things, you could launch the Space Shuttle. There’s more technology in your telephone than there was in NASA way back when we were doing the Apollo project.

LNC 48 | Art Of Communication

Art Of Communication: Doesn’t matter who you are, where you are, or how smart you are. You’re going to be held accountable for your words whether it’s in an email, a text, or non-verbal. Someone’s going to catch up on it.


It’s not that many years ago, three of us were certainly alive. We certainly watched all of that happen. Those are two examples and there are thousands of them. Let me give you one other example. There is language in everything. I know my sister here talks to doctors and we work with doctors on one project that she and I are involved with. They are very technical people and they have their own language. It’s multi-syllabic. You and I as laypeople have no idea what they’re talking about.

Many years ago, I was at the then Christ Cathedral Church in California and I wanted to hear Dr. Robert Schuller speak. Unfortunately, he was off that weekend but his son, who eventually would take over his ministry was preaching. I’ll never forget the sermon and the fact that he is a big fisherman. Here is another fisherman and they’re talking about bobbers and sinkers. They have their own language. We all have our own languages that resonate with us and whatever you’re into. If you’re a gardener and you’re speaking to other gardeners, you have a language. If you’re a golfer, you have your own language.

I was involved in the sport of Judo for many years. If I’m around other judoka, we use terminology that we understand and the person at the next table has no idea what we’re talking about. That goes with every subject out there. Some of us are smart. Keith described somebody before in a business with owning garbage trucks. It’s a pretty basic business for the most part. There are a lot of intricacies when you’re in it, I’m sure. On the surface, it’s a very simple business. I described my friend, Richard, who sells snowblowers and lawnmowers. He sells more than anybody in the United States to his little store.

How do you get good at what you do is through communication, but to the person who walks in who is not a fisherman or not a professional landscaper, how do you take all of that knowledge and not overwhelm the person? They are so overwhelmed and confused that they say, “Nancie, Keith, this sounds great but I don’t understand a thing you said. Therefore, I’m not buying it.” That’s not verbal communication because they’re not going to admit that. This guy here, you don’t get my money if I don’t understand what you’re talking about.

If you’re not clear and concise, I don’t care whether I’m buying an automobile, insurance policy, investment, computer or television, if I don’t get it, you’re not getting my hard-earned money. Plain and simple. Nancie, let’s go back to you because you’re in that world constantly of technical stuff. How do you take it for the person who has to make the decision? Maybe they are the owner of the company and they employ engineers, doctors or people with certain expertise in a certain area, but the guy or gal that has to make the decision says, “My people want it, but I don’t understand.” How do you simplify that so that man, woman or couple gets it?

That’s a great aspect of it, John. There are probably a million other questions the three of us could come up with but that’s a good starting one. Honestly, some people are so technically wired that it’s maybe an impossible feat for them. That’s when it’s important to take someone’s hands off the steering wheel. A couple of things that I find work well, you go to the subject matter expert. In my field, you described my day job. Everything we’re writing about and trying to get people excited about is extremely technical in multi-ways.

I go to the subject matter expert and I say, “Explain this to me like I’m a two-year-old.” It’s a very famous line from a movie. “Explain this to me as if I am a person on the street.” Generally, I can pull out of that subject matter expert the keywords, then I feed it back to them. It may not be something that I understand technically either as well as they do. That’s one technique. When it comes to a topic that I understand intricately well, this is what I encourage everybody to do. You’re writing time alone with your computer. I still write. This is the other aspect. We probably won’t have time but it’s the art of sitting down and writing. I got a whole bunch of these beautiful postcards I am sending out to people because we don’t write enough.

That physical and mental part of writing is imperative here because you can take a very technical concept and say, “I’m going to write about it as if I were talking to my friend about it.” Write as much as you want to. Don’t edit. The words are free. Once you’ve gotten all your ideas thrown out there or what I call the wild jungle of words, then it’s time to go in and start to prune. Generally, if you’ve done a good enough job of thinking about the topic, good writing takes thought.

I’m sorry to say but this is the investment part. You generally can even go back in your own writing and go, “That’s interesting. I said the word patient adherence five times. Maybe this piece is about what this technology is going to do for our patient.” Instead of writing about all the technical sides of it, I look for the benefit. We can get lost in many details but we can all get excited about the benefits. I’ll toss out some examples for you. Because I deal with high-tech, the techies in my world always want to write about technology. Often, it’s not the technology that’s the change they’re seeking. The change they’re seeking has nothing to do with it. Who cares whether it’s this or that technology? Does it get you to the outcome? That’s important.

Through all that technical mumbo jumbo, you can boil it down into the benefit. Instead of saying, “We’re implementing this technology that has all this capability and it’s going to be redundant. We have a cloud, etc.,” you’re saying, “We’re bringing in a new system that’s going to be helping us be more responsive to our patients with cancer when they have a question.” Do you hear the difference? Who wouldn’t want to go with that second one? “We’re going to do something good for our patients.”

Good writing takes thought, so invest in it. Click To Tweet

It’s a process. Some people are very technically wired. Getting them out of their own way requires that they go to a writing course. Keith, you were paid a great homage being sent to Dale Carnegie. That was good. One of you touched on the factoid before that. People sometimes are embarrassed to say, “I don’t write well. I don’t know how to write.” I encourage people to get beyond that. It’s okay. We can’t be all things to all people. Being able to own what you’re good at and what you’re not good at are both equally important.

Read and write a lot. That’s the only way that you can get good. Keith, you said it. This is a skill and it’s an art. The skill can come if you become a good practitioner of it. Write longhand or write on your computer. I carry this book everywhere with me. Sometimes I get a thought and I go, “That’s a great word. I’m going to use that in my piece.” I write it down or if I don’t have my notebook and I have my phone, I use the notes on here. If you read my notes, you’d probably chuckle and go, “These are such random thoughts.” They are, but they’re things that come to me from being a good reader and listener.

It’s part of being able to feed this back in a way that will have meaning, and understanding who you are writing for. If I’m writing to a group of physicians, I can be as technical as I need to be, the citations and adhering to the proper format. A journal article is very different from writing a personal report about an experience that I had with taking the drug. Those two are very different. Know your audience, write a lot, get it all out there, create your word jungle, and then go back and prune. Somewhere in your thoughts, there are those golden thoughts and ideas.

You can trim down from maybe three pages of stuff that you would never want anyone to read into those 1 or 2 good and strong paragraphs. That’s my practical. That’s what I’ve had to do with students who are brainiacs. They could tell you every single chemical compound known to man and womankind, but ask them to write a paragraph. Keith, you started by saying, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you are and what you’re doing. The art of communication is important and we only get good at it if we get off our cell phones and we talk, listen and write. Hopefully, that explains my process for taking those big technical chunks, and putting them down into pieces that have meaning and are clear.

Keith, do you have thoughts on that?

Your point is that your ability to communicate will determine your success in life. Often, people think communication is about talking. If you think about it, the interesting thing about communication is the person asking the questions controls the conversation, and gets good at asking probing questions. There was a book. I don’t remember who wrote it but the title was something along this line, “It doesn’t matter what you say. It matters what people hear.” That’s where I was at with these communication skills. Once again, spend some time on this show and evaluate. I’m a great advocate of whatever that interaction is with somebody.

I’ve taken a moment afterward. I don’t care if it’s a cashier at the grocery store. If it had a little bit of significance, and as you’re walking back to your car, you think about, “What could I do better next time? How could I communicate better next time?” There was a story and it’s true because it works in all of our lives. The story was about the guy going through the line at the cafeteria at school. When he got to the point where they were giving out the desserts, the person handing out the dessert always gave him the bigger slice of the pie or cake or whatever the dessert was than everybody else.

One day, somebody asked this person, “Why do you always get the bigger one?” “Because I asked.” It was so simple. He asked, but everybody else was wondering why he got it. It’s because they learned the ability to ask. Often that asking is about communication. Hopefully, people got some information that they can use here. The art of communication is taking a skill. I want to close on this point. If you become skillful at something, people refer to you as an artist. Think about that.

The good news with a skill is it’s learnable and transferable. You could transfer that skill set that you learned regarding listening, the art of asking questions and communication. You can transfer that to your children, grandchildren, and other people that are important to you in your life because you can transfer that skill and they become skillful with it. People will think, “What an artful person they are when it comes to communications.”

LNC 48 | Art Of Communication

Art Of Communication: The physical mental part of writing is imperative to simplifying a very technical concept. Write as if you’re talking to a friend. Write as much as you want, no edits. Then later you can start to prune.


Let’s wrap up real quick here. A couple of quick-fire questions. I’m going to tell you my answer and I’m going to ask Nancie and Keith for theirs. To me, the greatest speech in history is Winston Churchill’s Don’t Quit. Two words. That man made thousands of speeches. He was in his 80s when he did it. It’s Don’t Quit to this day. I can think of a second one that comes to mind. JFK talking about sending a man to the moon and returning him safely to Earth. That was his vision for the future. Those are two. Keith, what comes to mind?

“Don’t ask what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” If you think about that, that speaks to you as a person. It translates to everything else in life. Don’t ask what someone can do for you, ask what you can do for your community, family or loved ones. It’s very powerful.

I Have A Dream, “We’ve forgotten how to dream.” Those words meant so much in the context when that great leader said them, but they have even greater context now. We’ve forgotten how to dream big, God-size dreams. That’s also part of this whole conversation. Being a dreamer is a good thing.

Any funny stuff that’s ever happened giving speeches. I’ll give you my great moment. There is a word in Spanish. It’s called años. It has two different meanings depending on how you say it. One is a very generic reading and the other is a part of the anatomy. I used it in the wrong place in the speech in Monterrey that I was giving in Spanish. That was the last speech I gave in Spanish. Everybody laughed when I said it. I learned my lesson not to speak to an international audience in their language if you don’t know what you’re saying. It was a funny moment for me. They still like me anyway. Nancie, you must have had 1 or 2?

I’ve had so many flubdubs, John. It was funny because the whole room did laugh. I had developed a bad habit of saying, “Well, quite frankly.” In this presentation, I was asked a question by the headman. You can guess what his name was. I came out with, “Well, quite frankly, Frank.” It sounded so stupid of me to say it that way. That began breaking my habit of saying, “Quite frankly, Frank.” He was good-humored about it. The room fell apart because we were having a very serious discussion. That’s what I mean about being human. Being able to laugh at myself at that moment was very important.

Keith, I know you’ve had a few. If you can’t remember, I can tell a few.

You’re always going to stumble over people’s names. That is the one that will cause you the most difficulty when you’re speaking in public. It happens a lot of the time. I want to close with this thought for folks. Learn to speak and write. Take the time. Nancie made a great point about writing, but it’s also important to speak. I’ll close with this thought. When I was in grammar school and graduated from grammar school, my eighth-grade class was ten people.

My freshmen class in high school was 700. I went from one-size school to another. My parents put me into a speech class. My parents thought they were putting me into a remedial speech class because I couldn’t order food in a restaurant. They put me in a public speaking class and I learned to do it. It will make a major difference in your life. It was quite interesting when I graduated high school, Mike Gallagher and I were the number one debate team in Central California. You can always learn these skills. That’s so important and that’s the value of what John was bringing here with this show. John, thank you for having me.

Thank you both. Next time, we’re going to do the art of listening. We’ll get back to some legendary network marketing people. These are skills that you want to take into the New Year 2022. It is going to be the best year ever for you, but only if you get ready. Preparation is everything. Thank you, Dr. Celini and Keith.

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About Dr. Nancie Celini

Public health, research, information systems technologist / system analyst, educator and organizational change management professional with more than thirty years of experience helping organizations evaluate, assess and implement enterprise information management and research systems used in the conduct of clinical trials, academic research and product development activities in regulated environments.