What We Want Matters

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Brain, Culture, Dysfunction, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Platform Building, Presentations, Privacy, Problem Solving, Relationships, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity

We as a society of consumers, publishers, advertisers, and owners have failed to understand fully the radical implications of the communications schema we now live under with the presence of the Internet.

When almost everyone in the world has access to a keyboard, a microphone, and camera, almost everyone will become a publisher.

But, someone must fund that publishing in order for it to be seen by an audience willing to be changed by its presence in the world.

And while publishers may fail to understand the relationships between awareness, advertising, persuasion, publishing, and creation, consumers do themselves a disservice when they pretend that what a third party–wedged between them and the publisher–wants doesn’t matter.

There are multiple parties to consider in this transaction that is now going on at scale in the world right now:

Publishers are people (and sometimes organizations) who want to publish. They create, comment, click, like, share, and otherwise either participate, or validate, an opinion, a fact, or an idea through their actions.

What publishers want is a platform upon which to publish and attention from the audience they seek to impact.

Consumers are people who want to consume. They passively watch, applaud, share, click, like, and otherwise take in the opinions, facts, and ideas that publishers create.

What consumers want is to consume. Preferably without much action or engagement on their part and with as little friction as possible.

Owners are brands, organizations, and community builders of all types and stripes who want to own a piece of the communication real estate that the Internet has created. Owners create and own.

What owners want is to get paid for their work, their creativity, their cleverness, and their time spent building something for others. And they want to get paid as quickly as possible, as much as possible, as often as possible.

Advertisers are organizations, buyers, creators, and others who seek to intersect themselves in between owners, publishers, and consumers, ostensibly for the benefit of publishers and owners, but in reality, for the benefit of themselves.

What advertisers want is attention, awareness of the products, services, and processes they are seeking to persuade consumers. And they want it at scale, with as little friction as is possible.

There is little alignment between all of these parties (even though there is often confusing overlap), as the Internet has fractured and atomized the 20th century’s mass media, mass audiences, mass attention, and mass awareness.

With this lack of alignment comes confusion, misunderstanding, miscommunication, and at the end, scandal, corruption, mismanagement, and further erosions of public and private trust.

The best alignment is the type that removes the middleman from the interactions between the publisher and the audience and gets the publisher and the audience aligned.

The worst alignment is reflected in what is happening right now.

We as a society have gotten the Internet we asked for; dare I say, the Internet we wanted.

Now, at the beginning of yet another unraveling, a further atomizing and erosion inflection point in the overall communication culture, it’s time to ask for, and to want, something better.

Building a Pirate Ship

By | Emotional Intelligence, Advice, Blog, Culture, Dysfunction, Entrepreneurship, Google, Leadership, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Persuasion, Presentations, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, The Future & The Singularity

The steps to building an effective, online content pirate ship that will surprise your competitors, aren’t flashy or interesting.

But they are effective.

Step 1: Know which content ship to build before you build it.

There are three modern forms of shipbuilding in the value creation space online: writing (i.e. blogs, books, etc.); audio (i.e. voice search, podcast, etc.); and video (i.e. performing, editing, etc.).

You’ve got to know which one of the three is at the edges, which one of the three is the most valuable to you, and which one of the three will get you the furthest.

You’ve also got to just pick one. Better to pick the one you’re good at, rather than the one that’s most popular right now.

Step #2: Pick the right content slip, the right building tools, and the right materials to build.

Knowing your own intuition is key to the first part (pick the right slip) because, as the person building the pirate ship, no one can tell you what the “right” slip is. And, if you try to build a pirate ship in another slip, too far away from the water (i.e. other opportunities) you fail.

Knowing yourself is the key to the second part (pick the right tools) because, even there are many low to no cost solutions to building a pirate ship of valuable, online content, every tool is not for you. And there are a lot of dead ends.

Knowing what you want to accomplish with the ship you’re building is the key to the third part (pick the right materials) because if you pick the wrong shipbuilding materials, your pirate ship of content could sink before it even leaves the slip. Or, much like the Spruce Goose of old, it could only fly once. And then crash.

Step #3: Execute the building with patience, perseverance, and prayer.

Execution (shipping) matters more than anything else in building a pirate ship, and that means struggling through self-doubt, other people’s doubt, and the market’s doubt. Prayer doesn’t hurt either.

Step #4: Launch the ship with a crew (or by yourself) and raid the edges of the empire.

Having an attitude of shipping (launching the ship) and an attitude of raiding (staying on the edges) allows the pirate to explore first with their content, survive second, and to thrive third.

The real tragedy is that many people (now as in the past) will instead choose to eat off the raiding of other pirates, rather than taking the opportunity to build a ship of their own.


By | Active Listening, Advice, Blog, Dysfunction, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Old Posts, Persuasion, Presentations, Problem Solving, Selling for Peace Builders, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy

The problem with many (if not most) people, processes, services, and products is that they are unremarkable.

This is not to say that they are unreliable, undesirable, or unmistakable.

There are people, processes, services, and products that fill niches that are banal, boring, and seemingly unnecessary.

They aren’t worth talking about, thinking about, or even spending a lot of cognitive effort in justifying.

The problem of unremarkability is compounded by the fact that the organizations developing and promoting these products, services, processes, and people, is that the solution to their unremarkability is thought to be a lack of attention and awareness.

That’s not the problem.

Not even close.

Buying more followers, increasing social proof, becoming more likeable; these are long-term processes, that cannot be successfully applied to the banal, the boring, or the seemingly unnecessary.

Here’s a tip, for winning the long game.

Instead of trying to figure out how to scale unremarkability with money, time, or other resources, figure out how to scale the number of activities (i.e. process, services, products, etc.) that are actually remarkable.

Our 1,000th Post

By | Emotional Intelligence, Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Culture, Entrepreneurship, Facebook, Leadership, Negotiation, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Platform Building, Presentations, Reconciliation, Relationships, Resolution, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Speaking, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Twitter, Twitter, Website, Workplace, Workplace Development

I thought it would take less time to hit this milestone than it has taken.

But that’s not an unusual expectation. Many people overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can accomplish in ten years.

My expectations with this blog started out high minded and then crashed to earth and then became high-minded again.

But with 1,000 published posts, some of which are guest posts, podcast episodes, and other sundry items, I can say, with some assurance, that I have gone further than I thought I would.

And you have responded.

You have retweeted, e-mailed, reposted, commented, Facebook “liked” and “shared” posts, and have even gone as far as to reach out to me offline to give me feedback.

That’s how this blog grows.

It’s not like kudzu, where you plant a vine and then come back a year later and there’s growth without investment.

It’s more like planting corn: Some years it’s good. Other years it’s not so good. But the farmer still tills the soil, plants the seed, prays on the knees, and then brings in whatever harvest there may be.

Year after year. Bumper crops and thin ones.

What comes next? What does post 1,001 to 2,000 look like?

Well, there’s another book coming this year, a collection of my best posts about work, disrupting your workplace, and how to accomplish all of that while also disrupting your boss. And it’s about why external training and development doesn’t work for the creation of change.

Look for that in the Fall of 2018.

There will also be a shift as parts of this blog go elsewhere on the web to serve other functions.

In 2018, as I advance and grow my personal brand, the writing will separate, and my blog posts covering conflict management, self-awareness, storytelling, and other contemporary leadership and people management skills and best practices will be featured in this space more prominently

Articles about personal leadership, business development, branding, entrepreneurship, bootstrapping, risk-taking, marketing, social media, the future of human communication on the Internet, and other more personal brand based content will migrate to a new site, focused on building my personal brand with an eye towards keynotes and speaking opportunities.

Look for this split to happen gradually, and then all at once by the Fall of 2018.

But no matter how it plays out, I want to thank you for joining me on the journey so far.

I write this blog because it’s good for my mental and physical health.

I write this blog because it’s good for my writing muscle and it further establishes my own “voice” in my own head.

I write this blog, because it connects me to you, whether that connection happens now, or one, two, five, ten, or twenty years from now.

I write this blog, whether anybody will read this blog or blogs in the future that I may launch, or not.

I write this blog, because the acts of thinking, writing, and then publishing to the world, is still an amazing thing—even in a world of Internet thinness.

So, the real question is where would you and I like to go next?

There is Risk Everywhere

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Culture, Dysfunction, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, New Posts, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Presentations, Privacy, Problem Solving, Reconciliation, Relationships, Strategies, Strategy, Stress, Virtue, Workplace, Workplace Development

There is risk everywhere and fear of risk leads to avoidance, delay, or surrender in the face of conflict and change.

The thing about risk profiles is that they differ based on the stories that we tell ourselves about how we can either succeed or fail in the face of conflict or change.

The stories of failures (“People like us tried something like this before. And it didn’t work.”) and the stories of successes (“People like us tried something like this before. And it worked.”) both share at their core, a story about risk looming large.

If you want to succeed in managing a conflict effectively, or if you want to manage change for other people, or if you want to “win” at a negotiation, here are three points to consider about risk.

By the way, these are not exhaustive points, they are merely starting points:

Everyone has a risk profile. Many people believe strongly that they have something to lose.

For some, its respect, face, honor, the ability to do work tomorrow, or even deeper emotional hurts.

For others, its position, title, money, or the ability to get to show up tomorrow in a place that feels safe.

Most risk profiles, based on fear, is not about physical harm (most of us in the West have eliminated those factors from our daily lives) but is instead about psychological harm.

And psychological safety.

Everyone’s risk profiles mismatch to everyone else’s. This should be obvious, but the fact of the matter is, empathy is in short supply—and always has been.

It becomes even less of a factor when we are so focused on convincing the other party that their risk profile is wrong or misguided, we miss the fact that what matters is empathy to the presence of the mismatch, rather than trying to resolve it.

Everyone wants risk reduced at the least, or eliminated entirely at the most. Reduction and elimination of risk are acts that move parties toward a sense of safety in situations where risk is high, profiles are mismatched, and empathy is in short supply.

The party who succeeds in diplomacy, change management, or conflict reduction is the party who is in tune with what stories will reduce (or eliminate) feelings of risk in the other party.

By the way, the things that people focus on as being “risky” or that they believe they have to lose the most, sometimes are drivers for their most impactful, deeply held stories.

Understand the risk profiles (and the safety and trust needs) of the other party at the table, before trying to convince them of your “I’m right.”

That way, you’ll be sure they listen.

HIT Piece 11.29.2016

By | Advice, Blog, HIT Pieces, New Posts, Old Posts, Presentations, Speaking, Truth

Sometimes a presentation doesn’t “work.”

Sometimes there’s no connection with the audience.

Sometimes the presenter talks more to themselves than they listen to the crowd.

Sometimes questions aren’t asked (or answered) by the audience or the presenter.

Sometimes there is no active listening on the part of the audience.

Sometimes there is no active listening on the part of the presenter.

Sometimes the content is not what the audience expected.

Sometimes the content is not what the presenter expected.

Sometimes personalities clash.

Sometimes the content is exactly what the audience needs to hear, but not in the way that they need to hear it.

Sometimes the presentation is just a failure, and there’s nothing that the audience (or the presenter) can do at all to “fix” it.

Sometimes trying again, with a different audience, is enough.


[Advice] Packaging Your Workshop

By | Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Neuroscience, New Posts, Opinions, Persuasion, Presentations, Selling for Peace Builders, Seminars, Speaking, Strategies, Strategy, Training, Workshop

Think for a moment about product packaging:

Everything that we buy, from dish soap to artesian water, comes in some type of package. Being the rational consumers that we are, we often tell ourselves that the shape of the container, the way that the container is delivered to us, or even the design and colors on the outside of the package doesn’t influence our decision to purchase.

The more honest, irrational consumer, however, will admit that all those factors influenced their purchasing decision, but they won’t admit it in a way that can be quantified, researched and measured in a way that will produce repeatable results.

Instead, they’ll just say “I liked the bottle.” Or even “The wine tastes different in this glass versus that glass.”

In the fields of marketing, advertising, and sales, the psychology of influence has been used for years to design packaging that has sold millions of units of products over decades. Proctor and Gamble doesn’t just exist because of fancy investments.

The peace builder who wants to sell a workshop, seminar, or coaching, should examine closely the impact of influence in three areas, if they want to have a successful sales career selling solutions to conflicts to a conflict comfortable, and peace process skeptical, public:

When selling an intangible product (peace, health, stress relief) or service (legal help, social work, therapy) it’s important to remember that rationality ceases to be a driver of the decision making process to buy: Potential clients may claim that rationality drove their decision to pursue peacemaking as a process, but typically what drove their decison making was the rise of their emotions around their conflict, that encouraged them toward your workshop, seminar, or coaching offer.

The same emotional content that drives conflict escalation (and encourages de-escalation) drives product (peace, health, stress relief) or service (legal help, social work, therapy) purchases: This fact makes it hard for the peace builder to sell, which is why their marketing efforts must be robust, always on, and always human.

No one remembers what you told them, but potential clients will remember how you made them feel: This statement sometimes reads as facile, but the fact of the matter is, potential clients are searching for a feeling—of trust, professionalism, confidence, security, competency, etc.—before they even see your marketing materials or hear your sales pitch online. This is why the rise of video (and live streaming) for the peace builder is such a critical tool for driving and converting sales. All of the emotional content comes through in a personal appeal via video.

Packaging a product (peace, health, stress relief) or service (legal help, social work, therapy) is more a matter of determining the “emotional tone” a peace builder would like to strike with the market, and then championing that tone to close sales.

And all without being unethical.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Advice] Leadership Through Pitching and Presenting

By | Advice, Blog, Dysfunction, Leadership, Old Posts, Organizational Development, Presentations, Speaking, Strategies, Workplace, Workplace Development, Workshop

There are two times a leader has to be persuasive, has to pitch and present and leaders are typically good at one and poor at the other:

In a small group: Small groups (anywhere between 2 people and 10 people) are groups where leaders can either shine or fail based upon their own personal hang-ups, tics, and character traits. If a leader connects warmly with a handshake (increasing cooperation) and makes eye contact (in the Western world at least) they tend to be able to navigate the small group interactions and can easily dominate the conversation.

In a small group though, the delicate balance is between speaking too much (pitching) and not listening enough. This is a discipline that bears out its presence in the ultimate small group presentation, the meeting. Most meetings represent a poor use of organizational resources because the same traits that guided the leader in even smaller groups, fail when the group grows larger.

In a large group: Large groups (anywhere between 10 people up to massive stadiums of people) are the places where leaders (like many other folks) sometimes try to “scale up” the skills that make them formidable in a one-on-one environment and they fail. This is also the place where leaders lean in on using tools to mask their inexperience, their nervousness, or their lack of knowledge/interest/passion about a subject. The reason that political leaders do well at presenting to large groups and many corporate leaders don’t is that political leaders are naturally able to “fake it until they make it” and project that passion onto the crow. Whereas hard charging, revenue-generating executives are secretly wondering why they have to do this “presenting thing” at all in the first place.

In a large group, the delicate balance is between presenting with passion and rambling on about a point. Presenting with passion is a discipline that can be coached, but the real problem is getting the leader’s ego out of the way, getting the leader into a stance of learning and then preparing the leader to succeed. And letting the props, the slides, and the crutches fall by the way side.

Ever manager, supervisor, and even employee should be taught how to connect in a small group to other people, by using the skills of active listening, active engaging, eye contact, and paraphrasing. Every manager and supervisor and even employee should be taught how to connect with a much larger group (either a meeting sized group or a larger group) by using the skills of tapping into their passion and energy, knowing their subject inside and out and using tools like Powerpoint as aids, not crutches.

But too many organizational leaders don’t spend time preparing for presentations, don’t think that such preparation is necessary (except at the point of actually having to present) and many organizational leaders look at such training as another “nice to have” but not a “critical to succeed.”

In a world of instant information (and sometimes instant wrong information about organizations) leaders need to change their thinking, or someone else will change the audience’s thinking about their organization, for them first.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

HIT Piece 08.25.2015

By | Blog, HIT Pieces, Marketing for Peace Builders, Old Posts, Platform Building, Presentations, Social Media, Technology, Truth

I am a live streaming video fan in general and a Meerkat partisan in particular.

You probably haven’t heard of the mobile application Meerkat, though its two more popular cousins, Blab.im and Periscope.tv are getting a lot of attention from tech bloggers and online magazines. The Meerkat app “blew up” at SXSW this year because of some shenanigans with the Twitter API, which you can read about here[link]. Part of this is because live streaming video is popular right now as a way to immediately connect with public events and personalities. The other part of this is because live streaming video is the next step in the continuing disassembling of television as a content delivery mechanism.

I like the Meerkat app for many, many reasons. The top two are:

  1. The app integrates seamlessly with Twitter and you can publicize your Meerkat streams to your Twitter followers to grow your audience on two platforms.
  2. The app also allows you to invite others onto your stream to either “host” a show with your viewers or to be interviewed by the host of the “show.”

Now, if you are a peacebuilder in any of the conflict management spaces—from facilitation to coaching to mediation to negotiation—you can probably already see the benefits of live streaming video to grow your business practice, develop a niche following and to grow your brand.

Here are a few thoughts I have around this new intersection between peacebuilders, marketing and technology:

Live streaming a mediation or coaching session to your Twitter/Facebook followers and fans might not be the best way to ensure client confidentiality and build trust, but you might have some clients who would be willing to have their lives placed on view for you to showcase what you do in real time. This would work particularly well if those clients are connected to you as a peacebuilder online.

Live streaming samples of you working (i.e. “This is what a session looks like,” “This is me explaining my philosophy and approach to peace,” etc., etc.) would be a way to immediately get feedback from potential clients and customers around tone, approach and other areas, rather than the one sided bubble of blog writing. There’s already a person on Meerkat who streams his Tai Chi sessions and talks to followers as he’s performing.

Live streaming to build a brand presence requires maintaining the same habits that you have to in order to blog daily: Show up on schedule, on time and engage effectively. This is easier (and harder) with live video than with the more controlled spaces of Youtube, Vine, SnapChat video or any other service that allows you to edit your presentation before uploading the content. With live streaming, it happens as it happens. However, this can be a way to schedule time with another peacebuilder and build an “Oprah” type show via Meerkat that goes on the air everyday and builds a sense of consistency and relationship with viewers.

These are just three ideas I have after messing around with the Meerkat app and researching live streaming video for the last few months. I am sure that some enterprising and entrepreneurial peacebuilder will use this platform (or Blab or Periscope) to begin to explore the possibilities of live streaming for peace.

If not, maybe I’ll host my own show on Meerkat….

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Advice] On Preparing for a Podcast

By | Blog, Earbud_U Podcast, Earbud_U!, New Earbud_U Episodes, Old Posts, Podcast Archives, Podcast Episode, Presentations, Speaking

Choosing equipment, editing the sound, uploading the audio file and choosing the distribution platform are not the hardest decisions to make when starting podcasting.

On Preparing for a Podcast

The hardest parts of the podcasting process are two-fold:

Finding interesting guests


Making the guest interesting.

Finding interesting guests does not mean finding guests who are personally interesting to the host. Finding interesting guests means thinking of the demographic, the audience and the listener to the podcast. Radio broadcasters and TV hosts have struggled with this throughout time.

Making guests interesting does not mean manipulating the interview, the questions, the conversation or the process, to transform the person from an audial scullery maid, into an audial Cinderella through some form of spoken magic. Making guests interesting means thinking of the questions to ask that will cause the guest to engage in conversation with the host (us) to get to a larger point.

Getting caught up in decisions around equipment, distribution systems and platforms, uploading processes, and on and on, is thrashing and avoidance, based in fear.

Engaging with the podcasting process requires the same internal capacity to go for it and abandon the fear of performance and perfection that curating, blogging, speaking and presenting require.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/