4 Phrases You Use That Makes People Instantly Stop Listening To You!

‪4 Phrases You Use That Makes People Instantly Stop Listening! Are you guilty of using phrases that makes your audience instantly stop listening, no matter how important your subject may be? These 4 phrases cause people to instantly lose credibility and their audience. ‬

1. “If you don’t hear anything else I say…”

If you don’t hear anything else I say, just remember this phrase is definitely one of the most stupid phrases a person can use when trying to make a point.


I don’t understand people that spend a lot of time writing and rehearsing a speech, just to get on a stage and ruin it with one stupid sentence.

If you don’t want them to remember anything else, then just say that one phrase and then sit down and shut up.

I get what you are trying to do, but you just aren’t doing it right. Don’t worry, I’m here to help.

You want to place emphasis on an important topic. You want to drive a point home. So do that.

Try instead saying:

  • One of the most important things I want you to remember is…
  • In your notes, be sure to highlight…
  • When you brag about how great my speech was, be sure to tell them I said…

Just think about what you are saying and stop using that stupid phrase.

2. “I don’t know how to tell you this…”

I don’t know how to tell you this, but this is another stupid phrase. You just told me that you didn’t know how to say it, but you literally just said it. Now I’m spending more time replaying how silly that sounded than actually listening to you.

Often this phrase is used when someone is trying to stress a point. I’ve often heard “I don’t know how to tell you I love you.” Or “I don’t know how to tell you how much this means to me.” But, you just did.

Try instead, using phrases like this:

    Saying I love you in words pales in comparison to how I feel…
    This means more to me than words can express…
    I wish I knew better words to say…

3. “You probably don’t know the answer to this…”

You probably don’t know the answer to this, but you are my last resort so I’m going to ask anyway as a last ditch effort.

Yes, everything after the comma is what I hear you saying when you start with that phrase. I honestly don’t understand why people use this phrase when asking someone for help.

I don’t even need to belabor how stupid this phrase is. Do I?

Might I suggest these encouraging phrases?

  • I have a question and I’m confident you can help me solve it.
  • You are my last hope, can you help me figure out…
  • Where do you think I should go to find…

4. “Hey, how are you?”

Hey, how are you? I’m only asking you this because I don’t know how else to greet someone so I figured I would just waste time with a meaningless question that no one ever really listens to and responds with reflex rather then emotion.

If you are guilty of saying “how are you” as a greeting, please stop.

Be genuine and create your own greeting that makes people stop in their tracks and look up from their mundane life and recognize who they are talking to.

When someone greets you with that useless greeting, be unique and outrageous with your response. Say something other than the usual “fine.”

If you have convinced yourself that you really are asking “how are you,” then be genuine and create your own greeting…oh wait, I already said that. Same goes with the lame “fine” response.

Ok. Hope that helped.

While I may have exaggerated a little, and I may be the only one that actually stops listening to you, I think you will be well served if you take time to refresh some of these phrases in your vocabulary. The right people will certainly sit up and notice when the time is right.

What other phrases come to mind that people use without thought or reason? What phrases make you stop listening and roll your eyes?

My communication style changes constantly. I am always alert to what I am seeing and hearing and how people are responding. I’ll share more soon.

I’m Volunteering to Honor Hoosier Heroes

I’m volunteering to help honor Hoosier heroes! Indy Honor Flight is an amazing, all-volunteer organization that takes wartime heroes to Washington D.C. for a once-in-a-lifetime trip. I was just selected as a volunteer for the upcoming Honor Flight. Join me and read more!

Have you heard of Indy Honor Flight?

I just joined this fantastic organization as a volunteer and you have to hear about them!

An all-Volunteer organization, Indy Honor Flight takes wartime veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the memorials built in their honor. FOR FREE!

They offer a full day of thanks and honor to the men and women who served our country during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime trip for so many of our Hoosier Heroes.

I recently applied to volunteer as a guardian, but learned they have a 1-2 year waiting period. Guardians are paired up with veterans and serve as their connection throughout the flight. They pick them up and transport them to the airport. They sit next to them on the flight, escort them at the memorials and are responsible for their safety during the trip.

I got in!

I learned this week that a volunteer slot fell through and I was offered an opportunity to be a Guardian! I gladly accepted and I am so excited!

Bob, a Vietnam-era Vet, will travel in April and I get to be his guardian. I look forward to meeting him and his family and learning more about his unit and military service.

This got real personal for me. As I think about Vietnam veterans, I’m reminded of my late father who served in the army at that time. I never got a chance to understand what he went through or the full scope of his military service.

They roll out the red carpet

Indy Honor Flight rolls out the red carpet for our veterans. They do a huge meet and greet event on the Friday before the flight. Then on Saturday, we report at 4:15 and then have a full day ahead of us.

Included in the Washington D.C. bus stops are Arlington Cemetery to watch the guard changing ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We will also visit the World War II, Korean, Vietnam, and Lincoln Memorials and the bus tour includes Capital Hill and the White House.

Even with all of that, I think the most exciting parts of the trip are after we leave Washington.

I can’t tell you what happens next

I don’t want to spoil the surprise in case Bob is reading my post! Visit my facebook group to hear about this truly special and emotional event that happens during the flight back. Trust me, it is going to be amazing! You won’t want to miss this!

After we return to Indy, each veteran enters the auditorium, one at a time, as their name is announced. A crowd of more than 3,000 people welcomes them to banners, noisemakers and cheers!

Yea, I got choked up too!!

For many veterans, especially Vietnam-era, they came home to mistreatment, harassment, being spit on and worse. Many of them never received a proper Hero’s welcome.

Can you see why I’m so excited about this opportunity? I look forward to posting updates. Take a moment to join my facebook group to stay updated with pictures and stories.

I do need your help!

But, it’s not what you think! I am going to ask you to play a special part in the huge event that happens during the flight back. To find out more about it and what easy task you can do to make sure Bob gets a proper thank you, join my pop-up facebook group.

This is something you can do, your kiddos, classmates or co-workers can do as well. Join me!

I will add a post for those that actually want to make a donation or even want to bring their family and attend the welcome-home ceremony.

Image from Indy Honor Flight official facebook page.

Why Fitness is Important to Me

The closer I get to 40 years old, the more I have come to value my health. Read more to learn what drives my fitness kick.

I turn 40 years old this year. (Wow, I just typed that!) This next chapter in my life is very exciting. However, my greatest concern is staying healthy. The reasons why my health are so important to me are pretty simple. There are three driving forces for me.

My father’s poor health

My father died at the age of 53, following years of bad health. As of writing this, I’m within a 15 year window of when he died. That scares the heck out of me!

From some of my youngest memories until the day he died, I never remember my father being physically active. Him and I never played sports together. We never went running, biking, skiing, swimming or any of those usual sports. The most we ever did together or as a family was go for walks.

I always knew my father had bad health stemming from military injuries, extremely high blood pressure, cholesterol, and a host of other issues. He had a real bad leg that was always swollen and terrible arthritis. Also in play is my family history. In addition to my father, numerous relatives on both sides of my family have died of cardiac and heart disease.

Military requires me to stay fit

I joined the Army National Guard in 2009 and have loved every minute of it. I truly enjoy training and serving in the military. I wanted to enlist when I was a teen, but never took advantage of the opportunity. When I was almost 30 years old, I walked into an army recruiter’s office and left with a contract and bus ticket to basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia!

I always remember my Drill Sergeant’s advice about staying fit. He told us the only thing that will hold us back in the military is our physical fitness. It was our responsibility to stay fit and ready.

I’ve always had a unique ability to bounce back from injuries and sickness. Since I’ve been in the military, I’ve been sent home or recycled more times than I know how to count now. I’ve been sick, bruised, cold, hungry, infected, cut, broken and more. The most memorable was when I broke my foot during training.

Our training unit was conducting a foot march and at Mile 5 of a 10 mile road march, I felt a pop in my foot. I was carrying about 130 pounds of gear and was proudly leading at the front. The pop felt odd, but didn’t hurt initially. It wasn’t for another mile or so that the pain kicked in. I refused to stop and told myself to keep going and I finished not knowing my foot was broke. It wasn’t until the next day that I got up and couldn’t stand on my foot. I checked myself into a hospital and the doctor said when I felt the pop, is when it broke!

In addition to military requirements to stay fit, my specific role demands it of me. As an infantry officer, I am expected to lead from the front and I have no desire to be an out of shape officer. I feel my role requires me to be one of the fittest soldiers in my unit.

Being fit feels amazing!

I’ve reached a point in my “fitness journey” that I know how good it feels to be fit. When I am on a regular routine and proactive diet, I feel amazing.

Like most people, I have tried a number of diets, supplements, training programs, and fitness gyms. I’m a firm believer that not everyone can use the same plan, the same diet and the same supplements. What works for me will likely be different than what works for you. Our goals are different, our bodies are different, our discipline is different and our tolerance is different.

I have found that an active crossfit program and a strict Keto diet works best for my body, my fitness goals and my overall health. I also love AdvoCare supplements, although I have to be mindful of my carb intake because everything tastes so darn good.

Have you found your fix yet?

As I have shared what works for me, I still have a long way to go. Just because I have figured out what works for me, doesn’t mean I don’t struggle. It is a constant challenge for me to stay committed to my diet, get up and hit the gym, and stay on top of my health checkups. But I do know what is required of me and work hard to get there.

What is your fitness story?

What motivates you to stay healthy?

What works for you?

What are your challenges?

What is your fitness fix?

Take a moment and jot down some notes and share them with me.

12 Books That Impacted Me as a Leader

I found some books, while unpacking, that fostered my leadership principles. Authors include Dale Carnegie, Stephen Covey, Donald Phillips, Rick Warren, Dave Ramsey and Tony Dungy among others.

I finally tackled the task of unpacking several boxes of books that have been neglected for a few years now. As I sorted through the boxes, I reminisced back to when I first read some of them, where I got them from and how they have impacted me over the years. While several themes emerged from my reflections, I pulled out a few books that helped shape my leadership principles.

There are a lot of leaders that I want to emulate because of their values, priorities and results. Here are some of the books that have impacted me most as a leader. I tried to list them in chronological order of when I first read the book.

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

I inherited this title and a large part of my book collection from my Father. Thanks to my parents, my four siblings and I grew up reading and spent our after school hours and summers in the library. Mr. Carnegie had an early impact on my natural desire to see the good in people and have a generally positive attitude. “Positive Mental Attitude” as my father preached to us.

The first thing that jumped out to me in this book was his suggestions to “get the most out of the book.” Of the 9 suggestions, I fondly remember “read each chapter twice before going on to the next one.” I had never heard this sort of instruction before. It made perfect sense and I find myself to this day re-reading stuff for clarity before making decisions or taking action.

A few of the principles that I feel have really stuck with me are:

  • Don’t Criticize, condemn or complain.
  • Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  • Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

Each of those principles takes a softer, kinder, gentler approach. More so than ever, I think we need that in our leaders. This is on my list of re-reads. I look forward to revisiting with legendary mind of Dale Carnegie.

2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey

I could give an entire book review on the impacts of this book on me as a person, as a leader, as a communicator and as a soldier. There is so much in this book to learn and most of it is timeless and will transcend generations.

I’ll just point out that in part one, Covey talks about a new level of thinking. He references Albert Einstein’s observation, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” He goes on to talk about start with yourself, start with the most inside of yourself. He’s talking about our character and our motives. This includes attitude and responsibility and integrity.

I really love this part: “private victories precede public victories, that making and keeping promises to ourselves precede making and keeping promises to others.” Covey helped me to understand early on that you really have to know and understand yourself before you can know and understand others. Help yourself before others.

3. Everything I Know at the Top I Learned at the Bottom – Dexter Yager and Ron Ball

Dexter Yager was known for being a multi-millionaire and growing up I dreamed my parent’s dreams of owning their own businesses and being financially free. Yager was a role-model so to speak of my father’s, thus mine as well.

The first lesson outlined is “Don’t let anybody steal your dream.” (Which is also the name of his first book, another great read.) My parent’s were dreamers. My family has always been dreamers. From a practical sense, growing up in poverty, we had to dream. For the sake of survival, we had to imagine a better place and had to hope we would get there.

Other lessons Yager and Ball shared are:

  • Learn to communicate accurate information.
  • Don’t win battles, solve problems.
  • Refrain from saying things about others privately you wouldn’t tell them face to face.

4. Free the Children – Craig Kielburger

While working with one of my favorite people, my friend and mentor, Lenette Freeman, we learned about this amazing young leader’s story. Craig, a 12 year old kid, read a headline that changed the trajectory of his life and countless others since. “Battled Child Labor, Boy, 12, Murdered.” This book details the story of both Craig and the boy, Iqbal Masih and how he went on to start a human-rights organization. From a small group meeting at a lunch table to a world-wide organization mobilizing hundreds of thousands of kids and adults across the world, Free the Children is an amazing story.

I had an opportunity to meet Craig and others from the Free the Children organization and follow their work over the years. I continue to be motivated by their work, resolve and never-ending mission in fighting for human rights.

5. Servant Leadership – Robert Greenleaf

I was admittedly embarrassed when I first learned about this book as a non-traditional college student in a communication class at Ball State University. I could not believe I had never heard of Greenelaf or his extensive work in this space, really as a pioneer.

Servant Leadership theory, at its core, focuses on serving first in leadership. It draws a sharp contrast between leader-first and servant-first mentalities. I was really attracted to the idea that while those served grow and succeed, so does the servant leader. When placing others first, you aren’t neglecting yourself. When people grow, organizations grow and leaders grow.

6. Lincoln on Leadership – Donald T. Phillips

I’ve always been a Lincoln fan! I love that he overcame so many challenges in his personal and professional life. I love that he was a great thinker and orator. I love the permanent impact of his leadership on history.

This book is loaded with good nuggets of truth in leadership:

  • Seek casual contact with your subordinates. It is as meaningful as a formal gathering, if not more so.
  • When you extinguish hope, you create desperation.
  • Remember that it is not best to swap horses when crossing streams
  • If employees gripe about one of your chief supervisors, and the complaints are true, do not be afraid to remove him.

And one that recently I have come to treasure more and more:

  • Remember that there will be times when you should simply not speak. Say to your listeners: “Kindly let me be silent.”

7. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Leadership – Donald T. Phillips

When I first read this book, I didn’t make the connection that Mr. Phillips wrote both this and my previous listing. He has a few other books I plan to read soon. Like most people, I have a lot of respect and admiration for Dr. King as a leader and visionary. I always read about him when I need motivation, encouragement and even direction. I appreciated how this book analyzed him as a leader and gave us a leadership toolkit in his honor.

Some of my favorite leadership lessons from this book:

  • When people nominate you for the lead, accept it. When you are asked to serve, you can’t say no. (Side note: my sense of urgency as a leader comes directly from Dr. King.)
  • Self-criticism is a sure sign of maturity – and the first step toward eliminating any personal weakness.
  • Analyze your adversaries’ point of view, so that you may see the basic weakness of your condition – so that you may learn and grow from the wisdom of your opposition.
  • In your public addresses, speak in simple common language – as if you were engaged in a conversation.

8. The Purpose Driven Life – Rick Warren

I can’t say I have ever been without purpose in life, but this book played a significant role in helping me to re-focus. As a Christian this book walked me back through my faith and helped re-connect my purpose in life and my role as a leader.

9. The Prayer of Jabez – Bruce Wilkinson

Of all of my books, this is the smallest and shortest, inspired by a very small scripture hidden in the middle of the Bible. However, this book and its study, empowered me so much as a leader. My confidence and passion and drive grew exponentially after I read this book. I recommend this book for two main reasons. The study of Jabez will really inspire you. Also, the writer’s ability to draw so much from one little scripture is truly astounding.

10. American Sniper – Chris Kyle

This was the first military-related book I read after joining the Army. I didn’t want to read it. I heard to much surrounding Chris’ death, both good and bad, I just didn’t want to deal with the emotions. But, I read it…and the emotions were intense.

I read the book from cover to cover probably faster than I have read any other book. I could not put it down. This is an amazing story about an outstanding soldier who struggled in life, in family, and in post-war reality. There are a lot of lessons for any struggling, aspiring or successful leader. I really think this is an essential read that will challenge you to consider your own decisions and relationships and priorities.

11. The Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey

I first “read” this book as I was driving to Kenosha, Wisconsin in a Uhaul truck. I had all of my personal belongings loaded in the back and my car in tow. I was to start a new job – a new career after leaving my family and friends, a 20 year career and so many memories. I listened to the audiobook and found myself shouting “amen,” crying, arguing with myself, plotting out my future and yelling at Siri to take notes for me…all while driving my Uhaul.

I could not believe I had never heard of this guy Dave Ramsey! This book literally changed my life. I learned so much about myself, about life and certainly about money. This should be a priority read for every leader, especially those leading organizations. There are many principles that apply directly to running an organization or business.

12. The Mentor Leader – Tony Dungy

As a life-long Colts and huge Tony Dungy fan, this easily tops my list of books. Slightly out of order, I wanted to save this one for last. Quiet Strength tells a great story, all of which Coach Dungy experienced, about struggles and successes as a coach and player. His leadership style is well-defined, practiced and effective.

This book has a special place in my heart because reading it demonstrated to me how authentic, transparent and down-to-earth Dungy is. In Fall of 2006 I was struggling to get through yet another semester in a desperate attempt to earn my college degree. I was enrolled in a leadership theory class and our professor assigned us to write a paper about an effective leader. However, she challenged us to fight the urge to write about someone we worked with or regurgitate an autobiography. She further challenged us to go out and interview a leader, someone that we might not ever get to interview otherwise.

As you can probably guess, I went for it. I somehow found a number for the Colts organization was routed to Coach Dungy’s executive assistant, Jackie. To my surprise she happily set up an interview for me. I’ll write a post later about the interview, but to sum it up…it was awesome. Did you make the connection that my interview was just months before Coach led the Colts to the SuperBowl championship? He was genuine and patient as I asked my questions. When finished, I asked if I could send him my paper to read to which he kindly obliged.

Sometime the following year I purchased Quiet Strength and excitedly raced through it. I was shocked when I started reading it because some of the stories he told me during our interview were mentioned in his book! I had so much fun reading the book and finding stories to which I had a “sneak preview.”

I hope you get a chance to read some of these books and enjoy them as much as I have.

Rotary Phone Viral Video: My Reaction

Have you seen this viral video about the teens trying to use the rotary phone? Watch it and read my reaction here!

Have you seen this viral video about with the teens trying to use the rotary phone? (If you don’t know what a rotary phone is, just google it, then come back to this post.)

I’ve seen a lot of comments, as you can imagine, giving the boys a hard time for not being able to make a simple call on a rotary phone. I must admit, I laughed the first time I saw the video, thinking it really isn’t that hard. 

The more I see the video and comments, the more silly it is how people are reacting. Why is it so hard to believe they can’t operate the rotary phone? When is the last time most of us have seen or used a rotary phone? Most kids today have never even used a house phone or a pay phone. The first push-button phones were introduced in the early 1960s and cell phones as early as the 1970s. Rotary phones can’t be used in most homes and businesses today due to their analog functionality. 

We’ve seen videos of kids patiently teaching their parents and grandparents how to use technology and cell phones, but those are always endearing and understandable. Why is it not understandable that kids won’t even know what a rotary phone one is or how to use it?