Poet Ali is a riveting communicator whose soulful presentations center on matters of communication and human connection, serving as powerful tools for self-reflection. In his keynote, he will share his unique ideas on the convergence of connection and communication in a way that turns the concept on its side. Tune in to hear how he breaks it down in ways you may never have heard or experienced before.
– [Announcer] Please welcome brand collaborator, TEDx speaker, and Soulosopher Poet Ali.
♪ I’ve studied the valleys and peaks ♪ ♪ Of this world and all its mystique ♪ ♪ The colors of ravishing digital screens ♪ ♪ That you cling to are neat, but weak ♪ ♪ in comparison to the green on the trees that I see ♪ ♪ Lace up and come running with me ♪ ♪ At one point I made the mistake of thinking I’d seen ♪ ♪ All there had been to see ♪ ♪ Not inside of the world, but inside of my girl ♪ ♪ I was thirsty to see, to seek ♪ ♪ To treat each village that welcomed my feet as my own ♪ ♪ And I challenged myself in the heat ♪ ♪ And I challenged my body in cold ♪ ♪ And the journey was rough, I was told ♪ ♪ Success, that’s as far as she goes ♪ ♪ You haven’t met me, I suppose ♪ ♪ Immaculate package of frequency ♪ ♪ Energy molecules put on the earth to astonish you ♪ ♪ Poet, I don’t think that’s possible ♪ ♪ That’s why I’m here, so the energy change ♪ ♪ When you witness the miracle, everything’s possible ♪ ♪ The moment you flip it, give it ignition ♪ ♪ Chuck up the deuces to the voices that question ♪ ♪ Instead of support your decisions ♪ ♪ Look, aye, listen ♪ ♪ Require reflecting the mind of my business ♪ ♪ Same, mission ♪ ♪ Guide my decisions to make them effective ♪ ♪ Train, intuition ♪ ♪ I do it with passion, see that you finish ♪ ♪ Pain, vision ♪ ♪ Which one do you blame and what can you gain ♪ ♪ Aye, listen ♪ ♪ Been quiet, reflecting, and minding my business ♪ ♪ Same, mission ♪ ♪ Guide my decisions to make them effective ♪ ♪ Train, intuition ♪ ♪ I do it with passion, see that you finish ♪ ♪ Pain, vision ♪ ♪ Which one do you blame and what can you gain ♪ Good morning, Phoenix, how you guys feeling? All right, I’m so excited to be here! We’re gonna get into some various tools of communication this morning. And in almost every area of life, we tune ourselves into our environment, except for work. Unless you consider that rush of sugar and coffee in the morning a tuneup, which many of us do. But as a communicator, there’s scarcely an industry where tuning in serves you and your skillset better. We have many tools to communicate. As we felt and heard right now, one of those incredible tools is music. In just that short amount of time, hidden and stuffed in the meaning of that poetry was a world of meaning and message and communication. Effective communication is someone who can get people to believe and feel a message they’re trying to transmit. And any medium that can transmit that much in a short amount of time is worth learning from. Of course, I’m talking about music, but more than that, we’re gonna go on a ride, a little journey, if you will. First, I’d like to thank the leaders of Firstup for allowing me to be here and have a little bit of time with you all. And we’re gonna get to know each other a little bit and create some memories, but I’m not exactly sure where we’re gonna end up. But a good portion of that depends on you. As is the case with any large body of people who are after a common goal, the first certainty I can leave you with is wherever we end up, we’re gonna get there together. And if we give ourselves just a little bit of room and we make a little bit of room for what is impossible and make some room for what is possible with the right intention, we just suspend our disbelief, like when we see a romantic comedy or an action movie, we will find ourselves in a beautiful, beautiful place. Or in other words, just enjoy the play, okay? Now, luckily I brought my excitement meter this morning so we can translate where we’re at. You guys tell me, how we feeling?
– [Audience] Woo!
– All right, I like to hear! I’m pretty sure all of you can speak my language. I didn’t bring the decoder, so we’re good. If someone has a better sound, feel free to let loose, okay? Too early, more coffee. Got it. It’s okay, I brought drugs. I thought a lot about what could be the most valuable asset I could share with you guys, and what could be the most useful this morning with our short time together. And I thought if I knew of the most powerful drug in the universe, one whose effect on people would bring out the best version of you, that would be a worthwhile endeavor. And I’m not talking about Adderall. But I did exactly that. I brought that. Now, who would like some? Some of you didn’t even hesitate for one second. Let me break it down what it is before we start distributing and get everybody going. It’s potent stuff. It’s gonna be a fun morning. Let me tell you what this is. The truth is, it’s not in any bag or behind this stage or hidden. Here is the most powerful drug in the world. Not quite the reaction I was hoping for. Thought the enthusiasm on that reveal might be a bit more emphatic. As you can see, this is a younger me. As you can see, nothing has changed. If you’re wondering what I was supposed to be, I was going for Conan, Conan the Barbarian. This is a homemade Iranian mama cut-and-sew version of Conan. I realize I look more like a male dancer, but you live and you learn. I’m making a case that this guy is the most powerful drug that you will encounter. But what if it were true? Just humor me for a second. What if taking a hit of this energy, all of this, would leave you in a state of wanting to be the best version of yourself in every way? You’re telling me you wouldn’t want some of that? We’re gonna be working all day. Can I get a volunteer? Someone, brave soul, who may just see, just test it out? First hand I saw, cool. Come on up, thank you. Yep, come on down, come on all the way up to the stage, please. Make your way up here. Yep, yep! All we gotta do is exchange energies, and that can happen with just a handshake. With just a handshake, you can see what type of energy people have. You ready for this? Let’s see. ♪ Wow, I feel good ♪ ♪ I knew that I would, now ♪
– Now, go pass that to someone else. Go give that energy to someone else. Feel free to get up a little bit for me. Come on, come on. ♪ So good, so good ♪ You gotta pass it, you gotta pass it! Let me pass it to you. There you go, take it, pass it to someone else. Go ahead, pass it along. ♪ Like sugar ♪ There’s some people in the back that are a little bit jealous, get them going. All right. Feel free to stretch it out. We’re gonna be up, or you guys want it to keep going? I know, it’s too early. It’s 10 o’clock in Phoenix, guys. Okay. My question to you is, it’s not about drugs. The truth is, it’s about your energy and the energy you bring into any equation. When we pass on our energy, something happens. In all seriousness, what if your effect on people was like a drug? What do drugs do? Someone over here is like, “Which drugs, honey? They do a lot of things.” One thing is, for sure, they influence us, right? They make us lose our inhibitions. They allow us to do, sometimes, whatever we want. That’s why people take them. That’s one reason, anyway. They can make the pain go away. Sometimes they provide an escape. They can be addictive. They affect us in a lot of ways, bring us up, bring us down. But what if your effect on people was like that of a drug? We have an undeniable influence on each other with our being and our energy. So, take the “What if” out of that statement. We have a quantifiable and qualitative effect on each other. Does the energy in this room feel a little bit different than when you first walked in? It’s a certainty. Some of you are still getting contact high right now. You don’t believe me? Go spend an hour with someone you can’t stand. Tell me what effect that energy has on you. Just like any drug we ingest, we are the drug that the people around us take in. So, a really important and relevant question for all of us is, when human beings ingest you, what type of drug are they taking, as a person? What type of influence do you have? What effect does your presence stir in people? And I don’t mean your dog or your mom who loves you no matter what. I mean, your coworkers, your husband, your wife, your family, your friends. What is the effect your presence stirs in them? The truth is, our effect on people is so much like a drug that it’s scary how well we could classify it. I do a lot of work in school systems, secondary and correctional schools, and here’s a surface-layer understanding of drug classification. And you could probably find yourself or a combination of yourself of who you are within these classifications. Are you a depressant? “I bet you this lecture’s gonna suck. These conferences are all the same. Why do we have to meet in person again? Janet’s gonna black out.” Sorry if there’s a Janet, there. Are you a stimulant? “Hey, good to see you this morning. How’s everybody doing? Good, I did the spreadsheets. We have a good look for the next year.” Is your energy up, up? Are you a hallucinogen? Do you help people see a vision? Do you help them see things, believe in things when you interact? A big part of that is tied to the effect your being stirs in other people. Now, some of you say, “Well, that’s out of my control, how somebody receives me.” It is out of your control, but all we’re talking about at the moment is your awareness of yourself. I’d like to offer some tools and some skills that make the imperceptible start to become a little bit more visible, like the spreading of that energy this morning, the tuning of that frequency, thanks to the designers here at this conference and thanks to your energy. So, I start with a question this morning. Can energy alone elicit change? How many say yes? How many say no? Smart group. How many say, “It’s too early for this jibber-jabbering nonsense.” I’m gonna make a case for yes, partially because it’s a trick question. Energy’s never alone. Energy is always connected to something or someone. Energy can create momentum and momentum can create morale. You ever tried a diet or an exercise regimen? That momentum starts to create a little bit of morale. Morale creates optimism. Optimism can create solutions. So, back to our energy and the people around us. If you were a person that made people feel like they could do, say, be, act in the most truest, most honest version of themselves without fear, judgment, ridicule, in essence, you could bring out the best in them. I’ve seen it, I’ve felt it. I’ve been on both sides of that magic, infectious energy. And that’s a powerful person. Now, what if that was your goal as an organization? How powerful would that be? I get to watch people react to me like a drug. If we’re able to encourage, accept, communicate, the science is starting to catch up to the mysticism and the rewards are limitless. Inversely, if you bring this type of energy that you’re about to see into a situation, it almost always reacts and ends up in the same way. Take a look.
– Best comic book adaptation to film hands down, no argument.
– [Man] See you later, girls.
– All right, oh, yeah.
– Um, I know I’m in the minority, here, but I don’t really like the Christopher Nolan “Batman” movies. I don’t, I really just feel like they’re overrated.
– Well, that’s just an opinion. You see, that’s why I prefaced it by saying, “I know I’m in the minority.”
– You know what, no. No, not really. It’s not awkward, at least not until you said, “Awkward.” Now, it’s awkward because of what you said.
– “Anyway,” what? “Anyway,” what? Really, see, because when you say, “Anyway,” then you have to follow it up with an actual contribution to the conversation we’re having.
– No, look at me, look at me, look at me, look at me, look at me. There’s no yikes, and the reason why there’s no yikes is ’cause there’s nothing scary about this situation, okay? It’s a very low-stakes situation.
– All right.
– No, not, “All right!” Come here, no, don’t look at him. Don’t look at either of those guys. Look at me, all right? “All right,” what? ‘Cause after you say, “All right,” you have to follow that up with something. Don’t do it. Don’t look at them. Do not look at them. No, no, do not look at them. Do not look at them, don’t–
– Tell us how you really feel.
– [Man] Okay, you know what, I’ll tell you.
– You get the idea, right? That’s artificial communication. Communication requires the humility of listening, which means the real expertise of a communicator should be how to get people to communicate. And I hate to break it to you, but if you’re after the goal of being an expert communicator, we ought to train our greatest expertise in listening and understanding. Don’t be mad at me, that’s what you chose. That’s your profession. What is number one on the top 10 things you will never hear an expert communicator say? Here it is. “As an expert communicator.” That’s how I know that person isn’t. Because if they were, they would know a statement like that would only shut somebody down. There’s three types of communication. There’s effective communication, communication that works. Excellent communication, above and beyond. Most of the time, we can get there with enough touch points and enough frequency, enough quantity. Then there’s timeless communication that leaves an imprint on your spirit. Today, I’d like to give an introduction that will start to turn all of us into timeless communicators. Timeless communication has everything to do with connection, making one, building one, and sustaining one. That’s why we meet in person, to discover. Not to teach, but to learn, to discover. It’s the connection point between you and I. That’s where the gold is. That’s where the richest information comes up. “Hey, I think this. Hey, you think that.” And then we get led to something. It’s about discovery. That energy exits us in a million different ways. Our posture, facial expressions, gestures, actions, words, emails, correspondence, Slack lines, whatever they are, are language. And right now, I wanna focus on language for a second and I wanna ask you guys a question. How many languages do you speak? It’s not a rhetorical question. I want you to go ahead and think a little bit. And for some of you guys, it’s easy. You’re like, “It’s one, you’re talking it.” But others of you, you’re wondering if that language an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend taught you counts. Go ahead and count it, okay? For me, I asked myself the question. I came up with four, arguably five, if I’ve been drinking. And it forced me to revisit this notion or this idea of language. Later on, I came up with 83 and it forced me to revisit this language definition. Says, “The method of human communication, spoken or written, consisting of use of words in a structured and conventional way.” At the bottom, “The manner of style of a piece of writing or speech.” At the beginning, that second definition is what interested me, “The system of communication used by a particular community or country.” And I don’t wanna alter that definition, but I would like to take a deeper look, ’cause I believe we speak far more languages than we realize. And I’d like to apply that definition to everything. And for the rest of our time, I wanna speak in one language that is native to every person in this room. That changes things, ’cause now it’s not a talk, it’s a conversation, and it’s not a real conversation unless both parties are interacting, okay? So, I wanna make sure we all begin from the same common denominator, willingness. It’s a low-risk common denominator we can easily test. If you’re ready to do this, clap your hands. All right, talking my language. Go ahead, thank you. Take a seat. For those of you who didn’t understand what I was saying, I simply asked the Spanish-speaking audience to get up, look at a person next to them, and laugh. I know it wasn’t nice, and that wasn’t a joke at your expense. It’s just to let you know, we’re often very aware of what it does when we speak the same language, the way it binds us, the way it connects us. But we often forget, we don’t take as much note of what it does when we don’t understand that language, what it does to isolate, what it does to exclude. I saw some of your faces, here. I want you to just hold on to that as we continue. I wanna now translate another concept in a different language called Taarof. It’s from my culture, I’m Iranian. And Taarof, in the Persian culture, It really doesn’t have an equivalent in the English lexicon. The best, the closest thing we could describe it is an extreme grace or politeness or humility. That doesn’t quite sum up what it is, so I’m gonna give you a little example. Two gentlemen were walking towards each other. Be very common for the first one to look at his friend and say which means, “I’m here to serve you.” The second guy would then look at him and say which means, “I tear my shirt open for you.” The first would then would respond and say which means, “I am your servant.” This is all in a greeting, okay? Then the second guy responds back and says which means, “I am the dirt beneath your feet.” There’s a little exhibit if you need a little visual. This is a normal conversation that takes place between these two guys. And I mention it just to point out the fact that merely speaking another language can introduce new concepts into your life, into your mind that previously didn’t exist. I’ll flash this series of coded words on the screen real quick. For some of you, you know what this is immediately. Others of you are like, “WTH, what the heck?” I can probably make a clear distinction between those who are, well, 35 and younger, 35 and older. No disrespect to anyone. For those of us that are in the know, we’re familiar, this is tech speak, SMS, a series of coded words to say the most with the least number of symbols. This sounds pretty close to our definition of language. By a community, used by a community. That determines. Communities can be divided in any which way. What if I told you what you saw before was a modern-day love letter? Follow along, here. It says: For the time being, I love you lots, because you positively bring out all the best in me, and I laugh out loud. In other words, let me know what’s up, ’cause you are a cutie, in my opinion. And as far as I know, to see you, if you’re not seeing someone, would make me happy. For your information, I’ll be right there forever. In any case, keep in touch. NRN, guys?
– [Audience] “Not right now.”
– “Not right now. All my best wishes. Don’t know, don’t care if anyone sees this. Don’t go there. See you later, bye for now, hugs and kisses, you only live once.” All right! He went for it, huh, or she went for it. And if you just laughed, you experienced another language that we’re all born speaking, laughter. Needs no explanation. All right, music. They’re so prevalent in other cultures, they transcend explanation or description. Everything we do is a portal to another language. The more languages you speak, the more you can learn. We take a new concept, any new concept that we learn, and usually, we compare it to an existing axis of reality that’s already inside us. You ever heard the term, “Move like a dancer,” “Train like a boxer,” “Drink coffee like a teacher,” “Don’t do taxes like a musician.” This becomes a lens by which we take in the world. And the more languages you have at your disposal, the more you’re able to speak, the more you’re able to connect. And despite all these languages we’ve covered so far, I still don’t believe we’ve got to the most profound language, and that’s the language of experience. If someone manages to speak that language, it’s the most binding one. You don’t need to tell them. You don’t need to explain. It transcends it. You’ve lived what I lived, I’ve lived what you lived, just like I’m not gonna tell you what language I’m speaking in a moment, here. I’d like to ask that for the duration of our time and for the sake of our research, if I’m speaking your language, your experience, that you simply stand at any moment. You let me know that you see me and that we’re connected. Do you speak this language? I remember growing up in elementary school and at the end of the year, we’d have these parties, and we got to vote on where the party was. And I’d really hope it wasn’t at a waterpark ’cause that means I’d have to be in a bathing suit. And I wasn’t feeling too good about that. Sometimes when I’m in a dressing room, I start sweating ’cause I’m worried about how the clothes are gonna fit, ’cause they never look on me like they do on that mannequin. At family get-togethers when everybody’s had a nice serving and I’m sitting there wondering in my head, doing a cost-benefit analysis, do I dare go back to the adult table to get more food and have to endure my relatives and their disavowing looks? “Oh, you really need that buddy? It looks like you’re doing pretty good there, huh?” And my cheeks have a big pinch-me sign on them. If you’re smiling or squirming or you stood up, you probably speak this language, the one I’m endearingly gonna call the language of growing up a fat kid. And if you did stand, I’m gonna ask that you stay standing throughout this whole time. Any body image issue is a dialect of that language. How about this one? Do you speak this language? Right after college, the first and the 15th of the month were dreadful days because I had to figure out which of these two bills was gonna get paid. And sometimes, in our home, it came down to a couple dollars and it came down to, how are we gonna stretch this out for the rest of the week? Or, I used to look into these opportunities and see which one I could possibly use to just change my life because I didn’t have the means to pay for some of the things I needed. And again, if you started standing, you, of course, understand the language of barely making ends meet. I’m gonna speak another language. Do you speak this language? When we got the diagnosis, I said, “How long?” And when the doctor pronounced what it was, I said, “I hate that word.” And I still hate that word to this day. And then, I asked a few questions. “How long? Has it spread?” And the answers to those questions, I realized, were gonna determine someone I loved, the lifespan they had. And when my father was hungry, we would rush to the table to eat because it was that few moments he had an appetite. And if you’re standing, you know this terrible language of watching a loved one battle cancer. And any terminal illness is a derivative of that language. I wanna speak one more language for you guys. “Oh, no, no, I’m listening. No, no, no, I’m with you. I’m just, you know, taking care of, no, no, I’m here.” Or maybe you’re laying in bed and that blue light is shining right on your face. And I know some of you have dropped that sucker right in your eye. Or this deal where your phone’s down here, good for the police, and the passenger’s freaking out. And if you’re standing, you’re speaking the language I call the language of disconnection. It’s been called the language of connection, but truth be told, it’s the language of disconnection. Disconnection from ourselves, from our thoughts, from the space we occupy. And if you’re still not standing, you probably know what it’s like to feel left out. Probably know what it’s like when everybody’s a part of something and you’re just there. You probably know what it’s like being the minority. And now that I’m speaking your language, I’m gonna ask that you stand because that language of being the minority is one of the most powerful languages you can learn to speak. Because oftentimes, how we’re treated in that position of compromise starts to determine what we do in that position of power. I thank you guys for participating. Go ahead and take a seat. I wanna speak one last language. You don’t need to stand. I just wanna see if you recognize it. Most of the girls in the world are complaining about it. Most of the poems in the world have been written about it. Most of the music on the radio is hitting about it, kicking about it, or ripping about it. Most of the verses in the game, people are spitting about it. Most of the songs in the world, people talking about it. Most of the broken hearts I know are walking without it, have started to doubt it, or lost without it. Most of the shadows in the dark have forgotten about it. Everybody in the world would be tripping without it. Every boy and every girl would be dead without it, struggle without it, nothing without it. Most of the fingers that are drunk are dialing about it. Most of the people that are in it are smiling about it. Most of the pages that are filled are filled about it. When I’m in it and I feel it, I be shouting about it. Everybody in the whole world knowing about it. When I’m hurt and broke down, I be going about it, flowing about it wrong, ’cause I didn’t allow it. Can’t a wound or scar heal without it. Can’t the way that you feel be conceived about it. Everything that you feel is surreal about it. But I’m just a writer. What can I reveal about it? Why is it that the most powerful language in the world is the one we have the toughest time speaking? No matter how many books, seminars, life coaching sessions we attend, we just can’t seem to get enough of it. And I ask you now, that question I asked, how many languages did you speak, at the beginning, has that changed? And I encourage you, when you approach someone, the first question you may be asked is, “I wonder what languages we share.” And if you don’t see any, maybe you ask, “What languages can I learn?” And no matter how inconsequential or irrelevant that conversation seems at the moment, I promise that it’ll serve you in the future at some point. ♪ Not all of us had brothers ♪ ♪ Not all of us had mothers ♪ ♪ Not all of us had others telling us that they love us ♪ ♪ Not all of us had dads ♪ ♪ But all of us have scabs ♪ ♪ And all of us have bags from all of the ex-lovers ♪ ♪ All of us have troubles ♪ ♪ All of us have times where our back against the wall ♪ ♪ And we’re forced to use our knuckles ♪ ♪ All of us have hurdles ♪ ♪ All of us can’t juggle ♪ ♪ All of us need laughs ♪ ♪ ‘Cause all of the past muddles ♪ ♪ All the tough times and all the bad signs ♪ ♪ From all the past winters ♪ ♪ Not all of us had summers ♪ ♪ Not all of us had suppers ♪ ♪ Where we sit down with each other ♪ ♪ But all of us have a chance to change when we discover ♪ ♪ Not all of us have luck ♪ ♪ But all of us have cuts and all of us have stuff ♪ ♪ That we’re forced to cover up ♪ ♪ Some of us have a whole life to learn all this dang stuff ♪ ♪ Not all of us have years ♪ ♪ Some of us have months ♪ ♪ And some of us have days where all of the crap sucks ♪ ♪ And some of us have hate and some of us have faith ♪ ♪ And some of us can’t escape ♪ ♪ the negative thoughts in our brain ♪ ♪ But through all the tough times and all the bad signs ♪ ♪ From all the past winters ♪ ♪ Not all of us had summers ♪ ♪ Not all of us had suppers when we sit down with each other ♪ ♪ But all of us, all of us have a chance to change ♪ ♪ When we discover that we’re connected ♪ ♪ To discover the truth ♪ We are connected. We have a chance to change When we discover that human connection is all about bringing yourself into it. There’s two parts to it, the self and the other. You can’t be connected to the other if you’re numb And you will only ever reach a surface level of communication if you have all the right tools and techniques, but you turned off to connection. Conversation is a way to get close to what’s actually happening. We can’t really access it through words alone. They are a tool to help us in the dark. And so, most people don’t have the means to express or articulate at the depth at which they feel. All we can do is hope to get as close as possible. And there is a level of communication where words are secondary. Some of you may have been one of those kids, usually the middle child, not always, that’s infused with an energy level that horrifies parents. I know I was. This kid usually has a scary look of wonder about the world. And we have a common voice that generally encourages our youth to be active and well-rounded until they start to get older. Then, we become concerned about their wide interests. We begin pruning their wonder with our fears. Does this resonate with anybody here? The older I got, the more people became concerned with how much I immersed myself in. Listen to the sadness of that statement. I’m sure all of us have heard, “Well, you don’t wanna be a jack-of-all-trades, do you?” Well, I hate to break it to you, but I became the most certified jack you might meet. And one with two swords at that, not just one. One, I use to defend my right to learn and understand the complexities of who we are through a myriad of experiences. And the other, I use to fight for your right to do the same. Because despite what I’ve been told and preached to my whole life, it will not detract from your success, from your intelligence, from your relationships, from your financial security, your happiness. And quite the opposite, doing so will enrich you in every way. Truth be told, for some reason, the rest of that quote, “Jack of all trades, master of none,” didn’t make it to us. In whole, it actually says, “Jack of all trades, master of none, but often better than a master of one.” My word! What a completely different meaning. Actually the opposite. I wonder what they meant by that? I’m not certain, but I’ll give it a go. To me, it means the more we understand different situations, people, culture, experiences, plain and simple, the more success we’ll have. As my interests widened and intensified, family and friends became worried. How did it all connect? It forced me to reflect deeply on what I wanted to say to the world. And in doing that, I uncovered a special truth, one we all have. This one happened to be mine, part of my design, the pin that made it all make sense. I was mistakenly looking for my path through these pre-etched tracks in the snow, looking out through everyone else’s lens. But it begins with you. One can’t connect that has no form, no shape, no self, no I. So, you can’t connect to things unless you bring yourself into it. Otherwise, the puzzle pieces around you can’t discern what to connect to and how to connect. Even the word selfless, which we tend to admire, has a degree of self in it, just a little bit less. Self, less, a little bit. I was trying to choose one talent, one component of myself and make that my life’s work, and I was paralyzed at having to isolate a part of me, kind of like when you’re around a friend you can’t be your full self around. It was never about my talents as the main attraction. “What can I do here, what can I do here, what can I do,” It was about the patterns of connection I uncovered from immersing myself into everything. It meant something to me. It materialized into a substance beyond what I intended. It was really about what I had accumulated through the gift of this perspective. And that’s what it’s really about for you as well. Through contact with so many beautiful people like you guys, I came to understand my gift and my debt to my work, which hopefully has a small space in the chain that is humanity, is to articulate some of those patterns found in the secrets of connection, genuine, true, deep connection. And as you may have gathered from this demonstration today, the main subject matter of my talks is human connection. Now, if you’re thinking to yourself, “That’s kind of broad,” well, yeah, it is, could be anything. Because any and everything is a human connecting with something, animate, inanimate. In other words, person, place, or thing. If a human is interacting, it’s a human connecting. It’s an all-encompassing field of study. And I chose it mainly as my focus because I have ADD. And if your study is human connection, you can justify any experience. No, I’m just kidding. Not about the ADD, I wasn’t diagnosed, but if you’re like me, you probably do have ADD. Everything I say right now is starting to sound like, So, let me get to the point and wrangle your attention back. As you would imagine, human connection has a paramount degree on everything. Some would say, the people who brought me here, that it may be the singular most important aspect to deliver across industry. You can establish a connection, everything else is cake. And one of these areas where the benefits of human connection is obvious is the world of communicators, any sort of profession where we’re called to transmit a message. We have a little bit of time and I’m gonna share with you a deeper understanding of something I call the connection perspective, and it’ll help you apply it in your own way, ’cause you make it come alive with your individuality any time you’re called on to communicate. Quick little guide. And it happens through practical pattern recognition. It’s meant to widen our scope of creative solution-making. My general modus operandi is not to teach how to do something, but to help teach how to see something. That’s where the most valuable time is spent. Once you see something differently, you do it differently. And in no other field does the jack-of-all-trades quote ring true than being a powerful communicator. These fall under the part of connection that have to do with our degree of self-awareness. Connection doesn’t begin with the thing we’re connecting to. How do we get these people to, how do we get the audience to, how do we get these consumers to, how do we get our employees to? There’s methodologies and strategies to do that and we’ve covered some, but that’s second. The first, supreme importance, is you, the human, then the connection. The human in this case is you. It’s an ideology rooted in our interconnectedness. The first principle is perception. This is what we see. As communicators, written, digital, verbal, what we see is the first fork in the road in divergence in meaning between a communicator and a communicatee. One of those terms is real, the other one I may have made up. What you see can be and is often vastly different than what I see. What do you see here? What about this? You see a tree, or you see animals? What about here, you see a vase, or you see some faces? And let’s keep in mind, that’s only one of the five senses where we could have different things. For example, what about what we hear? Take a listen to this. What do you hear this as being?
– [Announcer] Tell me what you hear this sentence as being.
– What did you hear? “That is embarrassing?” Are you sure you didn’t hear, “Rotating pirate ships?”
– [Announcer] Tell me what you hear this sentence as being.
– Anybody, did you hear it? Some of you guys, okay. Are you sure you didn’t hear, “That isn’t my receipt,” or, “Bart Simpson bouncing?”
– [Announcer] Tell me what you hear this sentence as being.
– Our perception is how we look out at the world, but the gap only widens from there. The first thing that is done with our empirical ingestion is we observe. So, number two is observations, or in essence, what we make of what we see. It’s what we think about what we saw or what we heard. It’s where our processing, our critical thinking derives, in other words, how we form our conclusions. At its core, it’s how we think about something, which is, in my opinion, a very, very rich place to look when getting to know another person. Our observations then form our perspective. If perception is the way we look out at the world, then our perspective is our outlook. If perception is what we see and our observations are what we make of what we see, our perspective is what we make of what we make of what we see. In other words, our perspective is the way our observations have informed our outlook. That dog’s freaking out, huh? Perspective is the only one of those seven principles that doesn’t end in tion, or T-I-O-N, and that kills me because I have OCD. But it tells you how important it is. It is the brush that paints every experience we live. It is, in essence, who we are, our perspective, and that determines our vibration. Which is, of course, the fourth element. Our flux, how we move is a result of how we see the world. We see it all the time. We just don’t realize we’re actually seeing the way a person thinks manifest into their body. And that’s this kind of vibe, okay? This kind of vibe, it’s a kind of vibe. “I like that person’s vibe.” This also relates back to that exercise about energy, our vibration. Listen to this little blip from Robert Greene.
– One of the greatest male seducers that ever lived was Errol Flynn, the actor. The power that Errol Flynn had, I had to study and figure out, what was the secret to his success? It wasn’t really anything he did. He was completely non-defensive. There wasn’t a defensive bone in his body. He was open, non-judgmental. And women would say that when you would get into a room with him, you were afraid of this guy. 10 minutes with him in the room, and you’ve lost all of your inhibitions. It’s because he was so relaxed that he would pass that mood to you. Human beings are are not just logical animals. We’re physical, we have bodies. And our emotions, our physicality responds to the physicality of the other person.
– I’m gonna zip through these because we have just a little bit of time, but it’s important. Again, if our perspective informs our vibration, our perspective is our outlook, but then our vibration is, what do we do with that perspective? And you can see all of what these people did. It informed who they are in very, very different ways. They all saw the same sunset, but they all did something different with it. From there, we get to connection. This is actually reversed, actually, I’m sorry. This should be, it should be perception, observation, perspective. And then, our perspective forms our, yeah, that’s actually, don’t even look at that chart. So, one is perception, two is observation, three is perspective, four is vibration. Once we understand our vibration, it informs our function. That’s the fifth one. And at many times, we’re searching for our function, our purpose. That is actually our role, our job, our physical responsibility. And there’s two layers to that. There’s the surface level of our function, which is written in the employee handbook. But then, there’s the deeper level of our function. When you’ve actually occupied a position long enough, you start to really understand the nuances of it and then you start to make it your own. And once you understand what is your job, your purpose, your role, you see how it connects to the greater picture. And that comes to connection. That’s number six, our connection. Once we know what our job is, we can see its relevance to the other moving parts. And once we understand where our piece fits, our connection, all of those previous six things inform the last and final principle, which is creation. This is what you guys do with all of your observations, your perspective. And right now, we’re starting to see a huge advance in tech, of course. The possibilities are limitless and we’re starting to devise new solutions in this way. And that’s extremely important, but I’m also here to make a case that the software is meant to bring us success, but not at the expense of the hardware that’s inside you. We are meant to use the software to help continue to excavate all of these things inside us, not lose them. And when something has meaning for you, that’s when it becomes important for you to remember. I knew above all else the most important thing I could bring this morning, more than information that resonated, was meaning. I know today had to mean something for you. And if I could take my gifts and make it meaningful for you, then the deposit of that information would happen into your minds and hearts and you can go back and take those brilliant conversations wherever they need to go. The sweet spot is between you and I, right in that center place. That’s where we’re at our best. And we’re gonna close this morning by seeing if you’ve graduated from all of this with an exercise in tuning. This is an exercise in tuning us to listen to our own voice, an exercise in tuning us to see how aware we are of our surroundings, and an exercise, then, the graduation moment, to see how well we can do it together. And there’s probably no better measure of tuning than singing, unfortunately. So, you’re gonna join me, is what’s going on. I’m gonna split the audience into four groups, here. Let’s say everyone from this table down is group one. Is that cool, good enough? Yeah, you could just choose which side. Yeah, I think Chuck said you guys will self-identify. And then, let’s go, everyone from this gentleman in the purple shirt, yep, and that way, group number two. Then, we’re gonna do right here, this group right here, number three. And then this group right here, number four. Group number one, raise your hand. Group number two. Number three. And number four. You guys look so beautiful. I’m gonna teach you a song in about 30 seconds. You’re gonna be like, “This is not possible.” I’m gonna shock you. Just trust me the way I’m trusting you. It is possible, but we’re not gonna start with the words. We’re gonna start with the phrasing. Group one, this is your phrasing. Can I hear you? Good. I’m sorry, it’s actually even easier. Group two, where are you? You are the you are the response to their call. Okay, can I hear that? One, two, three, four. Group two’s hot. Group one, let’s tighten it up, huh? Let’s tighten it up, let’s get it together. Group three, group four, All together, just listen. Just listen, you’ll get it. Don’t doubt yourself. No, that doesn’t sound right. Group one, words are coming, “From the top of the sky.” Group two, “Rain down.” Group three, “A million and one.” Group four, “More souls in the good fight.” Phrasing. ♪ From the top of the sky rain down ♪ ♪ A million and one more souls in the good fight ♪ You wanna try it before we do it with the music? One, two, ready, and. ♪ From the top of the sky rain down ♪ ♪ A million and one more souls in the good fight ♪
– Group two is MVP, coming in hot. Group two is going nuts, bro. They are, boom! ♪ Rain down ♪ And then there’s one section, group one, I hate to keep pointing you out, but can we take a sip of coffee? Do something here, all right? And then, all together, the final phrase is ♪ I feel alive ♪ That’s everyone. Okay, I’m gonna get it going. I trust you. We’re gonna have a chance to do it two or three times. By the end, the music is off and it’s just your voices, got it? Awesome, let’s run at it. All right. Really quick, before I start this video, you’ll see this is taking place at a school. This is one of the organizations I speak for. They’re an organization called Rachel’s Challenge. The gentleman in the video is a man named Darrell Scott, and his voice, he talks about being a darkness fighter. This song is about lighting up the darkness. How many of you guys know people that all they do is, by the way, let me just respect the time real quick. Are we okay if we’re gonna finish that with this song? Just a thumbs up from the people in charge. Okay, okay, cool. Cool, okay. This song, how many of you guys know people that all they do is get upset and mad with everything that’s wrong with the world? They just complain. This is a quote for those people and for you when you’re around those people. “We don’t curse the darkness, we shine a light.” That’s what this room is, people who don’t waste time. You have to identify the problem, but you don’t sit there. This song is called “Darkness Fighter”, and the gentleman in the video, Darrell Scott, this speaking program is affiliated with the Columbine shooting, if you remember. Many of you, I’m sure you remember exactly where you were. He lost his daughter in that shooting and I wrote this song for the organization. They go into schools and do school programs, so it’ll give some context. We shot it at one of the schools we traveled to. But the next school we’ll be going to, you guys will be my backup vocals, so let’s do it. All right. Let’s see, here we go. You still remember your parts? Two, two, check two.
– [Darrell] I cursed the darkness all night long. It wouldn’t go away. I threatened to yell and pleaded, but the dark was here to stay. Light up the darkness. ♪ From the top of the sky rain down ♪ ♪ What it look like ♪ ♪ A million and one or more souls in the good fight ♪ ♪ Yeah, what it feel like ♪ ♪ Feel like I’m alive for the first time ♪ ♪ Feel my tears turn to triumph ♪ ♪ And it feel right for this is real life ♪ ♪ For reaching out for we don’t curse the dark ♪ ♪ We shine a real light, real bright ♪ ♪ And I think we just might ♪ ♪ Let’s hear the audience ♪ ♪ Look into my eyes, catch a glimpse of my soul ♪ ♪ In case nobody told you, you’re not alone ♪ ♪ I had my ups and my downs and my highs and my lows ♪ ♪ But I never gave up when the doubt raised up ♪ ♪ How many of us know what we really want and go ♪ ♪ I will create my own dream, the fears got to go ♪ ♪ No one can do that for me, I’m in control so ♪ ♪ No more standing in the middle of the road ♪ ♪ Froze on which way I really gotta go ♪ ♪ No yellow bricks to follow, just a boy with a goal ♪ ♪ To start a chain reaction ♪ ♪ That would ripple ’round the globe ♪ ♪ Just tomorrow, my sorrow ♪ ♪ I let it go in the past ♪ Y’all ready? Let me hear you! ♪ From the top of the sky rain down ♪ Little louder! ♪ A million and one or more souls in the good fight ♪ ♪ I feel alive ♪
– [Poet Ali] Little louder, you guys, one more time! ♪ From the top of the sky rain down ♪ ♪ A million and one or more souls in the good fight ♪ ♪ I feel alive ♪ ♪ I’m feeling alive for the first time ♪ ♪ Like that rose in the concrete ♪ ♪ That woman in the cold ♪ ♪ That boy in the corner that nobody knows ♪ ♪ Like that one defining moment ♪ ♪ One day the world will see ♪ ♪ What I know burns inside you and me ♪ ♪ Who you wanna be ♪ ♪ Need to escape, there’s a place we can go ♪ ♪ Everything we’re against don’t exist anymore ♪ ♪ ‘Cause it all gets ignored ♪ ♪ ‘Cause of everything we’re for, so ♪ ♪ No more standing in the middle of the road ♪ ♪ Froze on which way I really gotta go ♪ ♪ No yellow bricks to follow, just a boy with a goal ♪ ♪ To start a chain reaction ♪ ♪ That would ripple ’round the globe ♪ ♪ Just tomorrow ♪ Can we start to turn the music down a little? ♪ From the top of the sky rain down ♪ ♪ A million and one or more souls in the good fight ♪ ♪ I feel alive ♪ Can you guys all clap it out for me? Can we turn the music down, fade it out! ♪ From the top of the sky rain down ♪ Clap it out! ♪ A million and one or more souls in the good fight ♪ Let’s go, one more time. Fade all the music out, no music. Let me hear you! ♪ From the top of the sky rain down ♪ ♪ A million and one or more souls in the good fight ♪ ♪ I feel alive ♪
– Can we get one more? Squeeze out one more for me. ♪ From the top of the sky rain down ♪ ♪ A million and one or more souls in the good fight ♪ ♪ I feel alive ♪ That was a gift for me that you guys gave me. Thank you so much. Have a beautiful conference. Thank you.