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Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 145: September 2011)

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Techniques for balance

  • Stop the non-stop talkers by saying, “We haven’t heard from Brenda about that experience yet. How did you enjoy it?”

  • Some of us hear a new idea and explore whether we can use it to improve our lives. Some of us hear a new idea and try to immediately debunk it. Which life do you want to lead?

  • If you seek genuine help, ask genuine questions, not lazy ones. “What should I have asked you that I haven’t?” is hackneyed and dumb. But, “What are the three things you would have done differently at this point?” will provide terrific insight.

  • The problem with almost any test and its results is that people think they are universal and accurate truths. Behavior tells you far more than a “score” or “profile” will any day.

  • You have two choices with annoying actions and behaviors of others: Deal with it or forget about it. But fretting is not an option.

  • Engage the host or hostess in 30 seconds of polite greeting and you’ll probably get the table you request. Demand the table, on the other hand, and you probably won’t.

  • My wife was asked at a celebratory lunch to choose a good bottle of wine because of her expertise. “I have no expertise, and any idiot can choose a good wine for $150,” she observed. A colleague corrected her: “Only an idiot with $150.”

  • Regimens can be quite successful and productive, but not if they’re mindless. Step back on occasion and ask if there’s a better way to start the morning, or exercise, or deal with the kids, or choose some recreation.

  • If you heeded every current piece of advice on what is bad for you to eat, you’d make a vegan appear to be a reckless gourmand.

  • Remember that passionate people try to influence, but zealots try to convert. How do you want to be perceived, and with whom do you want to spend your time?

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When I was young, and one of the kids bigger and stronger stole something or whacked us, we had a common retort, “I’m telling your mother!” Everyone had a mother in my neighborhood, and she was always home during the day because mothers didn’t work. And they held to a pretty common ethic: Don’t hurt my kid, and my kid had better behave.

All you had to do was hear that call from an opening window, “Rudy!!” or “Victor” and “Get in here!!” That struck fear into the biggest bullies around.

As a parent, I obviously like kids. I have two and one of them has two of her own. There aren’t many neighborhoods any more, and even fewer stay-at-home mothers. But being a parent is being a parent, and that means kids need guidance, discipline, values, and an occasional (metaphorical) whack upside the head.

I often see kids in restaurants wander around to other tables while the parents talk. I’ve had to tolerate kids yelling in movies while the parents munch popcorn. I’ve actually seen parents sit elsewhere on a plane, allowing their kids to pester others around their seats.

I recall a Merck general manager telling me that, when he saw underperforming employees, he always went to their manager, who was the one at fault. Whenever I see kids performing poorly, I feel the same way—the parent is at fault.

You’re more likely to be a perfect astronaut or chemist than a perfect parent—the job is just too complex and demanding. But being a good parent involves providing some guidance for the brood. There appears to be a growing sentiment that kids should simply be left alone, like young alligators, expected to fend for themselves and express themselves at an early age. (Alligators, of course, often eat their young.) The tyke’s “esteem” and “expression” shouldn’t be curtailed merely because someone else in inconvenienced, annoyed, or has an experience ruined.

Maybe prospective parents should have to go to the equivalent of the Department of Motor Vehicles to be licensed. The test may change some minds, and the wait will certainly provide for some introspection.

Keep your yelling kid away from my dinner plate, and stop them from kicking my seat.

Otherwise, I’m telling your mother.

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The human condition: Table manners

We dine out seven nights a week with rare exception. So I’m something of an expert in culinary affairs, I hope a gourmet and not a gourmand. When I’m eating casual food, I can be a trencherman, but I still try to watch my manners. I know real finger food when I see it, can deal with an artichoke, and dispatch escargot.

Every etiquette expert I’ve every known and/or employed (in my Million Dollar Consulting® Colleges) will tell you there are two socially acceptable ways to use cutlery: European style (which I favor as easier), and American style. They differ on the manner in which you hold the silverware and exchange it while cutting and consuming food.

No one has yet suggested that pushing your food onto your fork with your fingers is proper for anyone over the age of four, yet that’s what the mother of two was doing in front of her two teenage daughters and next to me at a fine restaurant in Philadelphia. It was Caesar salad eaten, well, as Caesar might have eaten it.

Then there are people who hold their forks as if about to ward off a vampire. Their fist is clutched around the handle, and it is impaling something on the dish, while a knife furiously saws at the remainder. In any fine restaurant on any given night, you’ll find people holding the silverware like weapons.

At a first-class steak restaurant, two parents smiled and continued talking while their 12-year old son picked up a rib-eye and started eating it by holding the bone in his hands, as if it were corn-on-the-cob with meat sauce.

Someone observed once (I forget who) that the first sign of a civilization in trouble is a decline in manners. Since when did we stop teaching how to eat correctly at a table and in others’ company? Why is it no longer important to act properly? What’s next, spitting on the sidewalk and wiping your nose on your sleeve?

I realize that some of you will feel there are more urgent issues in the world and that we live in informal times. Yet I don’t trust my money with a person with poor manners, I don’t choose to purchase from them, and I don’t enjoy dining with them. Perhaps many don’t care.

But is it so hard to learn proper social skills? Our table manners simply indicate what kind of image we choose to send, and ultimately, what we think about ourselves.



November 16-17, Sydney, Australia

A “mini-Consulting College,” with a quarter century of consulting success presented in terms of thought leadership, Million Dollar Referrals, exploiting the two sales you make with a proposal, remote coaching and consulting, setting the highest fees of your life and getting them before the project begins, and much more. First 25 people get a free, third morning with a personal debrief by Alan. Dinner for 12 the first evening sold out. If you attend from outside of Australia/New Zealand, I’ll buy dinner on Friday! The one-time opportunity of a lifetime.


October 31-November 4, Castle Hill Inn, Newport, RI

Participate in the finest development anywhere for consultants and related professionals. Visit the pages above for testimonials and photos. Join 200 elite consultants worldwide who have participated. I have not scheduled any Consulting Colleges for 2012 because this will be my third in 2011.


October 4, Toronto, Four Seasons Hotel
October 14, Boston, Hyatt Harborside (Logan Airport)

For people who want to use breakfast meetings to create a room full of buyers and short-term business. Quite a few of Alan�s mentorees have now hosted these with significant success�often instant business. Participate in one that Alan runs for participants over a breakfast from 7:30 to 9:00, then spend three hours deconstructing what occurred and building your own, including market plan, facilitation support, and follow-up actions.



In association with David Lahey and Predictive Success, Alan will be conducting a full day on building your business. You can register and pay in US or Canadian dollars. Look for this on


November 30, 2011
Rhode Island (venue to be announced)

Base on my new book Million Dollar Referrals and a wildly successful teleconference, this day will enable you to create ongoing solicited and unsolicited referral business; learn and apply the best language to maximize referrals: provide profiles of your ideal referrals. We�ll video the predominantly live, practice work, and you�re free to record all of your personal sessions. This is the only one scheduled. Huge discount if you attended either of my teleconferences on referrals.


December 14-15, 2011
Alan�s Home, East Greenwich, RI

We have space for only 2-3 more people in this 4-5 person session which provides six months of growth in two day. Create a powerful speech, practice it, set the right fees, and establish a marketing plan. Extensive prep work. All meals, lodging, local transportation included. A unique, intensive opportunity with ongoing and detailed feedback from Alan.


Miami, February 7, 2012
London, May 8, 2012

In an extensive day of recorded role-plays and case studies, learn how to establish objectives, metrics, and value that will gain conceptual agreement with a buyer and lead directly to large proposals with almost guaranteed acceptance. We will provide everyone with videos of their simulations, and everyone is encouraged to record their own and others. I�m buying dinner for the first ten registrants in each city. This will sell out quickly.


San Francisco, CA
June 1 - 3, 2012

The final Odd Couple with Fripp and Alan after nearly two decades. Be there for the final show! This is being live-streamed globally, with virtual participants from around the world, so you can attend wherever you are! Expanded session, speakers, topics. A Twitter gallery! Largest discounts last only into September. We already have 30 registrants,limited seating for the live show!


Washington, DC (venue to be announced)

By special arrangement with Alan, Seth Kahan, Master Mentor and Mentor Hall of Fame member, presents a full day on these two powerful topics. Attend a day of intense learning with a master presenter.


Gaining 1,000 subscribers a month. A quick-hit primer and booster on the essentials of consulting marketing and delivery.

Digital Empire Creation
Provided by Chad Barr and his team

In response to many of his clients� requests, Chad Barr, who has helped craft and create Alan Weiss�s digital empire, has developed an exciting and stimulating intellectual property creation program to help you create your own digital empire and achieve huge success.


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Early one morning our tree guys showed up to take down some dead limbs and do some pruning. I walked out to review what had to be done.

The foreman pointed to our large apple tree in the circle and told me they’d be shaping it. I noticed the top branches shaking violently and it appeared a very large bird had either landed on a branch that wouldn’t support it, or was stuck in the foliage. We have an eagle around the property, so I was immediately concerned.

Pointing the violent movement out, I was surprised the foreman wasn’t more interested. I tried Spanish on the native Portuguese speaker, and he began to laugh. In English, he said, “That’s one of my men up there!” He then said what sounded like “Aves grande!” and the crew broke up.

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2011 Teleconference Series

I've designed the next teleconference series around most frequently requested topics. Some topics, such as "Power Language," I'll take to the next level. New ones, such as "Story Telling," I'll deal with from the ground up. This is approximately ten hours of high-end development available live, on recording, and by download, all for a single investment.

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One-to-four people participate in a rigorous two days of promotional "mayhem," in which we create assertive and powerful approaches to mold thought leaders, "go to" people, interviewing targets, and objects of interest. The second course is now completed, and we ensure compatibility by vetting applicants. Nothing else like this if you seek to "rise above the noise." One to four people, scheduled at mutual convenience. The third one has recently been formed.

Being humble doesn�t hide incompetence, it just makes you honest about it. —AW

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