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E-Book Testimonials

"Thomas Clifford has made something useful here. This report will give you some really catchy, useful ideas.

It made me reconsider how I do what I do, so you might give it a look-see, too!" 

Chris Brogan, President, Human Business Works 

"Tom Clifford is by trade a filmmaker. For most of his life, he rarely wrote anything longer than a brief comment in the margin of a script. 

Now, though, he's producing tens of thousands of words a year, first as a Fast Company "Expert Blogger," and then as a writer for the Content Marketing Institute. 

How did Tom go from a non-writer to a prolific and much-read one? His eBook, '5 (Ridiculously Simple) Ways . . . , ' holds some of his secrets."

Mark Levy, Author of "Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content"

“Tom is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet—if you have the privilege to meet him. And he does sterling work as well. But don’t just take my word for it.

Read this free report and you’ll not just love its tone and content, but learn a lot as well.”

Sean D’Souza, Psychotactics.com

“Anyone who wants to improve their writing needs this e-book. A lot of ebooks are short because they just don’t have much substance to offer. They’re not worth your time (and so are many of the long ones, too, for that matter). Tom’s is short because he’s so good at giving you only what you need to know. 

‘5 (Ridiculously Simple) Ways to Write Faster, Better, Easier’ lives up to its promise by example as well as in the words themselves. Tom used the very same techniques he teaches you to write this book. 

And what’s in here is not just a rehash of the same tired ideas you find coming from people who have suddenly fancied themselves as writing gurus. There are tricks in here I never heard of (like the Writing Funnel) and some I had forgotten about and was glad to be reminded of (like Sporadic Writing).” 

Michael Martine, Blog Alchemist, Remarkablogger.com 

Entries in communication (3)


You’ll Love This Book, Trust Me 

One of the questions I get asked the most is “How do you get people to talk so naturally on-camera?”

The simple answer is it starts with my intention.

That’s why I’m so thrilled to share with others Nick Morgan’s new book “Trust Me: Four Steps to Authenticity and Charisma.”

Setting intentions is one of the central ideas in “Trust Me.” Business leaders and non-filmmakers involved in any aspect of creating a corporate documentary will find this book invaluable. (And yes, filmmakers will find it awesome, too!)

Think your spoken words carry the most weight during a conversation?

Think again.

Your gestures mean more. Way more.

And you can thank your limbic brain for believing gestures over spoken words.

According to Morgan, many of the gestures we use while speaking actually happen a split second before our words are spoken. At a subconscious level, we receive these gestures and then our part of our brain determines if that person is believable and authentic.

“Trust Me” outlines in four simple steps how we can become more believable and authentic by getting both verbal and nonverbal in sync.

We often feel a certain way about someone because we unconsciously believe the “second conversation,” the one with gestures, over the “first conversation,” the one with content.

“Trust Me: Four Steps to Authenticity and Charisma” is an important piece of work because we now have a clear and simple system to become highly effective communicators while maximizing our presence in front of others; either in groups or one-on-one.

The Big Idea
The main concept behind “Trust Me” is simply this: gestures first, words second.

“We are all unconscious experts at reading other people’s body language” (pg 2).

Nick proposes that “every conversation is two conversations: the verbal one- the content- and the nonverbal one- the body language. If the two are aligned, you can be a persuasive, authentic communicator…If the two are not aligned, people believe the nonverbal every time” (pg 1).

The Big “A-Ha!”
Over the years, our instincts taught us to survive by reading nonverbal clues; which is great when one is living in the wild. These instincts are still with us, of course, but now with a slight twist: we are conditioned to read the nonverbal and attach meaning or intent behind it.

By learning to create intent first, our body language will more naturally express the intent, thus creating a more believable and authentic communication experience.

Intentions First. Gestures Second.
Most of us have been taught to think of what to say first then the words and gestures will follow. But we know the brain perceives and believes gestures first so it makes sense to create the intention of your communication first, then the gestures will appear naturally, followed by your thoughts and finally your actual words.

It’s easy to think, “I’ll just control my gestures by being conscious of them.” Of course, you’ll run into a slight problem: you’ll come off doubly awkward because now you’re thinking consciously of an unconscious activity. Nick’s suggestion? Think about the intent first and you will naturally create believable gestures. Now you can begin creating two believable conversations at once; the verbal and the nonverbal.

The Four Steps
Nick’s system to communicate authentically is easy to remember in any situation:

Step One: Being Open
Step Two: Being Connected
Step Three: Being Passionate
Step Four: Listening

The last few chapters of the book have some really unique and invaluable public speaking tips.

Seeking to enhance your communication skills either in groups or just one-on-one?

Then this book just might be for you. Trust me. ☺



The Resonance Principle: 12 Thought-Provoking Ideas

No matter what field or industry you're in, I can't emphasize enough the importance of getting your hands on two books by Tony Schwartz; media pioneer, audio documentarian and electronic guru. "The Responsive Chord" and "Media: The Second God." They are also available on Tony's site.

I shared the basic concept behind Tony Schwartz’s “Resonance Principle” in a previous post, "The Resonance Principle: Are Your Viewers Resonating with Your Videos?"

If you don't get a chance to read Tony's works, then here's a "best of." These quotes are what resonated with me the most as I read and re-read his ideas. I hope these quotes inspire you to learn more about Tony's ground-breaking concepts on how the brain processes electronic media. The "Resonance Principle" covers a lot of areas and I'll be exploring a few of them in further detail over the coming months. (Note: My emphasis in bold.)

1. “Traditionally, “communication” means “getting something across,” via mail delivery, Western Union, book shipment, newspaper distribution, and the like. It assumes that to communicate you must deliver your message across a gap, transport it from one mind to another. In working with the electronic media, I have evolved a “resonance theory.” The resonance theory of communication is based on the phenomenon of hearing. It concentrates on evoking responses from people by attuning the message to their prior experience.” (Media: The Second God)

2. “The transportation theory of communication holds that the content of a communication is that which it contains. Thus a magazine’s content is whatever lies between the covers. The resonance theory holds that the real content of an electronic communication is the interaction between the material on the medium that one receives (the sound or radio or telephone and the combination of sound and image on television) and the stored information in the minds of those who receive the communication. The resonance theory studies the relationship between the message (the stimulus) and the material in the mind of the receiver.”
(Media: The Second God)

3. “The most important thing to realize is that people are born without earlids…So what determines what people hear or listen to? Very simply, they listen to anything that concerns or interests them. I remember when I was looking for a mortgage, I heard every mortgage commercial. The day I got my mortgage, they stopped running them. I don’t know how they knew.” (NYTimes article, 3/10/89)

4. “In developing a set of useful principles for communicating, it is necessary to abandon most of the traditional rules we were taught. A resonance approach does not begin by asking “What do I want to say?” We seek to strike a responsive chord in people, not to get a message across.” (The Responsive Chord)

5. “In electronically mediated human communication, the function of a communicator is to achieve a state of resonance with the person receiving visual and auditory stimuli from television…” (The Responsive Chord)

6. “In viewing television, the brain remembers previous light waves, sees the present ones, and anticipates future ones, putting the “picture” together just as we put words together when we hear speech. This is a startling new development: For the first time in man’s history, our brains are being used by our eyes and ears in the same manner. In other words, with electronic media we now “see” by the same process by which we have always heard.” (Media: The Second God)

7. “Man has never before experienced a world of visual sensation patterned in an auditory mode.” (The Responsive Chord)

8. “In communicating at electronic speed, we no longer direct information into an audience, but try to evoke stored information out of them, in a patterned way.” (The Responsive Chord)

9. “Resonance takes place when the stimuli put into our communication evoke meaning in a listener or viewer. That which we put into the communication has no meaning in itself. The meaning of our communication is what a listener or viewer gets out of his experience with the communicator’s stimuli. The listener’s or viewer’s brain is an indispensable component of the total communication system. His life experiences as well as his expectations of the stimuli he is receiving, interact with the communicator’s output in determining the meaning of the communication.” (The Responsive Chord)

10. “The communicator’s problem, then, is not to get the stimuli across, or even to package his stimuli so they can be understood and absorbed. Rather, he must deeply understand the kinds of information and experiences stored in his audience, the patterning of this information, and interactive resonance process whereby stimuli evoke this stored information.” (The Responsive Chord)

11. "The traditional communication process is thus reversed. A “message” is not the starting point for communicating. It is the final product arrived at after considering the effect we hope to achieve and the communication environment where people will experience our stimuli." (The Responsive Chord)

12. “The vital question to be posed in formulating a new theory of communication is: What are the characteristics of the process whereby we organize, store and act upon the patterned information that is constantly flowing into our brain? … how do we tune communication to achieve the desired effect for someone creating a message?”
(The Responsive Chord)

Over to you. What do you think?

  • Do you begin a video project by what you want to say or how you want to make your viewers feel?
  • Do you consider your viewer's background and experience before committing to a message?
  • If not, do you think integrating the resonance concepts would make a difference in your approach to future projects?



Can Your Company’s Video Story Change a Life?

Do you remember the exact moment you knew what you wanted to do for the rest of your life?

I do. It happened while watching a video. It took exactly seven minutes.

    Cut to 1984

Hot off the heels of two communication degrees, my workday was a mix of entry-level activities; pulling cables, loading gear into vans, clipping on mic’s, getting lunch for the crew, and so forth. I was a kid trying to break into an incredibly competitive field.

It’s 8:00 pm. Tuesday night. 75 aspiring filmmakers are huddled in one room for three hours to network and watch a film followed by a discussion with the director.

After networking, we watched a seven-minute fund-raising film for a non-profit hospital. I was captivated. It inspired. It educated. It dispelled myths. It featured “real people.” It was emotional. It worked.

As the show faded to black, my calling in life was handed to me. In those seven minutes, I knew I was going to inspire and educate others by producing these types of stories on video for organizations. I discovered the power of personal stories.

I was changed. Forever.

•    Cut to 2008

It’s now been 24 years since I watched that video. I have been incredibly fortunate to produce and direct hundreds of amazing stories for remarkable organizations of every type and size. Most of the stories have one thing in common; people sharing how they see the world in ways that can help and inspire others.

It’s not about making a video. It’s about discovering and capturing your story in a way that naturally connects you to your audience.

It sounds simple. But do you know how your organization can communicate its story, brand or message through video in a way that is clear, authentic, compelling and entertaining? And solve a business issue?

That’s what we’ll tackle here. We’ll also learn how you can use video to:
•    raise brand awareness
•    help attract the right employees
•    share corporate culture and values
•    dispel long-standing myths
•    launch new initiatives
•    and lots more.

The upcoming posts will cover three highly effective video approaches:
1.    Documentary
2.    Green-screen
3.    EyeLiner

You can easily use these styles to capture your story so that it feels “real” to your audience and not contrived.

When designing your next video, perhaps you can start imagining how your story might change a life as it “fades to black.”

After all, it is possible. 


P.S. Originally posted on Tom's FastCompany.com column, "Let's See That Again!"