Guys, Explainers and More Cowbell‏

Take heart, summer’s in sight! The boys are back in town with baseball’s spring training rolling out in the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues and that brings us to the subject of men…

The Book of Guys by Garrison Keillor discusses ice fishing, beer and the fact that women are better than boys. The reason: boys had to go play outside like livestock while girls were allowed to play in the house where the books and adults were kept.

He’s right, of course. Oddly enough though, all of that hardscrabble Y-Chromosome training seems to work for men in this profession. Whenever some wild-eyed ranting dude is spewing testosterone onto everyone else in a meeting room, I and most other guys can usually relate in some way.

This is both disturbing and comforting, and I’m not proud of it. However, I hope that you’ll find comfort in the thoughts of these thinkers.


What We’ve Got He-ah is Failure to Communicate…  

A common problem famously quoted by Strother Martin’s character in Cool Hand Luke. Here are the seven errors of which we are all probably most guilty:

Good Explainers  

Dr. Bainter and Mr. Swanson both had a knack for making complex, dry-as-dust data and detail palatable and interesting. It was enough for a distracted, short-attention-span punk like me to still remember a physics professor and high school history teacher even though both subjects were brutally boring at the time. Reagan was the “Great Communicator” and Clinton’s been called the “Great Explainer,” both of which are apt descriptions. Here are seven specific ways for us to get good at this:

Over the years, I’ve thought about what made these two teachers so good. They were both comfortable in their own skin and that quiet confidence made theirs stories and passion for teaching real, even to a dumb kid…

Educators do it for a living and most people probably gravitate to that profession because they have passion and an aptitude for it. But if public speaking isn’t what you signed up for, this should help make your palms dryer:

We can even get sound advice from the marketing industry. You know, the people who brought us Doggie Stairs, the Clapper, Spray on Hair, and Tinkles the Toilet Cat…

And if you’re already comfortable with working a crowd, here are some tips for polishing your act:

Pro Relationships  

It’s harder to hate people up close. Professionals and experts who need to deal with normal humans often find it really tough to do. But when you have to communicate, convince or influence, that requires building rapport…start here:

Then do this…


I just spent some downtime in a place where drivers and downloads both moved at the speed of Congress. This was not as relaxing as I’d hoped, but I did find an explanation for how our perception of speed has screwed up our brains:

Training With More Cowbell  

A good thought to leave with all of you educators and trainers:

“No one learns as much about a subject as one who is forced to teach it.”
– Peter F. Drucker


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