Drop the Pink Elephant

date Jul 28, 2007
authors Bill McFarlan
reading time 2 mins
  • Book Title: Drop the Pink Elephant: 15 ways to say what you mean - and mean what you say
  • Author: Bill Mc Farlan
  • Year written/published: 2003
  • Summary: This book is on diplomacy and how to relate and convey messages to people around us effectively
  • Contents page:
  1. Dump the Baggage and create clarity
  2. Be Principled in what you say
  3. Positively asset yourself
  4. Think of the Audience
  5. Create a deeper understanding
  • Some extracts:

so what exactly are Pink Elephants? >

Let me quote Richard Nixon, President of the United States, in a televised address to the nation in April 1973: “There can be no whitewash at the White-house.’ Until that point, the American people refused to believe that their president could have had any prior knowledge of the break-in at the Democratic Party HQ at the Watergate Building. That on phrase, linking the White House with whitewash reversed their thinking.

  • i’m not eating my crayons
  • there can be no whitewash at the White House
  • I did not have sexual relation with that woman
  • I didn’t stand on the radiator

Every picture tells a story

  1. Speak in vivid pictures to paint clear descriptions
  2. Use analogies to turn abstract concepts and jargon into bright pictures
  3. Avoid talking above or below your audience’s level. Instead talk to their level

sorry seems to be the hardest word…

  1. saying sorry is the best way to start rebuilding confidence in your relationship after something has gone wrong
  2. we respect those who apologise - and lose respect for those who pretend to be infallible
  3. regret, reason and remedy offers an apology, explanation and solution. It manages expectation, which must then be met

Thank you and well done…

  1. saying ‘thank you’ and well-done demonstrates your appreciation. It raises your self-confidence and that of the person you’re thanking
  2. it builds loyalty, while lack of recognition builds indifference

who looks stupid when you criticize in public?

  1. destructive criticism of children and adults alike destroys their self confidence and often turns them into critics themselves
  2. only offer criticism privately - and ensure you’re able to explain how things can be done better
  3. humour’s great!

Flush out the watering words…

  1. remove words that dilute your message - words like ‘quite’, ‘relatively’, ‘hopefully’…
  2. ‘i’ll do my best’ and ‘i’ll try’ both lack firm commitment

create deeper understanding…

  1. listen carefully to the person you are talking with
  2. contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way, rather than just waiting to butt in
  3. use body language and the tone of your voice to add conviction to your well-chosen words