How To Communicate With Humans

Saturday, 3:26pm
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Hot fun in the summertime…” (Sly Stone)


I’ve been doing some Critical Think (trademarked term, by me) about one of the main keys to “real” communication with your fellow humans:


Not sympathy.  Empathy is a very different animal — it’s where you essentially walk a mile in the other guy’s shoes.  You start, conduct, and end all conversations with active knowledge of how the other guy is perceiving your side of the tale…

… and you actually give a damn how he’s reacting.

Empathy is not just a secret weapon in your tool kit…

… it’s the freakin’ nuclear bomb of high-end communication.

And it’s so powerful, because most folks simply do not possess it.  The vast majority of your neighbors and brethren think, speak and act from inside a confining little echo chamber where their own prejudices, beliefs, notions and cockamamie thoughts completely dominate.

And there is almost zero chance of anything contrary penetrating that white noise in their brains.

Thus, marketers get mad at customers, entrepreneurs ignore opportunity and pitfalls with equal obliviousness, and biz owners with superior products are passed over by prospects.

Don’t get mad. Get knowledgable! Lots of business boosting, life-enhancing secrets in my free report, you know! Get it right here.

You know who always seems to win?  Savvy politicians, con men, and psychopaths.  The dudes who cynically know how to turn on the charm and say all the right things to get what they want.

By far the hardest thing I’ve been trying to teach people over my career…

Is that good salesmanship is a tool.  

Like a hammer.  A hammer works to pound nails into the foundation of your dream house… just as effectively as it can pound holes in the head of your mother-in-law when you finally lose it.

The hammer doesn’t care who’s using it, or for what purpose.

That’s why, when I teach high-end salesmanship, I express the fervent hope that anyone using what I teach to push unethical shit will die and rot in hell.

Using good salesmanship tactics will vastly improve the bottom line for ethical, honest businesses.  

The tactics that work to persuade people to vote for corrupt politicians, or sleep with smooth-talking psychos, or buy into scams…

also work to deliver good policies, find true love, and fill your life with excellent products that do what they’re supposed to do.

It’s just ironically harder to convince decent folks to USE these tactics. The con-men jump on it, because they pay attention to the bottom line (and often only get one shot at convincing their victim to come aboard… so they’re not interested in anything that doesn’t persuade, and persuade quickly). 

Wanna see some of these tactics in action? Check out my post When “Trust Me” Is A Red Flag.

My goal is to force people to realize what’s going on… so they don’t get fooled, and they understand how to sell and influence others through good salesmanship practices.

And smack at the top of the list of good salesmanship tools…

… is empathy.

So how do you boost your empathy muscles?  How do you go from being oblivious of your fellow humans, to actually understanding where they’re coming from?


You simply stop reacting to life as it swirls around you…

… and start looking critically at how you, and others, deal with stuff.

How about some real-world examples from the real world laboratory we all live in, examined critically:

Real World Lab Example #1:

Recently, I was pretty much molested by TSA while going through security at the local airport.

It pissed me off.  I copped an attitude.  And I very did not enjoy being:

(a) manhandled…

(b) ordered around by someone whose prior job was flipping burgers, who robotically repeated consoling words in a threatening manner (obey or die)…

(c) exposed to x-rays I didn’t want…

(d) given no alternative choices…

(e) all in a futile piece of badly-performed theater that I knew did nothing to make me safer in that airport.

The normal reaction, of course, is to put a muzzle on your fury, just get through the gauntlet without being profiled (or hauled off to the interrogation room), and move on to the next indignity of modern air travel as quickly as possible.

Ah… but for the student of salesmanship, this is an excellent opportunity to Critical Think (trademarked) the situation…

… and catalog both your own emotional reactions, AND the ongoing mental state of the TSA employees.

That’s hard to do, at first.  Because your instinct is to be victimized by your own responses, and, at best, not to dwell on them.  Most folks truly believe we have no control over emotions, and it’s our lot to just float on the surface of Life like flotsam, bounced about and drifting with the tide.

Which isn’t so. It’s a shock at first to realize that you actually have TOTAL control over your emotional state… including all adrenaline dumps.

But you do have that control available to you.  It’s not part of the default setting in your system, however.  So while you gotta work to master it… it can nevertheless be done.

And you start by cataloging what you’re feeling when overtaken by emotion.

Where are you feeling it?  Did your stomach tighten up?  Did your shoulders hunch, while a jungle-level snarl curled your lip?  Did your eyes narrow, fists clench, chin jut?

How infuriated were you?  Would you rejoice if one of your abusers suddenly curled up in a heart attack?

Or would an honest apology from one of them have dissipated your rage like a sponge soaking up a spill?

Don’t let this opportunity to examine and catalog your state pass by.

Even better… try to see it from the other side, too.

TSA employees, most of them, are just doing their job.  They don’t make the rules, and most of them are embarrassed and just as not-happy as you are about the whole mess.

Others are Little Hitlers, and love their power over you.  And will use it in a heartbeat if you piss THEM off.  It’s a war of pissed-offed-ness.

For all of them… you’re somewhere between a fellow human just trying to get through security, and a blob of nastiness they must deal with until lunchtime.

How does this help you as a salesman?

Are you kidding?  Have you never dealt with an angry customer?  Have you never gotten mad yourself with prospects who refuse to see the logic of your offer, or who use your product incorrectly, or who lie to get a refund?

A sales transaction, at its most fundamental form, is an inherently hostile act.  Both the buyer and the seller want the best possible deal.

Happiness ensues when it’s perceived as a bargain, yet yields profit.

However, even happy deals can turn nasty when something goes sideways.  As a customer, you can become enraged if you believe you were “taken”, or have buyer’s remorse, or expected results do not happen.  

And your fury is righteous, because you’re completely right, and the seller is an evil troll.

As a business owner, you can get your panties in a twist if you have to bring in a collections agency, or face refund requests long after the clearly-stated deadline, or bend over backward to create a killer bargain that leaves you with scraps of profit only to have the idiot customer complain or otherwise ignore your good deed.

And your fury is righteous, because the buyer is an evil troll.

For most folks, the process stops right there, with each party seething and believing they’re on the side of the angels.

A world-class salesman, however, never gets into a head-butting duel when he can just as easily use empathy to see all sides of the story and thus also see the opportunities available to smooth things over… and even enrich the buyer/seller relationship.

You know how to gut the rage directed your way? You empathize.

For me, I felt the pissiness drain instantly when a single TSA employee said with utter earnestness “Sorry about all this.  I hope the rest of your trip goes really smooth.”  I was disarmed of my fury, and even smiled.

And I put the experience in my mental notebook, cuz I know it’ll come in handy.

Real World Lab Example #2:

While leaving the plane at our destination, I noticed that the guy ahead of was about to lose his wallet because the bottom of his back pocket had split.

No, I wasn’t looking at his ass.  I was just navigating the jet-way.  There weren’t any asses in that motley group of fellow passengers worth looking at.  Sigh.  Not like that time I flew into Miami in a plane loaded with a women’s volleyball team…

Where was I?

Oh, yeah.  So I excuse myself to the guy as I pass, and say “Dude, you’re about to lose your wallet.”

He looks at me in confusion, having been jostled out of his travel daze.  He quickly puts a hand on his wallet, which is still there…

… and then levels a gaze of pure suspicion and budding anger back at me.  An immediate WTF reaction to someone talking about his wallet.

“Your back pocket’s split open,” I said.  And suddenly, as he felt the pocket and realized I wasn’t a gloating thief, he was all thankful and apologetic…

… and feeling like he owed me a favor or something.

The difference between him thinking I was up to something no good… and thinking I was a good guy just trying to help…

Was two seconds worth of communication.

If I hadn’t explained the situation — and left it at the first comment — he may have called over a cop.  With another breath of explanation, however, I was a hero.

Something to consider as you make your sales messages lean and mean.  There’s a point where you can strip it down too far, and lose the meaning you intended.

And all hell can break loose if you do.

Real World Lab Example #3:

Finally… during my trip, I hung out with my grand-nieces and grand-nephew at both the hotel pool, and later at Huntington Beach.  (And yes, I went down the water slide head-first, and took a boogie-board into the surf.  The most satisfying, raw summer fun imaginable sober.)

At the pool, there was a woman sunning herself, who avoided acknowledging anyone else’s presence.  A gang of alcohol-addled dudes wandered up, spoke briefly with her, and she waved them off happily as they left for more debauchery.

I decided to work my communication skills… and asked her if she was in town for a school reunion.  Because, I continued, those thugs she was with looked like buddies who hadn’t partied together for a while.

That main thug, she said, was her husband.  And nope, they were from Minnesota and here for a wedding.  She just wanted to soak up some California sun while the boys pretended they were back in college again.

This woman, who a minute ago was oblivious to my existence, was now a Chatty Cathy eager to know what our story was…

… and (this is important) just laughed when I called her husband a thug.

That could have gone the other way, you know.  

But I was pretty sure I understood her situation — like a good detective (as all great salesman are), I put together multiple clues and figured out (almost) what her situation was.  And by applying my own experience with both being out-of-town for an event, wanting to do something different than everyone else (sun by the pool instead of drink beer to the point of vomiting)…

… and not minding a little conversation with strangers.

Calling her hubby a thug could have started a brawl.  But in the context — by applying the smallest amount of bonding by showing insight — it got a laugh.

This was carefully applied communication.

Later, at the beach, our group — 6 adults and 3 kids — was asked to move by a lifeguard… because a vicious riptide was dragging people out to sea at the spot we had just set up.

As we picked up our ridiculous load of blankets, towels, food, umbrellas, boogie boards and other beach paraphernalia…

… I noticed another large family just beginning to settle down.  So I went up and told the mother about the warning from the now-gone lifeguard.

She looked at me in near-despair.  And I realized that she was thinking “Oh great… NOW where do we go?”  I hadn’t given her the complete story.

So I told her that the lifeguard had said the riptide eased up just past Station 6, right down the beach about 50 yards.

This simple exchange of specifics took her instantly from knowing there was a problem, but not knowing what to do next…

… to having a clear roadmap of what to do.

Essentially, I “sold” her on not being a victim to a problem she hadn’t even known existed… and gave her an easy solution.

These examples may seem small, but I assure you the vast majority of your fellow humans botch it up almost every time.  They half-communicate, and cause misunderstandings and hurt feelings and suspicion.  They mumble, they’re vague… and they’re smug when they win and pissy when they lose.

Living life fully aware gives you communication tools that will change your life… and the lives of people you deal with.

Work on your own chops.  And never let a good chance to explore both sides of a situation go to waste.

Stay frosty,


P.S. All comments welcome.  Cuz I know what you’re thinking…

P.P.S. If you really want to be a pro at this communicating with humans thing, check out the Simple Writing System. It’s my complete formula for every kick-ass sales letter I’ve ever written, and now it can be yours, right here.

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"11 Really Stupid Blunders You're Making With Your Biz & Career Right Now."

  • Luke Jaten says:

    Thanks for the reminder. Being “aware” takes constant practice (at least for me). But the rewards are definitely worth it.

    • John Carlton says:

      It’s the little moments that count, too, Luke. Some of this stuff may seem petty to the casual observer, but the aggregate of paying attention all the time and applying your skills whenever you can… while employing Critical Think at all times… is how you get rockin’ good at it.

      Thanks for the note.

  • John,
    Great post…you’ve packed a lot into this. I’m reminded of the power of that little word “Because” and the example of the line for the photocopier in (I think) Cialdini’s book.
    The importance of empathy is often overlooked…it’s really the starting point for effective copy before a single word is written.
    Thanks again!

    • John Carlton says:

      Good point, Kevin… “because” is the other shoe dropping, the completion of one thought and the breaking-open of another. As kids, we don’t accept “just because” as an answer, and as adults we have the opportunity to go deeper into life and the questions of living well by finishing the thinking behind the response “because…”. Savvy biz owners are always asking “why”, and the answers needs to be more than platitudes or simple thinking…

  • Adil Amarsi says:

    Hey John,

    Just a quick question… Do you have my brains IP address or something because I had this exact thought last night about communication but more specifically one sentence… Using your profound powers of selling for bad stuff… I.e. flogging a bad product that doesn’t work.

    I agree wholeheartedly that communication is more empathy than just talking.

    Speak soon and thanks again for answering a question I had in mind and clearing my path,


  • […] John Carlton wrote: Empathy is not just a secret weapon in your tool kit… […]

  • Marc says:

    Purty good bit o’ scribbling, Mr. C. Especially dug this: “Because your instinct is to be victimized by your own responses, …”

    Good to see a boy from the old neighborhood do good. I grew up in Pomona, same time frame as you. Just a hop, skip, and a drive-by gunshot from your old digs.

    • John Carlton says:

      Man, Marc, we considered Pomona dangerous even back then (except for the Mission Drive In Theater)… we hit the cruise areas on Foothill and Towne (I think), and were severely out-classed, both in rides and attitude. Still, there were always the hippie parties at the Claremont colleges (especially the all-girls schools there)…

      Have you read “Pomona Queen”, by Kem Nun? Even mentions those biker bars on Foothill near Mountain…

      Folks: This was Route 66, back in the heat of the car culture/budding hippie movement/Beach Boys and the Doors and Frank Zappa playing the same concert at a high school football field… yowsers…

      • Marc says:

        Not to irritate those who didn’t emerge from this time or place, but those really were the damn days.

        My uncle took me to see the Doors at the Hollywood Bowl in, I believe, ’68. And those shows were far, far better than the history books and wikis say they were.

        And from those gritty, violent biker bars J.C. mentions, came my poor mother’s second husband. Along with my virgin exposure to the San Berdoo chapter of the Angels. I’ll never forget Big Dave jumping from the roof of a three-story Ontario apartment building into an eight-foot deep swimming pool. His giant mitt filled with a can of Olympia beer. You ain’t lived ’til you’ve seen a 350 lb. man hit a small body of water from that altitude. He flooded two or three apartments on the ground floor with the resultant tsunami.

        Y’all who didn’t live during this car culture, great music, and free sex time … well, all I can say is it was that, a bag o’ chips and a whooole bunch more.

        Don’t ya’ know us old So. Cal dogs have to rub your faces in it. Please don’t hate; the reminiscing is intended with love.

        I wouldn’t trade a thing for those times. Well, except maybe the few million brain cells I wish I still had when I’m writing on deadline.

        Peace to all,


        P.S. And the Mission Drive-in … I’d almost forgotten that place. Oh, the steamy windows and furtive groping.

        P.P.S. Must check out the book you mention.

  • Terence says:

    Great post, John. Reminds me of a “half-communicated” interchange many years ago in Sydney.

    St. Stephen’s church had a 2-hour AA meeting, called the “eating meeting”. You could come and go as you wished and you could bring in food.

    When I arrived to the very full hall, I finally spotted two empty seats a few spots in from the end of one row.

    As I went to sit on the first chair, I noticed somebody’d dropped tomato sauce on the chair, so I took seat #2.

    I’m eating my sandwich, with a mouthful of pepperoni salami when, out of the corner of my eye, I see a lady coming over to sit in the chair with the mess on it.

    Since I had a mouthful of food, I couldn’t tell her about the food so I put my hand out to stop her….

    Well, as good old hedonist St. Stephen would have it, my hand sort of hit her bottom in its attempt to stop her from sitting down.

    She immediately jumps back, calls me a pervert and huffs out of the row….

    I must admit I found it too funny to be upset but it shows the consequences of 50% communication.

    • John Carlton says:

      No good deed goes unpunished, is the saying that resonates most from my training. Still, you continue to do the right thing, even if it will often be misunderstood or even penalized.

      Still, Terence, I’m laughing imagining you copping an unexpected feel there…

  • Susie Nelson says:

    So you ran into one of my fellow Minnesotans on the beach – oh geeese…..Are you sure they weren’t there to escape our government’s record-breaking shut down? I’ve been trying – really really hard – to look at the whole situation from everybody’s perspective. Tough to do. Perhaps if either side had better salesmanship skills…we could turn the “open” lights back on…
    We have the democratic governor who is the only dude with authority to call a special session – who wants to solve our 5.3 Billion deficit (who some claim is still the half-life of Presidential Candidate Pawlenty’s poor financial management), by taxing the state’s millionaires (but won’t that result in a decrease in job creation?); we have the two republican leaders who refuse to accept the additional taxes – and (based on media reports – a whole additional complexity) want to put a bigger squeeze on the school budgets and rip away many special programs. Then we have the old dudes who have come riding in on their white horses – Arne Carlson (former republican governor who left the state with a huge surplus that Jessie Ventura (an independent) got to divvy up), and VP Mondale (a democrat) who have formed a coalition to offer their solutions…which have been presented to deaf ears. Interesting note: about half of the politicians are still taking paychecks, despite all of the state employees who got their pink slips. Bottom line: our state is in a cluster F*&&^ – So…to John’s point…hard as I try – it’s interesting to watch and try to figure out what is making these people tick. They definitely missed those days in kindergarten where we learned to “play nicely with others.” John – please – could you give them some of those lessons on salesmanship!?! (As for me…I’m strongly considering “loading up the truck and moving to…well – not Beverly Hills – but at least someplace where the kids running the government can place nice with each other.)

  • Javier says:

    John, you are a true master (and student) of human behavior. You’re an inspiration for me. Thank you for sharing your lifelong studies and thoughts like this.

  • Scott Whaley says:

    Short, concise impactful.
    Excellent example and lesson.
    Keep it up and keep’em coming!

    Thanks Bro!

  • Leo says:

    Thankk you for remind all of us about this truth!!!

    All the best,


  • Bob says:

    C’mon John. You getting soft on me. Empathy? Identify the problem. Offer a valuable solution. Sell it. Throw in “Empathy” only as required. I don’t have to empathize with everybodyn do I? Tell me I’m right.

    • John Carlton says:

      You don’t have to do ANYTHING, Bob. Ever. You’re writing the script to your movie, and it can go any direction you want it to.

      I think you’re confusing “empathy” with “sympathy” here, though. Here’s one definition of empathy:

      the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.

      The key there is “intellectual identification”. You don’t have to mind-meld with your prospect, and pretend to agree with every hare-brained notion they have.

      As a world-class salesman, however, you DO need to be able to identify with where they’re coming from. You can’t sell well by arguing, or going all alpha on a prospect. HE will decide when the buying decision happens (even if it is a mostly-emotional event)… not you.

      So you’ve got to know what the conversation is in his head, and why it’s there, and where it’s going, etc.

      You do NOT need to become his best new friend. You just need to identify with his situation. (And, coincidentally, this habit will destroy your old habits of sticking to unsupportable belief systems or assumptions or superstitions… which will actually make you a more aware, more proactive human being…)

      Make sense?

      • Bob says:

        Here’s a definition of “sympathy”
        1. harmony of or agreement in feeling, as between persons or on the part of one person with respect to another.

        I think I get it now. I don’t have to agree with the prospects feelings. That’s sympathy. I just have to intellectually understand the who, what, where and why of them and use that understanding in my sales delivery to effect a sale of my product, service or idea. So empathy is an intellectual identification with the prospect whereas symapthy is an emotional identification. SWS Step #2. Now it makes sense. Thanks.


        • John Carlton says:

          Good stuff, Bob. You probably helped clear this up for a lot of other people, too. Most folks get empathy and sympathy confused.

          Thanks for digging into it.

  • Mark says:

    Sherlock Holmes paid attention to the little things!
    As people’s attention span’s shorten, need
    impactful language – short and sweet, but to the point, with a specific.
    Empathy can be useful in the corporate workplace too, although there are certain individuals who don’t care and just want stuff for themselves.

  • Steve says:

    ya know I have a lunch date today with a beautiful woman,(were both over 50), She is a longtime purchasing agent for of one of my business customers. This is a personal lunch, we have only met a couple of times briefly.

    Hmmmm, many extraneous thoughts, but main point, communication, am mulling over the Emphathy thing.

    As you know It is the aspect of selling ones self, and we are both single, divorced parents and the nest is empty.

    Wish me luck in selling an honest product, not a fly by nighter disappointment.

    I’ll let you know in a later post. Maybe.

  • Fritz says:

    “A sales transaction, at its most fundamental form, is an inherently hostile act.” Is it? Well, people feel there is always a danger of being tricked and cheated. That’s why people rather buy from “friends”. From people they trust. And a good transaction starts sort of a friendship. It’s a mutual donation. Both – buyer and seller – give something away and so they like giving it to somebody they like. A barkeeper wouldn’t sell a peanut to somebody he hates – “not for all the money in the world, my dear, piss off!”. And there’s just no alternative to keeping the customer satisfied. Not even an unbelievable “offer you just can’t reject”. However, you might be right, but a transaction that is meant hostile is a transaction that puts you out of business. So however you make use of empathy you’d better use it – stay friendly and don’t get too tricky.

    • John Carlton says:

      More definition of words stuff. “Hostile” is a word with multiple meanings — I’m using it as “contrary or oppositional” here… meaning, each party comes into the transaction with diametrically-opposite intentions. One wants the best bargain possible (and would happily take advantage of the other), and the other wants the most profit possible (and would happily sell at the highest price possible).

      With something like information… where you’re selling a book, or a course, or a how-to series of videos… there is NO objective “right price”. The market will help, but will never give a definitive answer. How a consultant, for example, prices themselves is all over the map — she could ask for what “others who do what I do” charge… or she could say “I’m twice as expensive as everyone else”… or she could say “I’m the best bargain in the biz, lower than everyone else”. Her side of the deal includes having to navigate against competing offers — she may not be able to just lay down a price and never budge. When negotiations come into play… and EVERYTHING in life can be negotiated (which is why good salesmen lead better lives)… you have to realize that what YOU want may be completely opposite of what your prospect wants (or demands).

      When you negotiate how much you’re going to sell your old lawn mower for to your best friend, it’s an inherently hostile situation — you want something for the thing, even though you may cut the price below what you’d ask from a stranger. And your buddy would happily accept it for free, but might yet pay the asking price if he perceives it as still a good bargain.

      There IS often a happy position in the sales dance, somewhere in the middle where each party can feel satisfied. But often, there isn’t that one position — and you just have to create a deal that works.

      This is why even friends, when negotiating with each other, sometimes head for court or bring in collection agencies.

      It’s also why pre-nups are a good idea, no matter how much in love you are now…

      Make sense?

  • Alan Little says:

    Thanks for the reminder and the great email intro!. It doesn’t take mental kung fu to understand the other person’s reaction – because it’s likely exactly what we would do in a similar situation! Maybe that’s why it seems difficult to remember – because it’s so freaking simple. We all get the same brain-washing so why wouldn’t our reactions be the same. Your point that therein lies the opportunity to empathize is a gem.

  • Sandy Barris says:


    Because the world is round it turns me on and on and on and on and on…

    Swiping from the Beatles and loving your TSA story, my buddy Caston 17 days ago, while we put away a few brews told me a TSA story I just had to share.

    As Caston is going thur the usual, unusual, routine you went thru, he empathetically turned the TSA guy to his side by telling a story of a stow away that boarded an plane thru the wheel well, or what every you call it, and when the plane went to land was dumped out to his death. Dumb shit.

    The TSA guy looking shocked, Caston then went on asking how the TSA was protecting the 200 people waiting in line from something like that happening again.

    Mentioning that if this dumb ass can do that, what can someone who really means harm can do.

    Good question huh. Immediate guy TAS bonding and a bit better treatment.

    All because of empathizing with a fellow human.

    Hummm, make you think, right?

    Than again, maybe not.


  • Doberman Dan says:

    Hey John,

    Great minds really DO think alike.

    I just wrote about this exact same thing on my blog after my most recent late night trip to Walmart.

    I walked in those people’s shoes, observed what they were buying…

    …Hell, bought what they were buying (crappy food laced with addictive chemicals) because that’s all they can afford (instead of my usual all organic fair at the hoighty-toity Mother Earth place I usually shop)…

    …Eavesdropped on conversations about what they could and could NOT afford to buy…

    …and I ain’t talking about large screen LED TV’s… I’m talking about having to choose which basic staples had to be skipped on this trip because the checking account was almost empty.

    And the tears literally welled up in my eyes.

    I left there with such an empathy for the great unwashed masses… the average working class guy. A guy I USED to be from Barberton, Ohio… but maybe got a bit too conceited and arrogant and forgot my roots.

    If I ever go back to freelancing and have to write a piece for the average working guy, I’ll be so in tune with them it will be scary.

    And that’s just from one 90 minute trip to Walmart.

    You want an education in empathy? Spend a couple hours in Walmart between 8PM and midnight and watch how our rapidly dwindling middle class… and people who were FORMERLY middle class and now on their way down… are forced to live.

    When you hear them arguing because they can’t afford to buy chicken for their kids… and instead have to buy the cheap canned stuff loaded with toxic chemicals to save money… if that just doesn’t feel like a kick in the gut then you must be one cold unfeeling bastard.

    Walmart is a great empathy-education location.

    Doberman Dan

    • John Carlton says:

      Hey, Doberman. Good to hear from ya.

      I took a client to the mall once, without telling him why. Had him just sit and watch the crowds. He was NOT a mall rat, and eventually asked why the hell we were there. I opened my arms — “These folks,” I said, “are your prospects, dude.”

      He was stunned. He HATED the mall, and thought people who hung out there were retards. The realization that they were his potential customers really shook him up.

      Necessary lesson.

      • Ken Ca|houn says:

        great posts from both of you — that’s one reason I go to malls, walmart, casinos and trade shows, is to hang out with average folks and realize no my customers are not rocket scientists, they’re average folks who deserve to be treated right, with empathy and respect.

        it’s so easily for us online to choose our associations overly-selectively (in forums, other places with a small tiny group), and easy to forget to empathize with the bell shaped curve, the masses, whom make up a lot of our customers.

        doing (and attending) seminars live is also a great way to stay in touch with what folks are like, though seminar attendees are one’s biggest fans; still a good way to see where folks are coming from

  • Diana Lees says:

    Inspired teaching, Mr. C – not just the subject and content, but the approach itself. I think THAT is the “mental Kung Fu” mentioned by Alan Little…you flip us all sideways so we look at familiar situations from completely different perspectives. Which, as you say, is one of the keys to unstoppable salesmanship. Thanks for the reminder, the example, and the belly laughs.

  • I was just thinking about the difference between sympathy and empathy while I was cutting the grass just about an hour ago.

    I was thinking about it in a different context than marketing, but it was quite a shock to see the email for this post pop up to talk about it.

    The thing that I need to do more is refine who my customer is. And maybe look at different possible customers and how to reach out to them.

    In the online marketing world, how would you be able to get your customer to the landing page that is designed for them?

  • Gary Stotko says:

    Just signed-up for your stuff, couldn’t be more pleased! Your article resonates with the intent behind my marketing/sales training company. You’re a true talent.
    Thanks, Gary

  • Amazing discussion of our human situation. I see what you are talking about all the time in all kinds of situations just as you have described. Also, I have gone through periods in my life when I have sincerely begun to understand and implement the ideas that you describe here. But I’ve also hit the wall and sunk into periods of despair when I’ve thought, “What’s the point? Nobody understands me, blah, blah, blah.” – like right about now. I’m fascinated too by your description of your encounter with TSA. I’ve recently been pondering this mess a lot and spent – wasted – a lot of energy cursing those responsible for making this happen. You mentioned that you hope that people use this sales knowledge only for good, and wish those who misuse it only the worst. I am curious in light of your experience with TSA and what you said about it not making us safer, what you might say if you were to encounter those men who are responsible for getting us into this mess, ie. the ones who SOLD us the tale of the Twin Towers. Would you try to empathize with NON-empathetic (see Aaron Russo’s interview where he talks about his relationship with Nicholas Rockefeller) lowlifes or would you try some other tactic. What would your response be to someone who makes it clear that he only wants to rob and enslave you?

  • Lesley says:


    I’ll let the lesson of this sink in later. First I have to say how much I simply enjoyed reading it.

    And then to find out you’re from So Cal too. Spent my youth on the OCTD going down to Huntington every chance I got and I didn’t always wait til Summer, if you know what I mean.

    Anyway, thank you for the post, and the lesson it communicates. A very enjoyable read!

    • John Carlton says:

      After gettin’ edjecated in Northern Calif (and doing a stint in Silicon Valley as a poor, starving artist), I lived near the sand at Hermosa Beach for a decade, and just loved it. How I maneuvered myself to the Nevada high desert (where I’m been cooking for 20 years now) remains a mystery…

      Thanks for the note.

  • ynnek says:

    john if you had delivered the torn pocket before wallet falling out he would have instantly gained rappor with out the 10 seconds of suspicion…… your choice, your results.

    • John Carlton says:

      Well, duh. My point is that you need to complete the communication part… and that most of us screw it up. Even pro’s like me. It’s a lesson, Ynnek. (I assume that’s Kenny spelled backwards.)

      If you’re going through life knowing exactly what to say, every time you need to open your mouth, then bravo, dude.

  • Dear John –

    I feel sorry for those TSA people. What a terrible job. I am sure they would rather do something else.

    They all have a tag with their name on it. I make it a point to say, “Thanks, John.”

    They always look surprised – and pleased that they are a real person.

    Never had a problem.

    Alao feel that if anyone wants to take a look at my rapidly aging body – go ahead. Have a thrill.

  • John,

    Cool insight bro. I especially like the part about the importance of getting away with calling your clients “thugs”. lol. I think empathy is the real currency of life. The way we feel or more importantly, how our clients feel, is communicating that with the right message is the jackpot in effective copy and marketing.

    Remember… be a servant,


    p.s. We need to get together in RENO and jam together. I saw that pic of you jamming out at Jame’s place in Aussie Land and it took me back to that moment.

  • Geoffrey says:

    Damn John,

    I just love reading your stuff.

    That is all….

  • Julie Downey says:


    Thank you. I loved all three of your “real world lab” stories, and the reminder to watch out for my own ‘reactions to my reactions’, as well as maintaining empathy in real time.

    And last but not least giving out more “50% communication” in all situations.

    That and you made me laugh while I learned something :0).

    Thank you,

    ~Julie Downey

  • Mark says:

    Hi John,

    Great explication of situational awareness. And having just passed through MIA I got a chuckle over your TSA comments.

    Your observation about emotions brought to mind the joke about how an old-time baseball umpire renders ball and strike decisions…”They ain’t nothing until I call ’em.”

    • John Carlton says:

      That nice digital box they show on ESPN for balls and strikes plays second fiddle to the ump’s eye, still. A strike is what he calls a strike, and you’re outa the game if you don’t like it.

      Metaphor for life, in many ways…

      Thanks for the note, Mark.

  • Ron says:

    “before you criticize & accuse, walk a mile in my shoes.” Joe South 1970.

    I’ve never posted here before, but this topic hit home for me on a number of levels. I might add another category to the group savvy politicians, con men & psychopaths-that would be survivors. Hold on now, there are different types of survivors. I became skilled at empathy at a very young age. We moved constantly- was in 3 different schools my 3rd grade yr. Empathy kept me from getting extra thumpings because I was the new kid. Hell I got enough thrashing from 2 older miscreant brothers-empathy didn’t mean shit to them.

    Beyond that, I think good communication is an art we are losing. I was taught to always consider the other persons position or side of the situation before responding. save my bacon more than once.

    Last thing. I was in our governments “war games” in beautiful SE Asia when Joe South’s “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” came out. That song reignited many attitudes & habits I had pushed into a deep hole because of where I was & what I was doing.

    All said & done that’s what I see as the key to empathy.

    Thanks much John for the space to speak & a great thought provocation forum.

  • mark grove says:

    Thanks for the kick in the ass we all need in regards to communicating positively in a negative situation, or just talking to a stranger.

    We always have to work at it no matter what.

  • John, I find it interesting that you had to add other qualifiers after almost all the stories you told. Usually our first
    advice or thing out of our mouth, needs to be followed up and further explained.

    With…where to go or what to do.

    Food for thought.

    • John Carlton says:

      Good point, Lawton. I don’t think of them as qualifiers, but that fits. It’s completing the thought, or going the extra step, or just making sure that you’ve communicated that’s important.

  • Dan Auito says:

    Great stuff John, been trying to tell people this for years:

  • Steve says:


    Don’t know if I learned the lesson well, hey but lunch was a success, At least I know what her interest are, as well as personal passions, things that move her. “Archeology, specificaly Egyption and cowboy swing dancing, and older men, ha she is 53, comes from her family being ingrained for years in the Elk’s club. Good group by the way.

    Yep, learning a little from ya, the second date will be pretty easily obtained.

    A camel ride to the pyramids may have to wait a bit.

    • John Carlton says:

      She’ll kick your ass if you go dancing before learning at least a few steps. You can’t fake swing, and it’s exhausting to even try.

      And there’s a few Egyptian museum presentations making the rounds of the country right now. Heck, it came through Reno. Check it out…

  • Hey John,
    Great post!
    Glad you had fun in the old stomping grounds.
    (JC and I grew up in the same ‘hood) The undertow at that beach can be wicked and I had to be rescued when I was pulled out past the pier at 17.
    As a trouble shooter in the SWS, I learned to handle confused, pissed off people by establishing empathy and rapport as quickly as possible. Thirty minute marathon calls went down to five minutes – clarity plus good vibes were in abundance.
    Yes, a few choice words can make a huge difference…
    Semper Fi, Mark

    • John Carlton says:

      Mark here quickly became known as The Fireman in the SWS, cuz he could quickly put out fires in people’s emotional states. A good ear, a big heart and a dedication to doing the right thing will take ya a long way in life…

  • Hi John

    Empathy is the most powerful tool to trigger the right emotional response. Desire.

    When you are in his shoes it is easier to understand what his main desire is when it comes to the pain you are able to remove.

    Thanks John.


  • Andrew Smith says:

    Thanks John. That was a well timed, excellent package of wisdom.

    I have to handle a difficult situation today. I will use your Carlton “think…”

    Best regards
    Auckland, New Zealand

  • James Pader says:

    John, the first part reminds me of one of the gems of wisdom my 80 year old father has passed along to me: “If you can’t control your emotions, you can’t control yourself. And if you can’t control yourself, you can’t control the situation.”

    Man, I shoulda listened to him…
    Sometimes when I talk to him, I just say, “Dad, you were right.”

  • Kristi says:

    Outrageous meaty little post dripping with the juices of truth! I savored every word. Dealing with the Public everyday, we make the Canary Island Garlic and Herb Olive Oil, we see the dazed and confused look that often follows an interruption of someone’s
    self talk. Often times they are so busy talking to themselves they don’t have time to listen to you 🙂 a joke can go wrong so quickly its usually my overprotective inner Mom voice that steers me clear sometimes I jerk the wheel too late and run smack into the “awkward” moments. But usually can distract them away from beong offended. I think if we all err on the side of open honest friendliness and make a lot of eye contact you can usually read if the person has checked out of the conversation early. I love your posts and thank you again for the critique of the site. We are working on implementation. On the road to do shows in Michigan, chicago and Wisc. U are our constant marketing companion, more delightful than gas station coffee!!!

  • steve lung says:

    You said everything already.

  • Chris Marlow says:

    Empathy is the secret weapon of all great copywriters! Know thy audience.

    I obtained most of my controls by calling the people on the list, or shadowing the prospect at work. In the olden days copywriters were sleuths. Become your prospect and you’ll hit the nail on the head. Call them. Take them to lunch and lay our your whole campaign.

    Get int the trenches. Today’s copywriters rely too much on data the client gives them, and that often isn’t enough. Nice blog post John.

  • Colin Power says:

    John great post…

    I have spent the last 25 yrs trying to hone my communication skills so my patients get the most out of a consultation.

    The most significant change came when I changed my first question to “What is troubling you the most”…

    ..rather than starting with a standard medical history Q&A.

    What worries THEM is the most significant thing rather than the 10 things you noticed as they walked in. Once that concern is addressed then I may go into Bonus overtime and go fishing to see if any of my concerns for them are on their list too.

    Empathy is a great self adjuster as it makes you focus on what would be the MOST important thing if you were in their shoes. (as a podiatrist I think of shoes a lot)



  • Rachel says:

    A post that brings up some really important points, John.

    I find that many people are so focused on themselves, they’ve lost the ability to listen to others.

    Most people judge a good conversation by how THEY felt during the conversation, or whether THEY felt understood.

    In reality, empathy starts with knowing how to listen to the other person; taking yourself out of the equation for once and letting someone else star for once.

    I teach social skills to my clients, and one of the things I teach them is to keep the conversation on the other person. Ask him a question, listen to his response, and ask a question based on his response-not your thoughts, feelings, or beliefs.

    Don’t you think the same applies for sales, which are really just a conversation with your customers?

  • wosb says:

    i dont know why you always have to post such amazing posts, to be true, I love the way you show us different techniques, although some of them quite hilarious but some are very efficient.

  • Andre says:

    Hey John,

    you are so right. We can improve our communication with other people so much, if we make it to the “second round”.

    Not always easy – especially when “they” made me angry 😉 – but always worth it.

    For me it always something to learn when I get mad at someone.

    And interestingly I found that that person has a real important message for me. A message I can see and use when the anger is gone. 😉

    As human beings I think it is normal to first go into our emotions. But we can decide how long we stay in there.

    And that’s a real skill – for salesmanship and life.

    Awesome and frosty article! 🙂



  • Janice says:

    Hey John,
    Always love your story telling…
    Communication is the key and Trust is the answer. It’s sad that these days it’s so hard to get. What happened to The Good Ole Days when communication and trust was so easy to get…

  • Kurt says:

    Hey John,
    I am glad I read your post this hot Sunday afternoon before I responded to the “neighborhood nazi” from the home owner’s association. You can guess how I would have responded to their complaints about my house.
    Now I may try to show some empathy when I call back on Monday …
    Thanks for the post, Kurt

    • John Carlton says:

      Oh, you got one o’ those Neighborhood Nazi’s, too? They breed prolifically, you know, and they sniff you out no matter where you go…

      I think they’re organized or something. They all kinda look alike, too…

  • Jane L says:

    This resonated, John. A timely reminder!
    I came to the Action Seminar in San Diego en route for Hawaii, which meant a lot of plane changing in LAX and San Diego as I was coming in from UK.
    In my hand baggage I had a large jar of special lavender bathsalts for my firend in Hawaii. I wanted to give her something other than lavender soap (which she got the last 3 times), and, in the shop, bathsalts seemed such a great idea.
    I fly into LAX, make it into the country, then through TSA at LAX. It had not occured to me that a gift wrapped jar of little white crystals might lead to questioning. But they had to come out of the bag, out of the beautiful gift wrapping and the jar, and be chemically tested.
    Fotunately I wasn’t in a hurry, and I was laughing to myself how foolish I had been.
    As the TSA guy was doing the tests I asked him if I would be better putting the thing into my check-in baggage. He said no, – or rather no!!!!!! – and outlined the strategy I should use to minimise any bother – but explained apologetically I was bound to get tested each time.
    I was stunned at the end when he thanked me for being polite and patient and not getting angry with him. I’d just been passing the time of day while he did his job.

    It’s so easy when you’re stressed to get grumpy and let empathy go out the door. Bad in airports, but can also be bad when I’m up against a deadline, or a target, and I just get too wrapped up in my little world and its worries, and don’t see other people’s world and worries.

  • Good post.

    I especially like the “have a road map” and share it idea. Or the (in)famous, “I feel your pain … and I’ve got the cure (or can at least help with the symptoms.)”

    I also like the term Critical Think (trademarked by you) — just glad you didn’t step on Think Critical (trademarked by me).

    Empathy is magically delicious.

  • rob says:

    Yo! dude…

    Reading your rant is like advancing my personal life experience by 25 years…every time you post…

    …which means in order for me to gain the wisdom / awareness I get from reading this rant.

    I would have to stumble threw life to learn it…hard way.

    …another way of puttin this…

    I say this will no dis-respect intended…(only with affection & respect) reading your rant is like getting one-on-one with…

    Dalia Lama-sometimes it takes the wisdon and insight of others to wake up that lazy little bugger inside us all…

    …let us see…or understand things in life to which we may be blind to seeing…

    …things which are so obvious that if no-one had taken the time to point out…would have been important lesson in life, missed.

    One which could advance ourselves for the better…

    Later man…

    Glenelg, Australia.

    • John Carlton says:

      I think you mean the Dalai Lama. Dalia is that stripper in Sydney who does that bit on the pole.

      Just kidding. Thanks for the note, Rob. The only reason I have anything at all to offer is because I took the dumbest, hardest, most difficult route possible to get where I am… and I took notes along the way.

      I’m just assumng that pointing these lessons out… rather than let you blunder through them on your own like I did… is a shortcut for ya. I hope so, anyway. Let me know how it all turns out…

      • Rob Joy says:

        Hey John…

        How did you know about Dalia in Sydney-man that just blows!!!

        (damn it! my secret is out-mention my name you get free lap dance or two for one on saturday’s)

        …Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha..(joking man!)

        …but yeah dude…

        …I totally ‘get’ what you say…this is like shortcut for me…(reading your posts)

        …I’m sure for others too..

        …I dont know where I herd this…might have been from YOU or someone else…which has just popped into my mind.

        (dont quote me on this I may stuff it up)

        …saying goes in the biz…

        “you have to be tough if you going to be stupid”

        …or words to that effect…

        later :O)

  • Steve says:

    I am fascinated by how humans think and behave.

    This post fits in with Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’

    But the thing I was wondering is can you become empathetic for a non self serving reason.

    A lot of the concepts in the book above is about people only being interested in themselves, so surely that would suggest the people being empathetic are the same too, only interested in themselves.

    So are people really empathetic, or are they just self serving with a hidden agenda to actually get what they want – especially when it comes to selling?


    • John Carlton says:

      That was my point in the preamble, above, Steve. The psychopaths already have this shit nailed tight. The rest of us ignore the power of empathy at our peril…

  • Orestes says:

    Hi! John,

    Let me tell you that your posts are the only one I truly enjoy reading as you always teach
    us something of great value in true and honestly.

    I believe that if you master empathy and self
    control you can win at any game in this world.

    Very powerful lesson from you John.

    Thanks and stay blessed!

  • Scott says:


    I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve turned into exceptionally poor experiences because I failed to so much as listen to what the person in front of me was saying. Let alone do a little Critical Think (TM. John Carlton) about what might be between the lines.

    But I’ll never the day I popped. Simply letting people know you understand their plight and understand what’s important to them in a world of self obsessed zombies can form life long friends and unbreakable bonds.

    Thanks John

  • Kevin Rogers says:

    Another doozie, John and impeccably timed.

    Family spent the day at Disney World Friday. Amazing to see empathy work on such a massive scale.

    Sure people love to bitch about the prices…

    (and yes, $17.50 for a plastic fan that squirts water in the face of near sun-stroked Ohioans IS pretty brutal)

    … but if you Critical Look (pending trademark) at the thousands of small tactics they’ve applied to keeping your visit “magical” you can appreciate where some of that money goes.

    Because I live here in FLA I visit the Diz every 3 years or so, which is a perfect time frame for witnessing the evolution of upgrades to the experience.

    Just off the top of my pointy noggin some stand-outs this time were:

    — Extended park hours to help stagger the crowds. Some days they open an hour earlier, some nights they stay open into the wee hours (3 am). Sure, that means more revenue for them, but the extended hours are an empathetic nod to the idea that many families save up all year and travel ungodly distances for a ONE DAY trip. They’re rightly looking to suck every dime of return they can from it.

    Plus, (in our case) it allows plenty of time to leave at the hottest point in the day – nap, shower, replenish) and come back at night feeling fresh.

    — Incorporating hands-on distractions for restless kids in long lines. Walking at a pace of one step every 2 minutes is misery for any adult, but for a 3-yr-old it’s impossible torture. They’d fare better at kiddie waterboarding.

    So, the creative folks at Disney have now added glorified floor toys and cool tech tricks (like the wall of digital honey you can swirl with your hands) for kids to amuse themselves with while their parents update their Facebook profile: “At Disney world with Meegan and Tucker… It’s a HOT fkn world after all!”

    — Short rides. I timed most rides (why yes, that DOES justify a tax write off filed under “marketing test”) at 1:15.

    Just enough time to give you the full experience so you can check the ride off your list… and still keep the line moving.


    There are other amusement parks closer to home who have been headed the opposite direction for years. Grumpy, disinterested teens shrug off your questions, and the lines don’t feel ANY shorter than they did ten years ago…

    … so, much respect to Walt for keeping his frozen head in the game and empathizing with his customers.

    And to you for not emotionally scarring that TSA scanner for life with a verbal lashing, John. Your restraint is commendable.


    • John Carlton says:

      I accompanied my grand-nieces and -nephew at the “old” Disneyland last summer in Anaheim. I grew up nearby, and first went as a 6 yr old days after it opened, and had gone a dozen times before I was in junior high. This was back when no one else in the world had anything like it anywhere near them — it was Anaheim or nothing. But the magic wore off early, and we resorted to vandalizing the joint as kids, bored by the rides.

      Disney may have started the hippie movement, in fact, by exciting Boomers, and then boring them and being too much like The Man. We wore those idiotic Davey Crockett hats, but quickly graduated to long hair.

      Wait… where was I?

      Whatever. I’m writing my autobio, so my head’s deep into this stuff. Good insights, as always, K-Man. Those Disney folks are scary good at dominating the market…

  • Another good one John – I like the idea of giving the solution (the beach story) as well as just creating empathy.

    I had a similar experience to yr airport story this week as I walked past a house that was being painted and spotted the decorator’s cloth was on fire (I know, go figure!) so I pointed it out to him with a question – of course he had no idea so we had a bit of fun with it as he flailed around trying to put the flames out. But hopefully a little light hearted communication averted a bigger disaster!


  • Nancy Boyd says:

    John this is a great post, but you missed one of the key elements that has to do with communicating with humans — and it relates to empathy, too: story.

    We all love stories. And, if you notice, you’ve got a boatload of stories right back here in the comments.

    We humans totally “get” stories — we can’t get enough of ’em. So. . . are we connecting with our right people through stories? Those that are are, I suspect, doing well despite the economy. Or even, heaven forbid, because of it.

    Just my 2 cents today.


    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Nancy. All of my posts deal with story… sometimes I point it out, other times I just do it. Several of the “most read” posts listed to the right here are about story.

      It’s always good to point it out again, though. Thanks for the note.

    • Scott says:

      Oh great point Nancy.

      There have been many sales situations where I have whipped out an empathetic story that moved a person from highly sceptikal to “I think I should look deeper at this” like a wave of a Jedi hand.

      They can even be someone else story. Kind of like a case history. The punter hears their own life and concerns in the story of another and WHAMO! Then they’re open to a conversation about how it could help them and eager to learn what it will take to solve their problems.

  • Hey John, does this pair of jeans make my ass look flat? I can’t find anything to wear as I approach the big 60. LOL

    Another good “life lab 101” John. Keep up the great work.

    Mad Guy

    • John Carlton says:

      Yeah, they make you look a teensy bit big… it’s probably just the light in here. No, sorry, I didn’t mean you’re fat! I didn’t SAY that! I… I…

  • Jimmy Curley says:

    John… great, great stuff here.

    Just back from a long trip myself… and the horrors of dealing with airport goons really was a lesson in what friggin’ NOT to do with paying customers.

    And I’m not talking about the TSA guys, but the airline who forced me to stand in line like a good soldier and then told me they sold my ticket while they had me standing in line.

    Then they made me buy another ticket… and made me stand in another line for another half hour to get it.

    Airports seem to be hotbeds for crazy shit.

    I remember some reality show (I think it was called “Airline” or some such thing) where two guys got into a fist fight and were tossed off an airplane.

    One guy said it started when the dude sitting next to him “asked me if he could have some of my peanuts. Well… I thought he said something else…”

    Anyway, really enjoyed this John.


    • John Carlton says:

      Hey Jimbo… the lesson there is to know when to start being a squeaky wheel. My last trip back east started with a 6am flight… and the security line was backed up for blocks. No way was I gonna make the flight — the line was at a crawl. (And yes, I’d gotten there an hour early.) So I asked the guy behind me to hold my spot, and I went up to check out the trouble. No trouble — just TSA being assholes, going slow, enjoying the angst they were inflicting. I was about to ask for special treatment when I realized my Biz Class ticket allowed me to jump the line in a special lane… Still, it was a mess and there was NO reason for it.

      And I just today went into the Post Office to get my passport renewed… the day it expired… but they locked the door at 3pm prompt. My 3:05 arrival didn’t even get a “sorry”. Takes me back to “banker’s hours” in the bad old days when the culture assumed you were married and the wife could handle the banking chores, so banks were only open 10-3, which shut out anyone working for a living. The Man is an idiot…

  • Hi John,

    I feel like I need to get some popcorn & a comfy chair to read your posts! Like a good movie!

    I’ve always been able to appreciate the others persons experiences + point of view and I didn’t realise how lucky I was to have this perspective. When I started working, I realised not everyone else has empathy or cares about it.

    Empathy has greatly helped my career (as a vet) understanding clients needs & wants. More significantly, building trust, credibility & connection with my clients as I make an effort to communicate that I ‘get’ what they are going through.

    Thank you & I will be sending a recommendation to my vet twitter list to come & read this as well.


  • Kevin says:

    Last time I went through one of those TSA body scanners, they told me there was “an anomaly in my groin area.”

    I said “That’s awesome! Can I get that in writing?”

    It turns out they don’t have a sense of humor, so I ended up in a little room with two dudes wearing rubber gloves… 🙁

    In hindsight, I think muzzled fury would have been a better way to go.

    • John Carlton says:

      Well… what WAS it? I just saw a story where some dude was smuggling live lizards out of Brazil by duct-taping them to his body for the flight… which just creeps the heck out of me…

      • Kevin says:

        It certainly wasn’t live lizards!

        I wasn’t going to go there, but since you asked…You know how some guys write in personal ads that they’re looking for a woman who “appreciates the little things?”

        Let’s just say I leave that part out… 😉

  • John, after reading this amazing insight, I realized this stuff comes second-nature to me…not the salesmenship but the built-in 50-50 perspective.

    It’s nice to know others (you and few else it seems)practice this.

    I practice this every day, not because I loath confrontation (although I do) but because I’ve learned the hard way over time, that I feel bad later whenever I’ve been pissy in public….and 2…

    Because I practice putting others before me whenever I am in public…it’s a faith-religion thing…but also is a “I sleep better” type thing.

    Ever since I can remember I’ve seen both sides to everything, and that’s where my logic, kindness, and as you put it, my ability to ‘critical think’ about every situation, be it in public or at day/night’s end during my prayers.

    It’s nice to read this and know I’m on the right track to elite salesmenship…However,
    I can’t make a dime at Internet Marketing, and I’ve been doing it a long time….go f#*^ing figure.

    It’s not that I’m lazy per say, it’s just that everything I touch turns to shit…

    I don’t know why…luck in Internet Marketing has only once been on my side in seven years (it was at the very beginning with PPC…made $7,000 in one month).

    Everything after that, the 1 very solitary thing I need to do to convert in anything I’ve done always goes to sh*t due to bad luck.

    If I can just tap into my ‘critical think’ side more often, I would be wealthy…

    But for now, I’m just ‘wise.’

    Unfortunately, ‘wise’ isn’t paying the bills… but it sure is likely to create a ‘possitive’ atmoshere while being groped at the airport.

    Any thoughts or advice?

    Thanks for another great lesson,

  • Lou says:

    Hi John

    Your Simple Writing System looks like a great course. I have a few questions about it v. a course by SH. If you could you email directly? That would be great.

    Thanks – Lou

  • Dmitry says:

    Great article, John.

    Most of us act like robots during the lifetime. Society installed a bunch of ineffective programs in our heads so we are what it want us to be.
    The only way to change it is to understand it and practice awareness.

    Best regards from Russia.

  • Wendell says:

    John, would you care to repeat what you were saying. Unfortunately, as I commenced reading your thoughts I was formulating my response so didn’t quite catch everything.

    Just kidding, but isn’t that often our response? We want so much to interject ourselves into the conversation that we don’t really want to listen.

  • Joe Canti says:

    Thanks John, this was an interesting read.

    It’s refreshing to hear marketing attacked from another angle. Too often we as consumers are reduced to the binary state of one or zero – sale or no sale. Well, we live in an analogue world where I for one enjoy using my empathy and compassion to connect with other humans. So far though, this has done me no favours whilst trying to compete in the yuppie-centric commerce world of yesterday, but just might pay dividends in the social explosion of tomorrow.

    For me and my conscience, product confidence and credability is absolutely key.

    Here’s to a return to Analogue!

    Thanks and all the best, Joe

  • Sue says:

    Hello John,

    While reading this post the first thing that came to mind unfortunately was “Bernie Madoff” who was able to “sweet talk” all those people into believing he was the real deal and their money was safe with him in his “ponzy scheme.”

    I think trust also plays a big part in this thinking as well. I agree with your thinking in this post and it can be advantageous.

  • Bioniclily says:

    I could of swore the album with the girl holding her hand to her forehead was Smashing Pumpkins, Oh well
    Another Great Rant.John
    Like others have stated here,I do learn something, Were never to old to stop learning right?
    You make me think too and smile,get pissed off,So I like the rants

    This rant makes me think about an article I just read the other day about communication and how we do not do so much. Which could be a real issue for marketers. We now are challenged to engage our customers,in the day of auto responders engagement sits on the back burner, sometimes it is just not in the radar for some folks.

    Don’t get me wrong,auto responders they do serve a purpose,but I think they are over used.

    Well this is getting too long but, this is the only post I’ve made all week, see there’s another reason too read the rant and respond


  • […] This one is from the great John Carlton’s spectacular blog, the rant. I’m not going to break it down here. I’m just going to say, read it because it’s really good. You’ll get a lot out of it the first time. Then re-read it. This lessons keep coming. […]

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