Speaking360º Free Content

The Dead Eyed Scalder

Nov 11, 2016
Hey [[firstname]],
‘You’ll never guess who just smiled at me in Starbucks!’ Susan said with a big grin on her face, carrying two red cups.

‘Who?’ I said.

‘The Dead-Eyed-Scalder! she said triumphantly.

(We go to Starbucks so often that we know all the people in there and given them sort of affectionate names! It started when one of us would try and describe to the other who had made the coffees: 'The Dead-Eyed-Scalder' got her name because she always made the milk so hot that you couldn’t drink it for 5 minutes, and because she looked so unhappy and disinterested in .. well, everything .. that she had a vacant middle distance stare!  It sounds pretty mean actually now that I type it out!!!)

‘Probably just a one off.’ I said.

The next time we went into Starbucks, as we walked up to the counter to order, there she was again and she greeted us with the biggest smile. ‘How are you?’ she beamed.

She chatted away while we waited for our drinks and then when we got to our table Susan said ‘you see?’

‘I know .. what a transformation .. what has happened to her? We are going to have to change her name!’ I said.  

The next time we saw her in Starbucks, same thing .. she was now our BFF!  And, Susan said, her name was Camila.

‘You know what I think it was that made the difference?’ Susan said.


‘She changed when I came in with Louis. She smiled at him and spoke to him and gave him a sweet. He was flirting with her in his 3 year old way and that was that .. since then she’s completely changed towards us.’

‘Why did that make so much difference?’ I said.

‘She told me she's recently got engaged and is desperate to have children. So I guess kids are on her radar!’

It’s fascinating to witness just how much difference it makes to our interactions with other people when we connect with them on some common ground. And the more cherished the common ground - the easier, faster and deeper the connection. If you’re a dog lover, the way to your heart is to talk about your dog. If you’re a gardener, it’s through your garden. And if you’ve got children, it’s through your kids.

The way to a person’s heart is through the things they love.

From a speaking perspective, connecting with your audience is THE most important first step of influence. Connecting on common ground is one great way to do that.

Time out :) I’ve been interrupted in writing this story by Susan and Amelie, both insisting that I am choosing the wrong point for the story! Susan thinks the point of the story is that it is amazing how quickly we jump to superficial judgements about people. And more importantly - what names might people make up for you?  And those judgements might have no basis in reality whatsoever! (She also cruelly added that my name could be ‘Groucho Galbraith' because my face doesn't necessarily reflect that I am happy even if I am).  She liked a point with more of a 'twist' ..

Amelie thinks the point of this story should be that children make everybody smile.  She liked a point that was simple (and sweet)!

Have a great weekend .. of course it's Veterans Day today, and Remembrance Sunday this weekend, so we are all remembering and thanking service men and women around the world - we are grateful for the sacrifices they have made and continue to make for our families.  So grateful!
Until next time .. 

Don't miss my new Speaking360º weekly newsletter! 

Communicating is not just about words. We need to think about our body language, tone, and pacing. How we feel impacts the way we speak. Struggling to find the right content makes us ineffective. Great speakers know that becoming an exceptional speaker isn't just an art - it's a process with many essential elements.

Every Sunday evening Roddy sends out his Speaking360º newsletter, an action packed and inspirational article filled with tip + tricks you can start to use right away!


We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.