Sunday, January 4, 2009

Meet Paul Orfalea

Paul Orfalea is an entrepreneurial visionary. As a youth, Paul was able to turn his "disabilities," into strengths, using his dyslexia and ADHD as motivation to learn through his experiences. As founder of Kinko's his ability to relate to people through commonalities and cordiality has enabled him to redefine methods of interpersonal communication within the business realm.

Below is a fascinating article by Orfalea highlighting our verbal presumptions within interpersonal communication:

From Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (Warner Bros. 1985):

Simone: I know you're right, Pee-wee, but...

Pee-wee: Everyone I know has a big "but...” C'mon, Simone, let's talk about your big "but…"

How can you tell when someone is not listening for truth and meaning? One sign is the word, “but,” which suggests one has listened only for something to contradict. The Entrepreneurial Investor co-author Dean Zatkowsky calls the expression “yeah, but…” a “reflexive rebuttal,” a knee-jerk need to trump another’s point with one of your own.

We should revise the expression, “No ifs, ands, or buts.” There’s nothing wrong with “ifs” and “ands.” Ifs are dreams. Ands are inclusive. But buts? Get your but out of here. “But” is too often a weasel word, an introduction to excuses or a plea for escape. People say “but” on the way to saying “no.” Like Pee Wee suggested, we weigh down our ideas with our big buts.

Before you reflexively counter someone’s statement, including your own, find something within it to affirm. See if you can get through your next business debate – or dinner conversation or daydream – without falling back on your big “but.”

More on Paul Orfalea and his journey here


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