Last week I touched a lot of bases, because like most of you, I’m trying to process all the things that are happening in our country, and across the globe.

I’ve never mistrusted our federal government like I do today, and the rapidly deteriorating man sitting in the White House, starring out the window, needs to exit stage left, yesterday.

I have respect for the office, but if the people around Biden, including his own wife, don’t care about him enough to pull him out of a rapidly deteriorating situation, how can I be expected too respect their propping him up?

President Biden’s mental capacity is dropping quickly. All one needs to do is watch any video clip of him prior to the 2020 Presidential campaign, and compare it to the reality today.

It is a sad human situation, and he needs to resign, or be removed from office via legal means before any more damage is done – to him, cognitively, and to us, as a country.

The video of him constantly looking at his watch, as the caskets were unloaded at Dover AFB, made me mad as hell. I can’t even imagine what the families felt.

“Is this man bored?”

Biden will be gone when he is no longer useful to the Democrat Party, and that time is drawing near – quickly.

Communication

There are many people who love to talk, or hear themselves talk, and when they get their name and/or picture in any form of media, they think they are someone everyone wants to hear.

Some of you can certainly look at me, and point the finger, but it comes with the job. I remember when I first arrived on the scene back in 1984. I thought all that this 26-year-old publisher (at that time!) had to do was scribble his opinion on the ed-op page and all would clearly see my viewpoint and agree.

Not!

That was a quick lesson learned in the mid-80s.

I also learned if you gripe and complain every week people tune you out … quickly. Just a note, you don’t have to be a newspaper publisher to be tuned out (i.e. – see local social media posts). I’ll be the first to acknowledge there are those who feel that way about me, and that’s okay. One has the opportunity to write letters to the editor airing an opinion about something I’ve written, or sharing his or her opinion about any other topic.

There are those who hate me writing about my family, and those who hate me writing about politics.

That is what makes this country strong, even though free speech is rapidly sliding down a slippery slope in our country.

Yes, I’m passionate about how I feel about my country and the direction I see it heading. More importantly, you have every right to agree or disagree with my opinion(s).

The worst thing to ever happen in our country would be for everyone to fall into group think, and lose the ability to use his or her own brain to increase his or her knowledge, leading to a more informed opinion.

An argument can be made we are already at that point (i.e. – 50/50 divided country).

That brings me, somewhat, to today’s topic – communication.

A fellow newspaperman who lives in Austin, and works in Rosenberg, wrote a column recently talking about a TED talk his wife asked him to listen to.

Now, if you’re married, you will totally understand the irony of a wife asking her husband (or vice versa) to listen to a TED talk about communication!

The actual name of the talk is “10 Ways To Have A Better Conversation.” It is from Celeste Headlee. She is a radio talk show host, journalist, and author in Georgia.

The man I stole this column topic from said Headlee recommends one should master at least one of her 10 rules to upgrade his or her level of conversations. They are:

1. Don’ multi-task. Be present and in the moment without looking at your cell phone or whatever is in your hand. Don’t be half way in a conversation.

2. Don’t give your opinion. She said this makes people you’re talking to feel more comfortable and want to open up.

3. Use open-ended questions such as who, what, when, where, why, and how? Ask what something was like or how it made that person feel?

4. Go with the flow. If ideas come into your head about other things, let them come and go. Don’t stop listening.

5. If you don’t know something, just say you don’t know.

6. Don’t equate your experience with someone else’s. For example, if someone talks bout losing a family member, don’t talk about how you lost one, too. Headlee said it’s never the same, and all experiences are individual ones. But more importantly, she says, it’s not about you. You don’t need to prove how amazing you are or how much you’ve suffered.

7. Try not to repeat yourself. It’s condescending and boring, and people do it a lot.

8. Stay out of the weeds. People care about you, not all the details. They also care about what you’re like and what you have in common.

9. Listen. Headlee said this is the most important thing on the list. It takes effort and energy to pay attention, she added, but if you can’t do that, you’re not in a conversation.

10. Be brief. She said this boils down to showing interest in other people.

My friend ended his column quoting Headlee:

“Go out, talk to people, listen to people, and most importantly, prepare to be amazed.”

I love interviewing and/or just talking to people, but after reading Headlee’s 10 rules, I know I have a few things to work on when it comes to conversation, and probably always will.

I think that’s the first step!

What do you feel about it?

Until next week, have a good week!

Mike Probst can be reached at publisher@rockportpilot.com.

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