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   Thoughtscape: Thoughts and Tips from Mike Clayton


Issue 23

  True Authority
10 ways to convince others you know what you are talking about.
    News and views



Dear %1

We are only one month away from
publication of Smart to Wise.  So this newsletter addresses an important aspect of wisdom: authority.

Smart to Wise is divided into seven sections: my pillars of wisdom.  The seventh pillar is "authority".  In it, I show how, paradoxically, when you speak with wisdom, the less you say, the more you convey; and how to use the other six pillars to help you to influence those around you.  Here, I want to suggest ten ways you can underline your authority and wisdom when speaking with others.

1. Questions
Voltaire enjoined us to judge people by their questions, rather than by their answers. Wisdom is not always about quick answers, but about insightful questions that get to the heart of an issue... and help you frame the precise answer that is needed.

2. Answers
But, having understood a situation clearly with insightful questions, you do need to be able to offer answers - within your domain of expertise - to be considered wise.  Outside of your own specialism, however, caution is vital.  You must respect the boundaries of your own knowledge.

3. Simplicity
Have you noticed how often people who are unsure of themselves will cloak their insecurity in complex language and jargon.  To communicate simply is to demonstrate your depth of understanding.  Use everyday language and avoid unnecessary jargon.  Instead, use your understanding to explain complex ideas in ways that inexpert audiences can grasp easily.

4. Listening
Many of the people who purport to be experts are great at telling the rest of us what they think.  Those who are wise are far more concerned to listen than to tell.  They are keen to vacuum up ideas and knowledge that they can distil into valuable insights and, sometimes, astonishing foresight.

5. Specific
One of the strong arguments of Smart to Wise is the importance of breadth of experience, learning, knowledge and influences in developing wisdom.  But when you are called upon to provide commentary or expertise, you must be able to address the specifics of the situation, rather than default to abstraction and bland generalisations.

6. Understated
Those who speak with greatest wisdom display least need to convince others.  They avoid superlatives, hyperbole or self promotion.  They make their point and let its power promote itself.  One of your most powerful tools in speaking with authority is knowing when to stop speaking.

7. Informed
Authority and credibility need a solid base of knowledge that you can apply to the specific situation.  You must make time to keep up-to-date with all of the latest relevant information and ideas in your area of expertise - and in adjoining areas.  You need to be able to spot shifts in agenda and knowledge, and interpret them incisively.

8. Compelling
When you write or speak, do you do so with enthusiasm?  Can you set out a powerful vision of what will be?  Cultivate the skill to communicate with a narrative structure, through simple stories, metaphors and analogies.  In Smart to Wise, I highlight the importance of enchanting your audiences by giving your message a powerful meaning.

9. Intuitive
My second pillar of wisdom is perception.   This allows us to see more in a situation than those around us.  When we combine it with Judgement, the fifth pillar, we are able to draw accurate conclusions from that situation.  If you can do that easily, without much conscious thought, that is intuition - a true sign of depth of expertise.  Combining that with access to your emotional wisdom will give you the capability to offer a profound assessment of what you see.

10. Committed
Finally, wisdom is caring.  A commitment to stay interested, to stay involved, and to take responsibility is a vital aspect of authority.


Learn more about the journey from
Smart to Wise

Smart to Wise
is due out on 7 June


Articles on the Smart to Wise website

...  and, I am adding two more articles each week.

Who Else?
If you like these newsletters, please forward this to a friends and colleagues who might value them too.
If you are that friend or colleague and you want your own copies, just drop me an email


Two Seminars you may like

Risk is an inevitable part of projects
– it flows from their very definition.

Hear Mike explain clearly and simply how you can anticipate and manage risk effectively, using Mike’s simple “it’s the key to everything” four step method.

“Very enlightening seminar, will certainly help to
formalise upcoming projects”


What are your four crucial concerns as
a team leader?

What is your role as project leader
at each stage of your project?
How can you handle the tough times?

Based on Mike’s book, Brilliant Project Leader,
this seminar will answer these questions.


These are two of the 17 seminars I am currently offering.  Here is the full list:

  • Three hour MBA

  • Seven Ways to get More from Your People

  • Seven Ways to get More from Yourself

  • Brilliant Influence:
    Ten Secrets of Persuasion

  • Brilliant Project Leader

  • Brilliant Team Leadership

  • Brilliant Time Management

  • Faster, Better, Cheaper

  • How to Read People

  • It ain't the Stress that does the Damage

  • It won't work because...
    Handling Resistance to Change

  • More than just Survival:
    Thriving in Times of Change

  • Practical Decision Making

  • Practical Problem Solving

  • Practical Project Management

  • Risk Happens!
    Control Risk and Avoid Failure
    in Organisational Projects

  • The Seven Rules of Project Management

Learn more on my website.

“Excellent session. 
Worthwhile attending even if you have read Mike’s book. 
Mike’s approach to help people form their own system promises to be highly effective. 
I can’t wait to plan and start the new me!”

Caroline Wiggins, Business Accent PR (Brilliant Time Mgt)

“Very informative and interesting. 
Suitable for anyone in a managerial or leadership position, no matter what size the company is.”

Susan Freeman, Dale Evans Beauty
(3 Hour MBA)


Smart to Wise

I have been away for a lot of the last three weeks but travelling has given me a lot of time to write articles about wisdom, which I hope will resonate with a large number of you. 

Smart to Wise is out in a month's time, and is available for pre-order with a price guarantee - currently at £6.79.  For a hardback book, that seems excellent value to me.

You’re smart. You know stuff. You’ve made great strides in your career and your life. But you know there’s more: there are things you want to do and people you want to impress that you can’t yet reach. Because being smart is not enough.

Smart to Wise is about how to become wise. It does not set out to give you the answers, nor to dispense wisdom, but to show you the direction of your journey.

“Mike’s wonderful insight and analysis of what makes people not just smart but wise is sheer genius! If you want to lead authentically, persuade powerfully, manage effectively, network productively, engage passionately and live contentedly, this book should be the ‘go to’ choice in your personal development library.”
Rob Brown, author of bestselling ‘How to Build Your Reputation‘

Thank you to seven people so far who have read - and liked - Smart to Wise.  Read all of their testimonials here.

The Smart to Wise website, with the articles, podcasts and videos about aspects of wisdom is now live, at smarttowise.co.uk.

Coming soon: more articles every week, and a first mini-eBook about "Emotional Wisdom".


Is the Prime Minister
really reading
Brilliant Stress Management?

Brilliant Stress Management
Order Here

Thank you to Andy Shakeshaft for spotting Brilliant Stress Management prominently placed in a mock-up of the Number 10 Downing Street flat, in journalist Mary Ann Sieghart's political commentary, on BBC 2's "This Week" programme.  You can see the whole 5 minute piece on my blog, here, and buy your own copy of Brilliant Stress Management from Amazon.  Learn more about the book on the Brilliant Stress Management website.


The Apprentice

Series 8 of BBC's Apprentice is well underway and a little underwhelming;

... but, importantly, there is still much we can learn from the episodes.

Recent Articles: 

So, if you are an Apprentice fan, bookmark my 2012 Apprentice page now or, better, go to my site and subscribe to the blog.  That way, you will not miss any of my episode analyses.  That's not just smart: it's wise!


More Articles and Ideas

I may be adding two articles a week to the Smart to Wise website, and one or two blogs a week about The Apprentice, but I have tried to keep up with other topics too:

... and for the Management Pocketblog


June Seminar Programme

Practical Project Management
along with
Risk Happens! Control Risk and Avoid Failure in Organisational Projects (afternoons)

  • 21 June, London
  • 26 June, Manchester,
    Renaissance Hotel
  • 27 June, Birmingham,
    Copthorne Hotel
  • 28 June, Guildford,
    Ramada Hotel

Download a table of all of the scheduled dates here.  Book on 01227 252 100.

The Three-hour MBA (morning) and Brilliant Time Management (afternoon) will next be on 20 June, at the Village Hotel, Maidstone.

“A brilliant insight into how to take control, be positive, and manage my time and teach my staff to do the same.”
Kim Foulkes, JCS Ltd
(Brilliant Time Mgt)

“Very useful, given it’s only an afternoon.  There are a number of things I can use immediately and a number of things I need to explore further.”
Mike Annetts (3 Hour MBA)

All of these seminars available in-house, at your choice of location. 

“Excellent session.  Worthwhile attending even if you have read Mike’s book. 
Mike’s approach to help people form their own system promises to be highly effective.  I can’t wait to plan and
start the new me!”

Caroline Wiggins, Business Accent PR (Brilliant Time Mgt)

“Very informative and interesting. 
Suitable for anyone in a managerial or leadership position, no matter what size the company is.”

Susan Freeman, Dale Evans Beauty
(3 Hour MBA)


My focus this year ...
... continues to be on writing, responding to press enquiries, and seminar and speaking engagements.  If you know a conference organiser who is looking for an engaging speaker with great testimonials, please do send them to my website: www.mikeclayton.co.uk.  If you need a speaker now, just contact me using the links below, or the contact form on my website.  You can download my speaker pack here.

Best regards


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Many thanks

    Please contact me ...
... mike@mikeclayton.co.uk
... Tel: 08444 141349
... www.mikeclayton.co.uk
... on Twitter @mikeclayton01

There is a full archive of past Thoughtscape newsletters on my website.


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© Mike Clayton, 2012