Another Provincial election came and went.  Like many people I talked to, although I voted, I didn’t really have a strong “rooting interest” this time around.  None of the campaigns were particularly well run (in my own very humble opinion), and each party leader have issues with them that cause me to raise an eyebrow.

A quick glance at my Facebook page tells me that most people are surprised by the results.  The most popular word posted was “WHAT????”  :-)   Aside from the political reasons why the Liberals won, as a communication/public speaking instructor, it is FACINATING to me to see 2 basic rules from Communication 101 in play during this election that at least in part explained the Wynne victory/Hudak loss.   For those of us who does public speaking regularly, this may be a good reminder:

(1) “Likability” is a big step towards “Believability” : Every analyst on TV last night points to the fact that Kathleen Wynne was the most “likeable” candidate, certainly when compared to Tim Hudak. It may sound like a shallow reason to some, but the truth is that human communication has been and always will be a holistic process that involves all of our sensory perceptions including our emotional engagement.  Lesson to the public speaker:  Your audience form impressions, opinions, and sometimes CONCLUSIONS about you as soon as you come into view, long before you say your first word.  How you dress, your non-verbals, how you appear to interact with others, all matter.

(2) Clarity is often accepted as truth, while confusion is usually interpreted as falsehood.    A huge reason why Hudak’s message never registered with the voting public is because he failed this basic rule of communication/public speaking.  When I teach public speaking, I often say that one of the most difficult relationship to present in a speech is “IF A then B”, or  “If we do A, then B will result.”  The PC platform is built on the premise of “Job cuts (A) will result in Job creation (B)”, and the “sales pitch” was cutting 100,000 jobs will end up creation 1 million new jobs.

Whether the “math” was bad or not was irrelevant.  The communication failed primarily because the LOGICIAL RELATIONSHIP between A and B was never clearly presented.  How does -100,000 public sector jobs = +1,000,000 private sector new jobs?   As a result, the message never hit home.

As an aside, 99% of sermons I hear in churches contain this relationship: “If we do A, then God will do B”.   Pastors will do well to take time to think this through and ask how one leads to the other.

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I have shared with some of you that I am working on a book on how my journey with depression has changed me and given me a new faith.  So far it has been a truly rewarding process working with my friend and therapist of many years.  She (who is a writer herself)  encouraged me to write the book as an encouragement and inspiration to others who may be sharing the dark roads of depression.  Since late last year I have been writing, and sending her chapter after chapter for comments and feedback as soon as I finished writing one.   The book is tentatively titled “All Things New”, and I am hoping to have it ready mid to late Summer.   Right now I am hoping to have a small, intimate acoustic concert to celebrate its release.  So stay tuned :-)

Today as I was going through some old files, I stumbled upon an absolute treasure.  It was another book that I had written 10 years ago!!  It was never published or released.  None of the material was ever put out even on my blog.  It was a collection of reflections that I wrote during a period of time when I began to question and doubt many of the “traditional” views and beliefs handed down to me as a Christian.  I wrote about questions that I was wrestling with, things that I was not “allowed” to voice because I was a pastor.  After it was written, we began the process of adopting Taylor, our first daughter, and then life just… took over.  The book sat in my files, never saw the light for the next 10 years.  It never had a single reader, until today.

When I read it again today, it felt like it was written as a gift to myself, 10 years into the future.   It’s hard to put into words how I felt reading the book, it was like in the movies when you travel back in time and have a conversation with yourself 10 years younger.  The wonderful thing about reading this old book was that I discovered who I am today didn’t just happened overnight.  The views that I hold, the way I approach faith, the person that I am today is a result of a long growing process that started with some of the questions that I wrote about in that first book.  It further confirmed my view that life is indeed a continuous story, with one page leading to the next.

So, I have just found myself my second writing project:  I will take that first book, and for each chapter I will write an update/reflection, written by me, 10 years after.  It will be such an interesting writing experience.  I can’t wait to start! :-)

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For my friend

March 30, 2014

20 years ago, when I was going through a painful time in my life, I decided to run my first marathon.  I wasn’t really a runner, I just needed to prove to myself that I can conquer anything that I set my mind to.   I was determined to look the 42.195 km course in [...]

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The golf clap

February 20, 2014

I have always hated the “golf clap”. You know, the one where you gently tap the palm of one hand with the fingers of another…so named because apparently some dude made up a rule that says it is not polite or “cultured” to clap loudly on a country club golf course, even when one is [...]

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A lesson in homophobia

January 17, 2014

A few weeks ago I went out to lunch with 3 other good friends.  Four of us, 2 guys and 2 girls chatted up a storm like we normal do.  I can’t remember exactly how, but in one of the playful turns in our conversation, I made a verbal jab at the other guy, pretending [...]

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Prayers Needed This Weekend!

January 3, 2014

Hi friends! This weekend I am looking forward to speaking and singing at a retreat to a gathering of young volunteers for Across U-Hub.  I was invited to speak on the theme of creativity and volunteering.  Which are two ideas that I am absolutely passionate about.  Last couple of days, however, I have come down [...]

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Thanks Everyone!!!

December 15, 2013

We had an awesome time on Saturday night!  Despite the snow and the cold, many of you battled the weather and came out for the show.   Even though it was a smaller, more intimate show, it took a small army of people to make it happen.  Thanks to Design Girl Sarah for the beautiful poster, [...]

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Let there be…

November 28, 2013

“Let there be light!” I have always LOVED these words from the opening pages of the Bible, where God created the world.  I LOVE the way the Bible described how He did it.  We are told that God created with words.  He spoke, and He created… I believe that which sets us apart from other [...]

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Upcoming Show! Inviting you to “Taking it easy…”

November 21, 2013

Hey everyone! I would like to invite you all to a Cantonese speaking concert I will be putting on with my friends on December 14 (Saturday).  The concert will be at the Richmond Hill Free Methodist Church.  Here is the link to the Facebook event page that the church has created:!/events/760627823963340/ For those who [...]

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Looking ahead…

November 2, 2013

Last Sunday, I spoke at a good friend’s church.  The congregation was exceedingly kind and gracious and the message was well received.  After I spoke in the second service my good friend who was the pastor got up and said, “We are so thankful to have Alfred in our midst this morning.  Over the past [...]

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