Why girls enjoy a good crafternoon

Just caught up with a dear friend in Sydney and she had me in stitches – telling me about one of her latest joys – a crafternoon.


Apparently, a flamboyant and creative musician used this title to describe an afternoon of craft. In this case my friend and a bunch of her girlfriends get together an enjoy each other’s company as they do their own craft projects.

They drink and eat and talk and laugh and do their craft. (I’ll resist a joke about what cheese they eat.)

I personally love the name crafternoon – because as you know I love creative words and expressions. This word is a blend – combining two words that fit well together – one blends into the next – crafternoon.


I see from an internet search that the expression has been used before – but today was the first time I’d heard it and  I think it’s very clever.

The expression is very Phil Dunphy from Modern Family – but as I recall Phil used to tease Claire about her interest in craft in making things like a comb sheath!

I’ve never been into craft. Probably the nearest thing was making model airplanes as a kid – but that was blokey war stuff – not craft.

Still, I appreciate the joy and relaxation and satisfaction other people get from craft.

My friend proudly showed me her beading. She also cracked me up with a story about the creativity of one of  the crafternoon members in “qualifying” to be part of  a group.

She said she’d come along and paint – and paint she did – her nails!


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How you can make sure you don’t twitter when intoxicated

Twitter and alcohol do not mix. Sure you may think you are hilarious sending off the tiddly tweet – but chances are, in the morning you’ll regret it.

You can save yourself the embarrassment of the intoxicated tweet – by installing a “safety catch” on twitter and other social media (like Facebook).

At certain times – like after 9 p.m. on a Friday night, you have to pass a sobriety test before being able to send social media messages.

Sobriety tests include writing the alphabet backwards and moving the cursor in a designated pattern.

This sobriety technology  has been around for a couple of years – yet I bet most people don’t use it.

Do you use this sort of device?

Would you consider using it?

What other sobriety tests could be used?

drunk twitter bird.001

I found this image on Google Images of what looks like a drunken twitter bird – but I can’t say for sure what it’s all about – either I’ve had too much to drink – or the website is in a foreign language that me no speakie!

With Twitter we have to  be under the 140 character limit – maybe we should also be under the alcohol limit!

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Why Phil Dunphy is brilliant at teaching – why there is method in his DAD-ness

How Phil Dunphy can help you teach others and help YOU remember things


Here’s why Phil Dunphy’s way of teaching others is brilliant and effective – and how you can benefit from his style!

Even if you don’t like the “cool dad” Phil Dunphy character from Modern Family – you can learn from his effective and memorable simplicity.

I know Phil is a “fictional character”  and I believe he is a brilliantly written character with a solid foundation of truth about how certain male minds work.


What inspired this post?

I’ve been trying to help my mother-in-law set up a printer and it reminded me of how Phil explains things in a “childlike” way. His “simple  song-rhyme memory device” works to help HIM remember – but it annoys the Pritchetts – Father-in-law Jay and wife Claire.

Phil’s simple rhyme is:

“The computer and the printer must  talk, talk talk –   Command P makes the picture  walk, walk, walk!”

Here is a link to a youtube clip about the printer

What YOU can learn from this:

What made me laugh is that I use the same words and a similar style in my corporate training and in teaching my 8-year-old son Orlando.

In my “serious and grown-up”  role as a Corporate trainer and consultant, I’m often called in to help highly successful senior executives with “private” sessions to help improve certain areas.

For example, I work with very talented people who have the “gift of the gab”. They have excelled in certain areas and have managed to “cover up” other challenges – such as spelling.

In the past senior people would often have assistants to act as “buffers” to correct spelling and fix up the executive writing. However, now many executives need to write e-mails (without the assistant filter) and many execs are self-conscious about their spelling.

I’ll often help execs improve their spelling and one of my simple memory devices (that I remember from school) is

“When two vowels go walking – the first one does the talking

This does not apply in all vowel combinations – but it does in these examples:



O and A – make the sound of the first letter – the name of the first letter – the long O.

The first vowel does the “talking”. The A helps the O make the O sound but you don’t pronounce the A!

When E and A go walking the E does the talking


“When two vowels go walking – the first one does the talking

You see  why I chuckled at the similarity to:

The computer and the printer must  talk, talk talk  –   Command P makes the picture  walk, walk, walk!”

Also, do YOU know the difference between DISCRETE and  DISCREET?

I also help execs remember (visually) how to spell certain words that sound the same but have different meanings.

For example: DISCRETE and DISCREET.

Once again, I use a simple and highly effective “child-like” memory device that has helped me remember and also helps these senior execs.

The technique:

Look at the EEs

In discrEtE – the Es are divided and separated  – as into two DISCRETE  categories.

In discrEEt – the 2 Es are getting together and whispering to each other – they are being DISCREET.

Let me assure you – even if you are shaking your head (Jay-style at this child-like simplicity) this technique WORKS! It’s visual – it’s memorable!

I hope some of you use this memory device to pass on the technique either to your work colleagues or to your kids.

Speaking of kids, I used a very similar Phil-rhyme to teach my son a valuable lesson a “man” must learn – how to use a screw diver and spanner.

We were making a model car and I taught him how to use a screw driver to loosen and tighten screws.

Son, remember: “Turn to the Left to Loosen.


And… to the right, right, right – makes it tight, tight, tight!”

That’s why I laughed – the simple song is very similar to:

Command P made the picture  walk,walk, walk!

My son loves Phil from Modern Family too – and he will always remember my Phil-style instructional song.

Plus – the best thing – he thinks I’m a cool dad!

I am a serious lawyer by training – and if you still do not accept my argument that Phil’s teaching style can be very effective – we may have to settle this IN COURT – the FOOD COURT! (another great Phil line!)

So who is writing this?

Hi, I’m Tony Biancotti  – a lawyer turned journalist turned communication trainer and consultant.

I’m a massive fan of Modern Family (as you can probably tell) and one of my strengths (I’m told) is being a “COOL DAD” and even a “COOL CORPORATE CONSULTANT”. Senior and serious execs tell me this fun style does work for them.

If  you want to learn important business communication lessons – in a fun and memorable way – I can help.

If you are more like non-nonsense Jay Prichett and don’t like the Phil style – I can do “straight and serious” too if that’s what you prefer.

I live in Brisbane, Australia and you can contact me on tonybiancotti@ozemail.com.au

If you enjoyed this Phil-inspired post – here’s another one about a “crunchy surprise”.


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Q: Why did Coldplay’s Chris Martin cross the road?

A: To be nice to the chicken. (certainly not to eat the chicken)


Here’s what an AC/DC fan thought of a Coldplay concert:


Last night my wife took our son Orlando and me to the Coldplay concert in Brisbane (early Christmas presents for us!). Coldplay was my son’s first “grown up” concert.

Coldplay is NOT my favourite band – but this was a wonderful night – once I got over my AC/DC attitude and relaxed and just enjoyed the night!

At first the show with its bright fluorescent colours, big colourful inflated balls, and inoffensive and safe atmosphere reminded me of somewhere else I used to take my son when he was young – SOFTPLAY.

Softplay is a fun place for kids  – a place without any sharp edges or danger. Everything is colourful yet padded. Kids can jump around and even fall – but it’s safe.

COLOURFUL and FUN yet SAFE – a bit like Coldplay.

A few years back I fulfilled a life-long ambition to go to an AC/DC concert. Now that did not feel safe – the crowd seemed dangerous, the music seemed loud and angry.  The concert even smelt seedy. I’m sure the fireworks were actually safe – but it looked like you could get hurt.The band and the crowd were not PRETTY. I loved it!

Last night – I loved the Coldplay experience but for very different reasons. The show was beautiful – the production was beautiful. I enjoyed seeing my son’s face light up with joy at the fireworks and the big inflatable balls and the colourful confetti that rained down in a shower of sweetness.

The crowd seemed “nice” and safe – not that there’s anything wrong with that! The people on both sides of us were very friendly and chatty.

The show was spectacular and sometimes SAFE should not be a dirty word especially if you are taking your kid to his first concert.

As I watched the show’s fireworks, they reminded me of how gunpowder can be dangerous and used to destroy OR it can be turned into safe  and pretty pyrotechnics.  Coldplay music has power and it has energy – but it’s safe and controlled and dare I say “cleverly calculated”. To me Coldplay is more pretty pyrotechnics than a weapon or a bomb or a demolition charge trying to shake things up. Sometimes you just want to watch some pretty pyrotechnics and go “aaaaaawwwwwww!” and “wow!”

If I want something more “dangerous” and explosive I’ll listen to  my Acca Dacca – T.N.T.  “I’m a fire load – Watch me explooooooooooooooooode!” (but I digress! Back to Coldplay!)

My wife Monique  (like many but not all of my female friends) absolutely adores Chris Martin. Monique loves that he is so sensitive and evolved and respectful and yet “good-looking”. She loves his dress sense and his “look” – and the way he cares for the world. (Thanks Chris  – for setting such a high standard to what the modern man should be like!!)

My wife Monique loving seeing Coldplay!

 Here’s my view on Chris Martin:

In my opinion even when Chris Martin says the F word (which he did in the concert) it still sounds NICE – like an enthusiastic schoolboy using the word as an intensifier – “That was F’n Amazing!”

When he says it comes across as effusive rather than offensive.

Chris Martin has a stage move where he twirls around like Jim Morrison from the Doors – yet the two performers are at opposite ends of the spectrum.  To me Morrison was full of menace and out of control  – Martin seems full of de-sexualized (nice, safe) joy and he seems such a professional and controlled performer. My female friends may disagree – but that’s my impression.

I was so impressed by Chris Martin’s vocals AND his piano playing. His voice is beautiful is playing is elegant and beautiful. He writes beautiful melodies. He makes intelligent choices like throwing in a bit of Powderfinger for the Brisbane crowd. He was performing solo piano/vocals when he threw in some of “My Happiness” so it was an easy bit of  including a local musical reference for the Brisbane audience.

I know many of my musician friends find Coldplay bland. I wouldn’t call Coldplay bland. They are full of flavour – even if that main flavor is sweetness. Sometimes you want hot and spicy – sometimes you want sweet.

Sometimes it’s OK (even for an AC/DC fan) to appreciate colour and beauty and surrender to the sweetness.

I will have a wonderful lasting impression of the night  – throwing my arms around my wife and son (like rugby players singing their national anthem.) and singing along at the tops of our voices to Coldplay’s beautiful anthems.

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Why does the grass always seem greener?

Why does the grass always seem greener on the other side?


Why does the other side of the street always look cooler than the side you are on?


Does this happen to you?


Thought of this today – just hanging out in West End, Brisbane!


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How to spread your message – Gangnam Style – Communication lessons from the world-wide sensation

Even if you are sick of Gangnam Style – you can still learn valuable lessons from it on how to spread your message.

1. Appeal to Vision  – our dominant sense

If you just heard this song (the sound of the song) – it wouldn’t be as appealing. It is the visuals – the funny dance moves – that make the song stand out and hook our attention. Hook the eye and the heart will follow.

2. Use Contrast and Novelty . Seeing good-looking dancers dancing well in videos is so common, it rarely gets attention – unless the dancing is incredibly good.  Seeing this no-so-attractive (not so star-like) performer dancing is unusual and novel and there is contrast in what we expect from videos and what we see in this one.

Also, remember Susan Boyle singing? – the not-so-beautiful middle-aged singer with the beautiful voice. Once again, seeing good-looking, slick performers singing well is not unusual. It was the contrast between what we expected (from the initial visual impression of her) and the beautiful voice we heard that enthralled audiences and made them want to watch and share the video of her performing.

3Be Original – the first to do something. It was original for the mainstream audience. Apparently, PSY has done dances like this before – but for the wider, mainstream audience his moves seemed original – people hadn’t seen the moves before.

4. Make your “moves” easy to duplicate – the appeal of the dance is that it is relatively easy to copy.

5, Make your “moves” fun to do. The silly dance is not just easy, it’s fun to do and fun to watch.

6Move fast – before it gets over-exposed and people get sick of it!

So how can you use these “lessons” to spread you message?


Let’s just say you want to spread a message about sun safety – with summer approaching in Australia. Sun safety is important – but often serious and not FUN.

Make it visual, fun, easy to duplicate and use contrast and novelty.

Something just off the top of my head:

Use video in an engaging way that hooks the eye. Imagine a big sombrero (very unglamorous – one of those cheap floppy straw ones) seen from above. You don’t know who is under it – then reveal  a famous (preferably cool) sporting hero or heroine who takes sun safety seriously.

Then with another reveal – a young celebrity (young people are not usually as concerned about their sun protection)  This is the contrast and novelty – unusual images e.g. big sombrero on top of a helmet of a “tough” bikie type – or on a serious police officer directing traffic (the contrast between the silliness of the sombrero and the seriousness of the wearer – you could always dissolve to the proper hat they should be wearing!)

Sombreros against iconic Australian scenery – usually you don’t seen sombreros in Australia – except at sporting events like the cricket!

Set up a social media site and encourage people to send/share their own images of them in big, cheap sombreros – cheap and easy for people to duplicate.

Encourage people (through competitions) to create their own fun slogans and maybe even fun “dance moves” for sun safety.

Imagine applying sunscreen – Macarena style!

There’s something fun about sombreros!

Make it fun and easy to spread! The message – not just the sunscreen!

Anyway, that’s just a quick example. I must go – and practice my Gangnam style moves!

Hi, I’m Tony Biancotti and I can help you hook attention with lots of tips from everyday life for hooking attention in everyday situations.

I can share with you practical and easy-to-apply tips I’ve gathered over many years working as a:

  • TV journalist
  • political speechwriter
  • lawyer
  • blogger
  • musician and performer
  • coach and trainer in persuasionpositive messagespresenting and better e-mail and business writing.

I’m also a very busy dad and husband juggling my work and travel with family life and our two wonderful kids – Orlando and Cleo.

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Persuasion and Spin tips – lessons you can learn from the Queensland Budget

OK this post is more serious than sweet – more salt than sugar –  my more analytical rather than arty side – but this week as I hear all the Budget news, I’m in a more serious headspace.  Been glued to AM radio.

Budgets are dramatic times and the Queensland budget this week has been a battle of words to defend or to attack the current cuts.

As a positive and persuasive message  trainer and coach, I’ll share with you the little language tricks governments (and those opposing them) use to further their positions. I am no longer a political spin doctor but I learned many of these tricks in politics. My aim is to make you aware of the many tricks from just tweaking words and tense – to empower you to be aware how tweaking language can “spin” a particular angle you want.

Tony Biancotti – positive, persuasive messages

Government spokespeople would have prepared and practised their messages – crafting messages by harnessing the power of:

1.word choice (longer words and nouns)

2. tense (future)

3. positive words and repetition to “spin” their message.

1. word choice – the longer and fancier the word – the more “considered” and “softer” it sounds.


Governments and bureaucracies will use longer, fancier words and often more static nouns rather than action words (verbs). Words that end in –ion and –ment (forming nouns) are very popular and sound bureaucratic, official and dispassionate.

Words such as re-deployment, rationalisation, transition.

Those opposing the government (the Opposition and Unions) will use short, sharp and dramatic words – often verbs to highlight action and drama. These words also are more emotional.

Words such as: axe, slash, cut, sack.

Even nouns can be short, sharp and more dramatic words – the sack, the axe. sackings, axings, cuts

The media reporting on the drama will also use these emotive and short action words to capture the attention of their audience.

2. Tense – The Government will be future focussed on what they plan for the outcome of the cuts will be: future tense

Those opposing the government cuts will focus on what is happening now – the more immediate drama and effect.

3. Repeating positive words

Cuts and job losses are negative. A surplus is positive.

Governments will find positive words/ positive angles and keep repeating those positive words.

Just look at Campbell Newman’s comment on the ABC – look for the future focus and the repetition of positive language – surplus.  The words in parenthesis (for the future) are mine – highlighting the future action and focus.

CAMPBELL NEWMAN: Our objective (for the future) is to get the budget back into surplus. And in the 2014/2015 financial year (the future), for the first time in nine years, there will be a fiscal surplus in Queensland (in the future) – a true surplus of over $600 million, which means for the first time in nine years we won’t (in the future) be borrowing to keep the lights on.

This analysis is not making light of the suffering of the 14 thousand who have lost or will lose their jobs.

The aim is to empower you to be aware of how tweaking words can spin a message.

That reminds me of another old trick – always start off with a higher number (e.g. 20 thousand job losses) so when you announce the “real” number 14 thousand  –  you can say well it could have been worse!

Other tricks are the use of metaphor and analogy – subject for a future post!

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