The Right to Speak Freely

by | Dec 21, 2020

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Want to improve your social standing? Here’s some advice from an unlikely source.

When you think of a federal agent, the word “friendly” might not come to mind. Respected, responsible, brave—sure. But friendly? 

According to, government agents are very good at getting a response from people without having a door slammed in their face. So how can you apply their people skills to your job? 

First, use the right language. If you are part of a sensitive conversation, be careful how you respond. Avoid saying “Ok, but…” The word “but” invalidates what the other person is saying. Instead, make it clear you understand where they’re coming from and offer input. 

Another tip—remember names. People feel good when addressed by their name. But don’t overdo it, once or twice in a conversation is good. Otherwise, it sounds like you are trying too hard. 

For more tips from the pros, plus how to make them work in everyday life, got to You might not have the badge, but you can have the power.

Brian Banmiller

About Brian

CBS News Radio national business journalist Brian Banmiller has spent more than 40 years in the news industry, covering business, politics and the economy on television, radio and in print. Currently, his “Banmiller on Business” reports are delivered to an audience of millions nationwide.

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Brian's diverse experience and unique perspectives combine with his pleasant and personal manner to engage audiences on many levels. From his days as an Air Force squadron commander to his long career as a business journalist, commentator and public speaker, Brian's approach to speaking and presentation is thought-provoking, inspirational and creative.

"The Technology Tornado: Media & Communications in the Modern Era"

See highlights from Brian's recent Ernst & Young "Continuing Education Conference" speech and hear directly from conference attendees.

Phoenix Convention Center
August 28th, 2019

Additional speech samples / videos are available upon request. Contact Brian to learn more.