Monthly Archives: June 2012

What Do People Hear? 7 Tips to Say It

It’s not what we say but rather what people hear.  And I love this picture for showing us the power of non-verbal communication.  Both this little girl and delightful dog are communicating with not a word between them.  But they know what they both are saying . . . “I see you and I care about you”.

What people hear – not the words said – is what makes communication so challenging.  How often we find ourselves saying “But I told him!”  And then he says “But that’s not what I heard!”  Sounds familiar?!  But how do we fine-tune those communication skills?

So here’s the answer . . . use language (verbal or non-verbal) that accurately conveys what you want the other person to hear and understand.  Sounds simple but it actually takes self-awareness, empathy and on-going practice to develop these strong and effective communication skills.  The benefit? You will find that you will be less stressed, more focused and able to minimize unnecessary work when interpersonal communication is flowing smoothly.

7 Tips to Use Your Words More Effectively

Here are some ideas that I introduce in my communication workshops that can work very well for structuring positive, powerful communication.  Now go ahead and  add your own – you have learned and know what works best for you.

  1. Use Phrases That Subtly Open Up Options
  2. Use Phrases That Emphasize Commonality
  3. Use the Word “We” Rather Than “You”
  4. Chose Words That Normalize Issues & Concerns
  5. Avoid Phrases That Escalate or Dramatize the Issue
  6. Avoid Phrases That Back Someone in the Corner
  7. Watch Yourself:  Be Aware of Automatic Thoughts & Distorted Thinking

And More Ideas . . . 

Here is the icing on the cake . . . time proven tips that participants in my recent workshop “Communication That Builds Bridges” sent me just last week.

  • Always start with a smile
  • Use “and” instead of “but”
  • Look for the right time and place to talk
  • Know your desired outcome
  • Appreciate the other person’s perspective & opinion
  • Always use professional courtesy (please & thank you)
  • Slow Down!

Bottom line is taking the time to think before you speak; while you’re speaking and after you speak.  Let me know how it is working for you and how I can help you fine tune these valuable professional skills.

Posted in And a Bit More, Career Tips & Strategies, Communication Tips, Inspirational Leadership, Personal Development, Your Time & Energy | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dogs Sit in the Front Row of Life

I had to look twice!  It was early evening on a beautiful warm night in Greece.  And here are two doggie pals sitting together on the tin roof of a house along the main street of Amadaoli, Crete. Would they slide off?  Nope.

They were perfectly content to watch the action down below on the street and when something really exciting happened (like their Greek Orthodox priest owner coming home) they would dash down to the first floor barking wildly to greet him.  After taking care of that task, they would scurry back up to the roof to take their front row seat again and resume watching the tourists, party-goers and Global Volunteers (that’s us) returning home from our day of work.  It was the best seat in the house – they didn’t miss anything and were right in the middle of the action.  Why don’t we all do that?

It’s Simply a Habit – Hiding in the Back Row

Every evening they were there . . . and I had to think they certainly had the right idea.  They were positioning themselves to be right in on the action.  Sitting in the front seat of life not hiding in the back row.  How often do we figuratively sit in the back and avoid being front and center.  We find lots of reasons to do that . . . it’s our personality; the situation isn’t right; it’s too risky, etc.  But it’s actually simply habit.  We simply go to that comfort zone and default to pushing the “No, I don’t think so” button over and over again.

But what does that get us?  Not very far and probably a bit bored.  Yes, it’s comfortable and there are no surprises.  And that’s the problem . . . it’s very, very comfortable and there are no changes, challenges or opportunities to stretch our wings.

How’s It Working For You? 

Sitting in the back row of life may have worked just fine for you over these last few years.  But is it working now?  Is it getting you to where you want to be next?  For many of us, that answer would probably be no.  So I encourage you to move up a row or two – stretch that comfort zone until you’re sitting in the front seat of life like the doggie pals sitting on the roof.  And I bet they are still there too!

Posted in And a Bit More, Career Tips & Strategies, Global Training & Coaching, Inspirational Leadership, Navigating Change, Personal Development, Your Time & Energy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Push That “Yes” Button!

It was a small boat in a small town on the eastern shore of Crete. The winds were up and the water was rough. The regular tourist boats were closed due to the May 1st holiday but our taxi cab driver (in a pink tie & driving a Mercedes) had a “friend” who had a boat to ferry people out to the famous island of Spinalogue, an old leper colony and one time prison.

Did we want to go?  My adventurous twin sister, Diane, said “of course” as I was still contemplating a cappuccino in a cozy tavern on the shore.  But that’s Diane . . . she has always been the one to push the “Yes” button before me.  And I’m so glad she does! We’ve had the best experiences over the years including on this special holiday seeing this piece of history from the sparkling blue waters off Crete.

One of our wonderful Canadian team members, Sheila Davis, embraced this idea and became our inspiration.  She is more fun, full of life and certainly is willing to say “yes” to anything anywhere.  I’ll travel with her anytime!

Saying “No” Becomes a Boring Habit

It’s interesting how easy it is to get in the habit of just saying “No” to new things especially when they change up our normal daily routines or stretch our cozy comfort zones.  We are quick to think of why it’s not a good idea . . . and much slower to think why it may be a good (even great) idea.  It actually becomes a habit – saying no before we even really think about it.

But what does that kind of automatic response do for us?  Not much.  Sure, life rolls on very safe, comfortable and (dare I say) a tad bit boring.  And we can find ourselves saying afterwards “Gee, I wish I had done that”.  But we can if we get out of our own way and let those adventures in.

Building Your Resiliency Skills & Your Career

Challenging yourself to stretch, grow and learn benefits not only you personally (you’re much more interesting) but also your career.  By using those adaptive, change muscles regularly you will be pleasantly surprised how much more resilient you are during times of significant change.  You have that inner confidence and knowledge that you can be flexible, creative and adaptable.  It actually very empowering – a real boost.

Make “Yes” Your Default Button 

So my challenge to you is to make “Yes” your default button.  Yes, default to yes as often as you can.  It will take some practice to say “yes” first to new opportunities unless you can think of some really good reasons to say “no”.  Now I’m not saying to do anything so wild and crazy that it’s foolish or unsafe.  I’m talking about just adding a bit of spice and adventure to your life.  Let me know how you do and then we can plan our next great adventure!

Posted in And a Bit More, Career Tips & Strategies, Global Training & Coaching, Inspirational Leadership, Navigating Change, Personal Development, Your Time & Energy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clarifying What Really Makes “You” Happy

The recent research in the science of happiness is intriguing. And it confirms what we were learning in our work in Crete – that true happiness doesn’t just come from those wild moments of high excitement but rather from the slower steady pace of a daily life engaged in a higher purpose that has real meaning to you. And that “meaningful purpose” is unique for each person.

In his recent book, Delivering Happiness, Tony Hsieh writes about the power of happiness in both creating successful businesses and successful personal lives. He describes three types of happiness:

  • Pleasure – the “high” of doing something
  • Passion – being in the “flow” with peak performance & peak engagement
  • Purpose – being part of something bigger & with personal meaning

The research shows us that all three kinds of happiness are good, especially woven together in our daily lives. But the research also helps us remember that happiness drawn from Pleasure dissipates very quickly, happiness from Passion lasts a bit longer but is still temporary and the happiness from Purpose is the longest lasting and most sustainable. So what really makes you happy?

Posted in Kit's Tips | Leave a comment

Delivering Happiness

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, by Tony Hsieh, 2010.

A number of people had recommended Tony Hsieh’s book for not only its story about the incredible business success of Zappos, an online retailer giant, but also Hsieh’s perspective on the powerful role of “happiness” in business success.

It was intriguing to learn how Hsieh, as CEO of Zappos, led the effort to intentionally weave in “happiness” into the Zappos corporate culture. The Zappos vision and purpose became: “Zappos is about delivering happiness to the world”. The result? Zappos was worth $1.2 billion when it was acquired by in 2009 – just 10 years after Hsieh joined the company. And make sure to check out the last chapter, “End Game”, which challenges all of us to figure out for ourselves what can truly bring us genuine happiness – you might be surprised!

Posted in Kit's Resources & Book Reviews | Leave a comment