7 Ways To Set Goals You Will Actually Keep: Part 1

It is resolution season! According to Wikipedia, a New Year's Resolution is a promise to either start doing something good or stop doing something bad beginning the first of the year

A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, despite the fact that 52% of the study's participants were confident of success at the beginning. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, (a system where small measurable goals are being set; such as, a pound a week, instead of saying "lose weight"), while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends. source

So how can you bet the odds and actually keep your resolutions? In this two part blog post series, you'll get practical advice that works!


Introverts: 4 Things You Need To Know About Them

I write weekly for the Asmithblog.com. Here is a post I hope you will find helpful.

I didn't know I was married to an introvert. How do you communicate with an introvert if you are not one? It is simple. It starts with respect.

DISCLAIMER: This is not meant to be an exhaustive look at the communication practices of introverts.They are studies about that. Rather, this is designed to give you practical knowledge into how to connect with the introverts in your life.

Before we dive into the meat and potatoes, let's whet our appetite with some definitions and clarity.

Introversion is a psychological term used to classify personality.  Attributed to Carl Jung, introversion's technical definition, as made famous by the Myers-Brigg personality assessment, simply means one focuses on the inner world stimulation versus the outer world.

"People who are introverted tend to be inward turning, or focused more on internal thoughts, feelings and moods rather than seeking out external stimulation." Introverts get their energy and are recharged from spending time with their thoughts." (1)

In the early years of my marriage I didn't know my husband was introverted. The signs were there; I just didn't see them. I thought because he was popular, outspoken, and got along with just about everyone, he was naturally an extrovert like me. But, the real differences came to light every Friday night.

Read the full post here


6 Communication Skills You Need To Get Promoted

I contribute weekly to the Asmithblog.com. Here is a post that I am sure you'll enjoy.

Frank was a hard worker at this company. A new position opened up and Frank thought he'd be perfect for the job. He'd been with the company for 15 years. He constantly met and exceeding his job expectations. He'd won numerous performance awards. He was assertive and efficient. He thought he had a good shot at getting promoted.

He applied. He waited. Finally the announcement for the new manager was made and Frank's name was not called.

Frank was furious. He was certain his record was better than all the candidates. After work, with his supervisor who was also his friend, Frank decided to be bold and ask why didn't he get the job. His friend slumped his shoulders and said, "Honestly, Frank you do a great job. But your people skills suck! You would be horrible as a leader. You serve us best doing exactly what you are doing."

You can be really good at doing your job but that does not mean you will be promoted. When companies are looking for leaders they need people who are can rally people, lead people, and solve problems caused by people.

Read the full post here.


Why We Don't Give Compliments

I write weekly for Asmithblog. Here is a post I hope you'll find helpful.

Good communicators know the value of being generous with their compliments of others. The word compliment is a noun with four definitions, all of which indicate we need to be giving away more of them:

*An expression of praise, commendation, or admiration.

*A formal act or expression of civility, respect, or regard.

*A courteous greeting; good wishes; regards.

*A gift; present.

A few myths may be standing in our way.

Myth:  Recipients will get big heads.

Truth: Their egos are already inflated.

We fear that telling someone how good they are at something will somehow turn him or her into an egomaniac. In truth, if someone is an egomaniac, he or she probably got there without your help. Good communicators practice what is right regardless of the circumstances. In fact, withholding a well-deserved compliment is a sign of egomania. We need to change focus. Complimenting others reduces the risk that the giver will become self-centered. If someone is an egomaniac, does that negate the fact that he or she did something right or possesses other admirable skills and qualities?

Read the full post here


The Most Important Skill You Are NOT Using!

I write weekly for asmithblog.com. Here is a post I hope you'll find helpful.

  • Less than 2% of the world’s population has ever had any formal training in this skill.
  • 64% of workplaces offer training in this skill because they find their employees are sufficiently lacking it.
  • It has been identified as the top skill employers seek in entry level candidates and for promotability.
  • Even though students spend most of their day doing it, this skill training is not required in university education.
  • 77% of doctors do it incorrectly.

So what is this skill that so many of us are paying no attention to?


What can we do about it?

Read the full post here


List Your Triumphs Before You List Your Resolutions

photo credit: seeveeaar via photopin cc

It is the end of the season, and resolution time will soon be upon us. As we look to the next year, we want to be successful.

But the one thing that irks me about resolution time?

We make resolution based on our past failures. We didn't do something we should have last year so we resolve to do better next year. We enter the new season full of guilt. Guilty, ashamed, or embarrassed about a failure.

Well no wonder most people fail in their resolutions! It is depressing.

I am going to challenge you with the same assignment I give clients, which I am also going to do myself.


What A Conversation About My Butt Taught Me About Communicating With Family

I blog a lot about the ways we can improve our communication at work, because frankly, most of my clients come to me for work related issues. But I am just as effective in family and friend related issue too. 

As we are spend more time with our family and friends this time of the year, I wanted to give you a little #holidayhelp on communicating with close family and friends. 

I learned a very important lesson through a conversation about my butt. Don't worry this post is G rated. 


You Are Good At What You Do: That's Your Problem!

You are good at what you do. That is your biggest problem!

If you are an entrepreneur, a contractor, or go to authority on your job, being good at what you do could be your biggest communication problem.

Of course I am not advocating being incompetent. We should all strive to be good at our jobs; to improve our craft, art, or business. But we have to be cautious of one thing in doing so.


Being Busy: Is It Really A Brag Disguised As A Complaint?

As a blogger on communication skills that build leadership and deepen our connections with people, I want to deepen my relationship with you my blog readers. 

Therefore, I am going to try something new on the blog. It is called #BRAVETalk. It is a comment challenge where I ask a question, present a point of view, or share an idea and you tell me your thoughts on it. There are no right or wrong answers. I just want to stir up an intellectual conversation with my community. 

What's in it for you? In a word, practice.

Our #BraveTalk conversations are a perfect way for you to use and practice several transferable communication skills.

1. Writing. If you have a job, you are asked to write. Being able to clearly deliver your opinions in a organized fashion is a key leadership and communication skill.

2. Listening. Yes, you can practice listening online. Others will comment with their opinions. This is a great, non threatening way to practice reflective listening and paraphrasing skills.

3. Feedback. Feedback is part of life. These conversations will help you practice giving and receiving feedback. I encourage you to comment on others point of views.

4. Respect for others. Others may not have the same opinion and if you have ever been caught up in or witnessed an online argument where participants call each other names, curse, or defame one another, it can be enough to just stay silent. But that will not happen here. These conversations will not only help expand your understanding of others but enable you to show respect while still remaining true to yourself.

5. Community. We all desire to be in deep community with like minded individuals. Well how can I know your mind if you don't ever share it. You'll see you are not alone in your struggle or success. This awareness is a way to foster community here.

All of these benefits will help you become a better communicator and isn't that why I am here?

The topics or ideas will be ones that challenge a conventional way of thinking somehow. I want us to be BRAVE enough to engage in discussions that are based in respect of all opinions and encourage us to think about our responses to the status quo.

I will be using the hashtag #BRAVETalk on Facebook and Twitter to brand our discussions so you can find them. 

What's Your Responsibility?

Simple. Participate. Share. It is only good practice if we have points to read. We can't give feedback on silence so comment. Encourage others too as well. Just give your opinion.

Now that you know what's in it for you and what responsibility you have, let's get started!

1st #BraveTalk question:

Tim Kreider wrote a NY Times Blog opinion piece a while back called "The Busy Trap". In it, Kreider asserts that being busy is a self-imposed condition that we use in American society to prove our own importance. It is cleverly disguised as a complaint but in actuality we really are bragging. The author points out that being busy is essentially damaging our relationships and our contributions to the world. Being booked every minute of every day isn't good for our bodies, brains, or relationships, he says.

Have you ever been too busy to have coffee with a friend? Or does it take months of scheduling to get together with another? Has that phone call gone weeks without being returned? 

My question in our #BRAVETalk today is:

Are we addicted to being busy? Do we value being busy because it somehow proves we are important? How does being busy help or hurt our communication with others?

Leave a comment with your thoughts. And ask invite your friends to join the conversation.


5 Lies People Tell During The Holidays!

I admit I am a romantic Christmas movie junkie. The corny-ier the better. In my effort to offer you #HolidayHelp, today I talk about a common theme in many holiday movies: lying. In fact there are five lies people tell during the holidays...and after the holidays are over. 

Even if I can predict, which I usually can, every turn and twist, I still love romantic Christmas movies. My husband usually racks up major brownie points between Thanksgiving and New Year’s watching at least one a week with me. 

As a romantic Christmas movie connoisseur, I have noticed they all have similar themes:  

  • A single person makes a deal with another single person to pretend to be a couple during the holidays. 
  • A couple or family on the verge of irreversible destruction pretends to be a picture perfect couple just for the holiday.
  • Some character has a secret and keeping the secret has caused—or is causing—a rift in one or more relationships. 

It seems that people would rather lie than face the truth.

Are you one of them?

It makes for great television, but I can’t help but get emotionally drained as I watch these characters dig themselves in deeper holes as they try to cover their tracks. The plot always unravels as the characters forget the lies they told or try to live up to the lies and just can’t. 

5 Lies People Tell 


Five Fun Ways To Say Thanks!

Everyone appreciates a good, heart-felt thank you. But who says saying "thanks" has to be boring? In honor of Thanksgiving, and in my effort to offer you #HolidayHelp, here are a few fun ways you can say thank you to those in your life. Read all the #HolidayHelp posts here.


The Secret To Raising Good Listeners

*On a post I wrote about listening a few weeks ago, Lexie commented:

"Listening is not only important with our spouse and co-workers, but especially with our children. How can we teach our children to be better listeners?"

It was a great question and I started to answer in the comments. I wrote a post about how to help you kids become better communicators but never addressed listening specifically. 

After quickly reaching 500 words in the comments, I thought it might be a great follow up post. Thanks Lexie for the question and the topic idea.

The secret to raising good listeners:


Profiles In Bravery: Danise DiStasi...Teaching Leaders How To Be Relational

"ProfilesInBRAVERY" is a segment that highlights everyday people using the communication skills they have to do amazing things. The world may not know their name but their bravery and skill has changed someone's world. If you know someone who should be featured, contact me. 

Danise DiStasi
Name: Danise DiStasi

Title or position: Chief Relationship Officer

Business/Agency: DiStasi Advisors, LLC

Social media presence:
FaceBook: DiStasi Advisors, LLC
Twitter: @danised
LinkedIn: http://lnkd.in/CH3J9c

What does a Chief Relationship officer do? Why that title instead of CEO of DiStasi Advisors? What message do you want to send?

Everyone is an executive of some sort or another; executive officer, executive coach, executive strategists, etc. Yet few executives truly understand the role of Relationship Leverage Strategist. This role goes beyond networking or building relationships purely to gain notoriety or business. No matter how technology savvy we’ve become, we still long for relationships. We want to do business with people, not an on line presence. Though I prefer Chief Story Teller ;-) as the Chief Relationship Officer, I assist companies understand how they can enhance their customer relationships two ways; empowering their employees to genuinely engage with customers and develop their most loyal customers to be advocates for their business.

Describe a time when you communicated poorly and what lesson(s) you learned from it.

Unfortunately, I’ve learned the hard way in personal and professional relationships. It has been through those lessens of miscommunication that I learned to humbly go to someone, ask for forgiveness and sought to truly understand from their heart what they were communicating to me and how we can communicate better together. I think these lessons have made me a truly strong woman!

Tell us about your books Steppin Out of My Skin and The Hike.
I wrote two books; Steppin Out of My Skin and The Hike. Steppin Out of My Skin is a fictional story and was a way for me to share my heart around the racial issues in Cincinnati. It was written from a white girl's point of view to send a message that we must be intentional about building authentic relationships with those of other races. It starts with me.

The Hike is about a troubled CEO who goes on a four day hike and is transformed by the end of the journey. Each character represents some sort of personal issue; pride, fear, doubt, lust and anger. The guide who leads them on the hike takes the group through the same experience I did with our training. All of the characters experience personal transformation by the end of the hike.

Describe a time when communication was key to your success. 

In building a career in sales, I learned very early the art of building relationships based on excellent communication. And unlike most sales people, it was not based on my ability to talk but rather my ability to truly hear someone. The first time I reaped the benefits of excellent communication was when I sat in a room at Ohio State University Medical Center with Radiologists, Physicist, Managers and technologists, and listened to their wants, needs and desires. When I presented the proposal, they were all pleasantly surprised that I actually heard them. I was surprised it was such a big deal to them but quickly learned in my field, that was not normal back then. I was able to continue to build on that key to success even up to today.  

What would your peers/colleagues/employees say is your best quality? 

Trustworthiness and integrity. It is interesting that trust was one of the biggest stumbling blocks for me to build relationships with others. When I realized that and was able to break through that obstacle, it became one of the characteristics others note about me.

What quality do you need to work on? 

I am a fiery Italian and that has gotten me into trouble from an early age all the way to now.  A friend taught me how to step back, change my thought, which then can change my feeling and believe it or not…actually change my behavior. It only takes a second and it works. I am much more reflective and contemplative which I think to some people is unsettling. I truly think before I react and I am still a fiery Italian in a good, God-given passionate way!!

What is your favorite quote? 
“There is always one thing more in a person’s circumstance that we know nothing of.” Oswald Chambers

Difficult people are a part of life, how do you deal with difficult people in your life? 
I pray that God will help me understand the “one thing more in their circumstance that I know nothing of,” and to see them as He sees them. I cannot help but have a different heart. Because I know God has a purpose in our paths crossing and He will turn around what ever needs to change and mostly in me. I live by Matthew 5:23.

What new and exciting adventure do you have coming up? 

Launching my business DiStasi Advisors, LLC. I am asked to help businesses build their sales division or fix a broken one. There is such a need in the business world for people to truly understand relational selling before they can put any sales process in place. There is an art in knowing when to move from relational to transactional. I also love leadership development. Our business world lacks good leadership role models who truly have integrity and are authentic.

"ProfilesInBRAVERY" is a segment that highlights everyday people using passion, leadership and/or communication skills to do amazing things. The world may not know their name but their bravery, skill, and passion has changed someone's world. If you know someone who should be featured, contact me. 


How Assumptions Stole Christmas

Good communication doesn't require a lot of time but it does require you to be intentional. 

Continuing in my series called #HolidayHelp, I want to help prepare you for the communication issues that threaten to sabotage our holidays. 

The first post in the series examined the pressure 4 distinct phrases contributes to holiday blues. Read that post here.

Today's post is about the importance of avoiding assumptions by discussing expectations and dividing responsibilities with your spouse or significant other. 


The F Word: Why You Should Embrace It

"I am staring it the face. The F Word. It is looking at me, daring me, even to respond to it. It wants to know what I am going to do. Will I cower just like in times past? I can see a smirk curl the sides of its mouth as it figures it has already won. Like a bully on the playground, it thinks it has me beat. "Any minute now", it thinks, "she is going to run away defeated."

It is a scene from those Western movies my grandmother loved to watch. 

I am facing my opponent, at high noon, in the dusty streets with sun blaring down on us both. We expect each other to reach for our guns and draw.Then I do something that completely wipes the smug little grin from its face.

I pick up my opponent and embrace it!"

The "f" word personified here is...


4 Phrases That Will RUIN Your Holiday

I am starting a series called #HolidayHelp. I want you to have a great holiday season but there are communication issues that might prevent you from doing that. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or Muharram, it is coming. Awkward communication situations.

I won't pretend I know the ins and outs of all of the celebrations that go on during this time of year but I am fairly certain they all have one thing in common....PEOPLE. Human beings observe them and share their observance with other humans. This means communication issues are bound to arise. 

During this series, I will speak to the traditions I know. 

Today, I want to focus on the communication phrases that will ruin your holiday season. 


How Brutally Honest Is An Excuse To Be More Brutal Than Honest

You have heard the term brutally honest, right? Sometimes, I think we want to be more brutal than we want to be honest.

I recently had a fight with my husband. It started when I asked if he would be home in time for me to teach a fitness class that started at 5:30p. He said he would be home in time. The class was 15 mins away in light traffic. Earlier in the day I sent him a text reminding him that I had my class at 5:30p. He said he’d be home in time. At 4:42 he texted me saying he was on his way home. I was thrilled! It takes him 20 mins to get home. I’d have time to leave by 5:10 to make it to my class. At 5:10 he still wasn't home. 

I call him. He stopped at the store to pick up dinner. Highly irritated I asked, "Couldn't you have….” Annoyed, he cut me off with a sharp, “No I couldn’t have.”


Why You Should Leave A Comment

 photo credit: Đ…olo via photopin cc

Leaving comments on blogs, articles, and other posts helps improve your communication skills! Didn't know that did you?

I recently came across a statistic about online engagement from the Neilson Norman Group study.

It said:

90% never contribute
9% contribute every now and then
1% contribute regularly.

These numbers are applied to blogging and comments too. I was shocked that 90% of blog readers are missing out on a chance to improve their communication skills.


How to Keep your Sanity This Holiday Season

The holidays are coming. Are you ready?

Have you slowly seen the trickle of holiday shopping commercials on TV.

Are you ready?

I am not asking if you picked out the perfect gifts or if you have planned your feasts.


Are you ready for the people? Not the crowds of people but those wonderful relatives, friends, or coworkers!


Is Technology Killing Interpersonal Communication Skill?

I started reading Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology by Neil Postman, a professor and communication expert on identifying how technology changes how we communicate. Postman wrote most of his works in the late 80s and early 90s however as I am reading his views now, it as if he wrote the book yesterday.

Though Postman is accused of being a technophobe, one who fears technology, he really isn’t. He is the other voice to the technology enthusiasts. He points out one problem with technology is that while we herald it for the ways it will make our lives “better” we never stop to consider what problems it might cause. 


Profiles in BRAVERY: Tante Robinson...Putting An End to Bullying

"ProfilesInBRAVERY" is a segment that highlights everyday people using the communication skills they have to do amazing things. The world may not know their name but their bravery and skill has changed someone's world. If you know someone who should be featured, contact me. 

Tante Robinson,
Founder Girls Of Excellence Mentoring Program
Name: Tante Robinson

Title or position: Founder, Girls of Excellence Mentoring Program

Business/Agency: Girls of Excellence Mentoring Program

Online presence:

What is a misconception people have about bullying?
A lot of people think it’s just a game and that it’s not serious. People just shrug it off. But it is serious. Children kill themselves, they get depressed. They cut themselves. Words do hurt.


I Want To Be A Light Bulb

"It is not about shining so others can see you, it is about shining so others can see their beauty through you."  ~Shawne Duperon

I came across this quote on Facebook recently and fell in love. On a day when I was really examining what it will mean to take my business to the next level, I felt like my problem was that I was focusing too much on my shortcomings and flaws.

Have you ever felt like you don't have enough ____(fill in the blank)___ to help someone else? Talent? Resource? Life experience? Credentials?

In all honesty, I am a little afraid of the next level. With that level comes a certain amount of exposure that I am not sure I want. 

Understand, I want to help others. I have a heart for it and I am good at it. That isn't the issue.

My issue is one of misplaced focus. Duperon's quote helped me shift my thinking...a practice I help my clients do all the time. 


How to Beat Down Selfishness

photo credit: Profound Whatever via photopin cc
It is not about you all the time!

I know those are fighting words for a lot of us. But it is true nonetheless. We live in a self-centered, self-promoting society so much so that it is second nature to believe, either in theory or in practice, that life is all about ME.

Even if you have never said the words, “It’s all about me”, your actions probably “say it” multiple times a day.
Selfishness is so ingrained in us that we have to purposely decide NOT to act selfishly.


How To Respond To: Unwanted Friend Requests?

Courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art
With the birth of new media, comes the excitement of discovering how we can use it to benefit our lives. It also births a new set of communication challenges. How do we respond, interact and connect in healthy ways on social media?

Today, let's look at how to respond to unwanted friend requests on Facebook.

If someone sends you a Facebook friend request, you have two choices:  Confirm or not now.

You would think it would be simple enough to pick a button and keep it moving. But it can be a real headache depending on the way you use Facebook, your knowledge of how Facebook works, and let's be honest...your feelings towards that person.


Do I Provide Value?

Why is it we have a hard time detailing the steps or directions of how to do something that comes so easy to us?

Case in point: Try describing in detail how you breathe. Ready? Go!

If your like me, you'd have to stop to think about how you breathe. Where do you begin to in describing a process that happens so naturally? 

Did you know a lot people are breathing incorrectly? I didn't know that either. I just assumed that my being alive meant that I had this breathing thing under control. Not so. Breathing experts train the public on how to breathe correctly. They make Youtube videos about it that people like Chuck Norris comment on. Breathing exercises populate the web.

Our communication habits are a lot like breathing. We do them instinctively which makes it that much harder for us to see how we are doing them incorrectly.

We can be lulled into thinking that our communication habits are fine since after all no one has died as a result of them. Right? But why live on just half breaths or shallow breaths when we can tap into the restorative power of full breath.

My goal on this blog is to make you aware that your communication habits, though they have sustained you thus far, might be limiting your growth.

Communication is not about being right or wrong. It is about a valuable free flow of exchange. Like breathing, there is a way to optimize that exchange so that everyone involved gets the most value out of the interaction. 

So how can you assess if your communication habits are providing value?  

1. Ask. 
Ask the people in your circle of influence if your communication habits are helping or hindering them. This is similar to checking in and helps builds rapport and mutual community of trust.

2. Observe. 
Observe responses. Look for what they are NOT saying as well as what they are saying. Look for the outcomes. When you said that statement with that tone of voice, what was the result? Did you physically see the person tune out or shut down?

So I am going to be practicing these techniques with you today.

I need to HEAR from YOU!

I was talking to a business coach the other day. She was asking me to describe the value that I add to my clients...not the services I offer but the value that I provide. In all transparency this was a tough question to answer, not because I didn't have an answer but because it was hard to put into words. 

Like the analogy of breathing, it is hard for me to describe the value of what I do because I just... do it...but that doesn't mean I am doing it the best way I can.

She asked me:

  • What do clients walk away with after having worked with me? 
  • What problem do I solve for my clients? 
  • What pain do I alleviate?

I have an answer to these questions but I need to hear from YOU. I am much more interested in your answer than the ones I come up with. 

I have worked with some of you directly. And for others of you, I have only had the pleasure of interacting with you on my blog. Either way, I'd like your feedback. Sooo I am asking...

What is the value that my coaching, training, or blog provides to you?

If you have worked with me one on one, help me identify the value my coaching or training has provided. To help you get started here a fill in the blank:

Julia's coaching or training helped me____________so I could________________ which resulted in ____________.

If you have been a regular reader of my blog, help me identify the value my blogging has provided. To help you get started here is your fill in the blank:

Julia's blog helps me__________________________ so I can___________________ which results in_____________.

Please take the time to comment. Go back to the home page and review the Popular Post section to refresh your memory. Answer in your own words... but I need you to answer. 

We all have to take sometime to assess our inherent abilities from time to time to see how we can improve. Let me know if and how I am providing value to your life. Thanks for it!


Do You Check In?

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Do you use your phone to check in at restaurants, establishments, events?

Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, or Yelp all let you check in using your mobile GPS device. 

In our digital age, we check in to let people know where we are and what we are doing. 

We also check in to invite people to join us right now. Knowing your BFF is right the down street at the cafe makes it more likely that you'll join her in person. 

Checking in also is a way of giving a suggestion. By publicizing your check-in you are suggesting others go to the event or business to see if they like it.

Checking in has its benefits for social media and it has it benefits in person to person communication too.


How Do You Respond To: Inappropriate Comments At Work?

People say some dumb stuff sometimes, don't they? Have you ever been so shocked you were rendered absolutely speechless?

If you ever walked away and later thought, "I should have said something!"... this post is for you! How do you respond when someones makes an offensive or degrading comment?

There are times to confront it and there are times to let it go. You have to decide which time it is. Most people default to letting it go because they don't know what to say. Or they underestimate the danger of letting things fester. 

The truth is, NOT dealing with it is dangerous. By not dealing with it, you allow your imagination to exert so much energy coming up with witty comebacks, or imagining what his face would look like after you hit it, or how you are just going to avoid dealing with him all together.

Why put yourself through that when you can just respond in a way that respectfully builds bridges and sets boundaries?


How Do You Respond To: Asinine Comments About Your Parenting?

Intelligent and unintelligent people are equally capable of making asinine comments. The question isn't "if" you'll encounter one, but how do you respond to them when they come.

While perusing my Facebook feed last week, I saw this status update from a friend of mine.

 While playing at the park, I was asked the million dollar question " are they triplets?". I replied "yes, they are". She then said "that's awful". Seriously I had to walk away because I would have told her off.

We have all had someone say something really stupid, or insensitive to us. Right? How do you respond to comments like this?


Communication Tips From Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte was the first book on my summer reading list. Somehow I had never read it before and I was curious. I found myself equally frustrated and fascinated, a desirable combination I must say, with Miss Eyre and her cast of characters. 

Along with the angst and longing, the story is filled with lessons. Two of my favorites quotes provide great tips about communication. 


Listening Quotes I Love

Listening was the skill of the month for September. All month long we delved into the the why and how of listening. Addressing attitudes, using examples, and giving tips on how to become a better listener. 

Here is a recap of  the topics this month:
What listening is
Myths about listening
How to listen with your body
How listening is a way of showing respect
How poor listening could affect your health
Offered a listening quiz
Showed you how to use technology to listen
How to listen in 4 easy steps

To end our month long intensive, I wanted to share 30 quotes on listening that I love. One for each day of the month. CEOs, TV personalities, doctors, professors, researchers, and many others have seen the value of listening and commented on it. My favorites are 3, 8, 9, 19, 20, and 30 but I love them all for the different perspectives they give.

Which one is your favorite? Share in the comments


Profiles in BRAVERY: Christy Cotterman...Communication and Stress

"ProfilesInBRAVERY" is a segment that highlights everyday people using the communication skills they have to do amazing things. The world may not know their name but their bravery and skill has changed someone's world. If you know someone who should be featured, contact me

Name: Christy Cotterman

Title or position: Holistic Stress Management Practitioner

Business/Agency: Wholly Healing, LLC

Online presence

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WhollyHealing

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CCotterman32

Website: http://whollyhealingexperience.com

What does a stress management practitioner do?
I help people get to the root of emotional, spiritual, and physical roadblocks to healing and get rid of them. 

Stress, no matter the form, wreaks havoc on the body, prevents people from staying present in the moment, and creates limited belief systems that influence life, work, and family decisions. When stress is left to spiral out of control, life can become difficult to manage and have debilitating effects on the mind and body. 

Emotional healing, stress management, and a healthy, holistic lifestyle can assist the body in reversing the damage of stress. I gently guide my clients through their own healing journey to find balance and a holistic lifestyle that reduces stress and increases happiness, hope, and peace.

What is the connection between stress and communication?


The Cure For Sarcasm

Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
I had to read the article called “One Thing Your Employees Need (But Rarely Get)” because I was curious to know the answer. It didn’t surprise me to discover that employees (and might I add employers) need self-respect. 
What did surprise me was the author’s connection between sarcasm and the erosion of self-respect. We all know what sarcasm is and can generally recognize it when we hear it. Though familiar with the word, I looked it up anyway. 


Listen With Your Body

photo courtesy freedigitalphotos.com
Studies suggest that 55% of our communication is body language. Only 7% of communication are the actually words. This means that your body is speaking loudly!

Being aware of and interpreting body language is a fun and fascinating science. 

The first time I met my friend Nicki, I suspected we'd get along even though she and I were quite different. In the early stages of our friendship, we enjoyed laughs over dinner, coffee, and the kids. One day, after a particularly touching conversation, I wanted to give her a hug. We were still new to each other so I asked her. "Can I give you a hug?" She looked at me puzzled…stood up…braced herself and said "Sure."


Dr. Oz on Listening

On Dr. Oz yesterday, he had a woman on the show who regularly yelled at her rambunctious brood of boys. He tested her heart rate and blood pressure to show her how her communication style was affecting her health. He actually said, "the way you are communicating to your family is literally killing you."

In this woman's defense, she wasn't a monster of a parent. Far from it. She was just a mom with active kids who don't listen. Any parent can relate. When the kids don't listen, we raise our voices to get their attention. We get frustrated and even angry. Medically measuring her body's response to this form of communication was an eye opener for her. She was putting herself at risk for a stroke!


What to do if you offend!

This post first appeared on Adam Smith Blog.

Offending someone happens invisibly but it has very visible side effects. Practicing how not to be offended is step one. What to do when you offend another is step two. If you offend, you have the responsibility to try to reconcile. Before that can happen you have to understand the nature of emotions. Most likely the offended party has a personal attachment to whatever was said or done. Though we can't turn ourselves into someone's therapist and attempt to solve their issues, we can act with care, professionalism, and great communication skills.


Listening Myths And Misconceptions

The biggest hindrance to improved communication skills is misplaced focus. We tend to focus on all the other people who need to make changes instead of the changes we can make.

In 1988 when Micheal Jackson released Man in the Mirror. It was a social call to consciousness. In summary, he told us we need to be the change we want to see in the world. Take a minute to listen to the chorus in the video.

"If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make that change." ~Michael Jackson <<Tweet that>>


Listening Survey

Let's have some fun! Let's take a sample listening quiz. The original quiz can be found here.

Answer T for True you feel the statement describes your listening attitude or behavior. Write F for False if the statement is not descriptive of your listening behavior.
  1. Generally, I control my emotions when listening to a speaker.
  2. I have little difficulty paying attention to a speaker's message.
  3. I always ask some questions during a lecture or training session.
  4. I usually take notes during a speaker's presentation.
  5. I do not get upset if a speaker's opinions are different from my own.
  6. I make good eye contact with a speaker most of the time.
  7. I am not easily distracted when listening to most speakers.
  8. I evaluate the information given by a speaker, not the speaker himself or herself.
  9. Understanding the key points of a verbal presentation is not difficult for me.
  10. I respond throughout a speaker's presentation by occasionally nodding my head or smiling to reflect my agreement.
  11. It is not difficult to listen to a speaker who is considerably younger than I am.
  12. I listen between the lines of a presentation to identify the speaker's emotional message.
  13. Prior negative learning experiences do not affect my ability to listen to a speaker.
  14. The speaker's delivery and style are not as important as the message.
  15. Good listening habits are related to good posture.

If you had 14 to 15 true responses, you should write a book on effective listening habits!

A score of 12 to 13 true responses generally means you're a good listener.

A score of 10 to 11 true responses means you're probably an average listener, but there is certainly room for improvement.

Fewer than 10 true responses indicates you definitely need to sharpen your listening skills.

So what was your score?
NOTE: This is a self assessment. This is your opinion about yourself. If you really want to know if you are a good listener, ask the people closest to you.What would they say?


How NOT to Get Offended

I wrote this post for asmithblog.com. It appeared there first.
Image courtesy of freedigitalphoto.net
We live in a politically charged, politically correct environment and it can feel like we are all walking around on eggshells hoping not to offend anyone. Discussions about religion, abortion, race relations, sexual orientations, politics, and the role of government can all turn heated and ugly pretty quickly.
You may have asked why are people taking things so personally? As I mentioned in the It’s Not Personal. Its Business post, taking something personally doesn’t mean the receiver is weak. It usually means they have been offended. In this post, I am going to talk about why we get offended  and what to do about.


You Can Listen Over Email: Here's How!

Courtesy of Clip Art
I focus a lot on face to face interactions but today is about electronic communication. Did you know you can actually "listen" over email?

I was feeling particularly down one night as I realized my "fat" clothes were getting too tight. I was emailing a friend who has a personal styling business. I was trying to get help on figuring out a new look.  After a long rant on how I didn't know where to begin with my new style, I concluded with this statement:

Me: I am winging it and my wings are falling off.

Alexis replied:
I totally understand! Recharging your style when we are not inspired by what's in our closets can be frustrating and no fun.... Having a signature style doesn't have to be a complete head to toe ideal look.
To get started, I'd like to propose an assignment for you. Create 2 pinterest boards based on 2 things: Looks you love and are inspired by and colors you love.....*picks up fallen wings and hands them back to you*...We will work together to make sure you don't have to worry about your wings falling off! :)
My heart melted when I read her response. Here is what she got right and what you can learn from our interaction.