Monday, August 31, 2009

Empathy on Your Side

It takes five seconds to make an impression. That's it! You walk into a room, remain silent and you've made your mark. Think about what happens when you talk! It can make or break any networking, business, or sales opportunity.

When you have empathy  on your side, you increase your chances of success. Empathy helps you accurately understand the other person's thoughts and feelings. The word "accurate" is the key because if you're not accurate, you respond the wrong way.

And empathy leads to honesty which is tied to action. It has a ripple effect because your "actions speak louder than words." In turn, those five seconds change. They're now jam packed because you now have something more to add to the impression.

Remember that  the next time you walk into a room.

Just one page . . . to empower and communicate.

Friday, August 28, 2009

It gets "deep"

A couple of years ago, I was interviewed by a local paper about my "beginnings." At the end of the piece I was asked for final thoughts. Without a thought, I said, "I come from a background where I had no voice. I've been channeled into a profession where I help people find and use their voice." The interviewer asked, "Are you sure you want it that deep?" "Yes." I replied. "that deep."

When you empower people, it gets personal, emotional, scary . . . and deep. You're dealing with feelings and issues. And many times, it's the first time - - for them (and you), to acknowledge and talk about a feeling and the pain/joy it brings.

When your communication "empowers" someone, it brings value and respect. It also brings encouragement, support and depth. It has a domino effect.

Because when you empower, you inspire and challenge someone to be their best, no matter what.

And in the process, it gets "deep."

Just one page . . . to empower and communicate.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Win-Win!

Stephen Covey has a central theme to his books -- "win-win" and work from the inside-out. The 2 ideas go hand-in-hand. It's an easy concept, but very hard to put into practice. The hardest part is making the commitment to dig deep and understand your stuff!

When you communicate, you have to understand what drives you -- why do you act in the way that you do. In many cases, fear is present and creates an obstacle. When you are involved in any type of communication situation, you have to take a risk. Without risk, there is no movement. That risk may be asking your boss for a raise or confronting an employee or colleague, or just being vulnerable. The bottom line is you will never know the outcome until you try!

When you understand the inside, the outside comes naturally.

And when the inside matches the outside, you are in a win-win situation . . . everytime!

Just one page . . . to empower and communicate!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Do you hear what I hear?

Do you hear what I hear? is a classic Christmas carol. If you really listen, you'll understand its message.

Your day can get crowded with information -- talking on the phone, making appointments, taking people to lunch. You can start off listening but as the day progresses, fatigue enters and now you're just hearing.

When you step back and listen, you gain something -- understanding. Listening brings understanding and the chance to see something that you didn't see (or hear), before. It's a second chance to get it "right" and make things better.

The next time you get frustrated with someone, step back and ask, "What did I miss?"

When you go back, you'll "get" what you missed -- the understanding and the opportunity to make things better!

Just one page . . . to empower and communicate.

Friday, August 21, 2009

"Tech-speak"

There are some people who are so enmeshed in their job, that they resort to "tech-speak." There is no formal definition in the dictionary, so I'll present mine.

Tech-speak: to use terms that only you and your colleagues understand. When asked to "dumb it down," they can't. Unable to use simple terms for complex ideas. Examples include: doctors who use medical jargon when they present a diagnosis; computer people who use terms like "giga-byte, cache and cookies," lawyers who speak as though "common folk" are beneath them.

For some, the above examples are comical, or in some instances, frustrating. Think of a woman facing breast cancer and a doctor who can't explain things in the simplest of terms, so that she understands her choices.

When you're in "tech-speak" situations, be proactive. Personally, I stop the person and say, "I have no idea what you've said. Can you please dumb-it-down and talk to me as if I'm 5. I won't be offended."

That stops them DEAD in their tracks. Some get the clue and change their language. Many don't. If they can't change their "tech-speak" by the third time, I walk away.

Pay attention to your "tech-speak." It stays in the office.

If someone gets a glazed look -- they probably hear "Wha, wha, wha." -- NOT good.
If they say, "dumb it down," believe them and DO IT!
If you hear, "What did you say?" -- red flag!

When you rely on "tech-speak" because you can't say it "nice and easy," you've lost the chance to talk to someone on equal ground.

Just 1 page . . . to empower and communicate.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The "eyes" have it . . .

Eye contact is essential for communication. Information gets reinforced.

Have you ever really looked into a person's eyes?

"the eyes have it"

I have blue eyes and my friends tell me that the shade changes with my moods. I hear that when I'm happiest, my eye-color transcends a blue that is not in the crayon box. I'll never see that color because that "happy moment" is for others to see.

"the eyes have it"

Did you know that in some cultures, eye-contact is not reinforced? In Spanish and Indian cultures, the eyes look downward in a conversation. It's a form of respect. That can be confusing since one may think, "Why don't they look at me? What are they hiding?"

"the eyes have it"

Recently, I heard a pastor speak about his experiences in Rwanda. He looked at so many people and noticed an emptiness. During his preaching, he broke down, because he saw so many that were "dead inside."

"the eyes have it"

Look into a person's eyes and imagine their world:
-- happy, confident, brilliant
-- confused and distant
-- empty and dead inside

Do your eyes have "it?"

Just one page . . . to empower and communicate.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Your "time machine"

I remember when my voice was never heard.
Many listened but they never heard the words.

We all have “inner tapes” that either drive us on, or take us down.
Which “tapes” do you need to keep? Which “tapes” need to be thrown away?

In my mind, I can travel back in time. Relive the memories that kept my faith alive. If you believe in your memory...

You only have today to live your life. You could be dead tomorrow! As depressing as that is, it is the truth. Why not take today and do a “time machine” inventory? Look at some situations that made you shine and ask yourself, “What nugget can I remember for the future?” Write it down in a journal and start to collect the “nuggets” that define you in a positive light. Are you generous? Does your “kindness” stand out? Are you a loyal friend?

Many people immediately go to the negative when they talk about themselves, “I’m fat.” “I really am not good at that.” “You think that I’m attractive?” It’s better to stay in the positive, especially if you’ve reached your “ceiling” and said “enough is enough.”

Looking back on all the changes I have made, I may have stumbled but I never lost my way.

Going within (to make the changes you need) takes time and patience. You can’t think that if you read 1 self-help book, that you are going to be your best. Your “best” takes time. Don’t give up on yourself, especially if you KNOW that the track you’re on, is the right one!

Now that your eyes are open, you can explore each moment, for you are the only one that knows where your life should lead . . .

In every heart, there’s a time machine.

Take this moment to explore yours . . . and what’s inside!


Just one page . . . to empower and communicate.

Time Machine, Emotion by Barbra Streisand
lyrics: Maurice White, Martin Page, Brian Fairweather


Thursday, August 13, 2009

The small things . . .

Why are you grateful? Is it because you have a home, a good job, children that love you?

Have you ever asked yourself that question? Maybe it is time that you did!

You can go through your day and miss all the small things that add to being "grateful." There is a book called "Simple Abundance" that talks about looking at the small things. When I saw the author interviewed on The Oprah Winfrey Show, I thought, "Am I grateful for the small things?" I wasn't sure but I was up for the challenge. I started a "Things I'm thankful for" journal. Every night I reflect back on my day ... all the little things that happened that brought a smile to my face --- the friends that made me laugh, the bargains I got at the store, the moments when I told someone "thank you."

I did it for a year and I was amazed at all the small things that really were miraculous.

Want to do something great? Do this task. Start it today. It doesn't have to be in a pretty, expensive notebook, get something affordable and try it. Look back at what you're grateful for in a month, in 3 months and finally in a year. You will see that "the small things" really make a difference and DO enhance your life!

Just one page . . . to empower and communicate!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Your "Theme" Song

What kind of music inspires you? Do you like jazz, classical, pop? Start thinking about the music or the songs that make you happy and ask yourself, "Can I use THIS song to uplift and empower me?"

Many years ago there was a television show called "Ally McBeal." Calista Flockheart played the title role. Her character was looking to make her place in the world and find love etc. She met with a therapist that suggested that she get herself a "theme" song and to play it when she needed a lift. Ally did her "homework" and started to play with different songs. She listened to the words and watched her reactions. Was she happy when she listened to the words? What changed when she listened to her "song" over and over again?

What was so cool about this episode was that I could relate to it. My "theme" song was "While You See A Chance (Take It)" by Steve Winwood. There is a lyric that is so powerful ... "When there's no one left to leave you. Even you don't quite believe you. That's when nothing can deceive you. While you see a chance, take it!" That lyric characterized my life so long ago. It doesn't now. BUT, when I am at a crossroads and am feeling uncertain about a risk that I need to take, THAT song will materialize as a "signal" from the Universe, from God ... that tells me, "you see this chance, take it!"

That song has followed me for over 25 years and EVERY TIME, I hear it, it makes me happy and uplifts me.

Get yourself a "theme" song and let it wash over you. You will be amazed at how the words will speak to you and get you to accomplish things that you never thought you could ever do.

"While you see a chance, take it!"

Just one page ... to empower and communicate.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Having a Mentor

In order to be the best that you can be, you need to have someone that you respect and look up to. Think about it. Who do you admire? Is it an author, writer, actress or actor? All the greats have had mentors -- one that comes to mind is Oprah Winfrey. Some of her mentors are Maya Angelou and Sidney Poitier. When she first entered journalism, her mentor was Barbara Walters. My point is that when you can follow someone that you admire, you absorb some of their qualities. And in doing so, your communication becomes more powerful. You start moving in a powerful direction.

This is just one page ... to empower and communicate.