Do You Communicate to Control or to Connect?

Years ago I started to notice that the way I spoke to my children did not produce the desired results. I remember one day when my oldest brought home a B- in math, and I said something like, “You got a B- in math? What happened?” Immediately my spouse responded with, “Some kind of a communication expert you are!” Read more

September 13, 2017 Read more Communication Influence

Managing Your Boss's Negativity

Q: My manager is so negative and defensive that I am afraid if I shared, “I did what you asked me to do,” I would create more defensiveness that would result in increased conflict. What can I do to reduce this person’s negative energy and create a viable solution that will improve results? A: Unfortunately, many individuals are often negative or always seem to be defensive; every situation is always the “worst” it can possibly be. We all know people... Read more

September 8, 2017 Read more Communication

Eight Questions to Assess the Quality of Your Leadership

Last week our family had the opportunity to run the Salmon River in Idaho for a family vacation. My oldest son has been running the river as a guide this summer; consequently, we were invited to go on a trip with him. I was excited at the prospect of this adventure given that I had been a white water guide myself in the Grand Canyon over 25 years ago. Previously, I have had to put sharing river rafting with my family on hold until my children were older, but now everyone has grown enough that we could go together. Read more

August 14, 2017 Read more

10 Behavioral Cues to Help You Separate Fact from Fiction

Years ago when I worked as an attorney, I remember someone telling me that it was easy to spot when someone was lying. All you had to do was notice whether they would look at you or not. I remember laughing to myself and thinking that if the liars knew that, all they would have to do is to give direct, sustained eye contact to counter that notion. I came away thinking that this suggestion was not very helpful. Read more

August 2, 2017 Read more Awareness Nonverbal behavior

11 Pitfalls to Avoid in Difficult Conversations

Recently, I was asked to observe a Home Owners Association board meeting and to provide feedback about what the board members could do to have more effective meetings. From the outset, it was obvious that the entire group of individuals had never received any type of business communication training. More than anything, I was shocked Read more

July 26, 2017 Read more Leadership Conversation results

12 Tips for Improving Emotional Control

Recently my college-age son hit a large piece of asphalt while driving our 1997 Toyota Avalon down a country road at night. The impact against the undercarriage caused the airbags to deploy and shatter the car’s windshield. Thankfully, except for a concussion, my son was not seriously hurt. Days later, when talking with him about the accident in person, my initial feelings of gratitude turned to worry about the cost of fixing the car, and disappointment and anger due to his lack of judgment. Read more

July 14, 2017 Read more Results Emotional Intelligence

Do Your Freedoms Give You Cause to Rejoice?

I really wanted to write a piece celebrating Independence Day and the advent of freedom in our country. And yet, I have been frustrated as I have contemplated the many core American values and institutions which seem to be under attack. Read more

July 12, 2017 Read more Results Influence

10 Ways to Communicate with Millennials

On a recent flight, my seatmate and I began to talk about communication and conversation strategies for dealing with difficult people. Then out of the blue, my neighbor announced: “Boy, these millennials are hard to work with!” Read more

May 10, 2017 Read more Communication millennials

Are You Engaging in “Fake Focus?"

During the last several months, we have heard a lot about “fake” news or “fake” media. The frequent use of these terms made me think of the term “fake focus” and how it can cause problems in our organizations. So what does the word “fake” refer to? “Fake” may be defined as something that is not real or it may mean to pretend, falsify, or fictionalize something. “Focus” is defined as a concentrated activity or influence that leads to a particular outcome. Consequently, one’s focus is a devotion or dedication to a particular effort with a specific outcome in mind. Read more

April 17, 2017 Read more Results Critical Thinking

Do You Lose Friends and Alienate Others? 12 Suggestions for Talking about Political Topics

Although many people have had business communications training, some still approach difficult conversations with a degree of fear and trepidation. In fact, ever since Donald Trump won the presidency, I have had a number of people call and email seeking advice and asking for suggestions about how to talk about politics. Many of these folks have done damage to their current relationships in the way that they have broached sensitive topics. Read more

April 6, 2017 Read more Results Influence

Does Your Nonverbal Behavior Box You In? 12 Tips for Improving Your Body Language

I had just finished speaking at an event and a number of people came up to the stage to talk and to ask questions that they didn’t want to ask in front of the entire group. After a few moments I was approached by a woman who began rapidly asking me a number of questions. Before I could finish answering one question, she would hit me with another question. Read more

March 14, 2017 Read more Engagement Awareness

How to Deliver Bad News to Your Boss: 13 Tips for Making the Best of a Bad Situation

I had a previous boss who would go off like a volcano anytime the results that we produced did not meet his expectations. He was so volatile in his reaction to bad news that other members of our law firm urged him to get some professional help in order to keep the rest of the staff from quitting. When he was caught off guard, nothing seemed to stem the tide of his anger. When this situation occurs it is never easy. Most of the time we would rather jump off a cliff than face the prospect of giving bad news to a superior. Nevertheless, there are a number of steps that you can take to improve the, “Bad news, Boss,” scenario. Hopefully you will find these useful in addressing a negative situation. Read more

March 7, 2017 Read more

How Emotionally Intelligent Are You Really?10 Questions for Assessing Your Ability to Keep Your Cool

A few weeks ago I was taking my son to school in the midst of a snow storm. As I pulled into the student drop-off at the high school, I noticed a woman who was getting into her car as I was waiting to move forward. I was about up to her car when she got in, and started to back out. As there wasn't really room for her to pull out, so I pulled forward past her. Her rear lights went on and she started to back out just as I passed her. Read more

February 16, 2017 Read more Results Emotional Intelligence

Are You Creating a Culture of Inclusion? 12 Steps for Building a More Collaborative Culture

With recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore, Maryland, among other places around the country, and with the election of Donald Trump, people’s positions and opinions have become more and more polarized. Civil discourse and meaningful dialogue have been replaced by rancor, accusation, disrespectful language, and wild speculation unbefitting a civil and democratic society. Read more

February 2, 2017 Read more Leadership Change Conversation

11 Telltale Signs That You Are Not Talking About What Matters Most

Recently one of my trainees went through her annual performance review. She received an unsatisfactory rating in one area because her manager told her that she was too argumentative. When she asked what that meant, she was told that she asked too many questions. Read more

January 19, 2017 Read more Communication Leadership