Communication consulting | Simply Confident Communication

Become A Confident Communicator


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Handling conflict in the ‘hot seat’ at work

Moments when there is no time to plan, someone fires something at you,a customer is yelling at you, someone explodes at work, etc… You still have time to choose a response rather than react, here are some of my coaching tips and strategies I share with my clients.
Ever been in a moment of conflict where someone is up in your face, or they say something that takes you by surprise and you react badly or in a way that you wish you had not?
On occasion, I have walked away from an interaction thinking I should have said this, I shouldn’t have said that, sometimes even having to go back and apologise to the person for my reaction.
Fortunately, with a few tools and practice this happens less and less.
Much of the training I have done in this space is with those who are in the front line of this type of conflict daily, grumpy customers, toxic behavior in the office, public consultation meetings etc..
They are the situations that are often un predictable, where so many of the tools we teach in how to manage conflict go out the window because:
1. We are human and our brains are wired to ‘react’ to triggers almost automatically
2. Our thinking brain shuts down in stressful or frightening situations
3. We can easily react in a way that mirrors the way the other person is being
4. We can get defensive and quickly take things way to personally sometimes
So how to I teach people to handle this type of conflict?
The first thing I do is to talk about the brain science stuff, simply put there is time between stimulus and response.
A great quote to remind us of this comes from, Viktor Emil Frankl, who was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor.
I reckon if can harness this ability in those situations so can we in everyday life.
“Between stimulus (what is happening) and response (our response to that situation) there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Next, I talk about applying the principals of PAUSE:
P – Perceptions
Talk a moment to acknowledge that everyone’s perception is their reality, this helps with taking away from the need or desire to be right. This includes you, your perception about a situation or person is your current reality, but perhaps it is different from theirs.
A – Allow at least 10 seconds
In this 10 seconds – count to 10 in your head, breath and ask yourself a question to re-engage your thinking brain. Here are some examples or you can come up with your own.
· Is this person really angry with me or just the situation?
· Is there something else I would like to understand about this person and why they are behaving like they are?
· What am assuming about this situation and what is the truth?
U – Understand your feelings
Am I feeling angry, threatened, embarrassed, sad etc…what information are those emotions or feelings giving me and is it useful information in this situation or just a personal reaction?
S – Stay in the moment and on topic
What is the issue at hand, is it personal or am I just taking it personally?
What are the facts about the situation?
Removing the personal stuff from an issue can help you stay focused on what is important and help you formulate a better response
E – Entertain your options
You have options! You don’t have to respond or react right then and there, sometimes you can breathe and ask to come back to them or talk to them in a break or after a meeting, or have a one on one meeting to discuss further.
One you have your thinking brain back in play you can often think of ways to respond. A Mayor who was in my training once said the best thing he learned to do was just to listen, let the person go for it, take a seat and practice genuine listening skills, eventually they will slow down and stop being angry and if you are not on the defensive attack with them they will not be in battle mode any more either. He said you may not be able to do anything about the situation but at least you have validated how they feel and made them feel valued and important, which completely changed the behavior and dynamic moving forward.
Here are some examples:
  • I see you are quite upset about this situation, am I able to set up a time to catch up with you when I can better respond to your request?
  • I understand you are upset about this situation, however while you are shouting, I am unable to help you get to the bottom of it or come up with a solution.
  • I am really keen to understand this situation better, perhaps you can tell me about what has happened so we can maybe come up with some ideas together
Or you can make up your own to suit your situation
Feel free to take my short FREE online course here
A couple of final thoughts to encourage you on your way
1. We are always at choice – we have the power to choose our responses and our words
2. Practice changes habits, communication is a habit, some of our habits don’t serve us well, so practice, practice, practice the new muscles you want to build in that space.
Have fun with trying new ways of responding and I would love to hear how you get on.
Nga mihi
Jen
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People leave stinky culture and poor managers/leaders – NOT jobs

We know this, we have seen the quotes right! How, as leaders, do we change this?

Here are my thoughts/tips/ideas – Leader to leader, manager to manager – from one who has lived, and learned on my own journey.

Statistics say:

In a survey of 2,000 employees, almost half (43%) said they are looking for a new job, and corporate culture was the main reason.
Source: hayes.com

Corporate culture is absolutely everyone’s responsibility uphold, but it is driven by the leaders, and good communication is at the core of good corporate culture.

Let’s get visual for a moment because I think in pictures:

Imagine a lovely pool of clean water, full of healthy fish and water life, and leading into this pool is a spring that comes from the hills above, this spring feeds the pool at the bottom.

What happens when that spring starts being contaminated with dirt, animal waste, chemicals etc?

Well, that is obvious, the pool becomes toxic, the life that was in there starts to either get sick, or die, the pool is dirty and full of poison and the ONLY way to fix it is to look at what is feeding into the pool.

What I see a lot of, is leaders and managers wanting their people to have better communication skills, they want the team ‘fixed’ but are at times unwilling to look at the ‘spring’ coming in from the top, it may not be them directly it may be above them, it doesn’t matter, the people in the team will just tar ‘management’ with the same brush.

The way we speak to others, the way we treat others, the way we value others, the vibe we bring are all part of the work place culture picture.

The impact of not being truthful.

Leaders may not see anything wrong with telling the odd lie or bending the truth. They may think they are protecting people from the ‘scary facts’, they may think they are helping the team stay focused on the job, keeping moral up, and a number of other reasons for ‘bending the truth’ but here’s the BAD news!

When leaders don’t tell the truth it can:

  • Lead to unrest, people make up their own versions of the truth with the bits they do know
  • Lead to lack of trust, people become more distracted because they don’t know for sure
  • Lead to lack of respect, people think the leader doesn’t respect them enough or think they are smart enough to tell them the truth
  • Erode any good culture that there might have been

People know they are lying, they know they are bending the truth, they know they are not telling them what is really going on!

When this is happening, despite the intentions, people will stop trusting their leader/manager and they will stop listening.

One of the tell-tale signs that a leader are out of integrity is, there is a mismatch between what they say and what they do.

This causes lack of trust, which leads to lack of engagement, which leads to lack of productivity and loyalty!

The GOOD news – you can win back trust if it has been broken, people can make a decision to trust, or not, in the blink of an eye.

My tips for managers and leaders when they are struggling with the symptoms of a poor work culture:

  • Tell the truth with compassion and consideration of the impact – use the delivery method that is most appropriate to what is needing to be said.

Even if you don’t have all the facts, tell them what you know or tell them you don’t know but you will find out what you can tell them, and then follow through.

  • Line up your actions with your words – if you can’t deliver don’t say you can

If you are going to tell them you will get some information and get back to them, do it. Don’t leave people hanging on false promises. Be careful what you promise people, make sure you can deliver what you tell them you can.

  • Be vulnerable first – show your human side, this is a STRENGTH

I am not talking about baring all, talking about your personal life at length etc, I am talking about being authentic, real and in the trenches ‘with’ your team, this even relates to admitting when you don’t know something. Vulnerability can be shown so many ways and still keep relationships professional

  • Be prepared to get in the trenches with your team

Muck in, get back in touch, even if you have been where they have in the past, they may have forgotten this or not seen it for a while or at all, be prepared to work where they are, do what they do. Get along side them, value their input, views and opinions.

Final thoughts on culture:

  • Be open as a leader to lifelong learning, and open to learning from your team members as much as through courses, books and other leaders
  • Learn to communicate well, be prepared to be uncomfortable and vulnerable
  • Lead the cultural change, put time, energy and resources into it. When workplaces have great cultures that are intentionally nurtured, people stay, people perform at their very best and drive projects and outcomes.

If you want to find out where you currently sit with your own communication skills as a leader, take my 5 min ‘communication skills assessment’ here online.

It is a great benchmark for understanding where your skills are great and where they may need improvement.

Take the assessment here for managers and leaders

** If you are a team member wanting to find out where your skills are at take the assessment for professionals here

Talk soon

Jen

www.simplyconfident.net


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A good assumption to make – and the stories we tell ourselves

Get to the truth and cut through the stories we tell ourselves, or assumptions we make.

Often, assumptions can be at the core of most conflict and angst, we can assume too much or too little about a person, or situation, we make up our own meaning, narrative or stories.

Instead of assumptions I have taken to applying a new habit, asking questions. It just cuts through so much potential time wasted on making the wrong assumptions. I have written some of the questions I use often to gain better understanding about situations I encounter, below.

I have found a good assumption to make is:

Everyone is doing the best they can, with the information, time and resources they have available right now. Including myself.

Once you assume that about someone or a situation, it gives you the freedom to look at anything from a new perspective, from that place of new perspective you can ask a KEY question or two, to move to a place of better understanding.

Some questions you can ask for greater clarity:

“May I ask what you meant when you said……?”

“ The story I am telling myself about …………………….. is………… can I just check in if this is correct?”

“I would love to know what you are thinking or how you are feeling about that?”

“Is there something else you would like me to know about this situation that may help me get a better understanding of it?”

“Is there something I can do to help you out with that?”

“What do you need right now from me or anyone else?”

“So I can get this in the right priority, what is your expected deadline for this?”

“Are you happy with……?”

“Is there something I can improve about……?”

Ask these questions with an intention to seek understanding, not to be right or pass judgement. By understanding a person or situation better, doesn’t mean you agree or take sides, what it does is open the doors of good communication and this can lead to a higher level of trust, less pain and better productivity.

Here is to better productivity and workplace environments

Jen

PS: I love to coach leaders and managers on the art of clear communication, get in touch if you want to explore that further.

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Tell people what to do with your marketing – with a strong call to action

Good marketing content is made up of several factors, we live in a busy, noisy world of marketing.

DID you know?

Depending on our job and routines, the average person is exposed to between 5000 – 10,000 ads per day, across all platforms! (this is a 2018 statistic I can only imagine this has increased)

Point is – to be heard in a marketing world you have to keep this in mind, you have to grab people’s attention in the first line – if you have got that nailed and they get to the end or even half way through, they will move on to the next shiny ad if you haven’t compelled them to take action!

You can have the best ‘first liner’ in the world, the best content, describing one of the best products, but if you don’t have a good, clear, call to action, you may lose a high percentage of your business.

CTA = Call to action = Inviting/inspiring/asking your reader to do something after reading your marketing material.

This applies to all your marketing, unless it falls into the ‘brand awareness’ camp.

If the purpose of your marketing is to get more customers or clients, then make sure your call to action is strong.

TIPS:

1. Decide what you want your potential customer to do before writing your call to action, do you want them to call you? Visit your website? Email you? Fill in something?

This will depend on the end objective of your marketing, which you have to work out first.

2. Keep it simple, ask them to do ONE thing, multiple calls to action confuse or overwhelm, if you give them choices and ask them to make yet another decision, you will quite often lose them. We live in a world where people generally have decision fatigue. Sometimes people will make no choice at all rather than think about which option to take.

3. Make sure you make it easy for them to take that action and that it makes sense. ONE click is best. If it is a form, just ask for the information you really need in order to give them what you promise.

4. Make sure you deliver, if you are offering a free download, make sure you have this set up to go automatically and regularly check the links and things work in the back end. Under promise, don’t say the 50 free ways to get more customers if you are only giving them 5 and asking them to pay for the rest.

5. Make sure any embedded links work, TEST it yourself as a user.

Ideas:

You can give a direction as your first few words – or you can remind them what’s in it for them, if the what’s in it for them factor is reminded it is stronger, that is telling them WHY then want to register or click or email. The examples below show different styles.

Bottom line is you know your ideal customer, you know what problems they have and how they like to solve them, use the language they would use, if you don’t then go back to the drawing board and find my other article on target audience here to help you.

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TOP tip:

Make sure if you go to the trouble of leading ‘horses to water’, that there is water in the well. If you have engaged people in your marketing enough to read it, make sure they have something to do at the end that makes a connection to your service or product.

Happy content writing and remember if this is not your field of expertise be sure to engage a wizard content creator in the process. It is worth the spend to get this right.

Jen

https://www.simplyconfident.net/


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Tip: Hit the mark with your marketing efforts

If you want better results from your marketing you need to know your audience!

Then you can set a solid foundation to build your marketing plan and activities on.

One of the upsides to being in business for yourself is that you can choose who you work with and for. You get to define who your target market (your ideal client or customer) and then get your marketing to reach out to those people to fill a need they have.

One of the mistakes I see business owners making time and again, is coming up with their marketing slogans, words, content and stuff because they think it is cool, they are selling features rather than benefits, talking about how great they are or their product is, instead of making their marketing all about the customer or client they are trying to reach. BIG mistake, what you think is cool, clever or ‘fun’ may be way different to how your target audience thinks, speaks or makes purchasing decisions.

TIP: Research is not asking a spouse, friend or family member what they think looks or sounds good, unless they are a marketing expert and know your product inside and out and use it themselves, even then it is one opinion only. So many try to do this stuff on the ‘cheap’ and ‘save money’

TRUTH: Business owners often waste way more money on their marketing by doing it on the fly, using guess work and on the cheap using friends and family for advice, design and content, getting it wrong costs way more!

I always start marketing planning with some key questions about the audience:

1. Who are you marketing to?

2. Who is your ideal (favourite) client? What makes them ideal or favourite?

Defining your target market – when sitting down with a multi-talented small business owner, this question is usually answered with a loud and enthusiastic, “Everyone!”

People often get really stuck here, so here is an example, some tips and a bit of myth busting for you.

Example to prove my point:

Let’s just say you are selling high performance sports watches with a GPS function, they are waterproof, smash proof, measure exercise, water depth, have a compass and some other cool sporty features.

I say: Who is your target market?

Owner says: Everyone who wears a watch! Or they think they are getting the point by saying ‘Everyone who plays sport who wears a watch’

Is this specific enough to run a marketing campaign from? Not really to be honest.

I call this ‘shot in the dark marketing’, your perceived target is so wide, that you throw your ‘dart’ (marketing efforts) at it and hope that it will hit somewhere in there. This can be costly and time consuming.

When you get specific and narrow your market down you are ensuring you get more of the clients you want.

MYTH busted: “I will miss out on business if I narrow it down”

Not true, you will still get other types of clients or customers along the way, it just won’t be your target.

The research factor:

To ensure you get results from your marketing, you need to understand some other things about your customer

TIP: The better you know them, their likes, dislikes, pains and language the more likely you are to be able to appeal to their need and solve their problem with your product or service

1. Who are they specifically, what sport do they play, at what level? (if we are sticking to the watch example but you can tailor this to suit your product or service)

2. What are their pain points, the things they can’t get from a possible current watch?

3. Where do those people look for products like yours? What are they reading, and why?

4. What language do they speak? (not necessarily about native tongue but what words to they use when they talk about their sport and lifestyle needs, what slang or acronyms might they be using)

How do you find this stuff out?

· Ask around, ask your current customers if you have them, why they purchased from you

· Use a cool free tool like google forms or survey monkey to help you out here, have a little fun and create a survey. Get specific in your questions, record and compare the answers and offer an incentive.

· If you have had favourite clients before or do currently, sit down and write up why they are you favourite, what you know about them, what solutions you solve for them etc. Then just build your ideal client profile around that

TIP: This is also a good process to go back to and revisit for any product or service changes or editions, always come back tot his as your anchor, if your marketing gets off track or isn’t bringing results, perhaps a few tweaks in this space will help.

Marketing is about ensuring that the right audience links to the right message, links to the right timing, links to them seeing you have the solution for a problem they have,

which then links them to take action to purchase your services and products.

See the links? The links are where the work needs to happen, and in order to link them to the next step on a buying journey, you need to know as much about them as possible.

TIP: When you ask, make sure you listen.

Any questions let me know in the comments section of this article, I hope you found it valuable

Happy marketing

Jen


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The under-resourcing of education – working with a broken system

I am taking a stand for adequate resources and our children’s education!

Check out my short 3 min video log here

People think the ‘standing for teachers’ campaign is about teachers’ wages! It is so much more than that. In my own experience as a mother of 5 and a grandmother of 4 I am deeply concerned about the under resourcing of the education system and the disconnection between agencies in order to provide an appropriate level of support required in the right place at the right time.

It was not until my eldest granddaughter attended school that the fractured system really become apparent to me. I had already educated 3 adult children through the system and presently my youngest two are still in it. As a family we have been to hell and back in the past 2 years + trying to get the health and educational needs met for a child with complex presentations who still needs to be educated.

The principal, the teacher and the teacher’s aide have been amazing but they too have struggled from within the system to get the adequate funding and support they needed to help the child and in turn help our family.

The impact of this ONE case is far reaching and affects the teachers, the other kids, our family, our community, our health care and mental health care system – the ripples flow out continuously.

Here are the lessons and observations

1. When the teachers are under resourced and have to attend to our child in meltdown mode this affects the learning of all the kids in her class, it takes a teacher and resources away from those kids doing what was planned that day.

2. These kids are our future! The people that have the biggest influence on that besides parents and family are the teachers, teaching staff, aides and principals of the schools.

3. If my daughter loses her job because the school doesn’t have the resources to cope with her child she will be on a benefit, another burden to society long term and not great for her mental health either or our already stressed mental health system.

4. The stress on the teachers is massive, causing at times sick leave to happen more often, then the system has to pay for relief teachers as well as sick pay.

This is all false economics, it is time for the Government to see the long-term ripple effects of this very broken, underfunded education system in NZ and do something about it

There is money, so much money is being poured into things that are not impacting the future generations of this country, it just needs to be shifted over and re assigned.

We have seen so much good this Government has done lately in the humanitarian space, Christchurch attacks, Pike River etc… its time to take the humanitarian approach to the education of our children!

Our country is going to be run in the future by the kids of today – we need to see HUGE improvements in the system that is supposed to be educating and equipping them, the system that perhaps has the biggest influence on them besides family for the biggest part of their growing up years.

We know change can happen, now we need to see the same intense focus on our education system followed closely by our mental health system.

Jen Tyson

Business owner – Communication Consultant – Mother/grandmother – Wife – Sister – Friend – Advocate – Daughter.


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Productivity tip: Clarity

Lack of clarity is often at the core of most conflict and lack of productivity, not being clear on what someone means, wants from us, or wants us to do leads to confusion, mixed messages, assumptions, frustration and lack of productivity. Things either don’t get done the way we need them to, they take way longer than they should or they don’t get done at all.

Each of us has a unique way of communicating, which mixes with our own filters and perceptions of things, we all read different things in the same sentence.

For me, I am a direct communicator, If someone sends me an email, I want to know, really quickly, what they want from me, do they want action, or just to share information, what do they want me to do with that email, and by when?

If I can’t get his information in the first few lines I either go into overwhelm and frustration or I skim past it and save it for ‘later’ in my ever increasing piles of ‘starred emails’.

You don’t have to be blunt, rude or aggressive to be clear either. We can be clear, and polite in one go, it is possible.

Two sides of the coin:

1.The way we communicate with others

Making sure we are clearly understood when asking others to do things, just because you think you have been clear you are not going to know if the receiver is clear unless you…….

ASK: (just some sample questions to get you going)

  • Do you have all you need from me in order to get this done?
  • Do you have any questions that have not been answered?
  • Is the time frame realistic for you?
  • Is there anything you that is not clear about what I have asked you to do?

2. The way we like to be communicated with when others are asking us to do things

If you are not clear…ASK (some sample questions to get you going)

  • May I ask when you would like this done by ?
  • I am not 100% clear on the outcome you are after, can you explain what you are after here?
  • What are the key things you need in the time frame you have given me?
  • What is your biggest priority here?
  • If there was one thing you would like me to focus on today what would that be?

When people have all the information, time frames and tools they need to do a job, most of the time they are able to produce what you want, same goes for us, if we are clear on what is required, have the information we need, know when it is need by and in what format and have the tools we need, we can produce great work.

Extra tip: if you have team members who you manage, who are not producing great work, ask them a few key questions:

  • Are you clear on what you need to be doing, why and the time frame?
  • Do you have all the tools and information you need in order to complete the task?
  • Are there any questions you want to ask for clarity on this task?
  • Is there anything you need from me in order to carry on and get this done?

Clarity is a key to great communication

Jen