Communication consulting | Simply Confident Communication

Become A Confident Communicator

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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


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How to say NO nicely and why cop outs back fire

It is possible to be truthful, kind to yourself and others and still say NO.

By the way I don’t always say NO, I have just made it a habit to check in with myself to make sure I am only saying YES to things that I can manage to deliver well and keep my own balance of health, family and work.

In my last blog “Just say No” I spoke about the freedom and joy saying no more often can bring, I promised to write another one on ways to say NO to the things that drain your energy, time and take you away from the things that matter to you.

I wanted to follow that up with some practical ways you can practice this more in your life at work and at home.

In my experience some of the reasons people (me included) say YES way too much are:

  • Afraid of what people think of them if they don’t
  • Want to be liked (people pleasing)
  • Feel guilty for saying no
  • Value others more than themselves
  • Fear of letting someone down

None of those things are bad things in moderation, but when saying YES too much takes over your life and leads you to exhaustion, overwhelm, when you start to miss out on the relationships closest to you because you have too much on your plate for other people, then it is perhaps time to start saying NO more often.

TIP: Cop outs lead to more pain, and you only have to deal with it later, some cop outs may sound like:

  • I will think about it, but you never get back to them, you leave them hanging
  • I might be interested, but you have no intention of being interested so you just have to say NO later and you drag it out for both sides
  • Maybe, when there is no maybe, you are just avoiding saying NO, ditto above

Making up a lie as to why you can’t, just say NO, it is kinder and living with integrity frees you from more guilt.

It is always better to be compassionately honest, the other person will appreciate it even if NO is not what they wanted to hear.

Saying NO strategy ideas (this is what works for me and others I have worked with, feel free to pick and choose your own strategy)

Extra requests on time:

When someone asks you to do something, more work, a new project, volunteer to contribute for something or run an event…etc, but you know you have heaps on your plate.

First thing I do, is I take a breath and ask myself these questions:

  • Will saying YES mean that other things will suffer including my health and energy?
  • Could this be done by someone else (not always my responsibility to find that person either)?
  • Am I only saying YES because I think I ‘should’ or are afraid of what people will think if I say NO?

Give yourself time to process and give the answer that honours your time and energy best

If I feel my issue is saying YES because I am on the spot, I may ask nicely to think about it and get back to them, BUT I will always get back to them, otherwise you risk appearing rude and unreliable.

If I need to get back to them to say NO then I will do the following:

When thinking about how to land something with someone, I try to think about how I would like it said to me, that mostly helps – unless you are a ‘blunt’ person and ok with people being blunt, remember not everyone is OK with that, you may need to learn to put a little fluff around the word for relationship sake.

My goal is to clearly decline, so there is no maybe, I might be keen, if I know I am not, then I just have to deal with it later again and give false hope, and to maintain a good relationship with the person ie. Not cause offense, pain or too much inconvenience.

The first few examples have no explanation, you can learn to say NO without big justification, the person probably just wants a yes or a no anyway, not your life story, but if you are starting out on this journey it may be easier for you to practice by adding a small line at the end, it is for your benefit really, just to ease your guilt and help you to believe you have the right to say NO, but it can work like a ‘crutch’ for a while, so you can become more familiar with saying NO.

  • Thank you for thinking of me for this XXXXXX unfortunately I am unable to take this on for you.
  • I am flattered you thought of asking me, thanks, however I can’t fit it in right now.
  • I will not be able to complete this in the time frame you’re are asking, sorry.

A bit more fluff for those who need it:

  • Thank you for thinking of me for this XXXXXX unfortunately I am unable to take this on for you, due to family/work commitments.
  • I am flattered you thought of asking me, thanks, however I can’t fit it in right now. My diary is full, and I wouldn’t do the project justice.
  • My plate is really quite full right now, I would prefer someone else took this on, so it gets done in the time frame you are asking.

General lead ins for saying NO – the lead in is the way to start the sentence

  • Thanks for thinking of me, however…..
  • I appreciate you have a gap, however
  • Thank you for asking, but
  • Your charity sounds fantastic, however
  • Thank you for taking the time to explain to me, however/but

Followed by ways to say NO nicely

  • I am unable to fit it in right now
  • I am unable to take this on for you
  • No thank you
  • Thank you, but no
  • I donate to other charities and am at my capacity
  • I am at capacity right now sorry
  • Sorry but I am unable to help you right now
  • Sorry I can’t help you

This topic can grow, and sometimes lead to people understanding they have a bigger issue with setting boundaries and taking care of themselves than just saying NO more often.

As a communication coach I help people with these strategies, I would be happy to answer any questions you have, feel free to get in touch.

Be brave, be honest, and honour yourself


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Just say NO.

Saying NO can be the kindest thing you do for someone else, and yourself.

We often think saying YES to every request, on our time, money, resources and even our minds is being kind. I learned a long time ago, that being ‘kind’ to everyone else was leaving me exhausted, overwhelmed and sometimes resentful, and I wasn’t be kind to myself.

I used to attach so much guilt to saying NO, I would often find myself in situations where I was burned out, exhausted, resentful and just plain overwhelmed. After a few of exhausting years, I realised I needed to get some stuff off my plate, I needed to breathe and declutter my schedule so I could give myself some time to just be me, look after me.

I started to learn how to say NO, nicely, it wasn’t always ‘without guilt’ or that nagging feeling I was letting someone down, but I still did it. The more I did it, the more I realised that my life was not going to fall apart if I put myself or my family first.

I also learned to re-frame it in my mind, by stepping out or back from something I was good at, was possibly giving someone else the opportunity to contribute.

Our egos get a it of a lift when someone says “You are so great at that XXXX or you are the best person for this job because you are so good at xxx”

Those who are used to delegating committees, teams or jobs, are great at finding the right people but also great at framing the question in a way that ‘sells’ it to them.

You may be amazing at your particular skill, even love doing it – if you are like me, you may be the one everyone goes to for help with that particular thing, but if your life is so full your head is spinning, you are tired, grumpy, not spending time nurturing your own health and wellbeing, then you probably have too much on your plate.

GREAT NEWS: You have the power to choose, to decide what things you will say YES to and what things you will say NO to.

I have been reading a book lately called Soulful Simplicity, by Courtney Carver – What a great book for those seeking more simplicity in all of life! In this book she says,

“Stop saying YES to the things your heart says NO to”

  • What a great starting point, if you don’t even know what your heart says no to, that is a great place to start, get in touch with your heart again, go somewhere quiet and just start writing a list of all the things that fill your days, weeks, life.
  • Then go through that list and tick off all the things that energise you when you do them or are a part of them, give you energy, you look forward to, and give your all too without effort.
  • Then put another mark next to the things that drain you, that exhaust you, or you have to drag yourself to. Those are the things you need to let go of.
  • The things in between where you are not sure, leave them for later, deal with the obvious things first.
  • If you find this hard, the letting go bit, start with one thing a week, let go of one thing a week, or say NO to one thing a week.

TIP: Be sure NOT to fill that space you create with more stuff, or jobs etc, put yourself in your diary in some of those spaces, to do things that nurture your body, mind and soul!

You will be amazed, over time, how practicing the power of NO will allow more joy, freedom and love to creep into your life if it is not full of saying YES to too many things

In my next blog I am going to cover off ways to say NO, for those who need ideas in this space. Check out this follow up blog here

Here is to your freedom to be you and honour yourself with time and self-care.

PS: There is no cure for guilt except self-worth, valuing yourself more. The more you honour yourself and your time, the less you will feel guilty, it probably doesn’t go away all together, but I have learned that it is better to feel guilty for a bit and deal with that, then be completely useless to my family and self because of exhaustion and overwhelm!


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3 simple tips to improve communication and have great ‘vital conversations’

Influence key relationships and desired outcomes at work more, by taking a little time to plan your vital conversations

Rather than avoiding or winging them, stopping first to think about the conversation you need to have next, by asking yourself a few key questions before you launch into it, can make the difference between a productive and healthy outcome versus making things worse and less productive.

Vital conversations, you know the ones that you ‘should have’ or even know we need to have? I have chosen to call them ‘vital’, because I have come to understand through my work that there are conversations that are VITAL to building and maintaining healthy relationships at work. They are often avoided because of a fear or negative opinion about potential conflict.

You’ll experience greater freedom, happiness and productivity, by acknowledging and putting a small amount of forethought into having vital conversations.

3 Tips When Planning Vital Conversations

1. Think about your recipient or audience

Who are they as a person? What is their view? How might they be feeling?  How do they prefer or need to get the information you need to get across?
Eg: Sending someone who you know prefers a phone call, a quick txt on an important issue, may not get the results or response you want

2. Choose an appropriate channel

TXT’s are for friends, family, or quick messages like “Are you avail for a chat?” “I’m running late”, for apt reminders or client reminders.Emails are great to record information, back up conversations, but words can be misinterpreted in an email, and it is not the best platform for a healthy two-way conversation.Meeting in person is often the most productive way, but if it’s not possible pick up the phone

3. Be Purposeful

What are my intentions?  What would be my most desired outcome? Am I being honest and authentic? True to my values?
Sincerity shows, so does a lack of it!

Final word:

Your life is made up of relationships. And the nature of relating with people can cause conflict. When this arises remember how important it is to face the vital conversation, and now with these tips you can be purposeful while confident to have them well.


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Whoops – Did I just say that?

I have just interviewed 5 people in 5 days for a senior role! As part of a panel of 3 of course, not alone. Exhausting, fascinating and inspiring, are the top 3 words I would use to describe this past week. One thing in particular stood out to me, and here is an example of what not to do in an interview.

We all know that first impressions are everything and that there are a few seconds to make a good one, in an interview it can be really tough, the person is there under the spot light being ‘grilled’ by 3 people around a table. They are possibly nervous, and being asked questions that are forcing them to think on the fly.

BUT, there is a #1 rule that I believe everyone should remember.

Be 100% yourself! Be authentic, truthful and remember never to show a lack of integrity in your examples.

Lack of integrity, honesty and authenticity shows through, sometimes it takes half an interview but it seeps through cracks in what you are saying, body language, tone and other signals to the potential employers that you are not quite who you say you are.

Example: This person was interviewing so well for this role, they were just on fire, and we were all impressed, they had skills, background and connections, they were confident and did a great job. I was really liking how things were going, but then they gave an example of when some safety corners were cut by someone else and they had noticed it, and instead of doing something about it they said ” I just walked away hoping that the client didn’t see it”

It bugged me, and when we came together looking at what strengths and concerns were for each person we were strongly considering, this person was up in the top 2 for many reasons, but because of this integrity issue and maybe one other thing we decided to offer the job to the other contender.

I just couldn’t get past that comment, it cast doubt on everything else this person said. I know that sounds harsh and it could be just one of those slips like a ‘Whoops can’t believe I said that’ moment, but I guess we will never know, because in those critical moments during an interview there is no room for error on those factors.

There are things that can be trained, and up-skilled, but the deal breakers for me are integrity, authenticity and getting a sense you are who you say you are before I even do the background checks.

One of my favorite quotes:

Be yourself, everyone else is taken

Here is to being the best version of you that you can be


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Sales Conversations – What’s The Story?

Great sales conversations are made up of many skills, and almost all of them can be learned, but the #1 thing that needs to be addressed first is mindset.

After a coaching call today I wanted to share how I helped a young sales guy become unstuck.

The stuff going on in our heads before, during and after sales conversations directly impacts the results!

What are the negative stories you tell yourself? What did you make it mean last time someone said no or

the thing you were selling was too expensive or had objections or questions during a sales conversation?

I just had a coaching session with an awesome young sales person by phone, he had embraced his new assignment with gusto, only to have the wind knocked out of his sails by a couple of challenging calls.

He found that he just didn’t want to make the next call and had lost his confidence!

I asked him a question: “What are the stories you are telling yourself about these people you have to call?”

Some people also refer to these as ‘beliefs’ what are your limiting beliefs about that person or situation, often before you even get to ringing them. Here are a few common ones:

  • I don’t know enough, they might be too busy to take my call.
  • Who am I to ring them talk to them they are so much more …… (fill in the blank) than I am.
  • I am not (fill in the blank) enough.
  • They may ask a question I don’t know the answer to, therefore I don’t know enough (see number 1)
  • I will fail, they will know I don’t know enough, they will know I am young, new etc..

The list can go on, I call these ‘stories’, and we major in making them up! Most of the time they are just not true at all!

If you know you have some ‘stories’ that are not bringing the results you want, that you have made up in your head, then you have the power and the talent to re write those!

TIP: Write them down on a bit of paper, acknowledge them, and make a decision to re write those stories, to more positive perspectives. Try to step back from your negative story statements and ask ” is this true?” and then ” What is another way I can look at this?”

Some positive things you may choose to replace the negative ones with are:

  • They need what we have, I am trying to help them with a problem.
  • They have a problem I may have the solution.
  • I know my stuff and what I don’t know I can find out.
  • No doesn’t mean anything until I know what it means.
  • The most common story sales people tell themselves that no means is ” they don’t like me, they don’t want what I have, I am bothering them, etc”

Extra Tip: Ask Ask Ask – Powerful open ended questions are powerful in sales conversations, engage with them, ask powerful questions, be genuine and hone those listening skills.

If you can make up negative stories, you can make up positive ones too. I know you know this, Thoughts are things!

If you have stalled on your sales conversations or recently had a bad experience, take a few moments to ask yours “What are the stories I have made up about this situation?” and then “Are those stories true?” if not – re write them.

To your sales success