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Become A Confident Communicator


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The essential skill – Communication

As I travel around training organisations and clients in the art of communication, I am convinced more and more of the essential nature of it.

When the skill level doesn’t match the role title or job description, there are systemic problems throughout an organisation. The impact can be far reaching and recovery is difficult.

If a manager or leader can’t or doesn’t communicate in a healthy and positive way, organisations struggle on a constant hamster wheel of trying to fix a stressed culture.

You will see any or all of the following:

  1. Lack of trust, at least in one area- lack of trust spreads like a cancer
  2. Lack of engagement and loyalty, retention
  3. Lack of productivity, increased sick days, and well-being of staff

It surprises me that communication training is often seen as a ‘nice to have’ if we have the budget, or ‘soft skills’ or lets do a course and sort it all out in one day and one hit

Companies are running well-being programs, engagement programs, and resilience programs. They are all the buzz words of the time. Leaders know there are issues and are scrambling to fix things. These are great programs I am sure and from what I know of some that are out there, some touch on communication along the way.

At the core of a good culture is a good communication strategy that everyone is on board with. Driven from the top but engaged with and committed to at every level.

Exceptional communication as a leader is a skill set that takes time, practice and lots of learning. It needs more than a token mention in a bigger program, it needs a plan, a coach sometimes, accountability, practice and building one skill at a time

If you want to see happy, healthy teams, achieving their full potential, keeping them around long term take a quick look at your communication internally.

If it is OK, and could be better this is a great time to do some work, when things are really broken it is alot more costly and time consuming to fix.

This also fits alongside any growth strategy, because if your internal communication is not good, cracks will show on the outside to

Simon Sinek says it well:

“Customers will only love your organisation or company as much as your employees do!”

Time to start focusing on communication as an essential skill, that as technology use grows, we are going to need more of, because humans will always need real interaction, connection and the need to feel valued, and a sense of belonging.

Jen

https://www.simplyconfident.net/


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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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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

www.simplyconfident.net

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

www.simplyconfident.net


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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

Jen

www.simplyconfident.net


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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!

Jen

www.simplyconfident.net


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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.

Jen

www.simplyconfident.net