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Become A Confident Communicator

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Spreading love not germs – Tips for what we can control

Photo by Dimitar Belchev on Unsplash

Words are powerful – as a writer and communication coach, I have been mindful of this for many years.  Words are only one part of how we communicate but for every word spoken or written, there is impact.

I believe we each have a responsibility for our own communication – the ripples we are creating.

Words can feed love, compassion, confidence or hatred and fear

The thing is, most of us know and understand that at an intellectual level, however fear is an emotion and when we are stressed, overwhelmed or emotionally triggered our logic and reason and things we ‘know’ can fly out the window.

The headlines are full of emotional words on any given day, even more so now because the media has something hot and global, so they are running with it at an alarming rate and people are drinking it up like its truth.

People are mostly intelligent and for the most part very informed from proper channels through work and schools, like Ministry of Health, and World health organisation. These organisations have no hidden agendas, you can tell by the way they write, NO emotional headlines just updates and fact-based information.

FACT: Be aware of the media’s agenda

The media is not paid or funded to tell the truth, or even report the truth, they are paid to get readership, they are all climbing over each other to get more readers, more followers and more money.

They don’t care about the impact of their words, or peoples mental or emotional well being, they count clicks, likes and money that comes in from sponsored ads etc.

“What we reap we sow – what we feed grows”

We can’t control many things in this situation but there are some things we can control

Tip #1: Watch what you read

Be careful what you read and where you get your information from – always be discerning and aware of the information source, social media is responsible for much of the panic, stress, negative social and emotional impact right now. Take care of your own mental health, be discerning.

Tip #2: Mind your language

When communicating, mind your own language. What you share (spread), the language you use, the words you say and write. Even if you decide to ignore tip #1 and choose to read emotive media reporting, then please THINK before you share it. What is your purpose for sharing it? Will sharing it help others in a positive way or just spread more fear.

Tip #3: Connect with your team on a personal level

Communicating with your organisation if you are a leader, business owner etc, is vital and you will need to be keeping people informed. Please remember to connect in on a personal level with your people, ASK how they are feeling, how their family is coping, do they need any support emotionally or physically to get through this unsettling time.

Tip #4: Consider the impact before sharing jokes

Be careful about appearing insensitive, there are lot of jokes going around, always consider the impact before sharing them. If you feel you MUST share it, sometimes just in a personal message to a few friends or family will satisfy this drive we seem to have to share everything on social media, carefully consider what you share on your main feed, who may see it and what that impact may be.

Tip #5: Being community minded and helping each other out

Be community minded in your communication. Understand there are people being affected by this virus, the global panic and crisis in so many ways, in many ways much worse than we are in NZ right now. Instead of sharing negative stuff, keep up the posting of positive stuff, think of ways you can help life others rather than feed the fear and hatred.

Tip #6: What to do with triggered emotions

Processing our emotions is a communication skill that not everyone knows how to do in a healthy way. Emotions are part of who we are, and they can give us information to act in an intelligent way if we know how to process them.

Instead of being driven by emotions and reacting all over the show, which can be exhausting and wear us down, learn to process emotions, work through them to understand what information they might be giving and then use that as part of  planning what to do with that information.

Stay safe, stay positive and remember to be mindful

Love and good vibes to you all – keep spreading the love

Jen Tyson

Communication Coach – Author – Trainer


Take good care of your physical health, keep up routines of exercise and health appointments, if you were going on a holiday that has had to be cancelled, replace that holiday with a ‘staycation’ still take the time to rest, relax and do something fun, it just may look different to how you had planned

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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.


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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


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What have tomato plants and corporate or business environments got in common?

It can take ONE thing to increase productivity and healthy growth, the trick is finding that ONE thing and then applying some positive action on a consistent basis.

A healthy plant/organisation versus on struggling to survive!

When I first learned to grow tomatoes I learned ONE thing, just ONE, that made a huge difference in me producing edible delicious cherry tomatoes.

Pruning the laterals!

Laterals: Nice leafy green bits of the plant that grow fast and in abundance but produce NO fruit!

When you don’t prune them……they end up choking the fruit producing parts of the plant, blocking sunlight, taking nutrients, sucking the LIFE out of the branches that need all that good stuff to be productive.

Once I learned this ONE thing, and watered my plant, I grew great tomatoes.

I have found this when working with large corporate organisations through to small and medium businesses, in these environments the laterals can represent many things that distract from or prevent healthy productivity and growth.

Laterals in an organisation:

Cluttered systems, outdated processes, people in poorly matched roles, culture and environment, double handling, micro managing and the list can go on…. Don’t just look at the ‘who’ but also the ‘what’ these things can be about people but also about systems and processes.

Until these things that clutter a person’s space, mind, and process of working are pruned the real fruit cannot thrive and reach its potential and like our tomato plant the fruit can rot and go mouldy when laterals are left to run wild.

When managers, leaders and business owners are trapped into ‘putting out the fires’ that these ‘laterals’ produce often daily, they cannot possibly focus on things that will gain a better long-term productivity profile.

The business or organisation goes into ‘survival mode’ and everyone just scrambles to get work off their desk, mostly feeling a sinking sense of overwhelm and claustrophobia that consumes any creativity or clarity to function well.

When we do prune the ‘laterals’:

  • Light gets in to the things that need it the most
  • Nutrients get to the branches that matter
  • There is room to grow, strong and healthy
  • The plant is productive and successful in producing fruit

What to do:

  1. Take a day out to examine and reflect, use a coach or mentor, the purpose is to see what laterals need ‘pruning’ to allow more light in, more nutrients in and encourage better productivity.
  2. Put a timeline in place with actions that will implement the changes
  3. Focus on what CAN be done right away, it is sometimes the smallest things that make the biggest difference.
  4. Prune regularly, schedule it in, with the tomato if I forget to do this for a few weeks, things get choked up again fast. It easier to prune a few a week rather than let it get overrun and take double the time to clear things again.

Happy pruning