Oh wow! We made the Wall Street Journal! It is so great to share our love of communication. Here is a snippet from the article which is linked at the bottom of this post for you to read on:
“Hilary Blair has acted professionally and served as chief executive of her own communications-coaching company for the past seven years. She oversees a staff of 13 and counts Staples and Boeing among her clients. She says her success comes despite the first impression she makes on some people, not because of it.
“I remind everyone of their second-grade teacher,” says Ms. Blair, chief executive of Articulate Real & Clear in Denver. “And if they didn’t like their second-grade teacher, I’m in trouble.”
Ever get a small piece of a walnut stuck in your teeth? Do you notice yourself distorting your face while communicating with others trying to get it out? You can alter your communication when you have a walnut person in your life, too. Watch to find out more!
Wait. Do you hear that?
Do you too have voices that are getting in the way? Are you aware of one majorly loud voice that’s interrupting yours?
I recently made a list of voices that tell my own voice to pipe down. Some were newer voices. Some were incredibly old and I was still listening to them without realizing it. Yes, I also enjoyed noting the encouraging voices but the number of subversive ones surprised me!
Who let these sabotaging voices in here?
Some didn’t even necessarily start out with the intention to keep me quiet. I interpreted them that way. Over the years, some have grown nasty biting teeth and when they nip, I silence myself.
Be gone I say!
We have voices that are louder than our own. Voices that we may give more credence to than our own. They are known by various names – saboteur, monkey mind, limiters, well meaning friends, etc. We can tame them with practice.
Decide on your own ritual to remove them. Here are a few suggestions:
Make a list and burn it.
Share a cup of tea and ask each one to leave, thanking them for what they offered and “no thank you.”
Tell friends and have a mutual sharing and banishment.
Take a class or commit to a new hobby that feeds your inner voice.
Calmly and confidently address each voice individually and tell each one why you are braver.
Close your eyes. Envision blue and white light being absorbed into your body as you inhale and red light leaving as you exhale. You are in control of your brain and thoughts – let the limiting and sabotaging voices out and open up to the affirmative.
Wear a rubber band or hair band around your wrist. Every time you hear or think of those silencing voices, snap that band. Train your brain to focus and not let them impact your awesome self.
Stop the shouting match with other opinions in your head.
Refuse to be shushed by old comments. Stand up for your voice. The world needs the fullness of you and your authentic full voice. Voice on!
How do you know if the training is sticking? How do you know that soft skill improvements are making a difference? Regardless of the industry, these questions are always present. Organizational stakeholders and individuals need to know that there is a Return on Investment (ROI) when they make decisions to train their workforce. We must also consider the Return on Expectations (ROE) so that we deliver an experience and result that meets expectations.
To invest in training we need to know that it is working – and how well. Entire systems are created in an attempt to measure soft skills.
Capturing Data vs. Capturing Experience
We are realizing that data isn’t capturing the importance and detail of training outcomes. Trainers are shifting their approach so that soft skills are measured through videos and pictures. For instance, if stakeholders are looking for engagement and fun, they are able to watch their employees participate through captured videos. The visual moves beyond the non-interactive data collection of the spreadsheet toward a more impactful connection. But what about the coaching or training that is not all fun – the ones where stakeholders are looking for shifts in outcomes.
Stick-to-itiveness (n) :
Dogged perseverance. The quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult or unpleasant.
Stick-to-itiveness, first coined in 1867, speaks to this determination to understand how to measure the impact of soft skills. We are trying to capture the impact as a person or group enters into communication coaching and/or training. When soft skills training is sticky, the training can be seen and measured through how it impacts the employee, their experience, and business connection. We know it isn’t enough to “talk at” people – we must find ways to engage people in a true life-altering experience. So many coachings | trainings skim the surface of issues plaguing our current workforce cultures. When we coach the situations that shift the effectiveness of personal and interpersonal interactions, we see a deeper engagement and connection personally, as well as within and between teams. When we coach individuals to effectively engage, connect, and create relationship, they’re able to maintain open communication. For instance, when a consultant explores and understands what is getting in the way of their approach, they are able to have a greater connection with their client, which can help support and move the business initiatives forward. The results are greater efficiency and greater impact. We also see this in choices made in team interaction. By coaching the communication, we experience teammates having greater collaboration, and with greater collaboration, the team is more effective. The effectiveness and efficiency speaks to the importance of soft skills communication training.
Revisiting the training & participant commitment
As ARTiculate coaches, we measure the effectiveness of soft skills by revisiting the training with the clients a month after the training. This brings the participant back to their written and stated commitment from the training. On a sheet of paper, participants write down the 1 – 2 things that they want to shift in their communication style. They are turning in these commitment sheets, and, months after the experience, we are checking in with the participant to inquire about the commitment they made and how they are noticing the shifts in their working relationships. Not only are they drawn back to their commitment, they are reminded that a coach remembers and cares about their growth. I have found that when inquiry happens, the participants want to share their personal stories of how the training is sticking, as well as with their appreciation for the coach – client connection. The email testimonials are saved so that examples can be shared when a measurement is required for business justification. Management can witness the stick-to-itiveness of the training by seeing how their staff is practicing continuously and their entire company benefits from these shifts.
Meaningful Experience & Lasting Impact
So, yes to flipcharts, pictures, pollings and videos – AND as a communication coach, the real measure for Return on Investment is stick-to-itiveness which impacts and shifts behavior so that connection and relationship supports the business culture and an employee’s personal fulfillment.
While reviewing and assessing recorded videos for a client, we found the distinction between speaking and talking, although very subtle, makes a significant difference.
…for the sake of connecting more deeply, avoid speaking “at” and instead talk “with”…
To be a good speaker with presence you need to really talk.
Talking by definition has a connection with your audience. Having a talk with someone is a two-way communication.
We are committed to the connection – equipping clients with the skills and details of empowered interconnectedness to more effectively show up and communicate as our very authentic selves.
“Let’s speak about that.” “May I speak with you?” “I’m going to be speaking tomorrow.”
Doesn’t it feel like that is leaving out the other – like we will be the recipients of information without the ability to engage, respond, share info or dialogue?
“Let’s talk about that.” “May I talk with you?” “I’m going to be talking tomorrow.”
Now we exist. Now we can talk.
Well one thing is Presence — and Presence is perhaps counter-intuitively, built on a foundation of openness and vulnerability.
When we are present we are open and available for the other half of the dialogue. Even if you are giving a so-called “speech”, when you are present people feel connected, seen and heard – even if they don’t say anything.
In a conversation, if you are not present, you may be simply speaking.
Herein lies the power:
Presence, stage presence, executive presence all require a willingness to step into open vulnerability to be authentic. Without the vulnerability that acknowledges the other and lets you be seen, the assumed presence dissolves, like a mist to reveal a solid wall. You have shut others out. Be brave enough to show up and talk – then your authentic self can be there, with all your flaws and fabulousness.
So, can we talk?
-written by Hilary Blair
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