Jackie Kellso

Archive for the ‘body language’ Category

How to Stop a Binge-Talker On the Spot

In anxiety, asking questions, assertiveness, avoiding arguments, Binge-Talkers, Binge-talking, body language, boring speaker, brain, breakdown in communication, building rapport, business relationships, Change the Subject, communicating, communication, communication skills, conflict resolution, connecting with people, dealing with a difficult coworker, diplomacy and tact, effective communicating, engagement, gossiping, human relations, improve communication, interpersonal skills, lack of relatedness, listening, manage stress at work, open-ended questions, People Who Talk Too Much, profesional boundaries, saying no, sharing information, stress and worry, work relationships on October 19, 2016 at 6:46 pm

Ask Jackie: How to Present Ideas Worth Spreading

In audiences, body language, building rapport, communicating, communication, connecting with people, delivering a powerful message, drawing in an audience, effective communicating, engaging, interpersonal skills, non-verbal signals, personal power, Preparing a Ted Talk, preparing speeches, presentation skills, Presentation Tips, presenting, public speaking, public speaking coaches, public speaking fear, Public Speaking Tips, self-image, self-improvement, speaking, speech preparation, Ted Speakers, Ted Talk Coaches, Ted Talks, Ted X Speakers, Ted X Talks, transparency, trust on June 11, 2016 at 2:49 pm

Presentation tips for public speakers, presenters and Ted Talkers!  Here I demonstrate the techniques of drawing in an audience, holding their attention and creating a bond so that they will relate to you and embrace your message.

Please share this video with colleagues who would benefit.

Happy speaking,


Detach & Breathe

In aggression, assertiveness, body language, business relationships, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, communications between generations, coping with pressure at work, diplomacy and tact, effective communicating, executive coaching, gossiping, handling tough boss, interpersonal skills, leadership, manage stress at work, managing, negotiating, non-verbal signals, office politics, passive-aggressive, people skills, professional behavior, professional development, professional development training, working with a younger boss on October 19, 2015 at 12:08 am

Many people have been asking me lately about how not to overreact emotionally, aggressively or undiplomatically in a work environment when things go wrong (usually caused by someone else, of course!).  People also want to know how to stop those unconscious non-verbal signals that tell the truth about what they are really feeling in the face of not being able to say it.

I have such a simple, yet excellent solution that it almost seems silly.  But it works.  It’s called, “Detach & Breathe.” It’s something I came up with to save myself in a highly stressful work environment years ago. I had been struggling with a manager for two years, battling over his way vs. my way.  As a result, he had begun to cut me out of important decisions and it forced me to realize that my stubbornness was what had been hurting me. I had been so intent on being right that I had not allowed him to be ‘the boss.’  Lesson in letting go of having to be right, in the face of being smart!

One day, during a usual confrontation, I realized that I was battle-fatigued and had put my job into jeopardy.  He had authority and that was that. I had to let go of the idea of protecting “my turf” and doing things my way, despite the fact that he didn’t know as much about my job as I.  I said, “Rich, you know what, from now on, I will defer to you and I give you my word.  I’m done fighting and I want to show you that I support you.”

I went into my office and wrote DETACH and BREATHE on post-its and placed them at eye level on my computer.  For the next few weeks he’d tell me how and when to do something and before any response I would DETACH AND BREATHE and then say, “Yes.” Well, by the third week, he started giving me the latitude do just go ahead and do things my own way. He began to include me in decisions. He was done trying to capitalize on his authority because I had stopped fighting it.

So go ahead! It’s effective! Detach & Breathe when you:

1. Feel yourself getting angry, hurt, teary; if the emotion is intense and its display could hurt the perception of you.

2. Begin taking things personally, which is affecting your ability to think and act objectively.

3. Find you are struggling for power with a co-worker.

4. Want to condemn someone else and are ready to snap, yell or scream.

Besides, what else is there at this point?  Quit, get fired or have a stroke?

Place the words DETACH and BREATHE on two separate post-it notes and have them visible at all times.  Eventually the brain will automatically sound them off to you, but you must keep at it!

The only thing we are truly attached to is what we think and believe.  We must first look deeply within to see how these attachments are negatively impacting how we react.  Once we can detach, we are free.  I mean really free.

Sympathetically yours,


Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Bad Performance Review? So? Grow!

In aggression, arguments, bad review, body language, bullies in the workplace, business relationships, career challenges, career coaching, career-related problems, chinese symbol for crisis, communication skills, conflict resolution, coping with pressure at work, dealing with a difficult coworker, dealing with a male boss, disagreements, emotional balance, engagement, gossiping, handling tough boss, human relations, interviewing skills, job seeking, lead by example, manage stress at work, managing conflict, managing emotions at work, masteries, non-verbal signals, office politics, passive-aggressive, performance review, person to person dynamics, personal development, productivity, professional behavior, professional development, Professional Reputation, promotion, raise, self-image, success, success masteries, transformation on August 20, 2015 at 12:13 pm

There are schools of thought that define the Chinese symbol for ‘crisis’ as meaning opportunity with danger. Whether this is the literal translation or an invalid assessment, it’s brilliant.  Does a bad performance review feel like a crisis to you?  Do you feel undermined or that your value isn’t being recognized?  Is there an obstacle to a raise/promotion? If you said yes or even maybe, let’s look at your crisis with some objectivity – it’s an opportunity to assess yourself and use the feedback to your advantage. The only real danger is the pain of discovering your own truths.  By deciding that there’s something important for you in the mix, you can increase your skills, reputation, and worth.

I had a recent client (let’s call him Gary) who had just come out of a painfully bad review and was sent to my seminar to develop skills to improve his communication and people skills. Being there was not his choice. His boss kept sending him to one professional development seminar after the other, with the command that he improve his attitude, which was killing his ability to get promoted.  He walked in announcing that my seminar was “bullshit like the others” and I knew I had a hostage.  During a listening skills segment, Gary turned his back to me and I talked to his shoulder blades. His passive-aggressive behavior was very much his downfall; eyes rolled in the audience at his negative body language.

At a break, I asked him to help me understand his reaction.  The picture Gary painted was that despite his incredibly high billings and huge successes, his boss would call him everyday demanding to know what business he was closing.  His eyes bulged as he repeated these daily conversations, in which his response would typically be, “When I close something you’ll be the first to know!”

The route of Gary’s problem was that he perceived his boss’ behavior as a lack of trust in his abilities.  I probed him, “If your boss had dementia, would you be so angry?”  He said, “Of course not.”  I asked, “So, what if I told you that your boss is showing you his disorder – that he is so anxious about revenue that he looks to you to alleviate his fear?  This isn’t about you.”

None of this had ever occurred to Gary.  He had never attempted to understand his manager, and that was the mistake.  When we take things personally we tend to act out in truly destructive ways.  So rarely is anyone else’s behavior about us.  I concluded, “You have been giving your boss a real reason to be concerned about your abilities because you haven’t thought about his issues.” I suggested that he discuss with his boss the best way he can communicate up-to-the minute progress with him. He said, “Well, sounds a bit time consuming, but I can do that.”

We have more control in how things play out at work than we think. However, it entails a sophisticated development of certain skills and the openness to take a hard look at ourselves. First analyze the performance review by its parts. List each area marked for improvement and note the category.  The six categories below are what I call Success Masteries:

  1. Total Communication (Oral, Written, Listening)
    • Are you effective in the oral skills your job requires:  negotiating, persuading, disseminating information clearly, etc.?
    • Are your tendencies to approach communications with optimism or pessimism?
    • Do you take the time to research things for accuracy, such as grammar, facts, etc…
    • When others speak, do you check for clarity or assume to know what you’ve heard?
    • Are you an attentive and even pro-active listener?
  1. Person-to-Person Dynamics
    • Do you have positive, open interactions with managers, direct reports, co-workers and customers?
    • Do you spread good-will or does insecurity cause you to be territorial, aggressive, hostile, manipulative, intimidating?
    • Do you genuinely respect others feelings and perceptions?
  1. Ability To Lead By Example 
    • Do you see and cultivate the potential in others?
    • Do you encourage a supportive, productive environment or do you reject others’ ideas and play one-upsmanship?
    • Do you manage others’ expectations of you?
  1. Emotional Balance 
    • Do you have extreme reactions and inappropriate outbursts?
    • Do you gossip, complain and/or sulk?
    • Do you send out emails with all caps to denounce yelling?
  1. Active Engagement 
    • Are you contributing to an exchange of knowledge, hard-work and creativity or do you insulate yourself to protect your turf?
    • Are you a team-player?
  1. Productivity 
    • Are you delivering what is expected of you against your goals, workload, and responsibilities?
    • Do you dump your work on others?
    • Do you seek too much direction or are you self-directed?
    • Are you open or closed-minded to learning new ways of generating work?

Watch what happens when you decide to review your strengths and limitations against these Success Masteries in combination with the developmental areas documented by your manager.  There’s nothing quite as powerful as accepting how others perceive you and actively making the changes that you and your manager deem important.  If you apply what you learn using this method, you will shift yourself away from the current negativity and powerfully propel yourself onward.



Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Are You a Boring Speaker?

In audiences, body language, boring presenter, boring speaker, boring speakers, breakdown in communication, building rapport, comfort zone, communicating, communication, communication skills, congruence, connecting with people, Dale Carnegie, effective communicating, energy, engaging, enthusiasm, listening, non-verbal signals, people skills, pitching, presentation skills, presentations, presenting, public speaking, speaking, tone of voice, WIIFM on May 30, 2015 at 3:25 pm

You’re speaking and others are yawning, looking at their watches, texting, or have a plastered smile that hasn’t moved for so long, you know they are only pretending to listen. My heart is with you: it’s hard to keep people focused and interested!  This is challenging! So, here are some insights to help you see what may be causing people to stray while you’re presenting:

1. You are not considering your audience’s needs.  Think, WIIFM – what’s in it for me.  The only thing audiences care about is that there’s a benefit to them for listening to your message.  As Dale Carnegie said, “Speak in terms of the other person’s interests.”

What to do about this:  Make sure you know who’s in your audience. What is their knowledge of your subject? What are their expectations of you and your message?  What do they care about? Do reconnaissance beforehand.  And, if you don’t have the ability to learn more about your audience’s needs ahead of time, use the beginning of your presentation to ask them questions about their expectations.  Ask them what they want you to cover, ask them what topics are of concern.  Be sure to weave these points into your message so that they are actively listening for your acknowledgement of their needs.

2. You are not congruent when you speak.  This means that your body language, tone of voice, eye contact, vocal inflection, energy, enthusiasm, posture, arm gestures, etc…do not match the words that are coming out of your mouth.  90% of the most important parts of communication are non-verbal. So, as an example, if you say, “This is great news,” and you don’t increase your volume, raise your voice a bit higher, punch out your hand with excitement while saying the word “GREAT” then your meaning is lost.  You must demonstrate what you are saying so that your message is delivered in the way you had intended.  Your audience should hear, “This is G-R-E-A-T news!”, just like Tony the Tiger feels about Frosted Flakes.

3. You are not interested in your own material.  Many of us have to deliver messages that are heavily fact-based, complex or sometimes unpleasant; or sometimes we are handed a speech that someone else wrote. Under these circumstances we can become emotionally disconnected from the message. If we’re bored, our audience will be comatose!

When this happens, pour gobs of energy and excitement into your talk. This is critical! If your energy is say, at knee-level, your listeners’ energy will be at toe-level.  If your energy is at waist-level, your audience will be at the knee.  If your energy is at the neck, they’ll be at the navel.  You must think about raising your own energy up to the ceiling for your audience’s energy to be at eye level, where you will hold their attention.

Regardless of the nature of your material, pretend that you’ve had 80 cups of coffee, just won the lottery and are a cheerleader for your favorite sports team.  BRING IT!

4. You are thinking too much about yourself.  You forgot the order of things during your presentation and missed a step.  Your armpits are drenching your favorite dress or shirt.  You have a headache.  You lost your Metrocard in the subway and have no more cash to get home.  You are obsessed about your audience not liking you and worried they have stopped caring about what you’re saying.

Here’s a tip:  STOP THINKING ABOUT YOU. Since audiences are thinking about themselves anyway, you don’t have to worry about this. They didn’t wake up that morning wondering how well you slept, or if you’re getting along with your spouse.  They also don’t know when you’ve missed a step and are speaking out of order.  WIIFM is their only concern, and that should be your only concern when you’re presenting.

If they are showing signals of losing interest, use the opportunity to draw them back in by addressing them (not pointing at anyone specifically).  “Please let me know, have I answered this question?”  Have I addressed this concern?”  “Who has a question about X before I move ahead?  You’re important to me and I want to make sure I’m on track.”

5. You don’t care about your audience.  Not because you aren’t a lovely person, but you don’t like to present and you want this to be over already.  Here’s a trick (and I only share this with people I care about: my audiences).  Picture a group of people that you love with all of your heart.  Your kids, your pets, the people who volunteer to save elephants.  I mean this sincerely.  Look out of your eyes with love, kindness and compassion to the people sitting out there.  Put yourself in their shoes and reach out to feel the humanity in the room. This is a way of connecting with people rather than seeing a room filled with job functions.  When you do this it creates an electrical charge.  It will wake you up to them and them up to you.

Practice these 5 tips until they become second nature.  If you feel uncomfortable while trying on these things and ‘out of the comfort zone’ you’re doing it right.  The more out of the zone you are, the greater you’re stretching.  The more you stretch and reach these new levels, the more likely it is that people will enjoy you and your presentations, and look forward to hearing from you.

Happy Presenting,

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Public Speaking Tip: Reveal vs. Impress

In body language, business pitching, business relationships, communicating, communication, communication skills, impress, non-verbal signals, personal development, personal growth, pitches, pitching, presentation skills, presentations, presenting, public speaking, public speaking fear, reveal, selling, training, transparency on February 10, 2015 at 7:13 pm

The public speaker who wants to win an audience, get buy-in and be memorable has the right intentions.  And, in order to be effective one must achieve these goals.  Yet, so many people only have a portion of the formula needed to accomplish this.  Many strive to show themselves as expert of their content.  Good, but not enough. Many realize that it’s not only the content, it’s also the delivery – body language, eye contact, vocal inflection, pitch, etc..  Great!  Still, not enough.

The winning formula for public speakers is content+delivery+TRANSPARENCY.  Why transparency? When we are actively speaking or presenting, in that moment, we are in a leadership role. There is much written about how transparency in leadership is a winning formula. Revealing our authentic selves builds trust and helps people connect to us.

I shall explain.  When a speaker is only trained to impress an audience — content+delivery — s/he is not reaching into the guts of the listeners for an emotional reaction to the message. I don’t care whether the message is about how to change a tire; as public speakers, in order to WOW our listeners and actually make lasting impact, we must be prepared to shed a public persona or any veneer, and reveal ourselves to the point where the audience is seeing what makes us uniquely human.

Hence, REVEAL vs. IMPRESS.  But how?  Think of yourself as a pistachio nut. You know that inside you are crunchy, sweet and savory. What’s inside the shell is what we want. What’s outside is a protection that cannot be consumed.  Imagine you can impress because you have built up your presentation skills (content + delivery).  Crack open the shell to reveal the good stuff! Now your audience can digest the best of you.

Here are quick tips to help get you there:

1. Tell a personal story.  Let it reveal how you feel about your subject matter and how an experience changed you.  Make the story relevant to the audience’s interests and to the point of your presentation.  Show humility and gratitude within your area of expertise.

2. Allow your own range of emotions to come through.  Be more emphatic than you think you need to be.  Dramatize. Show honest frustration, sadness, joy, passion…SHOW that you are moved by what you’re saying.  Show a little vulnerability. This adds so much credence to your message and makes you more likable and trustworthy.

3. Do not be self-deprecating.  This is usually an unconscious but manipulative action to make people feel sorry for us.  The effect is that it lowers the expectations audiences have of the speaker.  This doesn’t endear them to us! Be humble and confident (or even act it if you have to!)  Confidence is very appealing!

4. State facts and truths (not claims).  People who are out to impress say things like, “It’s the greatest!”  We’re number one!”  They come off as bragging vs. confident.  Instead bring evidence to support your points.  Use third party sources. REVEAL truths that support your message and fuel the audience’s belief in you.  Give the audience a sense of being brought in on what’s real and truthful.

5. Dare to be uncomfortable.  As a coach I know that the people who deliver the best speeches or presentations are those who are willing to feel ‘out there’ and unnatural and stretched to the max using the tools of transparency. Make it your duty to be out of your comfort zone.  This is important because it subliminally translates to audiences that not only are you quite competent, you are fearless about showing them who you really are:  the best pistachio of the bunch.

Speaking from the heart,


Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tips for Hiring An Executive Coach

In assertiveness, body language, business networking, business pitching, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, conflict resolution, consulting, coping with pressure at work, diplomacy and tact, effective communicating, executive coaching, executives, handling tough boss, interpersonal skills, interview questions, interviewing skills, leadership, manage stress at work, managing, managing conflict, negotiating, networking, office politics, people skills, pitches, pitching, presentation skills, professional behavior, professional development, professional development training, public speaking fear, tone of voice, training on February 1, 2011 at 11:28 am

I remember seeing a Reality TV show in which an executive coach had come in to a small business to fix the business owner’s communication problems with her employees. He immediately started out by saying to her, “I want you to listen to the things your employees have to say.” I want you to consider their feelings.”  He said this directly to her in front of her employees!

This coach made a huge error, in my mind, because the owner hadn’t been included in the decision to do this in a public forum.  The coach tried to enforce change before he had permission to do so. What a coach wants from you is meaningless and should never position what you should do in this way.  I continued to watch this fiasco unfold — the owner seemed overwrought with stress; her face red, her voice tight — she was the opposite of open, flexible and cool.  As she listened to a few criticisms of her, she not only shut down, but became so closed-off that she got up and walked away. Nothing was accomplished.

An executive coach is supposed to be the ally of the executive, and should never provoke an employee-employer intervention unless as planned and executed with the boss.

Your coach should be masterful in communicating all of the benefits to you of changing, growing and challenging yourself. Your coach should be supporting your growth based on your needs and work with you on a timeline, budget and plan of action for your goals to be reached.   S/he should provide leadership based in personal experiences and proof of success that has resulted from a particular expertise.

Coaches should ‘walk-the-walk’ in their own lives in order to effectively motivate others. I once personally knew someone who was getting a certification as a sex therapist who hadn’t had sex in 20 years and hadn’t been successful in having a loving relationship in all that time.  I couldn’t get over the hypocrisy of that!

I also know an executive coach who refuses to work through her fear of presenting. She knows it limits her ability to generate business and express key information, but she defers to her fear. How can she help an executive with a fear of presenting see the value of pushing himself out of his comfort zone?  She doesn’t have to be a presentation coach, she just has to know from experience that the fear doesn’t have to win! Coaches are at their best when they are working to overcome their own resistance to things that will yield good results.

Interview coaches before you hire them. Here are some things to look for:

1. LISTEN.  Listen to how he or she communicates with you. Is s/he asking questions that show genuine interest in you and the ability to understand your needs? Do you feel heard? Is s/he speaking in terms of your needs?  Are you clear about how this coaching method ties back to your outcome?

2. LOOK.  Sit down with this coach and observe signs of non-verbal communication. How’s the eye contact, tone of voice and body language?  Does he or she have the image and attitude of someone who engenders your trust and respect?  Your gut is your best friend. This is why a test session or interview before you sign an agreement is critical.

3. ASK QUESTIONS.  Find out what challenges s/he has overcome. Ask questions about his/her journey and how it led to becoming a coach.  Ask about the training history, methodology, and proof of credentials.

4. ANALYZE FEES.  You have to decide what your budget is and discuss with your coach what the scope of the work together is expected to be.  If your gut tells you that this person or service is not worth the price, then you have to decide if you have found the right coach. Is this coach forcing you to sign a long-term contract that would cost you thousands before you’ve had a first test session?  Do you feel pressured to lock-in sessions at a wildly reduced rate?  Is there a fair cancellation policy or at least a mutually agreeable non-cancellation policy? Have you spoken with prior clients about their return on investment with this individual?

5. AGREE BEFORE YOU SIGN. Before you sign-up for a long process, you must have your coach set reasonable expectations for your development and outline the areas you will be addressing as you progress towards your goals. For example, if you want to improve upon your presentation skills, be sure that this coach has expertise in this area vs. a coach who is expert in organizational design or team-building.  Some coaches are skilled in addressing multiple functions, but be sure to discuss this ahead of time.  The goal is that you feel in control and trust that this person is the right one for you.

Executive coaches are helping many people actualize their goals.  There are so many good coaches out there and most of us have noble ideals as to why we’ve chosen this consultative role. We’ve mostly been in your shoes and have taken risks to deal with challenges head-on. We have cultivated our skills and are always motivated to grow. We feel our purpose is to help and be a role-model to others. But, you must do your due diligence to work with the ones that serve your interests and possess admirable, executive qualities.

Happy Learning!


Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.