Jackie Kellso

Archive for the ‘communicating by phone’ Category

Not Fighting Back is Exhausting and Rewarding

In anger management, avoiding arguments, breakdown in communication, bullies at work, bullies in the office, bullies in the workplace, business relationships, communicating, communicating by phone, communication skills, communications between generations, conflict resolution, David Rock, dealing with a difficult coworker, Detach and Breathe, diplomacy and tact, disagreements, fight or flight, Gurus, interpersonal skills, professional behavior, Uncategorized on April 26, 2017 at 11:00 am

A few years ago, I was challenged by a very difficult client in a fairly visible, corporate position. She would routinely drop the ball on important details and cause mayhem in accomplishing tasks. She bullied and blamed others for problems that she caused. When confronted with a problem (of her making) would say, “Do you know who I am?” (Oh yes, she did!) Anyway, I had to deal with a lot of stress just to ensure that my service to her company was successful, beyond, and in spite of her.

So there I was, someone who touts herself as being an expert in interpersonal effectiveness, and I was failing to build a bridge of trust and rapport with this person, despite all efforts. And after dealing with her for so long, I frankly disliked her so much that it felt too insincere to want to build rapport. Yet, I had to remain professional.

In the midst of all this, she sent me an urgent email to call her ASAP. Taking a deep breath, I called. She then reprimanded me for failing to read the details of one of her emails, berated me for writing back without having done so, and projected onto me her own feelings of being so out-of-control by claiming I was chaotic and acting like a wreck.  Rage boiled and I could feel the sizzle in my brain. I thought I was going to explode and tear her fragile sense of importance into little tiny shreds. (That would have been my old way of coping with someone like this.) But no, I decided to walk-the-walk and model what I teach others to do.

I noticed several things happening as I was holding back my anger and thinking about what to do. First, I know that the act of thinking clearly during high-levels of negative emotions uses more stored glucose than the release of intense emotion. As a result, I found myself getting physically and mentally exhausted. The FIGHT response, my automatic protector, had a full tank of cortisol (stress hormone) at its disposal. My pre-frontal cortex (executive brain) was working really hard to find my way around these feelings and take charge of the conversation. And that was the good news. I had been working to build muscles to think when stressed, and had access to it. I simply used my mantras, “Detach and Breathe” (I wrote an article about the importance of using mantras to manage stress) and, “My feelings are none of her business.” They worked!

Once I got my emotions under control, I used a technique that David Rock of the NeuroLeadership Institute refers to as “Choose Your Focus.” The idea is to stay out of the DRAMA, PROBLEM and even DETAIL and move up the ladder to where constructive dialog can occur. The areas of focus are on the PLANNING and SOLUTION. So, here’s what the conversation sounded like:

CLIENT: “You need to calm down. If you had read my email you wouldn’t have had to write so many. This is absurd and it cannot continue this way.”

ME: “I think we’re talking about a breakdown in communication, and that’s fixable. So, if I understand correctly, we still need to determine the dates for the training.”

CLIENT: “Yes.”

Once she agreed, I held to the facts, and followed up the conversation with an email. It’s really that simple looking in; you just don’t go down there with the other person. But the effort to keep calm is zapping!  She will never know how much energy I spent keeping myself in a neutral and thinking place.

As challenging as this situation is, I see her as my Guru keeping my skills sharpened. It is so true that “Your Most Difficult Co-Worker is Your Greatest Teacher.”

Calmly yours,


Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2017. 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.

On the Phone, Your Voice Represents You

In business, career, coaching, communicating, communicating by phone, communication, communication skills, executive coaching, executives, presentations, presenting, professional development training, public speaking, sales, selling, Talking on the phone, tone of voice, training on March 30, 2009 at 3:26 am

Hello Communicators!

When you use the phone as a means of introducing yourself, your product and/or your service, you have only your voice and your words to support you.  It’s easy to be misunderstood without being able to make eye contact to prove how swell you really are.   The phone can seriously undermine your chance of building a new relationship — unless you are mindful of how you say what you say.

Recently, I semi-interviewed a woman I was thinking of partnering with for a training project. Our first introduction had been by phone.  I tell you, her words said, “I”m eager to do this with you,”  but her tone of voice lacked any kind of enthusiasm, energy or zeal.   I thought, if she isn’t aware of how her voice is creating a negative impression, how then can I possibly align with her to train other people?  Lo and behold, I did not take on this project with her.

There is a well-documented study by Albert Mehrabian, a Ph.D and professor at UCLA, who discovered that when a speaker is talking about something emotional, that a listener will believe the non-verbal cues (body language, 55% and tone of voice, 38%) over the actual words (only 7%) when the delivery of the message is incongruent or out of sync. So, if you meet someone and say, “I’m happy to meet you,” with anger, disgust or apathy in your voice, making no eye contact and giving a wimpy handshake, you can bet you won’t win that person over.  We must match up our words, tone of voice and body language to successfully deliver our messages. When we are on the phone, we completely lose the benefits of making positive impact with body language; hence the weight falls very heavily on how we say what we’re saying.

So please consider how your voice is representing you on the phone!

Wishing you flowing congruence in your communications today.


Copyright, Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, 2009-2011. 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 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.