Jackie Kellso

Archive for the ‘connecting with people’ Category

Shed the “Corporate” Persona and Just Be You!

In authentic power, character vs. personality, Connecting, connecting with people, Corporate Persona, diplomacy and tact, humanity, impress, kids, leadership, letting go, person to person dynamics, Reputation, self-image, self-improvement, sharing information, transparency, trust, working relationships on January 10, 2018 at 7:17 pm

It’s now 2:04pm on a Monday.  If I was addressing a classroom of three year-olds and said, “It’s time to act like little, furry, meowing kittens, everyone,” not one kid would say, “Hey, that would make me look silly.”  The kids would just go for it; taking the opportunity to show off their interpretations of kittens, with glee.  There wouldn’t be one child in that room that would be afraid of how he or she was perceived; there wouldn’t be a thought to block their natural sparkle.

On the other hand, it’s now 2:04pm on a Monday and we’re at a company meeting when the boss requires us to communicate what we truly feel on a subject.  We find ourselves falling over our words.  How do I say this without giving myself away?  How do I make the point without being vulnerable to criticism?  How do I share this honestly when it also involves my co-workers?  How do I present my ideas openly without getting slammed for them?

What happened to the three year-old who would act like a kitten if only asked?

We worry that we are at risk of creating the wrong perception because corporate life isn’t kindergarten and it doesn’t encourage the humanity, character, and honesty that are natural to us.  It uses us as job functions and demands a protocol and persona that makes us blend in.  So over time, we become encased in a shell of protection against the forces; we become so withdrawn from our true selves that we don’t take risks to reveal what makes us unique, to speak our minds, or even to be playful!

I say to you that it actually takes more energy to hide than to reveal who we are and that a veneer robs us of our freedom.  It ends up adding to our misery and our stress. The good news is that we can step out of that suit of armor at any time and simply be ourselves.

1. Tell the truth.  Always with kindness and compassion.

2. Dare to say what must be said (diplomatically and tactfully) without condemning others. Back up your point with evidence.

3. Let down your guard.  If you feel that demonstrating an idea in a goofy or frenzied way, do it to dramatize your point.  People will get a kick out of it and your message will be the one that people remember.

5. Look beyond the surface when interacting with others.  See the humanity and realness of your co-workers.  What unique qualities about them were behind a job well done? Recognize their attributes and tell them what you admire about them.

6. Protect yourself.  Don’t go out of your way to feel vulnerable by sharing too much. Rather, give people a a sense of how you feel and what you think by daring not to hide.  It builds trust.

7. Think of yourself as a leader who is transparent.  It’s the key to shedding ‘the persona’ on behalf of the person you are. It creates safety and support for others to follow; it breaks apart the veneer.

By taking this concept under consideration, you will feel a new sense of power and freedom in being authentic.  It can activate your creativity, you can have more fun at work, and might even find yourself purring once in awhile…

Personally yours,


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.


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,


How to Change the Subject without Being Insulting

In assertiveness, breakdown in communication, building rapport, Change the Subject, communication, communication skills, communications between generations, Connecting, connecting with people, connection, diplomacy and tact, empathic listening, Insults, non-verbal signals, professional boundaries, sharing information, speaking on December 13, 2015 at 11:24 pm

You’re listening to a boss or a colleague, client or friend, and losing patience. Perhaps, the subject is one that doesn’t interest you, or there is nothing more you can contribute. Maybe the topic is unimportant or irrelevant, or boring, or even worse – it’s gossip.

Most of us just don’t know how to end a conversation without being awkward.  We look at our watch.  We check our Smartphones for emails or texts.  We insist there’s an emergency for which we must run. We drop eye contact and start fidgeting. (Since 90% of the most important parts of communication are non-verbal, there’s a good chance we’re passive-aggressively sending a signal of disinterest.)  We might even hear: “Hey, you’re not interested in this?” or “What, you don’t have anything to add here?”  The possible outcome:  insulting or angering the other person.

Whatever the scenario, here is the way to change the subject.  It’s called, “The Re-Direct.”  Here are the steps:

1. Clarify the key point(s) about the current subject you want to change.

Subject A. “Okay, from this conversation, you want to re-train us all on how to communicate with our direct reports.”

Subject B. “You’re telling me a personal story about Gus.”

2. Agree on how to move forward.

Subject A. “You’re asking me to review the schedule to see when my team is free to take the training.  I will get back to you by COB Thursday.”

Subject B. “This is awkward for me. I ask that you please don’t include me in Gus’ personal business.”

3. Assert that there’s something you want to say, kindly, and insert a benefit to the other person for hearing you.

“While I have your attention, I’d like to discuss how we can improve our work with IT for the new client assignment. I think this will help us prepare for the 2016 renewal of the account if we can address this now.”

4. Speak Up

“My team does not have enough access to IT support to meet the client’s demands.  I was wondering if we can add more IT people to help cover the scope of this project?  I can site a few examples of our current issues.”

5. Show Appreciation

“Thank you for taking the time now to discuss this matter with me.”

So regardless of the topic you’d like to change, re-direct. Acknowledge what you’ve heard, then gently ease from the current subject (agreeing or stating how to move forward) and right to the benefit of the other person for listening to what you have to say.  Lastly, show gratitude for having the space to speak up.

Diplomatically 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.

Asking the Right Question: Closed-Ended or Open-Ended?

In asking questions, closed-ended questions, communicating, communication, communication skills, communications between generations, conflict resolution, connecting with people, dealing with a difficult coworker, delegating, diplomacy and tact, disagree agreeably, disagreements, effective communicating, employee engagement, engagement, How to Win Friends and Influence People, human relations, human relations principles, improve communication, interpersonal skills, interview questions, interviewing skills, managing conflict, negativity at work, negotiating, open-ended questions, person to person dynamics, professional behavior, professional development, sharing information, yes or no on November 21, 2015 at 5:01 pm

As busy professionals we try to save time by asking others quick questions.  Yes or No. In and Out. Move on.  Well, unfortunately, this sometimes backfires and shuts down a healthy conversation or the sharing of very important information, and can create negative reactions from others.

As an example, I have to let my clients tell me what they need, rather than assume.  Here’s a sample:

Wrong way:

Me: “Would you like to learn a better way of communicating?”

You: “No, thanks for asking.”

Right way:

Me: “In what ways would you like to improve your communication?”

You: “Well, I’d like to be able to get people to open up; to get them more engaged.”

Me: “Thank you for sharing.  Can you give me an example of what has happened in the past that makes this important to you?”

This is the difference between asking closed-ended questions and open-ended questions.  So many people fall into the pit of non-responsiveness by asking a question that will yield a yes or no answer, when in fact, by asking an open-ended question it can provoke thinking, participation and engagement.

There are times when a closed-ended question makes sense:

Are you hungry?

Are you ready to talk about your raise? 

Would you like to work from home one day a week?

Do you think we got the business?

The difference is this: when professionals are looking to deepen the context of a conversation, learn more from customers or colleagues; share ideas, motivate others, discover the sources of problems, it’s a good idea to know how to engage through open-ended questioning.

This is especially so when in conflict.  We use this tool to remain calm and composed.


You: “Do you want to talk this out?”

Other: “NO!”


You: “Help me understand how you came to that conclusion.  What did I say that, in your words, seems unfair?”

Other: “You gave Ellen more time to explain her point of view than you gave me.”

You: “Ah,  I wasn’t aware, thank you for telling me. Okay, what did I not give you the opportunity to share?  It’s important to me to hear what you have to say.”

Imagine gently tossing a ball back to the other person, whose turn it is to hit the ball.  Be prepared to give recognition and consideration of the other person’s feelings at the same time.


You: “The client called to say he’s unhappy with the outcome of the project.  Did you hear that too?”

Other:  “Yes, but it wasn’t my fault.”


You: “The client called to say he’s unhappy with the outcome of the project.  What do you imagine happened? I know how much time and effort you put into it.”

Other:  “I’m really disappointed.  I’m not sure what went wrong. I felt embarrassed to ask him directly.”

You:  “I can understand.  Let’s see if we can learn more so we can fix this. We have some options. You can call and ask him why he had this reaction and what we can do to fix the problem, or I can jump on the call with you to support you.  Which would you prefer?”

People love options.  When asking open-ended questions also give them some autonomy, as above.

Yes, this questioning technique slows us down and we have so much to do!  From my experience, the clarity and connection make it worth the effort. Practice asking open-ended questions and see what happens! Then you at least have the tool when you think it will produce the right results.

Happy questioning,


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.