Jackie Kellso

Archive for the ‘tone of voice’ Category

How to Stay Out of an Argument

In arguments, avoiding arguments, communicating, communication, communication skills, conflict resolution, dealing with a difficult coworker, diplomacy and tact, disagree agreeably, disagreements, fight or flight, interpersonal skills, manage stress at work, managing conflict, managing emotions at work, negativity at work, negotiating, office politics, opinions, passive-aggressive, personal development, personal growth, stress hormones, tone of voice, Uncategorized, women, women in the workplace, women working on September 22, 2017 at 5:05 pm

“I hear what you’re saying, but…you’re wrong!”  How many times have you used that phrase?  How many arguments have you started as a result? Arguments are unforgiving. You can’t take back what you say. It’s like trying to apologize to the glass you dropped on the floor.  “I’m sorry,” won’t glue the pieces back together.

And why argue over opinions anyway?  They are just concepts; there’s no actual turf (other than the ego) that arguing defends. The threat we feel when we argue kicks off the “fight or flight” mechanism. The body becomes flooded with stress hormones and the thinking part of the brain literally shuts down.

So, if you’ve been getting caught up in opinion wars, you have not been thinking clearly or objectively.

Some helpful tips to help you stay out of an argument:

Stop Trying to Win

Think of others’ opinions as experiences that are connected to emotions. So, when you try to discredit or win, you are essentially saying, “Hey, your experience doesn’t count.” Experiences are valid proof of why people feel the way they do, which is why people can justify their opinions. Let it go.

Never Say “You’re Wrong”

It is not respectful to send someone’s opinion down the garbage shoot. Look for one aspect of the person’s opinion you can agree with:

Clarify what you’ve heard. “You said that dogs are too much work so you don’t like them as pets.”

Agree on a point.  “I can understand that as a busy person, it can be too much to really enjoy the company of a dog.”

Do not insert BUT or HOWEVER.

Add Your Opinion
“I have found a way to balance my schedule so that I can enjoy my freedom and my dog.”

Just the Facts, Please
A great way to prevent getting emotionally charged is to use facts to replace feelings. Instead of, “Dogs are the best creatures in the whole world!” say, “Research suggests that when people have dogs, they live longer, healthier lives.”

And the Final Word Goes To…
Both of you. If you let go of the need to be right and make it your goal to give the other person the latitude, you will create the space to be heard.  This method creates equal footing on the matter, mutual respect and a well-avoided argument.

Peacefully yours,


You can also find this article on Womenworking.com.

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.

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.

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.

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.