Jackie Kellso

Posts Tagged ‘tone of voice’

Why are You so Negative? I’ll Tell You Why, and it’s Not Your Fault.

In brain, brain-based, brain-based coach, brain-based coaching, coping with pressure at work, corporate life, cortisol, dealing with a difficult coworker, disagreements, emotional baggage, emotional brain, executive brain, fight, fight or flight, limbic system, manage stress at work, managing conflict, managing emotions at work, negativity, negativity at work, neural pathways, neuroscience, Norman Vincent Peale, office politics, passive-aggressive, pre-frontal cortex, problem-solve, profesional boundaries, professional behavior, Professional Reputation, self-defensiveness, self-improvement, stress and worry, stress hormones, work-related problems, work-related stress on October 2, 2017 at 3:22 pm

Do you find yourself focusing on how disorganized your manager is, or how your colleague can’t run a meeting, or how your team can’t come up with the right idea, or how disgusted you are by your CEO’s poor communication skills?

Well, if you are criticizing just about everyone and everything, guess what?  You have lost perspective, objectivity and healthy, personal boundaries.  In fact, you are unwittingly creating your own hell and it’s keeping your brain from its executive powers to think, problem-solve and be most effective.

In this state, some of us will bully, become passive-aggressive, withdraw, gossip, cry, or beat the hell out of ourselves and eat five chocolate bars to get a kick of serotonin. You get the idea.  When we are unable to cope, we start moving into old-fashioned self-defense. There’s no resolution in this state, only more frustration and pain.

Being in a constant hypercritical mode doesn’t take that much these days, with so much pressure on us to deliver.  But, there’s usually another factor — unclaimed emotional baggage that we’ve carried into the present day.  Here’s why:  our brains will respond with whatever we give them.  As Norman Vincent Peale said, “Dwelling on negative thoughts is like fertilizing weeds.”  The chronic re-injury to the brain from negative thinking literally changes our brains.

These weeds are neural pathways that have been constructed around negative thinking.  Think of highways and how they connect to one another to move traffic along. In the brain, these are called synapses. When fired-up they will stimulate the release of stress hormones, which set the stage for unwanted reactions of the mind and body. In fact, over time we can see how the stress takes a toll on our health: migraines, depression, chronic fatigue, etc. This is why being negative is not your fault; your brain has been bred for it. The good news is, we can get help from our executive (or thinking) brains.

The key is to recognize the symptoms. Are you waking up and going to sleep (if you’re sleeping, that is) with anger, rage, vitriol, depression, etc? If this is the case, even if you’re not openly complaining, your body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, and attitude are most certainly giving you away.  You’re not hiding from anyone.  So, you’re also negatively impacting your reputation.

Look, this isn’t the moment now to start berating yourself.  It’s the time to take charge of your brain.  The pre-frontal cortex is the thinking brain and can be used to manage the limbic or emotional brain that is controlling your moods. So to get on top of this, it’s important to feed your brain thoughts like, I can’t control other people or outside things so I’m going to accept what is. In other words, I’m going to let it go, surrender, and move on. We have the power to clear out our thoughts about what went wrong during the day and leave room to start with a fresh outlook the next day.  This is the beginning of re-wiring the brain and creating new neural pathways.  The brain has enormous plasticity!

So, take the current work situation and use it wisely.  How is it reinforcing your negative thinking?  Who is triggering you into a self-defensive posture? By examining our current relationships and challenges, we have the opportunity to use our executive brains to keep our histories where they belong — in the past. (This is why I decided to become certified in brain-based coaching; the brain is fascinating, our current experiences are usable, and with focus, we can emerge enlightened.)

Lastly, sleep matters.  The brain cleanses what it has taken in during the day, while we sleep. So, to manage the hamster wheel of obsessive thinking and  make room for a new day, with a fresh start, we need ample sleep.  If not possible nightly, a daily 20 minute nap can do wonders too!

In the end, please don’t blame yourself (or others) for how you feel but do take responsibility for what you do. Go home tonight, leave the challenges of the day behind you, and enjoy your well-deserved rest.  Your brain will love you for it!

Happy thinking,

Jackie

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.

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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,
Jackie

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.

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.

Jackie

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.