"Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say Without Being Mean When You Say It" ~ Meryl Runion Rose                                ShoppingCart Plum NB 50

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Once you know who you are as an individual and you know what your unique contribution is to the team, family and group, you have the foundation to SpeakStrong from The Synergy Center. 

All Busy-Ness and Nothing Personal

PowerPhrase 300Near the close of a webinar I gave a few weeks back, the host shared one of her favorite PowerPhrases. It's from the PowerPhrases "Quick Reference Guide." Her favorite phrase is:

  • Thanks for giving me your feedback. It's useful for me to know how you view it.

My response to that was:

  • Thanks for sharing your favorite PowerPhrase. It's useful for me to know how people use the tools I give.

I do appreciate personalized feedback, especially if it contains wisdom and insight. Feedback, and a thank-you if appropriate create a sense of completion.

Interestingly, I haven't received any feedback or a thank-you, from that webinar. Was the webinar all business and nothing personal?

Could be. My guess is it was all busy-ness, and the silence is nothing personal. 

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PowerPhrase: Push is Push

Push Pressure NB 300"I'll take my walk this afternoon," Bob told me. "I could get it in this morning, but it would be a push."

"Yes," I responded. "That's our motto these days. Don't push - even when it's good stuff."

  • Push is push

...he noted.

Bob's walks are important to his balance and well-being, but when he pushes to get them in, it has an imbalancing effect.

We're both learning to live a push-free life. That's why his reminder is important for me to remember. Push IS push, even when we like what we push, squeeze in or power through.

That's one reason I don't post every day. I don't want to push it right now. 


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PowerPhrase: I'd rather not risk it

PowerPhrase 300I woke up feeling great. I might not have, had I not Spoken Strong the day before.

I needed new calcium, so I asked Bob to get me some. The bottle looked similiar to what I was used to, but my first teaspoonful was way sweeter than normal. I read the ingredients - it contained xylitol, which irritates my digestion. I mentioned it to Bob who noted that it in fact did, but assured me that the amounts were so small there shouldn't be a problem.

This is the point where in the past, I would habitually defer. But I thought about it, and decided not to take my second teaspoon. When Bob came back up I told him,

  • I'd rather not risk the xylitol, even in small amounts.

I anticipated push-back from him, but got none. He replied, "I agree with you," and got me a bottle of what I was used to.

Bob lives in a Mac truck body, and I can't make him responsible for the care and feeding of my Ferrari body. He's a great ally, and he lives pretty intimately with my sensitivities, but I live with them even more intimately. That's why I need to speak up a first, second and third time when I have a concern.

I suspect his initial response was habitual and by questioning it, he had a moment to think about it. Perhaps he remembered what happened the last time we didn't respect my sensitivities. I was so irritable that, as hard as I tried not to spread it around, I saw fear that I might explode any moment when I looked in his eyes. 

The key learning here is that it isn't just xylitol or some other irritant that causes problems. It the communication habit of going unconscious and silent at key points where we need to keep talking, exploring, and making decisions based on due consideration. 

Where do you back off when you need to stay the course and go forward?




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PowerPhrase: Is there anything I can do for you before i...?

Do Not Disturb 300The research is clear. We get more done and do it better without interruptions. We can't control all interruptions, but we can minimize them.

I was considering how to ask someone not to interrupt me while I was working, and decided it was more graceful to say:

  • Is there anything you need from me before I start this?

He asked a question and let me work uninterrupted.


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No, it's NOT anorexia or cancer... addressing a visible health challenge

Skinny 300I've never had a visible health challenge before, so this is the first time I've experienced people looking worried and shaking their heads at the sight of me. It's good and reasonable to want to inquire about such a rapid weight loss. I respect that. I also know how heavy some reactions feel to me. I don't expect people to know how to talk about my struggles, but this does give me an opportunity to discover what feels right and helpful and what makes me want to stay home instead of go out where people might give me that pathetic look.

It's not anorexia. I eat all day long. It's not cancer. I'm losing weight because the foods I can digest are ones that are recommended for a weight loss program. I'm losing weight because at this stage of the process, healing the flora and killing the bacteria in my gut are priority. I am not losing muscle - just fat. I'm actually very healthy by most measures. 

In fact, I feel more optimistic than ever because I know what I can eat and can't eat and I know what my issue is and what to do about it. It's a long slow process, but an exciting and promising one.

So while I appreciate concern and interest, I'd like to feel listened to. And I don't feel that when someone looks at me and shakes their head with a worried look, and tells me, "Don't lose any more weight." Didn't I just explain that I'm eating all day long (every two hours) and doing everything I can to keep the weight on while addressing the bigger, underlying issue? Or did I imagine that?

How many times do you need to remind me how skinny I am now? If I had gained weight, would you be reminding me multiple times of how fat I've become?

I just told you how optimistic I am - that I'm healing an issue I've had for years, and I expect to emerge more vibrant than ever. Why are you looking at me like you're planning my eulogy?

It's okay. People are well intended. There are plenty of others who can listen and engage with me where my heart is with it. It's just that I never want to miss an opportunity to learn to communicate better. Next time someone is facing a health challenge in my world, I will know from first-hand experience how to better respect their process.



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Word choice reveals inner wars

funny dog 300I never did find out what the fight was about. I'm sure she would have told me had I asked. I was more interested in the fight she was having with herself. She revealed that clearly with the language she used talking about just about anything.

Her word choice telling me her sweetie did a really "good job" getting her valentine flowers spoke volumes of her inner paradigm. He used to get them at the grocery store, but she suggested he get them at Walmart this time. The flowers lasted longer than they had in previous years. She repeated her "good job" assessment several times. Not too romantic. I'd rather not get flowers than have my honey do a good job getting them for me.

She started talking about how she used to meditate and was "good at it." She's "making herself" do it again, and she's not as "good at it" any more.

She praised herself for her heroic effort of stopping work at 7 PM and "forcing herself" to do something fun. The "need tos" and "shoulds" were overwhelming. If I used them for a drinking game, I'd have a hangover today. 

She spoke of a neighbor who walked her dog "Izzy" every time she saw signs that Izzy was getting restless. That was my opening. I told her:

  • That's your role model. Pay attention to your Izzy - your inner dog. She's telling you what she needs, and warning you that if you don't listen, she'll probably pee on the carpet.

The peeing on the carpet is a metaphor, of course. If we ignore our primal and instictive selves too long, we set ourselves up for conflicts like the fight that led this woman to contact.

I didn't need to know the detailsof the fight I had everything I needed to shift this woman's perspective by listening to her language. 


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PowerPhrase: I don't care if her science is bad. If it works, I'll figure out why.

foods 300In my quest to heal my digestion, I'm exploring food combining. Bob and I listened to a CD about it from the 80's that a friend had recommended to him. His friend, a healthcare professional, told Bob it was the only thing that helped his daughter after having tried many things at great expense. 

The CD presenter is best described as perky. Her track record is impressive and her enthusiasm high, but her science is both old and sloppy. Every few minutes Bob would pause the audio to point out her errors - for example, HCl is NOT an enzyme, as she claimed. (Even I knew that.) 

I was concerned that he would reject the whole idea because of her inaccuracies. Might he negate the experience of his friend and this woman's readers because her explanations don't add up?

During the night I remembered something I experience in myself and tell people. Resistance indicates that someone is taking new information into consideration. They are processing it. I needed to let him have his process.

The next morning he greeted me by telling me,

  • I don't care if her science is bad. If it works, I'll figure out why. 

This is a bigger deal for me - and probably you - than it might appear on the surface. My entire life I've known more than I could explain clearly and accurately. For example, when I first started meditating 40 years ago, I knew it was amazingly wonderful for me. But, I wasn't able to explain it in terms that my linear, rational father could relate to. In this case, my personal experience was so strong that I wasn't about to give it up because of his objections. Of course, meditation has gone mainstream since then, and even if it hadn't, by now it's clear to him that 40 years of practice has developed exceptional equanimity.

I didn't back down on that one, but I have backed down on things because I couldn't explain them. Of course, sometimes my truth is partial - but as long as I can't talk about it, it will stay partial. It doesn't have to be right or perfect to be voiced. It's a process.

And there are two people in every conversation. Both have their processes. I love where Bob came out in his process. I'm glad I was able to come to a place in my own process to let him have his. 



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PowerPhrase: How can we turn a devastating defeat like the Superbowl into a positive?

Manning creamed 300I can't say I enjoyed watching the Superbowl last night. It's painful to watch your team trampled, even if you're not that invested. The loss was a much bigger deal for my hubby. I could tell from the low tones in his voice, it was personal for him. 

He perked up pretty quickly, but it's still a bummer. Two things I said that helped some were:

  • 'Tis better to have loved the Broncos and lost than never to have loved at all.


  • How can we turn this loss into a plus? How can we milk our misery in a fun and playful way?

Okay, they still lost. But we're not taking it quite as seriously, which is a good thing. If you're a Seahawks fan, you're probably feeling good today. Don't mind me. Go ahead. Enjoy your glory extracted at our expense. (Kidding. I'm playing with it - really - do enjoy it!) 

How can you play with your losses? How can you turn the agony of defeat into a blessing of sorts?


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PowerPhrase: I'm not broken, I'm evolving

Plant grow evolve ORRelationships often have some friction right when they're ready to grow to the next level. It's helpful to know that. I mentioned a habit that Bob has that shuts me down. He was able to hear me - really hear me. Later he told me his knee-jerk response to suggestions is to think people are telling him he's broken. He has learned to re-frame that. Now he tells himself:

  • I'm not broken. I'm evolving. 

He certainly is!


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PowerPhrase: I won the lottery when...

PowerPhrase 300This one comes from Nora Hooper. Her friend told her she had won the lottery. What she meant by a winning lottery ticket was that her son had bought her a house.

Nora replied, "It sounds like you won the lottery when you had your son." Her friend responded, "I won the lottery with all my children."

Since then, Nora has been using:

  • I won the lottery

as a PowerPhrase. She prefaces references to any blessing or mention of something she's grateful for with that phrase.

I think Nora won the lottery when her friend treated her to that PowerPhrase.


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Dare to be Ordinary on the Road to Excellence

CSPI once adopted a personal motto to:

  • Dare to be ordinary

I was on a major learning curve and found it hard to put myself out every day knowing my best wasn't always "rated" good enough. It was tempting to pretend, but by being myself, I gradually got my skills up to speed.

I actually DID get a medal for my persistence - a Certified Speaking Professional medal. It's for excellence in the speaking industry. I say it's for daring to be my ordinary self - a work in process - until I got good. Or, to use another motto of mine, I had to practice, which involved expressing my true self ineffectively before expressing my true self effectively. 

Another way to refer to it is humility. Oh, my, it was humbling and tranformational. 



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Sincerely Be-you-tiful

Joe is militantly honest. He stands by his right to take people out with "the truth." He says what he means and means what he says and justifies his venom and meanness when he says it by calling himself honest. 

Joe is very gifted and lacks compassion for anyone who can't do what he can immediately. People in his life dance around his definitions or go away. 

Being around him is exciting and dynamic, but I don't stay in his orbit because I can't be me there.  I hope your world increasingly takes you to places where you can sincerely...


Authentic communication lets the be-you-ty in you unfold, one conversation at a time. You might find that what comes out of your mouth is a poor imitation of what's in your heart. Your words might lack polish and not get the response you're going for right away. You might find yourself yearning for the mask that kept you safe for so many years. That's okay. It's all part of what makes you so beyoutiful - to those with eyes to see. I am wishing you the eyes to see that in your very own self.  



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Article Use

Please copy, quote, distribute, share and publish these articles with the following credits.

©2015 Meryl Runion Rose. Meryl is a Certified Speaking Professional and the Creator of the SpeakStrong Method of Dynamically Effective Communication. Find her at www.SpeakStrong.com

Let me know how you use them. Thanks!  

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I blog daily when I have a lot to say. When I don't have much to say, I stay silent. Kind of how it outta be, don't you think? Lots of great communication tips.

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