"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. 

Quote: a Leadership Test

"One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency."


Arnold H. Glasow

I'll add to this. Another great test is the willingness to talk about it when others are too busy fighting fires to problem solve. 

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PowerPhrase: I need your input to make an intelligent decision

Leaders often are afraid that if they ask for input, they will sound like they are abdicating their decision-making role. Here's a phrase that will by-pass that. 

  • I needpowerphrase_icon2 to hear from you in order to make an intelligent decision here.

This phrase makes it clear that the leader intends to decide, but seeks to consider all options. It's open, inclusive, rsponsible and decisive. 

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PowerPhrase: I reviewed it as if it were my own

I have a lot of experience writing phrases and phrase books. But that doesn't mean people who haven't written phrase books can't help me. However, in coauthoring, one challenge has been getting people to put their own wisdom and experience into powerphrase_icon2their contributions instead of unquestioningly following my lead .

That's why when Diane used these words to preface her input on a phrase book she's helping me with, I was very heartened. She said,

  • I reviewed it as if it were my own. So some of my comments may be intrusive.

Her preface reflects a perfect blend of ownership and respect for the fact that it is my project. She was willing to think beyond what I had already written without negating what I had. Her comments were very useful. 

Kudos to Diane and to Sharon whose input also reflects a great blend of my ideas and her own. It's key to great collaboration. 

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Subject line magic

My friend and coauthor Susan Fenner sent me an email with the subject line "You're amazing!"

We exchanged many emails after that, and each time she replied, I received yet another email with the subject line "Re: You're amazing!" It was quite a pleasant experience. 

Then it occured to me that Susan was receiving emails with the same subject line. It seems I had discovered another application of "You reap what you sow." What goes around comes around. In this case, it's a good thing.

I'm more conscious of subject lines now. 

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Power Phrase: What don't you know?

  • I don't know

powerphrase_icon2is a Power Phrase. 

Joe kept trying to make it right and explain to Nancy why she shouldn't be upset. He guessed what was upsetting to Nancy without really listening to what she was telling him. He tried to pacify her in ways that were based on one assumption after another. Finally he gave up and said,

  • I don't know what to do next.

That was the perfect next step. Finally he was open enough to listen to Nancy. Finally they were able to have a real and productive conversation that moved their understanding forward. 

If you find your words aren't getting the response you're going for, ask yourself what you don't know. Just entertaining the question can take your attention to a litany of assumptions you didn't know you were making. The perfect next step is to go and find out. 

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Getting really good at falling

It might not sound like a complement, but it was. Steve told Wendy

  • You've gotten really good at falling this year

Steve was referring to cross country skiing.

When you're good at falling, you dare to stretch past your comfort zone. You're willing to risk more because you know you can pick yourself back up and move on with little damage. And this principle applies to more than cross-country skiing.

I've picked myself up from a number of communication falls lately. I've risked truth knowing that my friend or partner might not want to hear what I really was experiencing. I've ended a few associations that simply weren't willing to meet me where I am. I felt some sadness, some relief and much peace.

I also have some amazing wins and breakthroughs. I've had moments of dazzling clarity, joyful shared discovery and satisfying connections. 

I think I'm getting really good at falling. How about you?

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PowerPhrase Quote About Caring

From Seth Godin: "When your organization punishes people for caring, don't be surprised when people stop caring".

quoteI can recount many times where I felt actually ridiculed for caring. Can you? In a profit-driven world, it can take a lot of courage to care. It's worth it. And if you don't dare to care where you are, it may well be time for a change. 

Corporations don't care. People do. Or some people do. I've been shocked at times about how uncaring some people have been. I've ended mutually beneficial business relationships with companies that have rewarded non-caring and punished caring. Tough choice - but I don't do business that way. There are too many people in the world who do care - and enough organizations that allow their people to care that we don't need to waste much time with those who don't. 

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Consistency in Communication Matters

Henry Ford is quoted as saying, "It's not what you say or how you say it, it's how often you say it". While Ford referred to advertising, his point applies to all kinds of communication. Consistency reinforces your message. 

Especially in our crazy-busy world - don't assume that because you told someone something once, they got it. That's why as a speaker, I make the same point in many different ways - and as a professional, a wife, a mother, a friend - I strive to cut people slack. People are busy and we all need to reinforce our points with repetition. 

What we DON'T want to do is tell them once and build our case against them because they didn't get it. 

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PowerPhrase: Give me an example

I listened to two business radio interviews yesterday. Both were excellent. And in both cases, I consitently wanted to ask the guests to please:powerphrase_icon2

  • Give me an example.

It all sounds good, but I don't really get it until I hear it described in action/application.

There's a trend in business books toward fables and story-telling. But you don't need to write a whole book to give an example. It can be as simple as what I did here - I gave an example of how I wanted an example to understand a principle. 

Make a point, elaborate on the point and illustrate the point with an action or an example. It's a simple formula for communication success. 

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PowerPhrase: I'll get you on the calendar right now

Immediacy is the name of the game these days. So what do you say when someone wants immediate attention and you can't give it? The knee jerk response is to say "I can't do that." But instead of negating and declining, talk about what you CAN do. Say,

  • powerphrase_icon2I can get you on the calendar right now. 

I got this one from an admin who would tell people who wanted to talk with their execs right away. 

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PowerPhrase: I'm Challenging that Belief System These Days

Jarla joked about how we make money the old-fashioned way - by working our tails off. Judith replied,

  • powerphrase_icon2I'm challenging that belief system these days.

I like the way Judith's words gracefully shined a light on the assumptions in Jarla's remarks. Her words inspired a discussion of how the assumption that we need to work that hard might limit us. Not that any of us don't want to work or value work. It's more that... well... I'll let you reflect on it for a bit. How might that belief system limit our options for success? How might it limit yours?

This post isn't really about that particular belief system. It's about ALL the beliefs that are true because we assume they are. For example, one belief I run into is people who believe they can't say what they mean and mean what they say without being mean when they say it. Sure - there may be reasons why you don't and consequences if you do, and preparations you would want to make before you live your life communicating that way. But is it possible that you hold yourself back from rich expression because of a belief that deserves challenging?

What belief systems are you ready to challenge? The path of continuous communication improvement is a path of continuously challenging beliefs that limit you - often unnecessarily. 

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PowerPhrase to Move Past Obstacles from Toyota Kata

Along with a great deal of general wisdom, I brought home a PowerPhrase that I will use for the rest of my life from Mike Rother's Toyota Kata training last week. 

"Missy" was telling us why our ideas to improve a process wouldn't work. Mike asked her:


  • Are you giving us reasons not to do it, or identifying an obstacle we would have to address in order to be able to do it?

The tone in the room changed immediately and we moved forward with new inspiration and clarity. Missy had confused obstacles with reasons. I can't count how often people do that when asked to try something new. 

Obstacles and reasons are not the same. But if we act like they are, and see them as impenetrable barriers before we've explored them, we will miss some fabulous opportunities. We need to see them for what they are - things we would have to address to move forward.

Don't overcompensate and dismiss obstacles as if they don't exist. That sets you up for failure. Personally, I think many people hold on to their obstacles as reasons not to progress, because they're afraid they'll be expected to move forward as if there were no obstacles. When you know the difference, you can move forward intelligently. 

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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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