"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. 

Continuous connecting

Some of my phrases come from others. Some come from observation. Some come from deep reflection. And some fall out of my mouth, and I observe, thinking, that was interesting! That was effective!

I'm attending training with people it's very good for me to network with. I find myself continuously saying things that create a sense of a group. For example, I got in the shuttle and said,

  • Are your my training buddies today?

I referred to my table mates as my

  • table team.

I continuously and spontaneously find myself referring to the people around me in ways that referred to a relationship. Those words create a sense of being a part of a group - and I find it results in dinner invitations with people who might just have included people they already knew, people looking out for my interests and so on. 

I admit, I don't know what I might say next. But it feels right and has a nice effect, so I won't interfere with my natural tendencies here.

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Emotional honesty

A reader writes:

Meryl -  I have long been embarrassed about women showing emotion at work, but at the same time proud that we aren't afraid to. I want to control question_smemotions, and I'm not sure that will ever be possible for an authentic person. What do you think?

I respond: 

I agree – you can't be authentic and control your emotions. But you can manage your emotions authentically. Emotional honesty doesn't have to mean lying down on the couch and pouring your guts out. It can be simple things, like, "I'm trying something new and feeling a little foolish about stumbling." "I'm stretching my comfort zone to do this differently, so I'm nervous about how it will come off."

When I first committed to more emotional honesty, it came out pretty raw! Two reasons – I had no experience – didn't have the skill. And I had a backlog of emotion, so a simple thing could stir a huge reaction. My voice would get stuck in my throat – I'd get choked up. Felt like I was five years old. Now I don't tend to regress because I pretty much clear as I go. There are still occasions when I feel the need to control my emotions, but they're rare – and I hate them! I like being able to flow in who I am.

It takes practice. I assure you, I haven't always been perfectly poised when I practiced - but I did find low-stakes places where I could express emotion without being afraid of losing credibility. Phrases help a lot, too - they help you know how to communicate feeling without being too heavy. 

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Let the coffee stir the cream

powerphrase_icon2I'm back from my second big lean event - Shingoprize in Cincinnati. The short and mundane definition of lean is it's about eliminating waste. I listen carefully for ways to talk about lean that are less mundane and that bring lean to life. Too many people think it means layoffs and treating employees like objects. It's the opposite. 

But I got my favorite phrase to explain it from the conference I attendeed after Shingoprize. It was a professional speakers' summit, and Kelli Vrla was there. She mentioned how her dear Uncle Johnny pours the cream in before the coffee. Why? So he can, 

  • Let the coffee stir the cream.

What a great phrase to describe more efficient ways of doing things, and what a great way to describe how lean optimizes performance. It will be a buzz word for me and my associates! 

How to make toast efficientlyWhat works so well about it is it is highly visual and very familiar. I can picture Kelli's Uncle Johnny pour his coffee. I can picture him share his wisdom. I can picture the coffee stirring the cream. Can you? I already try to remember to do it that way to save the step of getting a spoon and stirring. So I relate to the image personally. Do you? From that image I can easily extrapolate into how simple life might be if I "leaned-out" other aspects of my daily operations. 

Tonight my husband and I have a date to watch "Toast Kaizen". I'm sure it will change how we make toast, how I talk about lean, and how I observe and eliminate waste in my own life.  

What phrases do you have that illustrate a better way of doing things? Those phrases are gold. Thanks Kelli - and thanks to Uncle Johnny as well. 

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PowerPhrase: I Own This Space @danmulhern

powerphrase_icon2Dan Mulhern posted today about "owning the space" we stand in. He referred to actors owning the stage and how his wife Jennifer owns the front of a courtroom when she prosecutes. It's about where you belong and how you show up there.

It's not about posturing. It's not about pretending. It's about claiming and embodying expertise.

I commented on his post that when independent business owners find their brand, the brand is about the space they own already. For example, I own business phrasing. Not that others don't play in that field - and play well. But business communication and particularly phrasing is where I shine. It's an expertise I bring to the table. It's a space I continually own more deeply. 

My phrase books provide phrases based on that ownership. For example, admins often don't fully speak in ways that say "I'm an administrative professional. I own this space." All the phrases in the Perfect Phrases for Office Professionals book are based on that kind of professional ownership. 

What's your arena? Where can you say,

  • I own this space

...and do you show up in ways that reinforce that claim?

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PowerPhrase: What do you need to make your job easier?

powerphrase_icon2My husband Bob asked Lalena, the young woman who cleans our house,

  • Is there anything you need to make your job easier?

Lelana replied that a new mop would be nice to have since the one we have falls apart. 

Such a simple thing - and yet she didn't think to ask for an inexpensive tool that would increase her efficiency until Bob asked her what she might need.

Are there people in your life who make do with what they have when a simple improvement would make a big difference for them? Why not ask and find out?

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PowerPhrase: I respond more quickly to short emails

powerphrase_icon2I find that when I can reply to an email quickly, I do. If it's something I need to study or research, I'll wait to reply, which could take a few days, or in very busy times, longer than that. 

Bob's the same way. Some clients send him short emails and he answers right away. But if it's more complex and requires more time, he'll put it off until he has a block of time, which could take days.

When clients habitually send him long rambling emails, he will let them know. He'll say,

  • The way my practice works, if I can respond quickly, I do. If it will take more time, I set it aside until I have a block of time. Just so you know.

He found that this information inspires some of his longer-winded clients to be more succinct in their queries. 

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PowerPhrase: I get excited and talk too much

Last week Power PhrasesI read in "The M Factor" about a young man who blew an interview by talking too much. He requested a do-over and apologized, explaining that he had wanted this position so much for so long that he got excited and started trying to sell himself too strongly. The CEO gave him a second chance.

Last week I heard author Jill Konrath suggest having a recovery strategy when excitement gets us talking about what we do when it would be more effective to ask what others need. Her advice was similar.

  • Sometimes I get so excited about my work that I talk too much. I apologize. Tell me more about...

It's great when we get the balance right the first time. When we don't, it's useful to have a fall-back strategy.

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Reader Question: Tangential Exec

Note: this question came from the webinar last week. It's revised from what I suggested at the time.question

Meryl, with one of my executives, I find myself completely lost until about 3/4 through the conversation because he will be talking about one subject and then jump to another one. How do I keep up and make sure we're communicating appropriately?

Response - Note the difference in styles. Something like:

  • You have a remarkable ability to go in many different directions and then tie it all back in to your central point. My mind works more in a straight line that yours does, so sometimes I get lost. Would you be okay if I interrupt you when I stop following you?

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Reader Question - Internet Use at Work

Internet time

Meryl, I have a great direct report who spends a lot of time on the internet. Weicon for Questions have guidelines about internet use and another director complained to me about how much she is on it. She gets her work done well, and volunteers for projects, so it's not a performance issue. She complains about being bored.

Response - Clearly the real issue is keeping her busy and using her talents, so while you could force her to follow the guidelines and you may need to, I suggest focus on redirecting her interests. Something like:

  • I can tell we're not using you to potential because you're over guidelines on internet use. Let's brainstorm projects for you until we come up with ideas that will keep you too busy to hang out there long.

  • It doesn't make sense to me to require you to follow the internet guidelines when you're getting all your work done, but I might have to. How can we resolve this? I have ideas, but I'd like to hear yours first.

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PowerPhrase: progressive partnerships

powerphrase_icon2I accepted a request to mentor someone in an association I belong to, but wasn't really comfortable with the term mentoring. Then I remembered what the Army calls the mentoring program I worked with them to develop. They call it:

  • Progressive partnerships

The Army created a program that recognized the fact that learning goes both ways, even when one person has much more experience than the other. So my mentee and i talked about the wording and agreed to a progressive partnership model for our new relationship.

My clients at the Army are very savvy to abut the importance of word choice. 

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Admin PowerPhrase: Administrative Deadline

Power PhrasesToo many managers figure the deadline to be ten minutes before a project is due, forgetting that it takes time for admins and office pro's to put final touches on them. Get managers used to the phrase "administrative deadline". By using that term for setting deadlines for your role in project management, the concept will become more concrete in your mind. For example, use phrases like, 

  • If the drop-dead deadline for this is (date) the administrative deadline needs to be (date). 

    Use the term administrative deadlines until you hear others use it, too. That's your signal that your part in the success of projects is acknowledged and understood. 

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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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