"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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Effective Communication Skill Blog

Alchemist in Meryl.150Communication skills are great in theory, but how are they in practice? This Effective Communication Skill Blog shows you how to walk the SpeakStrong talk. I'm Meryl Runion Rose. Join our conversation about Communication Alchemy, and saying what you mean and meaning what you say... without being mean when you say it.

The Communication Alchemist is IN. Are you IN too?

"Never Show Weakness" Was a Trap

achilles heel 300She loves the men in her life. Dealing with them is simple. They taught her to never show weakness. She owes much of her success to their guidance and modeling.

So why is she showing weakness now? Why is she unable to stop the tears? Why is she feeling vulnerable? What is happening to her?

Her tenderness and her weakness are intertwined. By never showing weakness, she slams the door on her tenderness. Now that tenderness wants to emerge. She is finding her heart and what it means to care.

She is stunned to discover that if she loses the people and the animals she loves, it will hurt. She didn't used to feel vulnerable to loss. Now she does.

And the men who taught her to never show weakness are falling off their pedestals. She is discovering the price of her adulation of them. It feels disloyal to be her own person, but her tears are telling her she can't go back.

She has outgrown her motto to never show weakness. She can't go back. And despite the struggle, she doesn't want to. 

Her tears are telling her it's time to be tender. Perhaps she will become a model of tenderness for the men in her life that are prisoners of their credo to never show weakness. Perhaps she isn't just setting her own heart free.

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The Fuss of a Delicate Flower

ginseng 300Dr. Nawei noted that she gave me an herb in the ginseng family instead of ginseng because ginseng root is too strong for my system. I replied by saying that my system is fussy. 

  • I wouldn't say fussy. You're a delicate flower.  

She's right. If the flower fits, it's important to be it. And as much as I like to think I'm tough - and can be when I need to be - it's essential to honor my own nature. We ignore our constitutions at a cost.

It's also important to use words that honor rather than disparage our essence. If my system raises a fuss, it's because it is delicate. I'm learning to brew delicate teas at the proper temperatures, and I'm learning to respect the delicacy of my unique make-up. (Surprise! Coffee is good for this flower! Yay!) I t isn't the the immature rantings of the rose in the Little Prince. It's the mature fuss of a delicate flower who honors what she needs.

 

I've reacted to ginseng in the past. Dr. Nawei's herbs sit very well with me. She finds the right roots and herbs for this delicate flower.

May you find the roots that nourish your blossoms.. May you also find words that honor your essence.

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One Thing Every Know-it-All Should Know

danceThis post would work better in audio, but it's still worth a share.

Bob recently declared himself to be "All Knowing." Or that's what I heard him to say—until he clarified by telling me,

"When I ask if something is possible, I think 'no.'"

"When I consider new options, my first response is 'no.'"

"When I approach anything, I'm All-No-ing."

What an important thing for a No-it-All to know. Lol.

 

I came into his world a bit too Un-No-ing. I simply didn't 'No' enough.

Initially we balanced each other by polarizing each other. Now we balance each other by drawing from the best of each other's styles. I know to say "yes" to that.

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Dances With Life, Fear and The Healing Process

dance tutu 200"'How do I get rid of the fear? Alas, that is the wrong question."

Seth Godin observes that getting rid of fear requires not putting yourself out there and not doing things that matter.

The right question, Godin suggests, is:

  • How do I dance with the fear?

He goes on to say that fear isn't the enemy, paralysis is. That's why he advises us to ask ourselves:

  • How do I dance with the fear?

 

Good question. I say don't stop there. There are more good questions. Ask the bigger question. 

  • How do I dance with life?

Dance loosens the paralysis of the moment. Ask,

  • How will I dance with life...today?

I thought about Dances with Wolves and adopted the name for myself: Dances with Life. Yes, it's a dance alright.  

 

Ask yourself:

  • How will I dance with life right now?

Then, ask specific, smaller questions that are your own. 

My current question is:

  • How do I dance with my healing process?

  • How do I dance with a healing process where I wake in the morning full of energy, invite my friend up, and fade while she's on her way up?
  • How do I dance with a healing process where what balances me for two days throws me out of balance the third?
  • How do I dance with a healing process where I need to hike the trails for exercise, but my herbs require me to stay close to a bathroom, and after the fire, there are no bushes to hide behind?

 

I dance to keep myself fluid. When I feel the paralysis, I move.

But my dance with life and my healing process includes stillness—dynamic stillness. My dance with life leaves room for pause. 

My husband understands the dances I do. My friend does, too. I called to tell her I would be meditating when she arrived. She busied herself with her own dance in our lovely spring-enlivened yard as I sank into the depths of stillness. I emerged refreshed and we did a shared dance. It was lovely.

I cherish those close to me who understand how I ask the question:

  • How do I dance with my healing process right now?

I danced with the fear that they wouldn't understand, and in fact, they do. They trust me to honor my answer. I return the favor when they, too, are called into a dance with life that may not be what we had originally planned. 

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Happy to Be Busted

  • May I make an observation?

...I asked Bob after he had finished telling me about all the emails he was late in responding to. Usually he responds quickly, but he had gotten behind.

He wanted to hear what I had to say.

I pointed out that the evening before, he had gotten on the case of someone who had been slow in responding to him. I told him,

  • I know in my own life, when I get on someone else's case for something, I almost invariably catch myself not living up to my own standards and doing what I object to in them.

Bob smiled and noted,

  • I missed that.

A few minutes later he came back and commented about how he hadn't noticed the parallel at all. 

I love it that Bob responded with such receptivity. That speaks to his integrity. That's one of the reasons I love him.

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Not the Effect I was Going For

"Wow. Thanks for the video. lol" That was feedback on a recent post from one of my subscribers. 

Oops 300I did preview the beginning of the YouTube video Alive by Goldfrapp, but didn't watch it through. It would have been a good idea to have previewed the whole thing. I commented on the dark nature of her make-up, but didn't realize how ghoulish the video becomes. It doesn't match the experience I had dancing to the audio at all.

So the moral of the story is, preview things all the way through before you pass them on.

I AM feeling alive again, and it does't look anything like the video. ;-)  Thanks for the heads up, Al.

 

I also received some wonderful and insightful responses to this post. One reader mentioned that I posted it on Good Friday - a day filled with death, but with the promise of eternal life. That reader also mentioned that her moving in with her boyfriend was death to independent living, but new life for the relationship. I love her observations. Life is like that. Decisions literally mean killing off options for the options we select.

That point matches the intended spirit of the post... much better than the visuals in the Goldfrapp video. I'll just say the level of darkness doesn't elicit the effect I was going for. Perhaps I need to create my own video - with an emphasis on life.

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What Looks Like Death to Some Feels Like Life to Me

Tea chicken feetMy theme song this week is "Feeling Alive Again" by Goldfrapp. Her makeup looks like death to me, but the song is life.

Wednesday I bought chicken feet for my soup broth. I also got some very strange looking (and bitter tasting) herbs from my acupuncturist. When she told me she had a bag of herbs for me, I pictured a one-inch square tea bag, not a lunch sack filled with unrecognizable bark and roots. 

Both looked a bit like death, but are very life-giving.

I AM feeling alive again. Yay! I don't care what my herbs look like, or taste like, and I'll cook up chicken feet every day if that's what it takes to jump-start spring in my heart, body and soul. I am grateful. 

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How Are You?

Voice bubblesAfter my "What is your favorite Girl Scout cookie?" post, a couple of readers mentioned that they have little patience with people who ask, "How are you?" when the asker clearly doesn't care.

I generally don't enjoy questions when I know the asker doesn't care about the answer, but I have made peace with the "How are you?" question. I figure most people don't mean it literally, so I don't need to reply literally. Usually I keep it simple by saying, "Good. You?" But sometimes I take it as an opportunity to talk about whatever I want. 

The knee-jerk response to a question is to answer it as asked. Instead, I pretend they just said, "Hi," or asked, "What's on your mind that might be interesting?" If I want to, I might tell them about the insight I had, or how I scored at a sale or how much better I felt after I hiked. 

If I don't want to share myself, I'll just say, "Good. You?" And I go about my business.

What's different about the "How are you?" question from the favorite cookie question is that it's a greeting, not a trick. They're not asking how I am to set me up for something they want me to do.

Also, we expect the question so we have the option of preparing.

As for me, I napped in my meditation this morning and was groggy afterwards. I hiked and I did feel better after. I'm happy about that.

That's how I am. How are you?

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He Spoke the Words We Dared Not Speak

Computer wiresBob and I were thinking it, but Noel is the one who said it.

  • I think we're done.

When you fix things at the root and you create integrated systems, it can seem like an endless process. Would we ever arrive? We were thinking we had, but only Noel dared speak the words.

Noel is our new computer tech. Noel is amazing. We're actually glad that our previous computer guy changed the network in a way that created all kinds of problems, and then went on vacation. That forced us to find Noel.

Noel got everything working as it should and connected the pieces. Two of my USB ports weren't working. I have numerous ports, but Noel insisted on fixing the broken ones anyway. That required him to know what kind of mother board I have, and since it's at the bottom of the computer, that required him to take the computer apart. In the process, he removed some wires that went nowhere and discovered some loose screws that had been left on the bottom of the unit. 

He even tamed the jungle of wires in the back of my computer. His comment was,

  • It's called pride in your work.

It took a long time. We joke, "What time is Noel coming today?" because he has become part of our lives. He will be back for this and that, but as for the major overhaul, (do I dare say it?),

  • I think we're done.

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A Girl Scout Cookie PowerPhrase - or Poison Phrase?

PowerPhrase 300"Would you like to buy some Girl Scout Cookies?" I don't eat cookies. My answer is easy. It's "No." (Well, "No thanks.")

But Seth Godin recommends a different phrase. He suggests they ask:

  • What is your favorite kind of Girl Scout Cookie?

Mine is mint chocolate, although the peanut-butter ones have their appeal. I was a Camp Fire Girl, and I liked the mint chocolate candies.

See how it starts a conversation?

However, PowerPhraser beware! This PowerPhrase is a manipulative Poison Phrase if you're not really interested in the answer. The power is in the rapport, shared experience and the conversation. That's true of pretty much every pre-pared phrase you can use. Put your heart in it and make it your own, and it can be mutually beneficial. 

Use it to "work" someone, and you may sell cookies, but you lose a bit of your soul.

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PowerPhrase: Sorry to Skype and Run

PowerPhrase 300Rikkie would communicate very intensely and then disappear. When we finished our sessions, she fired off all kinds of observations and summaries. I took my time to reflect and sent my recommendations the next day. Rikkie never responded to them. But when she was ready for a new session, she would contact me.

I coach real-time. That means I let people know what promotes clarity and what doesn't in our communications with each other. Rikkie's intensity and then absence feels very one-sided and controlled to me.

One example of this is her tendency to send a Skype message and then leave. She Skypes and runs - which leaves no room for reply.

Sometimes we need to do that. Just now I apologized to Angela for that. I ended my Skype message with:

  • Sorry to Skype and run.

After all, conversations are intended to go two ways.

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When Business and Personal Colide: A PowerPhrase

PowerPhrase 300Some say you should never mix business and personal. It's a good rule if your friendships are superficial and you need to walk around issues. It makes no sense if your friendships are deeply supportive, the business relationship is mutually beneficial, and the communication is good. That's my experience, anyway.

I've had business relationships that have been great matches but weren't matches for frienships. I've had friendships that were great matches but didn't work for business. In both cases, we tried to expand our relationships and backed off.

I've also had and have business relationships with some of my dearest friends, and friendships with some of my most treasured professionals. In both cases, we needed to SpeakStrong at times to keep things fluid and fresh.

Rob had the same experience with a client/friend. Despite his more than fair invoices, Rob's friend would wince every time he got the bill. After too many occasions of this, Rob told him:

  • If I have to choose between a business and personal relationship with you, I'd prefer to have you as a friend and lose you as a client. I'd rather do that than hear you b&#%! about the bill, because it hurts my heart. But I'd rather keep you as a friend ans a client.

The message was received as intended.  

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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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