Why Do I Need to Speak?

Why Do I Need to Speak?

You may not give this topic a lot of thought, but I think about it all the time, and I’m going to invite you to take a moment to think about it with me. And it’s the topic of presentations, like giving a presentation. Now, most people have a fear of public speaking, they tell me, “Colleen, I don’t want to be a speaker, I don’t want to go on stages in front of these big audiences.”

I’m not talking about that. Although if you’re interested in that, great, but the reality is that you are a presenter all of the time. Whether that’s presenting information in a conversation in your household or presenting information in your day-to-day job. In fact, I sat in on two separate booster clubs for high school sports, two separate teams, to their meetings to kick off the season.

One of the presentations went really well, the other one not so well. Which booster club do you believe is more successful?

Absolutely, the one that delivered a better presentation! Look, every time you deliver information, you present something, you have a goal on the other side. For the booster club, their goal is to raise as much money as possible to help fund whatever it is they want the sports and the athletes to participate in for the year – whether it’s uniforms, additional buses, or fun activities.

So when they’re presenting at this parent meeting, that’s their goal on the other side, to get as many parents to pay their voluntary team fees, donate money, and participate in fundraisers. And the booster club that had the better presentation was more successful at that. So what are you doing in your role?

Again, whether that’s personal or professional, where do you have to deliver information? It might be a formal presentation, where you’re delivering to senior level executives and you might be thinking, oh, I’m just here to deliver results. No, you have some sort of goal on the other side, whether it’s a personal goal to maybe showcase some of your capabilities, or maybe it’s a company-wide goal, to get these senior executives to say yes to the next step in your project and fund it.

If you’re a leader, when you’re delivering information to your team, you have a goal. It might be that you’ve got to get them to be a little bit more engaged and productive to meet the organization’s quarterly quota. But every time you present, there is a goal on the other side.

So isn’t it worth it to uplevel your presentation skills, even if you don’t believe you’re going to be out there as a public speaker? 

Easy vs. Effective Communication

Easy vs. Effective Communication

“Colleen, I know what you’re saying is true, but it’s just so much easier to not do that.”

This is what a C-suite executive was saying to me as I was there on-site with him and his leadership team. I was there to train and coach on communication, and he simply shared as I was going through the strategies and the coaching and he said, “Yeah, I get that, but it’s just so much easier for me in that moment when I’m having that dialogue, that communication with a direct report or another employee in the organization, it’s just easier to say what’s top of mind. It’s easier to just tell them what I’m thinking, what I’m feeling.”

And I looked at him and said, “Well, how’s that working out for you?” Not how he wanted to. So yes, while I recognize it’s easier in the moment to say and blurt out in a reactionary way what we’re thinking or what we’re feeling, it is not easier on the other side of it. I was sharing a story on a recent video here about one of the account executives that I managed years ago in another lifetime, and how she was banging away at her keyboard, typing this angry email in response to an angry email from a client.

Through coaching, I was trying to get her to change this, because in the moment it was easier for her to get those emotions out. But if she had sent that email, all of the other crap we would’ve had to deal with, all of the things we would’ve had to make correct on the other end with this client would’ve been much harder, much more difficult, versus taking that moment. And on that particular video, somebody commented and said, yeah, but how do you stay kind of calm, cool, and collected, right?

If you’re sitting there in some sort of communication where you have this reaction, whether it is anger, frustration, sadness, anxiety, fear, how do you manage that? And the one simple tool or strategy to give you is that we’ve got to think about what the goal is on the other side.

What is the ultimate goal?

And if your reaction is not going to get you to that goal, then you need to rethink – instead of having the reaction – what that intentional response is going to be. So, I offer for you that as you may be struggling or wanting to say, “Well, this is how I am. I am going to tell you how I feel,” I’m just going to ask, how’s that working out for you? Because while it may be easy in the moment, it is certainly not easy on the other side. Comment below, I’d love to hear from you. I’m here to unlock your x factor and to elevate your communication and your impact!

The One Thing Holding You Back

The One Thing Holding You Back

Whether you’re seeking a new job or you’re vying for that next promotion, there is one skill that you absolutely need to become not just efficient at, but really effective at. It’s the one skill I have been telling my kids since they were little that they need to become superstars at.

It’s going to be the skill that would set them apart no matter what industry, no matter what profession they went into. And with the continued advancement with technology and AI, this is the skill that will set you apart from those other job seekers, those others looking for the promotion at your organization.

What is it? Communication.

On the flip side, about 20% of people in general, and then 50% of the younger generations, those ages 18 to 35, have shared that they’ve lost out on an opportunity because of poor communication. Whether it’s because their skillset wasn’t high enough, or they had miscommunication. Nearly 50% of our younger generations are not embracing the soft skill of communication, and they’re losing out on opportunities.

When we look at job descriptions, about 28% of them have it as a skill, being highly effective in communication. So I challenge you, as you might be thinking, “I don’t really need to be a public speaker, I don’t necessarily need to present, my communication via the written word is pretty on par,” I’m going to challenge you. Look, if you want to stay where you’re at, great, go right ahead and just lean into some of the other technological hard skills, and you’ll be fine.

But if you are truly looking to accelerate where you’re at professionally, you must improve your communication skills. It is something that we can always get better at. Again, whether that’s the written word or how we verbalize it, or just even how we approach it.

Communication. So I encourage you – that’s what I do over here, unlocking that X factor to elevate communication and performance in individuals. Comment below, I’d love to share more with you as you look to accelerate your professional journey!

How to Deal with Angry People

How to Deal with Angry People

Early one morning when I was an assistant manager at a staffing agency, I could hear one of our newly promoted recruiters typing at her computer. I could hear her because I guess she wasn’t really typing, she was banging on her keyboard in a very angry manner. She was responding to also a very angry email from one of her applicants.

The applicant felt like this recruiter hadn’t really been sending her out on enough interviews and possibly really didn’t care about her, wasn’t working for her, and so the recruiter was drafting about the same kind of nasty, angry email back. Fortunately, I intervened before she hit send and I told her to back away from the keyboard. I then went on to coach her to draft a new email that thanked the applicant for her feedback and to share what the next steps would be. The recruiter looked at me with complete confusion, and probably anger, and could not understand how I would possibly have her thank this applicant for the feedback.

I assured her that responding with kindness was more likely to achieve better results.

I finally convinced her and she responded with the email we drafted together with kindness, and the applicant called her. The applicant apologized for the angry email, shared with her all of the frustrations that she was having being unemployed, the fear that she had, everything that was going on with her, and they were able to move forward in a positive, professional relationship.

So often the communication that’s sent to us when it tends to be angry or strange or awkward, whatever it is, it’s rarely about you, the receiver on the other end. The majority of the time it has to do with the other person, something that they’re going through or a situation they just came out of and they drafted an email, or they got into a meeting with you. It’s rarely, rarely about you.

Now, it’s not your role to uncover why they are sending this communication in the way that they are, but your role is to assume that it is not about you, and in turn, reply with kindness and see where you can go from there. I’m going to encourage you that in your next communication to pause, take a moment, and don’t react. Instead, respond in kindness and see where it takes you moving forward!

Obsessed with Perfection

Obsessed with Perfection

Nearly 13 years ago, I decided to pursue one of my passions. I am a self-proclaimed, group exercise junkie – I mean, I am obsessed with group fitness! So I got certified in a kickboxing format, but it was already pre-choreographed. As the instructor, I just needed to memorize the choreography and deliver it to the members.

Now, early on, I was hyper-obsessed with delivering the choreography exactly how it was set for me. I was showing up to class, making sure that I had memorized every single move so perfectly that I never would miss a cue, I wouldn’t send people in the wrong direction, I wouldn’t even breathe wrong.

Funny and ironically enough, members weren’t having a real connection with me as an instructor. I wasn’t “that” instructor, that they had to go to “that” class – until I started totally messing up. Until I started letting go and saying, “Oh crap, I forgot, we’re supposed to go this way. Oh my gosh, that’s not the song we’re supposed to be on.”

It wasn’t when I was perfect, it wasn’t when everything felt so systematic, delivering exactly what they thought should be delivered; it was when I was simply a human being.

So if you are holding back, delivering something or taking the next step, or you’re already communicating in some form or fashion, whether that’s through leadership and corporate or speaking to groups – whatever it is, if you are holding onto things, trying to be perfect, I am telling you today to let that go! That perfection actually builds a wall; it creates a barrier between you and whoever you’re communicating with.

They can’t connect with you, they don’t see you as an actual human being until there’s some level of authenticity.

Something that shows them that, “Wow, you can mess up; things aren’t always going to be perfect for you.” Today, where are you trying to build that perfection, that you can say, “Hold on, let me take a step back and build some level of realness to this,” be a little bit more authentic, or stop holding back and just move forward, even though it’s not perfect yet. Put in the comments below, I want to know where you’re committing to not being perfect, starting today.

Grand Visions Won’t Lead to Success

Grand Visions Won’t Lead to Success

It’s that time of year where you’re probably having grand visions of the year ahead. But those visions alone will not lead to success. Last year I shared what you must have in place to fulfill those visions. In addition to what I share in this video, for 2021 I’m integrating the 12-Week Year. If you haven’t heard about it, or it’s been some time since you’ve read it, be sure to check out the New York Times Bestselling book of the same name.

Cheers to a successful 2021!