10 Updates
The 8 Powerful Communications Secrets Every Person Can Use
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

The 8 Powerful Communications Secrets Every Person Can Use

Mar 15 2014, 6:26pm CDT | by

I have recently re-connected with a personal hero of mine: Pamela Maier, a personal counselor or “life coach” as she describes the role she fulfills, “because I now have a life.” Pamela is a...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

19 weeks ago

The 8 Powerful Communications Secrets Every Person Can Use

Mar 15 2014, 6:26pm CDT | by

I have recently re-connected with a personal hero of mine: Pamela Maier, a personal counselor or “life coach” as she describes the role she fulfills, “because I now have a life.” Pamela is a delightful individual who’s lived a variety of experiences in her 79 years. Beginning at an orphanage in England, she was raised by a foster mom and married an officer in the Royal Navy, a PhD who was both a psychologist and a professional illusionist. She had a career in singing and dancing, and was a proprietor with her husband of an immersive live-in program for children designated as “mentally retarded” to determine what the children were genuinely capable of before returning them to their parents and homes. She experienced parenthood and grandparenthood. She was widowed after 42 years of marriage and married in 2000 to lifelong friend Richard Maier, now her partner in business and life.

Her teachings have indelibly affected not only my life, but also my business. My partners have heard me repeat “Pamela wisdom” on many occasions. Pamela resides with husband Richard in Southern California, but thanks to the magic of Skype is able to counsel her clients from anywhere, which allows me the chance to check back in with her now and again.

I met Pamela during the hardest time of my life. In 2001, as the mother of five and one of three owners of a marketing and public relations business that was struggling to endure the dot.com crash, I also found myself in the midst of divorce. It was a difficult time made still harder by the fact that I lived and worked in a close-knit and highly conservative town.

When I finally mentioned the divorce to friend and professional mentor Craig Burton in an email, he immediately picked up the phone.  (Surely he’d heard the scandalous news far sooner, but he’d graciously avoided the topic until I’d brought it up.) “Stop everything,” he said. “Call Pamela Maier. Book a flight and go to Orange County this weekend.” And so I did, spending money I could not afford at the time. I’ve been forever grateful since then that I did.

Pam taught me, the PR expert, a thing or two (or 20) about core life skills and communications. Her advice didn’t change my hard situation, but it changed me. In negotiations, in conflicts, and even in day-to-day communication, the principles she talked about have come to life many times. Recently we re-connected as she spent some time with my son. “Have you ever written these principles down?” I asked her. It turns out she had, and she emailed the manuscript of her unpublished book, The Art of Communication. I was overjoyed. Better still, she’s given me permission to share some of the elements from her manuscript here. So here they are – eight of my favorite communications truths from Pamela Maier:

  1.  You must be fully comfortable within yourself before you can be effective in communicating with others. True discussion requires the ability to be fully present and fully interested in the perspective of others. It is a discussion between equals, in which you are solid and aligned within yourself to the point that you are able to hear and desire to understand the opinion of another without interruption, without anger, and without “the need to be ‘right’.” There’s not necessarily a need to agree, but the ability to genuinely strive to understand another person’s perspective is a vital skill you should call upon often.
  2. Take the time to increase your awareness. As we tend to “close ourselves off” to the would outside of our phones, the television, iPad, computer or our favorite book, what other information might await as we open ourselves up to confronting the world around us every day in 3D? The outdoors, your own space, the objects around you—pick them up, feel them, hold them, genuinely discover them and you may be amazed by the things you will learn. From the moment your feet hit the floor in the morning, become aware of the solidness of the floor, and take a moment to throw open the drapes and really take in the characteristics of the space that surrounds you. From this vantage point, you can spend the rest of your day with an attitude of looking “out” instead of contracting “inward.” It will make a great difference in the perspectives you see.
  3.  True integrity requires learning to be yourself – the same self – at all times and with all people. We’ve all seen the people who shift like a chameleon to be the person they consider fitting for every occasion. The suave and entertaining person who is life of the party and then goes home to yell at a spouse. The boss who shines like a star from the podium and after the program is over shouts abuse at his staff. The person who feigns religious piety or political conservatism in front of the parent or boss and then becomes a different person entirely for the rest of the week. Great communication requires that you “lose the attitudes” you put on like a coat from your closet and learn to exist as the same authentic and integrated person in the presence of everyone else in your life. Who is that person? If you aren’t sure or the question is suddenly giving you pause, you have work to do.
  4. Help is only “help” in the eye of the receiver. People can become upset if the “help” you provide isn’t helpful for them. As you provide something others didn’t really want or weren’t expecting, they become annoyed and you consider them ungrateful. As a boss, the help you are needing should take the form of a job description (the clearer the better). As a manager or team member, learn to ask the deeper questions such as, “Of everything on your plate, if you were to receive help, what would be most beneficial?” or “What kinds of feedback or additional information would be most useful to you?” These small steps can save untold anxiety while also respecting and empowering the people you serve. It is also interesting to note that research shows millennial employees are especially poised to thrive on help—not on getting help, but on giving it. The opportunity to serve others in a way they consider meaningful can be extremely motivational and rewarding for them. (Pamela notes that this principle is highly true when working with children as well.)
  5. Be aware of your emotional level before you respond. Beyond words, we live in a continuum of attitudes and emotions. At any instant our emotional state can range from zero (complete apathy) to ten (flaming rage). We are at our cognitive best when we are operating at or near the center of the emotional spectrum. Before making a major choice, and especially before responding in a difficult situation, it is vital to step back and take your emotional pulse. Especially when you are angry, ask yourself “What is it I want to happen? Is what I’m about to say or do the best way to achieve that result?” As Pamela will say, “Words have power. You can’t take them back. Use them with care.” Of all the “Pam Lessons” that have stayed with me, this single principle has changed outcomes within my business again and again. Always sleep on a hard decision or discussion before acting. Avoid the temptation to react to a volatile situation with ill chosen words. This advice applies to “bragging” as well—when a former business competitor bragged about a contract before the deal was actually won, it reminded me to reach back out to the former account. The result: it was my team who won the sizeable deal. In another company a highly accomplished sales VP, after drinking too much on the eve of a major company conference, bragged that his company and CEO were inferior but were leading the market anyway due entirely to his brilliant performance in sales. The next morning, he was relieved of his job. It is also interesting in business (and personal) situations to observe that the greatest power in the room is often held by the individuals who aren’t speakingthe strongest people in the room are often the ones who have sufficient confidence and emotional restraint to keep their mouths closed.
  6. Trust, loyalty, faithfulness and honesty are the cornerstones to resolving untruths, misunderstandings and lies. Unless people are deliberately vicious and evil, they don’t purposely tell lies, they simply interpret what they see or are told. If there’s a “drama queen” in the person’s nature, they’ll also embellish it a bit for a better story. But at all times, as a communicator, be careful and aware of the assumptions you make. Allow other parties to explain themselves, or take the time to investigate the facts sufficiently before you jump to accuse. You should put critical communications in writing. However, when misunderstandings occur, if the four key elements are present—trust, loyalty, faithfulness and honesty–the majority of misunderstandings are quickly resolved. No matter how dire a misunderstanding, great communicators will seek out the information they need before reacting and will maintain an atmosphere of respect in the conversation that ensues. If it turns out that the worst has actually happened, you will at least be armed with correct information (and the advantage of forethought) before acting. Remember that with an attitude of respect you can be successful within most any conversation, no matter how tough. However, if respect and honesty aren’t possible on either side of the table, there is little basis for the partnership to exist and very little hope the relationship can be saved.
  7. Fear is the enemy of communication. Anxiety, nervousness, panic, loss of control (or the need to take full control) are the signposts of fear. At a primal level, fear is your brain’s way of warning you to react quickly (even instantly) to present dangers or to triggers that appear similar to bad experiences you’ve had in the past. Healthy fear reacts to real and present dangers. Unhealthy fear makes people feel insecure. They don’t trust others, nor do they trust themselves to be strong enough to handle the negative situations they may face. What are your own fears? Name them – remember them – and determine once and for all (if needed, with a counselor’s help) if these are real dangers or simply the unhealthy act of giving away strength to the irrelevant thing that you fear. As you determine what you’re afraid of (and why) it may help to ask yourself just how big the danger is. Bigger than an avalanche? And now describe a fear you don’t have that’s even bigger than that. A train wreck? Or a bomb explosion? From that perspective, perhaps your fear of giving a speech is not such a big deal after all, and you can free yourself to proceed.
  8. Blame is an irresponsible attitude. When you assign blame, you demonstrate to the world that you are too weak to own the responsibility of your actions. When a person jumps to blame others, they lose the ability to make a truthful assessment of the relevant facts. Blame becomes wrapped up with its companions of Shame and Regret. The opposite of blame is responsibility (response+ability), the power to respond to a situation and the ability to make it right, if possible. Sincere apologies are the result of responsibility. But a person who is shamed into apologizing is not genuinely apologizing at all. And regret is a useless emotion that leaves a person mired and “stuck” in the past. So the next time you are tempted to blame the tool you’ve used, or the manufacturer, or another person, take the time to investigate all of the facts and enact a responsible solution instead.

There is much more, of course. But the crux of these eight Pamela lessons can make a profound difference for any business, any leader, and any personal or working relationship.

Should every entrepreneur participate in life coaching? Whether it’s a little or a lot, I would say emphatically “yes,” or at least that it just doesn’t hurt. Pamela doesn’t recommend that her clients continue forever, but notes that in even the most challenging situations (short of longterm addiction/recovery), within the space of 30 hours of work she can help an individual develop an inner foundation of strength that should allow them to continue forward with success on their own.

Whether or not you pursue life coaching, I suggest that every entrepreneur or executive develop a habit of reading and absorbing all information on beneficial communications you can find. (For example, you could use the books and audio materials on Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations to make a positive start.) You can also bookmark or print this article as a periodic reminder. But in a nutshell, remember the Golden Rule of Communication, according to Pam: “Do as you would be done by” and her philosophy to live by, “You Live as you Think.”  These are wise words from a wise lady. Those who would like to connect with Pamela directly can find her at maier.pamela518@gmail.com .

Top Tips From Award-Winning Entrepreneurs

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Rakyat ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was br ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the Dewan Rakyat today. ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the southern states ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 mi ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Indust ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocation of RM20 million. ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan B ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Damansara Skyway (Kidex) ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Wireless cooling: Magnets to keep your fridge cool
New York, July 29 (IANS) Magnets may soon act as wireless cooling agents for your refrigerators, laptops and other devices if a theory propounded by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US finds application.
 
 
Human-induced water vapour next climate threat
New York, July 29 (IANS) The rising levels of water vapour in the upper troposphere - a key amplifier of global warming - owing to greenhouse gases will intensify climate change impacts over the next decades, scientists said.
 
 
In changing times, women find losing virginity enjoyable
London, July 29 (IANS) Did you feel guilty after having sex for the first time? Take heart as young women today are actually "enjoying losing their virginity" compared to earlier days.
 
 
Cool flames in space to lead better engines on Earth
Washington, July 29 (IANS) A new space experiment can change the way humans travel. In a series of trials on board the International Space Station (ISS), researchers have discovered a type of cool-burning flames that could lead to cleaner, more efficient engines for cars.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Kazakh volleyballer becomes new Internet sensation
Almaty, July 29 (IANS) It took just a few days for Sabina Altynbekova, an under-19 female volleyball player from Kazakhstan, to hit stardom. After some performances during a youth tournament in Taipei last week, the...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Indian para-swimmer Gayakwad misses out on bronze
Glasgow, July 29 (IANS) Indian para-swimmer Sharath Gayakwad missed out on the men's 200-metre individual medley SM8 bronze finishing fourth in the final of the event at the Tollcross Swimming Centre here in the...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Lens returns to French Ligue 1
Paris, July 29 (IANS) Lens football club were promoted to the top flight, French Ligue 1, after successfully appealing a ban on financial grounds. Lens were banned from the Ligue 1 after failing to produce the...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Sharadha fails to qualify for women's 100m finals
Glasgow, July 29 (IANS) Indian athlete Narayana Sharadha failed to qualify for the women's 100 metres final at the Commonwealth Games here. The 27-year-old Chennai-born finished sixth out of seven competitors in the...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Cleanliness, punctuality Modi's mantra: Chinese daily
Beijing, July 29 (IANS) New vigour is sweeping through Indian government offices after Narendra Modi became the prime minister with ministers conducting surprise checks to see if bureaucrats are in their seats in time...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
MH17 investigators fail to reach crash site
Canberra, July 29 (IANS) Australian and Dutch investigators have failed for a third consecutive day to reach the MH17 crash site because of fierce fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists,...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Indian nurses now caught in Libyan conflict
New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) In a near replay of the incidents in Iraq, a large number of Indian nurses are caught amid spiralling violence in Libya, where rival militias seek to control the capital's international...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Audrina Patridge splits from boyfriend
Audrina Patridge has split from her boyfriend. The reality TV star and Australian BMX rider Corey Bohan have split for good after five years of dating and though they have parted ways previously, insiders don't believe...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Robert Downey Jr. excited to shop for baby
Robert Downey Jr. can't wait to go shopping for his baby daughter. The 49-year-old actor and wife Susan Levin will welcome a little girl into the world in November and he is planning to shower the latest edition to his...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Joe Manganiello struggled to understand Sofia's Colombian family
Joe Manganiello found it difficult to understand Sofia Vergara's Colombian family when she introduced them over the weekend. The 'Modern Family' actress and the 'True Blood' star, who started dating earlier this month,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla