Kindlings: How to Deliver Bad News

A common issue I have encountered working with hundreds of speaking and training clients all over the US is failure to deliver bad news in a timely manner.

Most people don't deliver bad news because they are afraid of the reaction.  They know the co-worker, employer or customer will be unhappy, maybe even angry. And yet all of those reactions are so much worse the longer you delay.  There are keys to delivering bad news quickly in a way that's designed to minimize fallout and prevent big reactions.

What to Do:

• Prepare  Do your homework. Get as much information as you can. Get all the facts and have solutions to the issue already in mind.

• In person and timely  If at all possible, go and deliver the news in person and do it immediately.  Never deliver bad news in snail mail or email. It's cowardly.

• Be direct, clear and honest  Tell them exactly what's happening, why and what you can do about it.

Demonstrate Empathy and Compassion  Acknowledge that this is upsetting to them.  Truly listen and say things like, "I understand."

Show them a way out- a positive solution. Spend most of the conversation on the solution and how this will help them.  If you don't have one, brainstorm with them about possible ways to resolve the issue.

• Key words to avoid and to say instead (from Kristin Robertson, KR Consulting)

AVOID THESE                                 SAY INSTEAD

“ You should”                         “We can do this together- let me show you”

“ You can’t”                            “One alternative for you would be”

“ I can’t”                                 “Here’s what I CAN do for you”

“ No”                                      “I’m sorry- that’s not possible because”

Always reference what’s in it for them.

Listen fully and correct any misunderstandings.  Get your information and promises correct and keep them to the letter.

Ask for their continued support and willingness to work with you. Express your sincere desire to have an ongoing positive relationship and ask them to give you the chance to make it right.

All of us face challenges and problems in our businesses, and we all have bad news to give at some time.  The way you do it makes all the difference in the outcome.

 

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Reduce Holiday Stress by Setting Boundaries

Set Boundaries to Cut Down on Stress this Season

Stress Express; Family FightingThere's no question that the holidays can bring out the best and the worst in people, particularly families.  There's so much pressure to decorate, get the right gifts, prepare for visitors, cook and clean and handle excited children, all on top of work.

So how do you reduce holiday stress?  Set boundaries and say no more often.

• if you're hosting an event at your home, ask those coming to bring a dish or a beverage.  Be specific and clear about what you want.  Don't try to do it all.

Limit sugar intake yourself and for your children.  Sugar just adds another layer of craziness to the stress.

Say no when asked to attend an extra event or make a batch of cookies.  Take care of yourself first.

Ask for help- from your partner, your children, etc.  Ask them to help decorate, clean up, do the laundry, etc. at this busy time of year.

Avoid familial conflict.  If two family members always fight during festivities, speak to them in advance and ask them to avoid each other or be kind.  Tell them if they can't, then they are not welcome in your home.  If they start trouble, they will be asked to leave.  Make it clear your home is a "no fighting" zone.

The holidays can be joyful and meaningful times to celebrate faith, love and hope.  Take care of yourself and reduce your holiday stress by setting boundaries that support you and your peace of mind.

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©2017, Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. You may share this post and reprint with author reference and copyright.

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2 Ways to Increase Your Influence

Burchard bookYou Can Have Greater Influence on Others

Brendon Burchard, in his excellent new book, High Performance Habits, shares some excellent tips on how to increase your influence.

  1. Teach people how to think. When you are working with others, whether in a team, on a committee, or your employees, ask compelling questions which make others think.  Some might include:
    "What do you think about...?"
    "What would happen if we tried...?"
    "How should we approach?"
    "What ideas do you have about..?"
    Get others thinking and contributing. Listen to their feedback and don't shut them down. You influence them by thanking them and considering what they have said.  Do this more and more often at every meeting.  Let them know you expect new ideas and creative thinking from them.

2.  Challenge others to grow. Let them know you hold them to a higher standard.  Whether it's your employees, family members or friends, ask them what their next steps are, how they can get better at what they're doing, how they can treat others better, how they can improve.  Let them know you believe in them and that their excellence inspires them.

You have an impact on others.  You have the opportunity to influence others more than you know  By encouraging their thinking, their growth and their ideas, you influence and empower others.

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©2017, Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. You may share this post and reprint with author reference and copyright.

Is Lack of Boundaries Stressing You Out?

You Must Set Limits on Your Time and Energy

Stress Express; Family FightingMary's mother demanded enormous amounts of her time, even though she was perfectly healthy.  Instead of declining all the requested visits, Mary spent way too much time with her mother, ignoring her job, husband and health.  She ended up sick and could not work. She desperately needed boundaries.

I often see very bright, accomplished professionals who are completely overwhelmed by the demands on their lives- especially women.  With high pressure jobs, families, friends, volunteer work and aging parents, most of these folks are so stressed they are close to their breaking point.  How can this be fixed?  By setting healthy boundaries.

How to Set Boundaries:

• Start valuing your own time.  Before you commit to anything, personal or professional, ask yourself these questions:

1. Do I want to do this?
2. Am I capable of doing this?
3. Is it the highest and best use of my time?
4. What do I have to give up to do this?
5. What happens if I don't say yes?
6. Will this stress me out further?

• Learn to say NO.  When yet another volunteer opportunity comes your way, say "I appreciate your thinking of me.,  I only want to give you my best effort, and right now, I can't.  May I recommend.... for this?"

Value Your Own Need for Downtime  You cannot be effective at your job, at home, as a parent, partner or friend if you are burnt-out. Play time, quiet time, nap time, meditation time- all of these give your brain critically needed detoxification.  Furthermore, you are more likely to come up with new creative solutions when you step away from the work and relax.

Set boundaries and don't allow others to take advantage of you- you will be much happier and less stressed

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©2016, Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. You may share this post and reprint with author reference and copyright.

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How’s Your EQ?

The Key to More Effective Relationships at Home and Work

Listening handshakeOracle Vice President Meg Bear says empathy is the critical 21st century skill. In an article in Fortune Magazine, business experts cite emotional intelligence as one of the most needed business skillsets for the coming decades.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

It's the ability to be aware of and manage the emotions of yourself and others, and constructively communicate as a good team member.

Those will poor self-awareness tend to be brusque, rude, narcissistic, critical and rigid . Those with poor self-management react strongly, yell, interrupt and disrespect others. Those with poor self-motivation procrastinate, blame others.

 Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

• Become an excellent listener. Don't interrupt, have open body language and
don't check your cellphone while listening.  Give full eye contact and attention. Summarize what they said and ask questions.

• Develop greater empathy.  Show caring, even if you haven't have the same experience.  You can say things like "That sounds hard for you." "I understand this is difficult."

• Get to know yourself more.  There are great books out like Strengths-Finder
and plenty of free personality tests on line.  Discover your strengths and areas for improvement.  Often work conflicts are the result of personality differences.

Workplace problems• Pay attention to the body language of others.  What is not being verbally said?

• Be a source of positive encouragement to others. Find the good.

Those are just a quick start on how to improve.  Put them into practice and watch your life get better.

 

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Your Worst Enemy Could Be You!

"Argue for your limitations and sure enough, they're yours."
Richard Bach

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-business-woman-cubicle-overworked-stressed-image5934154

75-85% of those most of our daily thoughts are negative. We judge ourselves severely, we think we should do it better, we compare ourselves to others and find fault with ourselves. Oprah said, "Comparison is violence against oneself." Powerful!
In her book, Your Body Believes Every Word You Say, Barbara Levine shows that a simple statement like "so and so is a pain in the neck" can create shoulder and neck pain quickly. Pay attention to your self-talk and make it positive.

How to Handle Negative  Self-Talk

• Awareness is key Ask this question and write down all the answers that show up: "I can't be totally successful right now because..." Don't censor yourself. Write down everything that shows up, no matter how silly. Now go back and examine each one of those reasons. Most of them have no basis in reality. None of your reasons are good enough to stop you. Now
draw an X through them right now. Say to yourself "These are not true."
And when you find yourself thinking them, say "STOP" and put in a positive statement in place instead. You can retrain your brain. Do it.

Make a strengths inventory. Several great books help you discover your strengths, including Strengths Finder. (And several free surveys on the Internet.) Find out what your unique talents and gifts are and work on developing those. Gallup's research on millions of professionals shows that those people who develop their strengths and not their weaknesses become the most successful.

Feed your mind with positive nutrition. Read uplifting books, magazines like Success Magazine, listen to audios, watch inspiring videos on youtube. Ignore the negativity out there; good things happen every day. Change the channel when something disturbs you. Focus on what you want, not on what you don't want.

You are far more powerful, talented and wise than you think you are.

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Stress-Free Relationships at Work

In today’s dog eat dog world, you will go farther faster by cultivating positive relationships at work. Use these tips to build rapport and create a better work environment.

Fired Up presenterThe Golden Rule
as a Way to Reduce Stress

I hear all too often about backstabbing, selfishness, and silhos at work.
And the truth is, none of us can get our jobs done alone. We all need others to help and life is so much more pleasant, effective and profitable when we place nicely with others. People will go the extra mile for those they feel care about them. They will work late and do overtime and jump through hoops if they believe you truly care.

How to Build Better Working Relationships

• Be kind. You have no idea what others are going through in their personal lives.

• Smile and sincerely ask others how they are.

• Share news which will impact others quickly. Come up with solutions to a mutual problem before you even tell them. Be empathetic.

Praise others specifically 92% of American workers say that when they finish a project, their boss says NOTHING! Don't be one of those managers. Thank your people and acknowledge what they have done.

• Do it in writing- thanking others with a written note card goes a long way.

• Share openly with others and invite them to do the same. You don't have to parade your personal problems, but show your vulnerability and authenticity. Be a real person and others will respond.

• Encourage laughter, not at anyone's expense. People are more effective in a safe, fun work environment. Part of how you create that is to make the job enjoyable. Good will goes a long way.

 

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Never Be Late Again

Clock from Stress ExpressAre you one of those people who is chronically late?  Who always rushes from place to place and leaves people waiting on you, creating tension before you even start?  Do you realize that being late is actually a broken agreement, that it says to the person you are meeting "You are not important enough to me to be on time."  It's unfair, insulting and unprofessional, and that's so not like you.

How to Be on Time

Choose and prioritize.  Make the decision to be early instead of late. Set your clock 15 minutes ahead, set your phone alarm to beep you 15 minutes before you have to leave and then 5 minutes so that you make it on time.  Use whatever little tricks you have to get out the door in plenty of time.

Plan on delays, in traffic, in elevators, in subways, etc.  Life is like that, so build in a time cushion.  I have a meeting this morning that takes me 1/2 hour to get to- without traffic glitches.  So I will leave at 45 minutes before to give myself a 15 minute cushion. If you're early, stay in your car and get things done before you go in.  Showing up 5 minutes early is fine, 15 is probably too much.

Call when you are running behind.  Demonstrate respect for the person you are meeting. Give them an accurate assessment of when you will arrive.

• Prep for meetings and events the night before.  Have everything you need all set to go. That saves scrambling around at the last minute.

Have one place in your house for keys, cellphones, etc.  Leave your keys there.  This prevents last minute rushing and looking for lost items.

Once you make the commitment to be on time, you will find the quality of your relationships improves and you will feel better about yourself, instead of guilt and ashamed.  You're capable and competent, you know how to handle this.  Just do it and reap the rewards.

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©2014 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. You may share this post and reprint with author reference and copyright.

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The 1 Key to Great Presentations

Do This and You Cannot Fail

AYP4LRSo many people ask me as a professional speaker how to overcome nervousness and anxiety about public speaking.

And the answer is really simple: PREPARATION.  The more you prepare in 4 ways, the more likely you will be confident, relaxes and effective in your speaking.

#1 Prepare your material
Know what you are going to say inside and out.  Research it, cite  sources, know your facts, and most of all, have great stories. People love stories and they remember them.

#2 Prepare your audience.  Get to know them in advance.  What are they worried about?  How you can help them with your material?  What are their victories and can you share about them?  Can you make them heroes? Ask questions, get their participation, enroll them in using social media, if appropriate, with hashtags, etc.

# 3 Prepare your space.  Know where you will be presenting and if possible, control the room set.  Make it easy for everyone to see you, and if you use AV, make sure it works. I don't encourage people to use Powerpoint® because it can be so boring.  Instead, give action worksheets and get your audience involved with your speech.

#4 Prepare yourself. Practice what you are going to say in front of friends and get their feedback.  Don't memorize- it's fine to have notes.  Tell stories and demonstrate a sense of humor. Have lines ready for when you flub up.  Your ability to laugh at yourself shows confidence and relaxes the audience.  They want you to succeed. Pick professional clothes that show off your best features.  Be polished and ready.  Smile and be yourself.

Now go fire them up!

 

For more information about how to present , check out my latest new audio CD and mp3.

Fire Up! Your Presentation Skills!
(especially helpful for Introverts)

HAPPINESS CD1 artMost everyone gets nervous when they have to give a presentation. In this comprehensive audio, you’ll learn:

• how to overcome fear, no matter who you have to speak to
• the most important things to know as you prepare
• the best tools to relax while you are speaking
• how to harness the power of body language
• the winning formula for a good speech
• how even introverts can become excellent speakers

Only  $20.00 mp3

 

 

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Easiest Way to Make More Money

 

Businessmen HandshakeOne of the most important dimensions of any marketing plan should be customer retention. The best way to keep your business healthy and keep your business growing is to take excellent care of your existing customers.  They are your best source of referrals and future work.

Even if the primary work you have done for them has been completed, check in regularly- at least once every 4-6 weeks.  Educate your customers, send them articles, post information on your web site, send out ezines, stay connected through social media. Have lunch when you can.  Send them greeting cards. Be a constant resource for them.

Let them know you value you them. Always thank them for referrals- write personal notes and let them know how much you appreciate their business.

Never, ever, take them for granted.

 

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©2014 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. You may share this post and reprint with author reference and copyright.

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