Real Communication. Real Results.

Author, speaker, and coach, Betty Lochner is a passionate leader, with over 25 years of experience specializing in improving interpersonal skills, building and leading teams, training supervisors, and working with different communication styles and generations. 

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Authentic Communication Starts With an Authentic Self

by Betty Lochner on April 6, 2015

I met with an organization to talk about delivering a staff training on communicating with difficult constituents.  At some point in the conversation the person organizing the event looked at my necklace and said,  “We are a very liberal organization.  Wearing a cross could makecross necklace some of our employees uncomfortable.”  My immediate, without thinking, response was, “I don’t always wear my cross.”

I’ve thought about that exchange a lot. Why didn’t I ask her what she meant? Or explain that my cross represents a part of who I am?

I’m a believer.  I’m all in.  I hope I demonstrate my Christian faith in my everyday living.  And, while I do use Christian principles in all of my work, (building relationships, showing appreciation, and gratitude, and communicating effectively  to name a few), I don’t “preach” when I teach. Those that know me well know my faith is my stronghold. But I have never been told that my faith is wrong or offensive to a general audience.  That was an eye opener for me.

The experience prompted me to take a step back do some review work on owning who I am and, when I choose to, displaying it without fear of rejection, or criticism, or even losing a job. In other words, to practice what I teach!

Discovering your authentic self can be a lot like peeling back the layers of an onion. You start with examining your outer self and how others may see you through your appearance, your body language, and your communication style.

Understanding your outer self is the first step to going deeper to really understand your inner self – who you are, what your core values are, what motivates you, and what your place in the world is. One of the resources I use in my teaching is the workbook “Understanding Your True North” by Bill George.  The book takes you through a process of self-reflection to discover your authentic self.  When we are our in sync with our authentic self,  we can learn to really communicate authentically.

Whew.  And it all started with a necklace!  Here’s what I know about me: authentic communication, building relationships, gratitude.  That’s what I teach. That’s what I do.

I eventually did get hired to do the training and I wore my necklace pictured here. It represents the cross I bear and the connection I have to the beach. Both me and part of who I am.

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Betty, Ruben and Penny Betty, Ruben and Penny

 

Betty Lochner is a communication specialist, author, and professional speaker who teaches individuals and organizations how to make small changes that make huge differences in their relationships at work and home – improving morale, confidence and productivity. She is the author of Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home and 52 Communication Tips. Both are also available on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

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Betty Lochner

 

Public speaking is not only in the top 10 list of things people are afraid of doing, it’s #1!

The 14 Worst Human Fears

When a team of market researchers asked 3000 Americans “What are you most afraid of?” many fears were named — Speaking before a group comes in as #1

Biggest Fear (with percentage of the group that named it as their biggest fear):

1 Speaking before a group 41
2 Heights 32
3 Insects and bugs 22
3 Financial Problems 22
3 Deep water 22
6 Sickness 19
6 Death 19
8 Flying 18
9 Loneliness 14
10 Dogs 11
11 Driving/riding in a car 9
12 Darkness 8
12 Elevators 8
14 Escalators 5

So, it goes without saying, most of us  could use some tips to help us get over our fear.  Getting comfortable with what we are uncomfortable is what good communication and presentation skills are all about. .

I’ve been working with a client over the past few weeks to get her ready for an hour-long presentation for a conference (her first big presentation.)  We’ve been working on the basics, and are now working on the details that make a good presentation a great one.  The more comfortable you are with the little stuff, the less scary the experience will be.

There are some small and easy things you can do that  with your body language that will that take your presentation to the next level of excellence.

Putting it all together

Here are my top tips for using body language skills to help you deliver a great presentation.

1. Make eye contact.

People tend to pay more attention to and like people more when they look them in the eye.   So, look up and look into the eyes of your audience.  You’ll feel more connected and less nervous and they’ll stay better tuned to you.

2. Use open body language.

Open your chest and arms, and keep your back straight.  This will give you confidence and demonstrate credibility.   And, by the way, taking a minute to make your own power pose before your presentation is also good confidence builder..

3. Point.  

This is one time it is appropriate to point. Point at what you are emphasizing to draw your audience in.  Use gestures to make a point.   Point, point, point away!  Your audience will focus more on what you are saying when they see you connect it with a visual gesture.

4. Walk around.  

Don’t stand in one spot. Move around. Walk up to your audience.  Engage with them and they’ll engage right back. Relax and have fun with the group.

5. Be positive.  

And, probably the best tip of all — Smile, nod, and use open movements throughout the presentation.   A smile goes a long way to help you break through your own nervousness and show that you are approachable, interesting and fun!

Here’s to your next successful presentation!  Use the power of good body language to make it a great one!

 

Betty Lochner

 

Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of  Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home.  To find out more about Cornerstone’s services and offerings visit our website

 

 

 

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Train Your Brain: It’s All in a Name

by Betty Lochner on March 18, 2015

Memory TipsThis week I watched as a colleague painfully tried to avoid someone because they couldn’t remember their name. Then, she beat herself up over not remembering their name.  And, the worse part was that she didn’t get to connect with someone who she wanted to connect with.

Has that ever happened to you?  Do you suffer from the bad name rememberer syndrome?  You are not alone. Most of us find that when we meet someone we quickly forget their name. Sometimes instantly.

The power of knowing a name and using it is huge. Names are what makes a relationship personal.  It says: “Hey, I care enough to remember your name!” and, it’s great communication connector. In fact, studies show that a person’s first name is their favorite word to hear. So, it makes sense that you will more easily connect with someone, and make an stronger impact, if you remember and use their name.

Here are my top five tips to help you improve your memorization skills:

1. Tell yourself you are good at remembering names

Your brain listens to your self talk.  If  you tell it you can’t do something, then guess what?  You probably can’t.  If you tell it you can do something , then the chance of doing it goes up by about 75%.  Self talk is a powerful tool.  Use it for good.

2. Use the name as soon as you hear it.

When you meet someone repeat his or her name immediately, then use it often. When you repeat a name, you give your brain some clues that you want the information stored longer term.

Example: Nice to meet you, Betty. So, Betty, what do you do here?

3. Make up a rhyme.

Notice my clever title for this post? Rhyming makes remembering names easier by giving us clues.  Penny likes pancakes from Denny’s.  And even if she doesn’t, you’ll probably remember her name because of your cleverness.

4. Exercise your brain by people watching

You can improve your memorization skills with practice. Try this game:

Pick out someone in a crowd and study them. What are they wearing and what are they doing?  Pay attention to each detail—from their clothing to their actions and body language.

This exercise gives your brain more data to sort and store, making retrieval easier at a later date.  The longer your brain gets to process the information you are giving it, as in giving more details and specifics, the better.

5. Ask for forgiveness and move on

And here’s one last tip.  If you do forget a name, it’s okay to ask forgiveness, even if it’s someone’s name you should know. Be an authentic communicator and say “I know I’ve met you several times, but I am totally drawing a blank on your name.”  Unless they are cruel at heart, they will jump right in and help you out.  Then, use one of my earlier tips to do better next time.

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Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of  Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transform your life at work and at home.  To find out more about Cornerstone’s services and offerings visit our website: cornerstone-ct.com

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Through My Sister’s Eyes

by Betty Lochner on March 12, 2015

This morning, as I got out of bed, I stepped on my glasses, smashing the frame and cutting my foot.  I was thrown into a mini-crisis of looking for my old pair to get me through the day.  Did I even have an old pair of glasses anymore?

I went into my office and on the bookshelf in a pile was a glasses case.  I was so pleased that I had found my old glasses so quickly.  But, as I opened the case, I realized they weren’t my old glasses.  They were my sister, Jody’s, glasses. Jody died in November and I must have put them on my shelf as I was sorting through her things. I started to put the glasses back and decided to try them on. In a strange, surreal moment I realized I could see.  I could see pretty darn well.  Not perfect, but well enough that I was sure I could drive and get through my morning.

As I got busy at work, I realized my eyes were adjusting and I could see even better as the morning went on.  Only one person even noticed I had on different glasses. I found myself thinking of Jody. Remembering her smile, her face in those cute glasses, and the funny things she said and did.

In the afternoon, I went to the vision center and they repaired my glasses.  I put Jody’s glasses back into the case and put mine on. I spent the rest of the afternoon readjusting to my glasses and thinking of the strange day I had.

I thought about how, sometimes, if we take a minute to slow down and pay attention, we may find what seems like a disaster can turn into something pretty special.

Thank you, sis.

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Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of  Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transform your life at work and at home.  To find out more about Cornerstone’s services and offerings visit our website: cornerstone-ct.com

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Authentic Communication: Walking the Walk

by Betty Lochner on February 28, 2015

Women mentorsThis month I gave a presentation at a Women in Leadership Symposium that was held at a waste water treatment plant, which sounds weirder than it was. On site was a open trail area and a beautiful conference and learning center with the appropriate name  of “Brightwater.”

 My presentation was titled “Performance Coaching: Bringing out the Best in Others.” We learned and practiced some basic authentic communication skills to better provide direction, regular and timely feedback, and encouragement to enhance work groups. We learned what can get in the way of communicating clearly and we talked about walking the walk.

Walking the walk is all about living out your authentic self.  It means being self aware of your non verbal cues, being careful about making assumptions, giving clear expectations, and dealing with issues as soon as they arise.

One of the best ways to become a better communicator and leader is to be aligned with a mentor. A mentor is someone who you can learn from and who can help you meet your goals. They usually have more experience than you, and are in a position in life that you desire to be. They can help you by sharing their wisdom, connecting you with people who can help you, and sharing their perspective with you.

This was illustrated so well by the youngest speaker of the day, Elsa. She is an 11 year old girl who ended the conference with a wonderful acrostic poem on Leadership set to music.  It was creative and inspiring. She clearly has mentors in her life – one of which is her mom, Lara, who watched proudly from the side as her daughter presented herself with poise, confidence and humor.

 We all learn from people who walk the walk – whether they are parents, colleagues, friends, or anyone you look up to. Find a good mentor. Someone who believes in you and has time for you.  And, learn how to be the best you can be.  If you’d like to learn more about becoming an authentic communicator or finding a mentor, please contact me!

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Betty, Ruben and Penny Betty, Ruben and Penny
My passion is teaching individuals and organizations how to make small changes in how they communicate that make huge differences in their relationships at work and home – improving morale, confidence and productivity.
For more information visit www.cornerstone-ct.com or call 360-951-1691.
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Seahawk Mania: Pursuing the Common Goal

by Betty Lochner on January 29, 2015

Seahawk ManiaSeahawk mania is crazy here in Washington State and I fear it will get worse before it gets better, but I’m okay with that.

With all the tragic news we see and hear everyday, it is a nice welcome to see the 12th man community come together.

It reminds me how important it is to have common interests and goals.

We all have a need to feel connected and to have something in common with the people around us.  Bringing the 12th Man together in our community has been something that has been amazing to watch. People that don’t always agree are coming together. People that don’t even like each other are finding things they have in common and breaking down barriers. If they can get into Seahawk mania, they can’t be that bad can they?

It also gives us something other than the weather to talk about to break the ice in a hallway conversation, in the grocery store or in a new situation. That in it’s self is a welcome relief. We can always use good ice breaking material and our Hawks are filled with personalities, controversies,  and leadership stories to keep the conversation going as long as the elevator ride, or any other potentially awkward situation is.

When this weekend is over, and someone wins the Superbowl, we’ll still have our Hawks, we’ll still have our stories, we’ll still have our common comaderie and we’ll still have next season.  Thank you Hawks, for giving us some common interest and goals to help improve our relationships.  What a bonus for a great ride!

I do hope you are taking time to enjoy the mania, whether you are a Seahawks or, dare I say, a PATS fan.

We need some happy mania in our lives.

Seahawk PupsBetty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of  Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transform your life at work and at home.  To find out more about Cornerstone’s services and offerings visit our website: cornerstone-ct.com 

 

 

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