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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Communicate Your Love|Give Your Valentine a Heart Attack

by Betty Lochner on February 6, 2017

Valentine’s Day is coming – a great time to think about how to communicate how much you appreciate your loved ones in your life.  Communicating your love is sometimes uncomfortable, but always important. Communicating well can be the best way to improve and get what you want out of any relationship. Here are some really easy, inexpensive and tangible ways to do that.

communicate love with a Heart AttackGive them a “Heart Attack!”

Take heart shaped sticky notes and write love statements (why you love them, or simply write “I love you”). Put them all over a mirror, door, walkway, counter – wherever they will easily find and enjoy  the display.

For a variation on this – and especially great for a child – is to write one thing you like about them on their bedroom door every day leading up to Valentine’s Day. A great way to show how much you love them and build up their self esteem.

You can modify either one of these ideas to work for you based on your loved ones personality and preferences (maybe use their favorite color, or cover a plate of cookies with notes, etc.)

It’s easy, inexpensive, and very powerful.

This was done for me once for bosses day  – each staff member wrote something they liked about me and put it on a sticky note on my door. I remember walking in to work and seeing it and feeling very special all day. I kept them up as long as I could and smiled each time I saw it.

Simple and powerful. What a great way to communicate your love!

  • valentine heart attackHere are 5 more ways to give the gift of love by being a better communicator

1) Listen without interrupting. Pause, bite your tongue, do whatever it takes to let the other person finish what they are saying before you start talking.

2) Speak without accusing. Use “we” statements and “I” statements. Stay as far away from “You” statements as you can.

3) Answer without arguing. Again, take a breath and try to put yourself in their shoes for a minute.  Where are they coming from? Try to agree with at least one thing they said.

4) Enjoy without complaining. Look for the bright side of the situation.  You may have gotten lost, but you wouldn’t have seen that really cool scenery. Your coffee may be too strong, but someone went to the trouble to make it for you. Be grateful for that.

5) Promise without forgetting. When you say you’ll do something. Follow through. Never make a promise you aren’t sure you can keep and always write it down or find a way to make sure you do it when you said you would. And do it with a smile – that always makes it that much better.

Now, go out there and show your love!


Betty LochnerBetty 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, 52 Communication Tips, and Gladie’s Gift.



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10 Ways to be a More Positive Communicator

by Betty Lochner on January 30, 2017

You never know when one kind act, or one word of encouragement, can change a life forever. – Zig Ziglar

One of the most powerful ways to improve relationships is to simply be a more positive communicator. Positive communication is contagious and brings out the best in yourself and in those around you.

When you practice positive communication, people are more likely to listen to you, the conversation goes better, and the results can be transforming.

The following is an excerpt  from my book, Dancing with Strangers,  and puts the concept to work:

10 ways to be a more positive communicator

1. Think before you speak or act. Don’t just react. Pause and take a minute to think about how you want to respond in an accountable way.

2. Keep an open mind. Don’t jump to conclusions. Every story has two sides to it and somewhere in the middle you’ll find the truth.

3. Discuss rather than argue. Use your active listening skills and shovel any piles that need shoveling. Deal with the issues you need to deal with and be tender on the person and tough on the issue!

4. Cultivate a soothing voice. Remember, the tone of your voice means more than what you say. Watch your body language. Keep your body open and relaxed.

5. Never lose an opportunity to praise or say a kind word. Say something nice to someone. Look for what is good and say something about it.

6. Exceed expectations. Always go the extra mile and do more than is expected of you. Better yet, do it with a smile.

7. Learn to be objective about personal criticism. Don’t spend time worrying about things you have no control over. Be true to yourself.

8. Respect the feelings of others. Treat others the way you believe they would like to be treated.

9. Refuse to discuss the shortcomings of others. Discourage gossip. Gossip does not do anyone any good. We all know that, so why do we do it? Try making a good and positive comment for every gossipy one you hear.

10. Let your virtues speak for themselves. Dust off those communication skills you know, but don’t always use to work toward better communication and understanding.

So, step back and think about how you will communicate in a more positive way.  When you encourage positive communication within yourself, people will follow your lead and you will encourage others to do the same!

In short, conversations go a lot better – and you’ll be happier with the results – when things are approached in a positive way right from the start.

We have a duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a man on his feet. Blessed is the man who speaks such a word. – William Barclay


Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of  two books on communication – Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home and 52 Communication Tips.




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Keep Moving Forward

by Betty Lochner on January 16, 2017

Martin Luther King M onument

Today, as I enjoyed a beautiful walk with my daughter at Chambers Bay, surrounded by people from all walks of life and of all colors, I reflected on the life and legacy of  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  and the influence he has had on our country. He was passionate about all he did and believed it was our responsibility to work peacefully to better ourselves and the world around us, through advocacy and service.  And, he was a great communicator.  He not only had a dream, he could share it in a way that continues to inspire.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C. is by far my favorite historic landmark.  I took this picture on one of my trips.  The picture doesn’t do the statue justice – it is huge.  It is larger than life and calls you to reflect on the extraordinary and influential life of Dr. King.  It is a reminder of what one person can do when he takes action on a dream.

When I got home from my walk, I researched some of his life, read some of his wonderful quotes, and found  a few interesting facts I didn’t know:

1. His given name was not Martin.

Dr. King was born and named Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929. But in 1934, his father, traveled to Germany and became inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther. As a result, King Sr. changed his own name as well as that of his 5-year-old son.

2. He entered college at the age of 15.

Dr. King skipped grades nine and 12 before enrolling at Morehouse College in 1944.

3. King was jailed 29 times.

Throughout his life, Dr. King was arrested for acts of civil disobedience. Many of the arrests were for trumped-up charges, including a charge for driving 30 miles per hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone.

4. King’s mother was also slain by a bullet.

In June, 1974, as Alberta Williams King played the organ at a Sunday service, Marcus Wayne Chenault Jr. rose from the front pew, drew two pistols and killed her. She died steps from where her son had preached nonviolence. Chenault received a death penalty sentence that was later changed to life imprisonment, due in part to the King family’s opposition to capital punishment.

5. George Washington is the only other American to have his birthday observed as a national holiday.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill that created a federal holiday to honor King. The holiday, first commemorated in 1986, is celebrated on the third Monday in January, close to the civil rights leader’s January 15 birthday.

As I wind up the day, and this post, here’s one of my favorite quotes from this great communicator:

MLK Quote 2

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, 52 Communication Tips, and Gladie’s Gift.  To find out more about Cornerstone’s services and offerings visit our website.

Note: Originally published January 2016

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Conflict Communication: Should I have this conversation?

by Betty Lochner on October 13, 2016

Author’s note: The following is an encore blog – originally written Sept. 2010.  Since then, we’ve fallen in love with Kauai and return every other year…

The first time my husband and I went on vacation to Kauai, we stayed in a studio apartment attached to a private home. We decided not to stay in a resort hotel so we could have some real peace and quiet.

The first morning we were there, we were woken up by a rooster crowing loudly in the yard at oh, about 4:00 a.m. Okay, we were on vacation, and vacation to me means sleeping in. So, the rooster presented some immediate feelings of conflict, maybe even a bit of anger. We went out on the deck to see the landlord yelling and chasing after the rooster in the yard. We didn’t know whether to laugh or be more upset. And, yes, the picture here is THE rooster in the middle of the conflict.

So we looked at eat other — should we yell at the landlord so he knew we are unhappy that he didn’t warn us about the 4:00 a.m. wake-up call? Clearly he knew it was a problem and hadn’t told us. Or, should we let it go? We were, after all, on vacation.

Should I  have this conversation?

Many times we jump to try to resolve a conflict when the answer to this question may very well be no.  We immediately react with something like “hey, why did this happen to me”?  or we get angry and show it. That immediately puts the other person on the defense, and may even damage the relationship – damage that you’ll either have to repair later, or live with.

To help you think through your decision of whether you need to have a hard conversation in the first place, here are some questions you can ask yourself before you step into a difficult conversation.

Think of a conversation that you think may need to happen – or review one you’ve had lately. Write down your answers to the following questions – be honest with yourself:

1) Why do I think I should have this conversation?

What do you want to gain from having this conversation?  It is important enough to go to bat for what is important to you?

2) What is the worst that could happen if I have this conversation?

Think through the worse-case scenarios of addressing this issue. Could you ruin a family event? Lose a friend? Make a landlord mad at me? Make the situation worse?  Be as specific as you can and weigh out the risks if things don’t go the way you plan.

3) What is the best that could happen if I address this issue?

What do you hope will happen? What would be the absolute best solution to this problem? Is there a solution to this problem?

4) What if I do nothing?

If this conversation doesn’t happen, what are the consequences? Are they worth risking? Does it really matter?

5) If I decide to have this conversation, how can I do it well?

Think about what you need to say and how to say it and practice first. Don’t be unprepared!  Focus on the issue at hand and not the person.  Be respectful and don’t be unprepared.  Take an evening to think about it.  Your perspective may change in the morning.

So what happened with the landlord?  We decided not to react immediately, but we did decide to have a conversation with the landlord later that morning.  First we went back to bed.

Later in the day we went down and had a friendly discussion over coffee about the morning surprise. We suggested he let future guests know ahead of time, maybe even have some fun in the descriptions of the property. That way they would know what to expect, could bring earplugs, and be prepared to embrace the experience. He was grateful for the feedback – he had been feeling bad about it and didn’t know what to do without risking losing some business.

The result was a win-win. He got some good feedback and we made a friend. And, we learned throughout our trip that roosters are pretty much everywhere – except resorts – on the island.  Now we know.


Betty LochnerBetty Lochner is the Owner and President 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, and 52 Communication Tips.

To find out more about Cornerstone’s services and offerings visit our website:




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Babysitting Azzy: A Day in the Life of a Nanny Grammy

How quickly we forget how exhausting taking care of one small baby is! On my my first solo day of babysitting Azzy, I learned several important things.

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Communication Skills and the 55 Percent

Successful communication is a package deal. It’s in the words you speak, the tone of your voice and in the language of your body – (a whopping 55 percent of our total communication). This article focuses on helping you become more aware of how you are coming across when you communicate.

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