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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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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Is Your Communication Good Enough?

by Betty Lochner on January 27, 2015

2015-01-27 19.34.00As I often do, I spent this morning looking for something. Those who know me best, know that I lose things. I saw a sign that captures my thoughts on this:

    Organized people are people that are too lazy to look for things.

I was looking for this little key fob thing for my computer to connect it to another drive. After no success, this real life transcript took place:

Me: I can’t find my key fob

Husband: Isn’t it supposed to be on your key ring?

Me: Yes, but I was afraid I would lose it.

Husband (while busting up laughing):  Do you hear yourself?

But it made perfect sense to me. I was trying to make sure I wouldn’t lose something, so I didn’t put it where it should go. I put it in a “special place” – unfortunately one that is likely never to be found.

Why didn’t I put it in a place that was good enough? Because I thought I knew better.

It’s that way with communicating too.

We forget that we don’t have to communicate perfectly. We put pressure on ourselves to “do it right” and often end up not doing it at all.

I think you will agree that most of the problems we face at work and at home can be traced back to poor communication.

Here are four communication skills that are easy to master and, with a little practice, will take you past good enough right on up to great!

  1. Shut up and listen.
  2. Be clear and specific.
  3. Say what you’ll do and do what you say.
  4. Ask for feedback. Did you get it right?

It seems simple enough. So why don’t we do it? Why don’t we have the courage to say what we need to say? Why don’t we just give it a try? Are you trying to be perfect? Are you too lazy? What is it?

Think about your “good enough” communication. Is it working for you?

Betty-and-dogs-5x7Betty 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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Effective communication starts with looking up

by Betty Lochner on January 10, 2015

Look upI was in an airport magazine shop standing in line, when I overhead a frantic question from a women to the sales clerk:

“Do you have note pads?”

The clerk quickly replied, “No.”

I looked up and saw panic in the woman’s face.  I stepped up and  asked her if she just needed a piece of paper. She exclaimed “Yes!”

I tore out a few sheets of paper out of my notebook and handed it to her. Then she said, “Now I just need a pen.”

I dipped in to my purse and pulled out one of many I had collected and handed it to her.  She looked me in the eye and exclaimed,  “You have saved my life. Bless you!”  and she ran off.

Now, I’m guessing I didn’t really save her life, but I did help her with some sort of communication message-type emergency, I’m sure.  Maybe she needed to get an important note to a friend, or lover, or divert a huge misunderstanding. Whatever it was, it was important to her. if I had stayed focused on me, and my texting-my -husband-while-gum-seeking mission, I wouldn’t have been able to help her.

How many conversations do we miss out on because we aren’t looking up? In our tortured culture of multi-tasking and in your face technology, face to face communication becomes distracted and often incomplete.

Not paying attention can quickly unravel any relationship.

My dogs Penny and Ruben model this skill every day. They don’t want to miss a thing, so they pay attention to what is going on around them 24-7.   We can learn a lot from them.

Are you so focused on your phone, your work, and your immediate mission that you fail to miss out on cues that can improve your relationships? This week, think about looking up.  You never know what impact you’ll have on your everyday relationships until you do.

 

Betty and her dogsBetty 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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