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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Girlfriend Appreciation: A Lifetime of Relationships

by Betty Lochner on July 21, 2014

MOB SurpriseIt’s been a while since I’ve posted  - time flies when you are totally engulfed in life.  It’s time to catch  up on  the blog posts I started but didn’t finish up.  This one is about the ultimate gift of appreciation and my gratitude for my girlfriends.

I am not one that can be easily surprised. I like to think it’s my astute awareness of things around me and my natural curiosity, though my husband would say that’s just a nice way of saying I’m nosy. But, this time I was truly surprised. Ten of my best friends threw a surprise Mother of the Bride party for me at one of my favorite restaurants.

It came just after a very long day of moving my niece and dealing with issues around my sister, who has been in hospice for about 2 months now. So, I was tired and a little “off my game” in the astute awareness department. My husband had an incredible back story going about a BBQ for orchestra members at our house. He even had me cleaning toilets to get ready.

One of my friends called and said she really needed to talk about wedding stuff (her daughter is getting married soon too). It was quite plausible, and as girlfriends do, I made time to meet with her.  I felt bad telling my husband I would miss the BBQ, though was actually quite relieved I had a good excuse to miss it.  I made up for my disappearance by making cookies and cleaning the house to get ready. He made huge quantities of food, and was getting it prepared when Georganne picked me up. We were jabbering away as we entered the restaurant. She suggested we sit upstairs where it’s quieter. As I got to the top of the stairs, I looked up and saw familiar faces. Really familiar faces. And a lot of them.

Surprise! Or maybe a better word is stunned.  I was confused and had trouble putting together why there were so many friends in the same place at the same time.

It was a very fun evening. I got sweet gifts and was blessed with their love and friendship. After dinner several came back to my house and voted on which (out of 5) mother of the bride dresses I should wear to Kalli’s wedding.

I am so very blessed by my girlfriends.  These are the ones that I have called over the years and, in a moment’s notice and without hesitation, they picked up a sick kid,  baked a cake, threw a shower, listened while I cried, walk with me when I was feeling fat,  picked me up from the airport, watched my unruly dogs, house sat, listened to me when I was stressed, held me when I was sad, and even took time off to spend hours helping me pull off a DYI wedding!

It was truly a special surprise thrown by special friends,  I’m so impressed that they pulled it off.   Yes, I am so grateful for my girlfriends – some of the best blessings I have in my life.

 

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 – See more at: http://www.cornerstone-ct.com

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Betty Lochner, trainer

 

Public speaking is not only in the 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 presentation!  Use the power of 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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How to get your relationship back on track

by Betty Lochner on April 15, 2014

relationship postureHere’s a news flash. If you are in a relationship with someone – at work or at home –  there will be challenges and problems. There will be valleys. It will get hard and you will get frustrated at some point. Okay, that was the bad news.
The good news is that you can be prepared to face challenges by learning to focus on a few small things.
Here are some ways you can get your relationship back on track when challenges arise:
  1. When something happens that you need to deal with, deal with it.  Don’t let issues pile up until they become a bigger problems. Have the courage to say what you need to say and focus on the issue at hand, not the person. Try this simple tool: substitute the word “we” for the word “you.”
  2. Watch your body language. At least 70% of our messages come from how we position our body, the tone we use and visual cues (think eye contact). Keep your body open (no crossed arms), and be present in the moment.
  3. Keep the playing field equal. Don’t unintentionally display a “power pose” by standing over someone. Sit together or stand together — do whatever you need to do to get your eye contact at the same level.
  4. Don’t assume anything. Do not assume the other party knows what you are thinking or sees the situation the same way you do. Listen first to their views and concerns, and don’t interrupt.Then share your views.
  5. Be kind and respectful. If you can’t say something nice, then hold your tongue. Talk openly and honestly about your thoughts and feelings, but be nice about it.
  6. Be prepared to compromise. Determine the ideal outcome for you and the other person involved. It may not be the same. Make a move to meet somewhere in the middle.
  7. If what you are doing isn’t working, trying something else.If the same or a similar problem keeps cropping up, it’s time to address it in a different way. Use different words, ask for clarification and change it up until you see some progress.

 

Remember, there are no perfect relationships. Enjoy the peaks but be ready for some valleys. Take some time this spring to take some action toward making your relationships even better.

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Betty Lochner
Betty Lochner is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps people improve their communication at work and home.
For more information  on  her training programs or to sign up for her monthly e-newsletter visit www.cornerstone-ct.com

 

 

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Build Your Appreciation Muscle

by Betty Lochner on March 7, 2014

appreciationTIP #11: Build your appreciation muscle

You shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you really mean it. Then you should say it a lot. People forget that. ~ Jessica, Age 8

Appreciation ~ the act of noticing and recognizing the people around you in a positive way.

Everyone has a real need to feel appreciated and valued. Showing genuine appreciation is one of the most powerful communication tools you can develop. It will open doors to a better conversation, a more positive exchange, and ultimately a better relationship.
Even though we know the power of appreciation, sometimes we just don’t get around to doing it on a regular basis.
Appreciation is like a muscle. You need to use it to make it stronger.

This week:
Go out of your way, at least once each day this week, to appreciate someone. Give a compliment or tell someone they are doing a good job. Be specific, look them in the eyes and tell them what you appreciate about them.
Write in your notebook about how it felt to actively appreciate daily. Was it hard or uncomfortable? If so, you need to exercise the muscle of appreciation more and make it a daily habit.

This blog was adapted from 52 Communication Tips,  a great tool for weekly staff meetings or family dinners to begin to improve your communications skills, one tip at a time.

 

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Betty Lochner
Betty Lochner is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps people improve their communication at work and home.
For more information or to sign up for her monthly e-newsletter visit www.cornerstone-ct.com

 

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How to Stop Arguing and Start Communicating

by Betty Lochner on February 18, 2014

tire_in_mudHave you ever had a conversation like this one?

“You bought the wrong kind.”

“I did not.”

(louder) “You did too. You never listen to me.”

(even louder)”Yes I do.”

“No you don’t……”

 

A conversation like this one can easily escalate into an argument that can leave you feeling like you are stuck in mud – going nowhere fast.  Rather than working to communicate clearly the conversation resorted to being, well, lazy.  You are left  feeling  both frustrated and angry,

The result of lazy communication is usually misunderstandings, disagreement, and arguing.  It  certainly doesn’t serve as an effective way to communicate and resolve issues.

Here are some  quick and easy tips that you can use when you feel a conversation is heading toward a full-blown argument:

1. Slow down

Raising your voice is a very quick way to escalate an argument.  Slow down, breath deeply and consciously lower the tone of your voice.

2. Pause

If you find yourself repeating the same thing over and over,  stop talking.  Pause and listen more than you talk .  Repeating yourself isn’t productive.  You end up talking at someone instead of having a real  dialogue..

3. Use positive words

Our brains have  a built-in “negativity bias” that makes us default to focusing more on the  negative than the positive.  Be aware of that and work to minimize the negative impact of your words.  Instead of saying “You’ are so lazy!”  say how the actions specifically affect you. Try, “I am tired of planning the entire trip and wish you help me with some of it.”

4. Stay on topic

It is easy to drag other  issues in to the conversation to prove your point.  That will only serve to bring in a variety of emotions and complexity causing the discussion can get off track quickly.

5. Use “we” instead of “you”

Try to make the goal achieving resolution, rather than winning. Think  about how you solve can the issue so that you will both be happy.  Make is a team problem, not an individual one (theirs).

6. Be accountable 

Acknowledge your role and your part in the argument,.  Show that you are willing to work on a resolution by saying you are sorry for your part in the situation.. Remember, there are always two sides to every story.

7. Don’t leave

Leaving, or shutting down and going quiet, will keep the issue from getting resolved. Take a break if you need to, but demonstrate that you care about the person and the issue by working  through it together.

Next time you feel like your conversation is getting stuck or heading toward an argument- try a few of these strategies.   You’ll be on the road to communicating together again in no time.

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Betty Lochner
Betty Lochner is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps people improve their communication at work and home.
For more information or to sign up for her monthly e-newsletter visit www.cornerstone-ct.com

 

 

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Love the one you’re with (that’s you!)

by Betty Lochner on February 12, 2014

chocolate heart
Are you your own worst enemy? You may not think you are, but how you treat yourself can make a huge difference in how you communicate with others.
In fact, whether we like it or not, what you believe about yourself is who you are.
If you aren’t always your own best friend, here are five ways you can learn to love the one you are with.
 1. Be self-aware.
Listen to your inner chatter. What do you find yourself thinking? Are you thinking negative thoughts about yourself? Catch yourself and make a change.
 2. Pause.
When you hear yourself thinking and talking negatively, take a breath and do something calming and positive. Go for a short walk, listen to music, or something else that make you happy and relaxed. You can control your self-talk!
3. Keep a gratitude journal.
Write down all the positive things you have and all that you are grateful for daily. Give yourself affirmations for all that is going well in your life. Focus on the positive.
4. Reverse negative thoughts.
Try to explain things to yourself differently. For example, rather than beat yourself up when someone says you did something wrong, tell yourself “I am a good person who just made a mistake, that’s all.”
5. Surround yourself with positive people.
Hang out with people who think positively. Positive people can be a big support system if you let them.
Be patient with yourself. A habit of negative self talk won’t go away over night. Take some baby steps and start with just one of these strategies. And, be nice to yourself this Valentine’s Day!
_________________________
Betty Lochner
Betty Lochner is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps people improve their communication at work and home. For more information or to sign up for her monthly e-newsletter visit www.cornerstone-ct.com
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