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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2017-02-06 11.17.13One of the most common communication mistakes we make, and the easiest to fix, is how to better clarify what we mean to say.

More often than not, when we communicate, the person we are talking to will not  really understand what you are trying to say. Or maybe they weren’t really listening.  Then they they don’t ask questions to make sure they understand. The result can be misunderstandings, hurt feelings, unanswered requests, and even damaged relationships. 

You can increase the understanding by learning three simple steps.

1) Summarize

The first step to getting your message heard is to summarize the major points of the communication.  People don’t generally ask for clarification when they are communicating. So, it it your job, to follow up directly after the communication happens. 

Simply asking: “Do you understand?” is not enough. The answer will inevitably come back: “yes”, which often means “not really”. 

You must go back over the major points you are trying to get across say saying something like, “so just to summarize what we talked about….  1) I will be getting the dogs from the kennel, 2) You will be getting the groceries, and 3) We will meet at the house for dinner at 6.”  Or, try: so “Let’s go back over what we agreed on…..” and detail the specifics.

2) Document in Writing

When being understood is especially important, after summarizing, follow-up with a written summary of the communication.  For meetings, notes should be written up with specific assignments and deadlines, and sent as soon as the communication is finished.

If something needs to happen, write it down. Include what needs follow up and by when.

3) Follow Up

Once you’ve documented the follow up – make sure you actually do it!

Did you make a plan or ask for something to happen? Did you agree to something? Check back to make sure the message of the communication really was clear and carried out — before it’s too late to make adjustments.

Make Clarifying and Confirming a Habit

If you consciously use these three steps, they will soon begin to become a habit – one that will increase your chances of effective communication on a regular basis.

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Betty Lochner, Communication Skills ExpertBetty Lochner is the President Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She is an award winning public servant, and a leadership and communication skills author, and national speaker. To find out more visit   www.cornerstone-ct.com


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When an Interrupted Life Becomes a Blessing

by Betty Lochner on June 1, 2017

My husband, Ken, went to the high school to see his last group of former 6th grad2014-08-08 20.02.39e band students play in their last concert, while I shopped for our grandson’s 1st birthday. Not long after I had returned home, my phone rang. It was Ken. He wanted me to come pick him up because he wasn’t feeling well. I didn’t think too much of it – probably a tummy or head ache.

Then, as I saw him on the curb waiting for me, things slowed down. I could feel life being interrupted. Something wasn’t right. He said he was having chest pains. I announced I was calling 9-1-1 and he told me to first drive across the street to the fire station – the concert was getting out and it would soon be a madhouse. I called from the fire station parking lot and 3 men came out. One simply stated, “Sir, we would have come to you.” They put him in an aid car and came back to tell me he was having a “heart event” – they were going to rush him to the ER and I should meet him there. I was confused and I entered the dark street without my lights on until someone flashed their lights at me. By the time I arrived, Ken was being prepped to have a stent put in an artery to his heart. When they let me see him, he smiled at me and squeezed my hand. Then, they took him away.

They said it would be about an hour. I called our kids and our parents…I texted our Life Group…I waited. It didn’t seem real. A friend showed up…our pastor showed up…we prayed. A cute pharmacist appeared to let me know his cell phone was accidentally in with Ken’s clothes, now in a bag in my car. My friend solved the dilemma, asking me what color my car was as she left with my keys. Soon, the doctor showed up and took me to see Ken. He said we were lucky – he had 100% blockage on his left anterior descending  (LAD) artery, also known as “the widow maker,” that had been successfully repaired.

I believe luck had nothing to do with it. God was in the middle of all of the details of this event. We weren’t hiking on a mountain (that was the next day’s plan) or in a plane (vacation next month). Instead, we were close to first responders, and a world class cardio team. Friends and family dropped everything to pray and care for us, including our grand baby (who immediately wanted a hug from K-Pah) and Cody, a former student who stopped by to serenade him. We were both overwhelmed by feelings of comfort and peace for the next 3 days while Ken was in the hospital. When Life is Interrupted

Ken is 59. He doesn’t smoke. We exercise and eat well. But, he apparently has something he can’t control – bad heart genes. We 2017-05-26 20.22.50won’t know for a few weeks if there is any lasting damage, or if he will completely recover. We continue to pray.

Our life together slowed down. Sometimes interruptions aren’t all bad. We learned it’s good to slow down. We realized how we are loved by so many people. We realized how cool it is to hear from people we haven’t heard from in a while to wish us well.

We were reminded to live, to love, and to be grateful every single day, because we never know when we may be interrupted by blessings.

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Betty Lochner is the President Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She is an award winning public servant, and a leadership and communication skills author, and national speaker. To find out more visit   www.cornerstone-ct.com

 

 

 

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My Mother’s Eyes

by Betty Lochner on May 11, 2017

Mom Mother’s Day is bittersweet for me.  On one hand, I am blessed to be a mom of two amazing children, a mom-in-law to their spouses I have come to adore, and a Grammy to our first grandchild. On the other hand, my heart aches for my own mom.

Mother’s Day reminds me of all of the wonderful memories I have of my mom and it makes me sad for the ones we never got to make.

My mom loved to make others happy. She was the most generous and kind person you could ever know. Always knitting, quilting or baking for someone else; offering to help, to babysit, to do chores we didn’t have time for. Never demanding, always giving. She loved her family and her family loved her.

When my mom left us – 11 years ago – my children were 16 and 21. Time has passed on and with it has gone birthdays, weddings, babies, vacations, and hair color changes. And with each milestone, I miss her more.

But, as I watch my daughter as a new mom, and my son as a new husband, I see her.  She has imprinted them with her generosity, her kindness, her love, and her smile.

I see her reflected in their eyes. They have my mother’s eyes.

My mom isn’t gone from our lives. She’s still very much a part of it.  I see it more every day. And, it gives me so much joy.

Thank you, mom.

 

Azzy and Grammy

 

Betty Lochner is the President Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She is an award winning public servant, and a leadership and communication skills author, and national speaker. To find out more visit   www.cornerstone-ct.com

 

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