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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Top Tips for Better Generational Communication at Work

by Betty Lochner on October 28, 2014

texting in 80s

This month I traveled to Richmond, Virginia to give a presentation to the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) on Generations at Work.  It’s an important communication topic – understanding how to embrace generational differences can make a stressful relationship a more productive one.

Did you know?

For the first time in history we have four generations working side by side in the workplace.

 

The two older generations are:

Traditionalists/Veterans (born 1909-1943) and Boomers (1943-1960)

The two younger generations are:

Generation X (1960-1980) and Generation Y/Millenials  (1980-2000)

Each group brings a unique set of experiences and values that influences their behavior and outlook as adults. And, while Boomers are the majority in the workforce today, Millenials are growing in numbers and will comprise the majority of the workforce by 2025.

Here are some of the current facts about generations at work. 

  • More than 70% of older employees are dismissive of younger worker’s abilities.
  • 50% of employers say the younger employees are dismissive of the abilities of their older co-workers

This may be in part because:

  • Older generations value loyalty to a company and are on career tracks, younger generations are loyal to a person and are on life tracks.
  • Older generations believe there is value in seniority and hierarchy; younger generations have high expectations and enthusiasm and often don’t want to “pay their dues” – but rather want to start or move quickly to the top.
  • Older generations struggle with technology; younger generations – well, you get the picture.

What that tells us is there is still a lot of work to do to bridge the generational gaps at work.

To help you with that, here are some of my Top Tips that will help you communicate better with different generations at work.

DON’T:

  1. Don’t dwell on differences – instead make connections and find out what you do have in common.
  2. Don’t make assumptions – many times actions are misinterpreted as disrespectful when that wasn’t the intent at all.

DO:

  1. Use teamwork. All 4 generations work well in teams. Try that instead of individual work for better results.
  2. Develop incentive plans that matter to each generation – different generations are motivated by different things.  Conduct surveys to understand needs.
  3. Make expectations clear and follow up to make sure you are understood – often instructions are misunderstood because of how they are (or aren’t delivered).  Be clear in stating what you want, by when, and then send an email to follow-up.
  4. Different generations prefer different modes of communication. Use the one that works best for them, not you!
  5. Create healthy relationships – find some common ground. Focus on what you have in common rather than what you don’t understand.
  6. Encourage and mentor younger generations. Match older mentors with younger and let them learn from each other.

Understanding differences and embracing them, rather than resisting, is the key. For more information on working with generations, check out my other posts on generations, or my book, it has a whole chapter on it!

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.  To find out more about Cornerstone’s services and offerings visit our website: cornerstone-ct.com 

 

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Communication Tips From the Unlucky Traveler

by Betty Lochner on October 9, 2014

delayed planeMy name is Betty and I am an unlucky traveler.

I can’t explain why, but I do know of several colleagues who will no longer travel with me because, well,  things just happen to me.  If a storm is coming, plane maintenance is needed,  or the luggage guy gets confused, you can count on me to be on that flight.  Today was no exception.

I was in Richmond, Virginia to speak about Generations at Work at the NCSL conference, and then visited with CSPN colleagues.

The day started with an over “snooze,”  $10 short for a cab fare,  and then a flight delay (mechanical), a missed flight (bad signage), and now, I sit in a hotel near the airport waiting to try it all again tomorrow.  Since, this is not unusual for me, I have developed skills to deal with it.  Today I was labeled  one of many “distressed passengers.”  But, I think I was the only one that was looking forward to unexpected time alone in a hotel room.  With good food.  And wine.  And a big TV on a good TV night.

I’ve trained my husband to expect the worse and be grateful when I get home safely. Tonight he said he was in a meeting when the texts started coming. He shared and laughed and simply said to his colleagues “things happen to Betty when she travels.”

Yet, through experience, I’ve learned to go with the flow and I have a strategy for dealing with my traveler’s curse.  That strategy includes 3 simple key components:

1)      Be nice.

2)      Chill out.

3)      Have fun.

This strategy can be applied to the non-cursed as well.  Try it in the long line at the grocery store,  the traffic jam, or the cancelled meeting.

People respond really well to nice people in bad situations. I guarantee you will make someone’s day better by not making it worse.

Through these simple strategies, I have gotten free coupons, free bags, free wine, free food, and lots of free thank you’s for not being the cranky ungrateful customer complaining about things that are out of their control.

Tomorrow, I will get back into the craziness I call my life and wait for my next travel drama.

But for now, I indulge in a free hotel room on a good TV night, writing the blog post I never have time for,  and enjoying the fact that I’m not on a plane that had a faulty something that could have gone really wrong.

 

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.  To find out more about Cornerstone’s services and offerings visit our website: cornerstone-ct.com

 

 

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It’s All About Perspective

by Betty Lochner on September 15, 2014

barn flowersI told my brother, Gary, that this summer I had one toe dipped in work, one in helping with my sick sister, and one in planning a wedding.

He replied, “It’s a good thing you have 10 toes!”

Doesn’t it always seem that when you are feeling maxed out, someone puts your frustration in perspective?

As I juggled a challenging job with coast to coast travel, my sister’s terminal illness, and planning my baby girl’s wedding, I sometimes wondered how I would manage. On a stress level, with 10 being high, I was hovering around 12.  And, just when I would start to get a case of the “poor me’s”, I would realize how thankful I should be.Thankful that my daughter’s wedding came at a time when it could give some happy reprieve to a sad situation. It was not unusual to be entrenched in hospice decisions, when I would get a text from my daughter that read, for example, “Do you think the cupcake liners should be yellow or silver?” I would pause, take a deep breath, and enjoy the break. Her texts and calls always seemed to come at a time when I needed a break and some fresh perspective.

I created my own terms for the types of stress I was going through. There was the “heavy stress” and then there was the “fun stress.” Fun stress was the stress I brought on myself by getting worked up over things that were in my control, like, the wedding! We made it as stressful or stress-free as we wanted, with every decision we made. Heavy stress was the stress that felt out of my control – such as making life decisions around an illness that no one could control. And, sometimes, we would get a little giddy and turn the heavy stress into fun stress. Thanks to my sister’s positive attitude and sense of humor, we were able to do that as well.

I found that creating some fun stress in my life – like planning a wedding with some guidelines and expectations – gave me fresh perspective when I found myself embroiled in my heavy stress.  I learned that it is healthiest just to lighten up and be grateful for what was going right in my world.

Think about the stress in your life — are you making what could be fun stress into heavy stress? A change in your perspective can help you step back and look at the situation differently. It may help you take some steps to make changes you need to make, or maybe even to accept the things you can’t change.

Betty Lochner_trainerBetty 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: www.cornerstone-ct.com 

 

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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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