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. 

Learn More AAbout Betty

 

 

 

 

 

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.

__________________________________________________

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

 

 

Share

{ 0 comments }

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.

 

 __________________________________________________

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

 

Share

{ 0 comments }

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.

 ___

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

 

 

Share

{ 0 comments }

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
Share

{ 0 comments }

Communication Tip #10: Listen Actively

by Betty Lochner on February 9, 2014

TIP #10: Listen actively

Be a good listener. Unlike your mouth,

your ears will never get you in trouble. ~ Frank Tyger

 


 Im-all-earsIt should come as no surprise that the best communicators are also the best listeners.

Becoming an active listener means that you make a conscious effort to truly hear what the other person is saying – by paying attention to their words as well as their body language.

Active listening is an acquired skill that requires you to make a conscious effort to focus on what is being said — not just the words, but the entire message.

Here are a few important active listening tips:

1)      Practice holding off thinking about how to respond until you have thoroughly heard what they are saying.

2)      Do not allow yourself to be distracted.

3)      Make appropriate eye contact with the speaker.

4)      Show you are listening by nodding.

5)      Don’t interrupt. Allow the speaker to finish making his point before you respond.

6)      Ask open ended questions for clarification to make sure you understand.

7)      Summarize what you heard.

Active listening shows respect and engagement and will increase your success at understanding the message intended.  Practice listening. Really listening.

Use these tips in each conversation you have:  avoid distractions, focus on the speaker, make eye contact, don’t interrupt, and ask questions to clarify your understanding.

 

Betty Lochner

Betty Lochner is a communication specialist, author, and professional speaker who teaches individuals and organizations how to make small changes that make huge differences in their relationships at work and home – improving morale, confidence and productivity. She is the author of Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home and 52 Communication Tips. Both are also available on Amazon.com. For more information on communication training and services, visit cornerstone-ct.com.

 

Share

{ 0 comments }

The Power of Action: 3 Steps to Make Your Goals a Reality

by Betty Lochner on January 26, 2014

pig headedAre you being a bit pig-headed about what you need to do this year?

The best thing about starting a new year is that you get to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. You can look at things with renewed energy.  It’s a perfect time to assess the relationships you have in your life and make a plan to do the work you need to do. 

When it comes to making that happen, there are three steps you need to do:

Step #1: Determine the goal.  It sounds simple enough, but the reality is that nearly 80 percent of us NEVER set personal goals for ourselves.  We do it for work and daily tasks, but not for our own personal growth. And for those who do set personal goals, roughly 70 percent fail to reach the goals they set for themselves.  So, this is where is all starts: determine your personal goal.  Be specific. Visualize what reaching the goal will feel like when you get there.

Step #2: Create the plan.  Once you’ve determined your goal, then you must make a plan. Write out how you are going to reach the goal, and where the milestones are. Planning to have a difficult conversation with someone isn’t as simple as saying you’ll do it – you have to plan out the steps, write the script, practice, find the right time, and gather up your courage before you even get to having the real conversation. 

Step #3: Follow the plan.  This is where it gets really tricky.  You need to have the discipline to take action and stick with the plan!  Most of us can get through the first two steps, but having the knowledge of what to do doesn’t change things. Taking action does. Here’s where you do the work you need to do and take the action you need to take.

There is power in action.

So, go ahead and make a plan. Take the steps you need to take to make 2014 one of moving forward — for you!  

If you need some more help getting started, contact me.  I’d love to help you get started with your plan.

 

Betty Lochner

Betty Lochner is a communication specialist, author, and professional speaker who teaches individuals and organizations how to make small changes that make huge differences in their relationships at work and home – improving morale, confidence and productivity. She is the author of Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home and 52 Communication Tips. Both are also available on Amazon.com. For more information on communication training and services, visit cornerstone-ct.com.

 

Share

{ 0 comments }

© 2011 Cornerstone Coaching & Training. All Rights Reserved.