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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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


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It’s a Wrap: Ending Meetings Well

by Betty Lochner on May 5, 2017

listening well

Abrupt endings, or meetings that run over and don’t get finished can make for frustration, confusion and quite possibly end in a lot of re-work the next time you meet.  Or worse. It could mean that the meeting was perceived as a total waste of time.

So it’s not only important to run your meeting well, but also to end it well. Here are some tips for making sure your meeting met your objectives, added value, and the next steps and follow-up are clear.

Good meeting, everyone!

Include in your agenda time at the end for the meeting to wrap up.  If the meeting isn’t finished, then make an announcement to adjust the agenda to table what didn’t get done (write it down) and then take the necessary time to end the meeting well by doing the following:

1. Start by announcing how many minutes you have before the end of the meeting.

For an hour long meeting, I suggest you start the wrap up 15 minutes before the end time. Longer meetings may need more wrap up time.  Signal that the meeting is over – another may be scheduled if needed, but it is time to wind down.

2. Discuss what the most important things that were accomplished in the time you had.

Capture and summarize key points on a flip chart or whiteboard.  Discuss next steps so that items aren’t lost. Discuss next steps – do you need another meeting? Is someone going to report back.

2. Make a list of decisions that were made.

Go back over the agenda items and review what was agreed to and what decisions were made.  And easy way to do this is to make a list on a white board, flip chart or computer. Use the headings:

  • Decisions – list anything that was agreed on and any key decisions that were made
  • Action Items – list items that need follow-up and who is responsible for next steps
  • Communication – list who is responsible, and when and how communication about decisions wil be shared with the rest of the group and interested parties.  Who needs to know and by when?

3.  Thank everyone.

Don’t miss this step.  Taking time to appreciate contributions and accomplishments is often overlooked, but very important.  It sets the tone for next meeting and shows participants you notice their hard work!

Setting aside time for ending your meeting well will be time well spent.  You’ll improve productivitiy and eliminate any ambiguity or confusion about what was accomplished and what happens next.


Betty Lochner SpeakerBetty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation. She is the author of  Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home, 52 Communication Tips, and Gladie’s Gift.  All are available on To find out more about Cornerstone’s services and offerings visit our website:

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How to Say Yes to Saying No

by Betty Lochner on April 18, 2017

Chocolate Chip CookiesHave you ever made cookies at midnight for a classroom party because someone called you with desperation in their voice? Or ended up as the chair of a committee that you really aren’t interested in, but everyone said you would do a good job? Or how about helping with a charity yard sale on your sunny day off?  I could go on, but you “yes” sayers – well, you know who you are.

So, admit it. You are over committed. You have said yes when you should have said no and now you are spending time on things you wonder how you ever got involved in, leaving you less time to do the things that really are important to you.

Why do we say yes when we really want to say no?

At the very basic level, we say yes because we want to be liked and we want to please. We want to help others, and, quite frankly, many of us are totally conflict adverse and unable to refuse a request. Often times we say “yes” instead of “no” out of guilt, inner conflict, or a misguided notion that we can do it all, or that no one else will do it if we don’t.

However, by learning to say no, you will reduce your stress level and give you more time for what’s really important to you – your goals, your vision for your life, your values, and taking care of you. And, when you learn to say no to things that don’t fit with your goals you will find time freedom and empowerment.

There are only so many hours in the day. That means that whatever you choose to take on limits your ability to do other things. So, even if you somehow can fit a new commitment into your schedule, if it’s not more important than what you would have to give up to do it (including time for yourself), you really don’t have the time in your schedule.

Yes, you can say no!

Here’s a step by step script for you to use to say no firmly and politely. I suggest practicing it and memorizing it so you will be ready to say no and then let it go.

When someone asks you to do something you want to say “no” to:

Example: Betty, will you be on the nominating committee for the incoming booster club board? You would do a great job and we are desperate! We really need you!

PART 1: Your initial response

Option 1: Thank you so much for asking. It means a lot to me that you think I can do that. I’m going to say no and encourage you to ask someone else. I wish I could help you but I can’t.
Option 2: That doesn’t work with my goals right now. Thank you for asking, but I have to say no.

Pick an option that feels most comfortable for you, or develop your own phrase and then practice it!

Now, what if they are persistent and just won’t take “no” for an answer?

PART 2But, we need you!

Here’s the second part of your script after they blather on about why you have to do it or that no one else can, or they share some other guilt inducing language.

Say: That may be true. No thank you.

If asked for an explanation, remember that you really don’t owe anyone one. It doesn’t fit with my schedule, is perfectly acceptable.

PART 3: Your final answer

If they still continue to try to convince you, lean over and whisper in their ear “no.”  Then walk away.

And remember, your no is someone else’s yes! You never know what kind of any opportunity you may be giving someone else.

So, practice your script, be ready for the ask – it may come when you least expect it or don’t have the energy to deal with it.

Take care of yourself and just say no!


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 and 52 Communication Tips

To find out more about Cornerstone’s services and offerings visit our website:

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They’re Counting on Us

by Betty Lochner on March 18, 2017

Note: This post was originally published by the College Savings Plans Network (CSPN) with the title “They’re Counting on Us to Help Build Their Pot of Gold”

Counting on You

This month many of us become a little Irish as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday is full of symbols that we hope will bring good luck to us and our families. Whether we’re covering every surface in Shamrock décor, or draping ourselves in every green article of clothing we own, we all hope we find the elusive Pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow.

Having luck and a pot of money waiting for us to use for college costs would be nice, wouldn’t it?

This year I became a Grandma and now, more than ever, I’m thinking about how I can help my grandson have that pot of money waiting for him. It takes planning and discipline, but it can be done.  My husband and I did it for both of our kids and they finished college nearly debt free.  And now we are encouraging our kids to do the same for their kids (and future kids) and we’ve decided to help.

Our sweet grandson, Azriel, is about to take his first steps, but we took our first steps to saving for his college dreams several years ago. When our kids graduated from college, we took the amount we had been saving per month and opened a 529 college savings account for future grand kids. We put one account in each of our children’s names.  My daughter’s account for Azriel is now worth about $5,900 and he is only 9 months old.  We’ll continue to contribute to the account – at least $100 for each birthday and Christmas – for the next 18 years.  By the time he’s ready for college, our small contributions will add at least another $3,600 in principal alone. If his parents try to double that effort, maybe add their annual tax return, and get the word out to other relatives for gifting, Azriel could easily have the cost of two or more years of college paid for.

And, there’s more than just the satisfaction of helping build our grandson’s dreams. A 529 savings account grows tax free, and there are gift and estate planning benefits too. You can find out more and at

When it comes to paying for college, with a little discipline and planning, we can all help build that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.


About the Author:

Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation. To find out more about Cornerstone’s services and offerings visit Betty is also the Director of Washington’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program. and serves as Past Chair of the College Savings Plans Network (CSPN).


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