Communication Lessons from Penny and Ruben

by Betty Lochner on August 19, 2013

penny, ruben and the hydrangeaLast week I had the privilege of speaking at an annual staff retreat for the Board of of Industrial Insurance Appeals on the topic: “Celebrate What’s Right with the World.”

I shared an inspirational video, led some discussion and shared some tips and tools on sharing gratitude, and increasing the quality of your relationships by improving communication.

At the very end of the presentation, sort of as an afterthought and because I was just a little ahead of schedule, I shared some parting thoughts from my resident philosophers (and really good listeners), Penny and Ruben.

When I asked for feedback from the workshop,  I heard loud and clear that Penny and Ruben’s list was a highlight.

I have to admit, it is a pretty simple and practical list for living a good life:

Penny the philosopherWhat I’ve learned about communication from Penny and Ruben

Listen first. Listen with every bone in your body and as if your next snack depends on it.

Make a lot of noise when you need to. When you need to say something, say it.

Say you’re sorry when you’ve done something bad. We all make mistakes, so just snuggle up and be cute and say you are truly sorry.

Don’t bite people. Always a good idea! Don’t be mean spirited or sarcastic when you communicate.  It will get you no respect and it’s not worth the consequences. You may even end up in a really bad place.

Wag your tail. Show appreciation and gratitude to those around you. It’s a very powerful communication tool and works every time.

Pay attention. Look some, and sniff some, and watch some.

Live a balanced life. Enjoy the simple things in life. Learn some and think some and sing and dance and play and work every day some!

Yep, that just about sums it up!

Please share your thoughts in the comment section.  I’d love to hear from you!


Ruben restsCommunication specialist, author, and professional speaker Betty Lochner teaches individuals and organizations how to make small changes in how they communicate 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

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