4 Secrets to Effective Communication

I am currently in the process of studying proper business etiquette through the American Business Etiquette Trainers Association (ABETA).  Today, the topic of training was on effective communication.  As a personality trainer, I was intrigued by how closely their perspective related to the topic of personalities and character development.

Remember, highly successful people, in all types of professions, know this information and apply it!

Here are the four secrets to effective communication.

1) Effective communication is not about you.  It is about others.  Learn to listen and to suspend your thinking and judgement.  ABETA calls this “self-forgetting.”  I like that.  However, this is easier said than done for me!  My trainer also said something worth thinking about, “the listener is the one in control of the conversation.”  If I can just learn to truly listen, I can turn and guide the conversation in a positive and productive way.

2) Effective communication is being aware of what other people understand you to say.  In other words, you are actively perceiving what others are hearing you say.  We have all been in a situation when our intentions or our words were misunderstood.  As the effective communicator, it is your job to make sure they are getting you.

3) Effective communication is knowing and applying a conscious repertoire of effective nonverbal communication skills.  Your body language, facial expressions, posture and gestures are ALWAYS saying more than your mouth.  This is a skill I teach as a speaker trainer and one I have had to learn as a speaker.

4) Effective communication is about self-control and self-awareness.  Surprise, surprise.  Everything relating to personal growth, spiritual growth, character development and maturity boils down to these two things.  One thing that stuck with me in the training today was that self-control and self-awareness are signs of a great leader.  Technical skills alone will not help you get where you want to go, but practicing self-control and being self-aware certainly will.

All summed up, effective communication is this: speaking THEIR language.  This is where being able to identify someone’ s personality and communication style is ever important.  I’ll be discussing the connection in my newsletter at the end of this month!  If you’ve never signed up, it’s totally free.  Just go to my personal webpage and complete the form on the contact page.

Until next time, start listening.




Bullying, Authority and Messed Up Kids

In a few days I will be speaking to 400 students at the junior high I attended in 6th-8th grade.  In preparation I asked the teacher/student council advisor to answer a few questions.  Her answers confirmed what I already knew; these kids lack respect for themselves and others and bullying has become a problem in my hometown as it has across the country.  While bullying has ALWAYS existed, since the time Adam and Eve gave birth to Cain and Abel, it seems to be intensified by our obsession with technology.

Today I was doing research and found a pretty helpful and well written website on this very topic. http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/   It covers all types of bullying and has stats from years of research.  The bottom line for me, however, is that the problem starts at home.  As a parent of two myself, I would dare to say it is the most difficult, yet most rewarding job in the world.  Our effectiveness as parents translates to every area of our child’s life…including how they treat their peers…face to face and through technology.

The biggest trend in bullying is through texting or online messaging (facebook).  Kids (and adults) post ugly stuff, gossip, nasty pictures, all kinds of confrontational garbage just to make digs at someone they don’t like or want to cut down.   Of course the worst thing is the impact all the meanness has on the victim…low self-esteem, depression, suicidal thoughts, and worse.  But, I can’t help but want to scream…”if your child is being impacted negatively by online activity and texting gossip or sexting, TAKE IT AWAY!”  Your  11 year old child will not die without a cell phone or access to facebook!”  Children are not mentally or emotionally mature enough to handle what happens outside of your control.  Protect them.

However, over half of all students are bullies themselves!  If your child is the one posting the nasty pictures they take in a locker room, making digs at other kids and being mean, “TAKE THE PHONE AND THE COMPUTER AWAY.”  Easy fix.

I’ll end by sharing a true story, changing the names and circumstances to protect the innocent…or in this case…not so innocent.  A few weeks ago I was helping at a youth event and a teenager, I believe 8th or 9th grade, was jumping up and down on a pool table.  I, being at least 15 years older than this youngster, walked in, saw what she was doing and asked her to get down.  She  stopped, looked at me and then casually said, “no, we do this all the time.”  She then turned around and resumed her “play.”  I was stunned.  Had I EVER ignored, much less blatantly disobeyed an adult, I would have been in so much trouble!  The truth is, it never crossed my mind I even had the option.  Disregard for authority is a real problem.  Never leads to a road of blissful happiness.  I would guess a road of great struggle, difficulty and maybe even prison….really.

Take heart.  Kindness can reign.  People can be nice.  Children can learn to listen and respect authority.  IF we don’t give up and believe the lie that all is hopeless,  all is not lost.  God is in control.  He knows and loves each of us.  We just have to first learn to be obedient to Him and His authority and the rest will fall into place.  I pray my children will see and learn how to be obedient and respectful to authority not just because I “make” them, but because they see the example in me.

Here is the link to the bullying website, again.  Check it out.


4 Steps to Resolutionize Your Life

If you are new here, welcome!

This month, my FREE Personality Newsletter was about how our personalities affect resolutions.  This article offers great support for this topic

As I seek to grow this blog, one thing I’d like to start doing more is sharing good information I find.  This article was written by a fellow Personality Trainer and Life Coach, Kathryn Robbins.  Enjoy!

The Holidays have come and gone, and for some, so have our New Year resolutions. It doesn’t take long to fall off the wagon. Why is that? What are resolutions anyway?

According to a dictionary definition, resolution is:
1. the act or an instance of resolving
2. something resolved or determined; decision
3. a formal expression of opinion by a meeting, esp. one agreed by a vote
4. the act or process of separating something into its constituent parts or elements

Many times our “resolutions” are nothing more than good intentions, but if we look at the definition again, it gives us step for making real and lasting resolutions.

1.  The act or an instance of resolving. Before you can resolve anything, there needs to be a problem. This requires taking a good look at where you are, how you got there and where you want to go. Looking back over past years is not a bad thing even if it is a bit painful. Adjustments are harder to make and have a greater failure rate if you have no idea where you are or where you want to go. The Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland said it best, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” The truth of the matter is each year builds on the other, so it’s logical to look back and take inventory.

Get out paper and a pencil and let’s make a few lists. Look back over the past year. In a word or two, describe how 2011 was for you?

2011 was ___________________.

Make two lists for these next questions, one for your business or career and one for the personal side of your life. Be honest as you formulate your answers. False humility or over inflated ego will not serve you well in this area, save that for the Oscars.

What are you MOST proud of accomplishing in 2011? Make a list of at least 5 things. Go ahead; pat yourself on the back. Chances are you worked hard for it.

What skills did you gain this year? Make a list of at least 5 things. The moment we stop learning, we stop growing, so – good job. Be proud of your accomplishments.

Where do you feel you blew it? Here’s where we will find our problem to resolve. Thomas Edison tested over 3000 filaments before he came up with his version of a practical light bulb, so let’s not think of blowing it as failure. We can look at it the same way Edison did, each time he tried and missed, he knew he was one step closer to finding the one that would work.

Our resolutions don’t have to be the same old ones everybody makes; lose weight, stop smoking, exercise more, yaddi-yaddi-yadda. Resolutions can also revolve around personal growth or relationships. Here’s where it is a good idea to know your personality type’s strengths and struggles. Let me give a typical problem for each personality type and show how personality strengths can aid learned skills in resolving personality problems or struggles.Click here to see chart.

Playful Sanguine: Problem – time management. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard a Playful say, “I really need to get my act together,” I’d be a rich woman. One of the strengths of a Playful is their ability to be creative – add today’s technology and a Playful can get a handle on their schedule. Most cell phones have an ability to set an alarm; they can even be set to repeat at the same time each day. A little ringy-dingy goes a long way.

Powerful Choleric: Problem – too brash. Powerfuls value honesty, but blatant honesty is like a laser blast to the eyeball – too harsh. A natural strength of a Powerful is their ability to fix almost anything, coupled with the learned skill of tolerance; you could have a wise sage on your hands, one who has the ability to see the solution and the maturity to say it in a way that is helpful.

Proper Melancholic: Problem – self-centeredness. Propers desire perfection or something close to it and people mess up their plans, so they like to go it alone, making sure their work is right and not becoming overly concern if others fail by their own inabilities. Their natural strength is the ability to analyze – think it through – do the research, unite that with the learned skill of assisting others and the world would be a much better place.

Peaceful Phlegmatic: Problem – procrastination. “I was just going to do that.” I’m thinking not. Peacefuls are known for their patience and long suffering, and if that is partnered with the skill of good work ethics, we would see a character worth its weight in gold.

Each resolution needs a problem. Review your blew it list, pick one struggle and work through the next steps.

2.  Something resolved or determined; decision. Now that we have taken a look back, let’s use that information to make a plan for moving forward. If we are lacking in resolve or determination about what we should do, or get talked into doing something that’s good for us, chances are we haven’t truly made the decision. It’s still just good intentions and the chance of success is greatly diminished.

Make an educated decision; know what you’re getting into. Be sure to listen to your heart as well, because our emotional needs will always win any power struggle waged in the subconscious mind. Feed the need and the rest will follow. Click here to see chart.

3.  A formal expression of opinion by a meeting, esp. one agreed by a vote.We all have a friend who at some time or another planned to do something stupid, and more than likely we tried to talk them out of it. When we bounce our thoughts and ideas off other people, we benefit from their experience and knowledge as well as our own. If most of the people in your life are telling you “don’t do it” or “go for it,” chances are they see things you don’t see. We either don’t see clearly, because we are too close to the situation, or we want what we want and there’s no talking us out of it. There really is safety in numbers.

For me, I have found group life coaching to be a great tool for making goals and decisions. The women in my group care about each other, but aren’t all up in each other’s business. This gives freedom to share, try, fail or succeed without embarrassment.

4. The act or process of separating something into its constituent parts or elements. Now we are getting to the nuts and bolts of a resolution – the plan. With each resolution, ask yourself, “What does the process look like to me?” If you can see it, you can do it. If your plan is fuzzy, the outcome may stay out of focus for a long time.

Any successful plan needs clear, measurable goals. For instants, let’s say I want to be less brash, (I hear the cheers) what does that look like to me. First, I need to identify what brash looks like to others, seeing my brashness is more offensive to them than it is to me. Be brave; ask them what kinds of things are offensive. Be prepared to hear things you won’t like. Remember that’s how change works, but if nothing changes – nothing changes.

Then I will have to monitor my behavior to see where I get myself in trouble. Do I say brash things when I’m upset or is it my sense of humor that hits people wrong? Tune in and pay attention to how people react. Once this is identified, I need to “own” my behavior, admit that I do it, without blaming others for my actions and reactions. This can be very painful and humbling, but worth the journey. Now comes the hard part, catching myself before engaging in the troublesome behavior.

Were you able to see the “parts” or steps to my resolution?

Step 1- What needs to be resolved? My brashness.
Step 2 – Do I care? My decision – yes, I care. I want to change in order to have better relationships.
Step 3 – Find consensus and support. I ask for people’s opinions – painful, but liberating.
Step 4 – Break it down into parts, so it’s not so overwhelming. For example: Q-What’s the first physical action I’m going to take, to move me from the problem to the solution? A-Only blurt out half the advice I want to say. In time I will work my way up to only giving advice when asked.

The first 30 days of a resolution are the most critical. It’s estimated that by January 2, more than half of the resolutions made on or before Jan 1, are broken. By January 3rd, another 10% will be abandoned and sad to say, by April 1st, 90 % of resolutions morph into half-hearted good intentions or regrets. It is vital to the success of any resolution to have clear measurable action steps in place during those first 30 days. In the immortal words ofThomas Jefferson, “Never put off tomorrow what you can do today.”The founding fathers of any nation had a huge resolution in front of them, follow in their “action steps” and change your world.

In a word, how do I see 2012? Resolutionary!

To your success!


Kathryn Robbins, Certified Personality Trainer, Life Coach, Speaker and President of  Personality Principles LLC, who has helped hundreds of people find the missing pieces to their relationship issues, by understanding personality strengths, struggles and emotional needs. Kathryn is available for speaking and training events as well as private coaching sessions. Visit the website for more information www.personalityprinciples.com.
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Jaclyn Rowe is a Personality Expert and National Speaker.  Information on speaking topics and booking may be found at www.jaclynrowe.com.


Point number one: Your reputation matters.  In professional environments we call this personal branding.  In family circles we call this the family name.  In church or spiritual environments we call this representation.  Regardless the angle, having a good name is valuable.

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold. Proverbs 22:1

What others know about you, what others think about you, and what others think they know about you matters.  If I hear one more teenager say, “I don’t care what people think about me.”  I’m going to scream.  Not true.  Above all other people on planet earth, teenagers care, deeply, about what others think.  Ever heard of peer pressure?  And so do you and so do I.  Let’s not be so dishonest.

And here’s the thing, point number two: we should care.  A good name is to be chosen…

You have to want a good reputation and make choices that reflect that desire in order to make it happen.  Now, to be clear, I do not base my worldview, moral beliefs and standards on what others think.  However, I do think it is crucial for success and living a life of significance that I strive to develop into a woman of unquestionable character and integrity.  What I desire is that my reputation or my “personal brand” matches or lines up with what I claim to believe.  For example, what if I claim that I believe it is important for people to take good care of themselves physically, to eat right, to stay in shape, and to live a healthy lifestyle; and then you see me 100 pounds overweight and snacking on a coke and french fries?  You would think one of two things:  either I no longer believe what I claim or I am a hypocrite.  And in that moment, I have lost your respect and any ability I may have had to encourage you to believe and pursue a healthy lifestyle as well.

If we are going to make claims and state our beliefs it is crucial that we follow through.  Don’t even make the claim if you can’t back it up with your life.  If you want potential employers,  colleagues, even friends and family to respect you, to trust you and to care about what your ideas, then you need to present yourself in a way that matches your desires.

When I spoke to about 150 teen girls last week,  I focused on three areas that dramatically impact your reputation: modesty, manners and the mouth.

Like it or not, immodest dress sends so many wrong messages, it just isn’t worth it.  Cover up.

Manners such as saying please and thank you, sharing, taking turns, opening doors, going last, greeting people, knowing how to introduce yourself and others, etc. go a long way toward building trust with people.  Proper etiquette goes beyond just saying that you care about someone to actually showing it.  And we all know the saying, “actions speak louder than words.”  Or do they?

That brings me to the last focus area, your mouth.  This is a tough one for me because I genuinely like to talk and sometimes in speaking all those words, I say things I should not.  There is a Proverb that says, “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.” The ability to control your mouth and to speak only things that help or encourage is a powerful, beautiful skill.  As your mama used to say, “if you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.”  Good advice.

Personally, all of this comes together under an umbrella of understanding that my life is not about me.  (Note: Convincing teenagers – and many adults – that all of life is not about them is quite a task in and of itself and they are not likely to begin caring about modesty, manners or their mouth as long as they continue believing the world revolves around them.) Rather, I get it that I represent my business, my clients, my family, my community, my faith and my heavenly Father.  How I dress, how I treat other people, and how I speak not only reflects on me, but on them.

A good name is founded on a selfless attitude.

Reputation matters and we should care.