Thinking of Sharing the Stage? Think Twice.

Posted by on Nov 24, 2013 in Business, Education, Featured, Writing and Speaking | 0 comments

Smothers Brothers. Click and Clack. Carpenters. Have you ever noticed that some of the greatest working teams were also people who spent a lifetime with each other? Each individual clearly had talent. Yet, their success came from the choice to work as a team. By working together, they were able to reach a wider audience and have a greater impact. Speakers and workshop facilitators often have opportunities to co-present with another professional from their field. While at first glance one may think that sharing the stage with another person would reduce the workload by half, teaming with someone else actually requires more work and increased focus on different aspects of preparation. Furthermore, great teams log many hours–or a lifetime–finding their groove. If you are considering teaming with someone, ask yourself if you are willing and ready to  do the extra work that is involved. It’s true. The potential impact you may have as a team can dramatically exceed what you can accomplish as an individual, but that’s only true if you are willing to invest in making your partnership a great one. If you think you are ready to take on the task of co-presenting, and you are sure you know and love the other person enough to go the distance, here are a four tips designed to keep you on track throughout your preparation: 1) Have discussions in advance about the roles you will fill. Will one person be the ‘lead’ while the other person provides support? Will this dynamic shift at any point of the presentation? Are both people okay with this model? What does each person need in order to fill his or her roles well? 2) Be 100% committed to making the other person look fantastic. 3) Set, in advance, the intention of being 100% present with your partner while you are working together. This is harder than it sounds. You will be focusing on being present with your audience too, and there will be great temptation to think about what you are doing next instead of really listening to what your partner is saying and doing with the group. 4) Acknowledge to yourself and your partner that it takes more skill and training to be part of an effective team than it does to be a solo act. If you doubt this, think about what it takes to keep a marriage or partnership healthy and alive versus living on one’s own. 5) When challenges arise, remind yourself that a team can accomplish exponentially more than any individual. Experiencing the power of team requires cultivating a skill set that goes beyond what you know as a do-it-yourselfer. Take time to reflect and review to see...

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Communication is a Two-Way Street

Posted by on Nov 17, 2013 in Business, Education, Featured, Writing and Speaking | 0 comments

Several years ago, a few friends and colleagues formed a book group. We were meeting for the second time as a group, and a woman whom I had never met before joined us. She was well-known and liked by others in the group, and she made many fun and valuable contributions to the discussion throughout the evening. In the months following that evening, we became friends and spent time engaged in deep conversations over tea in local bookstores. One afternoon, when I was asking her for feedback about some personal and professional growth work I was doing, she recalled the first night she had met me. “I remember seeing you sitting there, saying nothing, and I began an internal eye-roll, feeling frustrated that you had nothing to contribute. I had nearly written you off as a complete bore. But then, near the end of the discussion, you said something and it was one of the most profound comments of anything that had been said all night.” Truth be told, I still take my time before speaking in social groups. I often wait a while before deciding a group is ready and able to hear what I want to say. If I am going to contribute, I like to be sure my comment will bring value. Yet, thanks to my friend, I have a whole new way of being when time is of the essence. If I know I have only a few minutes to make an impression, I accelerate through my warm-up period and share insights with confidence and clarity. Because of her feedback, I learned that there was a disconnect between how I experienced myself and how others saw me, and I made shifts in my way of being to address that. When I work with clients on their expressive communication skills, we focus on their part of the interaction. What do they want to create? How do they want to be seen? What is currently working and what is not optimal? What shifts are they willing to make to have a greater impact? There are two-sides of the street, though. Years ago, I took my daughter to her well-check visit around her second birthday. Her pediatrician knew from my reports at the 18-month visit that my daughter had an extensive vocabulary and talked non-stop at home. Yet, in the doctor’s office, my daughter said nothing. The doctor asked several questions designed to be no-brainers for a two-year old. My daughter looked at her doctor and offered no response. The doctor continued the appointment as if all was well, yet I could sense her mounting concern at my daughter’s reticence. While I was not worried about my daughter’s...

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The Most Important Thing to Know about Choosing a Coach

Posted by on Nov 10, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

People choose to hire professional coaches for a variety of reasons. Generally, there is an area of their business or personal life that could be working better. A business owner wants to increase his revenue by forty-percent this year. An executive director wants to improve the cohesiveness and strategic thinking of her team. An author wants to promote his book but doesn’t hold people’s interest when he speaks. A woman in her fifties wants to begin dating again. Even when people are not sure what they want or how to make their life better, people choose to hire a professional coach because they believe that something else is possible. They recognize that investing in a coach gives them an opportunity to move past what they currently see and know in order to design a new reality. They are willing to take a leap of faith and do the work. There are standards in place for coaches and the training programs that provide their education and certification. Asking a coach about his or her background and certification   is one way to gauge the level of training and experience a person has. Most reliable training programs are accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF). A coach who has invested in the training and certification process will welcome an inquiry about her credentials. Yet the single most important thing that makes a coach worth the investment is not something that can be measured on paper or truly assessed before engaging. The most important thing a coach can do is to earn the client’s trust that the coach will see the client with new eyes in each and every interaction. Before each call or meeting with a client, I take a moment to meditate and visualize. I envision my client with his or her full potential expressed. I free my mind of any stories I may have created about my client based on our previous interactions. I get excited to see who my client is today. In a coaching relationship, clients often share what they feel are their greatest flaws, shortcomings, or vulnerabilities. During interactions with a coach, clients may be insecure, confused, meek, or overly authoritative. It is the coach’s responsibility to be with clients exactly where they are in that moment. After the interaction is complete, a skilled coach returns to center and brings no presumptions or expectations to the next meeting. Through this process, clients are free to create themselves exactly as they want to be. Coaching is a transformative process and the speed at which people recreate themselves surpasses any other process I have seen. I am honored to be a part of my clients’ processes and to be...

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Gratitude and Happiness

Posted by on Nov 3, 2013 in Relationships, Writing and Speaking | 0 comments

Happy First Week of November! Three years ago, a team of dynamic friends and colleagues worked with me to bring a vision to reality. We called the project The Gratitude Gala. In November 2010, over a hundred people gathered together for an evening of gratitude, joy, artistic expression, and community. Before each performance, the artists spoke briefly about who they were honoring or thanking with their performance. One member of our team, Rick, flew a young friend home from college for the day. She spent time with her family and then joined us in the evening to perform a special song for Rick’s elderly friend and mentor. Her voice was one of many that filled the room with heartfelt emotion. The expressions of gratitude shared that night uplifted us all. Since that transformative event, people have continued to reach out to share how gratitude has transformed their lives. People also share with me the research and work others are doing around the world. One member of our original team sent me a link to this video with a message that read, “Of course this made me think of you. And Landmark. And how it really works. Thank you for showing me what a difference gratitude can make.” I hope you enjoy this video as much as we did. Scientists Discover One of the Greatest Contributing Factors to Happiness–You’ll Thank Me Later      ...

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