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Archive for month: March, 2014

This is Not Your Dad’s Workshop

If you are looking to maximize your potential through presentation excellence, then today is your lucky day.speak up

On May 29th and 30th, Jeanne Gulbranson, the creator of SpeakUP,  will be personally presenting a SpeakUp Workshop at the Woman’s Club in Minneapolis.

This workshop is unlike any other speaking workshop out there. You will not hear about how to plan, structure and write your presentations. Everybody talks about that. If you need that information, Google “how to write a presentation.” You’ll get about 149,000,000 results. Download one of them—free! They say the same thing and they’re all correct.

SpeakUp is a “workshop for real people with real jobs”; people who want and need to put their best foot (and mouth) forward.

From presenting to an interal group of people at your company to offering a keynote presentation at an event, this workshop will help you become the best presenter you can be.

If you are interested in more information or want to learn how you can join us, click on this link: SpeakUp Workshop.

There are only 8 spots left for this workshop, so if you feel this is right for you, then be sure to register right away.



Recently, a colleague shared with me a situation in which ‘a lot of drama’ was playing out in a business relationship. She was wondering how she could gracefully and peacefully ‘exit’ this situation. This reminded me of what my mediation instructors used to say … that even really good, kind and the best of people can and do get caught up in conflict or in a drama they don’t know how to get out of. They don’t know how it ‘got to this point’ and they feel embarrassed to seek help of any kind.

calvin_relationship_conflictFrequently people share how a particular relationship triggers them in ways that they just don’t know what is going on and soon they find themselves reacting to the other person’s comments or engage in behavior they themselves find uncomfortable or intolerable.

To think that ‘that will never be me’ would be a mistake. Getting caught in the drama of relationship dynamics happens to the best of us. Without realizing it, we have sent that email with words we can’t take back, or we have said something that we simply can’t pretend wasn’t said. Or we find ourselves playing out the drama because we don’t know what else to do. We may not have the boundaries or tools to step out of the drama and stop it (yet). I also believe we use the word ‘drama’ because we don’t really know what is going on.

I believe this kind of ‘drama’ happens when participants within the relationship dynamic do not take responsibility for how they feel or what they think. Participants end up ‘throwing around’ their guilt and anger or lashing out in hurt or blame causing a wave of disrespect, disregard or failure to truly listen. This becomes a true recipe for disaster and deep hurt – even with those we love the most.

So what can we do when drama shows up?

  1. SLOW DOWN THE CONVERSATION. As I mentioned, ‘drama’ is fast and mindless. So slow down the conversation. Put in breaks such as a 24-hour delay in responding to emails or simply say in a conversation, ‘I will need 24 hours to think about what you just said and get back to you.’
  2. EVALUATE YOUR OWN TRIGGER. What does this dynamic awaken in you which feeds your negative relationship pattern? Even if you assess you have contributed only 5% to the drama, you have contributed that much and so that is the part that remains your responsibility. Learn to detach from this trigger and know its patterns so you can catch it early when it becomes activated. Have someone help you develop more responsive relationship patterns, especially in conflict.
  3. IDENTIFY WHAT YOU REALLY NEED AND VALUE. Clarify what you really want to have happen and what the relationship really means to you. Perhaps you need to exit the relationship because it is draining your energy. Perhaps you each need to clarify what values and core needs are being disrespected so it becomes clear what you need or want to have happen instead of the ‘drama’. When people come back to the same issue again and again, even ‘after it’s been discussed’, it signifies that a core need or value is still not validated and people are still not feeling listened to. David Ausberger says that deep listening is really an experience of true love. I agree. Establish boundaries that reflect your core values and true needs so that your relationships have improved patterns of connection rather than ‘drama’.

These are just a few ways to address ‘relationship drama’ when it shows up. In the coming days, weeks and months, pay attention to the theme of creating peaceful relationships and see what other means and techniques you can gather. For this next week, write down what relationships are ‘drama-driven’ for you and see if you can start to identify where the lack of respect is playing out, on both sides!

Live Peacefully & Namaste,

Shirley Lynn Martin

5 Proven Relaxation Techniques

5 Proven Relaxation Techniques

Let’s face it – being a leader can be stressful, and I’ve certainly noticed it show up as a common conversation during coaching yoga:breathingsessions. It seems that many people have been conditioned to believe that we must work hard to be successful. When in reality, many times hard work just creates a hectic and unmanageable life, which equals high risk/low rewards.

If you’re not aware of how you ‘do stress’, then how can you change or reduce it? You may be thinking that you already know the stress drill…heart races, palms sweat, shallow breaths, thought processes get jumbled, and so on.  And yet, sometimes you’re in such a pattern of stress that you don’t even notice the physical side effects.

We all get stressed out sometimes, but if it feels like stress seems to rule your days, it’s time to do something about it.  Below are five relaxation techniques that just might work for you the next time you have an impending deadline or full blown crisis, or are just plain tired or irritable.

  1. Breathe.  Change shallow, quick breaths to relaxed breathing. With your hand on your lower abdomen, count slowly as you breathe in and out, feeling the breath moving.  Counting your breaths can help you to focus on deep breathing.
  2. Physiology.  Move your body!  Even if it’s just for a few minutes of walking around or drinking a glass of water or stepping outside for fresh air.  When you’re in motion, your emotions are in motion too, helping to reduce stress and improve your mood.
  3. Calming thoughts.  Calming thoughts probably won’t come very naturally to you during a stressful situation.  When you’re ‘doing stress’, it’s difficult to be resourceful in the moment.  Plan ahead.  Prepare a list ahead of time, of all the thoughts that are calming for you: thinking of a loved one, remembering a time when you felt calm, saying ‘relax’, having a special photo to look at, etc. Continue adding to your Calming Thoughts list, and you’ll have many options to choose from that work specifically for you.
  4. Meditate. This relaxation technique has been proven to reduce stress and improve health, not to mention focus. Five minutes at a time is a great start – focus on your breath, or listen to relaxing music.  If thoughts come through, simply observe them and let them go.  Keep it simple.  You’ll be able to meditate longer with practice.  Isn’t now the time to develop your ‘meditation muscle’?

I know stress well.  I experienced a lot of it in my corporate job.  My coach suggested I meditate – something I had never experienced before.  Wouldn’t you know, the first day I meditated – chair facing the window, office door closed – one of the manager’s walked in and said, ‘what are you doing, meditating?!’  I burst out laughing, so did he.  I’ve never forgotten my first meditation experience!  Joy

5. Download Apps.  Download apps to help you to relax; there are many to choose from.  Google ‘relaxation technique apps’ and choose the best one for you and your mobile device.

Simply paying attention to your body during stress, and utilizing any one or more of these relaxation techniques, can begin to change the pattern and will have you finding relief in no time.

Each of the relaxation techniques listed above takes five minutes or less!  It’s not a matter about not having the time to do them, it’s about creating new habits that support you in the short and long term.

What’s your preferred relaxation technique? Share below – I’d love to hear.

Looking for more ways to reduce stress? Experience Joy’s Relaxation Techniques workshop where you can familiarize yourself with a variety of relaxation techniques that really work!   Invite Joy to your company’s next Lunch ‘n Learn event!          (612) 227-8922

7 Effective Communication Tips

Effective communicators talk about their ideas, by doing it in a way that speaks to their audience’s emotions and ambitions –listening whether it’s one person or a room of hundreds or thousands. Effective communicators realize that if their message doesn’t resonate with the audience then it likely won’t be understood, much less championed.  They are skilled at developing rapport with a person/group by sensing the subtleties, attitudes, values and concerns of those they’re communicating with.

Listed below are 7 Effective Communication Tips that may prove helpful during your next interaction…which just may happen immediately after you’ve finished reading this post!

1. Authentic Communication. There is great truth in this adage: “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Focus on being clear and real. When you are willing to communicate with the spirit of caring rather than the arrogance of ego, you will be demonstrating a level of authenticity that will be well received by others.

2. Be Visible. It’s easy to hide behind a computer or a closed door. Communication through technology is no substitute for face-to-face and voice-to-voice interactions. People are pulled in many different directions these days, and need to feel a personal connection to you and what you believe in.  MBWA is still relevant in today’s world.

3. Keep it Simple.  Learn to communicate with clarity. An effective communicator will take a complex message and simplify it for their audience. Don’t give them the opportunity to tune you out.  They’re probably being bombarded 24/7 by information, making it hard to hear your message. Simplicity has never been more powerful or appreciated.

4. Focus on Giving. Approach each interaction by being a selfless servant.  Give more than you receive and you will achieve your result. The more you focus on their wants and needs rather than making it about you and your agenda, the better the end result.

5. Have an Open Mind. Be willingly to interact with any ‘devils advocates’ or ‘naysayers’, as they may have a perspective that’s important for you to consider. Being willing to approach those who challenge you is an opportunity for you to stretch, learn and grow.

6. Listen Aggressively. The most effective communications take place within two-way conversations. Effective communicators know how to ask good questions, and then listen with both their eyes and ears.  They realize that both verbal and nonverbal cues are important. My clients really appreciate it when I coach them during a session – not necessarily on what they do say; rather, what they don’t say.  That comes from aggressive listening.  When you master this skill, you’ll be way ahead of the game.

7. Preparation Comes First. Effective communicators don’t just talk to hear themselves speak.  They are thoughtful about the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of their communication before any interaction. Have a clear message with the intention of communicating it so that it is of interest to others. Spending a little extra time on the front-end may save you considerable aggravation on the back-end.

Most importantly, keep in mind that effective communication is not about you or your opinions. It’s about helping others by meeting their needs, understanding their concerns, and adding value to their world. Taking action on one or more of these tips is a positive start to enhancing your effective communication skills.