Archive for Allie Casey

Inner Communication is the Key to Reinvention

I believe that the most important conversation you can have is the one you have with yourself.

Have Some Fun!

In my new teleseminar series,“Reinvention Intervention – 5 Really Smart and Simple Steps for Relaunching Your Life”, I talk about the #1 thing that keeps you from living the life you want to live, keeps you from making timely decisions, and keeps you in a place of frustration.

So, what is it–you ask. It’s the failure to make a choice. A decision. Yup, it’s that simple. We live in limbo land and rationalize the end result of possibilities and create endless lists of pros and cons until we are blue in the face–but we never quite commit to a, well…a commitment.

I use that word purposely, because commitment tends to feel like a heavy yoke on our shoulders, weighing us down with responsibilities when in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Not making a decision is what weighs us down. Making a decision is freeing and liberating. Making a decision lifts the fog. Making a decision propels you forward.

If you’re serious about reinventing yourself, you are, my friend, going to have to make a decision. Probably a bunch of them…but, let’s start with one.

Making a decision is a declaration to move in a direction based on your bigger why. The “why” is the compelling reason to change that supersedes all others. It’s the single compelling force that allows you to forge ahead even when the cons seem to outweigh the pros.

And yet, this inner conversation is often the one we fail to initiate with ourselves because it means acknowledging that undefinable thing. That thing we call “gut” feeling or hunch or, if you are more enlightened…your intuition. It means listening very closely for the the truth and, that is indeed, scary.

Here’s the remedy for failure to decide: Put down the pen and paper and go talk a walk. Get out of your office or away from the kitchen table and engage your right brain. Play a game, play with your kids, play hoops, hula hoop, or potsy, frankly, I don’t care. Do anything but think logically.

And then, get quiet and listen to what you are feeling. Get beneath the chatter and you’ll find your feelings. Pay attention. Now, you’ll know what to do.

But, you know this is only the start to your reinvention – don’t you? If you’re living with a sick feeling in the pit of stomach because your life is passing quickly and you’re scared you’re never going to live a life that has meaning for you then join me for a Breakthrough Session. You’ll discover how to stop feeling afraid to step into your passions and decide on your next step.

Conflict Management in the Workplace-Tips for Bosses

As a manager you must have faced resistance to new ideas, initiatives and change to procedures at some point in time. Good managers learn to deal with these minor push-backs and move ahead. Better ones, however, turn that into an opportunity and gain in strength from it – they create a persona for themselves and turn it to their advantage. Some simple managerial and conversational recommendations that make managers turn into leaders, in spite of resistance from a group of people, are discussed below. They would assist a good manager turn into a better leader.

State your Aim Clearly.     For a task to be done well, it needs to be clearly stated. Be direct but be positive and use plain tones. State facts as facts and mention requirements in an unambiguous manner. Clear instructions, without an iota of threat works wonders in any situation. Above all, keep a neutral tone and add no negative emotion to the conversation. Half your job is done.

Let People Gripe – Its their Birthright.     You have to appear as a very patient listener. You need to listen to the protests people have, but limit it to a logical time span. It need not be unending and you need to make them understand that though occasional bouts of complaints might work – noncompliance does not. Limit the gripe time.

Understand the Real Concern.     Often the real cause of the resistance to a new idea is Read more

Communication – Starts Before Speech

The process of communication gets initiated even before you utter the first syllable.  If being misunderstood while communicating is something you have experienced, you need to read on and find a solution to the problem.

Account for Communication Filters. You must consider how your listener might be filtering your message. What is her perception on receiving your message? Is the message too emphatic and in a tone which is too demanding on her? Is there a language barrier? If your listener speaks a different dialect or a different language, interpreting your message may lag behind the pace of your speaking. These filters, if not removed, break the communication process. Communication filters are inherent to the process of communication and some major reasons why they creep in are:

–        Cultural Differences. Are the two communicating parties from divergent cultural backgrounds? Different religious overtones? These differences could color the way your message is received and perceived. Be aware of such a difference.

–        Level of Education. Varying levels of education between communicating parties need a higher level empathy on the part of the better educated. The other party might be feeling threatened by an imposing attitude or show of more knowledge.

–        Different Social Levels – A huge barrier and an obstructive filter to efficient communication. Your feeling of being socially upward compared to the other party shows in your mannerism and is a strict No-go when you want to have a successful communication. Balanced mannerism and profile show prior to start of a conversation leads to higher chance of the conversation moving ahead and also puts the other person at ease. So, leave the heavy baggage behind and treat every one your equal.

The practice observing your listener for signs of confusion will stand you in good stead. Check to see if your message will pass through the receiver’s filters and still be understood as you intended.  Be a responsible communicator to avoid misunderstandings.

From  my new book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up — coming soon. Watch for it. In the meantime, get your FREE 6-part audio series, The Power of Effective Communication simply by entering your name and email in the box to your right.

Communication Quick Tip – The Keep Cool Formula

It always helps to have a quick formula that’s easy to remember, easy to post where you can see it and easy to implement. In touchy communication situations when emotions might thwart clear thinking try these 3 steps:

1. Look – Observe the pace, voice, eye-contact and posture of your listener. Pay attention to emotions, intentions, and any mental or physical distractions. Match and step it down if emotions are high.

2. Adjust – Shift your style to communicate in the way your listener likes to communicate. A small adjustment now saves time, money and effort later.

3. Verify – Verify that the translation and comprehension of your message matches your intention. (and be honest about your intention-is it aligned to your highest self?)

Ready for more tips you can use? Just enter your name and email in the boxes to your upper right and get FREE Instant Access to your 6-Part Audio Series – The Power of Effective Communication now. Go. 6 short audios that can change the way you communicate. or CLICK HERE

Workplace Communication – Workplace Illusion?

It’s time to replay a video I posted a year ago.

Let me know your comments below.

Time for Self Appraisal of Your Inter-Personal Communication Performance

It’s wise to do a self appraisal of your communication abilities at least once a year.  Your passport to higher ranks at your workplace (in addition to hard work) is your ability to communication well. So, as you do a yearly appraisal of your financial assets conduct an analysis of where you score on the communication metrics and which aspects need you attention this year. What better time than now to start on this and move ahead than the month of February?

What is Effective Communication and Where Do You Stand?
Communicating effectively at the workplace requires your ability to connect with and get along with others. People may have a different opinion of you because you might not be fitting into their scope of things. It can be argued both ways on whose fault is it but this would be a good opportunity to ask yourself how you are being perceived by others. After all, communication is a two way process, and you might be surprised to learn that you ward off others.

Effective communication starts with a self appraisal of ones communication needs and is built upon a continuum of learning. Its time to start now or else you might be on your own and  all alone, for years at your work place. Not a fun situation to be in.

Behavior Comparison
Your tone of voice, your mannerisms and your volume while speaking send one loud message when your are communicating. Do you speak with matching volume and pace as others? Do you say things that cause people to react negatively or to visible recoil? Do you stand too close or too far away when speaking to colleagues, bosses or customers? Do you respond appropriately to questions? Do you interrupt conversations with self-serving comments or comments unrelated to the topic? Do you interject with unsolicited advice? Answering these questions takes a degree of self-awareness. Self-awareness is critical to likability. Yearly communication self appraisals need you to ask these questions.

If you are wondering about your ability to communicate, connect and listen effectively then I invite you to go to claim your FREE 6 Part Audio Course “The Power of Effective Communication” and Listening Skills Assessment. Just fill in your name and email in the box on the right. And, don’t forget to pick up a copy of my book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say How to Say It and When to Shut Up. Get it at Amazon.com

Is Wavering Confidence Holding You Back from Success?

I just returned from a lunchtime networking meeting and was spurred to write this post. A lovely woman I was talking with, (who owns a business) was considering taking a corporate job for “security.” Funny, most corporate workers will tell you there is no security in their jobs. Security doesn’t actually equal success. Confidence equals success.

As we chatted further, I discovered that what she didn’t like to do is “sell.” Now I know many of you reading this post are nodding your head in agreement. Yet, selling is a part of any job (or conversation, for that matter) it’s just that we don’t view it that way. If your corporate title doesn’t include the word sales, account exec. or the like you think selling is not a part of your job.

But, it is! If you are the receptionist your job is to sell guests on the idea that they have walked into the right place to do business. If you work in the accounting department your job might include selling your competency to your boss, or selling a vendor on the benefits of paying on time, otherwise the vendor sells you on the idea that adding an extra 30 days to pay is in your best interest.

Are you getting the idea that selling happens all day long…we just don’t call it that, do we? In fact, I can hear it now, some of you are railing back at the very idea by exclaiming….’well, that’s not really selling!” Oh really?  Your six-year does a better job selling you on the idea that “five more minutes” is to your benefit than you do of selling her on the idea that going to bed is the better idea. Why? Your six-year old is confident in her request. She doesn’t waver and stop to wonder if asking is a good thing or a bad thing. No, she knows “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”  (My mom’s favorite saying.)

So, here’s the thing. People need you and your services. They have problems (I can’t set up a website), challenges (I can’t breakthrough my limiting beliefs) and questions (who can I trust to fix my car?) And you have answers and solutions or you know who to refer them to. Frankly, sometimes I want to be “sold” on the idea that you are the right person for me to do business with. I want to know you are confident in your product or service. Confidence, as I’ve mentioned in previous articles, is what we notice first about someone.

Confidence sells.

I don’t intend to get into the “hard sell” versus the “consultative or soft sell” approach, I just want to stress that selling is what makes the world go around. And, yes, I believe getting skilled in selling for business can help make you confident.

What do you think?

Allie is a professional speaker and coach who helps others gain confidence through communication in order to be successful. Read more in her book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work or contact Allie at 407-313-4967 about a coaching program that might be right for you

Workplace Communication – 5 Mistakes that can Damage Your Career

Open up a place in the conversation so your listener can fit in.” I made this assertion a while ago and I swear by it even today. You need to give space to your listener so that the conversation gets initiated, and converts from a monologue to a dialog and eventually into a mutually beneficial business relationship.

Excellent listeners, regardless of their job function, brand themselves as leaders. It’s a natural process. Poor listeners can damage their careers and never know why. I wrote about this a couple of months ago and recent interactions with those that commented have made my resolutions stronger. The basis of my article then was to shortlist 5 basic mistakes that people made while communicating in the workplace and I would like to restatethem:

Mistake # 1 – Judging rather than Focusing.  Critical to avoid if you intend to have an honest and fruitfulconversation. You MUST focus on the other person’s conversation rather than his or her clothes, accent or appearance. Stop judging the speech pattern, accent, presentation or mannerisms and instead listen to the message. You need to focus on the value of the content he or she is providing. Suspending your judgment for a short time might lead you to learn something helpful or important.

Mistake # 2 – Making Assumptions. Do you always know more than the speaker? Should you always start and continue a conversation with a preconceived notion? Do you use phrases such as “I know that already” before you have heard a complete sentence? The message you send is, “I know more than you do, so let me help you out.” This is not only rude behavior but it will brand you as a “know it all.” Learn to listen patiently.

Mistake # 3 – Correcting and Disagreeing. Let the speaker complete his chain of thought and deliver what he or she wants to convey before you jump to tell him or her that he or she is incorrect. Give the other person a chance to put across his or her point. Don’t be a conversation breaker. You might have missed a key point and this might turn out to be a major insight into something that eluded your consideration.

Mistake # 4 – Impatient Behavior. A strict No.  Don’t let the speaker feel that you are wasting your time conversing with him. Be patient and give the speaker his due. When you tend to lose interest in a conversation, either excuse yourself, if appropriate, or change the direction of the conversation by asking questions.  Remember, your non-verbal communication speaks loudly, meaning your foot tapping or turned shoulders will show your impatience, even if you never say a word. Even if someone has a boring delivery, shift your outlook and you’ll likely learn something.

Mistake # 5 –- Failure to listen to the entire message. You need to understand the message in its totality before jumping to conclusions. Don’t get stuck to a single point in a conversation and lose the bigger picture. Don’t react emotionally to a single idea and leave the others aside.

Learn to develop listening skills and you are sure to become a great communicator. The essence to great conversation is space for each speaker to put in his or her point. If you master this, you are sure to raise the level of your business relationships and help your career.

These tips and more like them can be found in my book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up. Pick up a copy today–you owe it to yourself. Click the book image on the right or go to Amazon.com.

“I Want to Change My Life but I Don’t Know Where to Begin!”

Have you ever thought, “I want to change my life, but I don’t know where to begin?”

You are not alone. Whether you’re stuck in your business, unhappy about a transition, confused about the next step you need to take to move forward or just undecided about your life path, rest assured others feel the same way.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can change…if you’re willing to change.

You found your way here because you want the pain to stop, you want to sleep at night, you want to move ahead. 

I’m a coach, not a physician or psychologist. Let me say this again…I’m a business coach not a mental health professional.  If you haven’t already seen your doctor to rule out serious depression or other physical or mental issues that will be your first action.

If you’re healthy but know you need to make changes in your life or business then let’s start now.

Step1. Get moving. No kidding. Get out of your seat , move your legs and arms, do some jumping jacks, take a hula hoop for a twirl or get out and take a brisk walk. Get your blood moving and your mind chatter quieted. Do it. This alone will shift your outlook, and your energy so you can begin to see new possibilities.

Step 2. Stand up. While you’re still standing from your jumping jacks, grab a writing utensil and start scribbling. Anything goes. No judging. This isn’t about art it’s about triggering your talents. Talents, passions and dreams that may have been buried, or that you have been denying or suppressing (maybe because someone pushed you in another direction in your life.)

Write it all down. Whatever comes up. Answer these questions. What do I love doing? What makes me lose track of time?  What did I love to do as a kid?

Step 3. Notice what’s coming up. All of it. Was it running around the playground as a kid, or digging for bugs, or reading anything you could get your hands on, or dancing, ball playing, writing…really pay attention. Some of you know and some of you have buried your passions so deep it will take a bit more work.

Do you love the work you do but are lost in details, or are you buried in administration and no longer doing what you love? Have circumstances in your life changed but your adaptability hasn’t? Keep writing until the emotions start to peek through…that’s when you know you’ve hit a nerve. Go–write now!

Step 4. If money were no object what would you do? Avoid making sweeping declarations such as, ” I want to own a spa.”  Dig deeper and ask yourself what you would love about owning a spa–is it managing day-to-day operations, or promotion, or handing customers and problems OR do you hear yourself saying things like, “I love the zen feeling?’ Because if it is the latter, my guess is that you want to GO to a spa but not own one. See what I’m getting at by this question?

Do you feel stuck because money prevents you from doing what brings you joy? Do you feel as though “your time” has passed? Move to step five to rekindle forgotten talents.

Step 5. Do some mind mapping. Even if you can’t be the thing you wanted to be as a kid, like a ballerina or pro ball player, do a bit of mind-mapping to see if there is a way to be involved in that passion.  Mind mapping is a way to get your brain firing on all cylinders.

Grab a large piece of paper and some color markers. Put a circle in the middle of the paper with your idea or thought….now draw lines out from that circle and jot down any ideas that come up. Think circular rather than linear…in-other-words, let it flow without judgment.

Start with these five small steps. That’s where you begin. Have fun. It’s a process but it shouldn’t be drudgery. Coach yourself for a bit but don’t linger in pain.


Ready for help? Then schedule a FREE Breakthrough Session and let me show you how to bust through the walls that are blocking your path to success. This session will help entrepreneurs or corporate refugees  who want some perspective on the next step to take and I’ll even kick in a significant nudge to get you moving.

If you know you need to make a change…and I’m guessing you do because you’re here then take the next step. 

The Breakthrough Session is a service I provide to help you look at things differently so you can make a decision about your life. That’s what you want isn’t it…to make a decision?

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Answer the questions first so we don’t waste time. 

Take the steps above and then leave a comment below on your results.

Best Year Yet! – Part One by Sheri McConnell

by Sheri McConnell on Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 6:50pm

Success often comes to those that take a series of some times very easy steps… what can make the journey difficult is when you look too far in front of you and get overwhelmed or paralyzed. Sound familiar? Here are 5 of the 10 steps that I find really powerful for my clients. Note that some of them require physical work and may take more time but are easy mentally. While others can happen in a mere moment and can be much harder because they require a mental shift.

Remove clutter for clarity. If you start here first and organize parts of your life, you will be far more productive. Bring in a 3rd party if needed and clear away the old life to make room for the new.

Two – Buy Simple Planning Tools

My favorite CEO planning tools are a giant Write On Wipe Off Board (my idea of being in Nerd heaven) and large Post-it Notes. Both are for planning new ways to work the M’s. Marketing, Money, and Mindsets. I use these tools to work on my own business and my clients’ businesses. For a wall sized board option, try this large inexpensive board you can get at Office Depot.

Three – Plan Now to Step Up and Step In

Here is my method for planning… note I have 4 kids, two weenie dogs, and a team to manage. Having so much on my plate has forced me to cut through to the highest ROI strategies. This method is all you need to get going and get in the trenches, don’t over think everything. People just want to take some steps with you and accomplish small successes one at a time. Get your brilliance out there so they can get started and let them grow while you grow.

Plan what to do next in your business using this method:

* Pick a theme for the next six months or for the year. Mine this year is: Speaking at Events, last year it was: Do More PR on TV and Radio) I have always found that when I am focused on one theme and take small steps toward that theme, the universe listens because I am very clear. When I am confused, the universe has absolutely no idea what to give me.

* Loosely map out the big projects and events for the year. I do this across the bottom of my big Write On Wipe Off Board. The open months tell me where I have room for the new creations!

* Now, move and take the next 3 steps in front of you. Speed is money, delegate and choose steps with a higher ROI, and you get to higher profits a lot quicker. Need help, hire a mentor or coach to help you sift through your decisions so you can learn how to do this on your own.

Four – Know the Three Things That Most Often Get in The Way of Your Dreams

Over the years, I have found that the following three areas are the most common areas that hold us back. I give them to you today as a gift so that your blind spots can be illuminated.

* Indecisiveness – Decisions are always forward movement even if they end up being the wrong decisions.

* Slow Speed – Repeat after me. “I am liquid, I am not rigid and I flow with my business eroding away all obstacles.”

* Faith In Yourself – This is the number one reason we don’t make decisions and move to slow. You have to believe it before you can achieve it. The best coach in the world can not help you believe. This happens within you.

Five – Commit to Achieve and then Recommit

Once you have developed faith in yourself and in your own abilities (and there is no other way to do this but to dive into the trenches and do it), then you only need to commit to achieve each goal you set. Once we have faith in ourselves, business becomes a rinse n repeat process… aka, a behavior of you committing and recommitting over and over again.

Join us again next week for steps Six – Ten.

Sheri McConnell is the CEO of the Smart Women’s Institute of Entrepreneurial Learning (formerly the National Assn of Women Writers-2001). You can visit Sheri, access her free article archive, and grab lots of free stuff at http://www.smartwomeninstitute.com/. Sheri lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband, their four children, a weenie dog, and three hermit crabs.