Tag Archive for Allie Casey

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.

Communication and Your Customers – 5 Tip-Top Tips

Short and sweet communication nuggets. Get into the customer communication game with these tips:

  • Business etiquette plus positive personality equals excellent customer service. Think Zappos!
  • Would you do business with you? Spend time being your customer, evaluate everything from reputation to referrals.
  • Make these ABCs essential to your business–Articulate what you do clearly and concisely, Build Rapport first, Confidence is what people notice first–own it!
  • Make listening easy for your customers–eliminate communication barriers. Take a moment to find out what might be in the way–an accent, speech pattern, distracting gestures…etc. and vow to banish it so you can be heard.
  • No matter what you are selling–ask for the sale. It’s a disservice to your customer if you don’t.

That’s today’s quick tips–add one of your own in the comments.

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. Don’t forget to pick up your 6 Part Audio Series, “The Power of Effective Communication” it’s FREE.

Avoid Misunderstandings at Work–Communicating with Confidence

Misunderstandings in the workplace are often the result of poor self-confidence. Confidence shows up first in your presence. In-other-words, your posture, the way you move, the way you stand and your energy.

What does all of this have to do with avoiding misunderstandings? The non-verbal message sent by slouchy shoulders, an unbalanced stance and a voice that lacks conviction can easily negate even the clearest verbal message…and that causes misunderstandings. Communicate like you mean it.

Consider the young manager who is not quite sure of herself as she attempts to give direction to her assistant. The request might be as simple as completing a report needed for a meeting. Her words might be clear  but her assistant might read her lack of confidence in her demeanor to mean…”if you have time to get it done.”

If you’re thinking this never happens, think again. The dog whisperer, Cesare Milan, tells dog owners that the conversation they are having in their in heads –positive or negative– translates to the energy a dog understands. The same thing occurs with humans, and no one knows this better than children. The mother who attempts to stop her child from an unwanted behavior by sweetly saying “no honey” in a voice that says  “I don’t really mean it” hardly gets the response she would like.

Communicating with confidence won’t eliminate all misunderstandings but it will help. What do you think?

For more communication tips pick up a copy of  Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work. You can get it by clicking the icon of the book on your right or at Amazon.con.

Communicating with Yourself–The Key to Reinvention

Successful reinvention–the art of creating yourself again–is directly related to how honestly you communicate with yourself. Or in-other-words, your degree of self-awareness. How you see yourself and consequently what you tell yourself is the key to reinventing yourself again and again.

Let’s say you want to move from a corporate job to entrepreneurship  but don’t know where to begin. Does your inner conversation sound more negative than positive?  Are you communicating a message to yourself  that you probably can’t make it happen but you’ll take a stab at it anyway? Are you telling yourself you can’t leave the comfort of your job because of your responsibilities? Are you convincing yourself that you’ll do it when “things” get better? Or are you telling yourself that others have done it so you can do it too!?

Or perhaps you want  to create a successful business around your love of decorating and your jewelry business but aren’t sure how to incorporate both of these passions into a single workable concept. Is your self-awareness clouded by what others have said to you in the past? Is your inner voice convincing you that there is no way to combine these two passions? Or do you tell yourself that there is a connection between the two and you’ll get some help figuring out how to make it work?

Or maybe you are a coach but find yourself losing some passion for your coaching practice. Do you tell yourself to shoulder on and your love will come back? Or are you self-aware enough to realize that you are not practicing what you preach? Are you telling others to have fun but you’ve forgotten to have fun yourself?

The new year is the perfect time for introspection and more importantly taking a risk to step out and live the life you dream about living. Take an acting class, join a mastermind or commit to having some fun.

After all, it is your life. And it’s passing every minute. If it is not what you want take action now.

Reinvention Intervention

Don’t Make Resolutions! Reinvent Yourself Instead

Renewal, refresh, review, reflect, rehab, rebound, rejuvenate, regenerate, resolve, reinvent…REJOICE!

‘Tis the season to be thinking about the future and making changes. Resolve to make a decision to RESPECT yourself this new year. (Gotta love those ‘R’ words!) Ask yourself… Is it time to look at success and transformation in a different way? “Is it time for a Reinvention Intervention™?”

There’s nothing better than incorporating your body, mind and soul for true transformation (oh, a ‘T’ word!) When you push against your limitations you begin to remembering your possibilities and passions. Add a cheering squad and your success rate goes up.

Instead of vowing to lose weight vow to change the way you see yourself. Have you spent last year stuck in a job that doesn’t challenge you, use your talents or honor your soul? Have you been living a life that supports everyone but yourself? Are you facing a big change but aren’t sure how to maximize the possibility it holds?

Start your own reinvention by moving your body–nothing fancy required–just shake off your shoes and jump around so you feel the ground under your feet while listening to some fast beat music.

Feels good, right? Silly maybe but who cares–intervention isn’t always pretty. Now while you’re feeling connected to your physical body grab a writing utensil and start scribbling–anything. Really anything. Draw outside the lines, be a kid, be free. Use big arm movements and let loose with a stream-of-consciousness ranting. No one is judging or even looking–so let it rip. If you have crayons and poster size paper all the better. The picture isn’t the purpose…the feeling is. Happy, sad, mad, joyful, remorseful, whatever–take note of your emotions.

Okay, now that you feel perfectly __________ (fill in your own word) let’s add the last step.

What’s missing? What are you missing? What haven’t you done in a while that puts in touch with who you really know yourself to be? What are the emotions the exercise has brought up for you? Is there a passion, a hobby or a side of yourself you have neglected or buried? Do you just miss being a kid? Do you miss dancing or writing or feeling physically challenged? Did the exercise help you remember what FUN feels like? Are you feeling sad or mad about not honoring some part of you? Perhaps you feel joyful and free–do you need to feel that way more often?

If you really want to reinvent yourself enlist a friend to help. Resolve to be imperfect. Resolve to invest in yourself for once. Resolve to communicate with yourself.  Resolve to say “yes” to your gifts, talents and passions this year. Make this year the year to remember who you really are deep in your soul.

Rejoice!Reinvention Intervention

Misunderstandings at Work–Will Your Conversation Matter a Month from Now?

Learning to respond to emotionally charged conversations or misunderstandings in the  workplace takes practice, patience and perspective. The key is to balance your assertiveness with constraint so you can walk away feeling good about yourself , while not leaving the other party feeling devastated.

Ask yourself the following questions before blurting out an emotional reaction during  a challenging conversation. You just might gain a new perspective.

  • What’s the long term impact if you say everything you want to say?
  • What consequence or result will occur moments after your conversation if you do respond emotionally?
  • Will the result last more that those few moments?
  • What about the impact in a few hours, days, months or years from now?
  • Will this conversation matter at all or will it change the course of a relationship for better or worse?

If you ask yourself these questions before blundering ahead, you’ll discover that some conversations won’t need to happen at all, but don’t make that an excuse for not having the ones that do need to happen.

Thinking about the long term impact allows you to put things into perspective. Perspective goes a long way towards guiding your tone and words,  and perhaps changing your intention from hurtful to respectful.

A small shift in your behavior now can go a long way into the future…in a good way.

What’s your thoughts? You can find more information on this topic in 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 today.

Communicating and Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude at Work

If there is one thing we should we should be communicating daily it’s gratitude. Expressing gratitude in the workplace is the key to fostering good relationships and cultivating a pleasant working environment.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a staff member or the manager in charge, you can use small tokens of appreciation to change your working atmosphere from negative or neutral to positive and expansive.

Here are a few ways to express your gratitude and make a difference.
Things to say:

  • “I’m happy you’re here.”
  • “I’m grateful you’re my coworker (or on my team.”)
  • “I appreciate your smile–it cheers up my day.”

Things to do:

  • Put a few words of gratitude on a colorful sticky note and tack it above a coworkers desk.
  • Write a few words of appreciation on small slips of paper and stuff them into fortune cookies. Keep them personalized to each recipient.
  • Create a weekly gratitude day–don’t make it a big deal–just catch a coworker in an act of kindness or generosity and let them know you appreciate their caring gesture. Listen, we all know who makes the coffee, this is a good time to acknowledge it.

Creating a culture of gratitude will yield greater profits than what’s visible on the bottom line–though it will certainly contribute to that result.

Try it. Let me know what works for you by leaving a comment below.

I’m grateful for you– my readers and clients–today and everyday. Thank you for showing up and participating.

You can find more information on this topic in 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 today.

Communicating at Work–Check for Understanding

Communication means (according to my desktop dictionary) to transmit a message. Yes, there is a bit more elaboration but nothing that implies the checking for the understanding of said message.

Not good enough, I say. There are plenty of examples where transmitting a message suffices but even when a memo or message is posted in the workplace there is always someone that misinterprets or questions the message.

Posted message: ” The office will be closing Wednesday at 1:00 PM for the holiday.”

Question posted: “Does that mean for everyone?”

See what I mean, even the most direct message leaves a gap. So how can we expect the numerous conversations that take place daily to be interpreted as the sender intended? No easy task.

Let’s take a look at just a couple of things you can incorporate into your conversations to decrease the likelihood of misunderstandings.

1. Allow time for your message to be processed–avoid “bump and blurt” communications. You know the scenario where you run into your boss or coworker in the hallway and blab  your message as quickly as possible while still moving in the opposite direction. Really? You expect to be heard?

2. Ask for interpretation. This is the most difficult aspect of the exchange. The one question to never ask is…“do you understand?” Why? Because 99.9 percent of the time the answer is yes–when the reality is no. You can try the active or passive approach depending upon the situation and with whom you are speaking. Here are some approaches:

  • This casual approach takes on the burden of responsibility: “Wait…what did I just say?” Even though you know perfectly well what you said, this approach generally gets others to repeat at least of portion of what you said. And no, if you are making a request that requires action there is no guarantee it will be carried out as you expect.
  • A somewhat more direct approach allows for both processing and questioning, particularly useful after giving a long directive. “I’ve just given you a lot of detailed information.” Let’s review the first part again (you do) then you ask, “what questions do you have about this section?” This implies that there will be questions. Ask the question and then, you know…shut up. Most people don’t like to admit they are unclear about something so give them time to answer.
  • Another direct approach is simply to say, “I’m curious to know if we are on the same page, tell me how you heard what I requested? Often the intent is to get other people thinking the same way you do, forgetting that rarely do people think the same way you do!
  • Sometimes we fail to give enough information because we fail to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. If you request a project to be handled be sure to ask something like this…“what information have I failed to give you in order for this project to get completed on time?” (Make sure this is an open-ended question.)

Just in asking the question you might realize that you have not, in fact, given a time frame.  I’ve frequently asked audience members what time frame they put around this request…“as soon as you can get to it.” You’ll be shocked to know I heard everything from 15 minutes to a week!

Admins frequently are confused about prioritization–jumping on a task that didn’t need to be done first while ignoring more urgent projects. Both parties need to ask better questions.

These are just a few ways to check for understanding. Tell me what has worked for you by leaving a comment below.

You can find more information on this topic in 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 today.