Updates from December, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • feedwordpress 19:28:34 on 2017/12/11 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , Sorry   

    Do you believe these men are ashamed of their behavior? One former Philadelphia TV reporter doesn’t. 

    Saying I’m sorry is becoming overused. Today Show morning host Matt Lauer is sorry. CBS morning anchor Charlie Rose is sorry. Actor Kevin Spacey is sorry. Senator Al Franken is sorry. Movie producer Harvey Weinstein says he’s sorry. Because the word sorry is used so often when someone admits doing something wrong, it has lost is power.

    In our business, we have always advised clients in trouble to apologize if they erred and if they were genuinely sorry.  Saying I’m sorry acknowledges vulnerability and humility. However, when it’s heard too often, it begins to sound insincere and void of any real meaning.

    That’s why I find it interesting that “I’m sorry” is now being accompanied with two new words; ‘ashamed and embarrassed’. The growing list of powerful men accused of inappropriate workplace behavior say they’re “ashamed and embarrassed” that they’ve let people down.

    Should we weep now or hold our tears for a more appropriate moment? I don’t believe for a second these men are ashamed or embarrassed about their behavior. They are ashamed and embarrassed that their behavior is now public. The real shame is for the people these men allegedly harassed who have been living in silence all of these years for fear that their careers or reputations would be damaged.

    Harassment in the workplace is nothing new. What is new, is that people, especially women, are now empowered to speak out. It doesn’t matter how long ago something inappropriate happened. Survivors are regaining power by stripping power from high-profile men who apparently made their own rules. What is new, is what some once laughed away as ‘boys will be boys’ is no longer an acceptable thought process. What is new is that “I’m sorry” is no longer and should no longer be enough.

    A quick unofficial survey of my professional female friends and colleagues reveals that almost all of us have been the victims of inappropriate male behavior. It may have been a touch in an inappropriate place or language that was sexually explicit.

    As a younger television news reporter, I would come home and recount some of the things that happened or were said in newsrooms I worked in. Horrified, my husband used to say if this happened in his office, these men and women would have been fired. He would urge me to report them. In most instances, no one would have done anything about it.

    I recall a television videographer graphically recounting his sexual experience with a woman he was dating. Given we were in a news van traveling at a high rate of speed, I couldn’t get out. I repeatedly told him I was not interested, and he had crossed the line. He just laughed. There was no one to report him to because he would have denied it. It would have been his word against mine.

    In my day, television newsrooms were often synonymous with bad behavior. Inappropriate conduct that didn’t make the news was almost the norm. It wasn’t just sexual advances or inappropriate flirting. It was intimidation, aggressive behavior and a barrage of obscenities hurled at individuals. It was putting someone down in front of others, reducing them to tears.

    I once worked for a news director who threw his typewriter through the plate glass window of his office as the staff was readying for the evening news. The newsroom stopped. Everyone looked up. Then, as quickly as the glass had shattered, everyone resumed working as if the outburst had never occurred.

    Don’t get me wrong; there were many trustworthy ethical people in the multiple newsrooms I worked in. But, like a fast-moving virus, it sometimes felt like the few people with bad values contaminated the entire space.

    I recall an evening that I was asked to cover a specific story. Due to medical reasons and a note from my doctor, I was unable to go. The night time editor cursed at me, called me names, insinuated I was a liar and then proceeded to criticize my qualifications and questioned how I was ever hired.

    Visibly shaken, I called my boss, explained what happened and told her I was going to file a complaint with human resources. The next day, she cautioned me not to ‘make this a big deal’. She said she would talk to him, but he probably didn’t mean anything and was just doing his job. She said if I made waves, it would come back to haunt me. She was the only woman in management and on a fast track to move up the ladder. She didn’t want me to get involved, because she didn’t want to be involved.

    Different times. Different standards. Yet, cultures of silence and fear still exist today.

    While NBC says they had never had a single complaint against Matt Lauer in all his years at the network, I find it difficult to believe that no one even had an inkling that he may have misbehaved. If he did what multiple people said he did, then many must have known about it. They were simply too afraid of him to complain.

    Since Harvey Weinstein was first accused of sexual assault and harassment, three dozen men have been accused of varying degrees of misconduct. Chances are, more complaints will surface. The question the rest of us face: will we become de-sensitized to these accusations as we have to societal violence and other unfortunate but common occurrences?

    Change is always slow, but change can lead to improvement. At the Today Show, CBS, Netflix and other companies who have come under fire for the bad behavior of their employees, we are witnessing management doing the right thing to reinforce what their organizations stand for.

    The immediate firing, publicly communicating and not tolerating this kind of behavior shows us that as organizations, they are the ones who are sorry, ashamed and embarrassed that this has happened under their watch.
    In the past, an apology and statement saying what your business stands for often made things go away. Today, it’s one thing to say what you stand for or have your core values printed on posters that are plastered on walls around the office. It’s something entirely different to enforce those values.

  • feedwordpress 00:24:03 on 2017/12/01 Permalink

    Dog Whisperer 

    My friend’s dog hates me. This really bothers me because I have never met a dog that didn’t like me or vice-versa. In fact, my husband calls me a dog whisperer because dogs seem to naturally gravitate toward me. Just last week, a woman was walking her dog on the beach. I was walking the other way when her dog abruptly turned around and started following me.

    Dog whisperer.

    Another friend’s dog is so excited when I come by that he presses himself against me and moves with me like glue stuck to cardboard until I leave.

    Dog whisperer.

    There is a dog I know who has NEVER left her owner’s bedroom overnight, yet she slept on the floor beside me in the guest bedroom when I stayed over.

    Dog whisperer.

    You get the picture.

    So, now you understand why I don’t understand why my friend’s dog doesn’t like me.

    Her name is Rosie. She’s a Jack Russell Terrier. She appears to have a personality disorder. Several times a year, I stay with my friend who lives in another state. When I arrive at her home, Rosie carries on like a maniac until her owner calms her down. Once I’ve been inside for a few minutes, she does a complete 180 and can’t seem to get enough of me, in a good way. She sits on my lap. She kisses my face. If I get up, she follows me around. I begin to feel like a dog whisper again.

    Then it happens. Another 180. Most recently, I walked into the kitchen to assist my friend with dinner and bam! She snarled, bolted after me, jumped on me and bit my thigh. No blood, but I was a little freaked out. The owners apologized profusely, saying they can’t understand what happened and they put her in her cage. Time out for Rosie.

    Once out after a long scolding, she cowered back to me and tried to make friends, but still nursing my thigh, I refused to make eye contact until the next morning. Thinking Rosie, the Impaler was still in her cage, while everyone was sleeping, I made my way downstairs for coffee. There she was. Loose. 14 pounds of anger staring me down. I walked toward the coffee maker. She followed behind. I took my coffee into the family room and sat down. She sat on the floor in front of me, snarling ever so slightly under her breath. I tried to talk nicely to her and she started barking. Fortunately, she woke her owners up and they took her away.

    I started thinking about it and wondered, why do I care if this dog likes me? Admittedly, it’s probably because I’m afraid she’ll bite me again. However, there is a great analogy to be made when it comes to the workplace.

    At work, most of us want to be liked. We want the boss to notice our effort and good work. We want colleagues to want to work with us. Acceptance. Respect. Appreciated. Most of us want that. Yet the reality is, we can’t and won’t be liked by everyone. If we spend all our time trying to get everyone to like us, we risk worrying more about what other people think instead of being true to ourselves.

    Leaders don’t have to be liked by everyone to be great leaders. Think back to some of your bosses. You probably liked some of them. They were personable and fun to be around, but they weren’t necessarily strong leaders. Others may have been difficult or abrasive; not the kind of people you wanted to socialize with after work. Yet, they may have been strong effective leaders who you trusted and respected. That’s the key.

    All day long we use products that we trust. For example, you may own an Apple computer. You don’t like, or dislike CEO Tim Cook because you don’t know him. Yet, you would never buy anything else. You trust Apple. You respect the company’s ability to make a solid product that works for you.

    Johnson’s baby shampoo is another example. There are many baby shampoos available to you, but if your mother used Johnson’s and your grandmother used Johnson’s, you might prefer Johnson’s. You have never met CEO Alex Gorsky and don’t have an opinion of him, but you trust J&J products and respect the company’s longevity and reputation.

    Amazon is also a good example. You may know nothing about CEO Jeff Bezos, but many have great respect for Amazon’s business model and ability to make on-line shopping easy.

    It’s not just products. Think about the doctors or lawyers you’ve encountered. Some lack personality, but they are known for their precision in surgery or excellence in the courtroom. You might not like them, but you trust them to produce the best outcomes for you.

    Trust and respect in business is a good thing. If people trust and respect your product, they will buy from you and recommend you to others. Your business and reputation will likely thrive.

    That was the problem with Rosie and me. I wanted her to like me, but I didn’t trust her. Like a back-stabbing workplace colleague, her unreliable behavior created tension. I was wary and on guard.

    To be seen as a leader and build trust at work, consider these seven simple steps:

    1. Be open. When people speak to you, listen. Accept their ideas and suggestions even if you don’t implement them.
    2. Tell the truth. Honesty is still the best policy. Constructive feedback is more productive than critical feedback.
    3. Stay issue oriented. I once had a boss who made everything personal. Focus on issues and solutions instead of personalities.
    4. Be aware of body language. Look people in the eye when they are speaking to you and you are speaking to them. Avoid fidgeting, closed gestures such as arms crossed, hands behind the back or in pockets. Avoid checking your texts and emails when someone is trying to have a conversation with you.
    5. Ask probing questions. Asking questions suggests that you know you don’t have all the answers and are interested in ideas and opinions of others.
    6. Strive for consistency. That means don’t tell one-person layoffs are due to budget constraints and then tell someone else it was because of poor performance.
    7. Gossip is not for grown-ups. If you want to be trusted, then zip it. Keep what others tell you to yourself.

    Like dogs, who quickly decide who they like and who they don’t, people can often sense if someone isn’t trustworthy. It may be the words they use, non-verbal signals they send or even their appearance that determines our reaction even when we don’t really know them.

    Maybe that’s where Rosie and I broke down. We don’t really know each other. Perhaps when I went to the kitchen to help my friend, she perceived I might cause harm. Or, when sitting on the couch, maybe I moved too quickly threatening her space.

    Maybe that’s what happened. Maybe I should take the high road and give Rosie the benefit of the doubt. Maybe, but I don’t think so. I may never figure out why that dog doesn’t like me, but the next time I visit my friend, I’m going to respect Rosie’s space and hope she’ll respect mine.

    Like a worker who spends too much time trying to please, I’m expending too much energy wondering why Rosie and I don’t connect, when there are still plenty of dogs who like me for me.

    To them, I’m still a dog whisperer.

  • feedwordpress 14:46:45 on 2017/11/29 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    Quick Tip #72: Creating Memorable Messages 


    Our simple model shows you how to create memorable messages that inspire, motivate and move others to action.

  • feedwordpress 22:26:31 on 2017/11/26 Permalink
    Tags: ,   

    Don’t put words in someone’s mouth. 

    I agreed to do a radio interview about challenges that small businesses face. Only, when the hosts called a few minutes prior to the live interview, I knew I had probably made a mistake. They were throwing out a few F-bombs, trying to sound like shock-jocks and clearly knew nothing about my new book or business, which was why they invited me on their show. I realized it was their shtick and given we teach people how to turn communications to their advantage, I was confident, perhaps over-confident, that I could handle it.

    It started out well. I interjected tips to become a more compelling communicator, specifics for small businesses and provided examples that I knew listeners would relate to. Then, one of the hosts asked: “what is the biggest challenge in your business”?

    I replied that the challenge for all businesses, large or small is to stay current and relevant. Specifically, I explained, as technology changes by the second, it’s tough to keep on top of everything. I said that’s why it’s important for business owners to have partners and reach out to others who can help.

    That’s when she said: “So, what I hear you saying is that you don’t feel relevant anymore.” What? Did I say that or was she putting words in my mouth? Rather than appear defensive, argumentative or repeat her negatives, I responded like this.

    “We pride ourselves on being relevant because we work hard at staying current and constantly reinventing ourselves, challenging ourselves so we are the best we can be for our clients.” I reiterated that it is critical to stay on top of change and look for new ways to address client challenges. I said, “We are constantly creating new content, materials and how-to-videos to stay current.”

    That’s when she said she’d like to offer me advice about my business. I am always open to advice and learning something new, but I was a little leery to accept it from a radio host who put words in my mouth and I wasn’t sure even knew what we did. However, I was on live radio so I said “sure”.

    She told me that I should hire young people right out of college and have each one of them shadow the coaches who work for me. Considering our coaches have extensive communications experience, multiple awards and provide communication guidance to senior executives, I wasn’t sure why she was offering this suggestion.

    She said the young people could learn from the experienced people and say what they say. I explained that knowing what advice and guidance to provide comes from experience, not following a script or repeating someone else’s words. Then she suggested they could improve our social media footprint to which I said, “We’re very active on social media. Is there something you observed that we can do better?” She hadn’t visited any of our social media channels but said she was offering this advice because “You said you didn’t feel relevant”.

    I wanted to blast her and hang up, but that would have become the focus of the story and I would have appeared argumentative. Instead I said “Please don’t put words in my mouth. That’s what you said, not what I said”. She started to interrupt and this time I cut her off. It went something like this.

    “You invited me on your show to discuss the challenges that small businesses face and based on running my firm for two decades, you asked me to provide solutions that may be helpful for your listeners. Instead, you are twisting my words, offering your own advice when you seem to have no real understanding of our business and I clearly made a mistake accepting your invitation. So, we can end the interview now or you can allow me to speak to the challenges of your listeners.”

    There was silence and more silence until she said, “Oh sure, go ahead”.

    Assuming you know how someone else feels or what they think can backfire on you especially if that someone calls you on it. Sometimes, it’s not even what the person is saying, but rather how they are saying it. What if she had asked, “Do you ever feel irrelevant?” Or what if she had said, “Have you had specific experience that made you feel less relevant and what did you do about it?” That takes someone off the defensive and they will likely respond less defensively. Assuming how someone else is feeling and projecting your words onto them will shut down any communication.

    In an article about divorce published in Psychology Today, author Michele Weiner Davis says, “The words we choose can mean the difference between loving, constructive conversations.” She says, “It’s important to say what you want to say in a way that someone else can hear you and not become defensive.” Even if the person thinks you are over-reacting to what was said, she advises backing up a step or two and trying again, using different words.

    The same is true in business. Asking questions prompts two-way conversations and indicates you are truly interested in someone else’s opinion.

    Eventually I did discuss the challenges I believe small businesses face. Here are my top three:


    Keeping up with technology, having the right systems in place to prevent breaches and having the right tools available to market and grow your business remains a top challenge. Making the right choices and having the right partners is critical.



    Improving customer experience and staying current to keep your customers is key. That means launching new products, creating new content and being open to change to deepen existing relationships and create new ones.



    Looking for ways to attract people with skills that can contribute to the business and be a good match for clients. It’s also important to make sure those who have worked with you for a long time continue to feel valued and appreciated.


    When the interview was over, surprisingly, the host said, “That was a great interview, thanks for the advice.” Trying to be gracious, I thanked her in return. The interview wasn’t great because of me. It was great because she stopped talking, started listening and stopped trying to assume what someone else was thinking.


    We had a real conversation that was focused on helping her listeners.


  • feedwordpress 17:49:25 on 2017/10/26 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , on line communication,   

    Quick Tip #71: How to Shine on at on line meetings 



    Online meetings are commonplace, but most of us have no on-screen experience. These quick tips from a former television personality will help you shine on line.

compose new post
next post/next comment
previous post/previous comment
show/hide comments
go to top
go to login
show/hide help