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  • feedwordpress 15:40:42 on 2022/11/30 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , media communications,   

    Advice to the Working Mother 

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    When I was a young mother, I worked outside the home. My job as a television news reporter was demanding and time consuming. Juries. Stakeouts. Crime scenes. Long hours that couldn’t always be predicted. My husband traveled so we hired a babysitter to make sure someone was always home.

    Many of my friends traveled a different path. When children arrived, they quit their jobs to be full time stay at home moms. They shared stories of Mommy and Me classes, holding their babies for a first swim lesson, being present at every milestone and activity. Sometimes they made me feel guilty.

    I always adjusted my schedule and swapped shifts to be present for important moments like school plays, sporting events and volunteering in their classrooms. I was there for their first words, first steps, potty training and transitioning from crib to big boy beds. We enjoyed family dinners, holiday gatherings and great vacations. But these so-called friends had a way of making those who worked outside the home feel they were less of a mom than those who stayed home full time. Once, one of them asked if I ever felt guilty about “having someone else raise your children.”

    Seething, I told her our babysitter wasn’t a replacement for us and I remember defending myself. But why? Because she made me feel guilty? My husband reassured me that I was a great mom, and I shouldn’t let others tell me how to feel. He was right.

    We’ve always been a great team. If I was away, he did what was needed. Laundry. Shopping. Driving. Attending events. When he was gone, I did the same. Unlike the stereotypical TV shows of the 1950’s where Dad earned the money and Mom put dinner on the table, in my house Dad also put dinner on the table. We parented equally. This was not the case for some of my stay-at-home mom friends. Like their mothers before them, Mom ran the home while Dad went to the office.

    There is no right or wrong as to how people choose to run their households and raise their families. But thanks to the choices we made, our boys grew up appreciating women as equals. I’m the first to tell you it’s easier to go to work than to stay home with young children. I’m also the first to tell you not to let anyone guilt you into making you feel you’re not as good as them.

    Fast forward to present day. Our sons are well adjusted independent adults. I never think about something I might have missed, and I never feel guilty. Rather, I feel proud. Proud of the young men my boys have become and proud of everything we shared and continue to share together.

    As the years went by, it occurred to me that perhaps these women guilted me to mask their own insecurities. Maybe they envied that I worked outside the home. Maybe they resented marrying men who left the child rearing and housework to them. Maybe they needed to validate themselves and justify their decision to stay home. Or maybe they were happy and genuinely believed their way was the better way. I also realized it didn’t matter.

    One of my son’s was just married. He married a woman who shares the values we instilled in him. He knows how much he’s loved; how proud we are of him and that we will always be there for him, his brother, and his family.

    Being physically present 24/7 for your children doesn’t define you as a better mother. You are the only one who can define you. How you raise your children is your choice. If I had to do it over again, I’d do it the same way.

  • feedwordpress 00:30:46 on 2022/11/10 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , media communications, , ,   

    Quick Tip #118: Power of the Pause 

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    Um. Uh. Just. Ya know. Filler words are distracting, annoying and make the most knowledgeable person seem uncredible.

  • feedwordpress 11:59:23 on 2022/11/02 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , media communications, , ,   

    What Fetterman, Oz can teach us about the softer skills of debating 

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    I watched the much-anticipated debate between Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz. Both men are running for the Pennsylvania senate, a key race that may define who controls Congress.

    The pundits and journalists were highly focused on Fetterman’s stroke symptoms. The Lt. Governor has been off the campaign trail for months following his May stroke, which required surgery to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator and revealed that he had a serious heart condition. While Fetterman spoke haltingly at times and had to have questions and answers transcribed in real time to help with his auditory processing issues, I think those who have been reviewing the debate missed the boat.

    As a communications coach, I do not think Fetterman’s stroke recovery symptoms defined his performance. Messaging and perhaps poor coaching, did. Right at the start, he was asked what qualifies him to be in the Senate. Instead of touting his credentials as a former mayor who worked to build a once-booming steel town back from collapse or his ongoing fight for criminal justice, setting up GED programs or mentoring successes with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, he answered by attacking his opponent. This was a huge, missed opportunity that should not be overlooked.

    While attacking your opponent and focusing on their shortcomings is part of any debate, setting the tone and communicating your message impactfully as soon as you open your mouth is critical. If you don’t grab your listeners attention by communicating value, much of what you say may be wasted because people will stop listening. Additionally, studies show people tend to remember what they hear first and what they hear last.

    If you search for articles on how to successfully debate, you’ll see most focus on preparation, delivery, body language, keeping calm, anticipating follow up questions, knowing the subject matter and techniques to make an argument. All are important, but I want to talk about overlooked soft skills that can help you become more successful in any arena.

    • Persuade. In a debate or pitch, your goal is to persuade listeners that your product, qualifications, or services are right for them. If the audience understands what you or your product can do for them to make their lives better or easier, they will be more likely to see things from your point of view. Fetterman missed that opportunity when he launched into attacking Oz before telling viewers why he was the best for the job.

    • Stories. Like Dr. Oz did, it’s important to use real life examples that connect your listeners to your topic. Painting the picture by creating visual help listeners feel like they are right there with you. People don’t remember all the facts and figures. They remember stories and examples which touch their hearts and make messages more meaningful and relatable.

    • Three Questions. Whenever you speak you should ask three questions. What does this mean to them? Why should they care? What’s the so what? This will help you speak from your audience’s point of view so it’s about them and not you. For example, if you want your audience to buy plant fertilizer, instead of saying “WE offer fertilizer that will help your flowers grow big and bright,” if you said, “You will grow bigger brighter plants that need less watering,” the message is about them.

    Whether debating or speaking in a variety of arenas, every speaking engagement is an opportunity to communicate your message and create awareness. You don’t have to be a professional speaker to shine. You do have to connect with your audience in the first few seconds if you want them to keep listening.

  • feedwordpress 16:55:10 on 2022/10/13 Permalink
    Tags: , , digital communication, , , media communications, , zoom meetings   

    Quick Tip #117: Warm it up 

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    Engaging, connecting, and appearing likeable is much tougher across a screen. These few tips will help you warm it up.

  • feedwordpress 17:26:27 on 2022/09/06 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , hybrid audience, , media communications, , , , , , virtual presentation   

    Quick Tip #116: Engaging a Hybrid Audience 

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    In a hybrid environment where audiences are both in person and remote, it can be hard to engage and keep attention. Learn how to make everyone pay attention and feel included.

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