"Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say Without Being Mean When You Say It" ~ Meryl Runion Rose                                ShoppingCart Plum NB 50

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Effective Communication Skill Blog

Alchemist in Meryl.150Communication skills are great in theory, but how are they in practice? This Effective Communication Skill Blog shows you how to walk the SpeakStrong talk. I'm Meryl Runion Rose. Join our conversation about Communication Alchemy, and saying what you mean and meaning what you say... without being mean when you say it.

The Communication Alchemist is IN. Are you IN too?

Do Over: A Little Less Conceptual Please

The spring weather intoxicates me. The air feels crisp and vibrantly alive. The birds seem like they are singing just to me. Last year, I was too lethargic to do my yard work. Getting through the day took all the energy I had. This year I am beside myself with excitement. As when I was 5 years old, I don't wanna come inside.

Health makes the difference between living heaven and living hell. For me, a few bites of the wrong foods can take me from this kind of divine rapture to dark despair. It's an obvious bad bargain.

I posted a poem about it last week. I wrote the poem in part to anchor my intention to be impeccable about doing the things that cultivate life. Of course, moments after it went out, I wanted to revise it. 

Well, here's my do-over of:

Dancing with the Devil.

Oops. I just danced with the devil!
Uh oh! I ate from his plate!
Whoa! Did I make a bad bargain!
Yikes! I keep tempting fate!

Gosh! I gave in to temptation!
Ignoring hard lessons I learned!
Yeah, right, like this time would be different!
Ouch! I keep getting burned!

Oh no! I pretended a nibble
of poison would do me no harm.
Shoot! I let sweet temptation
disable my danger alarm!

Oops. I just danced with the devil
whose lessons are sharp and severe.
Lord, help me collect my diploma!
and say, "Thanks. I'll take it from here."

If you revisit the original, you'll see the confessions are in the form of questions. The poem asks why I do these things at every turn. This version is more human and less conceptual. Same idea but different tone. Very different tone.

And yay! I wrote a poem that is helping me make life-giving choices. 

Woo Hoo! I am dancing with life. So far so good...

I hope you enjoyed the original and like the revision. 

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Flirting with Temptation - Dancing with the Devil

Something my friend and fellow food-sensitive said struck me. She said when she follows her diet, she feels great. 

Hello! The stakes for her are high - why would she not follow her diet when cheating feeds disease or at least dis-ease?  

My next step when I question the behavior of others is to ask myself, "What's my version of that? Where don't I practice what I know?"

In terms of food, there are times when I don't know what will trigger me. However, I also know that (for example) while I can "get away with" a few sweets here and there, that I am playing with my well-being when I do. Why risk it when I feel so much better when my digestion is happy?

I know I play the edge and go beyond it at times.   

I want to anchor the idea of honoring my body's quirks.

One way I anchor ideas is to write poems. Here's the one I wrote for this. You can apply it to communication as well. We all speak at times when we know better. 

Dance with the Devil

Why do I dance with the devil?
Why do I eat from his plate?
Why do I make a bad bargain?
Why do I keep tempting fate?

Why do I flirt with temptation?
When will I live what I learn?
How do I think this is different?
Why do I keep getting burned?

Why do I pretend one small nibble
of poison won’t do me much harm?
Why do I let sweet temptation
disable my danger alarm?

The devil can be a fierce teacher.
With lessons so painfully clear.
It’s time I collect my diploma
And say, "Thanks. I will take it from here."

Of course the real test of the power of the poem is in what I do at the next potluck I attend where there is a delectable delight I feel compelled to taste. Will it be the healing of the habit or just another step along the way of making better choices?   

How can you creatively anchor the behaviors you want to encourage? 


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What's This Dream Got to Do with Anything?

As a big picture person, as a symbolic and a metaphorical Visionary style communicator, one of my communication challenges is to express ideas, symbols and images that have so much meaning for me in ways that others can relate to. 

Like the dream I posted about yesterday.

To me, my symbols and images speak for themselves and need no explanation. After all, to my knowledge, the Moody Blues never explained what "Knights in white satin, never reaching the end, letters I've written never meaning to send" means. 

But then they're the Moody Blues, and I'm not.

Yesterday, I posted about a dream that provided me with wonderful guiding images I'm still interpreting. (Note to my Achiever communicators - to the more concrete among my readers. I see you rolling your eyes! Know this: guiding images are a major source of DIRECTIONENERGY and INSPIRATION to Visionaries.) 

If you've ever had a dream when you were in college and missed your main classes, and were unprepared for the test, know that this was the apotheosis of that. This takes that nightmare to an illuminating next-step-dream. Here's what it said to ME. 

I was in college. Not high school, not work, college. That tells me this is about advanced learning.

I was engaged in each class, embracing my curriculum as it unfolded. None of that old theme of not knowing where I should be or being unprepared.

I was graded, but didn't feel judged. The grading was feedback. I cultivate the art of giving feedback that doesn't seem judgy. 

My classes were dance, exercise, exercise and something related to children. I was surprised there was nothing academic. I'm not anti-intellectual, but I am balancing years of over-thinking. It suggests to me that I need to keep the balance of being body-based. It's not time to focus much on the conceptual level of life. My Inner Analyzer still needs to play a supporting role, not a leading one in my growth and development. 

That's what it all meant to me. But the real reason for sharing it is for you to ask yourself - what would it mean if it were YOUR dream? Would it be college? What classes would you take? Do you honor those activities even though they may not lead to degrees? What symbols have deep meaning for you? 

Well, that's one real reason for sharing it. The other is that I consciously practice talking about inner realities in ways that others understand. It's a process. 

Perhaps some day I will be like the Moody Blues and feel no need to explain. Perhaps not. Right now, I like the exercise. 


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Unconventional College Classes, Metaphorically Speaking

I am emerging from my personal winter. My efforts to heal my digestion and everything I experience emotionally, spiritually and practically as a result of years of liver congestion are paying off. My husband and others affirm that I am healthier than ever.

Spring. We have had some luscious days of spring calling us outside and into our senses. I have played well with family, friends and with the spirit of spring.

Now that I have energy, is it time for an unbridled reentry into my work? Should I accept the speaking engagement I was offered Friday?

My dream suggests something else. In this dream:

I am in college. My first class is dance. My second is exercise. My third is exercise. I am fascinated that it's almost noon and I haven't had any academic classes. I am fine with it - I trust the unfolding curriculum. After a train ride to London and back, I attend my first afternoon class. The classroom has small chairs and my classmates are children. I sit in a tiny chair and look forward to the class, wondering what I might learn. 

(If you've ever had one of those dreams where you were being tested on things and hadn't attended the classes - this is not one of those. I was completely present for each class and on top of it.)

This dream portrays images of my college, my path, my curriculum. For now anyway. Dance, strengthening, practice, basics. Because the dream message feels right and makes sense, I embrace the images and let them guide me. 

We are having winter thaw, and yet it snowed again last night. Just a little. I am feeling enlivened and yet I had stomach gas last night. Just a little. Winter isn't completely over.

I trust the process and embrace the curriculum that matches my season. I referred the speaking opportunity to a colleague who is currently enrolled in a different (metaphorical) college. It feels like a match to her. 


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PowerPhrase: Something I CAN Do

When Dad and I finished speaking of his latest frustration trying to use the computer with his impaired vision, I told him what my two action steps were to get him going again. (One involved a numpad for his keyboard and the other, sorting his files.)

He warned me that it might amount to nothing - that even if I got him going again, he might not complete anything.

I replied:

  • This is something I CAN do. I can't come see you every day like Kris does, and I can't take you to appointments when you need someone to. But this is something I CAN do. If it amounts to nothing, I won't consider it wasted effort.

He got it. Any way I spell it out, the real message is: I L O V E you.

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More For the Asking

My friends and I have been practicing our communication commitment to ask more questions. Amy is involved in a legal situation that has her needing to get answers... but she has no good idea what the questions are. She asks anyway. Bea is getting advice from an expert she never would have approached before. And me... well I wondered why my corporate tax prep cost me $150 more than last year. So I asked. 

"I didn't raise my rates," my CPA told me. "Tax laws are that much more complicated this year." He went on to offer me a break in his fee.

I appreciate that, but what I appreciate most is the fact that he makes it easy to talk about things like the fee increase. I told him so.

"Well, you're my favorite client," he responded. "I'm happy to talk."

"Oh, your favorite?" I replied. "Maybe I should leverage that."

"Uh oh," he said. "I shouldn't have told you."

"That's okay," I replied. "I can't leverage it because if I manipulated your goodwill, I wouldn't be your favorite client anymore."

And it's true. We work together well, and when I wonder about things, I just ask.


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The Goodness of Getting To

If you are fortunate enough to shop at the Albertson's that employs "Bea" you probably find yourself getting in her checkout line, even when there is a shorter option. You might not know why you do it, but if you heard her talk about her job and about you, her customer, you would understand completely.

Bea doesn't have to do anything. She gets to. She gets to help and interact with all kinds of people. She gets to walk the aisles and straighten product. She gets to help customers to their cars.

She also gets to brighten people's days. She gets to leave people better than she finds them. She chooses her words with care to invoke nourishing imagery. "Did you find everything with ease?" she asks... not just wanting to make sure people leave with what they came for, but also to invoke the experience of ease. 

Bea has advanced degrees and an impressive resume. She is just where she wants to be at the checkout of Albertson's. If I were fortunate enough to live near Bea's store, her line is where I would want to be, too. 

Instead, I am happy that I get to read Bea's emails and speak with Bea about all the things she gets to do. 

What do YOU get to do in the course of your day?


Note: I received feedback that the blog emails don't work well with Outlook. I don't know when I will be able to do a real fix on it, but for now, I'm experimenting with having no graphics.


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Just Ask

Fridge 300The couple knows Bob better than me, so Bob handled the dinner invitations and arrangements. Like the majority of people who dine with us/me, "Dee" has a restricted diet. "Just chicken and broccoli will do it," she told him. 

I was planning to go with that, but decided to just ask. I asked her for more detail about what she could eat. She was reluctant to tell me because she didn't want to impose her limits on the rest of us. I kept going. I ran off a list of foods, asking if she could tolerate them. I personally do understand the reluctance to ask others to accommodate dietary quirks. On the other hand, I consider it a fun challenge to prepare meals that food sensitive guests can actually eat.

Five minutes later I was armed with a food list that I could work a bit of alchemy with. I did need to call her back with a question about one food item I hadn't thought to ask about in the initial "interview." 

The main course was the company, of course. The conversation was delightful. It also gave me pleasure to see my guest embrace a varied menu without fear of it costing her health and well-being. I was able to do that, because instead of assuming, I remembered to just ask. 

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The Fine Art of Appreciating Bad Jokes

Fruh 300How advanced is your taste for bad jokes? 

Mine is improving.

I'd like to be able to say that I fell in love with Bob because of his bad jokes, but in fact, I fell in love with bad jokes because of Bob. It took a while. For the longest time, I judged them - which meant I judged him.

Well, I immediately loved my reader and buddy Al's admittedly bad joke about a recent post. He referred to the picture in the post Greeting Card Metamessages with this comment,

"David must be an expert CPA as he is outstanding in his field. Groan lol."

Yes. Groan. And yet I welcomed the observation I missed, loved the lightness of the comment and appreciated the fact that Al was willing to share a pretty lame joke with me. 

An appreciation of bad jokes: it's a fine art. it might not be on the top your list of SpeakStrong aspirations, but it is a valuable quality. 

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The Magic of the Discovery Process

Feng ShuiAs I continue to create flow in my life and home, a friend gave me a lovely book called Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui. My favorite part of the book is the story of how she discovered the Feng Shui or placement principles. I devoured those sections, and skimmed through the "rules" or principles part.

That's me. I'm a process person. I'm more interested in how she discovered what works for her than what she discovered. I want to make my own discoveries. Handed down discoveries generally don't have the juice for me that discoveries won through direct observation do.

I plan to share my lovely gift book with a friend whom I suspect will skim through the discovery part and devour the principles. 

I don't read much, preferring to learn from my own observation. Interestingly, the book contained many conclusions I had come to on my own. It was nice to see someone "official" had discovered what I had.

And it was even nicer to see how she came to discover it. 

My community and I often share the stories behind the outcome, because to us, that's where the magic is.




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The Question Habit

question mark 300Last week I wrote an article for a magazine I have a column in about overcoming bad communication habits by practicing good new ones. As one example, I wrote of how I make a practice of asking questions to overcome my habit of making assumptions.

Interesting how life works. Two days after I wrote that article, I was arranging contractors for foundation work on some rental property. The foundation contractor recommended I get a plumber to replace some pipes while the floor was torn up. 

I asked Dave, my renter, to arrange this. Dave emailed me the next day to say that the plumber had been by and the work would be done by that evening. I was surprised since the foundation work hadn't been started, but ASSUMED that the plumber knew what he was doing. I drafted an email to Dave acknowledging the plan... but stopped myself before I hit send. I revised my email and asked Dave why the plumber was replacing pipes before the foundation work. Dave replied that he didn't know why the foundation guy wanted the plumbing done first.

It was clear to me that Dave was irritated about having his plan challenged. Another thing was clear - there was confusion. This is a very big... concrete... step to take without clarity.

I got the foundation contractor and the plumber talking. As it turned out, there was a crack in the pipe under the cement and it did make sense to have the plumbing work done while the cement was torn up.

I love the way life works. My article reminded me of my SpeakStrong practice to ask questions when I sense fuzziness. By asking, I avoided unnecessary work and expense. 

I can't begin to tell you how many times in the past I have ignored my lack of clarity and regretted it later. Life is simpler now that I am getting better and better at communicating until I feel clarity. 

Dave was irritated by my persistence, but everyone would have been irritated had it been done wrong the first time. 

You know the saying. The only dumb question is the one you don't ask. 

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The Metaphorical "ESP Report"

Psychic 300My friends and community often include an "ESP Report" in our check ins. Are we eating, sleeping and pooping well? It's easy to overlook the basics - and living well doesn't get much more basic than that. 

Yesterday I took great delight in discovering that an author I have just embraced not only has written an article about that very focus, but has taken the principles to the next level. 

The author is Dr. Rubin Naiman, and the article is How Cool is Your Sleep

The questioner in the article is his mother. When he was young and felt ill, his Mom asked, "What did you eat?" 

Dr. Naiman expands the definition of "eating" to chronic inflammation caused by "eating" excessive energy in various forms - too much food, light, oxygen, experiences and information. 

When Dr Naiman's was young and felt ill, his Mom asked, "Did you poop?"

Dr. Naiman expands his definition of pooping to include all kinds of discharge, elimination and letting go. Sometime I will have a conscious, healthy hissy-fit to discharge, let go and cool down. 

When Dr. Naiman was young and felt ill his Mom asked, "Did you sleep?"

Dr. Naiman's regard for sleep and dreams includes profound respect for metaphor and symbolic experience.

My circle's ESP Report will never be the same. Thanks, Doc!

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Article Use

Please copy, quote, distribute, share and publish these articles with the following credits.

©2015 Meryl Runion Rose. Meryl is a Certified Speaking Professional and the Creator of the SpeakStrong Method of Dynamically Effective Communication. Find her at www.SpeakStrong.com

Let me know how you use them. Thanks!  

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