"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?

Walking Around Reborn

Phoenix ashes 300Janie went through shoulder surgery. That ordeal was followed by years of debilitating issues with her feet. She referred to her forced confinement as convalescence. "Now I'm out and about...reborn," she told me.

Difficult periods are times of rebirth - or they can be.

I see many people struggle to get back to where they were before the storms hit. I find the wise ones let the dark days transform them. 

Transformed and reborn. I liked the old Janie. The new one is amazing. 

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Not Right, Real.

abacus 300It was a touchy conversation - the kind that could get contentions. This time, the conversation created connection. 

"Can I tell you what you just did right?" she asked.

"I'm not trying to get it right," he replied with tears in his eyes. "I'm just being real."

She understood the distinction. She rephrased her statement. 

"What I really appreciate that you did is..." Her revised phrasing liberated her acknowledgement from a rating context. 

It might sound picky, but we all are sensitive to subtleties like this. The fact is, context changes everything. Language creates contexts that we might not be aware of, but that we respond (or react) to.

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Internal Volcanoes and the Planet Mars

VolcanoThe repair that should have taken five minutes took... five minutes! 

"The planet Mars went direct today," I told Noel, our tech support guy.

"Oh, thank God," he responded.

I didn't know if Noel would have any idea what that meant. Clearly he did.

When I first heard about it, I didn't know what it meant that Mars had been retrograde and was going direct on May 20th. I just knew I felt like I had been living in a pressure cooker and that things seemed stalled. The idea caught my interest. I related experientially to the descriptions - like this one - 

Think of capping a volcano and sending the energy back into the Earth— that's what happens to each of us during this part of Mars' cycle. That's why some folks will explode with frustration and make very poor decisions and moves now, responding with violence and anger instead of patience and dialogue.

That's how I felt yesterday. 

Today is a new day.  Noel and I went downstairs for Bob's computer repairs. The things that should have taken a half hour took... a half hour!

 

Today IS a new day. My to-do list became a ta-da list. The lid is off the pressure cooker. 

How cool is that? Enjoy the new spring!

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Talking About the Gall Bladder Blues

Medusa 300Bob says the perfect thing when I get mired in the Gall Bladder Blues. He asks:

  • What can I do for you?  

Those words offer support without inflaming me further.

The Gall Bladder Blues make the world a dark and dreary place. I remember the sun, but don't see it. I try not to spread my gloom around, but it's tangible. Bob feels it the minute he walks in the room. Like Perseus relating to Medusa, Bob knows not to look me in the eye lest he be turned to stone.

But also like Perseus, he does look through a mirror. Perseus used his shield to see Medula's reflection. Bob's mirror is in his own heart. That shields him. 

Normally I don't explain my perceptions when I'm at a low. Recently I did. I told Bob, "You're sitting across the table from a woman for whom everything seems wrong right now." He said he'd lay low. I continued, "It's important to understand that there's no way you can make me happy right now, but you're obligated to try."

Instead of speaking from my toxic mindset, I spoke about it. It's a fine line. I know I'm toxic, and I don't want to infect anyone. I also don't want to be completely isolated, either.

I sipped a new herbal tea. The tea I had switched to in the more recent stage of my recovery triggered my Gall Bladder Blues. I hoped this would ease my malaise.

By the end of the conversation, my cup was empty and my Gall Bladder Blues were gone. I saw the sun again. I still had some physical symptoms, but peace was restored inside of me.

Happily, peace was never lost between Bob and myself. 

Bob gets most of the credit for that. He stayed present without drinking the poison himself. He looked at me through the best possible of mirrors and waited. We had a lovely evening together.

 

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Do I Know You Well Enough to Share What Matters?

Flower Sprial 300It hit Bob and me six months ago that my health issues could actually take me out if we didn't unravel them. That kind of awareness changes a person - and it changes relationships. Only a few people understood that it felt like I was fighting for my life. One well-meaning friend wouldn't let me finish a sentence. She interrupted my attempt to explain what I was going through by pointing out all I have to be grateful for. Yes, I knew and know that, and I am grateful. But no matter how beautiful my home is, I still need to be able to digest my food. One of my blessings is in the people that do understand. 

The healing process is organic, not linear. Every morning last week, when I stepped on the scale, I discovered I had gained another pound! The healing process shifted from repair to strengthening. I celebrated Friday by returning a pair of pants I bought one week before. I explained to the merchant I had gained seven pounds in the week since I got them. She was thrilled for me. Her concern was revealed by the joy she displayed over my progress.

I hadn't spoken of my ordeal to my dance community as a group, but I celebrated my progress again on Saturday by briefly speaking of my struggle and gains. The support was heartwarming. Clearly people had noticed and been concerned. One woman told me she appreciated my mentioning it because she and her husband had noticed, but didn't know me well enough to ask about it. 

To me, if you know someone well enough to worry about something like rapid weight-loss, you know them well enough to ask what's happening with them. Ask and listen deeply to what they say. 

If I were to do it over, I'd address the elephant in the living-room at dance sooner. Did I know them "well enough" to share persoanlly? Who is to say? I will say that I know them much better now, and I like that. 

I still have a long way to go, but last week was well worth celebrating - with the friends who get it, with the community I celebrate life with each week through dance, and with you. 

Where are you holding back from asking or sharing because you don't know someone well enough? Might it be that sharing is the very thing you need to do to know them better? It's worth the risk.

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Prince Pledges to Treat Women (and Others) Like Royalty

Prince 300Each week after dance, I take the wave (music playlist) we danced to home and I immerse myself in it. The following week I review my experience of dancing to that wave to help community members decide if they want to buy a copy. It's a fund-raiser. It helps to pay the rent - plus doing it expands my musical horizons.

Sometimes there are songs on the playlists that don't hit home with me at all. This week, the wave I internalized includes the song "Kiss" by Prince. It took me a while to warm up to it. After skipping it the first time through the wave, I danced to it, hiked to it and washed dishes to it. I even watched the video. It is unlikely to ever be my favorite, but I am liking it a little.

Plus I'm liking Prince himself a whole lot more since he made the news yesterday.

Prince hit the news last night because he pledged to quit cursing and start showing more respect. 

In a cover story for the latest issue of Essence magazine, Prince explains that he quit cursing as a show of respect to others by saying:

"Did you ever hear Muhammad Ali curse? Would you curse in front of your kids? To your mother?" He cites several current female musical artists, then continues, "They're all my sisters. We shouldn't curse at them. We need to treat all of them, and all people, like royalty."

Now, THAT'S Speaking Strong. 

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What I Really Want to Do Is...

PowerPhrase 300Angela gave me a phrase to ponder.

  • What I really want to do is...

Usually, what I really want to do is also what is good for me to do.

It's warm today and my energy is good. What I really want to do is clean the shed. It has been bugging me that I have to move things around to get to what I want. I haven't been taking items out there to store because it needs work, and that has created a bottleneck in some of the shelves in the house.

Someday I'll do outreach again. But right now, what I really want to do is continue building systems and structures that flow as foundations for what I decide I really want to do in the months and years to come. 

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Email Inbox Mastery

Inbox 300My email address has been out there for a very long time, so I get a lot of spam. It went over the top a few months ago - the spam filters just weren't catching enough and I was buried.

So I found a solution that took my inbox from push to pull. It took me from being buried by bunk to being the master of my inbox. Here's what I did.

I set my mail rules to send everything that wasn't white-listed to my junk folder. I checked (and still check) my junk folder throughout the day and whilelist what is legitimate. I also set rules to send my subscriptions to designated folders. 

Day by day, more and more of my legitimate mail ends up in my inbox. I still need to check the junk folder regularly, but find it much easier to pull a few legit emails into my inbox than it had been to push or delete the volumes of spam out of it. 

I still have to sort through the junk, but it's so much faster than it was to delete them out of my inbox. Plus now I am the master of my inbox. It has stayed manageable since I started this practice. It's the difference between push and pull. I feel much freer processing email than before. Yay! One more Lean improvement that helps my whole day flow more smoothly.

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PowerPhrase: This Can Wait Until Tomorrow

PowerPhrase 300Yesterday I posted about a dream experience where I used a PowerPhrase to keep from being hijacked by an artificial crisis. Here's another one.

It was hours past quitting time. At first I unthinkingly did everything he asked of me. I started to wonder why. I stopped working and told him,

  • This can wait until tomorrow. It’s time for me to take off for the day.

I joyfully sank into an evening of deep relaxation.

 

Like many of you, I work with high-powered alpha-leader types. Too often, they live life as an emergency, and they can turn my life into an emergency too—if I don’t set and honor my boundaries. These dreams modeled ways to have a calm, centered perspective and clear communication with someone who lacks perspective.


Dreams can show us what conversations we need to have. These dreams also showed me how to have them. They provided me with much more than words. I particularly like the way they model confidence. I had no trepidation in these dreams about speaking up clearly. I spoke from peace and my words invoked clarity and composure.

Trust me - these dream-enhanced skills serve me well in waking. 

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PowerPhrase: I'll Get to You When I'm Ready

PowerPhrase 300He sounded frantic. His voice was demanding as he exclaimed, "I need help with my computer, now!"
I continued seasoning my food. I considered his exclamation as a request and replied,

  • I'll help you when I finish my lunch.

"I should come first," he retorted. He had a habit of going in to crisis mode, and of using his sense of crisis to pressure me. I knew it could wait. I countered,

  • Don't do this to me. I'll get to you when I'm ready. Pressure won't help. 

I calmly took a bite of my chicken and looked at the clock. I assessed how this new event would affect my work day. He left me to savor my well-prepared lunch. It was delicious.

This PowerPhrase protected my priorities, kept me out of crisis mode and helped me maintain my balance. By the way - the conversation took place in my dreams.

I practice Speaking Strong day and night! More on dreams tomorrow. 

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"Never Show Weakness" Was a Trap

achilles heel 300She loves the men in her life. Dealing with them is simple. They taught her to never show weakness. She owes much of her success to their guidance and modeling.

So why is she showing weakness now? Why is she unable to stop the tears? Why is she feeling vulnerable? What is happening to her?

Her tenderness and her weakness are intertwined. By never showing weakness, she slams the door on her tenderness. Now that tenderness wants to emerge. She is finding her heart and what it means to care.

She is stunned to discover that if she loses the people and the animals she loves, it will hurt. She didn't used to feel vulnerable to loss. Now she does.

And the men who taught her to never show weakness are falling off their pedestals. She is discovering the price of her adulation of them. It feels disloyal to be her own person, but her tears are telling her she can't go back.

She has outgrown her motto to never show weakness. She can't go back. And despite the struggle, she doesn't want to. 

Her tears are telling her it's time to be tender. Perhaps she will become a model of tenderness for the men in her life that are prisoners of their credo to never show weakness. Perhaps she isn't just setting her own heart free.

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The Fuss of a Delicate Flower

ginseng 300Dr. Nawei noted that she gave me an herb in the ginseng family instead of ginseng because ginseng root is too strong for my system. I replied by saying that my system is fussy. 

  • I wouldn't say fussy. You're a delicate flower.  

She's right. If the flower fits, it's important to be it. And as much as I like to think I'm tough - and can be when I need to be - it's essential to honor my own nature. We ignore our constitutions at a cost.

It's also important to use words that honor rather than disparage our essence. If my system raises a fuss, it's because it is delicate. I'm learning to brew delicate teas at the proper temperatures, and I'm learning to respect the delicacy of my unique make-up. (Surprise! Coffee is good for this flower! Yay!) I t isn't the the immature rantings of the rose in the Little Prince. It's the mature fuss of a delicate flower who honors what she needs.

 

I've reacted to ginseng in the past. Dr. Nawei's herbs sit very well with me. She finds the right roots and herbs for this delicate flower.

May you find the roots that nourish your blossoms.. May you also find words that honor your essence.

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Article Use

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

©2014 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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