SpeakSTRONG Newsletter January 28, 2010

Meryl Runion’s SpeakSTRONG Newsletter

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Formerly A PowerPhrase a Week. Please do not hit reply. No human will read it. Email me. http://www.speakstrong.com/contact

Two Free SpeakSTRONG Webinars


Free collaborative communication agreement webinar,
February 3rd, 11 AM Mountain time.

Is communicating with your team like herding cats? Are your allies acting more like adversaries? Are PARTNERS more APART than a PART of initiatives? I have an informative new collaborative communication article that will help, and a free collaborative communication webinar to boot. Communicaton agreements are an important tool for the SpeakSTRONG Method. Let me show you how to set agreements that get people in the game, playing by the same rules.

Do your meetings matter?

The ones Wendy Mack architects do. Free webinar with Change Catalyst Wendy Mack about how to make your meetings matter. February 16th, 11 AM Mountain tme.

Read more about it.

Multi-generations got you down?

multigenerationsThe four-generaton workforce is a source of stress, conflict and confusion in many workplaces. It’s a source of exhilaration, breakthroughs and clarity in others. I’ll be talking about how to reframe perceptions and unite the strengths of the generations at the Colorado AAUW Policy Convention on Saturday Feb. 5th. If you’d like to read tips about how to get the generations talking and collaborating, read my preview article, “When Generations Collide”.

What to say when you need to tell your manager you’re over-loaded

In writing Perfect Phrases for Office Professionals, (the manuscript is due Monday) I try to create plenty of phrases that tap into the power of imagery. This phrase has some powerful imagery.

  • I can sprint for a while, but I’ve been sprinting for three months on this project. If I don’t slow down, I’ll collapse before I hit the finish line. That won’t serve anyone or anything.

Come to think of it, I should heed that phrase myself. Just as soon as I finish this manuscript, complete the webinar, speak at AAUW and… and…


Cheap, asleep or deep

sscirclesmYou can go cheap for power. You can go asleep and cower. You can go deep for empowerment.

The world is full of short-cuts and cheap triumphs. I can exploit your weakness. You can pull rank. I can distract from the real issue. You can put me in a category and dismiss me. I can create a laundry list of your limits and get sympathy for the cross I bear dealing with you. You can blame all the barriers to effective communication between us on me.

Or we both can step back and say –

  • is this what we want? What price do we pay for our cheap victories?

We can stop going cheap and start going deep. Going deep takes more time than going cheap. It’s also a very powerful thing to do.

Effective communication skill requires the ability to go deep – to cut to the core of every conversation and find the opportunity to do more than score a few points that will keep an unhealthy dynamic going. Are you looking for ways to improve communication skills? Stop going cheap, wake up and go deep. Next week’s free collaborative communication agreements webinar will give some great tools.


Are your allies acting like adversaries? What to say when a team member gets competitive.

I’ve been in lots of companies and offices where managers set their staff up to compete against each other. If Joe has a great week but Miriam has a better one, Joe gets grief, not glory. Of course that is a huge demotivator at work, and it doesn’t inspire Joe to help Miriam succeed. Competition is a great motivator when properly applied. Manipulation-free management applies in-house competition with great care.

If a collaborative-based manager notices competitiveness that interferes with collaboration and cooperation, first she will examine and deal with ways her performance management system rewards in-house competitiveness at the expense of collaboration. Then she’ll use phrases like this one:

  • The competition is out there. It’s not in here. We’re on the same team, so lets act like it.

It’s great when managers take the lead to step in and create positive communication cultures. When they don’t, anyone can take the lead and have an influence. I marvel at how many teams manage to stay supportive of each other, even if the system rewards competing in-house. I respect how they refuse to view each other as barriers to their own success and continue to see each other as team members and humans, even in systems that pit them against each other.


What to say when people are in shock after layoffs

Whether you’re a leader or not, it’s helpful to know what to say to offer support after layoffs. Wendy Mack and Deanna Back give plenty of great advice in their ebook Leading After Layoffs. Here’s the short version. “Effective leaders 1. Reduce shock by increasing communication. 2. Respond to anger by expressing concern. 3. Address anxiety by emphasizing clarity. 4. Reduce grief and hopelessness by using supporting behaviors.” Many managers would like to think that employees should just get over it, but the reality is, that delays the healing.

You can read a longer description here and the whole leading after layoffs ebook here.



“Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say, without being mean when you say it.”
© 2010 · Meryl Runion and SpeakStrong, Inc · All Rights Reserved

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