authentic communication

Your Voice is Important. So What?

CSPMy team and I are taking my year long communication empowerment training. And by taking, I don’t mean reviewing it and saying, “Oh, that’s nice.” I mean taking it and letting it challenge us. I mean taking it and letting it change us. I also mean taking it and letting us change it.

The process takes me back to that moment when I deeply decided to be a player in my own life, and that what I have to say is important. It was a kind of a Helen Ready, “I am woman, hear me roar” moment. Now, today, as I reaffirm that awakening, my commitment has a much different tone. The drive – the needing and demanding to be heard I once felt – has mellowed. I am my deepest voice’s most loyal listener. If no one else offers me as careful an ear, I am happy with my own listenings. I still strive for clarity to inspire synergy and communion with others. But the need for people to understand me immediately and completely and my frustration when they don’t has lifted. I listen much more now. I treasure my communication skills more for the way they help others have their say than how they enable me to have mine. 

My initial decision that my voice is important and my commitment to make my voice heard was a powerful initiation. At this stage in my life I enjoy the blessings from those efforts. I worked hard. I’m not working as hard at it anymore. The heavy lifting created a platform for a quest that isn’t a burden. My re-commitment to authentic communication is light, playful and fun. 

That’s me in the pic, receiving my “Certified Speaking Professional” award in 2006. Oh, boy. Did I ever earn it!

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If you have to say this, it probably ain’t so

I received the following letter:

Dear Meryl

communication questionsI came across your website, and I want to share an experience I had at a leadership conference.

The speaker had been teaching and coaching about leadership for over 20 years to small and large groups.

He comes on stage, and says, "Hi, I’m John, and I am your friend." Then he repeats this several times throughout his talk. When he says these remarks, he is sitting down in front of the audience with a glass of water at the table. In other words, he wants to look relaxed and comfortable.

I instantly recognize this as non-authentic communication and manipulation. Accordingly, he has broken your rules for effective communication.

Then he goes on to say that he forgot to bring the books that he sells which he would autograph if he had them available. But he reminds the audience that anyone can purchase these books on Amazon, and, of course, he says again, "I’m John, and I am your friend."

Maybe he should take your course.

Hi Steve,

I got a kick out of your email. The shift in leadership communication trends can be challenging for many! Trying to be authentic is like trying to relax. Announcing you’re a friend is a lot like saying, "I’ll be honest with you." Suddenly you doubt it. And I’m reading a book that observes that if you want to win at tennis, ask your opponent how she manages her great serves. Get her thinking about it, and her naturalness disappears. The call for authenticity can be like that, too. We become self-conscious and find it impossible to drop the act – although our act might be of not having an act.

Now, wouldn’t it be ironic if someone had attended a presentation I gave and emailed John to tell him I needed to attend his seminar? Who knows – perhaps I do!

Anyway, thanks for passing this on,


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SpeakStrong Method Training and Workshops

Training that transforms the way you, your department, team or organization relates, influences and succeeds

communication trainingSpeakStrong Method training and workshops provide you, your entire department, team or organization with a deep experience of authentic, collaborative communication.

All training events start with an introduction to The SpeakStrong Method. They include a shared vision exercise to inspire a shared vision of communication excellence.That shared vision power guides the team as they create agreements, explore techniques and devlelop communication kata (practices) in alignment with the team’s main focus – from administrative excellence to leadership to generational accord.

The training is fun, practical and individualized to particular group challenges and interests. 

Training topics include:

training for administrative assistantsThe SpeakStrong Method for Getting Results When You’re Not in Charge

Get it done – whether you have authority or not
≈ Recommended for Administrative Assistants, Executive Assistants, support staff.

The Speakstrong Method For Continuous Improvement With Lean

Phrases, formulas and kata for continuous improvement
≈ Recommended for leaders, managers, operators, supervisors and employees with an interest in lean and continuous improvement

The Speakstrong Method For Intergenerational Communication

Walk in my generation’s shoes
≈ Recommended for intergenerational groups across every level of the organization. 

The Speakstrong Method For Dynamic Leadership Development

How to draw out the leadership potential in others
≈ Recommended for HR, mentors, leaders, emerging leaders and anyone who wants to develop the leadership potential of others


Use the menu or click next for topics

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The SpeakStrong Method Vision

Our Vision: A World of Truth

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

          Margaret Mead, US anthropologist & popularizer of anthropology (1901 – 1978)

Imagine a world where everyone says what they mean and means what they saywithout being mean when they say it. Where all communication aspires toward trust, mutual elevation, clarity and practicality.


Imagine a World of Truth 

What is your vision of what a World of Truth could be like? You can take a look at our vision below.

A World of Truth

© 2008 Meryl Runion



World of Truth Words

Imagine a world where everyone says what they mean and means what they say, without being mean when they say it.
Imagine a world where, as a child, you could talk about anything.
Grown-ups took time to listen with you.
And when you were upset with someone they helped you find the words to talk about it.
Imagine a world where you always know where you stand…
because people tell you, clearly, kindly, directly.
And in this world you really can believe what you read in the paper.
You really can count on people to do what they say they will
And a verbal commitment is as good as a written contract
Imagine a world where people are less concerned with the size of your bank account…
And more concerned with your sincerity and trustworthiness.
And where you can talk openly about sensitive issues while others listen with calm interest to what you say.
In this world, leaders are accountable to the people they serve, people are accountable to each other and blame and judgment have been traded for accountability and acceptance.
Can you imagine this world? Then make it real.
Find the courage, find the words

This can be the ever-increasing communication reality as people elevate their communication skills from competitive power-based structures to collaborative, synergetic dynamics. The SpeakStrong Method provides a systematic process to unfold effective communication skills as dynamic as our lives have become.

Imagine the difference it could make in your world and in the world we share

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