The Power of Pronouns

how to improve listening skills

Working, learning and living with others is dependent on us having clarity of what want and the confidence to ask for it. And yet no matter how much you might practice what you are going to say or think before you speak somehow you can still be misunderstood.

When I am working with clients I notice language patterns and ask questions of specific words to help them gain clarity and insight. Sometimes they are not actually saying what they mean.

Continue reading The Power of Pronouns

How to Take The Drama Out Of Your Communications?

My aim in this article is to help you:

  • Recognise when you are in the drama triangle
  • Reassure you that you are not alone
  • Resource you to get out of it.

 

What is a Drama? 

Drama is when you spend more time talking about someone rather than talking to them. Drama is when your insides feel permanently in a knot or your head is clouded and unable to communicate what you truly want. Drama is whenever you do speak it is misunderstood, misinterpreted and it causes conflict. Of Course their are many other examples but hopefully you get the idea.

 The Drama Triangle

The drama triangle is a psychological and social model of human interaction in transactional analysis (TA) first described by Stephen Karpman, in his 1968 article “Fairy Tales and Script Drama Analysis”.  Below is an explanation from Caitlin Walker and Sarah Nixon’s   one year self coaching diaries and if you want to find out more I highly recommend the book From Contempt to Curiosity

The Ego States

 

Persecutor

You may blame or PERSECUTE someone else, from this position you are likely to believe it is the other person that has to change. You are likely to look for evidence to prove your point. You are likely to ignore any evidence that contradicts your point. You may be shouting and clearly angry. You may be calm or even smiling. You will be pointing out that someone else is in the wrong. You will be unlikely to be taking any personal responsibility for change.

This is when you believe and we do truly believe in the moment our happiness or success or the lack of it is someone else’s fault. You will hear things like:

 

  • If they just did ……….everything would be okay
  • If they were motivated we would all be happy then…
  • If they were not so idle, rude disrespectful then…

 

 

Victim

A different ‘Drama’ role is that of VICTIM, from this position you are likely to believe you are powerless. You are likely to look for evidence to prove your point and again, you are likely to ignore any evidence that contradicts your point. You may be shouting and clearly angry. You may be calm or even smiling. You will be pointing out that someone else is in the wrong. You will be unlikely to be taking any personal responsibility for change.

You might hear:

 

  • Is it just me that can think for myself
  • It seems like it is only me they can’t get on with
  • I have worked so hard and given so much how come they don’t appreciate it

 

 

Rescuer

Another and often deceptive ‘Drama’ role is that of RESCUER, from this position you are likely to believe you are helping everyone else. You are  likely to look for evidence that you have to keep doing what you are doing.

You are  likely to ignore any evidence that you are maintaining a problem. You are likely to train other people to behave like victims or to dis-empower them. You are likely to pacify persecutors and build up latent anger towards them. You are likely to burn out as what you do is unsustainable.

You might hear:

 

  • If they are not going to do it well enough I will have to do it myself
  • I have to do that or they will feel left out
  • Can I suggest you do…

 

 

Do you recognise yourself yet? Do you recognise someone you know? 

I promise you,  you are not alone and if you can spot someone else in the drama triangle then it is very  likely that you are there with them too. Perhaps as persecutor because you think they have to change not you??(Just a thought)

Many businesses are stuck in drama right now. Many personal relationships fall apart because they end up in drama and of course  everyone is someone else’s difficult person. 

First Step, is to recognise when you are communicating with others from one of those ego states. You can share this with a trusted friend and ask them to notice if they think you are communicating from drama. You can also observe your own language and be mindful of your intention.

Activity

You can practice here by reading these statements and determining where in the drama triangle you think the person is:

 

  • If you they were a good employee they would make time for follow up
  • They just want to be paid for nothing
  • They want their cake and eat it

 

or

 

  • They don’t appreciate me
  • They don’t have the same pressures as I do
  • I have to come up with all the solutions and ideas, no one else ever contributes

 

or

 

  • I have to do it because they won’t get round to it
  • I have to do it because they will get stressed otherwise
  • I have to do it because they are not skilled enough yet

 

Can you recognise Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer now?

How to get out of drama?

 

  1. Get really clear what you would like to have happen. Ensure your language is solution focused. It is what you want not what you don’t want
  2. Have confidence in asking for what you want and need
  3. Develop compassion and understanding for the difference between what is said and what is heard and give evidence based feedback

If you want to know more about ‘how’ to get out drama check my video: “How to do, delegate or ditch with confidence?” where I share 3 communication tools that can help you take the drama out of your communications.

 

 About the Author – Sheryl Andrews – The Strength and Solution Detective

Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening is well known for her fast speaking and highly motivational passion. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to challenging conversations, lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough. Sheryl use to find it difficult to speak up and have her needs met despite the fact she could and would encourage everyone else to do exactly that. A series of 3 events in her personal life forced her to stop and learn how to take her own advice.

Today Sheryl runs retreats and one to one sessions resourcing you to do more of what you love, delegate or learn how to do what you don’t and ditch the critic that says you can’t. Sharing a communication tool kit and collaboration tool kit that will transform the way you think, feel and understand those around you. Sheryl and her team will be your strength and solution detective whilst you train your inner critic and those that around you to listen in a way that motivates and inspires you.

Don’t know how call her now….+44(0)1329 286648

Free Step By Step Listening Guide

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Manage Your Critic and Celebrate Cancellations

celebrate cancellations

 

You know something is wrong with your business set up when you are celebrating cancellations. You know that moment when you finally have a breather in your diary because a client has cancelled and really you should be thinking about the loss of income.

Why does this happen?

In my experience it is because there is more to life than money. Your health and well being are impacted if you can’t say no and manage your critic so that you can manage your diary.

Now another example of celebrating when a client cancels is when you are thinking about the money and you are really excited that you have won another sale. You tell your partner with a cheshire grin – sold another package today and made £xxx. Then the next day you have to say they cancelled.

There are a couple of things emerged for a client I was recently working with when they listened to their critic.

  1. They questioned their sales process and why people were cancelling and started to look for patterns.
  2. Who is your ideal client? Is this your ideal client that you are about to lose and why?
  3. What is your message? Are you saying what you mean and meaning what you say?

1- Sales Process

When the explored this a bit better they discovered there was a pattern of people saying I can’t afford and I don’t want to be in debt. Then they listened to what they were saying during the sales process. In desperation to get the sale they had said the person could do payment plans, offerred discounts and practically begged the person to work with them.

Can invite you to think about when you are buying and it feels right what is happening?

When you are selling in a way that feels right what is happening?

Is that what is happening now? If not, do you need to manage your critic and find out what is triggering you to deviate from what works for you and potentially is preventing you from doing more of what you love?

2. Ideal client 

I talk a little more about the difference between an ideal client and target market in this article here.

In essence all our potential clients are on a journey and they do not arrive ready to buy. Occassionally they are your ideal client, they have the problem you love to solve, they like your style of working and your proposed solution, they are available when you are and they are willing to pay what you charge.

And sometimes they come along and they have 2 out of 4. They may have the problem you solve and you may well be so desparate to take their pain away that you will do anything to make it easy for them to buy. But that is where you are going wrong. Instead you need lower end solutions that can support them at the price and time they can afford which may be enough to solve their problem or it will keep them connected to you until the time and price is right.

People have so many priorities they will only invest in you when the pain or the reward is high enough. Even though you can predict how bad it could get you cannot take them there in their thinking. They have to get there in their own time.

When this happens to me I am so grateful for Manage your critic on line resource as this gives them access to the tools and a little bit of me for a fraction of the cost.

And when I finish writing the book that is the hook for my business I will have something even more affordable to share.

When a client cancels it gives you an opportunity to reflect on your sales funnel and your clients journey. Do you have something more affordable for those that cannot afford you?

3. What is your message?

Whenever a client cancels I believe the way you handle this will determine their next best step. If your critic kicks and you get prickly, defensive and arsy about how they are not respecting your time, you can’t stand people that mess other people around then your critic is putting all the attention external. Be mindful all communication is two way and whilst you cannot change how others respond, you can notice patterns. Has this happened to you before? Is this a one off? Or is this happening more and more?

Paying attention to and reflecting on your conversation might make sense of why you are getting cancellations.

Do you value your time?

Do you mess people around?

Cancellations are always a gift to learn something when you change the way you listen and manage your critic.

 

 

 

Case Study – Erica Dent (August 2010 – Dec 2012)

Communication Training For Trainers

EricaDentAbout Erica – Enjoy Discovering Wine 

Erica Dent’s is an award winning wine trainer who found her passion for wine in 1995 when she moved to New Zealand, which led to her completing a one-year, full-time Polytechnic course in viticulture and vilification. The college has its own vineyards and winery, so the course followed a complete annual cycle of the vine, starting with pruning through to bottling and labelling the wine a year later. She also gained work experience at other vineyards and wineries in New Zealand.

Why did you start working with Step by Step Listening?

I met Sheryl at a Solent Women in Business networking meeting in November 2009 and in March 2010 I attended a taster session.  This is when I realised that I quite liked the business of ‘listening to myself’ instead of asking everyone else for the answers.  I knew straight away I needed to get going and booked a one-to-one with Sheryl.

During this first session I discovered that I had a [metaphorical] brick wall which I kept coming up against and, therefore, couldn’t get past it to move my business on. It was as simple as having the realisation that I had this brick wall, which represented my fears in business, and that I needed to work on getting past it.

I was new to the area and struggling to gain clientele.  I noticed that whenever I even just ‘thought’ about selling, it created a knot in my stomach, this was a feeling of great discomfort one that I am now familiar with when I am mentally not comfortable with an aspect of my business.

This was my first of many very productive sessions with Step by Step Listening , in fact, in that first one-to-one session, the wall completely disappeared!

What happened? 

Erica worked with Step by Step Listening for 2 ½ years taking her from sole trader to small business owner. We still keep in touch today and have become really good friends. Nowadays her team and husband are able to ask her the questions and she doesn’t ‘need’ our space because she has created her own. Over the two years Erica attended power group sessions for planning and decision making, one to one sessions for really drilling down and group learning sessions to practice and improve your listening and questioning technique plus a team day to help the team create a team vision for the company.

What difference has working with Step by Step Listening made?

In business

  • I am less tired and I am managing my time more effectively
  • I have more fun as I am not so stressed
  • I get more reward from my hard work, which makes it even more worthwhile
  • I often hear myself using the questions in my head which helps me to get the answers more quickly
  • I have recognise sooner what is working, so I waste less time on what is not working
  • Financially it is working well, meaning less unwanted pressure
  • My client base has considerably increased
  • I have employed two staff and find using the questions really helps me manage them better
  • As a team we are all working to our strengths, seeing results, and more importantly having fun!

As a result of the sessions I was pro-active to recruit someone to do the sales.  I now have someone who finds sales easy and loves it; for me working at my best is teaching and building the business, not selling. I have since found that I enjoy having coffee and talking to people about Enjoy Discovering Wine’s offerings and building relationships, but I am not comfortable at the initial making contact.

You can really have fun in business when you know how you work at your best. When you know what you are great at, then you can employ the right people around you to compliment and do the stuff you are not so good at.

At home

Despite initial doubts about the questions, Andy, my husband, now uses his own version of them which still works for us. We ask the questions to  resolve differences and make decisions, such as which car to buy, whose turn it is to cook dinner etc., in much less time than before.

 

 

Why do you keep coming to your monthly session even though business is so great?

Erica said, “It is a space to clarify my thinking, so if something has cropped up in business, it gives me space to think about what ‘I’ would like to have happen, and even when everything seems all okay I always, always have a da dahhh! moment, you know those moments of revelation when you go, oh yeah that’s it.”

I am now a team of three and we have trebled the business. I can now separate work and life a little more, although that probably will never really happen, I love working. I am less tired, work is more rewarding and it is so much more fun.

Who would you recommend to work with Step by Step Listening?

Erica said, “I would recommend anybody and everybody to just give it a try and give it a good try, experience the different ways of listening, and learn a little bit about the questions that make the difference. If you want to run your business on your terms, in your own unique way, and with confidence then, this process is for you.”

“If you want overnight answers by being told by others what to do, then this is probably not the right way for you. The sessions are all about you understanding ‘your’ thinking and having the confidence in your own decisions. The one-to-one sessions are more intense and you get more extreme focus on you and your business only; whereas the Power Groups allow you to gain some insight into how others are having similar challenges and achievements, while you work on your own stuff at the same time. It is a very supportive and encouraging environment to be able to work in, being with other business owners, but still having intense focus on your own business.”

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Is Facebook Destroying Your Business?

IMG_0564

Paige and Sheryl before all the drama

How is Facebook and any other social media affecting your self esteem and self confidence?

When you put a post out, advertise an event and you don’t get the response you want then what happens? 

As I review all the Feedback on Facebook and social media in general following the webinar.  I noticed I was much calmer than I have been in years despite being very hungry and very tired and emotionally drained due to juggling lots of new things at the same time such as:

  • Remembering what I wanted to say
  • Manage two screens
  • Managing time
  • Discovering that both my ipad and phone can choose to ignore the fact I have set them to silent and can choose to interact with me whilst I am presenting
  • Constantly having to refresh the screen to see the comments was also a little disconcerting
  • Managing comments that did not stay in chronological order

Despite these physical challenges it was so lovely to have a quiet inner critic. Not a peep came out of my critic for the whole day. Which was a really lovely feeling and one that I am truly appreciating today because that was not always the case.

Post webinar I also had a chat via Facebook with tween and teen coach Karen Nowicki which sparked a thought about how we feel when we put stuff out on Facebook or social media and we don’t get the response we want.

Karen was sharing with me that some teens and predominantly girls put their selfie up and when they get lots of lovely comments their self esteem is raised and when they don’t get any comments there is a risk that their self esteem plummets.

For me Facebook is a way of keeping our family up to date with latest news and it is a marketing tool. It is my forum to share with my clients and potential clients the vulnerable side of me and the most important part of who I am. I am not just the strength and solution detective, I am Sheryl, mum, wife, sister, daughter and friend.

Although I genuinely don’t really have good or bad days any more, only good and bad moments, I do remember quite clearly a time when just hearing someone else say they felt great and they were happy use to make me want to run scream and sometimes even brought me to to tears.

Sharing that side of me (my weakness and vulnerability) is part of my brand and my message that it is okay to be real, it is okay to have emotions and it is okay to say what you think. And yet I don’t agree with branding your drama all over Facebook. Facebook is a forum I am feeling more and more able to be the whole of me and not just the business side of me and yet I will still consider would I tell the cashier in Asda about this? If the answer is yes if I think it will help then I post it.

Linked In

I am noticing that I am more selective which profile pictures I use and I keep it very ‘business’ like for Linked in and although sometimes I resent that a little and every now and again I rebel and break the Linked In rules.  I do recognise this is what is expected on this forum and I love the intellectual conversations that persona attracts. When I behave like an adult I get adult engagement and that is vital to my stability and growth.

What to do with your inner child?

So where do you go when the adult in you gives up and the inner child or even raging teenager appears. 3 years ago my self image and self confidence had hit rock bottom. (I am a relationship and communication coach and at the time with a daughter who had started self harming and said I was the cause. I had kicked her out at 16 telling her if I am the cause of you self harming I suggest you get away from me. I didn’t expect her to go, I didn’t really think that she thought it was me. I was devastated at the response I got from my communication and I felt a failure)

During this time I found myself with heightened sensitivity to a lack of validation and I was seeking approval and endorsement from as many people as possible. (not pretty)

When Social Media Doesn’t Work For Business

At this time social media was not helpful to me. I needed to know I was okay and that I was good at my job despite what was happening with my daughter and I also needed to know how to help my daughter. I found myself in a spiral going down and down. Every success story of a fellow business owner or happy loving mums and daughter’s hit a nerve.  Until one day I heard myself giving a client feedback that they had this great process to help people with ‘xyz’ and yet they were not using it themselves.

The Penny Dropped

That day I realised I was not listening to my own advice either. I did not have clarity of what I wanted I was just complaining about what I didn’t have and what I had done wrong.   I was not confident in my own way of parenting or running my business and I definitely was not noticing every change in the right direction and celebrating it.

I had by now trained 80 plus people to manage their inner critic and there I was being destroyed by mine.

That day I turned envy into inspiration and I created a memory board of all the happy times Paige and I had spent together. I listed her strengths and sent her cards, text and emails that told her repeatedly what I loved about her even when she did not respond I kept communicating what I loved about her. Even when she told me she hated me, I told her I loved her. I gave her evidence of what made her great that she could not argue with and I demonstrated that I was not going anywhere and she could not push me away. No matter how much she tried.

I also learned how my brain processed information and gradually explained to her what I needed to listen to her music ( I am not audio and she is a musician) Our solution was video links with lyrics on the screen. This was not instant and yet that process taught me to do the same for my business. To know what I want, be resourced to make it happen and celebrate every change. Improvement was slow at first with Paige we went from 2 mins of harmonious conversations to more recently 10 days and that took me 18 months of resilience and persistence and it was so worth it.

Train your inner critic to be your strength and solution detective

That day my inner critic became a strength and solution detective for me and my daughter and that in turn gave me clarity and focus in the business. I knew I wanted to improve the way working parents communicate so they can be successful in business and have more patience at home.

Until this point I remember being really sensitive about whether people shared my posts, liked my photos or engaged with me. I found some of the ‘all women groups’ even tougher to engage in because I did not know how to ask for help without looking weak or ruining my professional persona.

 

It is absolutely right that you must be real and be yourself on Facebook and in real life and of course it is wise to check what is your purpose and intention when you communicate?

What kind of response do you want and why?

If you are communicating on Facebook to get feedback that is vital to you feeling good then I personally would recommend you don’t unless of course it is working.

There are always going to be as many people that get you, as there are that don’t. If you are feeling vulnerable take care and don’t set yourself up for feedback that is not going to help you grow.

If you want to learn how to invite and give evidence based feedback whether you want to develop resilience for social media marketing or you want to empower your teen or you simply want to feel great about who you are please don’t miss our up and coming event Motivate, Manage or Mentor where we will be sharing practical tools to train your critic to listen for strengths and solutions.

About the Author – Sheryl Andrews – The Strength and Solution Detective

how to improve listening skills

Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening, is well known for her fast speaking and her passion to make things happen. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to challenging conversations, lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough. Sheryl use to find it difficult to speak up and have her needs met despite the fact she could and would encourage everyone else to do exactly that. A series of 3 events in her personal life forced her to stop and learn how to take her own advice.

Today, Sheryl runs retreats and one to one sessions resourcing you to do more of what you love, delegate what you don’t and ditch the critic that says you can’t.

Sheryl openly shares an easy to adopt communication tool kit that will transform the way you think and train others to listen. Sheryl will be your strength and solution detective until you have fully trained your inner critic and those around you, to listen in a way that motivates and inspires you to be the best you can be.

Fancy a virtual coffee and chat, then please feel free to book a complimentary clarity and confidence session or check out the “How to do, delegate and ditch with confidence” free webinar.

Don’t know how call her now….+44(0)1329 286648

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BNI Is So Painful!

Communication Training HampshireI joined BNI  October 2012 having moaned and groaned about it for several years prior. My inner critic was definitely not on board when I visited a chapter in 2009. The critic was saying, “it is too strict, too formal and too whatever.”

Now 2 years on I have been the Chapter Director among a number of other roles at BNI Uplands I even met the Founder Ivan Misner at the BNI conference in 2013 and yet has it been easy? No it has been painful, truly painful.

Continue reading BNI Is So Painful!

Your Weaknesses Can Also Be Your Strengths?

23The more curious I become about the response I get to my own behaviour, the more I realised that my weaknesses are also my strengths.

Consider for a moment a weakness of yours and now consider when is that a strength. Continue reading Your Weaknesses Can Also Be Your Strengths?

What Is Stopping You Asking For Help?

Communication skills Hampshire Some thoughts from  Lynda Nel my PA (2012-2015)

I was struggling with a tedious and mundain Excel spreadsheet that required copying and pasting information into columns, but the original information didn’t start out in columns.

You get the jist!  Sounds simple but complicated all at once – and I would have stuck it out with all 450 entries, until I suddenly thought “what would I like to have happen?” Continue reading What Is Stopping You Asking For Help?

I Am Now More Confident & More Relaxed


How to improve listening skillsWhat was happening when you decided to work with Step by Step listening?

At home – I was juggling many aspects of my life (all of them?!) to make them work better for me.
At work – I had a little income but also a lot of anxiety over bringing in income through my business. I lacked confidence in how to make it happen.
Personally – I was fighting the employed/self employed argument with myself and generally battling with the decisions I had made. Continue reading I Am Now More Confident & More Relaxed

Two Clients Produce 15% of Our Business?

Are you listening to your customers?

How To Improve your Listening skills

Belinda Butler of Pazzazz Me joined Step by Step Listening as a client in July 2011 introduced by Ros.  Belinda and Ros combined have now generated almost 15% of our business.

Belinda was and in fact still is a highly driven and passionate business person and a single mum to two beautiful girls. When I met her she was juggling 3 Continue reading Two Clients Produce 15% of Our Business?