We provide organizational consulting & coaching:
Get in touch! 1.415.440.7944
Contact us

4 Tips for Communicating Effectively to Improve Your Results

December 17th, 2012

By: Karen Colligan

According to Harvard Business Review, 87% of business issues are due to the lack of interpersonal communication skills, andCommunicating Effectively not the lack of competencies.
So how do we fix our communication skills to ensure that we avoid issues, and are communicating for results?

It starts with adopting four fundamental communication principles:

1. Self-knowledge
2. Building rapport
3. Valuing diversity
4. Co-creating results

Self-knowledge. Think about the qualities you use most often and how they affect the way you communicate. For example, are you naturally competitive, with a tendency to take charge when there’s a gap? How does this come out in your communication style? How does it impact your communication with someone who tends to be more accommodating and collaborative? Do you lose their attention? Do they resist offering comments?

Or are you a big-picture thinker with rapid-fire ideas and little patience for details? How might this impact your discussion with someone who takes a more practical approach and needs those details to make a decision? Do you see frustration in their face? Do they ask question after question trying to get the information they need?

Building rapport. Developing an understanding of how the other person “hears” is the first step in building rapport. Too often we dive into a conversation, a presentation, a meeting, communicating the way we like to communicate versus the way others will hear and respond to us. Take a step back and realize that people are different. “The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.” – Carl Jung. Adapt your communication style to meet the needs of others.

If we don’t take the time to understand ourselves and think about our audience and the way they need to be communicated to, we run the risk of de-railing the conversation altogether. And “good bye” desired results.

Here are some common communication de-railers:

• Win at all costs
• Lost in the details
• Acquiescing
• Change for the sake of change
• Change resistant
• Controlling
• Argumentative
• Impulsive
• Detached and aloof

Do any of these make you say, “Yep. That’s me.” Or better yet, “Yikes! That’s me!” If so, then it’s time assess how you’re communicating.

Valuing diversity. We all have various styles within us, and we each have a preference for one or two. Each style brings value to the team. The take-charge style ensures that work moves along. The creative style brings innovation and energy. The calm, collaborative style brings harmony and inclusion. And the analytical, detail-oriented style ensures that nothing falls through the cracks. Recognizing the value in these diverse styles is essential to achieving results. We need to embrace the strengths of others and use those strengths to have the strongest team, the best ideas, and the greatest impact.

Co-creating results. This process happens as a result of the first three principles: self-knowledge, building rapport and valuing diversity. When these are successfully in play, all parties can work together to create the desired outcome. We are all so much smarter, and will get the greatest results when we bring the best of everyone’s ideas to the table.

Interested in learning more about your communication style and how to recognize and connect to other styles for improved results? Check out the assessment tools on the PeopleThink website, and contact me at 415.440.7944 or kcolligan@peoplethink.biz.

Till next time,

Communication, Diversity, Learning, People, Uncategorized


Life Out of Balance? Here are Some Tips to Fix It!

December 3rd, 2012

By: Karen Colligan

balance your lifeAs this year draws to a close, many of us will breathe a collective sigh of relief and whisper (or shout) “Thank goodness that’s over!”   Our thought being, of course, that next year will just naturally be better.  And in many ways it’s bound to be.  But here’s the thing.  If you really want YOUR life to be better it requires some planning.  It requires thinking about where in your life you were “out of balance” this year and making some specific goals that will help you get back into balance next year.

Let’s do an exercise. Close your eyes. No wait. Read this first. Then close your eyes. Imagine you are standing in the center of a circle – the circle of your life. There are eight sections in the circle, each representing a different aspect of your life:

  1. Career/Business

  2. Financial

  3. Friends/Family

  4. Health/Fitness

  5. Personal Growth

  6. Play/Fun

  7. Significant Other

  8. Spiritual

    Now. Think about your life today and where - in that circle - you spend the majority of your time and effort. Is it in your career or business? Probably true for many of us. Is it worrying about your financial situation? Is it at the gym trying to forget about your career and your financial situation? What other aspects of your life are you neglecting in the process? Is your circle leaning significantly in one direction? Time for a change. If you truly want next year to be better you need to get your circle back into balance. Here's how.

    1. Assess. Think about each of the eight aspects and how much attention you pay to them. Then rank each of them from 1 to 10 with 1 being “I pretty much neglect it” and 10 being “I spend most of my time and effort here.”

    2. Review. What patterns do you see? What has been the impact – on you, on the neglected areas?

    3. Recharge. Change the “out of balance” pattern by creating one or two SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) in each area of your life. These are not New Year’s resolutions that you’ll have forgotten by January 5, but reasonable goals that will help you pay attention to ALL aspects of your life.

    4. Commit. Write the goals down. Put a due date on them. Share them with someone who will keep you accountable. Better yet, find an accountability partner who will recharge their circle of life and then you can keep each other accountable. It’ll increase the fun factor, too.

    5. Maintain. Keep checking your balance throughout the year to ensure that it doesn’t get off kilter. There will be times when you need to focus in one area more than the rest. That’s natural. But assess, review and recharge on a regular basis to ensure that you don’t let that one aspect of your life cause you to sacrifice the others.

      Here’s to a balanced and AMAZING 2013!

      Till next time,


      website link