Communication skills


All of us have at least one person or group of people that we work with who has an issue that we really need to address — a performance problem, a behavioral issue, a piece of spinach stuck in their teeth — but for some reason, we avoid bringing up the topic with them. We’ve all been there.

Perhaps we’re afraid of hurting their feelings, getting a negative reaction, having our helpful intentions misunderstood, or otherwise causing an unintended consequence. So we don’t bring it up, and the ignored topic becomes the proverbial elephant in the room that gets bigger over time … continuing to hold back that person’s true success and also negatively affecting us and others on the team. We aren’t doing anyone a favor by pretending it doesn’t exist. So how can we address the elephant in a way that we can be confident is likely to bring about a healthy result? [click to continue…]



To lead and influence others, whether as a workplace leader or as a thought leader, you need to develop an authentic voice. For example, let’s say you are a CEO delivering a speech to your employees, or a functional VP writing an email to your staff, or a department head presenting recommendations to the C-Suite. When you speak or write, are you clear? Are you true to your values, passions, and personality? Are you representing the real you, and do people understand and trust you? Are you effective not only in prepared communications, but when you speak “off the cuff” or extemporaneously?

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147: 8 Tips for Communicating Bad News to Your Workforce

November 1, 2016

Communicating bad news — we all hate to do it, wish we never have to do it again, and yet recognize that there will inevitably be times when we need to do it. Whether it is announcing a reduction in force, a negative change in employee benefits or compensation, a discontinued strategy or product line, […]

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139: How to Speak the Truth to Your Boss and Team (Even When It’s Hard) | with Mindy Mackenzie

July 1, 2016

“Learn what is true to do what is right.” ~ Thomas Huxley The thing that companies and individuals need most they often get least. What is this thing? The truth. Why? Because people don’t have the courage to say what they’re really thinking. But no company or individual can survive, let alone thrive, without the […]

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133: No Joke: Using Humor for Effective Communications | with David Nihill

April 1, 2016

In honor of April Fool’s Day, a funny guest joins Jesse to discuss a seriously important topic … how to use humor to drive engagement in all of your communication opportunities. David Nihill went from being deathly afraid of public speaking to hosting a business conference, regularly performing stand-up comedy, and winning storytelling competitions in […]

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130: The Storyteller’s Secret: Why Some Ideas Catch on and Others Don’t | with Carmine Gallo

February 15, 2016

Storytelling is the most underrated skill [among entrepreneurs]. ~ Ben Horowitze, famed venture capitalist Storytelling is the act of framing an idea as a narrative to inform, illuminate, and inspire. From Steve Jobs to Sheryl Sandberg to Richard Branson, successful leaders study and practice the art of storytelling in order to attract top talent, increase […]

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My Bad, Your Bad? How to Talk About Mistakes So You Can Move on

September 28, 2015

I’m not a big fan of assigning blame for a mistake or problem. I’d much rather focus on fixing the problem or finding a solution. As a leader, whenever a problem occurs on my team, I can usually drill down deep enough to find that I was responsible at some level. For example, Aspendale produces […]

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7 Tips for Authentic Listening: Do You Set Yourself Apart as a Leader?

August 28, 2015

A few weeks ago we talked about 5 listening mistakes leaders make. Here are seven things leaders should practice to become better listeners.   Most people (especially those in positions of leadership) don’t listen. When you give full attention to what people have to say, you set yourself apart as an engaging leader. As a […]

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5 Listening Mistakes Leaders Make

August 12, 2015

Though many leaders put much of their focus into their communication skills, listening can be one of your most influential skills. But to influence others, you need to avoid sparking their resistance. When practicing authentic listening, here are five actions to avoid:

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116: Two Empathy Tools for Influencing People to Take Action

July 15, 2015

What does yawning have to do with influencing people to take action? If you yawn, you trigger “mirror neurons” in most other people, which affect their brain activity and influence them to yawn too. And mirror neurons don’t just involve actions like yawning. They affect thoughts and feelings as well. This is one of the […]

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8 Key Skills of Empathy

May 13, 2015

We are not thinking machines. We are feeling machines who think. ~Richard Restak, George Washington University neurology professor As leaders, we need to make emotional connections with our target audience if we hope to influence their thoughts and actions. One very important way to connect positively with people is with what I call powerful empathy. […]

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How to Use the Two Tools of Powerful Empathy to Engage People

May 6, 2015

As you probably already know, yawns are contagious. Right now, the image below is causing many of you to feel the need to yawn. This even works with animals. A study by the University of London observed that 21 of 29 dogs yawned when a stranger yawned in front of them. Why? The answer is […]

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