by Michelle Porchia
Nowadays more meetings are being held virtually—phone, webinars, Skype, etc. Below are suggestions on how to have a productive and effective meeting where people feel heard, understood, and time is used well.
People listen differently and hear differently. I'm sure you've replied "that's not what I said" to someone who has repeated what they thought they heard you say. I call this "different styles."
Main styles of communication:
Keep in mind that we all have elements of each style. What I am talking about are the main (strong) elements of communication styles. I am not labeling or putting people in a box. My intent is to help folks realize that it is often communication styles that impact our giving and receiving information, not our personalities. When we understand how we communicate and how others communicate, we can become more effective communicators and listeners.
For example: I have a tendency to ask a lot of questions. Some people saw this as interrogation. Others saw it as questioning them personally. I had to learn to adjust the way I asked questions and how many questions I asked. I also can be very direct and matter of fact and get right to the point. Some find this offensive. I’ve learned to “soften” my communication. It is not about changing who you are. It is about being heard and understood, and hearing and understanding others.
Phone Meeting Tips:
When we understand our communication style and how it impacts or off puts others and then we try to understand how others communicate, we can become more effective communicators and listeners. It will also help you to have more effective meetings.
by Carole Copeland Thomas, MBA, CDMP
Last week I had the privilege of working with seven remarkable young teenagers who participated in a FREE week long workshop called JSHOP. Sponsored by the National Association of Black Journalists. JSHOP transformed these students from curious young adults to working journalists in five short days.
The vision of veteran journalist Russell Lacour JSHOP is in its fifth year, with a goal of bringing out the best in student critical thinking.
The NABJ JSHOP is an opportunity for high school students all over the country to experience a hands-on journalism workshop in conjunction with the NABJ national conference.
Held in Boston between the Hynes Convention Center and Boston University the students crafted story ideas, were given deadlines and covered key events during the 39th Annual Convention of the National Association of Black Journalists.
At the end of an intense week, the students completed a newsletter and several video clips featuring their personal profiles and the convention's Town Hall meeting.
I congratulate Russell and his team of seven faculty members, the parents who encouraged their children to participate and the students themselves who worked long hours to complete their assignments. No one dropped out of the program. Every student graduated! It was indeed a joyous opportunity to shape the lives of student power in action.
Visit their website and read the student articles and learn more about JSHOP:
To learn more aobut the National Association of Black Journalists visit:
Your comments are welcome.
By Nancy J. Lewis, MS, PHR, RCC
In the complex world of change, chaos, and uncertainty, we must examine the attitude we embrace. One quick way to assess an attitude of another person is to ask yourself how you feel when they leave your presence? Do you feel inspired and charged up ready to take on the world or you do feel like the life has been zapped out of you? Ask yourself, how do people feel when they leave your presence? Each and everyday you must decide the attitude you will embrace. You maybe faced with challenges and difficult people, but it is still a personal decision as to how you allow the attitude of others to influence your attitude. Consider the following seven strategies for improving your attitude.
1. Surround yourself with positive people. Look at those people that are a part of your network and examine the weather (attitude) that they carry. If gloom and doom is all they bring to you consistently, give them a reality check and make them aware of what they are doing. So often people who are consistently negative are not aware of their negative energy. If they are non-responsive, you may have to minimize the time you interact with them. People who fail to change often become toxic and if you stick close to them that toxicity may rub off on you. Seek out those people who recognize the challenges of the day but continue to face them with a positive attitude. Strive to align yourself with people with energy, excitement for life and a positive outlook on the circumstances they face.
2. Read and listen to motivational and inspirational books and tapes. This is a great way to keep yourself inspired and focused on the possibilities of life. When you wake up in the morning, instead of turning on the television, spend those first minutes reading inspirational, biblical, or motivational books. If you drive to work, put in a CD or tape. If you ride the train or bus, read books or invest in a personal CD player and fill your mind with positive thoughts. You have no excuses because you can go to your local library and get books and tapes. Information on anything you want is on the Internet. You simply must have a desire to find ways to maintain a positive attitude.
3. Count your blessings. Recognize that no matter how things maybe, see the blessing in the midst of the chaos and confusion. As you reflect on the blessing that will help you get things in perspective and help you see the glass half full versus half empty.
4. Smile. Be mindful of your countenance and body language. What messages do you send to people when they interact with you? A smile says to others that you are approachable and it costs nothing.
5. Take time to appreciate the simple things in life. Take a walk in the park and don’t just rush by the roses, instead take time to enjoy and smell them. Take time to watch a sunset and remember who to thank. Spend time with those less fortunate and seek opportunities to give words of encouragement to those who pass your way.
6. Believe in yourself. Recognize that you are special and unique. There is no one else quite like you. So let your positive attitude shine. Walk and talk with confidence and know that you have something special to contribute to the world.
7. Live each day to the fullest. Quit putting off some of the things you want to do in life and go for the gusto now. Learn to maximize the minutes of each day. Practice these strategies to help you maintain a winning attitude; an attitude others want to catch!
Your Comments Are Welcome.
By Michelle Porchia
Often we are told to live in the moment. For the most part I agree with this. We are so busy multi-tasking, thinking about “what next,” etc., that we often miss the joy of what is happening now or miss the journey trying to achieve the goal.
There are times when we need to step out of the moment to gain a new or different perspective. Many times we are so caught up in a problem or things not going as we thought that we need to step back and see the situation with different eyes. I remember when I was growing up and I didn’t see something right in front of me, my mother would say, “You can’t see the forest for the trees." I think many times all we see are the trees and we miss the beauty of the forest and all that it brings.
Seeing With Different Eyes
Hearing With Different Ears
Sometimes we need to step back or step out of a situation to gain a clearer perspective, understanding or vision. When we do this, it can help us to move forward, adjust or change to gain a new momentum and/or a clearer vision.
Your Comments Are Always Welcome.
By Michelle Porchia
We have four to five generations of women alive right now. In the workplace we have supervisors, mangers and leaders in their 20's responsible for staff that are older and have much more work experience. When I was a corporate trainer, I often advised more senior workers (work wise and age wise) on how to work effectively with their younger supervisors and colleagues.
This is not about generations though. I want women to understand the value of encouraging, teaching and sharing your experiences with younger women. Conversely, more experienced women can learn from the younger women as well.
I have had many mentees and our relationship has been mutually beneficial, as I would hope all mentor/mentee relationships would be. I’ve asked them what they wanted me to share with them, I shared what they wanted and more. I also learned tremendously from them. One thing I learned from my INROADS advisees was to lighten up. I have stayed in touch with all my mentees and many of my INROADS advisees. Several of them have brought me in to their organizations and/or companies as a speaker or trainer. They’ve also referred people (not just women) who became my coaching clients. When I moved to North Carolina, many gave me names of people they knew to network with.
I conduct workshops for youth. My two oldest granddaughters have given me ideas, information and helped me to understand so much about high school and middle school aged behavior and their thought processes. I have learned so much from my granddaughters and I have a great deal of respect for the two oldest. I have imparted much wisdom, knowledge and experience to them and I have gained so much from them. Again, during my transition to NC, when I was grappling with some things, my oldest daughter reminded me of some of the philosophies I have shared with her over the years.
There are more women in higher positions, in different industries and trailblazers than there were when I was growing up. In fact, when I was growing up, the only women I saw were actors and actresses. I was blessed to have good role models about life. My grandmother was even-tempered. My aunt Gerri taught me the importance of the image I projected by the way I dressed and took care of myself. My aunt (by marriage) Joan showed me that you could be assertive and graceful. She was (is) beautiful, worked in corporate America, had a great sense of humor, was (is) a wonderful cook and was able to stand up for herself. I still look to her for advice. My mother, though I struggled with our relationship as many mothers and daughters do, taught me the importance of education, having a strong work ethic and taught me about accepting cultural differences and exposed me to so many cultural aspects of life. My mother was a concert pianist and an opera singer who never realized her dream. She was a civil worker in Detroit and I don’t remember her ever missing a day of work for illness. I have developed wonderful relationships with some of my younger cousins and continue to learn from them. One cousin has pursued many of her dreams with much success. She has been a news anchor, a director of diversity and now is the president and founder of her own company, Lothery and Associates. Another cousin of mine is a cancer warrior and survivor. She was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in two areas of her body. She has gone through all the treatment, fought the battle and is now cancer clear. She did it all with style and grace and a smile. She now speaks to
women who have been newly diagnosed with cancer. The nurses and doctors couldn’t believe how she always came to treatments looking glamorous and with high energy and a positive outlook.
We have a responsibility to mentor, sponsor, and guide, encourage and support the women that are following in our footsteps and creating their own paths. We also, even as the older person, can learn from them as well...it’s not too late. We are our sisters’ keeper.
Your Comments Are Welcome
By Michelle Porchia
In March I spoke at a Sisterhood Celebration weekend at a church in Raleigh, NC. I spoke on “Taking Off the Masks in Roles and Relationships.” This article is not a replication of my presentation; it is, however, another train of thought about our roles in relationships. I’m focusing on work relationships in this article, although I feel the points can also relate to personal relationships.
Connecting: We meet people under various circumstances. We never know what will come out of our meeting. There is a saying, “People come into your life for a reason, season or a lifetime.” I suggest that we are open to meeting people without expectation of the purpose of the connection.
Though I am a speaker, presenter and life coach, I am also a very strong introvert. People are surprised and don’t believe it when I tell them that. The point is, I understand that some of you may be thinking “I’m shy" or “I’m not comfortable meeting people", etc. I suggest that you just allow yourself to be open to whoever may come your way. When I go to events, I set a goal to meet at least three people I don’t know.
Communicating: Communication is very important. Think before you speak. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” (Stephen Covey) Set expectations up front as to how you are going to interact/work together. Listen. Many people don’t listen to understand, they listen to respond (you’ve heard this many times). Become a good listener. Be open to hearing, and clarify what you have heard.
Collaborating is being able to work with another and to cooperate. Basically, each person brings his/her knowledge, experience, skills, thoughts, etc., to a situation and, through connecting and communicating, infusing what each person brings for the benefit of the agreed upon goal.
Ebony Speakers came together in part by using this formula. We connected at several NSA conferences. We communicated what we were doing and where we wanted to take our messages/businesses. We collaborated and created the Ebony Speakers.
What makes all of this work together for the good is being authentic, open, honest and vulnerable. Collaborating is very prominent these days. Connecting, communicating and collaborating can open many doors, opportunities and possibilities.
Book Debra, Michelle, Nancy or Carole for your next speaking engagement or training event.