Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

Showing posts in the category “Communication”

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  • November 7, 2017

    Get Out the Highlighter, by Carrol Suzuki

    Get Out the Highlighter, by Carrol Suzuki

    I always look forward to hearing from Carrol Suzuki. Carrol is principal of Suzuki & Associates - The Business of Listening - and a premier listening coach, serving business leaders across North America.

    As Carrol says:

    Listening is an endangered skill in today's quick-bytes, hurry-up world. Although listening is one of the most neglected business skills, it's possibly the most vital. 

    Her newsletters offer brief golden nuggets on critical listening skills, like her current post on acknowledgement, or as Carrol puts it: highlighting, underlining, and amplifying the speaker's words so that they know you heard them. 

    I share her most recent newsletter in this issue of Ki Moments. Enjoy!

  • October 10, 2017

    Center As You Enter: Creating Centering Practices That Stick

    Center As You Enter: Creating Centering Practices That Stick

    I open my eyes. Morning.

    Quiet time. Meditation.

    I  relish this moment. Yes, there is much to do. The difficult conversation ahead. The pile of work sitting on my desk and on my mind. The emails to return. The seminar to design. Do I have time?

    Yes. I will make time. I will sit quietly and do nothing. Nothing except to notice the breath coming in and going out of my body. The thoughts, the physical awareness, the birds chirping outside my window. All coming and going, like the breath.

    Wendy Palmer, a teacher of aikido and leadership presence categorizes the many ways to practice centering into three areas: committed practice, ritual practice, and spontaneous practice.

  • September 26, 2017

    The Language of Centering

    The Language of Centering

    The driver cut me off without warning. We almost collided. My pulse accelerated, my adrenaline pumped, my anger went from 0 to 60 in less than a second.

    I breathe in, exhale, and choose to center. At first I'm only about 20 percent centered. I keep breathing. 30%. I think: what rational explanation would allow for that driver to do what he did? 40%. More breathing. 50%. Smile to myself--everything’s okay. No damage done. 75%. It’s over, without me doing anything I’ll regret later. Life is good. 100%.

    The language and practice of centering is one in which some people are fairly fluent. Yet even those who understand the concept are often unsure exactly how to get there on purpose.

  • September 12, 2017

    The Secret Ingredient in Difficult Conversations: Acknowledgment

    The Secret Ingredient in Difficult Conversations: Acknowledgment


    I'm writing a new book about how to manage and resolve employee confict. One of the key ingredients in working with conflict and possibly the most underutilized communication skill is acknowledgment. Acknowledgment is the secret to turning difficult conversations around.

    Because it demonstrates a willingness and ability to reflect back a view or thought process that is different and possibly in opposition to your own, acknowledgment makes a powerful statement. It says, “I heard you, I’m trying to understand, and this is the meaning I’m making out of what I heard.” It shows respect and a disposition toward resolution....

  • August 1, 2017

    Giving Advice: Help or Hindrance?

    Giving Advice: Help or Hindrance?


    I received an email recently from a gentleman asking for my help, saying he wanted to be less judgmental and more sensitive to friends and family. He explained that he was in a close, loving relationship, and that his lack of awareness sometimes creates stress.

    In a recent conversation, for example, his partner pointed out that when he gives her advice and uses the word "you," she tends to become defensive. He says he wants to help his partner solve problems, and he thinks of his suggestions as brainstorming, even though she hasn't necessarily asked for advice. 

    In my reply email, I thought hard about non-judgment, advice, and the willingness to change. I hope these tips make your day a little easier, too....

    I thanked him for his inquiry and emailed back a few thoughts. I appreciate his quest for knowledge, and he clearly has a dedicated partner on his side--someone who cares enough to advocate for what she needs. With his growing awareness and her willingness to offer feedback on how his genuinely positive intention is affecting her in not so positive ways, they'll learn a lot from each other.

  • June 20, 2017

    Coming to Center: An Aikido Guidebook for Managers with Employees in Conflict

    Coming to Center: An Aikido Guidebook for Managers with Employees in Conflict


    When you have two individuals at odds, and each is valuable to the organization, knowledgeable, experienced, and compatible with everyone but each other, what do you do?

    I'm in the process of writing a new book: Coming To Center, An Aikido Guidebook for Managers with Employees in Conflict.

    The book illustrates a four-phase model I use when I'm invited to coach employees who are in conflict with each other and can't find their way out.

    If this has happened in your team or organization, you may have tried:

    • The pep talkCome on, now, you can do this. Rise above it.
    • The appeal to compassion and empathyTry not to take things so personally; see things from their perspective.
    • The common-sense approachYour work is suffering. Something has to change. You don't have to be best friends, but you do have to work together and get the job done.

    You may have also tried evading, ignoring, and hoping the situation will resolve itself. You’ve probably brought the topic up at performance reviews and talked to colleagues, coaches, and consultants. And yet the problem persists.

  • June 6, 2017

    What Aikido Can Teach Us About Learning Plateaus

    What Aikido Can Teach Us About Learning Plateaus

    The achievement of goals is important. But the real juice of life, whether it be sweet or bitter, is to be found not nearly so much in the products of our efforts as in the process of living itself, in how it feels to be alive.
    ~George Leonard

    I receive many thoughtful responses to my monthly posts. Recently an Aikidoist from Canberra Australia, James Samana, emailed me some late night reflections on his Aikido journey. 

    James is a black belt in Aikido and works for the Australian Public Service as an executive coach, course designer and facilitator. I couldn't help extending his Aikido experience to the way we practice, learn, and attain mastery in any endeavor, including the mastery of conflict and communication--if that indeed ever happens.

  • May 9, 2017

    Want Creative Conflict? Find Thought Partners Who Disagree

    Want Creative Conflict? Find Thought Partners Who Disagree


    I had a great idea for a new workshop. My colleague disagreed. I disliked his feedback and dismissed it. He just didn't get it! 

    Later, I revisited what he said and decided to call back and ask for specifics. Why didn't he think people would want to attend? What would he change to make it more inviting and useful? I asked him to push back more and used the feedback to create a more compelling program.

    In her TED Talk, Dare to Disagree, on creative conflict, author and CEO Margaret Heffernan offers a view of conflict so contrary to the typical TV images, Facebook rage, and Twitter rants of positional confrontation, that it is difficult to believe, unless you've tried it. She tells the story of Alice Stewart, a British scientist in the 1950s, who theorized that x-rays of pregnant women proved damaging to the fetus. But to be sure, she invited a colleague--statistician George Kneale--to poke holes in her theory; to, in fact, disprove it. She wanted to make sure she hadn't missed anything...

  • April 11, 2017

    How to Say No: Tips and Tools

    How to Say No: Tips and Tools

    Assertiveness has never been my strong point. Maybe that's why I watch people who are really good at it, read books and take courses on it, and practice whenever I can.

    The impetus for my current life's work teaching conflict and communication skills actually grew out of my inability to express myself. 

    I was a successful real estate agent and company owner back in 80's, and I often found myself in the middle of a heated contest between buyer and seller or with a banker, building inspector, or concerned family member. My default conflict style is to accommodate other people’s wishes, and that isn’t always useful in negotiated transactions.

  • March 28, 2017

    Coaching Corner: A Difficult Conversation With My Daughter

    Coaching Corner: A Difficult Conversation With My Daughter

    Recently a reader sent me a question after reading my “Checklist for Difficult Conversations” at JudyRinger.com. She described a difficult conversation in which her daughter said some things that were hard for her to hear. Afterwards Mom was struggling not to take her daughter’s remarks personally and asked for advice and maybe some tools to help her respond and not make things worse.

    The following is how I replied to Mom. Since most of us have similar goals to hold conversations that are useful, to not take tough comments personally, and to stay grounded in purpose, I’m sharing my reply more broadly. 

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