Elizabethkuhnke's Blog

Archive for March 2011

The three principles of self-assurance are clarity, confidence and commitment.

So, how do you demonstrate confidence when you’re shaking in your boots?

How can you create a presentation that is clear and compelling?

What do you need to know to convince your audience?

If you are confident, there is no mountain too high, no valley too low, no river too wide to keep you from reaching your goals.  But what if you’re not feeling confident?  What if every little word going through your head is telling you, “You can’t do this”?

Start by cutting off the negative self-speak.  “Whether you think you can or think you can’t you’re right,” said Henry Ford.  Given the choice, go for the positive.  Look for what you do well and remind yourself on a regular basis.  Why waste time and energy being your own worst enemy when a little bit of positive self-talk can lead you to success?

Next, find yourself a role model.  Someone credible.  Someone who speaks with passion and conviction.  Someone whose way of presenting makes you sit up and take notice.

Once you’ve picked your person, observe their behaviour.  What does that person do that rings true for you?  Is it the way they use their voice?  Is it how they command attention through stance and gesture?  Is it how they use their eyes to connect with their audience?  Chances are it’s all of the above.

Once you have noted the behaviour, make it your own.  Look at your audience, not at the floor (ceiling, wall, table).  When you move, move with purpose.  When you speak, speak from your core.  Smile.  If you look like you’re enjoying what you’re doing your audience will enjoy the experience with you.

Self-trust is the first secret of success. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

All of us are hit from time to time with bouts of self-doubt.  The occasional bout is normal and keeps us humble.  When the bouts become a way of life, however, we stand little chance of achieving our goals and realizing our self-worth.  Negativity is a draining emotion.  It can lead to depression and self-destructive behaviour. It can make a person ill.  Successful people don’t give air time to negative self-talk.  Successful people have a belief in their own abilities.  They claim their space and welcome others into it.  They know they have the right to speak and to be heard.  If you act like a confident person you will feel confident.  And the more confident you feel, the more confident you will be.

When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun.  And when you have fun, you can do amazing things. – Joe Namath

 Remember, communication is a contact sport.  The audience only receives what you put out.  It doesn’t matter if you feel confident or not.  If you act as if you are confident, that is what the audience will receive and believe.  And if the audience believes you are confident, you’ll find yourself agreeing with them!

Here are three things you can do to improve your confidence:

  1. No More Negative Self-Talk.  If you find yourself saying, “I can’t…” change the wording to “I can…”  At first it may feel uncomfortable; it may sound false to your ear; you may even fall into the trap of saying, “Yes, but…”  Stick with it.  The more you substitute positive language for self-denying, self-destructive messages the more positive and confident you will feel.
  2. Model Excellence.  Look for those people who inspire you in the way they communicate.  Observe what they do, the way they move, the way they speak.  Note their gestures, the variety in their voices, the way they engage with their listeners.  Make those techniques your own. 
  3. Practice.  To change behaviour takes time and commitment.  The more you practice the more comfortable and confident you will feel.  Before long, you will be presenting with clarity, confidence and commitment.  And won’t that be fun!

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher


How to make the most of your next meeting

Don’t miss the chance to impress your colleagues, clients or boss – and inch closer to that pay rise. Use Kuhnke Communication’s top tips to achieve your aims and make the most of each and every meeting.

 First of all, make an entrance. When you enter the room, hold for a moment to take in the scene.  If you’re carrying a notebook, pad, or lap top, hold it by your side, not in front of you.  Hiding behind your props makes you look defensive and as if shielding yourself. Once you’ve surveyed the room, acknowledge others who may already be there before moving.  A simple smile and nod of the head will do before you speak.  Do not scurry into the room.  When you move, move with purpose.

Next, sit upright, with your weight evenly distributed.  Leaning forward shows interest and involvement, sitting back indicates that you’re stepping out of the discussion and are reflecting on what’s happening. Feel free to take as much room at the table as you can.  Men spread out leaving women squished in wherever they can fit.  Folding your hands, leaning forward with your elbows resting on the table demonstrates that you’re claiming your space.

When it comes to your part, whether presenting or pitching. Distribute your weight equally between both legs (i.e., don’t stand with your weight mostly on one, bending the knee of the other, jutting your hip out). Standing ‘4 square’ with your feet and knees placed evenly beneath your hips makes you look strong and in control.  Put your hands in the power position (elbows bent, hands together at waist level, finger tips touching or one palm resting in the other.) You can also hold your hands by your sides.  This may feel uncomfortable and it’s the strongest position you can take.  You’re completely open to your audience, in your most vulnerable position, saying in effect, “Here I am.  I have nothing to fear.” Hold your head as if it were floating on a gentle lake, with your chin parallel to the floor.  Lifting your chin can make you look arrogant and dropping it may make you seem unsure.  Establish strong eye contact.  When you speak look at your audience 65-85% of the time.  NEVER look at the screen behind you if you’re making a power point presentation.  And NEVER read from your notes.  The moment you break eye contact, you give away your power.  NEVER stand with your hands clasped in front of your pelvis (Fig leaf position), this makes you look defensive and protective.

Finally, avoid any other common mistakes. Women give up their power by making themselves small.  They tend to bring their shoulders forward and hold their arms close to their bodies.  In addition, they often stand with their legs crossed, making them look like little girls instead of powerful women. They also tend to nod frequently in agreement and smile to excess. This makes them appear conciliatory, which, while fine in theory, can be interpreted as relinquishing power. Strive to maintain a neutral stance as described above, with a calm and impartial expression.

 For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

A Walk in the Woods with Wonderful Working Women

“Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by booking onto our annual May event: A Walk in the Woods with Wonderful Working Women”

Join us Saturday 7th May for a journey with a difference!

 Our day will begin late morning with a walk through the bluebells at Grey’s Court outside the historic market town , Henley on Thames. This National Trust property is a gem in the South Oxfordshire countryside and the woodlands are renowned for their beauty. Having built up an appetite from our woodland walk, we continue our journey to the perfectly positioned Phyllis Court Club on the banks of the Thames near Henley town centre. There we change from our ‘Wellies’ into our ‘Jimmy’s’ and take pre-lunch drinks on the terrace before adjourning to enjoy a specially prepared 2-course lunch with wine in a private dining room overlooking the club grounds and the river beyond. In addition, our guest speaker, Jacqueline Harris of Auric Results, will be sharing her thoughts and insights about Connected Leadership. Discover ways of becoming an authentic leader by connecting with yourself, your listener, and your environment.

Round off the day with a gentle stroll through the town, drinking in the atmosphere and perusing the outstanding shops and boutiques.

Cost for the day is £48 + VAT

There are fun people to meet, ideas to discuss, and much to celebrate with a lot of fun and a few surprises guaranteed. Places are limited so book now.

We look forward to seeing you there.

To RSVP and for payment instructions please contact charlotte@kuhnkecommunication.com or call (01491) 640919


Spring is here and the daffodils are standing proud setting an example for you to follow. Your posture reveals how you feel about yourself, other people, and what’s happening in your world. So get those shoulders back, pull in your stomach, and hold your head high.

Think about the impression posture makes: someone slouching sends a very different message from the person who’s standing tall. How you hold your body shows the world how you view yourself – so make that vision positive. By following these simple guidelines and insights you’ll ensure the message you intend to send is both transmitted and received.

  •        Decide on your posture. Stand in front of a full length mirror and look at yourself. Pay particular attention to your shoulders, face, and the position of your head. What message are you conveying? Turn away momentarily. Decide how you want to be perceived and consider how you can convey that through your stance, breathing and facial expression. Adopt this image and turn back to the mirror. What differences do you notice between the first and second postures? By identifying the posture congruent with the attitude you want to convey you consciously determine how others perceive you.
  •        3 main types of posture. Standing – standing straight with your chest gently opened projects strength and stature. For authority put those shoulders back and arms by your side. To add to your appeal lift from your diaphragm and raise your buttocks. Sitting conveys different states depending on the position of your arms, legs and head: back straight leaning slightly forward indicates that you are ready for action and focused in the here and now. Lying down is a great position for reflection, to clear your head and organise your thoughts.
  •        Reading posture. Understanding the body’s signs aids communication: how people hold their bodies can tell you about their attitude, mood and state of mind. This in turn tells you how best to engage with them. If you walk into your boss’s office and she’s hunched over her desk avoiding eye contact with you, wait to be invited to speak. Her posture is sending out a warning: DON’T INTERRUPT.

REMEMBER: The way you act is the way you are. Feeling negative about your body can be overcome by acting as if you relish and respect every bone, muscle, and sprinkling of fat. By seeing yourself in a positive light you may open yourself to new opportunities.

TIP: In a mood you don’t like? Change your posture and see what happens. If you’re feeling low, pull up from your waist, open your chest and let your head rise from your neck and shoulders like a balloon. Notice how your mood elevates.

TECHNICAL STUFF: Anthropological research states that a person’s posture reflects their past. Suffering prolonged depression may result in a tendency to slouch or sag into the body, whereas people who have a positive outlook tend to hold themselves upright.

CAUTION: Be aware of cultural differences. For example, bowing implies deference; in many Eastern countries it is an expected behaviour for demonstrating respect.

FINALLY: Understanding the language of posture and consciously controlling it results in clear, effective communication and creates positive impact.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

Liars Bluff

If you’ve ever had a hunch that someone was lying to you, or withholding information, you were probably right. Even white lies – those little untruths or omissions that are meant to protect your feelings – can leave you feeling hurt, suspicious, and offended. When people lie they send out signs and signals that something’s not quite right. Even an expert liar can get caught out.  See below for Kuhnke Communication’s six indicators that someone’s telling you a porky.

Eye Contact – In Western Cultures people tend to make eye contact between 45-65 % of the time while they’re talking and between 65-85% of the time while they’re listening.   Too little eye contact indicates that the person is avoiding telling you something while too much indicates that they’re  trying to convince you that what they’re saying is true. 

 Change in voice – When someone is withholding information or telling an out-and-out lie their voice sound different than normal.  Changes in pitch, pace, tone, and rhythm are signs that something’s amiss.  In addition, a lack of clear articulation indicates that what they’re saying isn’t worth hearing.  When the speaker’s pitch is higher than usual you can bet they’re feeling uncomfortable about what they’re telling you.

 Contradiction – If someone’s statements don’t tally, you can bet that they’re struggling to keep pace with their ever-changing tale. Statements that don’t ring true happen when someone forgets what they’ve said before or contradicts themselves.  Giving more information than was asked for is also a sign of lying. If the story is confused and details don’t match up, the person is most likely lying

Subject Change – If someone touches on a subject that requires a lie, observe to what happens.  The person who’s withholding information   will look away and switch to a different topic.  If the person were telling the truth, they’d stay with the topic until it reached its natural conclusion.

Ultra-Defensive – Liars often display a high level of defensiveness, for fear of being caught. Anger could be masking nervousness, or hesitation to talk about a subject they’d rather avoid.  Ask what they’re defending.  If they’re telling you the truth they’ll speak in a calm and rational manner.

Fidgeting – Fidgeting is a displacement activity that indicates nervous energy. If they’re chewing their lips, fiddling with their fingers, and putting a hand over their mouth, they’re sending out signs that they just might be holding something back.

Be warned, these signs alone are not concrete evidence that a person is lying. To get a clearer picture, think about their “normal” behaviour and compare it to what you’re observing.  Trust your instincts.  If the behaviour is out of character, and Red Alert bells start ringing in your head and heart, there is a good chance you are being lied to.   

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

Use these simple tips to assert yourself and claim your space in the office, making the difference between being perceived as powerful, or merely part of the pack.

  • Consider your stance. Place your hands facing each other and steeple your fingers. This forces your palms apart and, whether you are sitting or standing, you arms will take up more space. This is a highly effective negotiating posture; watch how CEOs, politicians and solicitors use it.
  • Delay your introduction. When you first meet a person, engage them in conversation for a few seconds before giving your name. By then he or she will have a reason to remember it.
  • Be aware of your body language. If you nod to show empathy, it can be misinterpreted as agreement. If you disagree with something, say so verbally. This will avoid misunderstanding. When talking, keep your head upright, even balanced on your neck. Relax your shoulders, keeping your upper chest softly opened like a book. This position will give you a look of authority and influence.
  • Practise speaking with a lower, more even delivery. A lower voice has more credibility, which is why most commercial voiceovers are done by men. If your voice rises at the end of sentences, force the intonations down.
  • Don’t allow others to interrupt you. If co-workers try to interrupt you, increase the volume of your voice and keep speaking. If they continue to speak over you, put up one finger to indicate that you have not yet finished. If that doesn’t produce the desired result, hold up your hand as if to say, “Stop!” Or say, “Excuse me, I hadn’t finished.” Assertiveness shows that you are confident and aware of your rights. The more you practise, the easier it will get. You’ll feel good about yourself too.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

The size of a company often determines the type of relationships its employees have with one another. While in large corporations staff from different departments sometimes don’t know each others’ names, those working in smaller firms have to communicate a lot more and often end up being friends. Does it affect their work and business? In order to find out, Kuhnke Communication has conducted a survey on how people from SMEs cope with separating personal and business relationships at work.

The survey revealed that nearly 77 percent of people employed by small and medium businesses spend time with their colleagues outside work and 37 percent of them do it on a regular basis.

A quarter of respondents said that they are friends with their colleagues. At the same time an impressive 86 percent believe that a business-focused environment would be more beneficial for their companies.

Interestingly, the situation is similar regarding relationships between senior staff and employees. 15 percent of respondents indicated that managers in their companies are friends with the staff, whilst 90 percent expressed the opinion that the most appropriate behavior of the management is to stay business focused, while retaining the ability to understand employees’ personal issues when necessary.

The survey also showed that over 60 percent of people sometimes find it difficult not to mix friendship and business relationships at work. Over half of the respondents feel that personal relationships prevent them from giving impartial feedback on their employees’ performance, with 30 percent experiencing this problem regularly.

Finally, 55 percent of respondents think that small companies struggle with separating business and friendship more than large companies do.

Following our research, Kuhnke Communication has produced tips on how not to fall into friendship mode at work.

It’s difficult to resist the temptation of becoming friends if you like somebody as a person. However, it’s important to remember that friendship at work can cause misunderstandings and irritation when your personal relationships contradict business interests. In order to avoid disappointments act in a friendly way without getting personally involved in your colleagues’ lives.

Give feedback on your employees’ work regularly, not only when they make mistakes. This will make you feel more confident when it comes to giving somebody constructive criticism. Never involve your colleagues’ personal abilities in the discussion. It’s easier to give and receive critical feedback when you know it’s about the job and not about the person.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

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