Diffusing the Angry or Defensive Person

February 29th, 2012

- hmmm is a tool to use when you’re facing a person who’s angry defensive , and sure that you’re the bad guy. It works in a wide range of settings- everything from a hostage crisis to an angry customer, employee or colleague- because it rapidly turns a potential brawl into a cooperative dialogue.
“hmmm…”uttered in a calming tone- conveys to the person that they are important, their problem is important and I want to hear what you have to say. “hmmm….” Commits you to nothing. It is solely used to calm a person to the point they can identify the actual problem and come up with a realistic solution.
“tell me more” or “is there anything else?”- allow the speaker more time to gather thoughts and to be sure they are spoken out
Authenticate- “So what I am hearing is….”- make sure that you have heard and understood clearly. Remember that what you hear will be affected by the filters you have in your own life. Personal values will also affect the order in which you will relate back what you have heard. If your values are different than the speakers you may re-order the points which will change the meaning of their importance.


Know that each one of us holds the answers within ourselves. NO MATTER WHAT! Sometimes we just need the guiding compassion of another human being. Sheila Gruenwald

Filed under: Personal Development

Communication is a Two Way Street

February 8th, 2012

Organize your information to get into their hearts by using: Why How What

Why is this relationship important to both of us?
How am I going to: Be transparent?
Be interested?
Gain their confidence?
What non-verbal cues am I sending out?
What am I willing to give to make this conversation work?

You are required to be responsive to your world. How are you going to do this…?
Think about and describe the conversations that you have not been able to have with your boss, colleague, spouse, child and most importantly with YOURSELF. Consider what and how things may change if you were to have this conversation. Can you commit to having this conversation?

“People don’t care what you know until they know how much you care.” Anonymous
“People won’t remember what you say nearly so well as they will recall how you made them FEEL. It is the experiences we share with others that create lasting impact. MAKE SOMEONE SMILE TODAY!”- Marilyn Anderson

Filed under: Personal Development

A Shift in Communication…

January 30th, 2012

A Shift in Communication Can Help Change the Balance of a Relationship

Ask questions- don’t assume
the assumption impacts both people
Our behaviour is affected by our assumptions or our perceived truths. We make decisions based on what we think we know more often than making decisions based on fact.
Listen with the purpose of hearing not responding
When a conversation goes into conflict
Be aware of the conflict sequence
First stage of conflict there are three factors that are being considered-
1. Self
2. Situation at hand
3. Other person .
Second Stage of conflict there are two factors that are being considered-
1. Self
2. Situation at hand
Thirds stage of conflict there is only one factor being considered-
At this point of conflict there is no longer logical reasoning. The person does not feel heard or validated. They are now feeling the primal need for survival and you are their target

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.
Gandalf the Wizard, Lord of the Rings

Filed under: Personal Development

Personal Independence or Alienation

October 12th, 2009

As with any other human emotion or action, independence can be exciting positive thing, but it can also “be” or “become” a negative thing depending on a person’s background or frame of mind. For example:

A healthy state of personal independence typically derives from an individual whom possesses strong morals, high self-esteem, goal oriented/driven. Allows her/him-self to have and value people in their life as a support system, and has a positive and optimistic view on themselves and the world around them “despite” any past hurts, struggles or obstacles.

When they work their way up the corporate ladder they have co-workers and supervisors whom teach them the ropes, encourage them, and continue another field or perhaps above themselves on that corporate ladder. An individual with a healthy sense of personal growth and independence remains secure in themselves and cherishes those friendships, does not forget nor take for granted all of the time, care and devotion those people instilled into her.

On the flip side of that we have the unhealthy version of that very same scenario. Once she gains the needed knowledge, experience and the connections necessary to move up and possible above her co-workers and or teachers, she suddenly has nothing to do with those people whom supported her, taught and encouraged her and called her friend,

They’re now “beneath” her and her new higher position and she doesn’t feel she needs them anymore. She becomes overly guarded, convinced that if she turns her back on those lower level workers, whom she once not so long ago was comrades with, will stab her in the back and take her job. Obviously, this women in particular is holding onto past hurts and for her own reasons, is very insecure with herself and the rest of the world. What this poor lady views as being “independent” is an unhealthy for of independence because what is truly is in all essence is a form of power and control over others- due to her own insecurities.

In order for anyone to be able to achieve true real and lasting personal independence, we must make sure to take a personal inventory and be sure of these things” (just a few examples)

Be healed and rid of all past hurts and/or grudges. THEY WILL distort our mode of thinking and being.

Know our own personal moral and core values and live up to them each and every day.

Establish, values and nourish friendships, support systems and not take them for granted.
Have a good balance of humility and self-esteem
Develop personal goals and a realistic plant to achieve them
Take the time to rally know YOU… realize that what you many vie as a weakness in yourself is merely untapped potential waiting to be born.
Remember that every successful person has many loving hands and minds supporting them at all times. Being independent doesn’t mean, “ I don’t need your help!” or “I don’t need you in my life!”

That would not be independence, it would be alienation. Do not let any insecurities or pride distort your view of true independence.

What have you been telling yourself lately?

August 31st, 2009

I was talking to a friend recently who is in a tough financial spot and her attitude is amazing. Though she is a single mom with three kids to feed on an employment insurance cheque, her attitude is always thankful.

With toast for supper and a thin layer of peanut butter for protein, she is thankful for the roof over her head, the couch to sit on and the closeness of her family. As she says, “When I think of how hard today is, I just look back to where I was ten years ago. I didn’t even have this much so I am thankful.”

How does an attitude like that not melt your own problems away and make you thankful for whatever you have and not long for what you do not have. It is all a matter of what you are telling your self.

As I have told my kids for years:

If you don’t like the view, change your perspective!

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As Executive Director of the BC Wildlife Federation, BC's largest conservation organization, it is important that I bring the highest quality trainers and consultants to my board and staff team. Not only have I been struck by Sheila's skill, competence and terrific work ethic in her training and facilitation, but by her ability to bring her very big heart into the work that she does.
Patti MacAhonic, BA Adult Ed, MBA
Executive Director, BC Wildlife Federation


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