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How to communicate clearly using these 4 secret weapons

By Dr Kathy Murray
Education specialist, Author, Public Speaker, Coach and Mentor.

Research shows that there is increased stress, low morale, unmet goals, and project delays when there’s poor communication at work.

Are you an example of the research – stressed, not meeting your targets and don’t care?

People that I have worked with comment on how they feel sick in the morning before going to work and have a ‘churning tummy’ because they are worried about potential confrontation. This really makes me feel sad knowing that each morning is unsettled.

This can all be improved by using 4 little secrets to help you communicate effectively with your boss or work mates. How would you like to transform yourself and your workplace into a calm and happy environment where clear communication is the superpower of the business.

These are the 4 secrets weapons to communicating clearly.

  1. Use eye contact and a smile when you are walking toward someone. First impressions matter and can’t be repeated. Walk tall, look at the person you are walking towards, make eye contact and smile – even if it’s hard to do with some people it will definitely be worth the effort! You will give a confident first impression. You will appear confident and feel strong.
  2. Be in the moment. Concentrate on your senses. What do you hear, what do you see, what is the smell you notice, how do your clothes feel on your body, does a smell remind you of a taste? Being in the moment means that you will focus better and you will concentrate more on what is happening and what you want to say.
  3. Don’t forget to breathe. Take 3 seconds to breathe in, hold for 3 seconds, and exhale for 3 seconds. Do this 3 times. This is the 3 second super power. Breathing deeply will calm your brain. A calm brain is a thinking brain. You will say the right words and not feel silly because the wrong word comes out or worse – nothing comes out!
  4. Speak in a calm voice with a low tone. This is non threatening to you and the other person.Using a controlled and modulated voice makes you feel in control and gives the impression of being reasonable and confident.

Have a game plan.

What do I mean by that?

  • Know what you want to say to your boss or colleagues to communicate clearly and avoid possible misunderstandings.
  • Think about the words you use. Using emotive or confrontational words or tone influences how the other person relates to you and responds.
  • Think about the outcome you are trying to achieve and the words that will lead to that outcome.

We want you to go to work with a calm tummy, a smile on your face and goals to achieve for that day – we all need that sense of satisfaction! Using your 4 secret weapons to communication will be your superpower at work!

Where to from here?
If you want to know more strategies and different ways to support your child then I’d love to connect with you! Contact me through my website www.trainingandedservices.com.au OR email [email protected]  OR join me on our Facebook page – Training and Education Services with Dr Kathy Murray.

Dr Kathy Murray has worked with children and families for 34 years as a teacher, researcher and university lecturer. Kathy now works casually with preservice teachers at Central Queensland University in Noosa, while supporting parents, early childhood educators, leaders and organizations through her consultancy business, Training and Education Services.

Self Love: What About Me?

By Dr Kathy Murray
Education specialist, Author, Public Speaker, Coach and Mentor.

“What about me, it isn’t fair
I’ve had enough now I want my share
Can’t you see I wanna live
But you just take more than you give”

The words of Australian singer Shannon Noll resonate with many of us. I remember thinking this when I found myself without a job, broke after having to sell my house, car, shares, and more. My life had turned upside down – I found myself in desperate financial situation because I trusted someone! That meant I had to sell everything to pay off debt—and some of the debt wasn’t even mine! So, many, many times, I found the lyrics of this song running through my mind: “…it isn’t fair! I’ve had enough now I want my share!”

We humans commonly default to blaming difficult times on the actions of someone else. We believe that it’s all their fault. I wouldn’t be in this situation if it wasn’t for them! Then we begin to beat ourselves up over what could or should have been. The self-recrimination tape plays: I should have known better. I should never have trusted him. I’m smarter than this.

Does any of this sound familiar?

There seems to be a common pattern that I’ve noticed in myself and in the process that my friends have gone through when “stuff” happens. It’s almost like a grieving process on our journey to a happier time.

In my experience, it went something like this:

  1. Disbelief and confusion. How could he have done that? What does this mean for me and my future? How can I support my kids when I can’t support myself? I’m such a failure.
  2. Anger and betrayal. – A few swear words may or may not have been said! That feeling of getting even came over me. I felt determined to not get beaten. In this stage, I tried to remind myself: I am strong and can deal with anything. I have the whole universe working with me. That helped a little but didn’t change the reality.
  3. Hurt and tears. I struggled to understand how someone could make such a negative impact on my life when I’m a nice person, and I’d never treat someone like that. I tried to understand his reasoning for the decisions he made and tried to identify my own part in this.
  4. Realization of the implications of the situation. Ok, get a grip. This is how things are now, so what am I going to do. I need to pick up what I can and move forward. Being angry isn’t helping to get back on my feet. I don’t want to be that angry, bitter, and twisted woman!
  5. Victim thoughts. This is where the Shannon Noll song came back on repeat: “It isn’t fair” along with the feelings of shame, foolishness, embarrassment, and disappointment for allowing this to happen. If I’m honest, there was probably a bit of self-destruction going on at this point. I couldn’t see that things would ever be better. I was always going to struggle, be poor, never trust anyone, and I never, ever wanted to date or have a partner again— ever! Poor me. It isn’t fair!
  6. Blaming and shaming. Then I started to throw blame in his direction, allocating him as 90% responsible for where I was in life! I felt as though I’d been taken advantage of and control over my life had been taken from me. Now, I was at the tricky part of my journey. I had to recognize the victim behaviors and the blame mentality that was leading me to think, choose, and make decisions from weakness, not strength. I was living in a deficit mindset, focusing on all that I lacked.
  7. Knight in shining armour. Because I was in such a down state, I yearned for someone to save me, help me, fix things—it didn’t matter who. Maybe I’ll win some money… someone has to, right? Maybe a friend will sort out the legal issues for me. Subconsciously, I was thinking that if I just ignore this long enough then someone or something will happen and sort it out for me.
  8. Self-empowerment. Well guess what? No one did, and nothing happened! I didn’t win any money, and all the problems were still there. This realization created a shift inside me. No one is going to fix my life for me. Time to take back my power! Yes!

I’ve always been spiritual, very self reflective, and self-aware. As part of my business, I give talks on these topics, so it’s information I know well. I realized that I had all of the tools within me to deal with this situation and deal with it for the best possible outcome for all concerned. I was reminded of the statistics that our actions are based on 10% of what happens and 90% of how we respond.

I chose to use my brain to work out a solution, even though I was very fearful of how to move forward. I was frozen with fear some days. I had to face some unpleasant tasks, deal with people I’d rather avoid, speak my truth, be assertive, navigate financial and legal issues, and more. None of it was easy or fun.

Slowly, though, I began to see just how strong I was. My women friends became my cheerleaders and sounding boards. I began to go to business networking events and met some amazing people who had also dealt with difficulty and risen above it. I began to do more public speaking gigs with different audiences, customizing the topics so the messages related to them.

I began to see ME! I realized that I quite liked me.

During the past few years, while dealing with a roller coaster of emotions, I hadn’t given myself time to enjoy life. I was too busy surviving, or so I thought, stuck in a victim mentality while I waited for someone to rescue me. When I look back, I think that I was really just hiding from the world and avoiding what I knew I must do to clear this situation. I continued to work and no one would have known about the internal struggles I had with myself, trying to deal with things I just didn’t want to, or didn’t think I should have to.

Falling in Love!

So, I decided to date. I was ready. I wanted to go out into the world. I thought that I still had a reasonable figure, still looked ok, had a lot to offer, enjoyed lots of activities, and I really love people and love to laugh. Unexpectedly, I met this amazing person. We went to the movies, out to dinner, camping, on picnics, and this summer we will go snorkelling and spend a lot of time at the beach. Just like I used to before the rollercoaster ride. The person I met is a lot like me. I feel appreciated, loved, wanted, respected, and I look forward to our dates. I don’t feel alone anymore. It’s wonderful. I’ve found love!

Who have I found? Well… I found ME! I’m dating myself!

I’m showering myself with self love and appreciation. I choose to use positive words when I describe myself. I find the best features of me and focus on that, even though I acknowledge the less than perfect features. We all have them, don’t we? And it’s what makes us real. I tell myself how smart I am. I share my knowledge and skills openly. I give gratitude every day for the little, wonderful things in my life, like the washing machine that washes my clothes, the candle that smells divine, the dog who is always happy to see me, the sun on my face, the coffee in my cup—the simple things. I give myself time, care, and consideration. But most of all, I give gratitude for me. I love me! I’m so glad that I have met me again because I’m pretty awesome!

That childhood game that we have all heard when plucking flower petals from the stalk—“loves me… loves me not?”—doesn’t apply to me anymore. Because I know I love me. The anger has gone. The thoughts and actions of the victim, blamer, and martyr sometimes surface again, but my love for myself generally keeps them under control.

I have found that my change of energy is drawing people to me. Clients seek me out, people smile at me in the street, people want to be around me—and I want to be around me! One day, I might date someone else, but right now I am very happy with my date and constant companion—ME!

Does this self-awakening sound like a journey you also want to take? If you’d like to know more about these and other self-awareness strategies, you might be interested in my workshop “Are you who you think you are?”

Give me a call. I’d love to chat with you.

Where to from here?
If you want to know more strategies and different ways to support your child then I’d love to connect with you! Contact me through my website www.trainingandedservices.com.au OR email [email protected]  OR join me on our Facebook page – Training and Education Services with Dr Kathy Murray.

Dr Kathy Murray has worked with children and families for 34 years as a teacher, researcher and university lecturer. Kathy now works casually with preservice teachers at Central Queensland University in Noosa, while supporting parents, early childhood educators, leaders and organizations through her consultancy business, Training and Education Services.

Helping Your Child Transition to School

By Dr Kathy Murray
Education specialist, Author, Public Speaker, Coach and Mentor.

I remember taking my child to school on the very first day. I was a teacher and had been on the other side of first day drop offs many times. But as I helped my daughter settle in and started to get ready to go, tears filled my eyes. It seemed like the end of an era. Now she was at school, and I wouldn’t see her for 5 long hours, 5 days a week.

Fortunately, I had prepared her well. So,although it was bittersweet, I was comforted to see her sitting happily at her desk, waving goodbye as I left.

Preparing your child well before the first day of school is important because change can be scary—for children and adults alike! Right now, over the summer holidays, is the perfect time to start preparing your child for the transition ahead.

There are some practical steps you can take to ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible.

Here are my top 10 tips that I’ve learned over the past 30 years:

  1. Keep an easy-going attitude.Try not to place too much focus on the first day. If you are feeling stressed and anxious, your child will pick up on that. Tell your child that the first day is exciting, but there are many more days to come and look forward to as well.
  2. Buy shoes with Velcro, not laces.Taking this small step means that you and your child have one less thing to worry about. Laces come undone, and children at this age are still learning how to tie them on their own. Velcro will ensure that they are all set for the day.
  3. Walk around the school over the holidays. Taking a tour of the building will acclimate your child to the new environment with you by his or her side. Facing a new setting amid the bustle of the first day can be overwhelming. Your child will feel more confident coming in with a general familiarity of where things are.
  4. Talk through the day. Give your child an idea of what the first day will be like. See if you can speak with the teacher or a school administrator beforehand to clarify what the typical routine will look like with activities such as mat time, play, morning tea, and so on. This will help your child understand what to expect beforehand, which will calm any anxiety or uncertainty they are feeling.
  5. Give your child a special object to carry through the day. Consider offering your child a special hanky, shell, or other small object of yours that they can take with them wherever they go. This memento will reassure your child as a reminder that you care for them and are thinking of them even when you’re apart.
  6. Account for the heat. With the high temperatures at this time of year, children will get tired and irritable more quickly. Try to be understanding and take steps to help your child relax, recharge, and cool off inside. Minimize outside school sports during this season to help with managing their fatigue.
  7. Have a plan for lunchtime. Your child will be eating with less supervision and away from the home environment. You can help them feel prepared by going on picnics and practice opening lunch boxes with them before school starts.
  8. For boys, have dads go with them to learn how to use a urinal. Boys may not be used to these facilities and might become confused or nervous when navigating a new situation at school. During the holidays, Dads can help their son to navigate public toilet facilities.
  9. Give them a day off if they need it.We all need a break from time to time, and your child is no different. Facing all the change—new people, new activities, and new environments—can be exhausting. It’s fine to let your child know that, if necessary, he or she can take a day off to regroup.
  10. Don’t leave without saying goodbye.On that first day, once you’ve gotten your child all settled in, make sure he or she knows when you depart. If you go without making it clear, it will be startling and upsetting once they realize you’re gone. Instead, let your child know when the time has come for you to go and end with encouraging words, such as how excited you are to hear about the day goes when you pick them up this afternoon.

As your child’s parent or caretaker, you play a large role in setting the tone for the school year. Change is never easy, but making preparations in advance and setting expectations early will help your child feel ready, approaching school with positivity and excitement. With these 10 tips in mind, your child will start the year off on a great foot!

Where to from here?
If you want to know more strategies and different ways to support your child then I’d love to connect with you! Contact me through my website www.trainingandedservices.com.au OR email [email protected]  OR join me on our Facebook page – Training and Education Services with Dr Kathy Murray.

Dr Kathy Murray has worked with children and families for 34 years as a teacher, researcher and university lecturer. Kathy now works casually with preservice teachers at Central Queensland University in Noosa, while supporting parents, early childhood educators, leaders and organizations through her consultancy business, Training and Education Services.

Climbing the Walls with Frustration

By Dr Kathy Murray
Education specialist, Author, Public Speaker, Coach and Mentor.

Do you ever feel like climbing the walls purely out of frustration with your child or children?

Or you may feel pure anger when they say ‘NO!’ with attitude!

Whatever the feeling, you are quite normal. All parents feel that way as some point – even if they say that they don’t. One thing that’s important here is that you don’t compare yourself to other parents or carers.

We each have our own ‘virtual backpack’ that we carry through life. That is, we all have individual skills, beliefs, morals, values, experiences, religion, culture, hopes, dreams, insecurities, likes and dislikes. Our children are no different. We all carry our own ‘backpack’ that makes us who we are. But sometimes what’s in those backpacks spill out, and become poor behavior choices.

So what do you do when you have a mutiny in your house?  You’re running late, the kids won’t get in the car, lunch boxes aren’t packed and you’re late for your appointment or work?

Next time you want to climb the walls try these easy steps.

  1. Stop and take a breath. Actually, stop for 18 seconds and take 3 x 3 second deep breaths. Count for 3 on the way in and 3 on the way out. That gets oxygen into your brain and helps the blood flow – then you can think a little more clearly and with focus.
  2. Work out the need. What need isn’t being met for your child at that time. Children (and adults) have 2 main motivators for their behavior – attention and power. There are 2 others, revenge and avoidance, but they are generally part of the attention and power needs.
  3. Respond to the need - Attention: Do they want attention? Give them a hug, or a little job so they have a responsibility while you’re busy. Connecting with your child fulfills the need for attention in a positive way. You’ll know that the need is attention if you feel annoyed.
  4. Respond to the need – Power: Do they want power? Give them a choice – ‘Do you want to get in the car first or last? It’s your choice.’ Make sure the choice is a win-win outcome. The goal is to get in the car –it doesn’t matter if it’s first or last. The thing is that your child gets to choose and have the power – the need is fulfilled. If the need is power than you will feel threatened or intimidated.

Each child in the family is an individual and generally of a different age so we can’t treat them in the same way – it doesn’t work. It’s important to remember that children are not born bad. They sometimes choose bad behaviors to get what they want and fulfill a need that they have.

Once we start to look at why children are behaving the way they are then we can work out the solution. So, the next time you feel like climbing the walls with frustration remember we all have needs – even we parents – so take a breath, be calm and respond not react.

Dr Kathy Murray
Education specialist, Author, Public Speaker, Coach and Mentor.

Where to from here?
If you want to know more strategies and different ways to support your child then I’d love to connect with you! Contact me through my website www.trainingandedservices.com.au OR email [email protected]  OR join me on our Facebook page – Training and Education Services with Dr Kathy Murray.

Dr Kathy Murray has worked with children and families for 34 years as a teacher, researcher and university lecturer. Kathy now works casually with preservice teachers at Central Queensland University in Noosa, while supporting parents, early childhood educators, leaders and organizations through her consultancy business, Training and Education Services.