Welcome to HEN - Health, Environment, Negotiation

HEN is published each month by Julia Menard:
Helping Leaders Engage - One Tough Conversation at a Time!

HEN arrives at the full moon - a time to see clearly.   

Full Moon: December 28, 2012 - Year 10, Issue 13
Table of Contents:

HEALTH - Saying Thank You

Kelly McGonigal is a health psychologist, yoga teacher, and lecturer at Stanford University who studies mindfulness and neuroscience. Her twin sister, Jane McGonigal, is a game designer. Together they teamed up to create something they are calling the Thank you Game.
The intention of the Thank you Game is to help increase the practice of gratitude in a playful way (as a game!). Kelly’s research highlighted that the health benefits of gratitude increase exponentially when we express our gratitude and not just feel it.
Presumably, one would want to express gratitude for its own sake - not just because you can reduce stress, get a better sleep, and boost your immune function.  Strengthening the habit of gratitude also opens our heart and nurtures more compassion. But the fringe benefits help! 
Kelly and Jane put together a simple three-step process to help people express their gratitude with more authenticity, connection, and impact.
I’ve tried out their formula a few times this month. Although it’s felt a bit awkward at times, I believe that’s because it’s a new skill I’m practicing. What I didn’t expect was the flood of good feelings I had expressing my gratitude!

This simple recipe has given me a way to express what I already believed and felt, but didn’t know how to express. I hope it can be such a gift for you. It’s the holiday season – maybe you’ll have many opportunities even today to try it out!

Here it is:

  1. Find the Benefit
    - What good came to you as a result of the person you are thanking (how did that help you)?
  2. Acknowledge the Effort
    - What might have been hard for the person you are thanking?
  3. Spot the Strength
    - What good did you see in the person you were thanking? 
Make this practice your own – a daily ritual!
"If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher."  
… Pema Chodriin

ENVIRONMENT - Treating People Like Vegetables!

I came across this quote from the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nat Hahn. It made me think of a client who’s been engaging in some tough conversations at work with a direct report. It occurred to me, as I read this quote, what if my client, me – all of us - thought of those challenging people in our lives as vegetables? Would that help us feel and act with more compassion? See what you think - read on!
"When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don't blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change." 
… Thich Nhat Hanh

NEGOTIATION - The Slow Talk Movement

Mark Waldman and Andrew Newberg are co-authors of a new book Words Can Change Your Brain. They both bring a lot of research and background into the fields of neuroscience, mindfulness, and interpersonal communication.
One tip they discovered that I’m curious to experiment with in mediations or in any tough conversation is the idea of speaking … very … slooooowly.
Slow speech rates, according to the authors, will increase the ability for the listener to comprehend what you are saying, and this is true for both young and older adults. A slow voice also has a calming effect on a person who is feeling anxious, whereas a loud, fast voice stimulates fear, excitement, or even anger.
And, we tend to be tense when we start into a tough conversation – so it seems, it’s a perfect set-up to increase the tensions. In fact, any form of stress is said to convey a message of distrust. One person’s stress tells the observing person’s brain that there may be something wrong, and that stimulates defensive posturing in the listener.
Even a one-minute relaxation exercise will increase activity in those parts of the brain that control language, communication, social awareness, mood-regulation, and decision-making – however – so that’s also another reason to speak more slowly. It will bring more calm to you and the other.

So the next time you need to start up a tough conversation, remember to take a deep breath and take it slowly. The authors recommend no more than 30 seconds at a time (before pausing and checking in with the other) maximum. They tell one story of a simulated tough conversation where the tensions ran high until they had each party talk for no more than 10 seconds at a time (taking turns). Immediate impact.
The slow talk movement is born!

“The time has come to challenge our obsession with doing everything more quickly.”
… Carl Honor


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Julia Menard, B.A., Cert. Con. Res., P.C.C.
Leadership & Conflict Coaching, Mediating, & Training

Making Tough Conversations Great!

1. Make 10 weeks great! 
Starting January 23, you can take Making Tough Conversations Great through a 10 week tele-class series with Julia Menard and Judy Zehr. You will receive written materials each week and share in the learning with questions and answers in a group phone call to help you prepare for any tough conversations. Register by December 31, 2012 and receive $50 off the course price!

Click here to find out more and to register.

2. E-Course: 
10 week self-study course with Facebook Group Community
COST: $95 (+HST)

This self-study e-course is delivered directly to your inbox every week for 10 weeks.
For more details, click here.

To get going on this course, just email me and ask, or register online.

Stay Cool - Through the Holidays!

1. E-course
Audio recordings, e-book, and audio tools with Julia Menard & Judy Zehr

COST:  $149 (+applicable tax)

For many, the holiday season brings stressful tensions we'd rather not have. Give yourself the gift of heart-felt connections this time of year. We're offering Stay Cool - Through Conflict as an e-course, with a full course e-book and recorded sessions. We use concepts from stress science to give you the tools you need to hang onto yourself in the face of conflict. 
Click here to find out more and to register.

** Starting January 30, Judy and Julia will be offering their 3 week Stay Cool tele-class again. Email Julia for more info! :)

Local WORKSHOPS in Victoria on Tough Conversations:

Available for organizations and individuals in Victoria, BC

  • Does conflict make you break out in a sweat?
  • When it doesn’t go well, can you feel a tension so thick you can cut it with a knife?
Most people loathe conflict.  I know - I used to be one of them!

But, through years of practice, and study, and working in the field as a professional mediator, trainer and conflict coach – I’ve seen the power in conflict – both to damage and enhance relationship.
It’s all in how you approach it!

I pride myself on creating a learning experience that is relaxed, safe, and relevant. Whether it's sharing self-management tips, discussing hot button issues or describing how to bring up a tough topic, there's no shortage of conversation topics.
Most importantly, this workshop offers a practical model for how to start and sustain a collaborative conversation. It incorporates interpersonal communication concepts from Interest-based Negotiation, Non-Violent Communication, and Clear Leadership.

Topics include:

  • Getting Out of Your Own Way
  • Separating Fact from Fiction
  • Linking Feelings to Needs

Individualized Training - Tough Conversations

Some of my favourite clients are managers and other people-oriented leaders who value relationships highly and have figured out if they put attention into their
relationships, they will get big dividends out!
In fact, managers spend 25 percent to 40 percent of their time attempting to resolve conflict (Washington Business Journal) - yet most leaders receive minimal - or no - training on how to resolve conflicts collaboratively.
If you'd like to enrich some of your relationships at work - whether with peers, clients, or your own boss, consider coaching.  I would love to support you in strengthening your key relationships at work.

If you would like to set up a time to talk about your needs in this area, just email me with "Coaching" in the subject line.

"Enlightenment is intimacy with all things."  
…  Dogen Zenji


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