Archive for the ‘Interviews and Guests’ Category

Improve Communication in the Workplace

October 17, 2008

Communication is critical in the workplace, and there are many ways we can all improve. This benefits our own careers as well as improving working relationships.

In order to help us all improve, I interviewed Nancy Kaye from American Communication English on communication tips, cross cultural workplaces and why she is so passionate about communication. 

What are your tips and tactics for communication in the workplace? 

Practice Conscious Listening: At the start of our communication sessions with our clients we practice experiencing ACE Inner Tube Breathing™ which calms down, relaxes the mind and brings focus, stilling the inner chatter providing an open space to really hear the lessons. The practice prepares and supports our clients to know how to actively listen to the essence of what someone is conveying. 

Engage in Asking Questions: To receive feedback and clarification. Our clients are taught to digest what you think is being communicated to the other person. Pausing prior to responding is creating a safe space that gives you time for contemplating, comprehension and understanding.

Truth and Authenticity: Learn to discern when the truth is shining in someone, and distinguish when there is incongruence in their communication.

The following limiting idea comes up often with our global clients, and seems to be a stumbling block with interacting clearly with co-workers, especially with higher management. This is how we coach them.

Label Lock: We all have unconscious assumptions about how other people judge us. The ‘generalized other’ is the psychologists term for this. When we fall into this mental trap the reduced negative image constantly comes up for you each time you endeavor to interact with your colleague or coworker. It could very well be an erroneous judgment, a limiting idea such as the “Big Bad Boss.” Your perception may be limited by your personal bias, life experiences, age, and so on. We all see the world as we know it through different filters. We then get bogged down by casting someone in a partial role that has to be incomplete. We are all humans with foibles and unique ways of understanding our particular role in our job and how it should be handled. And we think others should behave accordingly.

Avoid Label Locking: Our clients are trained to become mindful of not labeling people as this or that. Labeling them puts them in a space that may not be true for them or for you.

Label Lock Reversal: When you believe someone sees you in a certain negative way and you adopt and hold that thought for who you are. This is just as stagnant a view of your whole self possibilities, as when you believe someone else’s false opinion of you.
Remember: You have total domain of how you view yourself. Unlock unwanted beliefs, phantoms and limitations.

During the ACE Communication Workshops, we teach our clients the following tip.
GOAL: I can communicate with ease with other people in my workplace with “PASS” To be; Precise, Articulate, Short & Slow.


Many of us work in multi-cultural workplaces. How can native English speakers be more sensitive to those for whom English is a second language?

Cross-Cultural Communication Workshop™
Embrace Diversity: We train our clients to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, which is an illustrative idiom that gives you the opportunity to role play and see the view from another’s perspective. Entertain the idea that it may be a struggle for them to come into a new country from a different culture and to try to communicate with a new language. They may be self conscious about their inability to communicate clearly. Learn about the other person’s culture, ceremonies, food and customs. Experience empathy. Locate something that resonates with your understanding and make it a discovery, perhaps you’ll make a friend.

Compassionate Communication: Practice patience with them and try to understand the words and thoughts of multi cultural co workers who are trying to communicate.
Show understanding, by using friendly body language, share your smile, look directly into the person’s eyes, nod your head acknowledging that you are listening, use a warm voice, slow you speech down a bit, paraphrase what you think someone has said, these are all great stress busters.

Treasure Hunt Adventure: You may discover a new way at looking at the world and gain a friend in the process. This is beyond a ‘win win’ situation. Everybody wins. Your company with the ever-evolving marketplace, your understanding of culture and the world at large. These are a few of the ways that we can bring about a society of conscious individuals transcending the differences and seeing the sameness and what you have in common with your colleagues.


Tell us a bit about your business. Why are you passionate about communication?

My passion is creative communication problem solving. I have a multi-faceted career background with a distillation of many diversified experiences.

As a child I was interested in knowing more about the world’s philosophies and religions and how they were similar to each other. I sought out friends and went with them to see what their belief systems were. Having traveled extensively I have learned about many cultures and countries. I am truly interested in other people and their cultures and different ways of doing and being.

Founding an English as a Second Language School and having taught for many years, I feel the frustration of those who wish to be able to communicate well and who struggle to do that. I understand how it is for them to try to get from place to place, understand the culture and language. Those in a new country do experience culture shock. 20 years ago, I began to explore and develop interesting creative programs to put students at ease and help them learn to communicate better. We discover, discuss and listen to their goals.

Our coaches assess each individual’s needs and we then create dynamic courses that deliver answers and produce great results for our clients. That is my passion.

English has more words than any other language. When our international clients study with us they gain the benefit of vocabulary enrichment. This enhances their ability to learn to articulate their thoughts.
We teach communication workshops to English as a first language clients as well ESOL speakers in companies and organizations to develop their ability to be confident communicators. The Confident Communicator Workshops cover many areas of communication capability.

You cannot speak that which you do not know or share that which you do not feel. You cannot translate that which you do not have or give that which you do not possess. To give it and to share it, and for it to be effective, you first need to have it.

Great communication starts with good mindful preparation. In our fast paced world we often do not take the time to be full communicators. We speak in shorthand and move swiftly flitting from idea to idea. Deepening our communication capability deepens our connections.

My passion extends to all people to be able to become articulate confident communicators. I love helping others find and express their voice.

“It warms our heart to know that we have been understood. The connection with other people is true communication in action. The thread of connection weaves itself with others and we become one in understanding.” ~ Namaste, Nancy Kaye


You can find out more about American Communication English here. She also has a few special offers for you. 

Special Offers: I invite you to Sign up for the “What is Communication?” A lively, interactive & informative free monthly series tele-seminar series with participants from all over the world teaching new tips and tactics to assist you in communicating confidently.
Learn about interesting people and their books and the work that they do. Send in questions about communication issues to be answered during the call. This popular series has listeners in 12 counties.

Useful Attitudes for Speaking and Listening. Recently I was invited to attend to The Seeds Of Compassion 5 day event hosted by The Dalai Lama and featuring Archbishop Desmond TuTu and notable scientists, childhood-development advocates, organizations, foundations, educators, business leaders and the greater community to promote tools and strategies to assist the healthy development of children as happy compassionate members of society. I attended workshops and discussion panels of leading researchers with scientific data proving the value of compassion in our society. I brought  back Useful Attitudes for Speaking and Listening.
To receive your copy go to: Code # Joanna.

To request receiving our popular ACE Communication Tips and Tactics mailing:


Just Means: Jobs for people who create change

June 26, 2008


In order to make change happen in the workplace, companies and individuals need to shift their ideas about what work is, and what a job entails.

One company that is trying to enable this change is


Why is Just Means important?

The goal of JustMeans is to question the assumptions behind how we have traditionally thought of value.  Both how organizations create value and also what we value in our lives.  Our goal is to showcase the organizations, ideas, people, and collaborations that are shaping the future of business.  In providing a platform where thousands of individuals and companies trade knowledge, we hope to exponentially lower the transaction cost of doing business in the world of social responsibility.  Only then will we be able to create the sustainable future and lives that so many of us want.

We call JustMeans the trading floor for social responsibility.  In the old days, trading floors were established to drive down the transaction costs of trading commodities and equities.  Lower transaction costs meant that more deals could be done, more goods traded.  Back then, value was defined by a price.  Today, it is as well, but there is much behind that price.  If you create a $0.79 pork burrito, does that price accurately reflect the externalities on the environment, labor, or our health care system?  In our own neighborhood in Harlem, 125th street is lined with every fast food restaurant where a full meal can be bought for $5.    As Amartya Sen has pointed out, the average longevity of a resident of certain poor neighborhoods in New York is lower than that of an average citizen in Bangladesh.


What are the main types of jobs on your site?

JustMeans is different from other platform in that we believe that you can create change in all three sectors (non-profit, for-profit and government).   Companies that use JustMeans to find talent include entrepreneurial non-profit organizations, clean technology firms, socially responsible venture capital firms, Fortune 100 companies, small to medium growing businesses, and development project management positions.   Most people that use JustMeans have a real skillset, like marketing, finance, or engineering and are looking to implement that skillset to help grow a business or department.


Why did you start Just Means? 

After studying economics at the University of Chicago, I was concerned about the lack of focus on externalities/public goods in the curriculum.   Value was defined by short term financial gain and this definition shaped my colleagues perception on the role of business in society.  A successful business was one that created short term financial value at all costs, a successful career was defined by the size of your paycheck. 

As a result, I created StartingBloc, a non-profit organization that educates, empowers and connects emerging leaders to drive positive social change across sectors.  The organization started with a $1,000 grant from the University of Chicago and I continued work on it for over four years.  The idea was to create a competitive leadership development program for undergraduates and young professionals.  In partnership with leading business schools, we showcased the people, organizations and models of change that were driving the fields of social enterprise and sustainability forward.    Running the organization was tremendously rewarding but I felt that we needed a place where these ideas could be showcased to many more people.


The companies that use your site include Timbaland, Jumpstart and MBAs without Borders. What do companies like these have in common? 

They all share an understanding that there are many groups that companies/organizations should be accountable to beyond just investors/donors.  These groups include current and potential employees, customers, vendors, suppliers, communities, journalists (both old and new), and the environment.


Do people who work for a meaningful purpose enjoy their jobs more than other people?

Yes.  I think this is just human nature.  People are inherently good.  If you are working on something that you are passionate about and also has a positive impact on the world, you are going to feel like you are an active participant in shaping your reality.  Paulo Freire, author of Pedagogy of the Oppressed, discusses how the lack of meaningful work is one form of oppression.  Through work, people become active participants in creating their world.  If you do not enjoy your work or find freedom through it, you are essentially oppressing yourself.


What is your number one tip for being fulfilled in your job?

Figure out what you are passionate about.  The money will follow.


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