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A friend recently called me to get advice on a project that had gone sideways. Although she felt she had done what was asked of her, the submitted project was not received well. The client lambasted her for missing the mark. In dissecting what went wrong, it came down to miscommunications.

I expect miscommunications is at the root of many conflicts in the workplace — and even in our personal lives. Add the fact there are now limited opportunities for face-to-face meetings, miscommunications will likely raise its head more often.

Talking through the project and what went wrong with my friend, we were able to unpack some common traps that led to the miscommunications. These are worth sharing as they are not unique to her situation. …


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Every year I take time to pause and evaluate how and where I spend my time — as a professional, volunteer, community member and mom. I feel it’s important to treat your time as a precious resource, being intentional on where it’s spent.

After taking a closer look at all the various volunteer roles I hold, I realized it was time to cut ties with an organization I had been a part of for 3 years.

I thought I would share some of my reasons for stepping away from this role to help you as you reflect on how you give of your own time. …


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I’ve been working from home long before the pandemic. As a consultant, speaker and writer, I work with organizations that are spread across the country. Sometimes I’m part of a virtual team, other times I partner with other consultants, and occasionally I work independently on my own projects.

Being self-employed and not having a consistent work team, I’ve learned how to get the most of my collaborations. I admit, some of the lessons have come out of challenging situations.

Whether you’re self-employed or work in an organization, many of these tips will help you not only get the most out of working with others, but will also help you shine. …


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I recently had a friend ask me for advice on how she can better share her thoughts when she is frustrated or overwhelmed. She noticed I tend to have good relationships with people and wondered how I don’t lose my cool.

First of all, I have definitely lost my cool. Multiple times. Each time this has happened, while it was a release of energy on my end, it never accomplished much in terms of moving the situation forward. At times it has made matters worse — by closing doors or damaging relationships.

As I listened to my friend tell me how she handled a tough situation, it was all too familiar. She started the call by taking out her frustrations on the other person. Once she had run out of steam, she then tried to engage in a conversation. But by then, you guessed it, the person had put up a wall and shut down. …


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As a writer, I know the power of words. I choose my words based on the emotions I want to convey or reactions I want to stir in my reader. While I recognize not everyone places as much value on words, it’s important to remember the words we use or don’t use say a lot about who we are and what we stand for.

In Chilliwack, BC, a school board trustee recently made national news in Canada for his (apparent) lack of awareness of a word he used. …


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We want to provide support, but our budget is limited. It’s the (insert ministry or level of government) that you need to talk to, not us. Our hands are tied, we are doing what we can with the resources we have. There are just more kids with special needs than resources available. It’s a complicated situation. We know you’ve been waiting (insert time) for an assessment/therapy — please be patient, your child is on our list. No, we don’t know when your child will be seen, but we’ll let you know when their name comes up.

Any of these statements sound familiar? If you’re a parent or caregiver of a child with special needs, I expect you’ve heard at least one, if not many, of the above statements in the last month. I’ve been blessed cursed to have heard them all in the last week. …


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This has been one exhausting and crazy year!! In addition to the COVID restrictions, I’ve also been up to my eyeballs in advocating for my child. It’s been a year of trying to get an autism assessment (going the private route when publicly funded assessments came to a halt), fighting advocating for the school board to provide the supports my child needs (and deserves), all while running a consulting business.

To say I’m tired and overwhelmed would be an understatement. I’ve been on this rollercoaster for so long, and I didn’t know how to stop.

Until I was told, I needed to stop. …


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As business owners and entrepreneurs, it’s easy for the days and months to fly by as you have your head down, busy satisfying customers and managing staff. While this may help keep your business running, it won’t allow it to grow in a strategic way. Only by hitting pause and taking the time to work ON your business will you ensure you are in the driver’s seat.

I recently was reminded of the importance of this lesson.

Earlier this year I took part in a one-day retreat with a group of fellow entrepreneurs. …


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A brand is more than a logo. It is the emotions, thoughts, impressions and facts that come to mind when we think of an organization. Large corporations spend a lot of time and money protecting and elevating their brands. They know having brand recognition and respect are important elements of their business strategy.

But how often do we as individuals think about our personal brand? Not nearly as much as we should.

Having worked in public relations for over 20 years, I’ve spent a lot of time caring for and enhancing corporate, government and non-profit brands. I’ve crafted brand voices (how people within the organization should speak when representing the brand), and written brand identity summaries. …


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A few months ago, I received a letter that ended a long-term friendship. In the letter, my friend outlined how I wasn’t there for her during a difficult time in her life, even though she had been there for me in the past.

She went on to say how she couldn’t get past the hurt and betrayal of my absence and, as such, it was time to end the friendship.

I was gutted. My emotions ran from sadness (losing a friend), then anger (as there are two sides to every story), and finally a sense of relief (once I let go of the guilt). …

About

Cynthia Lockrey

Writer, communications professional, speaker and patient advocate. Visit www.howtocommunications.com for free communications tools to help share your stories.

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