Two key questions to help you self-manage under stress

Who are you?

Who do you want to be?

Two big questions and your answers will help you navigate through this time of stress and uncertainty.

Who are you? How are you travelling right now? What are your values? Are you living in alignment with them under pressure?

Be as honest as you can be with your answers – not so you can beat yourself up, but so you can own where you’re at. It’s about self-awareness. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.

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Lead with warmth

One of the best communication and leadership tips I can give you to help navigate this crazy time is this: Lead with warmth.

One of the best communication and leadership tips I can give you to help navigate this crazy time is this: Lead with warmth.

By warmth, I mean kindness, compassion and empathy.


Because warmth conveys our underlying intention.

It shows the people receiving our communication that we care about them and have their interests at heart – even if the message we’re delivering is difficult to hear.

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At times of crisis, leaders must be visible

Leaders! Now is not the time to go to ground; it’s the time to stand up and be seen.

“But I don’t have anything new to tell people,” you might think. “I don’t know what to say.”

No worries – tell your people that!

At times of crisis, uncertainty, challenge and change, you need to be seen. You must communicate early and communicate often.

Show empathy, compassion, calm and care.

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Remember to breathe


Don’t underestimate the power of breath for helping you manage your emotions, nerves and stress levels under pressure.

In my training, I teach two breathing techniques that I practice myself.

The first is tactical breathing. It’s where you take a big deep breath in through your nose and then release it from your mouth in a steady rush, blowing out your cheeks (don’t do this in someone’s face!).

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Soft skills get us through hard times

If ever there’s a time we need the skills to communicate under pressure, have difficult conversations, and manage ourselves at times of stress – it’s now.

It’s the so-called ‘soft skills’ – the people bit – that will get us through.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll share tips to help you manage you and communicate with others during this crazy time.

I am also now offering my services both face-to-face (for the time being) and online.

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Start with what you DON’T want

January. A time when many people set goals for what they want to achieve in the year ahead.
Exciting for some. Totally overwhelming for others.
What do you want to achieve in 2020? What’s your goal? Where do you see yourself in 12 months’ time? What does success mean for you? What’s your dream job?
All great questions but they’re big and can be scary as hell.

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Compliments are a gift: How do you receive them?

What do you do when someone gives you a compliment?

Do you dismiss it?

“Oh, I was just doing my job.” “It was nothing.” “No, big deal.”


“Everyone else worked way harder than me.”

Or reject it outright and use the opportunity to talk yourself down?

“Don’t lie, I was crap.”

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Where is your focus?

Where’s your focus?

That’s a question I explored with staff from a government agency yesterday in my Personal Effectiveness workshop.

As management expert, the late Peter Drucker said: “Efficiency is doing the thing right. Effectiveness is doing the right thing.”

I encouraged participants to take stock of both their personal and professional lives by questioning where their focus was and what success was for them.

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What to do when someone doesn’t want to talk

How do I make someone talk about an issue when they don’t want to?

That’s the question Lisa* asked me after attending my Don’t Shoot the Messenger workshop.

Lisa was married with four kids and her relationship with her husband was in trouble.

She’d tried to speak with him about their challenges many times, but he point-blank refused to engage.

She asked me what she should do.

The simple answer is you can’t MAKE someone talk about an issue if they don’t want to. You also can’t MAKE them listen to or hear what’s being said.

What you can do though, is influence them by framing the conversation in a way that encourages them to participate.

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Twelve lessons I learnt as a journo

This year marks 12 years since I worked as a newspaper journalist for the Latrobe Valley Express in Gippsland, Victoria.

I loved being part of the newsroom: the pace, the energy, the banter, the inside scoop on what was going on.

But it was more than that. My time as a journo taught me skills for life and the lessons I learnt still hold me in great stead today.

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Soft is the new hard

How to Communicate Effectively Under Pressure | 1300 532 461