Communication Skills are Vital to Your Success in Business and at Home

Communicating confidence, women in business, christian women in business

Are you actively building your communication skills?

Communicating confidence in all areas of your life means being aware of seven key elements. {I’ll be covering these in future posts. But you can start here or here.}

Having someone help you see and hear what you can’t is available. In just a few short sessions, you can be on the road to communicating confidence in every room, stage or situation you step into. Contact me today.

grammar, speak well

Top 12 Grammar Pet Peeves

Grammar isn’t just for grandmas.

communication, grammar, speak well


Media has distorted our sense of what sounds right and what doesn’t. Whether music, television, film or just kids wanting to sound like the street, poor use of the English language has infused our society.

But if you mean business and want to run a business – yours or someone else’s – you better learn how to speak well.

Here are just 12 of my many grammar pet peeves. If you’d like to download a copy, there is a link that follows.

Good grammar, first impressions, communicating confidence

Grammar Pet Peeves

Good grammar, first impressions, winning strategy, communicating confidence

Grammar is a Reflection of Your Image

Remember when your grandma would tell you ain’t ain’t a word and you ain’t suppose to use it?

Well, ain’t is a word and it is used all too frequently.

But that doesn’t mean it sounds right. It does give an impression and you’ll have to be the judge of whether that’s an impression you want stamped on you.

grammar, communicating confidence, content

Speaking well means using correct grammar. After years of collecting bad grammar habits, you’ll have to retrain your ear to hear what is correct or not. Like any bad habit, it’s not going to be easy. But using good grammar can be the difference between landing the job, promotion, sale, client or not.

Content may be king. But delivering it properly needs a strong grammar queen within it!



Winning Strategies, entrepreneurs

The #1 Skill You Need to Succeed in Business

What is the number one skill you need to succeed in business? Something you’ve known how to do since birth – communicate.

Communication skills are some of the most highly prized and sought-after skills in business. And they are equally essential at home.

Without communication skills we are unable to let others know what we think, feel, or want to accomplish. We are unable to build partnerships, motivate others, or resolve conflict.

Studies show that as professionals rise higher in an organization, communication skills become more important, not less.

10 tips for communicating effectively:

Stop what you are doing and listen.

At home, how often are you cleaning the kitchen, thinking about all you have to get done before dinner and half listening to your kids tell you something? Stop! Really listen and be present in the conversation. The same is true at work.

Look the person in the eye.

When you don’t look the person you’re speaking with in the eye, you communicate disinterest and insincerity. When I interview people, I watch to see if they look away as soon as they start to answer a question. If they do, I assume they are nervous and not confident in what they are telling me.

Ask questions and repeat what you’ve heard back to the person to make sure you’ve understood correctly.

This is especially important in relationships and negotiations. You want to be clear what is being told to you or asked of you.

Speak clearly and avoid using jargon. 

How often do you need to ask someone to repeat themselves? Slow down, articulate and don’t use words and phrases that only people in a specific business or organization would understand. For example, I loved getting to know everyone at AFP. If you aren’t a part of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ group, you wouldn’t know what I was talking about.

When writing, use correct grammar and check spelling.

We all make honest mistakes. But when I read a blog or business communique, poor grammar makes me less likely to consider the writer an expert in their field.

Re-read what you’ve written before pushing the send button or mailing a written communication.

I think we’ve all hit send on one of our devices without reading our message first. Ugh. Not only should you check for typos, make sure you are clear in your meaning. Something that is fun sarcasm to you, may be quite offensive to the reader.

Be aware of non-verbal cues such as body language or looking around the room for someone more interesting.

I can recall a very famous model-turned-tv-host, who when greeting someone at a party would look around to see who else was there. She is perceived as inauthentic to this day.

Know your audience.

Good communication goes far beyond grammar and spelling. Your communication style will be different depending on who you’re speaking with. For example, as a communications coach, I need to have a good balance between correction and encouragement. A trial lawyer will use a different style and balance.

Start honing your communicating skills today. Don’t let lazy grammar patterns, bad habits and weak body language keep you from being taken seriously.

communicating confidence, winning strategies, entrepreneurs

Encourage one another…

Communication, Encouragement


We’ve all spoken out of turn.

Typically, when we say something derogatory of someone else or gossip, it can be traced to our own insecurity.

Communicating confidence means we we are aware of our insecurity, but take that thought captive and replace it with truth so that we can authentically lift up others. When you do this, you not only bless the person you encouraged, but yourself in the process!

From Fired Up to Frenzied in a New Year.

I don’t know about you, but I get so fired up for the New Year.

Planner, 2017, Business women over 50I read and listen to podcasts of my favorite business coaches like Pat, Amy and Ali while taking endless pages of notes. But the most exciting thing I do – unpack my new planner and colored pens and start to add special days, appointments and the business travel I know I’ll be doing. I even add…are you ready for it…stickers. No, I’m not one of those people who use my planner as a scrapbook. But I do add a little state sticker here and pumpkin there. It just makes me happy when I get to those pages and see a little bit of whimsy.

Then I head into the first week of the New Year ready to go! I’ve done my prep work. I have my theme and top five projects for the year.  And I can’t wait to get back in my office.

Then it hits me. The frenzy.

I start feeling behind in my progress almost immediately. And my inclination is to quit. To just fall into the same patterns of doing easy-to-check-off tasks versus working on the steps to complete my projects.

But this year I’ve done something different. I’ve signed up with a coaching group that holds me accountable. Oh, I’ve signed up for loads of emails and free webinars, but this one is different. First of all, I’m paying for it! Coaches need coaches too.

I have scheduled the calls, participate in the closed Facebook group and most importantly, I spent two days in on online retreat, looking back on 2016 answering questions like:
What worked?

What didn’t work?

What do I need to do differently in 2017?

What are my BIG projects {no more than 5!}

I am…

But the number one task we did that has helped me the most is writing an I am statement, from the perspective of December 31, 2017. I just wrote. Things like I have given up the chaos. I am celebrating my eldest daughter’s college graduation. And on and on.

Then, I printed it out and posted it next to my desk. I refer to it daily and it helps me decide what projects to spend time on.  I want to be that person on December 31, 2017.

I encourage you to do that same thing. Don’t take too long. Just sit down and type or write out how you really see yourself at the end of the year. Then make it happen.

Periodically, I’ll post updates on how I’m doing with making my I Am statement reality. And I’d love to hear yours.

Next week I’ll share another easy to implement task to keep you on track and moving forward in business and your personal life.

Don’t forget to leave a comment!


Engaged: She Said Yes!


Does it get any better than when your future son-in-law wants to ask your daughter to marry him…in front of the family?

That’s exactly what happened with our daughter and her fiancé.

Engagement, Wedding, She Said Yes

It was September 4, 2016. My husband’s side of the family always gathers for Labor Day weekend to celebrate multiple birthdays. This year, it just happened to be his mom’s 80th birthday!

We celebrated by giving grandma Sherry the painting, LaJolla.  It hung above the sofa on the Jefferson’s. Yes, those of you who grew up in the 1970s will remember the show! She had always wanted it and now she had it!

After dinner, we sat down to play a competitive game of Pinochle. Everyone – all the kids – were gathered around to watch. That should have tipped Em off that something was up. But she was focused.

Emerie and Cole are the next generation of players. The rest of the grandkids don’t quite have the same affinity for the game. But Emerie and Cole would play every night if they had a couple to play with them.

This particular evening, they were playing with grandpa and grandma. We were all waiting for Em to get the bid. She always does. But on this night, she kept passing. The cards were not in her favor. Then, finally, she got it.

When a bidder gets the bid in Pinochle, her partner passes her four cards. When Cole passed her the cards, he passed a double marriage – the two King and Queen of hearts! Each card had a word on it: Will. You. Marry. Me?

Em started picking up her cards slowly. When she realized what was happening, she very quietly turned in her chair and there stood Cole. She was crying softly; there were no screams. Just pure joy.

Cole got down on one knee and pulled out a beautiful, pear-shaped, diamond ring. And…


Engagement, wedding, she said yes

It was the sweetest proposal. All the Giffords circled around her cheering, hugging and photographing.

And then we ate cake!

Engagement, wedding, she said yes


An upcoming engagement: Emerie + Cole

engagement, wedding, bride-to-be, a mom's story
Photo: Blinq Studio


Surprises! Surprises!

Our soon-to-be son-in-law has selected the ring. And now, he cannot wait to get it on Emerie’s finger.

Even though he called me to say he wanted our family to be part of the engagement, he later called to say that he would be asking Emerie on their date night. Just the two of them.

I panicked.

It’s tough. I am an over-involved mom, for sure. And while I was telling Cole, Emerie and anyone else who would listen that it’s their time, their experience, I wanted to be a part of it. I didn’t want to miss anything in this process. If it wasn’t a family event, who would get all the perfectly staged engagement photos? Who would tell their story?

engagement, wedding, bride-to-be, blinq studio

Then it hit me, with a little help from my oh-so-private hubby. The perfect engagement doesn’t need to an orchestrated event. It needs to be an intimate experience between two people who want to spend the rest of their life together. Even more important, they need to leave their mother and father and become one.

engagement, wedding, tips, bride-to-be

I forgot that before social media, we graduated, dated, got engaged, got married and had babies without presenting it all to the world to see. It was our life. Not a peeping public’s.

So that was that. I called Cole and told him that it was his and Emerie’s day; that I was so happy for them. And that I couldn’t wait to see them as an engaged couple!

And the ring. I wanted to see the ring!

engagement, wedding, bride-to-be, blinq studio

Engagement Ring Shopping!


It wasn’t long after Brad gave his blessing that Emerie was dragging her sister, Madison and me to the jewelry store.

Like the next day!

engagement rings, sisters, A.T. Thomas

First, I have to tell you that Emerie worked at said jewelry store during this time. I’m pretty sure she knew what she was doing when she took that position!

She tried on loads of rings, but Emerie has her own style and she kept going back to one unique bauble. We’ll have to see which one Cole likes.

engagement, weddings, young love

There are pros and cons to ring shopping.

I think it’s important to love what you’re getting. You have to wear it forever. Yes, I know many brides upgrade at year five or 10. But if you have a hubby like mine, there’s no chance of a complete upgrade. When I asked Brad if I could change it up a bit, he looked at me with sad eyes and said, but that won’t be the one I put on your finger.


I’m good. I’m lucky to have gotten a beautiful ring in the first place.

engagement ring try on, diamonds, pear-shaped

But back to Em.

The thought of that ring burned in her. And that meant she was a little thorny to Cole.  He didn’t have much of a chance to pick out something on his own; or in his own time.  Not that he wasn’t itching to get a ring on that girl’s finger. I’m just saying.

The ring, pear-shaped diamond, i want it now
I think she found the one!

engagement ring, weddings, faith




A wedding story: Cole + Emerie meet


The day has come.

Emerie, our youngest daughter, is getting engaged.

Her beau, Cole, called to ask Em’s dad, to dinner. We knew.

Poor guy had to be sweating it. You see, Brad is known for his lectures. Cole has endured many. What a guy! But truth be told, Brad really likes Cole.

This is their story from my perspective. And their story started three years ago when Emerie moved to Able 13. Her first year at the University of Nebraska. And her first year in a dorm. A coed dorm.

She moved in a week early to rush. She pledged her dream sorority, Delta Gamma. She had a roommate from church. We decorated her dorm room in turquoise and white.

We left her at school – a mere 20 minutes from our home – and we advised her one last time to study hard, enjoy sorority life and get involved. But not with a boy!

But you can’t time love. When God says this is your destiny, it’s your destiny. And three years later, Cole is Emerie’s destiny.

Yes, we wish they would finish college before saying “I do.” But that isn’t their plan.

engaged, August wedding, she said yes

August 19, 2016

Cole asked Brad for Emerie’s hand in marriage. And he said, “yes. Now let’s talk about…

You’ll have to come back for the rest of the story.

I’ll be sharing this story as I navigate planning a beautiful and creative wedding on a budget.

Engagement tip, ask for hand in marriage