Skip to main content

How To Overcome Four Common Challenges To Become A Better Communicator

“Raising your game as a communicator is one of the best ways to make a difference in the world, but it takes courage to open up to others and invite others to open up to you” says Michelle D. Gladieux, author of the new book, Communicate With Courage: Taking Risks To Overcome The Four Hidden Challenges. 

Gladieux explains that those four hidden challenges and sneaky obstacles that can keep you from becoming the best communicator you can be are: 

  1. Hiding—Fear of exposing your supposed weaknesses.
  2. Defining—Putting too much stock into assumptions and being quick to judge.
  3. Rationalizing—Using “being realistic” to shield yourself from taking chances, engaging in conflict, or doing other scary but potentially rewarding actions.
  4. Settling—Stopping at “good enough” instead of aiming for something better in your interactions. 

According to Gladieux, these challenges all have something in common. They require taking risks—to reveal yourself, question your beliefs, take a leap of faith, or move out of your comfort zone. 

Fortunately, each book chapter includes a real-world practice called a Pro Move and an exercise, both carefully crafted to help you overcome hang-ups and take more joy in communicating. 

Effective and courageous communication requires self-knowledge, practice, and a desire to grow. It is a full-body, full-mind, and full-heart effort. This book is like having a caring, expert coach along with you for the journey. 

Today, Gladieux shares these insights with us: 

Question: Of the four obstacles, which one is typically the most challenging for communicators and why? 

Gladieux: The four hidden challenges are sneaky obstacles the keep us from becoming the best communicators we can be. In my teaching and coaching practice, I've named them Hiding (fear of exposing supposed or actual weaknesses), Defining (putting too much stock into our assumptions), Rationalizing (shielding ourselves from taking chances by focusing too much thinking on what might go wrong), and Settling (stopping at "good enough" rather than striving toward deeper, braver, more meaningful interactions). 

Which hidden challenge is most relevant and difficult to overcome for communicators will vary by person, since we all have unique upbringings, strengths, weaknesses, and experiences in the world. 

I've noticed that once I gain ground in seeing and coping with one challenge (whether I'm working on myself or helping a coaching client grow), another may rear its head and require attention to be overcome. It's also worth noting that we may find a challenge we believe we've conquered can emerge again as life tests us in new ways as communicators. 

Many coaching clients find that they need to give Rationalizing a rest before they can engage in potentially rewarding communication, because pessimism certainly has power to limit our opportunities as communicators in our personal and professional lives. 

And, if we're Settling, right out of the gate we know we won't be striving to reach our communication potential in any way. 

Readers can find Pro Moves and do-able exercises delivered with love and strategy throughout the book to help them take small steps toward facing all four hidden challenges and their communication fears. 

Question: At what point or stage in a person's career is your book most helpful and why? 

Gladieux: Communicate with Courage was built to help young adults through seniors make a difference in the world as communicators. 

As long as you're breathing and can speak and/or write, you can strive to summon courage to grow as a message sender and receiver. It's been wonderful to hear about people gifting this book to their 87-year-old grandmother and to their graduating high school senior. Throughout adulthood, we need to keep questioning our beliefs, sharing about ourselves in ways that can be helpful to others (as we help ourselves), and taking leaps of faith in communication.

 Michelle Gladieux

Michelle Gladieux is President of Gladieux Consulting, a Midwest-based team known for the design and presentation of seminars in communication and leadership topics around the U.S. 

She facilitates strategic planning and executive coaching for clients in diverse industries, in governments, at non-profits, and in academia. She has 18 years of collegiate teaching experience at three universities. She's worked as a Human Resources and Training Director in the cold storage, robotics, and construction industries and enjoys visiting conferences as a keynote speaker and workshop presenter. 

Thank you to the book’s publisher for sending me an advance copy of the book.


Popular posts from this blog

Effective Listening: Do's And Don'ts

Here are some great tips from Michelle Tillis Lederman's book, The 11 Laws of Likability .  They are all about: what to do and what not to do to be a leader who's an effective listener : Do : Maintain eye contact Limit your talking Focus on the speaker Ask questions Manage your emotions Listen with your eyes and ears Listen for ideas and opportunities Remain open to the conversation Confirm understanding, paraphrase Give nonverbal messages that you are listening (nod, smile) Ignore distractions Don't : Interrupt Show signs of impatience Judge or argue mentally Multitask during a conversation Project your ideas Think about what to say next Have expectations or preconceived ideas Become defensive or assume you are being attacked Use condescending, aggressive, or closed body language Listen with biases or closed to new ideas Jump to conclusions or finish someone's sentences

10 Ways To Be A Better Leader

Here are 10 behaviors, techniques and tips you can use to be an effective leader: Respond to questions quickly and fully. Take an interest in your employees and their personal milestone events. Give feedback in a timely manner and make it individualized and specific. Be willing to change your decisions. End every meeting with a follow-up To Do list. Support mentoring -- both informal and formal. Don't delay tough decisions. Do annual written performance appraisals. Explain how a change will affect employee's feelings before, during and after the change is implemented. Have face-to-face interaction as often as possible.

6 Ways To Seek Feedback To Improve Your Performance In The Workplace

Getting feedback is an important way to improve performance at work. But sometimes, it can be hard to seek out, and even harder to hear.  “Feedback is all around you. Your job is to find it, both through asking directly and observing it,” says David L. Van Rooy, author of the new book,  Trajectory: 7 Career Strategies to Take You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be . As today's guest post, Van Rooy offers these  six tips for how to get the feedback you need to improve performance at work . Guest Post By David L. Van Rooy 1.       Don’t forget to as k :  One of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming things are going perfectly (until they make a catastrophic mistake). By not asking, you’re missing out on opportunities for deep feedback: the difficult, critical feedback that gives you constructive ways to improve. 2.       Make sure you listen :  Remember, getting feedback is about improving your performance, not turning it into a “you versus the

How To Use The CPR Business Efficiency Framework To Eliminate A Team's Pain Points

In  Nick Sonnenberg’s  book,  Come Up For Air ,  you’ll learn about his  CPR Business Efficiency Framework , which stands for:   C ommunication P lanning R esources   This framework focuses on eliminating the pain points most teams experience by optimizing these three operation areas foundational to every organization. “In my book, I show you the tools that will boost efficiency in all three of these domains and I provide you with a detailed blueprint for the most effective ways to use them,” explains Sonnenberg. He further shares that some sections of the book may be more applicable to managers, and some may be more applicable to individual contributors. “However, it is still integral that both roles understand all of the concepts within the CPR Framework as each one benefits the team as a whole,” says Sonnenberg. As you read the book, you’ll learn what Sonnenberg has learned through years of building a leading efficiency consulting business – that the primary reason why so many teams

Sample Of Solid Business Guiding Principles

I really like these  10 guiding business principles  that San Antonio, TX headquartered insurance company  USAA has lived by: Exceed customer expectations Live the Golden Rule (treat others with courtesy and respect) Be a leader Participate and contribute Pursue excellence Work as a team Share knowledge Keep it simple (make it easy for customers to do business with us and for us to work together) Listen and communicate Have fun Too many companies don't make it simple for their customers to do business with them. Is it easy for your customers to: Buy from you? Make returns? Get pricing and terms? Receive timely responses to their e-mails? Quickly get answers when phoning your company? You can find more examples of companies with impressive guiding principles in the book,  1001 Ways To Energize Employee s .

Extreme Teams Do This

Extreme Teams  is a fascinating book by  Robert Bruce Shaw , where he takes you inside top companies and examines not just great teams (your more “conventional” teams), but extreme teams. According to Shaw,  extreme teams : View work as a calling —even an obsession. Value members’ cultural fit and ability  to collectively produce results. Pursue a limited set of vital priorities —less is more. Strive to create a culture that is at once both hard and soft  – simultaneously tough in driving for measurable results on a few highly visible targets and supportive of individuals to create an environment of collaboration, trust, and loyalty. Value conflict among team members —recognizing the benefit of being uncomfortable. Companies with extreme teams will go to great lengths to ensure that their extreme teams are well equipped to address not only the challenges of today, but also the challenges of the future.  The central questions to ask , therefore, are: What is it your team will be accompl

How To Use The MOVE Framework To Be A More Effective Leader

  In their new book, Real-Time Leadership , leadership coaches David Noble and Carol Kauffman teach leaders how to use their unique MOVE framework to help leaders adjust their reflexive reactions and optimize their responses to any situation – including unexpected and complex leadership challenges.   The MOVE framework includes these four key elements :   M : Be Mindfully Alert . Attune yourself to the three essential dimensions of leadership: what you want or need to achieve, who you want to be as a leader, and how to help unlock others’ potential.   O : Generate Options . Identify at least four pathways forward by making decisions as each challenge requires, from slow and pensive, to whip fast.   V : Validate Your Vantage Point . Choose the best reality-based point of view – even if it wasn’t your own or initial thought. Leaders can be prone to missteps if they’re unclear on their perspective.   E : Engage and Effect Change . Do this first as an individual, then at scale – or all

Good Sample Business Principles

I really like these 10 guiding business principles that San Antonio, TX headquartered insurance company  USAA  lives by: Exceed customer expectations Live the Golden Rule (treat others with courtesy and respect) Be a leader Participate and contribute Pursue excellence Work as a team Share knowledge Keep it simple (make it easy for customers to do business with us and for us to work together) Listen and communicate Have fun Too many companies don't make it simple for their customers to do business with them.  Is it easy for your customers to: Buy from you? Make returns? Get pricing and terms? Receive timely responses to their e-mails? Quickly get answers when phoning your company? You can find more examples of companies with impressive guiding principles in the book, 1001 Ways To Energize Employees .

How Leaders Use Four Workarounds To Tackle Complex Problems

  “Workarounds are effective, versatile, and accessible methods for tackling complex problems,” shares the author of the new book, The Four Workarounds . “They are a creative, flexible, imperfection-loving, problem-solving approach. A method that ignores or even challenges conventions on how, and by whom a problem is meant to be solved.”   In Part 1 of this fascinating and instructional book, author and Oxford University professor, Paulo Savaget , explains what workarounds are and how to come up with them. And, then in Part 2, he digs into how to cultivate a workaround attitude and mindset, including how to reflect on the ways you typically see, judge, and approach obstacles.   “I also show you how you can systematically conceive workarounds to your problems and how your workplace can become more workaround friendly,” adds Savaget.   You’ll read intriguing and revealing stories of how some of the largest and scrappiest companies and organizations used one or more of the four workaround

How To Be A Modern Day Legacy Builder

Legacy in the Making is the fascinating book where authors Mark Miller and Lucas Conley provide readers a toolkit for how to be a modern day legacy builder for your company/brand.   The tool kit provides the roadmap for leaders who can harness the power of long-term thinking in a short-term world; the skill needed to create a modern day legacy. The fascinating part of the book is the stories from the authors’ exclusive interviews with modern legacy thinkers who are transforming business as we know it – stories from The Honest Company , Grey Goose , Taylor Guitars , Girls Who Code , and the San Diego Zoo . “These are the legacy builders that are out-performing rivals, attracting and keeping the best talent, and changing the way others engage with their work and think about their own legacies in the making,” explain the authors. Modern day legacy building is a new kind of legacy creation that simultaneously encompasses what was and what will be