7 Life Lessons from a 5-Year Old

7 Life Lessons from a 5-Year Old

In August of 2013, while in the Austin, Texas airport, I sat sipping a cup of coffee at the airport café before boarding my flight to my next workshop in Denver.

As I wait for my departure time announcement, I people-watch. The next encounter would be one I will always remember. I had a 7-minute education from a lovely 5-year old little girl named Natalie, dressed in pink from head to toe, pulling her compact pink and purple backpack. She and her mom, dad and big brother were on their way to Disneyworld when our paths intersected.

Natalie became the teacher and I was her student that day as she taught me: 7 Life Lessons To Remember No Matter What Age You Are!

During our brief conversation, I learned that her birthday is June 27thand her favorite colors are pink and purple. She was fascinated with colors and hoped to teach me a few in case I did not know my colors. Her lesson began by naming every color she saw around us. As I recall, she knew them without one mistake. And each time she saw a color, like a blue suitcase rolling by, she quickly added other “Blue Things.” The sky is blue. My brothers bike is blue. My mommy’s eyes are blue. The next color to catch her eye was green. And off she went into a litany of green things.

When I asked her about her trip, she admitted that this was her first airplane flight and that she was a little afraid. Her primary fear was of getting lost. We discussed holding on to her mommy’s hand so that would never happen. She spontaneously grabbed her mommy’s hand and mine as well. I was surprised at her immediate trust of someone she’d just met.

As we continued to talk, topics bounced around. Next to pop into her head was that mommy had told her she must eat her vegetables. And that she was supposed to take a nap on the airplane so when she woke up she’d almost be at Disneyworld. Unlike grownups, Natalie had no notion of what topic would be appropriate “airport conversation.”

As her mother and dad indicated it was time to move on to their gate, I asked Natalie to promise me to hold on to her mom’s hand and eat her vegetables. At that point she walked very close to me and locked her tiny little finger into mine. I had never been asked to make a “Pinky Swear.” The serious look on her face indicated she definitely would keep her “Pinky Swear” promise.

She then put her arms around my neck and gave me three hugs. Waved goodbye and began the long walk  down the airport hallway, holding her mommy’s hand. She took a few steps and turned around and waved to me. The pauses and goodbye waves continued for what seemed to be an eternity. She probably did not see the tears rolling down my face. All sound ceased. People disappeared. All that remained was the tiny figure of Natalie turning the corner and waving for the last time.

It’s been 5-years since that chance meeting and recalling it still brings me to tears.

What are Natalie’s Seven Life- Lessons?

  1. If you’re lucky and look, you’ll see a favorite color everywhere.
  2. Be brave. Help others to be brave even if you’re doing something for the first time ever.
  3. Hugs are free. Give three.
  4. Pinky Swears must be locked to be binding.
  5. Share stories and toys.
  6. If you’re afraid, it’s ok to hold someone’s hand.
  7. It’s Ok to keep looking back when you wave goodbye. However, once you turn the corner, it’s time to look ahead for your next adventure.

Natalie, thank you for teaching me those essential and practical instructions.

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speakerauthorconsultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success.

To Eliminate a Bad Habit, Track It, Count It. You’ll Change it.

To Eliminate a Bad Habit, Track It, Count It. You’ll Change it.

In the words of Harvard Business Review writer Anthony K. Tjan, “…there is one quality that trumps all, evident in virtually every great entrepreneur, manager, and leader. That quality is self-awareness. The best thing leaders can [do] to improve their effectiveness is to become more aware of what motivates them and their decision-making.”

When we become aware of a personal behavioral shortcoming or an area that needs improvement, will we begin to correct it without being conscious of making changes?

Behavior changes, can include attempting to eliminate using filler words such as: “um”, “uh”, “you know” “and” “like” in our presentations. Changing habits might also include our energy consumption in the workplace.  Awareness of how we waste energy can be minimized by simply monitoring and tracking it.

In an #IFMA Kansas City Chapter Meeting today, Dennis Murphy, Chief Environmental Officer for the City of Kansas City, Missouri, shared information with the Chapter about the #Energy Empowerment Ordinance enacted in 2015. What I found especially encouraging is that when companies began to track their energy consumption and report it as required by the ordinance, their energy consumption decreased by 10%. No fancy program was initiated. Awareness was enough to make the decision to change.

Maybe my dad was right to keep reminding us to turn off the lights in a room as we left it. At my Bonner Springs Toastmasters Club, we track how often we use of filler words in speeches. I have almost eliminated that behavior simply by becoming aware of it.

What habits do you need to change? Start counting and tracking them. You’ll change! I guarantee it!

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speakerauthorconsultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success!



If You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get.  5-Steps to Be HEARD in a Noisy World

If You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get.  5-Steps to Be HEARD in a Noisy World

Successful negotiators are prepared negotiators. Most of us are not born negotiators. However, through trial-and-error, we learn how to get what we want. By the age of two, a toddler knows how mommy and daddy tick and what it takes to get a cuddle, cookie or favorite toy.

The stakes grew larger as we reach adulthood. The “winner takes all” theory ceases to work. The anthem becomes “I want to be HEARD. LISTEN to me. RESPECT my opinions.”

Five Negotiation Success Steps are contained in the acronym H.E.A.R.D.

Step 1 – H – Homework

Before every negotiation, know as much as possible about the “other team.” Homework comes before conversation. Jump into the heart of the negotiation without proper preparation and you lose more than you gain. It never pays to avoid the homework phase.

Homework includes:

  1.  On-line research tools such as Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube to uncover information gold that will provide keys to your negotiation success.
  2. Check the other teams’ website, marketing philosophy, recent press releases, stock price, trade magazines articles, blogs, podcasts and webinars.
  3. Homework helps understand your opponent’s needs, wants and bottom line and how it matches your goals.

Step 2 – E – Engage

In the initial meeting, engage the opponent and assess what you know and need to know.

  1. Use open-ended questions to get the other team talking. Confirm research facts you’re unsure about.
  2. Use active listening skills and demonstrate your interest in their position.
  3. Take notes. Notes aid recall of what was said, and commitments made.
  4. Learn to accurately read language. You’ll peek into their true thoughts.
  5. Don’t interrupt. Allow prospects to speak freely.

Step 3 – A – Assess

Assess what you know and don’t know. Test possible solutions with phrases like “what would you say if…” or “let’s imagine when…” or even, “Other than that one deadline we are unable to meet, what else concerns you about doing business with us?”

If you’re faced with someone who answers questions with a question, consider taking a refreshment or comfort break. Their questioning technique can become an impediment rather than a tool. A pause for a coffee refill has saved many a negotiator from losing their emotional control.

Step 4 – R – Recommendation

You’re ready to present your solution, proposal or position.

The recommendation phase is not called the Godfather Step. If you recall in the classic movie The Godfather, there is a scene in which one of the lead characters, Don Corleone, tells his associates that he plans to make their opponents an offer—“an offer they can’t refuse.”

There are debates over who should make the first offer. Go with your gut. I’ve won with either approach. There is adequate research to support either technique.

Step 5 – D – Document

A deal is not finished until it’s in writing. Accurate note taking throughout the process makes this phase easy. Immediately after discussions are concluded and the handshake consummates the verbal agreement, draft the contract.

Before anyone leaves the room, assign responsibilities to participants regarding the next steps towards completion and timing.

Allow time for contract clarifications. You laid the foundation for a future meeting, negotiation or transaction. If all parties were treated fairly and each departs with some of what they need, you’ve built a win-win relationship. You’ll live to do another deal.


Listening Sales Tool Box Tips for Success

Listening Sales Tool Box Tips for Success

Four Tips for Your Sales Tool Box are:

  1. Summarize Often
  2. Confirm and Clarify
  3. The 80-20 Rule
  4. Maintain Focus

Summarize Often

Recap your discussion with your client several times throughout the meeting. Your customer is not forgetful or inattentive. Summaries demonstrate momentum.

Five reasons to review are:

  1. Remind attendees you’re making progress.
  2. Everyone can celebrate little victories.
  3. Keep the end goals in sight.
  4. Demonstrate that good listening and comprehensions are ongoing.
  5. Encourage time management.

The 80-20 Rule

Make sure your prospect talks 80% of the time. While they share their needs and wants, remain quiet and take excellent notes. Sales people love to demonstrate how smart they are. “Smart Listeners Are Silent Listeners.”

The smartest person in the room talks 20% of the time and asks great open-ended questions that begin with the Five Ws; Who, What, When, Where and Why? In addition, the Big H – How.

Successful sales people remain engaged and demonstrate comprehension.

Confirm and Clarify

This step I nicknamed “The Parrott.” This technique came from marriage counseling. Years ago my husband and I wanted to improve our communication. The counselor asked each of us questions. He listened to our responses. Then we summarized what our spouse said.

Unfortunately, our “instant replay summation”were inaccurate. We listened with flawed filters. Frequently, what we reported hearing was incorrect. Additionally, as we gave our interpretative synopsis, the words selected and the vocal intonation changed too. Perhaps, in our replay, we wanted to impress our counselor with our dramatic acting skills. If this were an audition, that’s appropriate. In  listening skills practice, it’s not!

Also, don’t repeat a partner’s exact words or it sounds like you’re mocking them.

Parrots supposedly repeat their famous phrase “Polly Wants a Cracker” exactly as their owner said it. No variations. No dramatic inflections. Think of “The Parrot” next time your restate your customers’ requirements. Consider opening with one of these phrases:

  1. “What I heard you saying was…”
  2. “Let me see if I got this right.”
  3. “What you’re telling me is that the…”

Maintain Focus

Demonstrate listening using three skills:

  1. Take notes.
  2. Practice “Listening Body Language.” Lean forward and use the appropriate eye contact.
  3. Focus on your prospects Body Language and react accordingly.

Use these Listening Techniques and Tools and your sales will increase and your relationships will prosper.

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speaker, author, consultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success!



Because there are no visual clues, you must sharpen your listening skills. The following are tools and tips I use to improve my ability to practice the HEARD Process.

Before Answering the Phone

  1. Take a deep breath. This helps to refocus and switch gears from other tasks at hand.
  2. Remove or minimize distractions such as your cell phone, IPhone or music source.
  3. Turn away from your computer to avoid the temptation to check emails during call.
  4. Silence audio computer email notifications.
  5. Greet the caller and SMILE. (They can hear this in your voice.)

The  “I’m here for you now and later too” Call:

These are suggestions for the second or third call with your colleague/client/customer. It occurs after the initial introduction call from the sales and/or implementation team. The purpose is to begin to build a trusting relationship:

  1. Be proactive. Don’t wait for the customer to call with a problem. Call them first.
  2. Ask if this a good time to talk? Sometimes you can hear noise or other distraction in the background or there is just a hesitation in their voice. It’s always good to ask permission to proceed.
  3. If the timing is not good, ask when they might be available to talk. Schedule the call and stick to your appointment.
  4. Explain your reason for calling. “I’m following up on ……..
  5. Your calling to help and make an offer to move a project forward by saying “What else needs to be done and how can I help you reach your deadline?”

Other helpful tips:

  1. If you work in a noisy and distracting environment, consider finding a more quiet space especially for a difficult call when listening well is critically important.
  2. Have a beverage available to sip in case your voice becomes dry. When we are nervous, our body automatically responds to stress with shallow breathing which can make our throats dry.
  3. Take notes to keep your mind from wandering as the call progresses. This is especially important when the prospective member has an accent or speech challenge.
  4. Prepare a checklist of items you need to cover with the person before completing the call prior to commencing the call.
  5. If the office is unexpectedly noisy, ask if you might call the prospect back at a mutually convenient time.

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speaker, author, consultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success!


The Seven-Second Window

The Seven-Second Window

Nothing happens in 7-seven seconds? I can’t change my life in 7-seconds…can I?

Consider what is possible:

  1. High-speed Hot Rod: The Tesla can go from a dead stop to a speed of 65 in 7 seconds.
  2. Quick Decisions: Researches say we decide if we like someone within 7-seconds.
  3. Fleet Footed: The cheetah, the fastest land animal, can reach 60 mph in less than 3-seconds.
  4. Motor Mouth: In 1990, on the British television show, Steve Woodmore spoke 74-words in 6-seconds and could utter 637 words in 1-minute.

What can you do to today in as few as 7-seconds that will improve the quality of your life?

Ten Guaranteed Actions To Change Your Life That Won’t Cost You A Penny

  1. Pause before giving your boss a fast “NO” response to a new idea.
  2. The payoff for returning the smile of your flight attendant on an early bird flight will certainly make you feel better than if you frowned at them.
  3. Affirmatively nod, lean slightly forwards and LISTEN CAREFULLY to a customer who seems to be giving you a list of reasons why they can’t buy your product.
  4. Hug and kiss your child before they fall asleep. Both of you will get a better night’s sleep.
  5. Hold the door open for someone carrying a load of packages as they enter or leave a building. Don’t worry about their gender or yours. It’s all about helping another human.
  6. Take a deep breath from your belly when you’d rather return a verbal insult from a rival.
  7. Be the second car to proceed through an intersection after stopping at a traffic light. You might avoid a collision with someone who is late for work and decided to run a red light.
  8. Just say “No thank you” to a second helping of dessert at the next holiday dinner. You really will feel better the following day and self-esteem will grow.
  9. Apologize as soon as harsh words have passed your lips. It may not erase the pain and hurt the recipient of your words feels but it can start the healing process.
  10. Thank your creator for a full and productive day and the chance at another even better one tomorrow.

All ten tips will take a few seconds to implement. I promise your life will be a whole lot more fun, your health will improve and your outlook about your future will be brighter. That beats a ton of anti-depressants, hours in therapy or huge liquor bill at the local neighborhood bar.

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speaker, author, consultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success!