If You’re drowning and Can’t Swim, Would You Read a Book or Hire a Swim Coach?

If You’re drowning and Can’t Swim, Would You Read a Book or Hire a Swim Coach?

What I know to be true is that books are nice. Books do not change behaviors. When you must make a life-change, hire a coach.

Currently, I work with 3-coaches. They help me:

  1. Grow my business.
  2. Increase the impact my speeches have on my audience.
  3. Add more humor to each speech. 

Why do I need coaches? Fear!

Fear gets in the way of growth. Fear of hearing? NO. Fear of failure. Fear of what someone will think of me (that I’m pushy). Fear of losing what I have (a job, relationship, home, friends, financial security).

What I will do is walk through fear with a partner. That’s the only way I would have gone skydiving or done two 10K’s or started  my own business at age 50.

What I do know for sure is that real change comes from coaching and hands on training.  

Over the past 35-years, I’ve advised clients on and negotiated for them on:

  • Financial loan and lease contracts
  • Salary increases
  • Employment package terms and conditions
  • Multi-million equipment bank agreements
  • Service arrangements and software contracts.
  • Real estate deals
  • Sales of companies and assets.

When an athlete wants to improve their performance, they hire a coach. When a singer wants to advance their career, they retain a vocal coach or music teacher. If a professional speaker wants to  advance their proficiency in front of an audience, they hire a presentation coach and perhaps a vocal coach.

Why would honing one’s negotiation capabilities be any different? If athletes, singers, speakers and  entrepreneurs read just 1 book or as many as 20 books to improve, would they FearLessly change?

I think not.

You will run faster, catch more passes, hit more homeruns, win more top performance honors, make more money and change more lives with a coach!

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.

The Catholic School Nuns Got It Right: What You Need to Know to be Successful

The Catholic School Nuns Got It Right: What You Need to Know to be Successful

All but one of my Catholic Grammar School teachers has long ago departed this world. I am sure they made their trip to Heaven in a Nano-second. Certainly, they earned Premier Seating Status immediately to the right hand of Jesus Christ.

As I look back, I am so appreciative on the twelve years of schooling I received from The Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica. Those women were saints. They earned their angel wings for enduring the classroom stress of thousands of belligerent, unruly, button-pushing, sometimes naughty Catholic boys and girls.

Despite numerous disruptions, those nuns graduated many well-educated kids who knew the difference between right, wrong, white-lies, alternate truths and “rounding off the edges.”

The Grammar Patrol
Catholic kids excelled in grammar. We knew how to diagram sentences and religiously made sure every sentence had a subject, a verb and an object. We knew where to place adverbs and adjectives. And for gosh sakes, we survived Spelling Bees, Phonics and mastered lists of 10-20 new words every week as we increased our vocabularies exponentially. We knew how to identify a subordinate or independent clause.

And for that I am eternally grateful.

Clean-up Your Mess
I assure you that if Sister Beatrice were still in the classroom, she’d take out her ruler and swiftly wrap the knuckles of politicians that assassinate our grammar and language. The internet and social media expose the good, the bad and the ugly lawmakers daily who should return to grammar school for the basics.

Tweets, photos, and videos have all changed the way we look and perceive our political leaders.  They cannot hide, nor can they permanently remove misspelled words, racial rants, and promiscuous photos from the digital world with their “fixers.” Back in the day, offenders had to wash chalkboards and paint over defaced walls.

They do not receive good marks for creativity when they make-up names for countries, rivers or mountains they can’t find on a map. Nor are they rewarded when they attempt to bluff their way through a speech or conversation by misquoting scripture in a pious tone of voice, as if they were Biblical scholars. Folks, if you don’t know what the Big Book says, pick it up and read from it. Life is an open-book test.

True Confessions
And what about the dust-up that would certainly occur when it came time to experience a First Confession? Confession was the time that all good Catholic boys and girls admitted their misdeeds and transgressions to the priest regarding poor judgement, profanity, name calling, and half-truths uttered about friends and family members behind their backs. Sometimes the brazen kids had even taunted and confronted “enemies” on the playground at recess. Those kids were known as bullies. They did not attract many friends.

At confession, we owned up to casting insults and aspersions on someone’s character by creating an embarrassing nickname. Confession came with stiff penalties assigned for lying, making false accusations or ridiculing someone for their physical or mental disability.

The parish priest would not let anyone off the hook with an excuse like “I Misspoke” or a suggestion that the priest should consider viewing the situation from my perspective.  Children knew the real consequences for their sins. They had to fess up and say, Yes, Father, I Lied!

And in Arithmetic, when pressured to quantify a problem or add up a column of figures, would Sister Mary Exactamundo allow for an estimated response like “I think the answer is Billions and Billions?”

The Future is Bright
However, do not worry about the fate of children not exposed to the Benedictine Sisters. There’s still hope for those who flunked out of Catholic School. They can aspire to serve in Congress, become a Senator or maybe even President of the United States.

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.

Bicycle Helmets: Child’s Play or Serious Business?

Bicycle Helmets: Child’s Play or Serious Business?

The Center for Disease Control reports that: less than half of the millions of Americans who ride bicycles wear bicycle helmets. For example, a national survey conducted in 2001-2003 found that only 48% of children ages 5-14 years wore bicycle helmets when riding Older children were less likely to wear helmets than younger children.

In 2010 in the U.S., 800 bicyclists were killed and an estimated 515,000 sustained bicycle-related injuries that required emergency department care. Half of the injured cyclists were children under the age of 20. Ten-percent of the injured children, 26,000 of them, sustained a traumatic brain injuries.

As a bicycle helmet proponent, I want to remind all bicyclists to wear your helmets. Parents, set the example for your children.

Over 10 years ago, I was one of those adults who never wore a helmet, until the day I sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as I rode my bike on K32, between Bonner Springs and Edwardsville.

An accident can happen in a few seconds, however the damage to my brain lasted for a long time. Common words disappeared from my memory. I had difficulty with proper sentence construction. Severe headaches were frequent.

A TBI is the wound that no one can see. I was one of the fortunate to recover. I eventually regained my memory and about 99% of my vocabulary.

If you live in Kansas City, and your child receives a head injury and loses consciousness, even for a second, be sure you receive care and assessment from Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Hospital. They have an excellent head trauma program. My niece received excellent care and rehabilitation there following a head trauma from an accident in which a school room partition knocked her unconscious.

On our street, we are known as the Helmet House. We always have extra bike helmets for children who we find are not wearing their helmets or who have outgrown their old he;lmet. .

One of the 11-year old boys on our street skipped a helmet one day this past Spring and of course, he fell. Fortunately he only received some cuts and scrapes, but now we never see him without his helmet.

If your or your child received a head injury recently, you need to know how to recognize the symptoms of TBI and to visit a doctor if one has experienced a blow or jolt to the head. Some common symptoms associated with TBI are forgetfulness, problems concentrating, low-grade headaches that won’t go away, loss of balance, and lack of energy.

Even though the kids are heading back to school soon, there’s many more beautiful months of bike riding ahead. Protect yourself and your children. Wear a helmet!

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.