Archive for Relationship Skills

As a relationship and communication expert, you know I sincerely believe all success begins with relationships. However, these relationships are only successful if they are authentic.

Authenticity must be at the very core of any trusting relationship. The #1 way to build trusting relationships is through effective communication.

Following are three key components of effective communication.

  1. Recognizing the fact that we live in an electronic world – face-to-face communication remains the most effective type of communication you can have when it comes to building trusting relationships.

    If there is any way possible to meet a client in person– by all means do so. Train, planes and automobiles can get you there.

    These face-to-face meetings might require more of your time (especially if it involves travel) – but its value towards building an honest trusting relationship makes it well worth the effort.

    Let’s be honest. Aren’t you more inclined to trust someone you have met in person, as opposed to only knowing someone through the Internet or telephone communications? Being in someone’s physical presence affords us the opportunity to get a “read on him or her” and size him or her up.

  2. The ability to actively listen is a vital component of effective communication. Actively engaging the speaker when they are talking by nodding your head and looking them in the eye shows the speaker you are fully present and listening carefully.

    Actively listening also provides you with the opportunity to ask for further clarification if you don’t understand something that is being said.

    Active listening makes the speaker feel valued because you are giving them your divided attention.

  3. Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication Skills. Choose your words very carefully. Words are powerful. They can build or destroy relationships. Speak clearly and concisely. Avoid rambling on and on or going off on tangents. Nobody has time for nonsense.

    Over fifty percent of all communication takes place non-verbally. Therefore, what is not being said is sometimes more powerful and important to building a trusting relationship than what is being said.

    Make certain your body language (non-verbal communication) is consistent with your words (verbal communication).

If you want to build authentic trusting relationships, take the time to meet people face-to-face, the effort will be appreciated. Utilize active listening skills and be aware of your verbal and non-verbal messaging. Practicing these effective communication skills will build healthy relationships and increase your bottom line.

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


As the year comes to a close, many people take stock of their lives and resolve to make positive changes in the New Year.

We all know the usual suspects: lose weight, exercise more, spend more time with the kids, read more, etc.

As a relationship expert I truly believe all success and happiness is built upon healthy relationships. And there is one New Year’s Resolution that will build these relationships!

Resolve to magnetize yourself in the New Year. No – not like a superhero, but the type of person who appears to naturally draw people to themselves.

Magnetic people are easy to be around and just as importantly, they make everyone around them feel at ease – and good about themselves.

Interestingly, magnetic people are not usually the smartest, richest or best-looking people in the room, (whew – qualifying most of us). However they possess qualities where people gravitate towards them anyway.

You want to work with – and for – magnetic people.

You want magnetic people at your parties.

You want magnetic people as your friend.

And so does everybody else!


Because magnetic people possess and radiate a positive energy that naturally draws people to them.


What’s the secret behind this magnetism?

A simple, yet rare quality: self-confidence (not to be confused with arrogance).

Since magnetic people possess self-confidence, they do not seek external validation. Their confidence comes from within. Therefore, they don’t waste their time and energy seeking the applause of the crowd since they already have a sense of their self-worth.

Following are 7 qualities magnetic people exhibit that draw people towards them. Make these qualities your own to increase your happiness and success in the New Year!

1. RESPECT everyone. Magnetic people treat the janitor and the CEO with the same sincere respect all people deserve. It’s a golden rule of life that many people have forgotten in their hurried lives and their search for more – of everything – power, money and what I like to call “stuff”.

2. Laser Focus on People Rather than “Stuff” – Following on the heels of #1, magnetic people demonstrate a genuine interest in others.

They share their most precious commodity with you – their time – and they never make you feel as if you are wasting it. They ask you how you are – and they actually stop to wait and listen to your response. They express genuine concern for you.

3. Build Trust. Because magnetic people treat you with respect and give you their time, they build trusting relationships.

They express genuine concern about your concerns and interests – which encourage you to share more of your true feelings with them. Over time, these interactions build genuine relationships based on trust.

4. Inquire about YOU! Magnetic people don’t babble on about themselves – they ask about you. They don’t dominate a conversation with how successful and how smart they are. They are not trying to impress you. Rather, they are trying to get to know you and they demonstrate this interest by focusing the conversation on you.

5. Learn What Motivates You! Magnetic people know that different things motivate people. For example, some people crave attention and flattery while others prefer not to be spotlighted.

Magnetic people have the ability to pick up on the subtle clues people give out that tell you how they want to be treated and approached – making everyone around them feel comfortable.

6. Possess Integrity and Character. Magnetic people do the right thing at the right time – even when it is hard and even if no one is watching. These are the cornerstone traits of people with integrity and character.

Magnetic people do what they tell you they are going to do – without you having to follow-up with them. They also say what they mean and mean what they say. In other words, they are not full of bull.

Their integrity and character is demonstrated in their absolute refusal to engage in gossip or bad mouth others.

7. Smile. Magnetic people smile. We unconsciously gravitate towards people who smile because they make us feel good about ourselves. To read more about the value of smiling, click here to read an interesting article published in Neuroscience News.

During conversation, people naturally mirror the body language of the person with whom they are speaking, so who wouldn’t prefer to speak with someone who is smiling?

If the only New Year’s Resolution you make is to magnetize yourself – success and happiness will be yours.

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


Many women make the mistake of believing their high quality work and professional dedication will be noticed AND then financially rewarded by their manager/boss if they just work hard and keep plugging away. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It would be nice to think superior work will get noticed and be rewarded – and it would be nice to think that the best person gets the promotion – but that is just not how the real world works! To insure your hard work does not go unrecognized by your upper management team, it is imperative you have a relationship with this team! You have to be known by your boss to get noticed by him/her! Otherwise, you are just another cog in the wheel.

Following are 3 key strategies that will help you develop a positive and healthy relationship with your boss – and facilitate your career advancement and financial reward!

  1. Make it Your Business that Your Boss Knows You! Chances are your boss is a very busy professional who is constantly being pulled in many different directions and who manages many people; therefore, the onus is on you to pull yourself out from the crowd and get noticed. There are many different ways this can be done so do what is most natural for you: schedule a productive meeting with the boss about a business matter that he/she is passionate about; make an appropriate personal connection based upon a shared hobby, interest etc. (you can find this out with just a little bit of research) For example, if your boss loves sports – and you do too, find an authentic way to bring it up during a conversation. Go out of your way to “run into” your boss in the hallway, in the parking lot etc. (do not confuse this with stalking – and I know you know what I mean!) In other words, find a way to make yourself VISIBLE and VALUED!

  2. Be a Problem-Solver & Initiate Solutions. One of the easiest ways to get recognized and rewarded by your boss is to take a glaring problem and find a solution. Bring innovation and enthusiasm to work – and make sure the boss knows you found the solution (without being a braggart). All bosses love problem solvers – and reward them!

  3. Be Likeable – that’s right, be the employee everyone loves to have around! Research shows people who are liked are paid more and have their mistakes forgiven more readily than people who are dis-liked. Your boss is human so he will want to promote and reward people he/she likes as well. No matter how fabulous you might be at your job – if you have an attitude you are less likely to be promoted, financially rewarded and liked by everyone – even your boss.

All success begins with relationships – and if you want to succeed, it is imperative you have a healthy relationship with your boss!

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


What exactly is emotional intelligence? John D. Mayer, one of two psychologists who coined the term in 1990 defined it in the Harvard Business Review as: “… the ability to accurately perceive your own and others’ emotions; to understand the signals that emotions send about relationships; and to manage your own and others’ emotions. It doesn’t necessarily include the qualities (like optimism, initiative and self-confidence) that some popular definitions ascribe to it.” To put it even more succinctly, I’ve defined emotional intelligence as the ability to use your emotions intelligently, in real time, to build and sustain relationships.

Research consistently shows, utilizing modern technology such as FMRI – Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and other high tech equipment, the intrinsic link between intelligence and emotions (brain and heart) – and the fact that great leaders are highly cognizant of this connection.

The days of the autocratic ruthless business leader who leaves a trail of dead bodies in its wake are gone for good – and good riddance to them. Millennials for sure, will not tolerate being treated as garbage – nor should anyone else.

Unlike your I.Q., there are many ways to exponentially increase your E.I. (emotional intelligence) throughout your lifetime. However, the absolute essential way is to increase your self-awareness. Know what makes you tick, especially what turns you off and makes you angry. These are often referred to as trigger points because they often trigger an unbridled emotional reaction, which we often regret. (And of course it is important to know what makes you happy.)

The greater awareness and understanding you have of your own emotions, the better you will be able to modify their expression to fit the situation at hand. Since my earlier definition of emotional intelligence states: “the ability to use your emotions intelligently” you see the obvious connection between awareness of your emotion so you can control its expression – instead of the emotions controlling you.

There is no education, no position and no title that takes the place of self-awareness when one is in a leadership position. We cannot undo the damage of harsh words expressed to the wrong person at the wrong time in the wrong way. When this happens, our ability to lead is extremely compromised.

Therefore, if you want to become a great leader, begin with a sincere commitment to self-awareness.


The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


Eating "paleo" refers to consuming foods eaten by man during the Paleolithic Era, i.e., meat, vegetables, fruits, sugars and other natural foods found in nature. All processed foods are considered a "no no" and are banished from your diet. This back to basic approach of consuming only foods found in nature has been embraced by millions of people and is currently all the rage. Of course, like many things, the paleo way of eating is not without its controversy due to its ban on white flour and many of our other beloved carbohydrate filled comfort foods such as cookies, bread, cakes, etc.; nevertheless, many nutritional experts applaud it as a common sense approach to healthy eating.

So what could paleo eating and success in your business and career possibly have in common? Actually – pretty much everything. Approaching your career/business from a back to basic, natural common sense approach is vital to your success. Yes, professional knowledge and modern technology are also key components to your success – make no mistake about it – all the latest and greatest gadgets and technological advances will be absolutely meaningless if you lose sight of what is at the very heart of your business/career – and that is your client – and your ability to build a healthy trusting relationship with them! As Stephen Covey said: All Success Begins With Relationships!

Following are 3 "paleo-like" ways to nurture the core of your success on a daily basis – and it is much more about who you are than about what you know.

  1. Authenticity – whatever you do – it is imperative you are authentic and genuine. Show up in a real and genuine way. Don’t fake being anything you aren’t because it will only be a matter of time before you are exposed for whom you really are – and your lack of authenticity will come back to haunt you in both obvious and not so obvious ways!

  2. Collaborate with others. Although you alone are responsible for meeting your professional objectives and ultimately – your success, it is imperative you remember it is NOT all about you! Collaborate with others and remember that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts!

  3. Character and Integrity must be an integral part of not only what you do- but who you really are! The golden rule applies here: i.e., treat others with the same respect and courtesy that you would like to be treated with. Not only will this make you likeable (and yes, it matters a lot if people like you), it will help you build a positive rapport with others. Approaching every aspect of your life with character and integrity provides you with the added benefit of building authentic relationships based on trust. No one wants to do business with anyone they don’t trust!

In the final analysis, we are all ultimately responsible for our own success; however, no one has ever achieved success on their own. Therefore, as Paleolithic man survived by eating natural foods, so too will your business and career not only survive – but also thrive – if you show up in a genuine manner, collaborate and help others without worrying about what’s in it for you – and live your life with the utmost integrity and character. Because when all is said and done – the good guy – and gal – will prevail!

(From Huffington Post 3/6/2015)

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


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The ability to develop and sustain healthy relationships is at the heart of success in business and life. Whether you are creating a consensus around your team(s) business goals and objectives or trying to close a deal with a client, the ability to read one’s body language is critical to your success. Following are 3 essential body language tips that will help you accurately read one’s non-verbal communication (body language) that may just help you seal the deal!

  1. Eye Contact: As the expression goes – eyes are the windows to the soul. Maintaining eye contact throughout your communication with someone is pivotal to not only holding their attention but allowing you to get a “read” on how they really feel about what you are saying (which might be very different from what they verbally express). If there is a discrepancy between what someone is verbally telling you and what their eyes are suggesting, try to discern what the discrepancy is about and then adjust your message accordingly.

  2. Mirror the other person’s behavior: Developing trust as soon as possible is the linchpin necessary for making a positive first impression on anyone – a new boss, colleague, client etc. Mirroring the other person’s body language as much as possible (in a genuine way) helps create this trust. In addition, when you first meet someone, turn your body fully toward him or her so you are directly facing each other. This sends the message that the other person has your undivided attention; this body posture also signals an unconscious message that the other person is both very important and special to you. Additionally, lean in while the other person is speaking to you, this demonstrates that you are listening and fully engaged in what they are saying.

  3. Smile: Research shows when people smile they make themselves and everyone around them feel really good. (This is due to a chemical/hormonal reaction(s) in the body.) A smile conveys positive feelings of happiness and hope; it suggests to others that they are welcome and accepted. And smiles are contagious! Therefore, smile and keep smiling. Who doesn’t want to do business (and work with someone) who makes them feel good!

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


Networking is all about developing relationships with people – with the goal of one day doing business with them. If we assume the majority of people we meet will not remember our name, or much at all about us after meeting us, what may we do to help ourselves to be memorable?

Would you dress up as The Gorilla, the NBA Phoenix Suns mascot, to be memorable? If you did, would this be effective for the work that you do? The service you provide? Meaning – would your ideal clients remember you as The Gorilla and then immediately think, “why yes of course, that is exactly who I need to represent me at the closing for the sale of my home?”  Probably not.

When we think of memorable it is an image, a tag-line, a quote, a book or something to be utilized often and everywhere. A word of caution is necessary here. Similar to other areas of branding, testing and testing and testing should be done before shouting from the mountain tops. What words or images are utilized have to fit in with who you are and what you do.

Think about the word ‘organic’. One would assume anyone shopping and seeking ‘organic’ items is someone who is serious about what they eat and eating a healthy diet.  Not so fast.  The word ‘organic’ is showing up all over the place. There are some new regulations to contain the use of the what, where, when and how the word ‘organic’ may be utilized on food and other eatable products. There are a good number of people who shop and purchase items if they have the word ‘organic’ on the label, and order items from the menu if it has the word ‘organic’ next to the item on the menu. They do this because they think purchasing items in the store which say ‘organic’ or off the menu which are stated to be ‘organic’ will magically make them healthier.  A perfect example is the woman with the cart full of groceries and the husband behind her with the stroller and two children, she was frantically asking the store clerk at the Whole Foods Market, “Where is the Organic Soda, what aisle?”  Seriously, ‘organic soda’?

In summary, make yourself memorable in a smart and strategic way so your ideal clients will remember who you are and what you do for them.

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


Emotional Intelligence consists of the ability to recognize, use, understand and manage our emotions in a way that helps develop healthy relationships in both our professional and personal lives. Succinctly, Emotional Intelligence influences the way we react to stress and the way we interact with others.

Emotional intelligence is composed of four main attributes:

  1. Self-awareness – the ability to recognize one’s own emotions and how they influence one’s behaviors and thoughts.
  2. Self-management – the ability to control impulsive feelings and behaviors so that you can manage your emotions in an effective and healthy manner.
  3. Social awareness – the ability to understand the emotions, needs and concerns of others.
  4. Relationship management – the ability to develop and sustain healthy relationships.

Following are 3 key ways to increase your emotional intelligence:

  1. Know what your stressors are and then learn ways to reduce them; perhaps by practicing yoga, meditation, reading self-help literature.
  2. Know Thyself – increased self-awareness is at the core of understanding others. Knowing yourself increases your chances of knowing and understanding your emotions – especially when stressed. Understanding your emotions increases your chances of controlling them – rather than having your emotions control you.
  3. Develop effective communication skills. The ability to communicate effectively is at the heart of developing and maintaining healthy relationships, both in our personal and professional lives. Without these skills, it is almost impossible to relate to others.

Increasing one’s Emotional Intelligence is a lifelong process. Being able to develop healthy relationships is necessary for success in business and life.

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


Far be it from me to be the Grinch that stole Christmas but let’s be honest: Although December is a joyous time of the year filled with holiday celebrations and good tidings to all, for many women it adds more stress into a cup that already runneth over. Schedules already filled with a never-ending “to-do” list have more items added to them such as end of the year work deadlines, office parties, family gatherings, gift purchasing activities, menu planning, holiday cards which have to be bought and sent along with potential travel plans, often leave us feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. Therefore, as we commence the holiday season I want to share four simple tips I tell my clients (and myself) to ease the burden of the holiday season — leaving us some time to actually celebrate this time of year, instead of collapsing from stress and exhaustion.

1. Monitor your own health. As Shakespeare once wrote: “This above all, to thine own self be true.” As we shop and wrap presents while taking care of year-end business activities, do not neglect your health. Be aware of how you are feeling and act accordingly. If you are really starting to unravel due to stress brought on from exhaustion, looming deadlines, too much food and/or alcohol or sleep deprivation, stop running around like a chicken without a head. Slow down and listen to what your body is telling you. Add some moderation into your day, get the sleep you need. Try to minimize the cookies and cakes we all seem to overindulge in during this time of year and curb your alcohol intake. If you exercise, make sure you maintain your routine as much as possible — it will not only curb your appetite but perhaps just as importantly, it is a great stress reliever. If you are not a big fan of exercise, then try to add some extra walking into your day by parking your car away from the mall entrance (it really won’t kill you to walk a few extra feet into the store)!

2. DELEGATE. The only way you can take care of yourself with all the extra responsibilities falling upon women this time of year is to DELEGATE by engaging the help of others at work and at home to share some of these year-end tasks. Now is not the time to be a control freak or a martyr. Don’t allow everything to fall onto your shoulders; take some of the “to-dos” off your list and put them into the hands of the capable people in your life. Let it go. If you don’t, you will continue to feel overburdened throughout the holiday season and end up starting the new year angry and burnt out.

3. Ditch the perfectionism and cut yourself some slack. Although we may be quite rational throughout the year, when the holidays are upon us we think things have to be perfect. This pursuit of perfection adds unnecessary stress on us during an already stressful time of year. Life does not turn into a Norman Rockwell painting just because it is December. So give yourself a break, continue to do the very best you can — within reason — the word “reason” being the operative term here, while continuing to pursue your career goals while maintaining a sense of reality.

4. Last and most certainly not least, keep — or get — a sense of humor. Neuroscience can quantify how laughter can literally decrease hormonal stress levels, which lowers our overall sense of stress. When deadlines are looming and extra personal responsibilities are heaped upon an already overburdened plate, maintain your sense of humor and ability to laugh — especially at yourself. Do not turn into a Grinch and take everything way too seriously. It doesn’t get things done any faster or any better. So you might as well smile and laugh and whatever doesn’t get done, couldn’t have been all that important after all!

Following these four simple tips should help ease the burden of the holiday season for you by decreasing your stress level. ‘Tis the season to be jolly — so don’t let women be left out of all the fun!

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


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Failure to effectively communicate is often behind many failed business initiatives in both the corporate and entrepreneurial sectors. (Ineffective communication is usually the main reason for failed relationships and marriages as well.) Brain science, professionally referred to as neuroscience, helps us understand why and how men and women communicate differently. Businesses that know and understand these basic differences can operationalize them to increase sales and their bottom lines. Gone are the days when women need to “act like men” to succeed in business.

During a sales presentation male communication is often driven by data and tends to be product-directed; all necessary elements of a solid sales pitch. Men tend to stay laser focused on this data and most, if not all of their communication remains “on topic”, rarely straying away from anything not directly related to the specific facts of the product or sales pitch. Therefore, sentences about the product and data are often closed-ended and stated as fact. True to the stereotype, men tend to be less emotional in general and this is particularly true in professional situations. We now know this is directly related to how the male brain is hard-wired. Therefore, in business as in other areas of life, men focus on numbers and “just the facts”.

Women, conversely, tend to focus on relationship building when they sell. This is directly related to the fact that we are hard-wired, that is more info

genetically coded to cross-connect. This manifests itself during a sales presentation with women using both more words and words that are more inclusive. This puts the focus on building relationships with the client instead of just making the sales pitch driven solely on date. Women tend to ask more questions and try to get to know the person/client on a personal level (this is one of the ways men and women network differently but that is a topic for another day). Women also tend to ask more “open-ended” questions and make use of “tag endings” which require an interaction; for example a woman might say: “what a beautiful day, isn’t it?” etc. in a way to encourage interaction.

As you can see, men and women who have the same goal of selling a product or service to a client will approach this goal from a very different perspective. The business that accesses the strength of both approaches, i.e., the team that includes both men and women in their presentation, will exponentially increase their chances of landing the client and/or sales, and current research based on brain science bears this out! Yes – men and women communicate differently – and utilizing these differences appropriately in your business will increase your bottom line!

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann