Entries by Jennifer Kammeyer

Zoom Fatigue Solutions

Move. Look up. Focus. Acknowledge Effort. Vary Medium. Research on videoconference is rolling in from academics now that a year has passed since it became our primary means of communicating. While we’ve all learned the skills needed to do Zoom right, we now need to learn how to keep it from making us crazy. The […]

Graciously Ending Casual Conversations

In meetings we can set time limits and agendas, but in casual conversations it is much harder to know when enough is enough. Recent research is shows that we are not that good of a judge. Those who are good meeting managers know that setting an agenda in advance, having a time manager assigned, and […]

Black Women Leaders Making History

Two black women just got promoted to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies – THAT is making history! They follow the first ever black woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company Ursula Burns who was CEO of Xerox from 2009-2016. The 2020 Fortune 500 list of companies has only five black men as CEOs and only […]

Language to Unify

President-elect Joe Biden’s acceptance speech used language to unite this country. We each can hone our #ListenFirst skills and use the same unifying communication to strengthen and expand our communities. Biden started with a pledge to unify: I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but to unify.Who doesn’t see red and blue […]

Inspiring Leaders: Students’ Perspectives

We all have somebody who inspires us – to work harder, to stand up for what we believe in, to be the best versions of ourselves.  This post reveals such leaders. This October, my students in Leadership Communication at San Francisco State University created artwork to convey leaders who inspire them.  The leaders were poets, […]

Human-First Communication

One silver lining to our work-from-home situation is that we often hear more about the human side of our colleagues.  Taking a step back to realize that the person on video is also dealing with everything 2020 has brought helps us to see their humanity. Instead of the typical sports and weather topics that we […]

“What?” The Art of Communicating While Masked

We are masked most of the time these days, but we are still communicating with people we encounter in public, and being intentional about that makes for clearer communication and can create a sense of belonging.  Even though we have masks over our noses and mouths, we are still communicating with our upper face and […]

Team of Teams Leadership with John Kammeyer

Leadership titles line our bookshelf, but recently my husband, John Kammeyer, insisted that I immediately read Team of Teams by General Stanley McChrystal just as he finished it because the book was so insightful for him.  After I read the book, our internal conversation inspired me to share John’s leadership perspective. Why did you insist […]

Ideate, Structure, Communicate

Adding the step of structuring your content after you create it and before you communicate it makes it much easier for the audience to understand and boosts your confidence, increasing the effectiveness of an interaction. Most of us learned the five-paragraph essay in school. When we are writing an academic paper or article we know […]

Be The Steady Hand

With a steady hand on the tiller, you can set the direction and guide the course. Leaders of the 21stcentury are frequently encountering times of uncertainty and chaos, including the current pandemic. Your leadership can be the calming factor that allows others to be their best no matter the external factors. But, conscious and centered […]

Where to Look and Other Video Conference Tips

Bringing forth our best communication skills on a video conference makes interactions much more engaging.  It is not quite in-person, but video is a much richer interaction than over the phone.  What do we need to keep in mind on video?  The question I get most often is,  ‘where do I look on the screen?’  […]

What is the Connection? Find Commonalities for Better Conversations

Conversations bring people together or drive people apart based on our perceived commonality or differences. All humans are 99% alike from a DNA perspective. What is missing from the equation for harmony is just the perception of similarity. Luckily, our perceptions can be changed. With a bit of intention and effort, we can perceive others […]

Pause. Power.

It is amazing what can change in a moment.  One pause. One breath.  Whole new perspective.  Towards the end of the year we are dealing with more than usual as we continue our typical routine but then add annual review and planning plus holiday celebration activities. The pause becomes so valuable in times of many simultaneous […]

Give the Gift of Listening

We all love to be heard. We can feel understood, validated, and truly connected in the presence of a good listener.  It is not easy to listen in our times of excessive stimuli, noisy environments, and shorter attention spans. But the benefit of human connection and deeper understanding makes it worth the effort.  What makes […]

Leadership Through Students’ Eyes

This semester, 28 leaders from 17 different fields shared what it takes to be a good leader with students in my Leadership Communication course at San Francisco State University. After hearing the stories and wisdom of all these leaders, the students reflected upon what they learned and what they valued the most. Leaders interviewed for this […]

Turn Down the Temperature in the Room (and other leadership communication advice from Ash Carter)

Ash Carter, former United States Secretary of Defense and current Director of Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, has a new book called Inside the Five-Sided Box that shares lessons from leading the largest institution in America – the Department of Defense. While the strategy is intriguing, I most appreciated the leadership communication […]

Top-5 Tips for Spokespeople

Excellent leaders are fantastic spokespeople. We see it all the time—leaders who seem to always have the right thing to say and deliver messages so naturally. While it takes practice, we all have the capacity to be great spokespeople for our organizations. Here are five tips to get you on your way with in-real-life (IRL) […]

Manage Power Dynamics with Communication

“Like energy is the basic medium in physics, power is the basic medium of human relationships,” Dacher Keltner, PhD as heard on the WorkWell podcast. It is easy to be blind to power dynamics because of our democratic-society culture.  We want to believe that all people are equal, but that delusion puts us at a […]

A 5-Minute Primer on Compassion in Leadership

Compassion in leadership is an emerging concept in corporate management, brought to the forefront by LinkedIn in CEO, Jeff Weiner.  But for most of us, the concept may be a bit fuzzy and theoretical. I was interested in learning more because I teach Leadership Communication at San Francisco State University.  At the recent Compassion in […]

The Art of Giving and Accepting Feedback: Correcting Mistakes Respectfully

“What were you thinking sending out that document without letting me review it first?”   Judgmental, emotional, imprecise, and not actionable, this type of feedback is ineffective. “I see that the document was submitted without me seeing it.  I need to review all material prior to submission to ensure consistency and accuracy.  I understand you were […]

Where Attention Goes, Energy Flows: Be Attuned in Conversations

Where attention goes, energy flows.  That is the name of a meditation in my current rotation on Insight Timer.  This concept applies to most things in life, including communication.  When we are interacting with others, we have the choice of where we place our attention. In conversation we have the option of focusing on ourselves or on the other […]

Leadership Wisdom: Learnings on the Intersection of Mindfulness & Technology

The Wisdom 2.0 conference just celebrated its 10thyear, seven of which I have attended and come away from inspired.  Listening to leaders in a wide range of fields who practice mindfulness for pursuing excellence is an awesome learning experience.  This year, hot topics included social media as society’s mirror, reducing biases in the tech industry, therapeutic psychedelics, […]

Challenge Your Worldview

Each of us has a unique worldview.  It is human nature to form constructs and have predispositions as it helps us navigate the world, but the flip side of that coin is that our worldview can limit us.  When we hold tight to our worldview, we automatically shut out valuable information that could be of benefit.   After […]

Start with Intentions

All communication starts with an intention, whether we know it or not. Being aware and deliberately setting our intention improves our interactions with others.   Imagine this: you walk into the office and your coworker stops you on the way to your desk to tell you a funny story about a client interaction. Instead of laughing, […]

Managing Our Attention Improves Communication: Simple (Not Easy) Techniques for Better Focus

In today’s highly stimulating world where we often spend the day fending off overflowing email inboxes and incessant smartphone notifications, the ability to focus is a critical skill. Good management of our own attention is particularly important for effective leadership communication.  Research shows the value of our attention, especially for leaders, and yet, we often […]

Communicating Well Starts with Yourself

Our ability to communicate well with others actually starts inside our own heads, with our ability to listen to ourselves. Thich Nhat Hanh, author of over 100 books including The Art of Communicating, points out that we can’t really engage adequately with others until we first communicate with ourselves well. In this book I found […]

Managing Emotions

We can better adapt our communication when we first manage our emotions. The common expression ‘I get so angry I can’t even see straight’ has literal validity; when we get emotional the prefrontal cortex of the brain ceases to guide us. There are three key steps to managing our emotions effectively: Bring awareness. Notice when […]

Mindfulness is Vital to Exceptional Leadership

Leaders excel by being aware of self and others, and the situation at hand. We lead in a time of perpetual chaotic change, we drink from a fire hose of information, and we interact with people from around the globe with different perspectives, cultural norms, and communication styles. To achieve high performance, we need to […]

The Training Imperative and Communication

The jobs of the future require a skill set not held by people today, but communication will always be critical professional skill.  As of late, we read and hear that through automation and artificial intelligence, the jobs we have today will be done by technology in the future.  The response is the call for training, […]

Body Language is Louder Than Words

If there is an inconsistency between body language and speech, research shows that the listener will believe the message conveyed through body language over that which is said. Body language is louder than words. We have all been in the situation where a friend tells us everything is fine, and we know darn well it […]