Entries by Jennifer Kammeyer

Practice Makes Better

Like everything in life, when we practice speaking, we get better. We don’t get perfect, but that is not what we are striving for. Perfect sounds fake and looks impersonal. Better is about highlighting our natural talents and employing a few audience-engaging techniques such as voice variation, pauses, and meaningful body language. We get the […]

Poised to Influence

We have all been impressed by somebody who is well poised and captivates the room when speaking. We too can be poised and influence others by deliberately using our body language to improve communication. When seeking to get others to understand our point of view, our tendency is to focus on content. We take the […]

Communicate to Collaborate

Collaboration, that highly touted process by which humans innovate, happens through communication. Bright minds playing off each other generate more ideas and better outcomes. Both the structure and the content of collaboration hinge on effective communication. When communication fails, so does collaboration and instead of innovation, we get conflict and stifled voices. Collaboration is the […]

A Little Lesson on Listening

On the jenniferkammeyer.com blog we have explored many aspects of effective listening and now I invite you to watch a short 4-minute video called A Little Lesson on Listening.

Levers for Listening Engagement

We all desire connection, have innate curiosity, and feel gratitude. We can leverage these three human qualities to improve our listening skills and increase engagement. Connectedness Our innate desire for connection with others is a lever we can pull to increase our listening engagement. Thinking of how our fellow conversationalists might have similar interests or […]

Attention for Listening

That wonderful feeling of being seen and respected when somebody is listening attentively is a source of positive energy. It is a gift being shared. We can give this gift by developing our attention-directing skills in listening. Listening is the process of concentrating on someone speaking and it includes affective, cognitive, and behavioral components. Attention […]

The Sounds of Good Listening

We may think of listening as a silent activity, but good listening includes a surprising number of verbal responses. It is helpful to think of listening as distinct components so we can analyze our own listening skills and recognize good listening in others. Listening, the process of paying full attention to someone speaking, includes three […]

Honing Listening with Random Sounds

Practicing the art of listening when we are not engaged in conversation is like practicing a musical instrument before a performance – it makes us better. We can think of it as training our ears and our attention. There are many opportunities in everyday life to do this and I will highlight three of my […]

Listen with Body Language

Our body language is an important element of listening. Nonverbal communication, commonly called body language, is over 50% of the message we send to others. Research shows that if our spoken words and body language are out of sync, that people will believe what our body communicates, not what we are saying. We have all […]

Curiosity for Empathetic Listening

Listening with curiosity allows us to be empathetic and focus more on others than ourselves. Recently while getting yelled at, the thought crossed my mind, “I wonder what is going on for this person that they are raising their voice?” In this moment, I was practicing empathetic listening and was able to focus on curiosity […]

Through the Listening Lens: Same Words, Different Meaning

Just like wearing colored glasses changes how we see things, our listening lens changes how we hear things. We all hear something different through our own particular listening lens. Our listening lens is created by the sum total of all we have learned and experienced in our lives. This lens shapes how we take in […]

2023: The Year of Better Listening

What they are hearing?, I ponder when I see a rabbit darting down a country road with ears perked and pivoting. The visual reminds me of active listening, a skill many of us are still perfecting. In this year of the Water Rabbit, when we can expect calm and reflection, I will focus my research […]

Hearing Those Who Sacrificed for Our Freedom

Reading out loud the names of fallen soldiers this Memorial Day as I walk through the cemetery, I hear the bravery of those who gave their lives for our freedom and the sorrow of those who lost their loved ones. They no longer speak, but we can still hear the meaning of their sacrifice as […]

Bearing Witness to Ease Suffering

In times of great personal and community suffering, we can ease others’ pain through listening, through bearing witness to their experience. We encounter others’ distress through social media, but we also encounter it at work as we hear stories of our colleagues going through hard times. This blog was motivated by my personal encounters of […]

Virtual Teams Require Explicit Communication

Teamwork is helpful but hard – and virtual teamwork is even harder. In an increasingly distributed work environment, more explicit communication is required in virtual teams to make up for the missing subtle communication that automatically occurs when in person. When teams are effective, the outcomes are impressive. Research shows effective teams generate better solutions […]

Creating Progress: John J. Kelly, Good Samaritan

Our world needs kind leaders who create progress, and John J. Kelly was one such leader helping people improve their lives. The recently published book, The Quintessential Good Samaritan, tells of John Kelly’s life work in making a difference in the lives of so many people. Through many engaging stories we learn of his compassionate […]

The Case for Incremental Progress

We are embarking on a new year – what kinds of goals have you set for yourself? Setting big audacious goals and expecting quick results is tempting but can cause us to fail with inaction because we become overwhelmed by the enormity of them. Breaking those goals into smaller increments – and setting the expectation […]

Presence as Presents

Oh, the joy of having somebody fully in the moment with us, hanging on every word, entirely focused. This year, we can give the ultimate gift – our time and full presence.  I am lucky to have had the most wonderful mom in the world, and one thing she is remembered for is how she […]

Small Bites of Gratitude

Often we think of expressing our gratitude in heartfelt prose, but small bites of appreciation shared frequently helps strengthen relationships and improve morale.  During this time of the Great Resignation we hear stories of people leaving their jobs because they are not happy. While pay and working conditions are at play, a sense of purpose, aligned […]

Keep It Simple: Top Three Tricks

We have all had the experience of reading or hearing something and having no idea what it means, making us either feel stupid or stop paying attention or both. Good communicators use simple language to help others understand their message, especially when communicating complex or technical topics. Just yesterday I read on my Twitter feed, […]

Getting Comfortable with Discomfort Makes us Better Communicators

Fear of public speaking, conflict avoidance, dread of delivering bad new – many communication interactions can lead us to a sense of discomfort. Handling these tough interactions skillfully requires us practicing in order to get more comfortable with the discomfort. What typically happens is that emotions arise that throw us out of our prefrontal cortex […]

Full Participation – We Get There Together

Full participation makes for better meetings – and we all want better meetings. As leaders we gain full participation by adhering to basic meeting best practices and through inclusive communication techniques; as participants we contribute more with preparation.  Inclusive Leadership To make meetings better as leaders we need to apply discipline in the basics of […]

Matching Others’ Communication Styles without Losing Our Own

We subconsciously adjust our communication styles to match the people we are around; shifting that to a conscious effort is a communication skill that improves interactions but can raise the fear of being phony. Understanding the communication tactic and being clear on our purpose helps us to match others’ styles without losing our own. Consider […]

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 […]