Tag Archives: Communication

My name is Jeanne C. and I’m a smartphone addict

By Jeanne Corrigan

I forgot my cell phone charger when I was out on the road a few weeks ago, and I was struck by how much the idea of being without my phone bothered me. The phone has pretty much become an appendage, something I have with me at all times, especially when I’m traveling. I have an iPhone, and I love it. It’s a never ending pipeline of information, the ability to know things (and I like to know things). I joke that if I could have a superpower, it would be omniscience and my iPhone gets me pretty close – when I don’t know something, the iPhone usually does. It’s magical.
But it’s possible that, for me (and evidently for many other people), my phone has become too important. According to a recent survey in the UK by SecurEnvoy, two-thirds of that population suffers from nomophobia, or no mobile-phone phobia. Seriously. They’re calling it an addiction. And – more good news – women tend to be affected more than men.

In my case, I wonder what being so attached to my phone communicates to my 6-year-old son. I want him to feel listened to, that I’m present and available to him when we’re together (as much as I can being a working single mom). I wonder what he’s seeing when I check my phone, when I’m interacting with the world outside our little circle. He can’t see what I’m doing, but he must sometimes conclude that it has priority over him. The phone is literally in between him and me. What’s that about?

So, this addiction thing has been on my mind, and I’ve started an experiment that I call “wireless on the weekend.” I turn off my phone or leave it at home for a good chunk of either Saturday or Sunday. I’m only a few weeks into it, but I’m telling you, it makes a difference. There is a feeling of greater substance as I go about my day, as though I’m standing more solidly on the planet. The next step is to commit to a whole day and see what that feels like. After all, the first step in dealing with any addiction is admitting you have a problem.

My Advice on Career Day: Believe in Your Own Voice

By Jeanne Corrigan

Last year, I started volunteering for a non-profit called GENaustin. It’s a great organization that supports girls in making good choices as they navigate through adolescence. One of the activities that GENaustin sponsors is Career Week, an open forum between professional women and middle school girls.

I’ve signed up to speak and I’ve been thinking about what I might cover in my 15 minutes. I love the work we do at On Your Mark and I will talk about that but I also want to share my thoughts on communication because I think it’s so important in career success. Three points I’ll hit on are:

1. Listening is important but so is talking.
There’s a great blog post by Whitney Johnson about how business women sometimes hesitate to speak up to share their experience or own their expertise. When women listen more than we talk, we don’t contribute as much of our own value to the discussion. I love her summary – When we listen, we acknowledge others’ experience and expertise. When we talk, we acknowledge our own. Success depends on learning to do both.

I will encourage the girls to find something they’re interested in, learn all they can about it then challenge themselves to find ways to share what they know.

2. When you talk, do it well and with confidence.
As part of my work, I present findings and recommendations all the time, often to large groups. I’m comfortable with that so my focus is on the message, not my own performance. My advice to the girls will be to think about ways they can speak with more confidence and strength. Just putting themselves in the situation where they speak in front of people – like a speech class or theater group – is good practice. It’s an investment that’s sure to pay off, whether they want to become a scientist, teacher, financial genius or even a market researcher.

3. Ask yourself first, and then seek the input of others.
Many women seem to figure out what they think about a certain subject or problem by talking it through with other people. I identify with this because when I’m faced with a question or a decision, my first impulse is to pull people in to talk about it. I’ve learned that, for me, I have a stronger voice in the conversation when I pause, take a minute to really consider what I think and what’s most important to me and then seek others’ opinions.

I’m excited to meet these girls and talk about my career. But I’m equally excited to explore their strengths today and the paths they might take tomorrow.

Own Your Story

By Jeanne Corrigan

I attended the Spark & Hustle Small Business Boot Camp earlier this month as part of the Texas Conference for Women. The day was focused on small business owners, and those who wanted to be, and there were some great speakers. Samantha Ettus’ discussion  about personal branding in particular has really stayed with me. What hit home was we can all do more to control how the world sees us by paying close attention to the story we’re telling about ourselves.

This is equally true in our business and personal lives. Knowing our strengths and framing our story to best showcase those strengths goes a long way in managing our overall impression. Sounds simple, right? Not necessarily new or groundbreaking. But so few do it. Think about it – can you name anyone in your own circle who actually does this well? Women seem to have an especially hard time “curating their story” as Ettus calls it. Because we are connectors, we often focus more on the other person and feel uncomfortable or inauthentic if we’re touting our own strengths. Authenticity is also often translated as being totally honest and many women feel less than honest if they edit their story to focus only on the high points. Also, to be successful in communicating our “brand,” we have to believe wholeheartedly in the best version of our story. And summoning that kind of confidence can be a stumbling block for some.

My business partner, Brenda, and I went through this “storytelling” experience recently where we needed to come up with the best version of the On Your Mark story. We created a series of videos about the business – what we do, our experience and why our clients work with us. It was fun to take some time to assess and communicate our strengths, talk about what we’ve done and basically, tell our story in a confident and positive way.

Women business owners need to be bold, to stake claim to their expertise and stand strong while communicating everything they have to offer.  No one is going to do this as well as you, so think about your greatest moments and how you can craft them into your story. Say it out loud to yourself. Run it by friends or trusted colleagues. Get comfortable with telling your story in a new way. And then come back and tell us how it went.