Corporate Communication Skills Trainer | Jennifer Furlong
Updated: Apr 19, 2022
Jennifer Furlong is passionate about helping large and small organizations solve difficult communication issues. She helps with the most important asset in any business: your people. Jennifer guides you to discover your own communication strengths, how to adapt to other communication styles, and gain more confidence in yourself as a competent communicator. Communication is a skill, and Jennifer s excited to work with your workforce to help develop it!
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Three Phases of Jennifer's Career
Jennifer has a background in communication, but it has been a windy road with a lot of turns and twists. Being a business owner was never part of her original plan!
Jennifer views her journey in three phases. In the beginning, she was in the military working in public affairs. She was introduced to the world of communication from a journalism standpoint. She fell in love with the community relations field and thrived on making connections and meeting people. She found strength in being of service. When Jennifer left the military, phase two began. She went back to school and received her bachelor's and masters in communication. She was asked by one of her faculty members if she would teach a course in public speaking. Jennifer had no idea what she was doing! But as a poor grad student, she jumped in and fell in love with the classroom.
Jennifer taught in the classroom for about 17 years, but due to COVID, her contract was not renewed because of budget issues.
So she started phase three! Being a small business owner was yet another thing she had no idea what she was jumping into. But she has discovered that everything she's learned over the past 30 years brought her to this point. Jennifer is now the owner of her own corporate communication skills training, and it's actually going great! It's exciting. It's scary. It's new - but she's absolutely loving it because she gets to do what she loves.
Communication Breakdown in Management
The clients that Jennifer tends to work with have pressing communication problems within the workforce. Often it is managers looking to provide more effective feedback, or who just want to be able to improve their public speaking skills. It's at that management level where people become concerned about being more effective in their roles.
When it comes to management, this really makes sense! You could be the most talented worker in that organization because you know exactly what you're doing. This may be the reason why you were promoted! But unfortunately, a lot of organizations do not give the training needed to succeed. It takes a completely different skill set to move into the management ranks, because now you're not just dealing with technical skills - you're dealing with people!
A whole host of issues come with managing people. The concern is, how do we improve communication across the organization so that everyone is satisfied in the workplace? How do we create a positive culture?
That's what Jennifer helps you do.
Communication is a Skill
Everybody has a natural communication style. But just because you have your own style, doesn't mean that you can't adapt to different situations and different people. Communication really is a skill! And just like any other skill, you have to learn how to develop it.
A lot of people think, "oh well, I'm just not good at communication." And sure, that may be true right now, but once you figure out your style you can adapt that style to different scenarios. With practice and regular application it can become second nature. You can develop better communication!
Jennifer enjoys the relationship aspect of internal communication and how it helps everyone build a strong workforce. It's all about creating that sense of community!
Creating a strong team within the organization can have a huge impact on how effective the bottom line is. Jennifer believes that your employees are the most important thing in your organization! Doesn't matter how large or how small the organization is, your people are important.
How to Start Developing Better Communication Skills
A great start is asking the question: "What are some things that I can do in order to have a more positive impact on what's happening?" That is a critical piece that is often missing in communication training.
A lot of people will say, "well I just want to be more influential and I want to make
sure that I'm heard. I need to ensure everybody understands what I am saying." But here's the problem with this: It's all about you!
The thing is, you are right to an extent. But if you can switch that focus onto others, you can maximize your impact. The power lies within your ability to create a positive impact. If your influence circles around yourself, your ability to make meaningful changes will be mediocre at best.
Never underestimate this powerful tool! Simply shifting that focus off of yourself and onto others will get this in motion.
The Secret to Excellent Communication
The number one communication skill to develop has very little to do with your words.
You need to work on your listening skills.
Let's face it, when the emotions are high, everyone expresses themselves differently. If you commit to being in the present and focus on listening, you will learn how to find understanding no matter how offensive they may be acting. When the tension is high (or even moderately there), understanding the underlying issue and grasping the underlying message can change everything.
You also need to pay attention to the nonverbal cues. Pausing to assess non-verbal cues gives us a second to mentally acknowledge our own feelings as well. Because how we are feeling will have an impact on how we perceive the communication coming at us.
Be present be in the moment.
Listen and pay attention to the cues.
Acknowledge the feelings and the emotions that are happening.
And ask more questions!
Always seek to clarify! We are making assumptions about other people all the time! Ask questions and give them the time and space to answer. Learn to get comfortable with silence.
Remember: the bottom line is to just understand!
Listening is Hard... Because we are Naturally Bad at it!
The human-animal is a terrible listener! We really are! There was a professor of the rhetoric of the University of Minnesota, Ralph Nichols, and he did a study where he wanted to see how our listening skills change as we age. He hooked up with the local school system in Minneapolis and did this study. He had the teachers stop right in the middle of teaching the class and ask, "what did you hear? What do you think about that?" Or, "what are we learning?"
The second graders got over 90 percent accuracy! You would think it would be less than that, but by the time he got to the high schoolers, it went down to 20% accuracy. The proof is in the pudding: the older we get, the worse we listen.
Listening is such a challenge, but just as with anything else, it is a skill and requires us to get comfortable with being quiet.
What Jennifer is Learning Right Now:
With being a new business owner, Jennifer has so much to learn! This is new territory for her. She is like a sponge right now trying to soak in as much as she can from others who are business owners. Jennifer is reading a lot and attending a lot of webinars. So right now she's just having fun trying to learn about the basics. She recommends mentors and listening to podcasts like Discovery Call, as Jennifer has found the episodes to be so helpful!
Connect with Jennifer!
Jennifer’s website: www.communicationtwentyfourseven.com
Jennifer’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-furlong-16779a5a/
Jennifer’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/speechteach912
Jennifer’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/communicationtwentyfourseven
To book a call with Jennifer, click here - https://www.communicationtwentyfourseven.com/coaching
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