News reports about the latest app craze – Pokémon Go – including a quote from two college girls saying that wanting to play the virtual game enticed them to leave their freshman dorm in search of new people – make me wonder: What will connecting through words look like in the future?

At the business level, a prospective client asking about developing team communication tells me a division of her company reports to a senior manager in a distant state – by phone or online viewing. The manager only visits in person once a month.  Instead of flying people together for conferences and training, I’m seeing more and more enterprises trying to save costs with online meetings, even presenting awards this way!

To help you get the best possible outcome in your interactions with your team, clients and networking, here are a few techniques that I believe will prove timeless, whether you are virtual or in person.

  1. If you have not yet downloaded your free copy of my new e-book, “Get the Yes Start-Up Kit for Convincing Presentations,†please click here to get yours!
  2. Use the C-L-E-A-R formula to optimize your conversation when conflict or discomfort seems to be obvious:

C – Call the person by name to personalized the interaction. This human touch can soften a harsh tone that may have come into the dialogue.

L – Listen without interruption. For many of us, this task is excruciating, because our urge to interrupt is strong! By allowing the other person to get everything off his or her chest means you’re assisting in clearing the air.

E – Empathize with whatever was said.  Even if you don’t agree, say something like: “I can see you are upset/angry/disappointed with this situation.â€Â  Or, “I hear how frustrated you are with this situation.â€Â  Avoid the urge to start solving the problem without empathizing first because the purpose of this step is to establish rapport, vital to opening up the channels of communication.

A – Ask questions. Use the journalist 5W’s and H.  What happened? Who is involved? When did this occur? Where was the action? Why do you think it’s going on this way? How do you think it can be resolved? How much time or how much money do you think it will take?

R – Review what you heard, recommend a solution if appropriate, repeat the process. Sometimes you need to continue and repeat the CLEAR formula because the emotions are too strong for a one-time trip to clarity. In other instances, your insight to a solution may be just what is needed. The key is to be as tuned in to what is being said – or not said – as possible.

Let me know how this formula works for your communication, whether virtual or face-to-face. And don’t forget to download your complimentary copy of “Get the Yes Start-Up Kit for Convincing Presentations†by clicking here: And get your pre-publication discount for my new book, Public Speaking for the Genius, by clicking here.