Monday, December 21, 2015

“What am I looking for when I talk with a potential egg donor?” by Andrea Bryman, LMFT

It has taken many years to create the niche I have in my profession, a mental health therapist specializing in egg donation and surrogacy.  I have learned that people are not gray on the subject of third party reproduction.  They have strong opinions.  Once all the opinions have been aired (this can take awhile), one of the first things I am asked is “What am I looking for when I talk with a potential egg donor?”

I thought I would start this initial blog by discussing four of the main
areas that I emphasize in my evaluation of an egg donor: her family mental
health history, her stability, her desire to be a donor, and her ability to
make an informed decision to be a donor.  

In exploring a donor’s family mental health history it is important to gather information regarding any potential psychiatric diagnoses.  Some diagnoses are linked to genetic predispositions that can be passed onto a child.  If there is a diagnosis, i.e., depression -it is important to determine whether it was triggered by an event, which would be considered situational or whether it is an organic disorder.  I also discuss family history of alcohol or substance abuse.  There is potential for a genetic predisposition to alcoholism that both the recipients and donors should be aware of.  Finally, I explore any emotional, physical or sexual abuse the donor may have experienced and if they have received any professional help.  A donor who has experienced some abuse without seeking help may find the
donation process can trigger unresolved issues related to the abuse.  Above all else, my hope is for the donor to have a positive experience. 

One of the major concerns for many intended parents is whether a donor will be stable enough to follow through with all that she needs to do throughout her cycle.  There is a vast amount of information to digest, forms to be filled out, appointments to attend
and medications to be administered.  A donor will need a lot of support throughout the process.  There are many aspects in exploring a donor’s stability – her living situation, her career, her upbringing and current relationship with her parents and siblings, her social network, her personal relationships and any possible legal issues she may have experienced. It is important that a donor be able to form and sustain healthy relationships as well as manage conflict resolution.   More importantly, you want to be sure that she will to do what she is supposed to do! 

What is the donor’s motivation to donate?  Why would she want to inject herself with medications and undergo medical evaluations and procedures?
While initially enticed by the monetary compensation, most donors after
learning more about the process have an altruistic yearning to want to help
others while helping themselves.  In determining a donor’s desire to help others, it is significant to understand how she learned about the process, why she wants to donate, if she has told others about her desire to donate, what she plans to do with the money she receives from the donation and how she feels about the future contact and
disposition of her eggs and the embryos they create. 

Lastly, after determining a donor’s mental well-being, her
stability and her motivation, it is very important to determine if the donor is
cognitively mature enough to make an informed decision to be a donor.  I gather this information by exploring the donor’s educational background and her self-perception.  This information determines if she knowledgeable enough to have the ability to educate herself about the egg donation process and understand the potential medical and psychological issues that may arise.  Is she able to seek out information and ask questions or does she passively take the information given to her?  Often I encourage donors to talk with other who have donated before to get peer guidance in addition to professional guidance.  The bottom line on informed consent is “Does the donor really understand what she is agreeing

To say “Choosing an egg donor is a difficult process” is an understatement.  It is important to realize that many donors have just as many questions about the intended parents as the intended parents have of the donors.  We interpret data and evaluate
information to ensure suitability.  We educate others and ourselves.  We hope
that all parties are being truthful and forthright.  

Andrea Bryman is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a specialty in assisted
reproduction, which includes mental health assessments and evaluation of egg
donors and surrogates. Andrea’s focus on assisted reproduction stemmed from her own personal experience with infertility over 15 years ago when she was beginning her family. Since that time, Andrea has had three children, two with methods of assisted reproduction. She continues her professional growth in the field of infertility through research and involvement as a professional member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine including their mental health professional group, the American Fertility Association, European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology and Resolve. Andrea is the Past Psychological Chairperson on the board of directors for the Egg Donation and Surrogacy Professional Association.  

Monday, December 7, 2015

Frequently Asked Questions About Washington State Surrogacy Laws: Guest Post By Christina Park, Esquire

Christina Park is a reproductive attorney and founder of the Law Offices of Christina Park in Seattle. She graduated from Yale Law School. Christina assists intended parents, egg donors, embryo donors, and surrogates and is proud to help build families. 

We are considering surrogacy. What legal issues in WA state should we be aware of? 
It is highly recommended that the intended parent(s) and the surrogate enter into a written surrogacy agreement. This is true even if the surrogate is a friend or relative. 
Surrogacy agreements describe the terms of the arrangement in detail, outline each person’s rights and responsibilities, and document your wishes for who will be the child’s legal parents (with parental rights and duties under the law). 
Surrogacy laws are relatively new and untested. It is difficult to predict the outcome of court cases in this area of law. If disagreements do arise, Washington courts will likely examine the written agreement to understand your intentions and resolve disputes. 
It is important to document the terms of the surrogacy arrangement in your contract. This can provide you with additional confidence and security (both during and after the pregnancy). A qualified reproductive attorney can help you prepare the contract. 

What issues will the legal agreement cover? 
By addressing key issues and potentially sensitive topics, the legal agreement can help set clear expectations from the start and prevent disputes in the future. Surrogacy agreements address several issues, including the following: 
Parents: Who will be the child’s legal parents, with parental rights and responsibilities? 
Payment:What will the surrogate be paid? (In Washington, surrogates can only be reimbursed for pregnancy expenses, actual medical expenses, and attorney fees). 
Involvement:How will the intended parents be involved (for example, with important decisions related to prenatal care and testing)? 
Unexpected Events: What happens if one or both of the intended parents die before the birth? Who will have custody of the child? 
Future Contact:Will there be future contact between the surrogate and intended parents? If so, under what circumstances? 

Can we pay a woman to be our surrogate?
In Washington, you cannot compensate a surrogate. Washington courts will not uphold an agreement to compensate a surrogate; it would be considered a gross misdemeanor. However, you can reimburse the surrogate for her pregnancy expenses, actual medical expenses, and reasonable attorney fees for drafting the surrogacy contract. 

We’re a married same-sex couple, and our child will be born to a surrogate. Do we need to adopt? 
Under Washington law, both spouses in a marriage (including same-sex marriages) are presumed to be the legal parents of a child born during the marriage. However, other states may not recognize this parentage for same-sex spouses. 
If one spouse is not genetically related to the child, you should consider an adoption to establish and confirm parental rights. An adoption proceeding can provide additional peace of mind and help ensure that both parents receive full parental rights, even if they move outside of Washington State in the future. 

I’m single, and my child will be born to a surrogate. Do I need to adopt? 
If you are single and not genetically related to the child (your eggs or sperm were not used to conceive the child), you should consider an adoption or parentage proceeding to confirm your status as the child’s sole parent. 
If your eggs or sperm were used to conceive the child, you may still want to consider a parentage proceeding to establish that the surrogate is not the legal parent. This also protects the surrogate from having financial obligations to support the child. 

Do the surrogate and intended parents need separate attorneys? 
It is highly recommended that the intended parents and the surrogate be represented by separate attorneys. This makes it much more likely that the surrogacy contract will be seen as legally valid, if you ever wind up in court. It is in the best interests of everyone involved to hire separate attorneys for the intended parents and surrogate. Typically, the intended parents pay all attorney fees (including fees for the surrogate’s attorney).

What happens after I hire an attorney? 
The intended parents’ attorney will collect the necessary information and prepare the first draft of the surrogacy agreement. The surrogate’s attorney will review the draft agreement and may request changes. 
You will have the opportunity to read and review the legal agreement. You can discuss questions and concerns with your attorney, or suggest revisions to the agreement. 
Typically, meetings with your attorney may take place either in-person or by phone.
The entire process can take 1 to 4 weeks, depending on how quickly the agreements are read and approved by the surrogate, intended parents, and their respective attorneys.

Christina Park ATTYDisclaimer:  The information provided here is for educational purposes only. The information is general in nature and may not apply to your specific situation. Before taking further action, you should consult a qualified attorney in your state.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Quick Tips for Surrogacy Agency Owners- Say Thank You...

No one can run an agency alone. You have had to get some guidance, advise, inspiration from someone. Thank them. Tell them how they helped you. Show them that you care enough to show your appreciation! It will make you feel great too!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Quick Tip for Surrogacy Agency Owners- Pay Attention

Pay attention. Pay attention to your surrogates and how they are coping. Pay attention to your Intended Parents and how they are communicating. Pay attention to your business and how other professionals are responding to you and your agency. Just Pay Attention to everything! 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Quick Tip for Surrogacy Agency Owners- Keep Your Cool Because Common Sense is a Flower that Doesn't Grow in Everyone's Garden!

This is a great quote to remember. Why? Because as an agency owner you will get questions that will leave you shaking your head. But even so, answer them all to the best of your ability. Be that person who treats everyone equally and as you would like to be treated.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Quick Tips for the Surrogacy Agency-A Thoughtful Gift for Your Surrogates

Are you thinking of something that your new surrogates would like for Christmas or Hanukkah? How about a great book written just for the children of surrogate mothers?Surrogacy Helps Make a Family Grow! is the heartfelt story of a family who decides to help a couple start of family of their own through gestational surrogacy. This book acts as an educational tool for children of gestational surrogates to better understand what their mothers are going through and the tremendous gift of family. Surrogacy Helps Make a Family Grow is the perfect gift for anytime of the year. (I offer bulk discounts if you are interested. Just contact Sharon LaMothe at for more details!)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Quick Tip for Surrogacy Agency Owners- Surround Yourself with Awesome People!

Build up the people around you. Surround Yourself with Awesome People. Feed off of the energy that successful people bring to the table. Be positive and be in the position where you are always willing to listen and learn.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Quick Tips for Surrogacy Agency Owners-If You Are Struggling Call for Help

Just because you are struggling does not mean you are failing BUT if you don't get some help THEN you WILL fail. Recognize when you need to call someone in to give you a hand. Even if you have to hire your kids to lighten your load around the house so you can concentrate on your business, do that! You can't do it alone. So ask for Help! (LaMothe Services is a great place to ask if you need assistance with your marketing, social networking, exhibiting, blogging and more!)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Quick Tips for Surrogacy Agency Owners- Running Your Own Agency Isn't Easy!

Owning your own agency isn't easy. It isn't simple. It isn't a hobby or something you do in your "spare time". There is a lot involved in a surrogacy journey. If you were/are a surrogate or an Intended Parent and want to "do things better" or "offer a better experience" you can...but remember you only know the part of the journey that affected you. What you need to learn are both sides of the coin of the surrogacy experience and then everything in between: the mental health component, the legalities in the USA, the recommendations of the ASRM, FDA and the ethics that everyone should be aware of. Have you thought of the paper work, the marketing, the advertising, or how you get paid? Do you understand the complexities of the relationship between the families involved in a surrogacy match? What about back ground checks, mediation and medications? Research your options and then come talk to LaMothe Services. We are here to help you reach your goal of helping others! 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Quick Tips for Surrogacy Agency Owners- Novice (Surrogacy/Egg Donation) Agency Owners Often Ignore Signs They Are Headed For Disaster

New Agency Owners can improve their odds by avoiding some of the common mistakes that hound those who seek to buy or start their own businesses. A few of those mistakes include:
• Starting an agency for the wrong reasons. Some people are drawn to owning an agency because they like the image that being an entrepreneur evokes – someone who is rich, famous, smart with lots of free time. That’s not exactly the best motivation, and the image they have in mind isn't going to mean a lot when the reality of what it takes to succeed sinks in. Often, these people are good at the technical work they do but ill-equipped to create, run and grow a agency.
• Taking advice from the wrong people. Anyone launching a new agency or buying an existing business or franchise definitely needs advice. But that advice should come from people most qualified to give it, and that’s not necessarily Aunt Stella or your friends from college. New agency owners need to make sure they have wise and learned people weighing in on each component of their business but it needs to be the right people. A lawyer shouldn't give advice on the balance sheet, and the accountant shouldn't weigh in on growth strategy.
• Underestimating the time requirements. Most would-be new surrogacy or egg donation owners probably assume they will work long hours. They are wrong. They won't work long hours. They will work long, long, long hours. Outside of an act of God or just blind good fortune, business owners work more hours than any other category of employment. That can take a toll. The good news is that, as the boss, you can come and go as you please, so I also recommend setting aside time for yoga and meditation. That will help keep you fit and perhaps relieve some of the stress that is especially high in the early weeks and months of starting your own agency.
These points are just the tip of the iceberg and that is why LaMothe (business consulting) Services are designed and developed to support your dream of owning your own agency. When you make an appointment for a free consultation, all information gathered is then formulated into a program specifically designed to resolve problem issues using LaMothe Services as your partner. We are willing to sign non-disclosure documents to make you feel comfortable in allowing us to assist you in managing and solving your most delicate business problems.
LaMothe Services specializes in Surrogacy and Egg Donation agencies and other Third Party Family Building Companies. We can also assist other businesses with customer service, organizational, social networking and marketing support issues. Call 727-458-8333 or e-mail for your free 40 minute phone consultation. Ask about our Fall Special that will end on November 30th. I look forward to hearing from YOU!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Quick Tips for Surrogacy Agency Owners- Remember that YOU are the Walking Advertisement for Your Surrogacy Agency!

Remember this statement below. It is so important, now that you own your own agency, to be that inspiration to instill confidence in your ability to guide and manage a surrogacy journey. Be your own wonderful self even when you are away from your office. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

This Is Your Last Chance to Take Advantage of the LaMothe Services Fall Special for New Surrogacy Agency Owners

Fall Special!
Calling all entrepreneurs! LaMothe Services is offering a Fall Special that will have you running your own business before you know it!
Are you interested in owning and operating your own Surrogacy Agency but don't know where to start? Have you been entertaining the idea of becoming your own boss? Are you a 'people person' and have knowledge of the third party family building field? LaMothe Services can help you formulate a plan and assist you in building your business to it's full potential. E-mail to set up your free 40 minute consult and learn more about our Fall special!
Surrogacy Business Development Fall Special Includes:
15 hours of e-mail/phone consultation
Website Development
Business card and brochure design
25-30 forms and documents to start your own business including examples of retainer agreements, contracts, matching protocols, recruiting ideas, check lists and relationship management guidance.
The Fall Special ends on November 30th, 2015

Monday, November 9, 2015

Now Is As Good A Time As Any....To Ask for Help!

Now are you ready? Contact me and we can see what the future holds! My Fall Special is running until the end of the month! Check it out by clicking HERE! 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Quick Tips for the Surrogacy Agency Owner -Surrogacy Well Being

I recommend to ALL agencies that I work with (And practiced this myself when I owned an agency) that there is at least 6 to 8 weeks of follow up from the surrogacy agency with each and every Gestational Carrier after her delivery. Call, e-mail, visit if possible. Make sure that she is feeling better and getting back to her own life. Encourage the IPs to check in and share in her healing. This statement is so true and important!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

7 Tools to Get Free Publicity for Your Business By: Lisa Furgison

As a business owner, you want to publicize your business without breaking the bank. In fact, few small business owners have much of an advertising budget, or a public relations manager. That’s okay. There are plenty of ways to attract customers online, if you know where to look. 
Of course, who has time to sift through websites looking for publicity options? Certainly not a small business owner with 101 items on his or her to-do list. To help, we've put together a list of seven free online tools that you can use to publicize your business.
This free online tool is a great place to connect with reporters looking for sources. When a reporter needs a source for a particular article, he or she puts out a query asking for people with certain knowledge or experience to respond. If a reporter likes your response, you could land an interview for a story. Usually that means you’ll be quoted in the story with a link back to your website.
Collin Jarman, a digital analyst for marketing agency, COCG, uses the site and says it’s his go-to spot for free publicity.
“It’s a great tool that allows experts to share their knowledge with those it might help,” he says.
With EzineArticles you can write a high quality blog post and share it on Email newsletter publishers scroll through these articles looking for fresh content to mail out and could include your article in their next newsletter. These publishers often have large email lists, so if your article is selected your content could be seen by a sizable audience.
You can also include a resource box at the end of your article with links back to your website. The site does set quality expectations, so plan to turn in your best stuff.
3. Online directories
Gone are the days of searching for a business in the phone book. Now, people turn to search engines for answers. You want to make sure that your business is “findable” online. To help people find your business, make sure it’s listed in several online directories. These directories house pertinent information like your location and phone number. Yellow Pages, MerchantCircle and are great places to start.
For a full list of online directories, check out “The Top 20 Places Your Business Needs to be Listed Online.”
4. Google My Business
If you haven’t checked out Google My Business, it’s worth your time. It’s similar to an online directory, but it has more bells and whistles. Through this tool, you set up a business profile page. You put in your vital business information like location, store hours, contact information and photos. When someone Google’s your business, they’ll see something like this:  
7 Tools to Get Free Publicity for Your Business
It’s a nice digital ad for your business. Plus, Google My Business works with Google+ so you can integrate your social media page with it. Customers can also leave and read reviews. Like we said, lots of bells and whistles. Overall, a handy tool.
5. Local calendar of events
Have an event coming up that could use some publicity? Visit the websites of your local TV stations and newspapers. A lot of news organizations have a free community calendar. You can submit the details through an online form like this and your event is added to a regional calendar.
Getting a celebrity endorsement for your product would be a huge coup. Believe it or not, there’s actually a website out there that can help you contact celebrities. There’s a free seven-day trial for Contact Any Celebrity. You get access to a database of 60,000 celebrities. Typically, the contact information is to a celebrity’s agent or publicist, but it’s still valuable information.
Some celebrities participate in a “gift program” too. You send a celebrity your product as a free gift, and in return you could get a review that you can use to market your product.
There’s no guarantee that you’ll hear back from the A-list star, but you do have access to a long Rolodex. After the seven-day trial period, there is a monthly membership charge, so use the free trial to your advantage.
7. Your company blog
One of the best strategies to gain free publicity is to invest time in a company blog. By writing articles that your customers can learn from, you’ll start to gain traction with customers and other industry leaders.
It’s more of a long term publicity strategy, but one that will pay off as you grow your audience, Jarman says.
“Figure out what kind of questions you can answer for your customers and turn those questions into blog topics,” he suggests. “The more help you can offer people, the more trust you’ll build.”
You can share your content via email and social media.
Bonus publicity tool: PRWeb
There’s one other publicity tool that’s worth a look: PRWeb. We’ve listed it as a bonus tool because it’s not free.
PRWeb is a press release distribution channel. When something new and exciting happens at your business, write a press release and share it on PRWeb. This site hosts your press release, and distributes it to news outlets and search engines.
When your business rolls out a new product, wins an award, partners with a big name client or gives back to the community, you can create a press release on the site and track its progress. Analyticstell you how many people saw it, how many links were clicked and how often it was shared on social media.
You pay for each press release that you want distributed. Plans start at $99/press release.
Do you know of another publicity tool you like use? Tell us about it in the comment section below.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

8 Dos and Don’ts of Networking Follow Up By: Jenny Klimisch

There are networking opportunities everywhere, whether you’re at a trade show, conference, meetup, or even chatting with someone on your commute. You need to make the most of every opportunity because you never know who you might meet! Here are eight actionable dos and don’ts for following up with someone in a professional way after you've connected:
DO: Send an invitation to connect on LinkedIn in a timely manor by including a personal note on where you met him or her and something you may have discussed. For example, “It was great meeting you at the ABC Event. I’d like to keep in touch about the possible partnership we were chatting about.”
DON’T: Send a LinkedIn invite to every business card you collect. You should have a one-on-one meaningful conversation with someone before sending them an invitation to connect.
DO: Follow up via email to business cards you collected and personalize the messages. Ensure you let people know ahead of time you’ll be sending an email and have their permission, otherwise your email may be viewed in a negative light. 
DON’T: Buy a list of event attendees and email them all. This would be a violation of the CAN-SPAM act. Also, it’s not the best way to start a professional relationship.
DO: Try to follow up in a timely fashion, usually within a few days to a week of the event. It will help keep you top of mind of your potential clients or business partners. 
DON’T: Wait too long to follow up with a contact. Time flies after events and it’s easy to forget all of the people that you might have met. 
DO: Go the extra mile about how your businesses or connection can be mutually beneficial when you do reach out to someone. Take the time to research and understand what his or her company does, if you don’t know already.
DON’T: Go on about your company without understanding whether it’s actually a good fit for the company or contact you’re reaching out to.
DO: Set a limit to the amount of communication. Do some testing to see the optimal amount of touches that it takes to connect with someone. Refine your cadence and amount of outreach accordingly. 
DON’T: Call or email multiple times if you don’t get a response. No one likes to be harassed or stalked.
DO: Extend an offer for a free demo or an info session to learn more about your product or service.
DON’T: Forget to include a link to your website in your email.
DO: Include your LinkedIn profile link (personal or business) within your email signature to make it easy for people to connect with you.
DON’T: Have an unprofessional picture in your email signature, or as your LinkedIn profile picture. 
DO: “Like” a business you’re interested in on Facebook, and follow that business on LinkedIn and Twitter. When you do, the business or owner may follow you back.
DON’T: Try to friend someone’s personal page on Facebook, or connect in other more personal ways. Sometimes it can be perceived as creepy.
These eight networking follow up dos and don’ts should keep you on the right path to growing your network and making successful new connections like a pro.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

4 Ways to Improve Communication at Work by: Vivian Ciampi

Vivian Ciampi offers these 4 tactical tips to help professionals at every level become a more effective communicator and, in doing so, gain better control of their career trajectory:
  1. Become the Universal Translator. The most valued and successful person in any business is the one that can translate facts, figures, and concepts into actionable ideas that will not only make sense and resonate with their direct network, but also with any and all constituents those ideas will be presented to. This includes superiors, subordinates, peers, customers, prospects, business partners and vendors. The Universal Translator does the following: steps out of their comfort zone or discipline; let’s go of any insider department lingo or technical terms and focuses on the audience at hand; suggests specific ways others can move forward with the information relative to what is important to them; and presents the vision, plan or theory in a way that is clear, crisp, confident and above all, ACTIONABLE.  This person is so successful because of their ability to translate complex or technical concepts into strategic steps that will impact the bottom line.  If others can understand, relate to and rally around what you are presenting, it is sure to yield winning results.

  2. Meet before you meet. There’s few things more painful and embarrassing than getting completely derailed in a meeting. Many have seen it—someone showing up with well-prepared and rehearsed slides only to get completely pummeled with questions from every discipline in the room before they even get beyond the intro page. Instead of moving forward with their agenda, they are sent ten paces back and five paces to the side, only to leave the meeting with more work, lost credibility, a confused and frustrated audience and, above all, no progress on the agenda at hand. If you've ever experienced this personally or seen it happen to another, you know it is hard to recover. The best way to counter this is the following: determine who your key constituents are relative to your topic ahead of time; set up one-on-one meetings with all of them at least a few days in advance of the big meeting; socialize the topic with each of the constituents individually; and make sure you understand their perspective and answer any questions or concerns that they have ahead of time. By taking these steps, you will undoubtedly gain valuable information that will not only help you refine your presentation, but also be poised and prepared to actually present in the real meeting. Socializing the idea ahead of time may feel like extra work, but the benefits far outweigh the additional time—and the very real risks of not doing so. This strategy will facilitate your ability to effectively cover a lot of ground and actually garner decisions in the meeting without playing catch-up or spending valuable time trying to get everyone on the same page. Effective communication, speed and alignment are a few of the key advantages here.

  3. Stop, ask and listen! Today’s fast-paced workplace has most of us running at record speed, often in circles like we’re on a hamster wheel. We are putting out fires and have more in our email inbox than our outbox each and every day. The resulting pressure of this overload causes us to rush through conversations so we can cross it off our proverbial “to do list” and move on to the next triage task. Unfortunately, plowing through important conversations will never yield a productive outcome, but often produces more work and headaches. The best way to approach key conversations that need a little extra finesse or persuasion, particularly in the midst of a time-pressed schedule, are the following: stop and take a breath so you don’t rush into your agenda in the first five minutes of the conversation; ask open ended questions, such as “What’s going on in your department?” or “How has this system helped you?” Once the person you’re engaged with has the opportunity to respond, make 200% sure you are actively listening—not just hearing them—and that you give them ample time to convey their thoughts without your interjection, direction or interruption. The majority of the time, you will gain key insights from these conversations and will be able to craft a more informed response—one that better resonates with the person(s) you’re speaking with. Even if you already know the answer or have a brilliant retort, slowing down and letting others speak first, in full, allows them to “empty their cup” which puts them in a better position to have it filled back up with what you have to say in response. When you do finally have the chance to speak, keep in mind people only have the capacity to absorb so much. If we provide an overload of verbose detail, you risk overflowing the listener’s “cup” and may ultimately lose the real essence of what you are trying to convey. Stay focused on who your audience is and what they care about to ensure that your dialogue and key points are streamlined and succinct. This tactic also helps build more productive, trusting professional relationships. The most successful people in any company aren't necessarily the smartest, but rather those who take the time to listen and learn from others because they truly value what they have to say. Adhering to this strategy will not only make you a much more effective communicator, but it will also garner tremendous goodwill throughout the organization as you start to hone a discipline of talking less and listening more.

  4. Converse with clarity. People today are inundated with data, work under tight time-frames, and talk in acronyms. Some technical people and other professionals tend to use a lot of insider jargon and industry terminology when they communicate, making it difficult for anyone outside their immediate network to understand. Also, incompetent people tend to rush through important details hoping no one else will ask questions or notice their in-aptitude, and you certainly don’t want to be perceived in this light. Such conversation crushers can leave others feeling intimidated, out of the loop and unable to effectively contribute. Rather than contributing poorly to the conversation or sitting on the sidelines as the dialogue ensues, a better approach is to pick the right setting and ask clarifying questions to ensure messaging remains on point and resultant activities on track. If you’re not sure where to start, the basic who, what, where, when, why and how is a sensible approach. For example, “Why are we doing this?”; “How will that work?” or “Where will this help the organization?” are some examples. The win-win with this strategy is that it fosters clear dialogue, makes people accountable to answer direct questions and often uncovers problems that need to be addressed but would have been overlooked had this approach not been utilized.

About the Expert 
Vivian M. Ciampi is a Principal at Professional Coaching, LLC, a business navigational coaching firm that helps universities, small to mid-size businesses and large organizations accelerate the growth and success of their top talent.  She specializes in helping professionals become better communicators in order to achieve greater success in their careers and balance in their lives.  She is also a coach and facilitator in the Executive Education department at the Harvard Business School.  Ciampi has been providing leadership/strategic coaching and workshops to professionals for over ten years.  Prior to starting her own business, she spent over two decades leading teams and managing businesses at JP Morgan Chase, formerly Chase Manhattan Bank and Travelers Property Casualty. Ciampi is a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation; holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Finance and Marketing from the University of Connecticut, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Fairfield University.  Learn more online at