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What to do about Challenging People & Situations

22nd Feb 2021

Challenging people and situations. We all have challenging aspects of our personality and when we work closely with people, including customers and clients, what can be the most challenging is our reaction. How not to be ‘triggered’ by what someone has said, or done, or how they chew their food or breathe.


You know that ‘trigger’? When you immediately tense up, grit your teeth and in your head go, grrrr or a similar noise or perhaps a certain word or two.


But if we are confronted with any sort of behaviour that makes our life difficult there are techniques you can learn to deal with it. It's important to learn these techniques when you are relaxed so it's easier to recall when you are stressed. 


Anger is a secondary emotion so there is always some other emotion in behind it, as the primary emotion.  These emotions can be so fleeting we aren't even aware of them and we just go straight to anger. Once again, breathing helps keep you calm under angry situations (and help you to calm down if it's you who's angry). Learning about what is in behind anger can be life changing as you can then learn to deal with the primary emotion rather than let situations develop into the angry phase. Easier said than done? Absolutely. But it can be done with the right strategies and practising those strategies. 


It also can be challenging not to be drawn into someone else’s issues/conflict/drama that hasn’t anything to do with us. One way to stop this from happening is to respond in a non-committal way. Saying “Riiiiight” and really drawing out the iiii sound will give the person time to draw breath and carry on without you haven’t to say anything possibly incriminating.


When it comes to dealing with issues or coming up against challenging people, take a deep breath (it will only take 3 seconds) and let it out slowly. If you have been practising empathetic statements and facilitative questions use them. If you don’t know what I mean just ask me, I can send some to you.


This week I am covering this very thing in a couple of workshops for a team. Team workshops are great because everyone hears the same message and discussions around what was presented as everyone will have a different take on it, will lead to the learning becoming more likely to be put into practice and everyone can hold each other accountable.


Say It Clearly has a team workshop option available as a service provider for NZTE. If your business qualifies you may be entitled to funding to hold the workshop for your team. Ask Miriam for more information.


Here’s some exercises to help you take that 3 second breath.

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Wellbeing and Words

15th Feb 2021

Wellbeing and words. Do you feel anxious when you are met with what feels like confrontation? Do you freeze up? Go on the attack? Or do you want to just run away from the situation altogether?

These natural reactions come from the part of our brain developed over 2 million years ago. But now our ‘mammal’ brain has developed too, we can learn strategies to overcome the mind blanks when we are stressed.

By not being able to articulate clearly and confidently your thoughts, causes stress and unnecessary anxiety. The more you know about yourself the easier it is to find the strategies that work best for you to  voice your opinion clearly, confidently and maintain an equilibrium within yourself no matter what is happening. Easier said than done!

As an employer you will understand how anxiety and stress affects wellbeing, productivity, sick leave, productivity, and possibly even turnover. Learning these strategies to pass onto your employees is key to a happy and effective team.

The Southland Chamber of Commerce is running a free webinar on Tuesday 23rd of February on this very topic and guess who the guest is? Yes. Me! Yay!!

If you want to learn these skills yourself or for your team here is the link to RSVP. This will be an introductory session but you will most definitely learn strategies to get you started. You will have access to free resources and links to further training.

This is how the Chamber have advertised who I am…

“Miriam McKenzie is an award winning, published author who has featured in the media. She has nearly 30 years in the education and training business so she knows her stuff. She’s open to healthy debate too.”

Most definitely open to debate. Hope to ‘see’ you there. In the meantime if you would like any information about any Say It Clearly course book a time to chat or flick me an email.

Have a good week, Miriam.

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Communication in Diverse Workplaces

8th Feb 2021

Juggling an organisation that has employees of different gender, generation, ethnicity not to forget personalities and all the other things that make us up as people can be really challenging. For a ‘culture of acceptance’ to run through an organisation it needs to start at the top. Policies (in line with current regulations to begin with) through to an excellent induction to systems that ensure a diverse business can be managed exceptionally well, understanding your people should be mandatory.


The more we learn about ourselves and how we like to be related to the easier it is to relate to others. This can reduce the amount of miscommunication in a workplace, which then in turn decreases time lost in repetition and reduces stress.


If you think of yourself as a jigsaw puzzle. Just a simple one, only a few pieces. They might be big, they might be little. Once made up you can see a picture of you. Fun. Here’s the pieces – gender, age, ethnicity, values, learning style, personality type, communication style, strengths. Plus, IQ and EQ.


You will find a multitude of tests online to discover who you are, you may have already done some but have you passed this information onto your boss or colleagues? As an auditory learner I find noise challenging when I’m trying to focus. Loud voices talking on the phone, people’s ring/text tones, certain music, is all very distracting and either one of two things will happen. 1. I’ll get really frustrated and have to find a quiet place to work and if it’s an open plan space with no quiet rooms I have to go home (to work!!) or 2. Distract others.


Do you know your learning style? How do you learn best? This can go a long way to discover your best working environment, how you like to receive information, your colleagues and how to present information to them. Knowing this information can increase productivity due to less misinterpretation of instructions and poor performance because conditions are helpful to that particular learning style. (Poor performance could also be wrong skill set wrong job so check out a strengths based test for that.)  


We all learn differently, we are all made up of different ‘stuff’ but we’re all people. The oft quoted ‘Golden Rule’ is the principle of treating others as you want to be treated stands true in every sense and situation.


This week I’m delivering a workshop to staff of Millbrook Resort, just out of Queenstown. The topic is on ‘culturally diverse workplaces’ but all pieces of the jigsaw will be used to create the big picture of how to communicate openly and honestly within the workplace no matter who we are or where we come from.


With only 4 training spaces left for February and you have been thinking about training with Miriam either book a time to talk to her or send an email to find out how she can help you Find Your Voice, Find Your Words.  If you or your business qualifies for a voucher under the NZTE voucher scheme you may be eligible for funding to help towards your training costs.


Ask Miriam for more information. Email Miriam.




Click here to take the VARK test, it’s free and will take a matter of minutes. The most important part is reading the definitions. VARK questionnaire

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Get in touch with Miriam to discuss how she can help you.