Blog Categories: Uncategorized

Here’s how to avoid “Death by PowerPoint”

Posted on May 31, 2019

We have all been there:  presentation coming up, need to develop slides, how to make them interesting, not cluttered? Where to begin, end? What is too much and what is too little on a slide?  How many slides are needed? Here is an article written by an expert on Powerpoint who offers advice and, introduces new technology in PowerPoint, e.g., morph, reuse slide, and text icons–all of which can support efficient and interesting slide deck development for a presentation.

This Is How To Create Happy Memories That Will Last A Lifetime: 3 Secrets From Research

Posted on November 12, 2017

It’s fascinating what causes people to remember certain experiences, activities, and times in their lives.  Yet, most of the time we wonder what we did last week that was meaningful or, how fast time is going by and … what is there to show for it?  This article describes the research behind what makes certain events memorable and how to create more of them to savor and enjoy the life we have.  Here are some hints:  tell a employee that you appreciate their work, celebrate getting past a disagreement and remaining friends, mark a memory with a ritual that involves a sensory delight…live your life and look to make more moments of connection and gratitude.

Former Microsoft Employee Talks About Work Life Balance

Posted on April 19, 2016

Origami fortune teller in cupped hands concept for work life balance choices

This former employee from Microsoft gives some sobering yet essential advice on “when you know  it’s time to walk away” from a demanding job.  Read this Huffington Post article on how he found the importance of — being dedicated to your professional growth, without sacrificing your personal growth.

Training Our Brains to Better Manage and Express Emotions and Thinking

Posted on July 28, 2015

meditation for calming self, exercise for managing selfRichard Davidson is probably the foremost researcher on the effect of meditation on the brain. He has studied Tibetan monks by using EEG’s to watch their brains during meditation. He was invited to study the monks by the Dalai Lama – a spiritual leader most interested in science.  Why meditation for those of us in Business?  We are learning through this research that mindfulness practices help leaders to calm, become better able to respond in stressful situations and, more focused in daily decision-making activities.  This article about mindfulness uses delightful examples from the Pixar movie INSIDE/OUT to describe research on emotions and the brain.

How to Spot a Lie

Posted on July 17, 2014

Surprising new research that shows us how we all have learned at an early age to detect lying or dishonesty. This short article by Robert Biswas-Diener reminds us to pay attention to this primal sense. Whether your leading a team, managing a group of people or managing yourself in the midst of a difficult communication, learning more about how you can detect  inauthentic communication is a good skill to hone.   How to Spot a Liehow to spot a lie

Positivity in the Work Place

Posted on January 12, 2013

Research shows that when we can maintain a ratio of 3 (positive emotion) : 1 (negative emotion) in the work place we show up more able to make and maintain productive relationships, have more effective team interactions and more successful client interactions.  Maintaining this ratio is challenging given the negative bias of negative emotions on the brain: we are biologically hard wired to pay more attention to negative emotion.  Often stated: positive emotion is like “teflon” on the brain and negative emotion more like “velcro” on our brains.

So what to do?

These resources offer brilliant ways to practice increasing positive emotions and thinking to get to the tipping point each day at work of 3:1:

Barbara Fredrickson, Positivity, Three Rivers Press, 2009:  This book, now available in paperback, is written by an award winning social scientist.  Dr. Fredrickson not only explains her research but gives poignant examples from her own life of how she maintains positivity. The book also lists exercises and methods to practice daily to maintain the 3:1 ratio at work and in life. Also, check out Dr. Fredrickson’s website: to test your positivity ratio each day.

Lynn Johnson, Enjoy LIfe: Healing with Happiness-available on his website and on Amazon.  The subtitle of this book is: How to harness positive moods to raise your energy, effectiveness and joy.  Dr Johnson gives really practical suggestions to maintain the positivity ratio as well as clear descriptions of relevant social science research.

Barbara Fredrickson and Marcel Losada, “Positive Affect and the Complex Dynamics of Human Flourishing”, American Psychologist, October 2005. For those interested in reading the research data.

Martin Seligman, Flourishing  and Authentic Happiness. Dr. Seligman is considered the Father of Positive Psychology. He is a must read if you are interested in studying Positive Psychology and applying the findings to your own life. He posits that in order to flourish in life (and to increase positive emotion) we need:  Positive relationships, Engagement or flow, Relationships/social connnections, Meaning or Purpose  and Accomplishment in our lives.

I Like Facebook, HBU (how ‘bout you)?

Posted on November 30, 2011

Facebook Business ConnectionsBy Tim Hayes

As a newbie to Facebook, I’m in the process of learning not only how to navigate these new waters of Walls and Friending and feigning interest in people’s toenail painting appointments, but also how to communicate business opportunities to heretofore untapped markets.

The universe of Twitter beckons as well, but my limit is one culture shock at a time, thanks.

One of the more fascinating aspects of these and other social media is the quicksilver development of language and novel abbreviations.  With three teenagers in the house, the fact that this is happening comes as no surprise.  Yet the sheer volume of newly hatched acronyms, homonyms, and synonyms leaves me speechless.  And I’m a speechwriter, 4COL (for crying out loud).

As a parent, I want to know what the kids are talking about out there to keep mine safe.  As a professional communicator, I want to know what language usages the world is embracing to keep my clients informed and protected, as well.  A recent article in The Wall Street Journal gives a very informed and informative rundown of this constantly evolving vocabulary, and quotes a media trainer as stating, “If a CEO does not appear to be tech-savvy, people may start to wonder, ‘Is the company not plugged into today’s technologies also?’”

I’m not sure the thumbs of CEOs with whom I work are furiously flurrying over their Blackberrys and iPhones with gems like KUTGW (keep up the good work), WRUD (what are you doing), or GBTW (get back to work).  Well, maybe that last one.  But the notion of remaining tech-savvy does ring true.

The only thing that never changes is the fact that everything changes.  Social media drives presidential politics, athletes bypassing the media and going straight to their fan base, heck, even Paula Abdul resigned from “American Idol” via Twitter.  What more proof does anyone need?

For now, I plan to dive back into my Facebook account and start swimming again, looking for fresh Friends who can lead me to vast new worlds of business connections.  My message to them?  PCM (please call me).

Copyright 2009 Tim Hayes Consulting

Reference:  Hayes, Tim, Jackass in a Hailstorm—Adventures in Leadership Communication, 2010 Transverse Park Productions, LLC.  This book is available on  Tim is a Leadership Communication Consultant, Trainer and an associate in the Perla Group – Coaching and Consulting.


Creative Planning Retreat for Professionals

Posted on February 8, 2011

Professional Business Retreat
Save the Date:
Friday, April 8 – Saturday, April 9, 2011
St. Emma’s Monastery
Greensburg, PA

Retreat facilitated by Rosemarie Perla,  Executive Coach and Consultant

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

—Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple Computers

Purpose of retreat: To give the business professional time out to consider vision and values related to their work life; to design how they want to continue contributing in their careers and in their communities.

Friday, April 8, 2011 starting at 1 PM to Saturday, April 9, 2011 ending at 5 PM.

Where: St. Emma’s Monastery, 1001 Harvey Ave., Greensburg, PA  (approximately 45 minutes outside of Pittsburgh, PA)

Who: Business Professionals wanting to develop strategies for integrating personal strengths with their leadership skills and presence.

$275.00 (registered by March 18, 2011) includes room, most meals and retreat materials,  $300.00 (after March 18, 2011)

Retreat held in Monastery Guest House.  First 10 registrants are guaranteed a room with private bath.  All other registrants will have private room with shared bath.

For more information, or to pre-register – Call or email Rosemarie Perla at the Perla Group – Coaching and Consulting:  or  412.621.7996.  Details to follow.

Personal Boundaries

Posted on February 8, 2010

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

We all can understand the concept of personal space, e.g., someone moving too close to us and then we feel the need to back up to “get our space back.”  We also have “psychological boundaries” that need to be respected.  Sometimes, with some people, those boundaries are violated.

Personal BoundariesBoundaries are imaginary lines that keep other people’s actions and behaviors out.  Anything that causes you to get annoyed or upset is a crossed boundary.

Example:  If you have a swimming pool in your backyard without a fence around it, you might have all kinds of unwelcome guests splashing around in it.  When a sturdy fence is in place, what happens? People have to ask permission to jump in; they have to be invited.  You are the pool, the fence is your boundary.  In simple form a boundary is the word, “No.”

Boundaries need to be put in place to keep any damaging influences out of your way.  Those influences may be circumstances you created or that someone else, through their actions, has created for you.  These negative influences, can seem small at first, but, over time, can build up to cause difficulties in everyday interactions.

Interpersonal boundaries are invisible.  You have to communicate them to be known. If other people can’t comply, you may have to make an effort to avoid them altogether.  For example, co-workers making remarks about your weight or getting personal phone calls from a family member at work…a response, clearly and respectfully setting a boundary may be:  “It’s not O.K. that you comment on my weight.  I’d like you to stop.”  Or, “I have decided to take all personal calls in the evening in order to get my work done.  I will call you later.”

Take away: Put your boundaries in place:

  1. Stop people just as they are doing something that violates your boundary.
  2. Tell them what they are doing.
  3. Request that they stop.
  4. Instruct them about the change that you need to see.
  5. Thank them for making the change.

If they are not cooperative, add 6 or 7:

6. Demand that they stop.

7. Walk away without a fight.

The bottom line is that “they” are not doing anything to you that you are not allowing them to do.


Take Yourself to the Top, Laura Berman Fortgang, 1998, Warner Books.

Communicating with Difficult People: Some Simple Tips

Posted on November 15, 2009

“You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.”

-Indira Gandhi

This is the title of a workshop that I frequently give when asked to speak to a group of people within a business or organization.  Why?  Because each and every day we are all faced with challenging people and difficult work situations.  Keeping our sense of purpose, intent and clear communication skills are all points to remember in such situations.

A review:

  1. Stop wishing that they were different: Spending time “wishing” that the difficult person or situation would go away is a waste of energy. Better to begin formulating, and practicing, a plan of action.  Shift away from blame. Move to managing and changing what YOU can to work with the person.
  2. Get some distance between you and the difficult situation/behavior:  Gain perspective, see the patterns and understand the source in order to begin formulating a strategy.  Gaining distance helps free you for a more productive and caring response.
  3. Focus on changing your own behavior: Step out of the scenario and see how your own behavior was elicited by what you thought the other person had or had not done. Remember:  you can only change you.
  4. Formulate a plan: Devise a strategy and, remember the behavior of human beings is highly interactional. Difficult people tend to act in ways that manage to get the worst out of everyone—but they also have positive responses in their repertoire.  Structure the interaction so as to encourage positive, more productive response so to cope more successfully with that individual.

Perl: Practice clear communication skills when dealing with a difficult person or situation.  Think of the word  –  STABEN when communicating:

S= Go to the source. Avoid talking to those who are NOT part of the issue (unless it is to get clarity, gain insight or support).  Communicate directly with the person with whom you are having difficulty.

T= Time and Place. Pick a private and safe place that is comfortable for all parties.

A=Amicable. Present an amicable approach. Smile. Start the conversation with a compliment or, empathize with the person, see the world through their eyes.

B=Objective Behavior. Start with describing the behavior as an objective phenomena-just the facts.  “When you did not introduce me at the meeting…” or “Yesterday at 5:00pm you asked to borrow the files and as of today they are not returned…”

E=Emotion. State clearly your emotion as a result of the behavior.  “I became angry and confused…”  “I was disappointed…” Use “I” communication.


N=Need. State clearly what your need, desire or request.  “I am requesting that you introduce me at the meetings as your associate. “ Or  “I need to have the files returned to my desk by 3:00 PM this afternoon.”

Finally, attempt to create or discover a common purpose or a way that they two of you can work together to achieve the same goal.  If no common purpose can be found, sometimes it is best to walk away. Accept the person as they are.

Take away: In any difficult situation or in a conversation with a difficult person, maintaining inner balance and managing your stress is most crucial.  Practice the STABEN method, a good communication tool no matter with whom you are communicating.  Get some distance and, remember-don’t take anything personally!


Servan-Schreiber, David.  The Instinct to Heal. Rodale Press, 2004.

Rosenberg, Marshall.  Non-violent Communication, Puddler Dancer Press, 1999.