Three Key Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills with Meredith Bell

communication inspired growth leadership loyb podcast Nov 09, 2021

Have you ever thought about the impact communication has on the success of your business and your relationship with your team?

Communication is one of the single most valuable skills you can master. It’s vital for business, life, and building any kind of relationship effectively with someone else.

Communication is as much about the way we speak with someone as it is about the way we listen to them and absorb information. 

Small improvements to communication can have major impacts on your results.  

On this week's episode of the Lean Out Your Business podcast I am thrilled to be joined by Meredith Bell, the Co-Founder and President of Performance Support Systems. She has developed a variety of tools and techniques to help leaders and team members improve their performance and communication skills for long-term success.

Meredith also shares an incredible story about how she tapped into her purpose and how she uses it in everything she does in business and life.

Here are just a few of the things we dive into in this episode: 

  • Why you should always start with purpose 
  • The one question that could change the rest of your life 
  • Which skill is the most fundamental skill of all skills you can master
  • What it truly means to be a good listener and listen well 
  • How to give and receive feedback, some of the most important dos and don’ts of the process


Giving and Getting Feedback is an Important Aspect of Communication

Do you enjoy getting feedback? How about giving someone else feedback?

For the vast majority of people, the idea of having to confront someone with something they did wrong might make you break out into a cold sweat. Likewise, when you know you are about to get feedback the sense of dread can send you spiraling into defensive mode making it nearly impossible to even take the good feedback well.

As business owners with any size team over the course of their career will need to give feedback on projects, work, and workplace environment. Most people don’t enjoy this process despite it being one of the most crucial components of developing those around you into being their best selves and supporting your company vision. 

The good news is that you can shift your mindset around both giving and receiving feedback.

The Sandwich Style Of Feedback

When it comes to giving positive feedback the way you communicate is important and that starts with giving positive feedback in the first place. Every human being no matter how successful they are needs to know they matter. And when you learn to give this feedback well to those on your team you will build a stronger team. Giving positive feedback at the same time as giving a more critical piece of feedback is even more crucial to keep morale high and to keep them from becoming too defensive and no longer hearing what you need to talk to them about.

The most practical method to keep communication open and have the interaction be as positive on both sides as possible is commonly referred to as the sandwich method.

This is when you bring up something positive to begin the conversation, highlight something you appreciate that the person you are talking to has done recently. Then once you have established you do appreciate them, then you can lead into what might potentially be lacking in terms of if they missed a deadline, if their performance was below usual expectations or if a situation was handled poorly. When addressing these concerns stick to the facts and avoid judgmental language or negative accusations.

This gives you a chance to let them know what happened and to give them the ability to respond. You should ask follow up questions about if they misunderstood something if they were having problems outside of work that might be influencing their usually on-point performance, giving them a chance to explain themselves openly you will be able to understand where they were coming from and to allow you together to come together to look forward and agree on what the standards should be. It will also allow them to ask for help and more guidance if that was something they felt they were missing in order to achieve their preformation expectations. Once you have both discussed the problem to completion once again finish the sandwich with more appreciation and value statements. Continue to offer them the support that you do intend to help them improve and give them the opportunity to step up and reach the goals you have discussed and planned out together.

Leading with appreciation, then opening discussing the concerns, followed by more value, and offering support will take a lot of pressure off needing to give feedback. Not everyone or everything will be always perfect, and when you reaffirm to people that you have faith they can improve and give them the support and space in order to do so they will be more receptive and feel more confident in their ability to do so.

Another Valuable Technique is Called FAR

When you are implementing new communication skills it’s important to remember things will not be perfect overnight. You will have communication mishaps, not give balanced feedback, use the wrong words, or even hurt someone on accident.

You may find yourself in situations where you don’t even say anything at all and find yourself later imagining all the things you could have said and then beating yourself up. This happens to all of us. We think about the things we could have, should have, would have said if we had just thought it through some more and had some time.

This is a natural part of the process of developing a brand-new skill of being more highly effective in communication.

The technique best used in this practice has the acronym FAR which stands for Focus, Action and Reflection.

Focus: This is the one thing that you want to improve on at a time in communication. This could be listening more, giving better feedback, taking feedback better, understanding more, or whatever you are wanting to be better at.

Action: Looking for opportunities to put your current focus of communication into action. This can happen in any type of your current relationships inside and outside of business.

Reflection: Looking back at the action you took, ask yourself questions about how it went. How you are feeling about it, how did the interaction go, and how you can improve upon them in the future.

When you look at various interactions in this manner you can see what you did well, poorly and how you can consistently be improving. Give yourself grace in these times as you are learning and growing and having setbacks is a natural part of the process. Practicing these skills as often as possible in a full variety of situations will allow you to try new things, learn and change for the better.



References Mentioned In This Episode 


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Welcome to the Lean Out Your Business Podcast, a show dedicated to helping entrepreneurs accelerate business growth and simplify success. I'm your host, Crista Grasso, and I've been working with businesses for more than two decades to help them lean out and optimize what's working, while eliminating anything that's not adding value. So, if you are ready to get more time back in your day, more profit in your business, and to do business differently growing and scaling on your terms. Let's dive into today's episode.


Hello, hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the Lean Out Your Business podcast. Today, I am so excited to be introducing you to Meredith Bell. She is just an absolutely amazing person. And you're going to love some of her story and some of what she shares today because it means a lot to me and I see her do this so often. So can't wait to tell you. There's a little teaser there. But first, let me tell you a bit about Meredith. And then we're going to dive into all the things. So Meredith Bell is the Co-founder and President of Performance Support Systems, which is a global software company that provides assessments and development tools for the workplace, that helps leaders and team members make the shift from knowing to doing and leading to permanent improvements in the way people interact with each other at work. She is an expert and leader in team communications, the author of two books, and I have read them and they're amazing, and the host of Strong for Performance podcast. She has worked with 1000s of business leaders, entrepreneurs, and human resources professionals. So, Meredith, welcome. I'm so excited to have you on the show today.


Oh, thank you, Crista. I'm very excited to be with you.

Yeah. So today, we're going to talk about a few different things, because Meredith has some really great expertise and so we're going to talk a bit about boosting performance in communication and mastering new skills, which right now is something that so many of us are trying to do. So, I think it's going to be a really rich conversation. But first, before we dive into all of that, what I wanted to start with was purpose, and here's why. I love the way that Meredith runs her business, and just is as a human being, I think so much of this comes back to the way that she really tapped into her purpose. So, Meredith, can you share a little bit about that and your story? And that question, that kind of shifted things for you.


Sure. I have kind of worked on a purpose statement for it. Gosh, you know, it's been evolving over time. But I really solidified it when I was exposed to certain information that just helped me crystallize. Who am I? Why am I here? What do I want to do? And one of the things was in this wonderful book called The Prosperous Coach, by Steve Chandler and Rich Litvin, and it's a book for coaches. And even though I'm not a professional paid coach, I kind of informally coach people. So, I love any information I can find about coaching. And one of the things that Rich said in one of his chapters about having these initial conversations with someone is to pose this question, and it just popped out of the page for me, how can I serve this person so powerfully that they never forget our conversation for the rest of their life? And, you know, it popped out at me because I thought, how many conversations do I really have where the person leaves feeling that kind of impact. And I got to thinking about what the conversation would have to be like, in order for them to feel that way. And it couldn't be about me, it couldn't be about our products, it needed to be about them. And so that just helped me think more clearly about my state of being and my mindset anytime I had a conversation with someone. And so, my purpose statement evolved into my purpose is to serve and love profoundly so others appreciate their value, and maximize it. So, each one of those words is carefully chosen to impact me emotionally when I say it and live it. Because I don't want to have a small impact. Profound means significant, right? It's not something tiny, and helping them appreciate their value has a lot to do with elevating their sense of who they are in their own mind, by the way, I interact with them and then the maximizing is being the most that they can be in the world because my goal is to always look for ways to elevate someone else, not tear them down, you know, not just show respect, but see if I can take it to another level. So, each of those words has significance for me.


Yeah, I love it. And that just comes through in everything from the first moment that I met you. I felt that way. And that to me was one of the main reasons I really wanted to have you on the show and why I just connected with you right when we met because I feel like you really are genuinely committed to serving and helping other people be their best, and what a beautiful way to approach and do business. I love it.


Thank you.

Awesome. So, let's dive into some of the things that you are just a really leading expert on, one of which is communication. And I finished reading your book on communication, I really loved it, in it, you go into the top ten communication skills. I know that although the focus of the book is really for use in companies, in a lot of ways, I took a lot out of it. And I think that those skills are something that every person and every entrepreneur can really be leveraging. So, I'm super curious of the ten, which two or three do you think are the most important for entrepreneurs to be thinking about? And why is communication so important?


Communication, to me is the fundamental skill of all skills that we need for business and life, really, because if we're not connecting effectively with someone else, and the way we talk with them, and the way we listen to them, we're going to miss important information. And when you think about it, life, business is all about relationships. And so, the way that we are able to communicate with someone else makes all the difference in their sense of trusting us, you know, we have this know, like, and trust that, you know, phrase that we've heard for a long time, being an effective communicator, accelerates all of those. And so, for me, the fundamental, number one skill that actually is in all the others is listening. And that's why it's our longest chapter, because there are so many elements of listening. Well, you know, it's one thing to hear the words that someone is saying, but to listen for the meaning, listen for the feelings behind it. Notice, a body language, facial expressions, all of this combines into the message of really hearing and getting what the person is saying. And to me listening is challenging. You know, most people, if you ask them, Are you a good listener? They'd say, oh, yeah, but the thing is, listening requires a lot of work. Because we have to calm and quiet our busy minds. Because so often, we're ready to come in with our response, or our ideas or our experience and jump in and barely let the other person finish what it is they're saying. And so, it takes restraint. But then it also takes active participation. To me, listening is not passive, you're not just sitting there quietly, letting the person go on and on, you're engaged with them. And so, you're asking to clarify, to make sure you're understanding what it is they're saying. And that requires careful attention. You know, we're so used to trying to multitask, which to me is a misnomer. You really can't focus your attention on two different things. So, if you're trying to read an email, or check a text message, while you're having a conversation with someone else, I guarantee you, you're missing something. And so, one of the other things that happens when we listen well is when we really give 100% attention to that person, they feel it, they can sense that we are valuing who they are as a human being, by the way we are attending to them. And that goes, I can't even describe the benefits of doing that. It's not a strategy. It's not a tactic. It's a way of being with another human being. And I think that's a significant distinction to make. Because it's not trying to convince someone, I'm a good listener, it's actively participating in that exchange so they feel that you are because you can ask questions that cause them to think more deeply maybe then they have, not in a challenging way to push back, but just simply inviting them to explore. Well, I'm curious what caused you to conclude that, just as an example, tell me more about that. So, it's not like it's an inquisition, where you're asking question after question. It's getting them to explain more so that you better understand what they're trying to tell you. So, to me, that's number one, a second one that I think doesn't get enough attention is giving positive feedback. Because every human being no matter how successful they are, needs to know they matter, needs to know, they count. And so, when we can learn to do that, well, it just goes so far in really strengthening a relationship. And it's not like looking, you know, for generalities, phony praise, it's not like that saying, “Oh, you're the best.” I mean, that can feel good. But it's much more effective when you can be very specific with someone about what it is, what they said or did that you really value. So, let's say you were in a zoom call with other people. And you notice that one person, let's say you are really paying attention, Crista to the fact that a couple of people weren't participating. So, you might say, hey, Meredith, I noticed, you know, Jane hasn't had a chance to speak up yet. Let's hear what she has to say. So, after that meeting, I could come to you and say, Crista, I so appreciate the fact that you are paying attention to who was and was not contributing. And because of that, I really think we got better ideas presented, and greater value from the meeting.


Yeah, I really love that example. I think that's such a great example of positive feedback and how you can leverage it. So, I'm curious what your third is.

The third one actually has two parts. The topic overall, is constructive feedback. I want to describe giving constructive feedback as well as receiving constructive feedback, because they're very different. And they're often very different feelings associated with each one. So, when we're giving constructive feedback, one of the words that we use in our book around this is giving constructive feedback in a supportive, encouraging way. And that, to me takes the pressure off of having to approach someone to correct them about something. And I think a key thing to keep in mind when we need to give feedback to someone who let's say they've made a mistake, or their performance has fallen short. And we need something different from them than what we've gotten. And so, what we want to do is think of balance in the context of everything else that this person contributes. So, when we approached them, we like to call it a sandwich approach. So, you start up front, asserting the different things they do, why they're a valuable member of your team, or valued vendor, whatever role they play in your business, or your life, and affirming the things they do that make them a valuable contributor, and then bringing up the specifics about the behavior or the situation that they didn't handle well. And I think an important thing is to remember to not use judgmental words, simply describe the facts of the situation, you know, when this person called in, you said this, and then I noticed that or when this person walked in, so you're very specific about it. And then you can own your feelings. You know, I was disappointed, I was surprised, whatever it is you are feeling about that behavior. And then what's really important is what was the impact on that? Why was that something that you need to address, because maybe the client walked out, you know, unhappy, or you lost a sale or something got delivered late, there are all these different things that can happen so being specific they understand why they need to do something different. And then to talk about, you know, give them a chance to respond, even say something like, this is how I saw it happening, what are your thoughts on this or what was going on for you that day, because somebody that's normally a stellar performer, if they're having a bad day, there may be something that happened at home, we don't know. And it's really a good idea to not make assumptions and to ask, and then to state, you know, here's what needs to happen in the future and get their commitment and agreement that they, that this is the standard they will, you know, perform to next time and then let them know, this is where the sandwich comes in at the end is, I'm here to support you. So let me know if there's anything I can do to be of help to you as you work to that, whether it's improving or changing or just whatever correcting that particular performance. So that's a formula or series of steps that work well, the underlying attitude is, this is a valuable person in my world. And I want to discuss this with them in a way that they feel respected and supported in the process. And what that does Crista, is it then sets the stage for them needed to be able to hear you, because you're not coming across as critical, judging, putting down because that's when people tend to dig in their heels and react defensively and start justifying and explaining. Whereas if you eliminate all of that you can get to the heart of the matter quickly and more effectively.

So that's the giving of constructive feedback. When we're on the receiving end of it, a whole lot of other things are going on within us, right? Often, when somebody approaches us, we tend to kind of get our defenses ready. It's like I'm going to defend myself, I'm going to describe the justifications, right? My rationale why. But instead, if we could really come to see feedback as a gift, even though it may not feel like it at the moment if we can approach it with that attitude. This is information about my own behavior, that's causing problems for someone else. And so rather than turning the tables and trying to see it as their fault, you know, what's wrong with them, I look at it as this is a blind spot. For me, this is an opportunity for me to learn, it again, feels really different. And it also helps to think about what courage it took for that person to come to us. It's not easy to give someone else feedback. And so, when they have probably thought through it, rehearsed it a number of times, how should I approach this person, so when you are receiving it to just listen, with an open mind with an open heart, and you can ask questions, to better understand what it is they're telling you. But you'll surprise the person if you thank them. Thanks for letting me know about this, I had no idea. And if it's appropriate, even apologize, I want to apologize to you for that, because I had no intention of, you know, having that impact on you. And then decide if you're willing to make a commitment to change that behavior in the future. And if you are, ask for their help, it's amazing how people will be glad to say, Yeah, I want to help you change that because it's been causing problems for me. So, to simply say, if you notice me doing this again, in the future, please bring it to my attention, because I am committed to improving. And with your support, I know I'll do a lot better.


Those are such amazing tips. And I really, I really love that. And I will say when I'm hiring, one of the things that I look for is that the person receives feedback well. I know I'm very careful and intentional in how I give feedback, doesn't mean sometimes I don't get it wrong, but the person needs to be able to hear it. And some people really struggle with receiving feedback, no matter how positive or truly constructive it is. So that's something that I look for. But I also try within Lean Out Method to cultivate an environment where everybody's comfortable giving feedback, including giving me feedback, like my whole team at any point in time should be able to and does frequently. give me feedback. And I think that's so important for all of you who are leaders and have team members, make them feel comfortable that they can give you feedback. And I love the tips you shared because if you react every time that they give you feedback, they're going to stop giving you feedback.


That's right. And there are people whose information whose observations you absolutely need. Yeah. And if you're noticing people aren't coming to you, then you can go to them and ask, you know, what's one thing I could do differently? That would make your experience working here better? 


Yes, such great tips. I love these. I wish we had time to dive into all of the communication skills, but I think these are so incredibly helpful and so what I would like to do is talk about another concept in the book that I absolutely loved. And I saw a lot of parallels within the Lean Out Method when I read it. So, can you tell people about FAR and what it is, and how to leverage it?


Sure. What you're talking about is this Focus, Action Reflection, which has an acronym of FAR, and yes, Crista, since I'm familiar with your Lean Out Method, I definitely see the parallel. So number one is to focus on one thing that you want to improve in the area of communication, what's the one communication skill or even one aspect of a specific skill that you would really like to improve and determine that you're going to do that, and then find out what's the best way to do this, what is a best practice for, say, listening well to someone else, or giving someone feedback, and then looking for opportunities to put it into action, because that's where the rubber meets the road, it's one thing to know something, but until you apply it, you really can't use it. And so, practicing it is the key to getting good at it. So, looking for opportunities to use it. And then the third step reflection is something that most people skip, unfortunately, and it's so critical, it's this. And it's because we're also busy, right? Who has time to slow down? But this is important because after you've applied a skill, to stop and reflect on how it went, we'll help you learn from that experience. So that then the next time you're putting it into action, you have that additional learning now that you've taken away. And so, there are some key questions you can ask yourself, you can also use the same questions with other people when they've made a mistake, and you want to help them draw out lessons. It's not a situation necessarily where you need to give feedback, but where you want to help them grow and learn. So, the first question is, what happened? And how did I feel about it? So left and right brain both getting engaged. And these are much better when you write down the answers? If this is something you've gone through, write it down, so you can then process it more fully. And after you've looked at the facts and the emotions tied to it, then looking at okay, so why did it happen that way? You know, what was I thinking? What assumptions was I making? What were my motivations? You know, what was going on between me and this other person? And then looking at the impact or the consequences? Did it turn out the way I hoped it would? And if not, what might I have done differently? So that again, I can have some takeaways and then look at that. So, what will I do next time I'm in a situation like this? So, we start really getting our brain wired for that new way of thinking about what we want to do. And the final question is, so what's my next step? Is there something I could do now or very soon to apply this or just learn from it? So, it's this focus, action, reflection, and repeating it over time, that allows us to really achieve mastery of a skill.


I love it. And I know you talk about it a lot in the context of communication. But I feel like it's just such a great formula to use for absolutely everything in business. So, I really love that, especially that you include the reflection because that, just like you said, I think that's something that so often people are just so busy working, that they don't take the time to reflect, which is how you get better, and how you can minimize the amount that you need to work?


Well, you know, I'll give you a quick example, in a different setting. I was attending a conference for entrepreneurs on marketing. And the night before the event, they had a social hour. And there were about 100 of us there. And they gave everybody a very short amount of time to introduce themselves, say something about what you do that might cause someone else to say, “Oh, I want to talk to that person.” And so then after everybody did these quick introductions, you had the opportunity to network. So, when my turn came, I had thought about what I wanted to say, I don't think I delivered it especially well, and afterward, no one came up to talk to me. And so, you know how that goes, you start beating yourself up in your head, “Oh, I could have said this. Why didn't I say that?” I mean, it was just, ruined the networking opportunity for me. And then when I got back into my hotel room, I was still thinking about this. And I thought, you know, I need to just process this thing and let go of it. Or it's going to mess me up for the whole conference. So, I have memorized these questions over the years, I got out a sheet of paper and wrote down the answers to those exact questions. And in doing so I got an idea of what I could do differently in the future in you know, a situation like that. And then I was able to let it go. And I think that's a key aspect of going through this reflection is we take time to analyze the process, and then we let it go instead of letting it run through our minds and continuously criticize ourselves.


Yeah, that's such a great example. And for those of you listening, go back and relisten to those questions again and write them down because it's a really good tool to kind of have in your back pocket because we all have those experiences. How often do we beat ourselves up about something that we wish went better or I should have said this or I should have done this and so having tools like that available to kind of guide yourself through so like you said, you can move on, right? You want to just get put, put it aside, move on. I think that that's so incredibly valuable. Thank you for sharing that. So, one of the other things that I wanted to talk to you about is learning and mastering new skills. And when it comes to entrepreneurs right now, especially with great resignation, and so much going on, there are so many people who are really seasoned pros, who are used to being at the top of their game in what they do, who is going off and either starting a business or starting a second business or doing something, it can be so challenging to be brand new at something, again, when you're so used to being so skilled and so experienced at something and so I would love to hear your perspective on how do you master those new skills? And how do you stay motivated to stick with it, when it can be really hard to be something again when you're so experienced and so skilled, and probably so celebrated for something that you've done for a long time?


Yeah. Oh, that's such a great question, Crista. I will give you another example of it. Because those of us that have been in business a long time, are continuously needing to learn new applications, you know. So, there's a learning curve many times with new things that we keep to stay up with things. And so, I think a key aspect of mastering a new skill is recognizing that what is actually happening is the wiring of circuits in the brain. So, the brain has to make connections. And whether it's a sport that you're learning a musical instrument or an application at work, it's really the same process in the brain, you have to do the skill multiple times for the brain to can make those connections and make them stronger. The challenge we have when we're trying to improve in communication skills is we're not starting with a blank slate, we already have these connections established for how we interact with people. And so, we're not only needing to establish a new pathway, we've got to make that new pathway stronger than the old one. And so that can be true. If you're learning, let's say, a new CRM, you know, or any application at work, or just a new system that you're putting in place of thinking of the clients, you advise on different systems, it's the same thing in the brain, we have to be exposed to practice it and use it. And that's where the FAR process comes in. Because the more we practice, take action, reflection, the faster we accelerate those connections. And so, I think an important aspect of skill mastery is when we go into it, recognize we are on a bumpy gravel road. We don't have that superhighway in place for this particular skill set. So, we can't just zoom along, we are going to make mistakes. Sometimes we actually get worse before we get better. Because if we're trying to change an established way of doing something and adopt a new one, man, we can feel disoriented. And we're feeling pulled between the old way and the new way. And so there can be this period where it just feels like why am I even bothering. And yet, if we have the realistic view that this requires some time, and effort and the more we practice, the better we get. And I think that's the key thing is just being gentle or kind to ourselves in the process to say, “Okay, this is new, this is different, it is going to take a little while, it's going to feel awkward. Setbacks are going to happen. It's just part of the process.” And so, I'm not going to get down on myself, I'm not going to get hung up or frustrated or angry, because that's going to waste and expend a lot of unnecessary energy. So, I think that's really a key. And so, the commitment. I love this one thing that I think it was Chris Dorris, one of my favorite podcasters. He said the nature of commitment is that it fades. And so what can you put in place that's going to help you stay committed to making that change? And a support system is always great. If you have a coach, or you know, just somebody, a friend or colleague, that's willing to play that role of accountability coach to help you stay on track. That can be a huge support.


Yeah, such a great insight there. And I think you know when you do talk about communication, one of the big struggles that I see for a lot of people that maybe have had an offline business that they're taking online for the first time or they're used to communicating in person back when you know, they were in the office all the time, and now they're being introduced to the world of social media as an entrepreneur. As opposed to as a consumer, and it just ends up being a difficult transition. So, I really love all of those tips that you shared, I think that'll be really helpful. Okay, so there's one question that I asked everybody, and I cannot wait to hear your answer. And that is, how do you work smarter and not harder and keep things lean in your business?


For me, when I have clarity about what's most important, you know, what are the top activities that I alone can do and need to be doing. And I can focus on those and they are taking advantage of my strengths, my superpowers, then I get in the zone, I stay in the zone, and I can stay focused, I think where I can get derailed is if I allow myself to get scattered. And think of too many things that need to be done. So, for me, it's important to write them down and review them and be clear, wherein my day, do I have this important thing scheduled? Because if I don't have that kind of structure in place, I might never get to it. And then at the end of the day, it's like, Well, why didn't that happen? And so for me having that. And it seems to work, I really appreciated it when you and I talked about this, and we were talking about when do you plan your day, the night before or the morning of and it seems to work better for me in the morning. The first thing to be really clear about what I want to do, that has made a huge difference to just make sure I've got that on my calendar as something I'm going to do.


I love that. So, tell everybody all about you. Like what do you have going on? Where can they get your books? Where can they find out more? And do you have anything exciting coming up that you want to share?


Oh, we do have lots of exciting things going on. Our two books “Connect with Your Team” and then “Peer Coaching Made Simple” are for the workplace. And my business partner, Danny Coats has written companion or parallel books for parents. So, it's to connect with your kid, and parents coaching parents. And our goal that we are so excited about is to get a million copies of these books sold and in the hands of people in the workplace. And in homes, because there is so much unnecessary drama, pain, and suffering around a lack of communication, simply because people don't have the skills, Crista, you know, we don't teach them at home, people are doing the best they can. But most of us weren't raised, I was pretty lucky I was raised in a really healthy environment. But a lot of people don't have that opportunity. And our schools aren't teaching it. And so, we want to get out there with these books that are as you saw not fluff. They're not theory, it's practical steps with real, realistic dialogues on how to have a real conversation that's healthy and useful. How that looks how it sounds. And so that's what I'm really excited about now is helping to get these books in the hands of people who can really benefit from them. And it makes a big difference in families, workplaces, and ultimately, of course, the world.


That's excellent. And I know, you know, the books like the communication one, which I just absolutely loved, although it's geared towards the workplace, I found so much value in it, even as an entrepreneur. So, I think that really anybody can get a ton of value out of it. But I know so many of our listeners actually consult with and work with companies in corporations. So just something that you can add to your tool belt there as well.


Yes, we have quantity discounts available. So, I would encourage any of the folks that are your listeners who are interested in maybe, you know, getting these copies and our website is And so, the books are featured there, as well as our products. We have software tools that assist with the development of the skills and just growing stronger as a person, which is why we have the word strong on our website, and I'm on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. If anyone would like to connect with me, I would love to have you join my network.


Meredith, thank you so much. This has been incredible. I so appreciate you being on the show, Everyone,  you will find all of the links down in the show notes, so please be sure to go check out and connect with Meredith. I look forward to having you back on the show again in the future. Thank you so much for being here today.


Thank you, Crista.


Everyone, we'll see you again next week. Thank you for joining me for another episode of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast. I hope you got a lot of value and actionable insights from today's show. And we'd love it if you take a moment to leave us a review. If you have any questions on today's episode or on how to lean out your business, join us over in our private Facebook community, where every week we do live training and Q&A. I'd love to have you be part of the conversation head to to join us and before you go be sure to subscribe to the show so you're the first to know when we release a new episode. We'll see you next week.


by Crista Grasso

Crista Grasso is the go-to strategic planning expert for leading global businesses and online entrepreneurs when they want to scale.  Known as the "Business Optimizer", Crista has the ability to quickly cut through noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact to scale a business simply and sustainably. She specializes in helping businesses gain clarity on the most important things that will drive maximum value for their clients and maximum profits for their business.  She is the creator of the Lean Out Method, 90 Day Lean Out Planner, and host of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast. She is also the founder and CVO of the Profitable Planner Co and Criscara Jewelry.


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