CNN's Harry Enten asks why we’re avoiding phone calls and whether we can be coached through our telephone-related nerves in this new Margins of Error podcast featuring Mary Jane. LISTEN HERE.

The Phone Lady's Blog

Inspire Conversation

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Assumptions: My Most Embarrassing Story

By Mary Jane Copps | January 16, 2022

Many years ago, while visiting a dear friend in Toronto, we decided to walk past a house in Kensington Market we had once owned and lived in together. A mom was working in the front garden with her young son nearby and we had a … Read more

How to Ditch Your Assumptions

By Mary Jane Copps | January 8, 2022
woman at desk talking on the phone

“You don’t know what you don’t know.” Donald Rumsfeld The biggest threat to storyfinding – uncovering the true challenge, desire and/or “why” of our prospects and clients – is assumptions. Assumptions are tricky creatures. The word assumption comes to us from the 1590s and means … Read more

Improvise to Create Unique Experiences

By Mary Jane Copps | January 2, 2022

As I write this I remain uplifted and energized by many of the conversations I enjoyed during the less-hectic holiday season. Each one was unique; each one filled with laughter, storytelling, hopes and challenges. None of them were planned. They each blossomed in the moments … Read more

One Word For 2022

By Mary Jane Copps | December 26, 2021
words have power

“Take care of your words and the words will take care of you.” – Amit Ray For the seventh year, I’m sharing with you the concept of One Word. I was introduced to this idea at the end of 2015 by my colleague and friend Jeanie … Read more

You Can – and Must – Improvise

By Mary Jane Copps | December 18, 2021
2 coffee cups on porch

As our computers and telephones have merged and landed in our hands instead of on a desk, an unintended consequence has surfaced. We are tapping and scrolling and writing and reading more than we are talking. This means there’s a lot of “communication” happening but … Read more

Being Vulnerable in Conversation

By Mary Jane Copps | December 12, 2021

Did you know that you are already vulnerable in most of your personal conversations? It’s definitely possible you’ve never noticed. However, the memorable, exciting and in-depth conversations you’ve had with family, friends and colleagues did require you to be vulnerable. Great business conversations also require … Read more

Unleash Your Vulnerability

By Mary Jane Copps | December 4, 2021
man talkng on phone in office

Several years ago, while working with a very enthusiastic group of salespeople in Toronto, something totally unexpected happened. We were all together in a beautiful classroom space in the city’s financial district. All the latest technology was available. The coordinator was charming and funny, the … Read more

How to “Own Your Tone”

By Mary Jane Copps | November 28, 2021

Most of us completely ignore the tone of our voice. Of course, we realize when our anger, or sarcasm, or impatience has had an impact on others. But on a day-to-day, moment-to-moment basis, we remain ignorant about how our tone is impacting our conversations. And … Read more

Own Your Tone to Inspire Conversation

By Mary Jane Copps | November 20, 2021
woman and man having a conversation

Our tone of voice is something we tend to take for granted. We often ignore it completely. And we have a tendency to deny its impact – how it can welcome and motivate others, or shut down and silence them. In fact, every time we … Read more

Noticing Nuance in Conversation

By Mary Jane Copps | November 14, 2021

Nuance is definitely one of the most difficult skills of storyfinding. It requires us to be completely present in our conversations and intently listening, not only to words and sentences but to everything around those words and sentences. Next, we have to respond to what … Read more

Acknowledging Nuance in our Communication

By Mary Jane Copps | November 7, 2021
woman yawning

Nuance is such an elegant, fancy word. It conjures up images of ballet and opera, poetry and classical music. And we might associate it with the work of great actors too, like Elizabeth Moss or Meryl Streep. Nuance is certainly connected with all these things. … Read more

The Impact of Empathy

By Mary Jane Copps | October 31, 2021

Empathy is not only the champion of storyfinding but also the no-fail creator of trust, loyalty and clear communication. Why? Because recognizing and honouring the emotional content of any situation allows us to provide solutions that go far beyond the surface problems or challenges. Empathy … Read more

The Logic of Employing Empathy

By Mary Jane Copps | October 24, 2021
woman talking on the phone

The details we can uncover about an individual or an organization through a website, a Google search or reviewing an internal file are all extremely valuable and they do support our ability to be a storyfinder. But often, they are only the tip of the … Read more

Preparation: Less Equals More

By Mary Jane Copps | October 17, 2021

Preparation is an essential element of storyfinding. It allows us to develop and ask great questions. The challenge is finding the right balance between scant and excessive research. The key to successful preparation lies in understanding how it supports our ability to discover more through … Read more

3 Steps to Prepare for Storyfinding

By Mary Jane Copps | October 9, 2021

One specific spring day in 1980 was my biggest teacher in terms of preparation. Along with hundreds of other students, I’m in John P. Robarts Research Library (one of my very favourite places) at the University of Toronto. It’s one of those crunch times – … Read more

Ignite Your Curiosity

By Mary Jane Copps | October 3, 2021

Storyfinding allows us to create communication and service excellence with both prospects and customers. The first element is curiosity, which is a HUGE topic. This video includes more information about curiosity, as well as examples of how it can be used … or not. Enjoy … Read more

Truth and Reconciliation: A Personal Story

By Mary Jane Copps | September 30, 2021

Since bodies were found this past May on the site of a formal residential school in British Columbia, I have been haunted. You see, it was no surprise to me that these bodies were found, that more were found at another site in June and … Read more

Curiosity Did Not “Kill The Cat”!

By Mary Jane Copps | September 26, 2021
woman on video call

“Curiosity is the engine of achievement.” Sir Ken Robinson Allowing curiosity to guide our conversations is the first step of storyfinding. With both prospects and customers, curiosity helps us clarify and deliver on expectations, reveal additional ways to serve and work together, and continually build … Read more

Discover Storyfinding + Examples

By Mary Jane Copps | September 19, 2021

The comparison between storytelling and storyfinding created feedback and excitement here on this blog, and also on social media and directly via email. Thanks! In my 16 years teaching communication skills, I’ve always focused on the importance of asking great questions. And on constantly improving … Read more

Storytelling vs Storyfinding

By Mary Jane Copps | September 12, 2021

Circa 1963: I’m sent to bed early, where I strain my ears to catch every sound, word and movement of my uncles and dad in the living room below. There is the rattle of ice and the splash of rye or rum, the click of … Read more

What’s Popular on LinkedIn?

By Mary Jane Copps | August 29, 2021

LinkedIn is my “go to” social media network. It’s where I stay in touch with colleagues around the world and gather and read articles that support my business growth. And it’s a vital element of my sales process. It’s also where I share my own … Read more

Sales Communication That Inspires Conversation

By Mary Jane Copps | August 14, 2021
woman working at desk

When you make sales calls, to prospects, referrals or existing customers, you likely have an outcome in mind. Perhaps you believe it will be an immediate sale. Or maybe you are aiming to strengthen and expand an existing relationship. Or maybe you want to begin … Read more

What Alzheimer’s Has Taught Me About Branding

By Mary Jane Copps | August 1, 2021
forget-me-nots

When you hear the word “Alzheimer’s” what comes immediately to mind? For most of you, the answer will be memory loss. And you’re correct. Memory loss is a major aspect of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s societies and associations even use the forget-me-not flower as their icon. … Read more

What Alzheimer’s Has Taught Me About Work/Life Balance

By Mary Jane Copps | July 17, 2021
balancing rocks

How to balance “work” with the rest of “life” is a discussion that comes up in almost every workshop and conversation I have with new entrepreneurs and business owners. In many instances when you ask someone why they chose to start or own a business, … Read more

What Alzheimer’s has Taught Me About Communication

By Mary Jane Copps | July 3, 2021

In June of 2017 my husband, David, and I sat in the office of a kind and compassionate doctor who gently told us that David had early-onset Alzheimer’s. There were the expected moments of silence, then lots of effusive optimism and cheerfulness. There’s no correct … Read more

Being Customer-Centric … Even on Vacation!

By Mary Jane Copps | June 18, 2021
empty office

Picture this … it’s mid-July or late August. You call a company or individual for some necessary information. They are on vacation, which is to be expected – especially this summer! What’s unexpected, frustrating and annoying is the voicemail message you reach. The message you … Read more

29 Weeks = Number Crunching Time

By Mary Jane Copps | June 5, 2021
man using calculator at desk

It’s true. As of June 6, when we post this blog, there will be 29 weeks until the end of 2021. That’s hard to believe. This is almost mid-year for many of you. And definitely, an ideal time to look at your sales performance and … Read more

Top Sales Skill #4 … and How to Practice It

By Mary Jane Copps | May 22, 2021
woman working on laptop

When it comes to things I’ve done to build my business, I’ve certainly spent a lot of time doing the wrong things. Some of them have been things that are perfect for other businesses but not right for me. Building online courses is top of … Read more

Peggy’s Persistence Keeps Paying Off

By Mary Jane Copps | May 9, 2021
man talking on video call

This week I’m re-introducing you to Peggy Issenman, owner of the graphic design firm Peggy & Co., based here in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I have known Peggy for about a decade as we have friends in common and have found ourselves enjoying each other’s company at … Read more

Top Three Sales Skills and How To Practice Them

By Mary Jane Copps | April 24, 2021
woman talking on the phone

How do we become really good at something? Whether it is baking or golf or Minecraft, we all improve our skills by doing, by practicing. The same is true of sales. And we don’t need a special time or place to practice our sales skills. … Read more

Listen in as Liz Solar interviews Mary Jane: Connect Better Through Voice on Voice Action
CBCs-The-Current
CRTC has recently taken new steps to fight fraud calls and phone scams. Read (and listen) to what Mary Jane has to say about this problem.
This Hour Has 22 Minutes
22 Minutes correspondent, Brandon Hackett, figures out which end is up on this thing called a telephone, with help from The Phone Lady. Watch Telephone Lessons for Millennials.
The Wall Street Journal.
Some on Wall Street are hanging up on voicemail. See what The Phone Lady has to say.