The Phone Lady's Blog

Inspire Conversation

conversation skills

Humility: The Foundation of Storyfinding

By Mary Jane Copps | April 9, 2022

When I sat down in September 2021 and planned out how I would write about and share the skills of storyfinding, humility wasn’t even on the list. I added it about six weeks ago and, much to my disappointment, I can’t remember what inspired this … Read more

The Value of Humility

By Mary Jane Copps | April 2, 2022
business introductions

Years ago at a holiday gathering, an existing client introduced me to the CEO of a fast-growing national company. The beginning of the introduction was the standard, “I’d like you to meet Mary Jane who, etc. etc.” But then he ended the introduction with a … Read more

Exploring Expectations

By Mary Jane Copps | March 25, 2022

Creating excellence demands that we explore expectations – our own and those of our prospects, clients and customers. We come to every conversation and meeting with some level of expectation. Recognizing this – and setting these aside – is a life-long, necessary practice. Without this … Read more

The When and How of Trust

By Mary Jane Copps | March 6, 2022
business women talking

Over a decade ago, one of Canada’s largest healthcare companies approached me to design and deliver a half-day workshop at its annual conference. I created a proposal, participated in several conference calls with senior staff, revised my proposal and, in the end, they decided not … Read more

My Favorite Listening Practice

By Mary Jane Copps | February 26, 2022
podcasting

Listening is a skill that demands life-long attention. We never reach perfection … but we can continually improve and expand our abilities. How do I work on my listening skills? I give my full attention to radio and podcast hosts and I learn from: The … Read more

8 Ways to Practice Profound Listening

By Mary Jane Copps | February 19, 2022
man listening on video

“Years ago, I worked for an amazing HR Director who always seemed to hear what I wasn’t saying. She truly taught me about the power of listening.” – Leighann Joseph This message was sent to me late last year by Leighann Joseph of Living Loud … Read more

Honor Your Intuition + A Well-Kept Secret

By Mary Jane Copps | February 13, 2022

All of us have access to intuition – flashes of insight or wisdom we often ignore because they seem to contradict what we most rely on – our intellectual, emotional and creative skills. Acknowledging, listening and acting on our intuition is uncomfortable. It can even … Read more

Tap Into Your Intuition

By Mary Jane Copps | February 5, 2022
woman waiting for elevator

In the early ’80s, when Toronto’s Spadina Avenue was still home to some of the very best Jewish delicatessens in the country, I entered the lobby of a heritage building. I was there to pick up the final prints from a friend’s recent photo shoot. … Read more

Park Your Intent and Find the Story

By Mary Jane Copps | January 30, 2022

Recognizing and working with the dual nature of intent is vital for us to become great storyfinders – and inspire amazing conversations. Yes, we do need to prepare and have an intention, goal, purpose for our business conversations. When speaking with both customers/clients and prospects, … Read more

The Paradox of “Intent”

By Mary Jane Copps | January 22, 2022
woman driving

In our quest to excel at storyfinding – uncovering what our prospects and clients truly want and need through conversation – we need to know that sabotage lurks in our intent. While it is essential to prepare for our conversations, and to know the outcome … 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

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

Are You Talking Too Much?

By Mary Jane Copps | November 15, 2020

“Our job isn’t to tell customers everything all at once. It’s to make them curious to learn more.” – Bernadette Jiwa It isn’t easy to admit we talk too much. Sometimes we are unaware this is our challenge. Perhaps we’ve been taught, or assumed, that … Read more

4 Ways to Help Others Hear You

By Mary Jane Copps | October 31, 2020
man listening

“Communication is not saying something; communication is being heard.” – Frances Hesselbein We’ve all had the experience of speaking to someone and, much to our surprise and/or frustration, they don’t hear us at all. Even in a quiet setting, when we’ve chosen our words carefully, … Read more

Practical Advice for 4 Common Communication Challenges

By Mary Jane Copps | October 17, 2020

One of the things I love about my work is its diversity. This past week I delivered webinars to global, North American, national and local audiences. Fun, right? What stood out for me was the similarity in the feedback on all of these presentations. The … Read more

Lack of Confidence = Miscommunication

By Mary Jane Copps | August 16, 2020
woman talking on the phone

“Communication is not saying something. Communication is being heard.” – Frances Hesselbein – Many of you already know my “just” story.  At the age of 28, building my first business and making outbound calls across the country, I was shocked to discover that turning a … Read more

Practice Patience with Your Persistence

By Mary Jane Copps | August 7, 2020
woman talking on the phone

There’s a struggle going on. No matter what industry my clients represent, or how smoothly they managed the initial COVID-19 lockdown, or how quickly they created a re-opening process … they are all still struggling on some level. The demands on their time seem to … Read more

What’s Best When: Phone or Video Conversation?

By Mary Jane Copps | June 20, 2020
WOMAN ON VIDEO CALL

My initial reaction to the notion that phone calls would one day include cameras is very clear in my mind. I remember exactly where I was when someone shared this news item with me. It was sometime in the mid-’90s. I was standing outside my … Read more

Show Your Heart … or Be Shown the Door!

By Mary Jane Copps | April 4, 2020
Westin Hotel, Halifax

It’s hard to take in that the world … the entire world … is sharing one event. While each country, culture, region is experiencing COVID-19 differently, and each individual is having unique reactions and responses, we are all being impacted by this pandemic at the … Read more

To Listen and Learn … Press Mute

By Mary Jane Copps | October 5, 2019
phone conversation in office

It doesn’t seem to matter how many projects I do as The Phone Lady, I still get incredibly excited when I’m on a discovery call with a new client. As they start sharing their challenges with me, my brain shifts into high gear and I’m … Read more

A Tale of Two Texts

By Mary Jane Copps | August 11, 2019

I’ve been a bit scattered this summer. While disciplined at keeping and working with a detailed to-do list, a few things have slipped away from me. If I had to choose the one that made me the most uncomfortable, I think it’s this … I … Read more

Your Job Search Super Power – Step 1: What Do You Want?

By Miriam Jobin | July 21, 2019
phoning about a job listing

“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”― Mark Twain As a child and adolescent, I must have had the same conversation with adults hundreds of times. You know the one: “What are you going … Read more

Listen to this podcast discussing why trends in customer service calls, how to make sales calls more effectively and more.
Kate Mallett explored phone anxiety on her podcast recently and Mary Jane weighed in with valuable insights - listen here.
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.
Banks Curtail Employee Use of Voice Mail: Voice mail is viewed as an expensive vestige of a bygone era. See what The Phone Lady has to say.