The Phone Lady's Blog

Inspire Conversation

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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

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

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

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

Elevate Your Customer Service: Effective and Efficient Conversations

By Mary Jane Copps | March 27, 2021
man planning a phone call

It happens to all of us. We finish a conversation with a client and feel, well, unaccomplished. Perhaps the next steps aren’t clearly agreed upon. Or important items are completely forgotten and another conversation needs to be booked. It doesn’t have to be this way. … 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

Your Phone Includes Pandemic Relief

By Mary Jane Copps | March 21, 2020

In my 14 years as The Phone Lady, I’ve often been asked, “Why the phone, Mary Jane? How is it that you’ve ended up championing the phone?” Most often I’ve given a quick and easy answer. The phone has been part of every job throughout … Read more

The Automatic “No”

By Mary Jane Copps | July 9, 2016
woman saying NO

My husband tells a funny – and embarrassing – story about me and my tendency to say “no”. In our early years together he would often call me at work with an invitation to go somewhere or do something. He’d be all enthused about a … Read more

#1 Reason to Choose a Phone Conversation

By Mary Jane Copps | May 10, 2015
phone conversation

Great conversations require both active listening and thoughtful response. In public settings, such as networking events, awards dinners, even a crowded pub or restaurant, I often fail at this task. Why? Well, it’s about distraction. The word “distraction” first appeared in the 15th century and … Read more

The Question is in the Answer

By Mary Jane Copps | May 27, 2012
woman in phone call at desk

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin A variation of this quote is likely familiar to most of us. And most of us understand that preparation is an important and essential part of success. But … there are times when preparation … Read more

In this episode of the Sales Reinvented podcast, Mary Jane shares how a good story is crafted, what makes a great storyteller, and even tells one of her favorite stories.
Listen to this podcast discussing why trends in customer service calls, how to make sales calls more effectively and more.
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.